Describe Dollhouse here: Joss Whedon (and friends) being awesome after a five episode warm up period. Enjoy.
Alpha gets one as part of his introduction, which is coupled with terrifying. He kills a man. In eight seconds. With surgically precise strikes. Yes, it's scary, but it's so cool.
There's also one in the third episode, when Echo's current persona lectures the pop star she's guarding about possibly letting a fan her crazy stalker is holding hostage die. Echo melts into the dramatic noir-ish lighting, prompting the pop star to look in that direction, thoughtful. Until Echo comes out of nowhere to smack her in the head with a folding chair.
Also being completely in control of the hostage situation, while she believes she's just a background singer who is good at beating people up. You don't mess with Echo in any form.
"Four brothers." *cocks gun* "None of 'em Democrats."
Boyd in The Target: "Everything's fine...except for the gun pointed at my head." *smack* *proceeds to kick his ass*
Ballard in the sixth episode... upon being blindsided and tazed he proceeds to beat up four armed security guards. This is three episodes after being shot and did I mention TEN SECONDS AFTER GETTING TAZED.
"There are three flowers in a vase. The third flower is green." HSQ. Mellie is a doll!
The point where Adelle's Magnificent Bastard status was realized, working everything in her favor in one single move. Awesome.
Her ploy in 2x06 I think counts as well; the 'Oh Crap' moment happens... and it's followed shortly by 'The Reveal' that it's -exactly- how DeWitt planned things. Add Chessmaster (Chessmistress?) to her list.
Ballard and Echo's fight in the kitchen (hopefully the first of many) was a masterpiece of sheer brutality.
Speaking of Batman... When he was talking to the doctor, did anyone else get a vibe like "Holy shit, that's EXACTLY like the Joker talking to Rachel!" I mean, seriously! *swoon* Alan Tudyk is now my love...
Episode 2x08 has been seen by many people as a lower budget version of The Dark Knight, with Alpha replacing the Joker.
"He said it was a blast. Don't you just love puns?
Back to acting, his performance in Omega actually manages to top the previous episode, not only switching back-and-forth between personalities at an astonishing rate but also having convincing conversation and arguments with himself. Seriously, as if it weren't Badass enough that he was playing five or six distinct characters, he's playing them while they're arguing with each other!
Coming from someone that has MPD... I gotta say that how Alan acted is exactly what my mind feels like at times. Alan gets MAJOR props.
He doesn't have MPD. Well, one of his personalities does
Enver Gyokaj (Victor) being Dominic. Just, holy shit, that was possibly the single most convincing imprint so far. It's already hard to change personalities like the dolls have to. Enver manages to be a regular character that the audience knows. And he pulls it off brilliantly, too.
Yes but the icing on that performance is when later, after the wipe and Ballard's infiltration of the Dollhouse he deadpans "Some people were fighting on me". Too bad Alpha sliced his face (and possibly killed him) just as I realize how awesome he is.
That he got the voice down too was pretty darn awesome.
He's even better as Terry. That he tops that with Kiki is brilliant. That he tops that with Topher makes him god of versatility.
And then he repeated Topher so well that we knew who it was before we were told about it.
Amy Acker should also join Gjokaj and Tudyk as awesome. Every single imprint of hers, even though there were three + normal doll mode, is perfectly done, including that of Clyde, a man.
Also pretty much everything in "Omega" from the moment Echo has her composite event.Especially immediately afterwards when she makes like she's going to attack the body containing Caroline's mind and then turns on Alpha instead.
Ballard's true CMoA? Making the Dollhouse free November.
Dr. Saunders. No freak out. "I know who I am."
Wendy!Caroline telling Echo!Crystal why it is a really bad idea to let Alpha do whatever he's about to do to her, in that speech of Genre Savvy and common sense I finally believed Caroline, who had annoyed me in all her other appearances, was Echo.
The show overcoming The Firefly Effect. The odds against a second season were astronomical, but apparently enough little factors clicked together and made it happen.
And then Whedon turns around to add to the awesome by casting Alexis Denisoff and Summer Glau for the second season.
"God has a message for you. That message is MOVE YOUR ASS!"
Not to dwell on the pilot but "I think I'm a little old for you". You tell him Ms Penn!!!
And the other goons get theirs when they turn on the pedophile simply because of what he was going to do tot he little girl.
"To ascend to anything, at minimum, you don't cut up women!"
How has no one yet mentioned Ballard and Boyd's fight post-infiltration in Briar Rose? Up to and included Echo's assistance of Boyd in the fight?
Epitaph One. WHAM. WHAM. WHAM. This is your brain on Joss.
Sage advice "No. Kids playing with matches and they burned the house down."
Also, Zone turning the tables on Iris.
"That's perfectly fine. Right now I'm having this same conversation in ten other bodies in ten other Houses across the country."
