Written by Jane Espenson, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jed Whedon
Directed by Elodie Keene
Margaret Bashford, a wealthy friend of Adelle’s, dies under suspicious circumstances. She was actually expecting it, which is why she’s been having her brain scanned in the Dollhouse for the last year. Adelle imprints Echo with the latest Margaret scan, and “Margaret” decides she’d like to attend her own funeral and solve her murder. Initially, signs point to her much younger husband, Jack. Also, Boyd is having trouble letting go of Echo, so he sends Victor in as a horse trainer to help the investigation. He finds that someone’s been doping Margaret’s horses in an attempt to get more money off the sale. Ultimately, after having the somewhat unpleasant experience of seeing what everyone in her family thought of her, “Margaret” learns the culprit is her son. She and Jack subdue him, and then she changes her will to cut the son out and make sure the innocent, loyal Jack gets what he deserves. While all this is happening, Topher is spending his birthday with Sierra, who he’s imprinted as a fellow dorky nerd so that he can have a friend. They have a blast together. But one person not having a blast is Paul, who succumbs to his darker urges and actually uses Mellie like a Dollhouse client would use a doll. He hates himself for it. She’s none the wiser.
The setup of “Haunted” is intriguing enough that it’s more fun to focus on the engagement than it has been in earlier episodes, and the side-stories—well, Topher’s, at least—is really cool too. If this kind of technology existed, there would absolutely be people trying to use it to cheat death. I don’t believe it would work the way they’d want it to, but then, I believe in the soul, and people like that probably don’t. When Echo got imprinted with Margaret’s personality, she only got her mind and her memories, but the soul is still that of Caroline Farrell. I imagine that if “Margaret” had tried to run off with her new body, she eventually would have noticed the changes that soul is imposing on all of that personality information. She isn’t really Margaret anymore, she’s Caroline in a Margaret hat. And Echo is like the soul with no personality on top, which is part of what makes her so fascinating. But regardless of whether or not this is a genuine method of preserving life, I do really like that this show actually goes there and raises these questions. Other shows that involve body-swapping, like Vampire Diaries and it’s spinoff series, are maddeningly blasé about characters stealing other people’s bodies and just living like that because screw whoever used to own that body, I guess. Dollhouse doesn’t pretend that’s okay. Points.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
I’m having a hard time seeing why someone like Topher wouldn’t be able to make friends. Any sci fi/videogame nerd would have a blast hanging out with him. He’s not off-putting or creepy or anything that would make someone not want to approach him. Is the problem that he’s just not good at approaching other people?
We really don’t learn much about any of the other characters that I haven’t already gone over in other sections. It was definitely heavy on the engagement plotline.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.