Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dollhouse: Season 2, Episode 6 – The Left Hand (2009)

The Left Hand is a thrilling episode filled with good performances and more twists, paying off on the set up of The Public Eye. It is part espionage and part self discovery. The show is tackling a very interesting element, having the dolls being (or becoming) self-aware. Now awake, Echo is not sure if she even would want to go back to being the Caroline – it questions the notion of self and soul and what makes us ourselves. Is it the physical elements or the sum of our experiences, or both? Echo is both cognizant that she was Caroline and is now Echo, and that Caroline is her true self, and yet is still hesitant to go back. What does that say about human nature? Is self-preservation a higher order than the value of life? In terms of the episode’s structure, the action beats work well as well, making for a narrative that flows. Wendy Stanzler’s handheld camera also keeps the action and drama fresh. The Left Hand employs comedy too, supplanted into a mostly dramatic story, allowing for the viewer to fully enjoy the experience, both laughing and invested in the dramatic outcome. And in this, Tracy Bellomo wrote great dialog and a great script. Summer Glau is excellent in this episode; her scenes with Fran Kranz are played perfectly and are just plain fun to watch. The two have good chemistry and hopefully they will have more interaction in the future. Victor’s impersonation of Topher is also brilliant (watch out for Enver Gjokaj; he is good). Alexis Denisof turns in a good performance (at one point her plays an imprint as if he is auditioning for Terminator, minus the heavy breathing). Olivia Williams also has some fun showing her aptitude in her scenes with Ray Wise. The score for the episode was wonderful. It was playful in the Bennett-Topher scenes, and the little piece that closes the show (not the music over the credits, before that) worked really well to bring forth the wonder and emotion of Echo, fully aware and fresh to the world outside. The Left Hand is a great episode of television and together with The Public Eye shows that Dollhouse is one of the better shows on TV right now. It is too bad that this season will be its last. Come for the thrills, stay for the comedy and great characters and performances. 9/10

Dollhouse airs Friday nights on Fox or can also be seen on Amazon.com

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