Dollhouse Season 2 Episode 4 – Belonging

This week, Dollhouse takes another turn that reminds us why we watch this innovative show. Belonging does not focus on Echo, but on her fellow Doll, Sierra (Dichen Lachman). It has been hinted in the past that Sierra was not in the Dollhouse of her own volition, but in Belonging we actually find out what happened.

Priya, Sierra’s actual self, rejected the advances of Nolan Kinnard (Vincent Ventresca), a rich and powerful man with connections to the Dollhouse’s parent company, Rossum. Nolan sought his revenge by pumping Priya full of drugs that gave her the outward appearance of mental illness. The Dollhouse then stepped in, wiped her, and made her one of their own. As Seirra, Priya had a repeat engagement with Nolan, but like Echo, Priya is beginning to break through the façade of Sierra.

Nolan, after being confronted by Adele DeWitt (Olivia Williams), head of the Dollhouse, insists that Sierra be permanently imprinted with the persona she takes on every time she visits him and be sent to him forever. Instead, Topher gives Sierra her actual self back. Priya challenges Nolan and after a violent confrontation, kills him. Topher and Boyd (Harry Lennix) come in to help clear up the mess and Priya returns to the Dollhouse as Sierra.

Once again, this episode of Dollhouse is about control and power. Priya rejected a powerful and well connected man, and paid the ultimate sacrifice for it. She gets her revenge, albeit accidentally, but loses her power again as she must return to her blank state for her own protection.

We know that Echo is becoming more and more self aware, but Belonging shows us that she is not the only one. When Sierra gets her actual self back, she realises that she is in love, but does not know with whom, until she sees Victor. This, again, hints at the idea that Dollhouse has been suggesting – the brain is not the only place where personality resides. Seirra’s emotions and feelings are carried on into Priya, in what can only be called sense memory.

While Priya/Seirra is struggling with her past, Echo is once again showing is that she remembers more and more from her Doll state. Boyd discovers that she is reading, and remembers what she has already read, as she is using a bookmark. What he misses, but is shown to the audience, is that Echo is scratching names and important facts into her bed chamber, probably in an effort to remember.

Belonging has to be the best episode of season 2 so far. Instead of random engagements, the episode deals with the personalities of the Dolls and, again, suggests that the show is building up to an interesting and potentially explosive climax.

GS Reviewer: Brogen Hayes

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