Dollhouse: Season 2, Episode 2

Instinct (2 Oct. 2009)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 465 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 5 critic

Echo is imprinted with the memory of a mother with a newborn baby for Dollhouse's latest business client. Complications arise when, thanks to Topher's programming, Echo takes too strongly ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Boyd Langton (credit only)
Victor (credit only)
Sierra / Kelly
Nate Jordan
Detective Donovan
Geoff Burns ...
Evan - Medical Tech


Echo is imprinted with the memory of a mother with a newborn baby for Dollhouse's latest business client. Complications arise when, thanks to Topher's programming, Echo takes too strongly to motherhood due to her maternal instincts. Meanwhile, Senator Perrin escalates his investigation into Rossum Corporation over the imprint technology. Also, DeWitt pays a visit to the former active November (now in her real personality of Madeline Costley) where she has a dark agenda of her own. Written by matt-282

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Release Date:

2 October 2009 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


[first lines]
Topher Brink: Would you like a treatment?
Paul Ballard: I was just sitting... because I'm... tired.
Topher Brink: Life of a handler is pretty exhausting. Better you than me.
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User Reviews

The hand that rocks the cradle
14 January 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews


The good; Very clever concept, that the maternal instinct between a mother and her child is so great that it can overcome virtually anything (anyone else read Stephen King's short story The Breathing Method?) Echo breaking into the house is so sinister she might as well be wearing a Michael Myers mask. Contrast that to the awwww factor of Echo with the baby. Lovely to see Mellie back.

The bad; Nothing really bad, just not that remarkable.

Best line; Ballard; (to Topher)"You're a genius" Topher ; "I'm not as comfortable with you saying that as I thought I'd be" plus Echo; (baby in one hand, carving knife in the other) "MOMMY'S HOME!"

Packing heat; no but Echo with a great big carving knife. Echo;8 Boyd; 8 Dominic; 9 Sierra; 4 Victor; 3 Ballard; 10 November; 1

Echo kissage; 4 her 'husband' Nate

Kinky dinky; Nursing mother Echo looks noticeably more buxom, the wardrobe department obviously breaking out the wonderbras and padding for this role.

Capt subtext; Topher repeats to Echo that he is a good man, trying to convince himself. Echo says that feeling nothing would be worse than before, possibly alluding to Mellie and her grief.

Notches on the Dollhouse bedpost; almost certain Echo has sex with her client, naked in bed together and Topher speaks of 'romance protocols'. Echo; 4 definite, 2 possible November; 1 Ballard; 1 Victor; 1 Adele; 1 Sierra 1 possible Topher; 1 possible

How'd they get away with that? Upsetting to watch Echo so distressed about being separated from her child, also not good if you don't like needles.

This weeks fantasy; Grieving widower wants his dead wife back to care for their newborn baby. Cleverer still Sierra is inserted as a supportive best friend for her.

What do we think of the client? Undoubteldy the most sympathetic yet, a guy devastated by the loss of his wife and unable to accept his own child because of the memories that stirs. In the end almost losing his baby finally makes him appreciate what he has in his son.

Total number personalities; Echo as the mother and Sierra as her best friend Kelly Echo; 25 Sierra; 12 Victor; 7 November; 3

Total dolls; 8-Echo, Sierra, November, Victor, Mike, Tango, Alpha, Whiskey

Addy is a bit British; In response to a crisis Adele sits down and has tea. Keep calm and carry on!

Topher is a bit geeky; He has developed an 'app' for ventriloquism. What next, barbershop quartets?

Subverting the Hollywood cliché; The panicked woman fleeing the bad guys actually has the good fortune to walk around the corner and stumble across a police car.

Bondage; Sierra tied up; 1 Ballard; 1

Knocked out; Topher KO' again Echo; 2 November; 1 Sierra; 1 Victor; 1 Topher; 2

Kills; Sierra; 2 kills Echo; 3 November;1

Dolls injured; Poor Mellie, not even a Doll anymore and she still gets cracked on the head.

Happy hookers; Perrin refers to Rossum being involved in prostitution.

Know the face? Kristoffer Pohala seems to make a habit of appearing with Whedon alumni, guest starring in the Angel ep Billy, in Tru Calling with ED, in Mad Men with Vincent Unspellablesurname and in Life Unexpected with Emma Caulfield. Stacey Scowley who plays the senator's wife is also a Buffy Alumni, the girl whom Spike picks up and sires in the bar in Conversations with Dead People. 9 Whedon alumni-Mark Shepherd-2 (Dollhouse/Firefly), Amy Acker-2 (Dollhouse/Angel), walking action figure-2 (Buffy/Dollhouse), Eliza Dushku-3 (Buffy/Angel/Dollhouse), Jim Piddock-2 (Angel/Dollhouse), Gregg Henry-2 (Dollhouse/Firefly), Alan Tudyk-2 (Dollhouse/Firefly), Felicia Day-2(Dollhouse/Buffy), Alexis Denisoff-3 (Buffy, Angel and Dollhouse), Kristoffer Pohala-2 (Dollhouse/Angel), Stacey Scowley-2 (Buffy/Dollhouse)

Guantanamo; Kinda scary the way panicking mother Echo has no place to go, the police can't help her against Rossum.

Reminds me off; Echo can now just walk out of the Dollhouse at will. Much like The Initiative and Wolfram and Hart organisations with impenetrable security never live up to their hype.

Whedon clichés; Top security installations which aren't secure at all. Loving self-sacrificing mothers who risk all for their children (Joyce, Darla)

Breaking the programming; Echo's desire for her baby is strong enough to overcome anything Topher can do to her.

Questions and observations; This time Topher has not only changed Echo's mind but was able to actually alter her body. Ballard and Topher spar but seem to be developing a workable relationship much as he and Boyd did. For the second time in 2 eps Echo plays a wife rifling her way through her husband's desk. Was Perrin's source at the NSA actually Dominic? We finally find out what happened to Mellie and her daughter. No Victor at all this ep.

Marks out of 10; 6/10-ok, very much a standalone, surprising that Joss bothers with eps like this knowing that he has a short time to play with.

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