Dollhouse 1.04 "Gray Hour" review

A heist goes unexpectedly wrong for Echo

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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: Sarah Fain, Elizabeth Craft

Directed by: Rod Hardy


Echo becomes a master safe-cracker to assist in the theft of an Elgin sculpture from a vault. One of the thieves runs away and locks them in the vault, but when Echo tries to tell Boyd what’s happening, her profile is wiped remotely, leaving them all stuck inside.

Another great premise and some more interesting developments, specifically with regard to the “herding” behaviour Topher notes in the Actives (the fact that Echo, Sierra and Victor continually eat together at the same table indicates purely instinctive behaviour that can’t be affected by the wiping process, apparently). I really like the concept of rewriting Echo’s profile into Sierra in order to extract Echo, too. Sierra does feel rather underused again though, and there’s more exploitation – was it absolutely necessary for Echo to pose as a prostitute and strip down to her lingerie at the beginning? And what’s that line of Sierra’s about “learning to lap dance” all about?

That stuff with Echo looking at the “broken” woman in the Picasso portrait while the injured safecracker talks about how art “shows us who we are”? Very forced.

Right at the beginning, Echo’s playing midwife in a cabin at the top of a mountain. Eh? Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to send a real midwife to the top of the mountain in a helicopter? That’s just weird.

The wipe at the beginning is a mere ten seconds long, but the one at the end takes up 27 seconds – almost as long as the establishing wipe in episode one. Blimey.

Echo/Taffy: “Hey! Old stuff expert? Old stuff is in here.”

Leah Holmes

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