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Dollhouse 1.02 "The Target" review

Echo has an engagement with The Middleman

NB: This review was originally printed in the Spoiler Zone in issue 182 of SFX and is reflective of our assessment of the show at the time of viewing.

Written by: Steven S DeKnight

Directed by: Steven S DeKnight


Echo is hired by a man named Richard Connell who claims to simply want female companionship from a woman who won’t turn out to be something she’s not, but he reveals that he’s into manhunting, and Echo is his latest prey. Meanwhile, flashbacks reveal how Boyd came to be Echo’s handler, we learn about the escaped rogue Active Alpha, and Ballard receives a clue about the Dollhouse – a photo of Echo when she was Caroline and the message “keep looking”.

An improvement on the last episode, adding some depth to the characters through the flashbacks to Alpha’s escape and hinting at a few interesting things, most notably Echo’s visions of herself as Caroline, her memories of Alpha’s escape and the fact that she remembers Richard’s “shoulder to the wheel” gesture after her profile is wiped. The creepiness is still there though, and it’s no less unpalatable – from Adelle’s explanation of how the Actives work and the fact that Echo’s wellbeing carries a price tag to the repeated lines about how they’re “not people” – sure, it highlights the question at the core of the show, but it just sounds nasty.

The sinister Richard Connell is played by Matt Keeslar, in a role that couldn’t be further from his appearance as The Middleman if it tried.

Topher says the Actives are unable to do anything without an imprint. How do they know how to swim, shower and communicate in between engagements?

A short one this time – just 15 seconds.

Topher: “Uh, hey, sorry. I think we have a situation. The kind you need to shoot at.”

Leah Holmes

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