Once again, Joss Whedon uses camera angles, costume design, and character development to clue the audience in on what is going on, without having to say so. One scene in particular is one of the first scenes in the entire series of Dollhouse. This scene introduces the audience to Echo.
One of the very first scenes in episode one of Dollhouse really sets the tone for the show. The scene starts with Echo racing on a motorcycle in a black leather jacket. She even falls off the bike. Now, she is the center of attention. She dancing with the man who was earlier her opponent. Here, Echo is demonstrating femininity. She is showing passivity, she is the one being looked at, not the other way around. The camera angles are quick and sharp so you get that Echo is constantly being looked at from every angle. The camera even is close and personal with Echo. Showing off every part of her body. This mimics the “male gaze,” which is women are objects that need to be admired. Here in this scene Echo is the one being looked at, all eyes are on her. This tells the audience that Echo is no ordinary girl. She goes from this biker girl that has hunger for winning and then in the very next sequence Echo is dancing and in a tiny white dress. This should call to question what is really going on and why is Echo having two completely different personalities?
It’s no secret that Echo is a sexual object. What the audience does not know yet is that she is not a normal girl. Echo has her memory erased at the end of each “mission” she is given. Echo has no clue that these treatments are happening to her. Which brings back the point that Echo is a sexual object that is being used again and again. Echo is a prostitute that does remember doing anything or meeting any of the people she works for or works with. Though her treatments Echo loses “will” or “original” self.
So, in a sense that very scene that was just being discussed and analyzed Echo was hired by the man she raced and then danced with. For what reasons the audience is not made aware of. This sets up the plot for the entire show. Joss Whedon uses camera angles, costume design, and character development to clue the audience in on what is going on, without having to say so. It’s very evident that Whedon wants his audience to figure out that Echo, among the other character are not ordinary people. These “dolls” are made and altered for the person hiring them and then set off on some sort of mission. Echo is given two different personalities which is very obvious even from the moment the audience is introduced to Echo. She goes from racing and acting tough, to throwing on a dress and dancing with her opponent. Almost as if someone had flipped a switch and she had become this new person.