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'Dollhouse' double: 'Meet Jane Doe/A Love Supreme,' and the awesome Alpha

December 12, 2009 |  8:32 am

The jailbreak portion of the "Meet Jane Doe/A Love Supreme" double episode of "Dollhouse" was just a training exercise;  Echo in a situation that would allow her to hone her skills and access her abilities.

Echo Her rescue of Galena (Ana Claudia Talancon) reminds me of Rogue from the X-Men, and how the more abilities and personalities she absorbs, the more powerful she is, and the harder it is for her to keep control. Rogue's getting it together, but it may be taking its toll on Echo as the headaches mount.

And Paul Ballard is back ... with Echo? An interesting development. Her progression has been slow with learning to read, noticing wrongs and trying to grasp her own self-awareness ... but this seems like a jump. Of course it is, as we find out it's three months later. The show has lots to go through in order to wrap things up clean-like -- though that may not be Joss Whedon's endgame. We can only wait and see.

The training sequences; Whedonites know what they stirred memories of. Do I even need to ("Buffy") say it?

Meanwhile, back at the dollhouse ... Love the idea of having Victor and Sierra actually working in the lab. Giving those two more screen time can do nothing but help.  Not that Joss and the showrunners didn't know this, but it was evident as each got another couple of spotlights throughout.  Sierra on another assignment, Victor as a doctor probing Echo, Sierra slamming a guard's head repeatedly into a wall and Victor administering some kind of knockout injection to Ballard.  Can't say enough about these two, and can't wait to see Victor's back-story in upcoming episodes.

We had to wonder if the power/responsibility lavished on him by the bad dollhouse man (Keith Carradine as Matthew  Harding) was going to Topher's head, or if he's in on some bigger plan, or if he's really that oblivious to his behavior with Adelle and its future effects.  We found that he was in on a bigger plan, but it was not his.  This will be discussed later, but the discovery that he did make -- the ability to wipe remotely with a handheld device -- was an awesome invention. His genius and giddiness would be Adelle tempered.

Paul and Boyd. Are they both taking down the dollhouse? Not sure yet, but with Boyd encouraging Adelle DeWitt to "take back the house," have to wonder if the duo may think that she is the lesser of two evils.  Her next action, though, could tip the scales of evil back in her favor.  Or, maybe it's just the scales of self-preservation?

Topher's discovery of the possible ultimate plan of the dollhouse, to create a -- for lack of a better term -- mental weapon that would allow you to wipe and imprint anyone anywhere takes the dollhouse technology to its furthest deviant state. So, he may as well make it before anyone else does, right? Risky, but hey, someone created the atomic bomb. And Adelle promptly gave Topher's bombshell to the bad man (Harding).  What!? Why? Who!?  I guess DeWitt needed, and maybe the show needed, the ice-cold taskmistress to return.  Picking on Topher to reassert herself wasn't the strongest show of force, but it was effective. She's definitely back, and she's not the only one.

Alpha's back! Alpha's back!  For a second, I thought another show was coming on, that they'd tricked us with the 'oh-it's-a-double-episode-again-but-it's-really-a-weird-western' shtick.  Wait ... what happened?  MY TV froze!  Did yours freeze? Did Fox freeze? What's going on here?

OK, it came back (let me know if it was just me). And I still think the TV's messing up because Paul Ballard brought Echo back in, and instead of embracing their wandering active, Adelle promptly puts her through heck to make sure that she has not been "compromised."

Alpha Adelle's descent into biatch mode continued as she sent Echo out on an assignment following her torture.  And here, it gets even more interesting when the guy that Echo is supposed to meet is dead upon arrival. Hi, Alpha!

The embodiment of everything that can go wrong with a doll, he is the Joker sans a clown face -- deadly, brilliant and curiously, comically evil -- and every line that comes out of Alan Tudyk's/Alpha's mouth is a gem.  As an actor, he has to love this. Almost like Zachary Quinto/Sylar was on "Heroes" before he got all chummy and Spocky (though he's back evil now, but I digress).

Alpha is killing off people that Echo loved, or was imprinted to love.  He flaunts it, even telling Paul, Boyd and the dollhousers that they'll witness it personally. And they do when he blows up a former lover on top of a roof, getting away though guns were on him.  Liked how the camera didn't just go straight to another view when the body exploded.

The lovable millionaire Joel Mynor (Patton Oswalt) is back, in the unenviable position of being the supposed last of Echo's loves/Alpha's victims.  For one of the very few times, an outsider is allowed into the dollhouse as they attempt to protect him. Yes, they had to act quickly, but they could've just safe-housed him and not given up the dollhouse location. But again, I digress.

As Alpha made his way into the dollhouse after Mynor, it would've been nice to see how he did it, but I guess that would spoil the magic.  And speaking of magic, the dollfight initiated by Alpha was great. No need to go over the particulars, just another instance of Alpha's evil genius.

It was pretty obvious (to me) that Alpha would eventually make his way toward Paul Ballard. In that training sequence earlier, they may as well have been sitting next to a messy pottery wheel with all of the innuendo there ("Ghost," get it? sigh).  Alpha captures Paul, also expected, as he tries to explain to Paul that Echo is in love with him. "That's not active-handler face ... it could be love."  Then, Alpha kills Paul Ballard.

Alpha. Kills. Paul. Alpha: "Hmph. When did you die?"

PaulBallarda Whozzywhatsit?  OK, OK.  It's only brain-dead, and in a show that deals with the manipulation of brains, this is not an insurmountable obstacle.  The problem will be stopping the unstoppable, since Alpha imprinted himself with Paul's personality/abilities/brain. Paul may need that. Topher may need that to get Paul back.

Hard to think that Topher's creation of a mobile device that can wipe and imprint any person at any time, and the fact that the weapon is in the hands of a powerful, amoral worldwide corporation could be overshadowed, but Paul's fate does just that. For now.

Who knows?  Joss may leave Paul dead!  Doubt it, but you can bet that Echo will go after Alpha -- once she gets out of the Attic next week! It will be interesting to finally get a look at this dreaded banishment place since there aren't very many shows left (three after one more double-up). This can be the last thought in every post from here on out, but we'll try not to dwell.

-- Jevon Phillips

Photos: From top, Galena (Ana Claudia Talancon) and Echo (Eliza Dushku) prepare to escape; Adelle DeWitt (Olivia Williams) contemplates Echo's fate; Alpha (Alan Tudyk) shows off his new duds; Victor (Enver Gjokaj) is in the background as Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) searches. Credit: Fox

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