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Episode Discussion 2.04 "Belonging" - Aired 10/23/09 (FOX-US)

AndrewCrossett

Satsu Otaku
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Nov 19, 2008
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New York
Sineya
I thought this was the best episode of the series so far. Dichen Lachman and Fran Kranz both really showed me something here.

I thought for a while they were going to go with a "cheer as the bad guy gets his" type story. When Nolan started hitting Priya I thought she'd pop up with some kickboxing skill Topher stuck into her or something, and kick his ass. But they went for the story rather than the cliche.

(And I think this is my 1,000th post. Yay.)
 
Angelic Slayer
Angelic Slayer
felt the same way, and happy 1,000th post karma :)

Giants Rule 04

Potential
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128
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New Jersey
I am speechless. That was, by far, the best episode of the season.

Also, the previews look so good that it makes me angry. Angry that they're putting Dollhouse on hold, angry that Fox is going to f**k us out of a third season...just angry.
 

MinwaraYana

Countess Von Drunkaton
Joined
Jan 16, 2009
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31
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Thailand/Russia
It was a great episode. But my fav is still Belle Chose. Maybe it's because I don't understand what they said much. :(

I was shocked when Topher started to do that to the body and the person who passed the order to him was Boyd. Now I'm not sure if it's true or it's just in Sierra/Priya's thought because I heard she said "I wish Nolan's dead" at the end of the episode.

And can Vierra get cuter than this? >_< Anyway, it's almost cheesy in the last scene. But I love the scene in the shower. And for some reasons, Enver looks much more handsome than in season 1.

I like Topher more and more. I like the big sis-little brother relationship between him and Adelle. :)
 

LittleMissLikesToFight

Into Every Generation...
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Everything about this episode was amazing. The story, the dialogue, the acting... god Nolan was sooo scary. And yeah she's still Pria when she says that she always wished Nolan dead... but she basically didn't think it'd actually happen or that she'd be the one to kill him.

Boyd was so planned and calm about the whole thing.... and he had what seemed to be a casual contact to help him rid of the body... wonder what Boyd's life was like before Dollhouse. And he lied to Adelle no problem... I'm just wondering if she knows or she was really fooled.

I wasn't totally into the victor/sierra thing, but now i think it's just wonderful. Yeah the scene in the shower was great (and i can't wait until we delve even further into Victor's past).

Boyd is on to Echo, and slipped her an all access pass...whoa.... did anybody DVR it or anything that can get a still look at what she wrote on the glass above her sleeping chamber? I made out the words "Ghosts" "mountains" and "Victor".

Oh Topher, im loving him more and more. And what Adelle said to him, about him having no morales, and people have always been toys to him... i mean it was harsh but i guess also true and sobering to Topher to hear.

SO MUCH i loved about this episode. Def the best so far.
 
MinwaraYana
MinwaraYana
So she really did kill him, omg.

Flannen

Flannix
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I am actually quite speechless with this episode. It was simply amazing.

Topher, in this episode, just broke my heart. Fran Kranz was so captivating in this episode. (I just tweeted him to tell him that I was so moved!)

I still find it so irritating for everyone to say Topher has no morals. I guess this was true of him as Adelle says this is why he got the job in the first place, but Topher's conscience has come into play way before this episode.

And I love the way they've kinda added this really scary aspect to Boyd, but in a good way, y'know.

I think they're doing something very interesting with Echo too now. It's just about her and the fact she's self aware, she's taking to new heights and I liked the throwback to season one, where it's so important for her to save everyone, not just herself.

Wish there'd be a sign of Paul though, that is my only qualm with this episode! :p Oh, and also I found Adelle to be defeated way too easily. She was SO determined for this not to happen but she didn't even try, unless she had more to do with what Topher did than we think? Who knows, but I expected a bit more perseverance from her to do what was right.

FOX has GOT to keep Dollhouse. I'm so gutted we've got to wait for the rest of the season, it just keeps getting better and better.
 

