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'Dollhouse': Topher makes Echo lactate

October 3, 2009 |  8:19 am

The ability to breastfeed?!  That's the MINOR glandular change that Topher made to Echo for her latest mission? Wow. The cryptic conversation between inquisitive new handler Paul Ballard and giddy genius puppet-master Topher included even further pronouncements of how the "Dollhouse" mind-wiping technology could be helpful when used correctly. Or not.

"You could program the mind to fight cancer," said Topher, only mentioning in passing that to do that he'd have to wipe the candidate's mind clean.

On to the mission.  Echo is charged with being a mother, imprinted with the hormones and instincts of a woman who recently gave birth, one who loved her child dearly. Dad did it because he couldn't bond with  
his son after his wife's death. So he bought some artificial love and a really expensive nanny?

DOLL_203-SC9_092 Because of Topher's tinkering, this was worse than being hunted, or being a hostage negotiator or being married to Apollo.  A mother's desire to protect her child is probably one of the strongest instincts humans possess, and with this job it was heightened by, again, Topher giving Echo a curious personality. Sure, Sierra was probably put in as a friend to keep Echo calm, but wait ... the last time Echo was curious and went through someone's stuff, Apollo smacked her head against a desk.  Topher should tone that curiosity down a bit.

If he had, then maybe she wouldn't have run to the police.  That could've been an awkward situation for the dollhouse, but they got Echo back and wiped her.  Mostly. 

What the ..?  Topher got whacked! KTHO (Knocked the heck out!) by Echo with what looked like an involuntary, instinctive hit after getting a treatment.  Wiped the mind, but didn't take care to re-balance that gladular meddling, and soon Echo is a knife-wielding, baby-stealing active on the loose.

Her own sense of trying to find herself helped defuse the situation and the baby was returned to his father.  Echo and Ballard share more subversive talk, and we find that, maybe even more than the personas being in her head, they're also in her heart, helping her feel the many different emotions that are often suppressed by treatments.

DOLL_203-SC38_106 Speaking of treatments, doll November comes back!  Or, well, Miracle Laurie's Madelyn is back, to get a checkup.  Cool concept 'cause it could let us see what other dolls who may have been released are up to!  Her interaction with Ballard may have helped quell a bit of his guilt towards using dolls and wiping them clean, but he and Echo are still on the path to destruction of the dollhouse.

And they can join the party with Sen. Daniel Perrin, who found a cause to go after.  Someone has given him secret info on the dollhouse as well. Just a bit, but enough to get the bloodhound on the trail.

Had to be a bit weird for Eliza Dushku with the whole breastfeeding thing, as she said in a phone interview with the press:

Is there a particular role or character in an upcoming episode that you're going to play that was hard for you to get into?

Well, I'll tell you, playing a mother was certainly something I hadn't expected. I'm an auntie, and I've always loved other people's children and babies, but playing a mother and trying to tap into that maternal instinct was a challenge, but also a thrill, and a beautiful thing, so you'll have to let me know how you think I did after this week's episode. Mother was harder than serial killer sorority girl, I can tell you that. Maybe that tells you something about me. Also, trying to breastfeed someone else's baby is difficult. I'll just leave it at that. When you're not an actual mother, trying to breastfeed a baby is harder than it looks.

Television Without Pity is one of the many sites that posted the entire call (and their 'Joss Whedon's best episodes ever' gallery is cool).  She obviously talks about much of the future of "Dollhouse" as well, including Summer Glau's role and Echo's continued awakening.

With so many forces both outside and in, trying to topple the organization, seems like it's only a matter of time. But for now the question will be: Who's selling out the dollhouse?

-- Jevon Phillips

Photos: Top, Sierra (Dichen Lachman) and Echo (Eliza Dushku) talk while on assignment; Madelyn/November (Miracle Laurie) and Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) catch up in the dollhouse.

Credit: Fox