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Old May 23 2013, 06:53 AM   #22
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Location: West Haven, UT, USA
Re: Return to the Dollhouse

I'm back with reviews of Echoes and Needs.

My top two favorite seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer are Seasons 6 and 5, in that order, and Echoes reminded me very much of three episodes from them: Tabula Rasa, Blood Ties, and The Weight of the World, as well as the Fringe episode Jacksonville, all of which are similarly centered around the theme of lost memory. The episode's plot also contained elements that reminded me of Beer Bad, Band Candy, Halloween, Restless, and the Angel episodes Spin the Bottle and Life of the Party.

I kind of alluded to this earlier, but this ep made me fall totally in love with Adelle and Topher. Fran Kranz and Olivia Williams are tremendous actors and took to the episode's quintessentially Jossian humor and off-the-wall narrative elements like ducks to water.

Beyond the episode's humor, I really liked the way the episode explored and dealt with Echo's resurfacing memories; it was the perfect way to set up and subtly telegraph the events of the very next episode, Needs (more on that subject in a bit).

I'm giving Echoes an enthusiastic 9.5 rating for the themes it explores and its quintessentially Jossian humor.

Needs honestly felt like the second part of a two-part story (with Echoes being the first part), and consequently reminded me very much of the same batch of Buffy, Angel, and Fringe episodes as Echoes. The ep also reminded me of Out of My Mind, Fear Itself, The Initiative, Primeval, As You Were, and the TSCC episode Allison from Palmdale.

Claire Saunders' suggestion, although ultimately rather totalitarian, was actually pretty smart and savvy, and the way it is revealed was brilliant, not only because it's a quintessentially Jossian twist, but also because it's not even remotely telegraphed even though Topher does tell Echo that they're running a test on her.

Echo was clearly the main protagonist of the ep, which she should've been, but it was also great to get some info on Sierra and Mellie/November's pasts as well, and to get payoff not only for Victor's romantic interest in Sierra, but the unresolved trauma of her abuse at the hands of her handler Hearn.

I was initially wondering why they even bothered to put Paul into the episode at all since his story really wasn't connected in any way to the rest of the narrative, but the episode's ending dispelled all those doubts with the reveal of him having received a voice message from lucid Echo.

Needs, just like Echoes, gets a 9.5 rating from me, although I actually think it's just slightly better overall because of its narrative and the themes it explores.
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