Washburne

Protector of the key.
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I'm actually a bit torn about how I feel after watching the episode. Don't get me wrong, I really loved it. Just not sure that's what I needed. I do like/enjoy the show but even if I've seen glimpses of greatness I haven't actually had trouble understanding why it's in trouble. Episodes like this though makes me want so much more. There's so much to go deeper into. So many characters, their development but also their past. And although I guess not all hope is gone, to once again be thinking that we're getting to the end (how many time you you fool death?) is making me sad.

When Nolan started hitting Priya I thought she'd pop up with some kickboxing skill Topher stuck into her or something, and kick his ass. But they went for the story rather than the cliche.
I was totally sure about that. Never thought they were gonna put her in that situation without being "extra" prepared.

And he lied to Adelle no problem... I'm just wondering if she knows or she was really fooled.
I'd go with something in between. I'm not convinced that she really knows but I'm sure she doesn't believe him. She just can't prove it (yet). Maybe she does but for now I'm sticking to that theory.
 

Fusions2

Stark Industries Employee
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Sineya
This episode has literally just blown me away. I had a feeling when reading the synopsis it was going to be good but boy it was fantastic. Priyah, what a tragic story to basically be mind raped because she reject some freak of a Dr and he did that to her. It was great though to see even in the beginning herself and Victor had a connection. It was so sad to see her fight for her life when she was sent back and literally kill the guy. Topher has just gone to a new level for me, you could see the guilt of what he had done because he felt it was wrong to let Priyah go back.

I loved Victor constantly waiting for her though and smiled the moment she came back and how sweet he was at getting rid of all the black paint. Very interesting to see Echo sort of start this off knowing something had to be done but it had major consequences at the end and now Priyah/Sierra is officially one of them. Over all a great episode, if only FOX would realise and not stop Dollhouse for a month. We're going to be in for one long month to come.
 

Bookkitty

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Feb 27, 2009
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Oh god it was so good. I was afraid they were going to get rid of Sierra at first. I was like "No! Keep her on the show!" But then when she was her normal "human" self with that guy, I didn't want her to come back to the Dollhouse, I wanted her to have her normal life since she was never supposed to be there. IT was so sad. I understand why she came back now though.

Did everyone else miss Paul Ballard? ? About quarter-way through, I was wondering where he was. They didn't even mention him. I know Echo wasn't the main doll in this episode but it still bugged me. Especially since he had said in the last ep that he would help Echo. The stuff she did in this ep seemed like things Paul would have been very interested in seeing her do.
 

LittleMissLikesToFight

Into Every Generation...
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Well, if she wasn't meant to be there before she's meant to be there now since she's so messed up from killing Nolan.
 

Emzzie

Care Bear With Fangs
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Aug 25, 2009
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1,240
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Canada
My favorite episode of season 2 yet. It was AWESOME! Sierra was great! I always knew Topher had at least a little bit or remorse in him. The whole thing blew me away. I think after this point the show's storyline will move at a better pace.
and now I have to wait until december....*sigh*
 

faeriegrrl27

Resident Jew
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639
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Little Rock, Ar
It was just phenomenal! Victor and Seirra were sooo sweet together and Echo was actually pretty cool. We already sort of knew stuff from Seirra's backstory (from Needs), but it was great to get the whole thing.
The scene when Adelle told Topher that he was there because he had no morals to compromise was completely intense. We've seen Topher grow and we could see how he saw that that was true which disproves it (I don't think that sentence made sense, but I hope you get the meaning). It makes me really wonder about Adelle though. How did she end up with the Dollhouse? What "compromised her morals"?
But Topher was totally the best part. What happened is something that actually happens and Topher had to deal with that. I also love how he really shows attention to Sierra specifically. He talks about helping her and I think that shows that he really does want to do good. Or at least that he doesn't want to do bad. He just gets more and more interesting. And it makes me wonder about that episode last season when her turned Sierra into his best friend. Did he specifically choose Sierra? I like to think that he did, that he has a special affection for someone.
As to his implanting her with superduper kung fu stuff, it crossed my mind that he might, but I really hoped he didn't. He wanted to restore her whole... not as a mission, not improved- just as her.
 

