All is not well in the Dollhouse. That’s bad news for Echo and company, but good news for fans of the Joss Whedon show. The season two premiere aired Friday night on FOX, and some new faces come, along with a whole new set of problems.
Battlestar Galactica alum Jamie Bamber guest-starred as Echo’s husband/the bad guy in the appropriately titled “Vows.”
Whedon fans will also recognize Alexis Denisof (of “Buffy” and “Angel” fame), who appeared as Senator Perrin, a politician intent on bringing down the Rossum Corporation. Denisof is slated to return in later episodes this season, along with Alan Tudyk as the evil genius Alpha. Though Whedon has said he doesn’t want to cast too many actors from his previous projects (Eliza Dushku and Amy Acker make four) he shows no signs of slowing down.
Along with the new faces, we were introduced to some new storylines. And speaking of faces, Victor’s seems to be healing just find after his run-in with a scalpel last season.
Which brings us to another interesting set of scars: Doctor Saunders opens this season by wrestling with the fact that she’s a broken Doll. As she so eloquently put it, “My whole existence was constructed by a sociopath in a sweater vest. What do you suppose I should do?” The good doctor is taking out her identity crisis frustration on Topher, who has taken a turn for the serious and repentant. And did I fall sleep, or did Boyd just ask Saunders out?
Instead of their vicious game of cat and also cat, DeWitt and Ballard have reluctantly decided to join forces. In the premiere, Ballard engages Echo to help him fight crime. But in the process, he proves himself to be far more capable than Echo’s current handler. By the end of the episode, Ballard is being “sworn in” as Echo’s new handler. This new development should lead to an even juicier rivalry between Boyd (Echo’s father figure) and Ballard (her secret admirer).
When the show first aired, many viewers were saying, “I get it. She’s a different person every episode. But where is it going?” Now we know. In the final scene, Echo confides that she understands her situation. She knows she has been many people, “but none of them is me.” She’s remembering, she’s learning, she’s evolving. Echo’s increased self-awareness, even in her Doll state, has opened up the second season for serious conflict inside the Dollhouse.
Catch Dollhouse Fridays at 9 p.m. on FOX.