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Dollhouse (Re)watch & Discuss: 1.03 Stage Fright

Athena

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This week, we'll be watching the third episode of the first season of Dollhouse - Stage Fright - written by Maurissa Tancharoen & Jed Whedon, and directed by David Solomon. This (re)watch is open to new Dollhouse viewers (such as myself) and existing fans. Everyone is welcome to join in!

This episode 3 (re)watch takes place between 10th July 2016 - 16th July 2016. You can watch this episode at your leisure during that time and discuss the episode below.

Although Dollhouse has aired for some time, this and all future episode threads are a dedicated no spoiler zone! Please ensure any spoilers are spoiler tagged. :)

Stage Fright - S1E3
Synopsis​
Pop star Rayna is in need of protection due to death threats, so Echo is programmed as a backup singer/bodyguard for her. Sierra serves as additional protection. Paul's investigation into the Dollhouse might cost him his life.​
 
GwenRaiden
GwenRaiden
Looking forward to watching some Dollhouse tonight!

Taake

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This will never be my favorite, partly because I hate the spoiled singer/star storyline. Also, the show doesn't have the budget for it, she's supposed to be a star but it looks like she's performing in a small comedy club or something for some 50 people.

What I like:
Lubov, I really like Lubov and I enjoy the Viktor reveal.
Mellie.
Eliza singing. I like the song - written for the show I believe - and while I wouldn't tell her to quit her day job she does a great job with it. I had it on my iPod for a while.
The actor who plays the stalker/killer.
The slapping of Rayna, beautiful,... spoiled brat, sorry I have no empathy for her. (minus points for Echo's overreaction to the slap)
Hern introduced.
Boyd in general. His worry about Echo, interacting with Saunders, how different he is from Hern

What I didn't like
"I'm not crazy. I just wanna be free" :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: Actor and writer can share the blame for this terrible line.
Yes, what was the point of Sierra?
Something about Jordan bugged the heck out of me.

Agree with Vellavu on this
Paul expressed a very cynical view of humanity (but true in the show) in his conversation with Lubav. His bitter delivery was a little too melodramatic and on-the-nose. His kicking ass of mafia members was cool though. The fighting scenes in Dollhouse are objectively better than Buffyverse ones due to less unnecessary aerobatics and staged back-and-forth. But Buffy fights have their campy charm.
But I couldn't help but feel that when Lubov asks Paul about why he believes in the Dollhouse that it would have been a perfect moment to reveal that Paul had some kind of personal connection to it. Rather than a cheesy diatribe about the crappiness of humanity.

Always love seeing Paul kick ass though.

Basically, the episode is all together meh. The plot is old, the acting from the singer is meh at best, but it is worth it in the end - story arc wise - because of the gist of it. It is further cemented that Echo 'thinks outside the box', that she is becoming more aware (as seen with her head shake at Sierra in the end as well, I don't think she's quite aware of what the danger is, but it seems she has a sense that they're not safe). So we see Echo changing and evolving. That's good stuff.

Favourite Dialogue: "Yeah, people are mostly crap"
I use it in real life all the time :p
 

Monkey Pants

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This episode is kind of dumb. I like that we get to see Echo going above and beyond what she's supposed to do.
Eliza singing! She's pretty good. Wishing even harder that she was in OMWF.
Lubov is an active! My little Victor!
Sierra and Echo being acknowledging each other in the Dollhouse is cute.
 

GwenRaiden

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Also, the show doesn't have the budget for it, she's supposed to be a star but it looks like she's performing in a small comedy club or something for some 50 people.
I agree that they probably didn't have the budget, but it is explained in-show. Biz, Rayna's manager, informs Adelle "It's the pre-release. You know, the intimate evening gigs. Remind everyone that she's an artist."

As for the episode, I found it to be pretty weak. I agree with @Taake, Rayna did nothing for me. I didn't care if she lived or died, or appreciated her life or not. I get that there are supposed to be parallels with Rayna and Echo, the caged-bird singer and the mind-wiped doll, the lack of freedom and controlled by those in high positions, but blah, could've been done in a better way.

No offence to the Eliza fans, but her singing made me cringe. Not that she's a terrible singer. I just feel like, with Dushku being a producer it may be something she possibly pushed for. The whole show kind of feels like The Eliza Show, with Dushku showcasing every (minor) talent that she can. More from the supporting cast would do the show well.

