Episode: Dollhouse 2.05 – “The Public Eye”
Original Airdate: December 4, 2009
Screencaps from burgundy_shoes.
Paige catches us up on previous Season 2 Dollhouse episodes before the series finale on January 29.
In episode 2.05, “The Public Eye,” Madeline, formerly known as the active November and as Paul Ballard’s neighbor and ex-girlfriend, Mellie, plans to testify to the Senate sub-committee about her time in the Los Angeles Dollhouse, fingering the Rossum Corporation as responsible.
In a twisted, tangled turn of events, Echo and Senator Daniel Perrin (Alexis Denisof), the politician working to take down the Dollhouses and Rossum and the one responsible for Madeline’s testimony, end up at the Dollhouse in Washington, D.C., thus facilitating the much-anticipated introduction of Whedon veteran Summer Glau.
As the D.C. Dollhouse’s brilliant programmer Bennett Halverson, Summer Glau is the yin to Topher Brink’s yang. Although displaying a degree of affectation, Halverson clearly is familiar with both Topher (Fran Kranz) and Echo, whom she refers to as Caroline. While her feelings for Echo are less than affectionate, Halverson does appear to harbor some affection for the brains behind the L.A. Dollhouse’s tech, although it remains a bit unclear since we don’t see the two neuroscientists together in this episode.
As much as Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) annoys me because of his constantly shifting loyalties and inconsistent convictions, I must give him credit for being one of the most bad-ass F.B.I. agents I’ve seen portrayed on television in quite a while. Watching Ballard take down two armed men almost twice his size with his hands cuffed behind his back after being captured by members of the D.C. Dollhouse, I can’t help but think that Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully (The X-Files) might have had far fewer problems if even one of them was able to take down assailants like (former) Special Agent Ballard. Thankfully we have Madeline at the ready to take Ballard down a notch, reminding audiences that he isn’t who we would like him to be.
The best part of Dollhouse episode 2.05, “The Public Eye,” is the fight scene between Echo (Eliza Dushku) and Cindy Perrin (Stacey Scowley), Senator Perrin’s wife. Although Ballard accidentally wipes Echo with the “Disrupter” that Topher builds (a handheld electronic device that scrambles an active’s brain and returns them to their “doll” state) while trying to capture Madeline, Echo’s special ability to remember past engagements and former personalities allows her to retain her combat skills — a side effect that Cindy Perrin doesn’t expect. As Echo tells Cindy after the Senator’s wife pistol-whips her, “You just woke up a lot of people, and they all think you’re a bitch.”
The quick fight between Echo and Cindy is cross-cut with clips from previous episodes spanning as far back in the Dollhouse series as episode 1.02, “The Target.” Echo’s offensive and defensive movements are broken down step-by-step and synced with these clips to illustrate which engagements she draws upon for each of the blows and blocks she performs. The editing in this scene is brilliant thanks to film editor Paul Trejo, who contributed his skills to six other Dollhouse episodes, including 2.04, “Belle Chose” and 2.11, “Getting Closer.” The clips chosen from past episodes to be inserted into the fight scene in this episode are short, so they don’t disrupt the flow of the scene, but are still long enough that Dollhouse fans will be able to recognize them.
Overall, “The Public Eye” is linear, entertaining, and an excellent step in the show’s progression during its second season on the air. I hope you’ll take the time to check it out if you haven’t seen it already.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars