In life, we don’t remember days – we remember moments. If you ask any fan of a TV show what specific things they love about a TV show, they will almost always not mention an entire ‘event’ episode, but more a small moment between characters. Unfortunately, not everybody working in TV understands this.
Here are my favourite Dollhouse moments, in no order:
Adelle in the shower.
She’s a drunk. She’s lost control of the house, and so herself. The moment we know she’s on the way back up is the moment she steps into the Doll shower with the other actives. In the show it’s presented just before she sends Echo, Victor and Sierra to the Attic. But anybody who’s paying attention knows, deep down, that’s the moment she’s picked a side.
Adelle being dumped by Roger/Victor
Again from the same episode, Andrew Chambliss broke my heart with this scene where even when somebody is programmed to be with Adelle, they still want somebody else. In this case, Victor wanted Sierra. After Adelle telling Victor he’s a Doll, Roger/Victor states that he doesn’t think Adelle would stoop so low to hire a Doll to suit her needs. She cries. If that scene didn’t make you feel something for Adelle, nothing will.
Victor and Sierra in the sleeping pod together
Given it’s place at the end of the horrific (and brilliant) ‘Belonging’, this couldn’t have been placed in a better place. It’s a moment that’s earned the hard way – and so means a thing. I can’t remember seeing a fan who didn’t like the Victor and Sierra pairing, and that’s rare for a TV show. It’s because of moments like this which sold the audience.
Topher’s ‘I know what I know speech’ from Epitaph One
“Why didn’t I think of that?”. You did, Topher. You helped break the world. The scene in the sleeping pod between Adelle and Topher helped swing fans from 50/50 hate during season one’s airing, to love for Topher.
Saunders and Topher’s bedroomorama
Out of the several hundred episodes of Joss Whedon TV I’ve watched, this is my favourite scene he’s ever shot. Additional credit to Amy Acker and Fran Kranz for selling the shit out of this one. “You don’t care if – if people get hurt.” “You don’t know me! That’s the contract. You don’t know me, and I don’t know you, not fully, not ever! I made you a question. I made you fight for your beliefs. I didn’t make you hate me. You chose to”. I believe this scene sold both Topher and Saunders as characters to care about, and the fear of being replaced with her original self drove audience expectations for the rest of the season with regards to Echo and Caroline.
Saunders and Boyd in season two opener, Vows
Here’s a sentence for you: “I guess I’m just built that way”. It’s in the context of phobias, and it not only sells the show (and Amy Acker, since she’s amazing in this scene) but it sells Saunders to the audience as a non-somebody to care about.
Dominic in a van – ‘Spy in the House of Love’
Andrew Chambliss is back again with another killer moment. Just before Dominic is about to be sent to The Attic, he starts telling Echo how it is. Dominic might be the ‘bad guy’ of the show, but he’s not wrong.
Echo: I can take care of myself.
Laurence Dominic: I know, that’s why I’m smiling. ‘Cause one day, you’ll be erasing them. And even after all this, they still won’t see it coming. Sooner or later, everybody gets theirs.