Positives: The Victor reveal was actually surprising, I didn't expect it. I thought the neighbour (Mellie?) would be the doll sent by the Dollhouse to keep an eye on Paul. But then, maybe she is a doll, there to keep an eye on things as it seems Lubov was a ploy to throw Paul off the scent and have him killed. (Is everyone an active?).
Once again, lovely nervous-for-Echo, fatherly Boyd. I love Boyd. (Also, he sounds exactly like Obama, I knew I thought I recognised the voice!) I even enjoyed the dialogue between Boyd and Topher (@vellavu, you can rest easy now :D).

Favourite moment: Echo's stealthy headshake to Sierra at the end of the episode. So understated (something this whole episode lacked) and intriguing...
 

vellavu

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No offence to the Eliza fans, but her singing made me cringe. Not that she's a terrible singer. I just feel like, with Dushku being a producer it may be something she possibly pushed for. The whole show kind of feels like The Eliza Show, with Dushku showcasing every (minor) talent that she can. More from the supporting cast would do the show well.
No! You should see it the other way! It's not enough that she sang only on Dollhouse. Eliza should sing on Buffy and Angel as well!:D
 
GwenRaiden
GwenRaiden
Faith breaking into song in the alleyway in Five by Five when she's breaking down infront of Angel! Now that would have been an ending.

Taake

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I agree that they probably didn't have the budget, but it is explained in-show. Biz, Rayna's manager, informs Adelle "It's the pre-release. You know, the intimate evening gigs. Remind everyone that she's an artist."
Shows how much attention I paid to anything Biz related, lol. Both he and Rayna were just like... glad to see the backs of them!
 

Buffy Summers

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I liked this episode, actually. I liked that Jordan didn't just save Rayna from a crazed fan, that she wanted to be killed. And I liked Echo singing, and Boyd being concerned for her safety.

My favorite part of the episode is when Jordan hit Rayna with the chair!

I don't think you're supposed to like Rayna - I think if we liked her then we would lose sympathy for what Jordan/Echo did.
 

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True, but I think you're supposed to feel something at least for Rayna. If only so that you care whether she lives or die.
 

GwenRaiden

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I just didn't like the plot, the actress did a good enough job. It felt like a story from Columbo or Murder She Wrote.
 
Bluebird
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"Just one more thing..."

Athena

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I agree with everyone else re: Rayna. The actress was very pretty but I just didn't like the whole spoiled superstar brat persona. And why would you court a crazed fan like that? It just seemed stupid. I get the whole "I've been performing my whole life" and "my voice isn't my own" mumbo jumbo. They paralleled Britney Spears quite obviously, but I just didn't care about her. If she'd been a sweet, kind lovely person who's been taken advantage of by her nasty manager, I might have cared a little more.

Also, 'intimate evening gigs' sounds a bit more like an unplugged/acoustic session, not a full on Britney dance routine with a cage and fireworks. But hey. what do I know about performing.... :rolleyes:

Highlights for me: The Victor reveal, however this is what I'd spoiled for myself on Wikipedia, that he was a Doll. Even though I was surprised by his reveal so soon, it was definitely dampened by the fact I already knew he would be.
Also, the scenes with Echo and Sierra, especially the slight headshake at the end. They both appear to be getting self-aware, which is interesting.

The guy who played the creepy fan actually looked like a creepy fan.

Eliza does have a lovely singing voice, but the scene wasn't necessary. You could've just skipped to "You've got the gig!" and her being happy about it. That seems definitely to me to be an 'Eliza Show' decision (thanks for the terminology @GwenRaiden ;)), as does her in a skimpy boob tube. Did anyone else notice that Rayna and 'Jordan' wore a lot of skimpy outfits, but the other nameless backing singers and dancers didn't....

Boyd is becoming my favourite character. He's so sweet and fatherly! I even didn't dislike Topher this episode!
Olivia Williams still grates on me though.

The other episodes were better. I'm going to grade this one a D.
 

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I like Echo and Sierra's growing friendship. and the head shake at the end.

On the commentary for the first episode Joss mentions Dr. Saunders scars, and how they woud change. Sometimes they looked great and real and sometimes they didn't. I noticed when she's fixing up Boyd, they looked pretty cheap. Just something I'll be keeping an eye on now.