Joan the Vampire Slayer

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Well, first off, I'd like to give major kudos to all who have participated in this thread. *karmas everyone*
Already, so many interesting questions have been raised! Everyone's observations have been great.

I am honestly astounded by the quality of this episode. The show has found its feet - and its running, man. RUNNING. Which makes its enviable cancellation all the more disheartening.

Enver was fantastic in this episode. I agree with others when I say that this guys range in incredible. Victor is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters in DH.

No Paul? Interesting. What's even more interesting was that I didn't even notice he wasn't around! Which is strange, because he's my favorite character. Although, Topher has been interesting me more and more lately.

And yes...I've also decided to jump on the Victor/Sierra shipping bandwagen. How gorgeous are these two together? And the fact that they appear to still love each other while in their Doll-states in incredible. On the Buffy-Forum they've been talking about a possible Adam and Eve analogy regarding the two. I can definitely see that.
I say it again: This episode was absolutely astounding. The ratings are discouraging, but I'm not willing to give up on this fantastic show yet! The concept is fascinating. I promised myself I wouldn't get attached to this show...but hell, it's too late for that, I guess.

Yes, I also loved the focus on the collective cast and not so much on Echo. She interests me, but the rest of the cast is so fantastic and has such a interesting dynamic that it'd be a shame to continue for the show to keep it's uber-focus on All Things Echo.

For me, this Victor/Sierra relationship is a breath of fresh air in the dark, dank universe of the Dollhouse. They sort of give me hope. But if we've using the whole Adam and Eve analogy, what happens when they "bite" the apple? I have a feeling something awful is going to happen.

It was very interesting to me that Boyd chose to give Echo that note and the access key. It seems as though he wants to "back her up" but not be her "white knight" savior as Ballard obviously dreams about. Boyd does believe in her and her ability. He sees her as an individual. There definitely appears to be a breaking down of policy, a letting go of the notion of how the Dollhouse is supposed to be run. The core is falling apart, the center can not hold I suppose (damn, am I unconscionably quoting poetry again?)

As for the relationship between Adelle and Topher at the moment...I don't think there's been enough focus on the two as of yet for me to really come up with any sort of shippy or non-shippy conclusion but I definitely sense a mother-son vibe with them. She feels responsible for him and he feels in indebted to her possibly?

I've said this before, but I feel there is something about Topher that just attracts women to him. There is this sexual tension, a vibe, in my opinion, regarding him with almost every girl on the show (except the Dolls). I do see a mother/son thing going on for sure with Topher and Adelle, but I don't know if I get a romantic vibe. I'm certainly not ruling out the possibility of them getting together or having an interest in each other, I just can't see it playing out now. I think it's just been a while since either of them have been intimate with another person.

And yes, I agree with others regarding the connection with this episode and with E1. We see the beginnings of Topher's "breakdown."

Other comments:

I was particularly struck by how visually powerful this episode was. I mean, this is a show that deals with a lot of beautiful people and many things can be taken symbolically of course, but this episode was just so visually assaulting for me (but in a good way):

- The scene when Pyria (sp?) stands up after stabbing Nolan and we see her silhouetted in front of her painting. An abstract painting about birds and freedom contrasted with the unnatural, human violence that has just occurred. WOW. What an effective and haunting shot.

- The scene with Topher cutting up the body was awful. His disturbance at doing that contrasted with Boyd's calm and controlled manner was ingenious.

- The image at the end of Victor and Sierra sleeping together. Beautiful.

---------- Post added at 04:07 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:01 PM ----------

I still find it so irritating for everyone to say Topher has no morals. I guess this was true of him as Adelle says this is why he got the job in the first place, but Topher's conscience has come into play way before this episode.

Wish there'd be a sign of Paul though, that is my only qualm with this episode! :p Oh, and also I found Adelle to be defeated way too easily. She was SO determined for this not to happen but she didn't even try, unless she had more to do with what Topher did than we think? Who knows, but I expected a bit more perseverance from her to do what was right.

