Dollhouse Review: Stage Fright


In the "Stage Fright" episode of Dollhouse, we learn one thing about Echo--she can't sing. Echo's assignment is to protect superstar singer Rayna from an obsessed fan. Echo is a background singer with a bodyguard profile. Only she doesn't know about the bodyguard programming (consciously). She's to take care of Rayna, but she really doesn't outwardly know that. Due to the high risk involved with this assignment, the Dollhouse has enlisted another Active for additional support--Sierra. Sierra plays Audra, the winner of the #1 Rayna fan contest. Sierra is supposed to stay out of the action unless absolutely necessary. However, for some reason, she never really gets involved as an Active. Echo and Rayna quickly become friends and pal around together. Prior to a really big concert, Echo finds out that Rayna and the obsessed fan have been communicating. She finds notes in Rayna's dressing room that say Rayna will be killed at her big concert that night. When Echo approaches Rayna, the singer confirms that she knows she'll probably get shot that night, but she "just wants to be free." Um, sweetheart, just quit. Take your money and run. You don't need to die to be free. (It's at this point the show starts becoming incredibly ridiculous.) After Echo finds the shooter in the crowd, she flashes a spotlight on him, causing him to miss his target. Back in the dressing room, we find that Rayna has cracked under the pressure. She wants to be taken out because she can't handle the pressure anymore. Echo tries to tell her to get some help, but Rayna kicks her out. Meanwhile, Sierra tries to get backstage. As she walks down a corridor, she's grabbed by the psycho fan. Of course the fan didn't take off after his initial assassination attempt was foiled. He's sticking around for more! We next see the fan holding a gun to Sierra's head. He's ticked because HE should be the number one fan, not Sierra. The fan tells Rayna to call him. We find out that Rayna set this whole thing up. She's orchestrated her death. Again, silly. Later, Echo finds Rayna dancing in the mirror. Rayna refuses to help Sierra, but Echo tells her that she will help. Then Echo knocks Rayna out with a chair. Meanwhile, a swat team breaks into the fan's house, but he isn't there. Echo has taken Rayna and wants to make an exchange--Rayna for Sierra. After everyone meets up, Echo kicks the crap out of the fan and makes Rayna realize that she doesn't want to die. Sure, that was a silly sentence, but it's a heck of a lot better than wasting five minutes of your life watching that ridiculous climax. Back at the Dollhouse, Dominic wants Echo sent to the 'attic', because Echo is no longer controllable. DeWitt disagrees, so nothing happens to Echo. The final scene shows us that Echo's treatments might not be completely erasing her memory--that she appears to retain certain things. Mixed throughout this asinine storyline, we see Agent Ballard continuing his quest to find the Dollhouse. He meets with Lubov, who tells Ballard the Dollhouse doesn't exist (again). Later, we see Lubov getting out of a treatment chair. He's really Victor, and he's an Active. Lubov calls Ballard and Lubov sends him down the wrong road to an abandoned hotel. Ballard gets jumped by three Russians and is shot, but manages to take the three men down. In the ambulance ride to the hospital, Ballard flatlines. Eventually, he ends up on a respirator in the hospital. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this show lasts another 4 episodes, tops. I LOVED Buffy, and I really enjoy just about everything Joss Whedon does. But somewhere along the way, I get the feeling that Dollhouse stopped being Whedon's baby. It's TOO hokey. The stories are amatuerish and silly, and I don't think the audience will stick around unless this show gets better. Immediately.