Rayna's suppose to be like a Rhianna type of popstar or Britney Spears. And as a big fan of pop music, she was not impressive. The song was pretty bland. It does feel like she is just a local artist trying to get a big break. They say it's an intimate gig cause they didn't have the budget for something bigger, but still I never feel like she's a big celebrity. I'm pretty sure they don't reherse in a rundown warehouse.

The stalker reminds me of Jake Gyllenhaal from Nightcrawler but calm so he's creepier.

Jordan's reaction to getting the gig with the arm movements reminds me of Eliza from Bring It On. lol.

I love Lubov. He comes off creepy with Mellie but pretty chill with Ballard. I didn't remember Victor's reveal as a doll. I think cause I like his reveal in the unaired pilot better. So far Paul has not been boring me, but he's also not interesting either. I don't remember the scene of Paul in the ambulance.
This is the first mention of a previous Doll, when Boyd asks what happened to the previous Sierra.

Interesting line coming from Dr. Saunders.
Did anyone else notice that Rayna and 'Jordan' wore a lot of skimpy outfits, but the other nameless backing singers and dancers didn't
Yes, they were skimpy and terrible. Although I don't mind it so much on Eliza, but Rayna's silver bra and skirt were terrible. I actually really like the clothes the dolls wear. It's like pajama yoga, looks comfy and I want it.
 

Taake

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I do really like the mention that there's been a Sierra before. Even though it doesn't have to be sinister, it sure sounds it.

I remember Joss commenting on Amy's "mood scars", and that they change, but frankly I've never noticed it.
 

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I'm finding it hard to say anything about this episode. :eek: This run of episodes doesn't do the show justice because of how inconsequential they are to the main story. It does feel like there's lots of studio notes!

Saying that, I actually enjoyed the episode as a single entity. I didn't mind Rayna, and I thought the actress was fairly convincing as was the creepy guy. He gave good creep. It's just that we could have skipped most of it and it wouldn't make a difference to the overarching story.
 
Taake
Taake
"He gave good creep" lol

Athena

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The stalker reminds me of Jake Gyllenhaal from Nightcrawler but calm so he's creepier.
Yes! I thought that too. That's a great movie, but yeah, his eyes were very Gyllenhaal-esque.

Today's the last day on this ep before we move on to 1.04 Gray Hour tomorrow :)
 

Mr Trick

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I just didn't like the plot, the actress did a good enough job. It felt like a story from Columbo or Murder She Wrote.
I was thinking more Cold Case or Criminal Minds type of thing. But okay:D

I agree with everyone else re: Rayna. The actress was very pretty but I just didn't like the whole spoiled superstar brat persona. And why would you court a crazed fan like that? It just seemed stupid. I get the whole "I've been performing my whole life" and "my voice isn't my own" mumbo jumbo. They paralleled Britney Spears quite obviously, but I just didn't care about her. If she'd been a sweet, kind lovely person who's been taken advantage of by her nasty manager, I might have cared a little more.

Also, 'intimate evening gigs' sounds a bit more like an unplugged/acoustic session, not a full on Britney dance routine with a cage and fireworks. But hey. what do I know about performing.... :rolleyes:

Highlights for me: The Victor reveal, however this is what I'd spoiled for myself on Wikipedia, that he was a Doll. Even though I was surprised by his reveal so soon, it was definitely dampened by the fact I already knew he would be.
Also, the scenes with Echo and Sierra, especially the slight headshake at the end. They both appear to be getting self-aware, which is interesting.

The guy who played the creepy fan actually looked like a creepy fan.

Eliza does have a lovely singing voice, but the scene wasn't necessary. You could've just skipped to "You've got the gig!" and her being happy about it. That seems definitely to me to be an 'Eliza Show' decision (thanks for the terminology @GwenRaiden ;)), as does her in a skimpy boob tube. Did anyone else notice that Rayna and 'Jordan' wore a lot of skimpy outfits, but the other nameless backing singers and dancers didn't....

Boyd is becoming my favourite character. He's so sweet and fatherly! I even didn't dislike Topher this episode!
Olivia Williams still grates on me though.

The other episodes were better. I'm going to grade this one a D.
Yeah and I just thought the some of the broad strokes of how they represented the music biz was a bit full on and cliche. Yes, you can believe that there are people like that, but for such a show I think they could have come up with something a bit better. This one just felt too melodramatic and creeky. I enjoyed bits of it, but it was mostly throw away for me.
 
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