FOX has GOT to keep Dollhouse. I'm so gutted we've got to wait for the rest of the season, it just keeps getting better and better.
I agree with everything you just said. Labeling Topher as having no morals is just so....finite, you know? It leaves no room for interpretation. This idea of everyone being "morally compromised" is a very interesting theme, but saying someone has no morals is just downright bizarre. He has shown he is affected by things, he's not a robot. I mean that scene with him and Adelle was certainly for dramatic effect, and it was a good scene, I just don't feel it was entirely correct.

I'm becoming sort of fascinated with Topher. I can't wait to see what happens next...especially when Dr. Saunders comes back.
 

sk

The Overlooked One
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Sineya
A great episode. Dollhouse really works best with this kind of episodes.

Loved Boyd the 'cleaner'. Makes you wonder even more about his history.
Really hope we get to see some of it before the end.

Also thought that Topher had programmed some kind of fighting abilities into Priya. Very glad that didn't happend though.

LittleMissLikesToFight said:
And he lied to Adelle no problem... I'm just wondering if she knows or she was really fooled.
Think she knows that he lied. Also took it as she approved the action, but needs to be able to deny that to her bosses. Therefor she accepted the lie as the truth.

/SK
 

JollyApe

None for you!
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I still find it so irritating for everyone to say Topher has no morals. I guess this was true of him as Adelle says this is why he got the job in the first place, but Topher's conscience has come into play way before this episode.

Oh, and also I found Adelle to be defeated way too easily. She was SO determined for this not to happen but she didn't even try, unless she had more to do with what Topher did than we think?
See I think those two paragraphs are very much linked. There is a reason Adelle is in charge of the Dollhouse, she knows people, and she can handle people. Then add the mother-like relationship between them and I think Adelle knew exactly what she did when giving Topher that little speech.
 
Flannen
Flannen
Very nice observation. I like it.
F

frankie

Guest
The only episode I watched this season. I didn't like the first season but I did like Victor and Sierra, so having heard that this was a Sierra episode I had to watch it. And it was brilliant.
I couldn't believe how dark it was, genuinely disturbing and horrific, but balanced nicely with the romance between Sierra and Victor. Topher was fantastic too, and it was nice to see so many layers to a character that I never really liked. He was a completely different character by the episode's end.
Dichen Lachman was fantastic in this episode. This is exactly what I wanted in Dollhouse. The problem I always have had with Eliza is that her characters are so similar, they are meant to be varied with distinct personalities - but that never came across to me. Dichen Lachman shows so many personalities and characters in this episode, it is amazing to watch. The blank slate Doll. The care-free artist. The woman in love. A girl losing her mind. And then the showdown which blends them all into one.
Really can't say enough good things about her, she really is the star of the show for me.
I don't expect the other episodes of this season to be this good, but I will watch them now.
 

saturn5

Scooby
Joined
Sep 13, 2009
Messages
937
BELONGING

The good;
Very good mislead at the start, you keep trying to figure out the nature of Sierra's assignment. Nice to see Adele with long hair again. Some great acting from Dichen in her madness.

The bad;
If Kinnard has used the LA Dollhouse before in his seduction of Priya isn't he worried anyone will remember her?

Best line;
Kinnard;(of Priya) "I'm a collector, you're the real deal" (collector of what exactly?)
plus
Topher; "I'm not the bad man" (as we shall learn)


Packing heat; nope
Echo;8
Boyd; 8
Dominic; 9
Sierra; 4
Victor; 3
Ballard; 10
November; 1

Echo kissage; 4

Kinky dinky;
Of course you can't go to Venice Beach to film and not have a couple of shapely bimbos in bikinis wander across the screen. Plenty of both straight and gay sex at the art exhibition 'chill out room' along with a few lines of coke. Note that among the pictures in Kinnard's drawer is a picture of Sierra in a schoolgirls uniform.

Capt subtext;
Note how tactile Adele is with Topher, hinting at the mother/son like relationship we saw in Epitaph One.

