Homepage > Joss Whedon’s Tv Series > Dollhouse > Reviews > "Dollhouse" Tv Series - 2x12 "The Hollow Men" - Mtv.com Review
« Previous : Can’t Stop the Serenity’s 2010 Promotional Art contest
     Next : Charisma Carpenter - "House of Bones" Tv Movie - 411mania.com Interview »



"Dollhouse" Tv Series - 2x12 "The Hollow Men" - Mtv.com Review

Sunday 17 January 2010, by Webmaster

Episode Title: "The Hollow Men"

Written By: Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters & Tracy Bellomo

Synopsis: The master plan to imprint humanity reveals itself as each member of the resistance learns the truth about Boyd Langton (Harry Lennix). His desire to recruit each member of the Dollhouse team (because he loves them) doesn’t go over so well, leading to a violent struggle spearheaded by Echo (Eliza Dushku). Ultimately, lives are lost on both sides of the war, resulting in an explosive climax.

The Head of the Lollipop Guild: I have to admit that a bit of my enthusiasm over the Boyd reveal got curbed as this episode played along. His poker face around the others was brilliant, filled with one-liners that the characters missed but the audience fully understood. But when his true intentions were revealed, he suddenly became a very sloppy villain. For somebody that so expertly masked himself for all of these episodes, he really caved into the pressure of the situation in his final hour. Still, it was hard to keep my jaw from dropping when Topher (Fran Kranz) zapped Boyd with the doll-tech and Echo convinced him to blow himself up alongside Rossum. It was an amazingly played scene by Lennix and a truly fond farewell for the actor — I just wish his character was written better in this episode’s last half.

Whiskey’s A Man, Man: It turns out that Claire Saunder (Amy Acker) or Whiskey or whatever you want to call her was more than just a sleeper agent. As many predicted, she was the current vessel of Clyde Randolph, the Rossum co-founder and Boyd’s greatest ally. The battle between Whiskey and Echo was fine, but given that the two characters didn’t have much tension throughout the series, it wasn’t exactly a big pay off. I also wasn’t thrilled that we didn’t get an answer on why Whiskey’s brain is so off the rails in "Epitaph One." I don’t see how the "Dollhouse" writers can bring that back around without cramming too much into the series finale, but I’ll reserve some judgment and see how it plays out.

Violence Doesn’t Solve Everything: Even though Boyd blew himself up along with Rossum Headquarters, the future of "Epitaph One" is still destined to happen. There’s really no clue as to why it happens, and instead of watching a cataclysmic event at the episode’s conclusion, we’re suddenly jettisoned ten years into the future where Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) and Echo are fighting side-by-side. It feels like the writers shied away from the big moment because they had to bring the audience directly into 2020 so that we didn’t forget about "Epitaph One," which I found kind of insulting to our intelligence and expectations. We didn’t need that final flash-forward — we needed something to incite the apocalypse, which now has to be covered in "Epitaph Two – The Return," the series finale.

Solid Character: My complaints about the episode speak only to the major plot events — which, of course, is a big deal — but the character work was brilliant, and not just by Lennix and Acker. Once again, we got to see Enver Gjokaj’s perfect impression of Topher Brink. Poor Mellie (Miracle Laurie) blew her brains out in front of Ballard, making that two straight weeks filled with lovely ladies losing their heads. But the best character moment of them all belonged to Adelle DeWitt (Olivia Williams), who nonchalantly aimed an assault rifle at an oncoming van, fully expecting a fight. We’ve seen her badass side plenty of times, but that was a very different portrayal of that nature. Different, and hilarious.

Final Imprints: "Dollhouse" has had an amazing streak of episodes dating back to "Belonging," but I think that "The Hollow Men" was the weakest of the bunch. The episode’s plot blunders were partially saved by terrific character work from the show’s main cast — most notably Boyd’s brainless and explosive exit from the series — but it was just a touch shy of the level of quality we’ve come to expect from the past several episodes. Here’s hoping that the series finale is a bit more compelling.

Next Engagement: The doors shut on "Dollhouse" in two weeks. In "Epitaph Two – The Return," we are thrust into the year 2020, a world where civilization has somehow collapsed due to Rossum’s technology. Luckily, Topher has a plan that could set everything right.