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"Dollhouse" Instinct (2009)

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Dollhouse 'Instinct' Review

Author: Elizabeth from Chicago
6 October 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There are very few chances where you get to take a child away from a loving mother's arms, without leaving with a few scratches and scars along the way.

Dollhouse used the value of motherhood and parenthood on a different level that actually had me marveled at the sight of Echo willing and able to breastfeed a child she didn't even carry herself. What I found most fascinating was the fact that she truly believed she was a mother at heart.

The writers outdid themselves this time with a moving theme in 'Instinct'. Eliza Dushku was able to capture the true emotions of what it would feel like to have your child ripped away from you, especially if you believed they were in danger.

How many fathers would be willing to pay the Dollhouse a load some of money for a strange woman to become your child's mother? Given the details of his wife's passing during childbirth gave more clarity to the plot, but how long would that engagement be; up until the child was old enough to take care of their selves or until the father loved his child.

This story was down right heartbreaking indeed. I applauded the way Echo screamed in the station when they pulled her away to receive her treatment and she firmly believed they were giving her child to a murderous fiend.

DeWitt made an excellent point to the father; he could have asked for a nanny or even a child specialist, but he asked for a mother-someone to give his child the love he couldn't give himself. DeWitt had some serious balls giving Echo a long term engagement, how much money did this guy pay for a deal like that?

Echo keeps getting used time and time and time again and it's beginning to show up on her such that she even has a personality to go with her doll behavior. She felt the loss of her child even when she was wiped like a computer. She was still overwhelmed with grief to the brink of insanity when she couldn't get what she wanted. The only person she can now count on is Ballard.

Madeline made her first presence this season and we got to see an essence of the life lives after being a doll. I believe DeWitt doesn't trust her and the feeling is mutual. I wonder how many people have actually made it out. Madeline and Ballard shared some time together and he seemed to have some feelings for her and maybe subconsciously she did as well. At one point when Echo went zany on Topher and knocked Madeline in the head, I believed Madeline would have glitched; if not by the uncanny questions, then surely a knock over the head should have done it.

I really cannot get over the impact Dushku left from the scene she created in the station. Her abilities to portray a multitude of characters should be commended, but she hit the nail on the head with that jaw dropper of a performance that has me wondering what more personalities she could portray with the same quality.

This is what I am asking for with the Dollhouse, we finally have a storyline we can follow; Echo is about reached her limit, she's not a computer, maybe that's a hint of Caroline talking in that end scene.

There was no mention of Dr. Saunders or even Boyd. Shouldn't DeWitt be the least bit concerned about one of her dolls actually leaving the Dollhouse, maybe for good?

I must say Topher should be commended; getting Echo's body to produce breast milk is classic, but he could have simply let her bottle feed her child, but where would be the fun in that.

For now lets focus on the underused characters like Sierra and Victor, I am sure they have more to offer.

A few more doses of this kind of material and anyone would be hooked, let's see what happens next.

Lexa Reviews


Four and a Half Stars

Grade B+


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Topher outplays himself, and gets a bloody nose for it

Author: gridoon2016
22 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Instinct" comes dangerously close to being a "filler-ish" episode. It doesn't advance the plot much - Echo's imprints are still working (in this case, working all too well), but her memory wipes are not; after each engagement is over, she retains the feelings and experiences that her characters go through. Dushku gives one of her most convincing performances, and there is a good jolt when Topher puts Echo in the chair. Nice to see Miracle Laurie again, but the only purpose of her return seems to be the contrast between her blissfully ignorant state of mind about her Dollhouse years and Echo's current overload. The anti-Dollhouse crusading senator pops up again, and gets a break in his investigation by an unknown "friend"; his pretty wife seems to be on his side all the way, but I still have my suspicions about her. *** out of 4.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The hand that rocks the cradle

Author: Joxerlives from United Kingdom
14 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


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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