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'Dollhouse': A spy in the house of love and sex and secrets

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Coming on the heels of this week’s announcement that a 13th episode of Dollhouse won’t air on Fox (start saving for that DVD set), last night’s Dollhouse episode took on an eerie air: as more revelations came out about the nature of the Dollhouse, it felt as though the show was presiding over its own funeral. It gets better week after week, while there seems less and less hope of it surviving.

Anyway, how about Eliza Dushku’s Echo and Dichen Lachman’s Sierra as tough spies tasked with finding out the spy within the Dollhouse? Well, actually, first things first: How about Echo dressed as an S&M mistress in an opening scene, and those close-ups of Sierra’s sky-high-heels as she ran? On one level, this episode was a fetishist’s dream, sure to be freeze-framed for months to come. This was creator Joss Whedon and his collaborators’ witty way of playing with the series premise, that the “dolls” are attractive women and men programmed to serve the wishes of their “clients” (who, as we gaze at them, implicitly includes us).

This idea has become far more interesting in the past few weeks, as we learn more about how Dushku’s character is struggling soulfully to regain her original identity, and the mythology of Dollhouse becomes ever more rich. As Mellie said last night, revealing crucial info to obsessed, suspended-FBI-agent Ballard, “The Dollhouse deals with fantasy, but that is not their [sic] purpose. You must investigate their purpose.”

Last night was a good one for Topher, who was scrambling to figure out who was monkeying around with his dolls, and tossing off Whedonesque quips at a rapid clip. “I made her a spy-hunter,” he said proudly of Echo. “She rocks a little Sherlock Holmes.”

So now I turn to you, readers, for comments and theories about this, the ninth episode (only three — er, four in an ideal world — to go): What did you think of Miss DeWitt’s self-described “indiscretion” with “imprint” Victor? (Personally, I think DeWitt’s character has become the most complex, and that Olivia Williams is giving an amazing performance.) And What do you think Dominic meant when he said to Echo, “One day you’ll be erasing them?”

More on ‘Dollhouse’:

‘Dollhouse’: Fox won’t air 13th episode, but show could still go on