Notches on the Dollhouse bedpost; definitely Kinnard for Sierra
Echo; 4 definite, 2 possible
November; 1
Ballard; 1
Victor; 1
Adele; 1
Sierra 1 definite
Topher; 1 possible

How'd they get away with that?
Boyd and Topher butcher Kinnard and dissolve his body with acid. Yeessh! The whole Sierra/Kinnard fight and Topher's disposal of the corpse is incredibly bloody and brutal, to judge by the commentary it was even more visceral in the first cut, must have been the full Evil Dead 2. More needles, you know some of us suffer trypanophobia Joss.

This weeks fantasy;
Sierra is essentially her original personality of Priya but in love and devoted to Kinnard.

What do we think of the client?
Adele hits the nail on the head, loathsome scum. Essentially the Dollhouse is a high tech brothel (although not every assignment features sex), whatever you think of prostitution it's the choice of the actives to go there. They're all consenting adults, doing it for money and other benefits, Caroline to avoid going to jail, Mellie to help her get over her grief, Victor to presumably help him recover from his traumatic wartime experiences . However we now learn that Sierra ISN'T a volunteer, she's there because the man who couldn't have her despite all his wealth and influence pumped her full of drugs and then had her brainwashed into his submissive concubine. She's a slave pure and simple and what he does to her is rape. And Rossum is quite willing to let this continue. Thankfully Topher isn't.

Total number personalitites; Victor and Echo are a couple of highbrow art fans hired to make Kinnard look good
Echo; 28
Sierra; 12
Victor; 10
November; 3

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

Addy is a bit British;
She tells it straight, describing Kinnard as a 'raping scumbag' but still serves him tea with a smile.

Topher is a bit geeky;
He does resemble Shaggy, zoiks!

Subverting the Hollywood cliche;


Bondage;
Sierra tied up; 1
Ballard; 1

Knocked out;
Echo; 2
November; 1
Sierra; 1
Victor; 1
Topher; 2

Kills; Sierra/Priya kills Kinnard with a steak knife to the heart
Sierra; 3 kills
Echo; 3
November;1

Dolls injured;
Poor Sierra nastily knocked around.

Happy hookers;


Know the face? Clyde Katulas, one of those actors you see everywhere on TV. Here he plays the doctor at Pirya's mental hospital and played a very similar role on the Buffy ep 'Nightmares'
12-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) Clyde Katulas-2 (Buffy/Dollhouse)

Guantanamo;
.
Fanfic;

Missing scenes;.


Reminds me of;

Whedon cliches;
Rich and powerful famillies who cover up the evil deeds of their wayward sons. Top security installations which aren't secure at all. Loving self-sacrificing mothers who risk all for their children.

Breaking the programming;
Echo can now lie and keeps a journal. Victor is already becoming more assertive although he decides he doesn't want to be the leader.

Questions and observations;
Directed by Jonathon '2 takes' Frakes of Star Trek fame. Very much the ep where Topher's conscience comes to the fore and Adele realises that Rossum truly are evil, she just hasn't picked sides yet. We're told that Dr Saunders is a permanent imprint on Whiskey. Does that mean she'll not be restored to her original personality at the end of her contract? Echo refers to Topher as 'Shaggy', can anyone tell me what Adele mouths to Topher afterwards? Topher can 'cure' schizophrenia? I suspect it's reasons like that why Adele became involved with the Dollhouse in the first place. Very little Echo in this ep and no Ballard (can't afford him according to the commentary). Sierra confirms her love for Victor both in her blank state and her Priya personality and they cuddle at the end, awwwww! Poor Sierra, sexually abused by this guy AND Hearne. No wonder she wants to continue as a doll in order to forget. Topher outside the Dollhouse, actually we see him twice, at the mental hospital and at Kinnard's house.

Marks out of 10; 8/10, Topher takes a moral stand and it's nice to see. The rotten underbelly of the Dollhouse/Rossum comes to the fore.
 

iShower4free

Scooby
Joined
Sep 30, 2012
Messages
548
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Hawaii
I just finished this episode and thought it was incredible. I agree with anyone who said this earlier, this was if not the best one of the best episodes of the series so far. It was intense.
 
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