dollhouse_pic5SPOILERS AHEAD…

It’s been a bit rough watching Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.  The first episode was painful setting up a series that seemed all about the exploitation of young women unawere they were even being abused.  Our nausea was transformed to an ick-factor in the second episode, but since we got to see Dushku hand a guy his ass – not so bad.  Last night, we were given the third episode in the series, Stage Fright.

In episode 3, we meet popstar Rayna (Jamie Lee Kirchner) who is some freakish composite of Beyonce and Britney.  She’s a superstar talent on her way to an even bigger meltdown.  She’s being stalked by a crazed fan.  Enter Echo, who is assigned the role of backup singer, body guard, and BFF.

As ridiculous as this scenario sounds, it actually worked.   Echo inserts herself strongly into Rayna’s world and Dushku affects surprisingly convincing popsinger vocals.  And any opportunity to see Dushku stomp around in fishnets is a worthwhile endeavor.  More after the Jump.

I thoroughly enjoyed the episode.  Both the A and the B-story.  And there’s a HUGE reveal in the B-story.  Skip the next paragraph if you want to avoid the spoiler.

Agent Ballard (or Fox Mulder, whatever you want to call the FBI agent chasing the case everyone believes is urban myth) has been hot on the tail of Dollhouse.  Last episode, we met his neighbor Mellie (Miracle Laure, great name BTW) who is so crushingly sweet on Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) that the red flag went up immediately!  Of course she’s a doll on task from the Dollhouse to keep an eye on that hunky FBI dude – or so I thought.  Since the pilot, Ballard has been leaning heavy on Russian street-level mobster Lubov (Enver Gjokaj, WTF kinda name is that?!?).  Ballard believes that Lubov’s bosses have something to do with Dollhouse.  And he’s right.  We learned in last night’s episode that Lubov is actually a doll on assignment to feed Ballad disinformation.

I about came out of my chair.  Totally did not see that coming.

Now, does that mean that sweet and precious Mellie is not a doll?  No.  In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me to find that that there are a couple of dolls in Ballard’s life right now.  Awfully well-told.

As you can see, my impression of Dollhouse is improving.  I am actually – wait for it – recommending Stage Fright.  Awfully good show last night.