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Dollhouse 1.05 "True Believer" review

Echo goes undercover in a religious cult

NB: This review was originally printed in the Spoiler Zone in issue 183 of SFX and is reflective of our assessment of the show at the time of viewing.

Written by: Tim Minear

Directed by: Allan Kroeker


Echo is reprogrammed as Esther, a blind woman of faith so the ATF can infiltrate a secretive cult led by a criminal. Meanwhile, Topher notices that Victor is becoming physically attracted to Sierra.

It's an engrossing episode on a first watch, but its fatal flaw is that the Temple is rather poorly conceived. It's never made clear exactly what Sparrow hopes to achieve with his cult, and aside from the fact that he's stockpiling guns - which he says is for self-defence, and isn't entirely unjustified in thinking he'll need them based on the ATF's actions - he doesn't seem to hold any malicious intentions towards his followers. It seems like a rather weak framework to hang the episode on.

Sparrow relates the story of Esther according to "our book", saying that she was a young woman who had visions and could "see the truth". But this doesn't fit with the Biblical story of Esther, the Jewish queen who delivered the Jews from massacre at the hands of a Persian prince through intelligence and cunning, not visions (and whose heroism is now marked with the Jewish holiday of Purim). So, either Sparrow's using some other religious book (unlikely, since he later asks Esther to read from a Bible), or someone didn't do their research very well.

Topher's obvious discomfort at having to watch surveillance tapes with Dr Saunders for Victor's "man reactions" is hilarious.

Aisha Hinds, who plays Ballard's colleague Loomis, previously played Mona Gomez in Invasion.

Echo/Esther: "God brought me here. He has a message for you. And that message is, 'Move your ass!'"

Leah Holmes

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Available platformsTV