From "Man on the Street," when Tanaka is mocking Ballard, Ballard puts him in an armlock and slams him against the wall. Tanaka taunts him with "What's the matter Ballard, did I hit a nerve?" To which Ballard responds "Yeah. It felt like this." (cue cries of pain) Ballard may be a psycho, but he's an awesome one.
And now getting into Season Two - "Vows" (2-01) features Ballard realizing that Echo's personalities have started recurring, so he gets her out of a sticky situation by slapping her around until her "Man on the Street" assassin chick kicks in and kicks butt.
In "Belle Chose", Victor-as-Terry. It was so chillingly accurate, he even seemed to look like the other actor. Almost as good is Echo-as-Terry. then Enver tops it with his CMoF as Kikki.
Priya killing the obsessive monster responsible for her becoming a doll. It also counts as one for Topher, who made it possible by uploading her real personality before sending her off to him.
Word, word, word! Topher's can double by having him do the "right" thing in his first moral crisis ever
Also, Boyd, for calmly and casually arranging for Topher to dispose of Nolan's body, and then fabricating a plausible cover of lies to protect the both of them.
And DeWitt's casual explanation to Nolan as to just what she thinks of him.
I would no sooner allow you one of our other Actives than I would a mad dog near a child, given that you're a raping scumbag one tick shy of a murderer. I can't recall, do you take sugar?
So, we thought Enver playing Lawrence Dominic was good, right? His portrayal of Topher put that to absolute shame. He doesn't just resemble Topher, he is Topher.
Echo overcoming Bennett's programing to use her arm and save herself
I think it's safe to say that Enver Gjokaj is a Crowning Actor of AWESOME. Seriously, anything this man does is gold. Someone get him a leading role STAT.
Second. I mean... really, an actor of his skill gets relegated to a secondary role? Watching closely, it's more than just voice inflections or smaller but notable traits like Dominic's accent, Topher's gaspy noise of excitement but the smaller microexpressions too. The way someone slightly squints or the emphasize on particular words or syllables and so forth. Even without characters naming who he is directly or what he's wearing, it's clear when he's different people. Of the relatively mundane and normal people he's played like Lubov or the art collector, even those come across as distinctive even though they're basically stock characters with no change or personality at all.
And in Stop Loss/The Attic, he turns into pre-Doll Victor. This one wonders if Enver has military training or just learned really well because Victor/Tony acts and moves like a soldier down to his firing stance when watching/protecting everyone else and stepping in and out of cover.
Doubling as a Crowning Moment of Funny, when Adelle's DC counterpart believes he has her on the ropes, she fakes seducing him until she can give his groin a nice hard twist. She can make being so awesome look so effortless.
Echo in 'The Public Eye':
"You just woke a lot of people up, and they all think you're a bitch."
And in "The Left Hand," Topher punching out Bennett.
Topher didn't need to prove that he was a genius in his field, but when he, on his own, figured out Rossum's plans and created the blueprints for "Epitaph One"'s world of insanity within the space of two months, that proves his brain is awesome.
His reaction to the stolen blueprints is made of awesomeness as well - he dared to call Magnificent Bastard Adelle a bitch to her face. He deserved that slap, but the line was perfect.
Hell, the shot of Echo walking back into the Dollhouse against Adelle's speech about never letting anyone else challenge her authority, one of the coolest shots in the series.
And don't forget Alpha, in season two. Just as Topher was assuring Alpha's assumed target the camera cuts to Adelle, who says: "We need to find a nearby five star hotel. Where a security detail could be discreetly accommodated." Then Alpha walks right out of her bathroom and says: "Try the Franklin. I hear the view is wonderful this time of year. Also, you're out of paper. (pause) So tell me... how's the suit?"
If that didn't dawn on you Alpha not only managed to sneak in so discreetly everyone thought they were safe, he managed to use Adelle's private office BATHROOM first.
And then there was the turning all dolls into sleepers.
Ivy - Ivy - giving Topher the method for reviving Ballard. Outsmarting Topher in his own field of expertise is worth every second of it.
And he knows it, too, given his Pet the Dog line in the "Getting Closer" where he tells her to "get out" and "not become me."
Echo disarming a troop of soldiers with her minds. All forty-plus of them along with the skills she was given just for that mission. Took a Level in Badass, indeed.
"The Attic". All of it. HSQ, the horror, the works.
Chief among them: Adelle, Topher, and Echo's plot to get into the Attic and find out Rossum's secrets.
Let's not forget Mr. "I am walking awesomness" Dominic who basically frees himself from inescapable nightmare loop in order to chase Nightmare Fuel breathing assassin through minds of others, conquering their fears along the way. Then he stays behind to help those others gain counsciousness. And then to top it off he frees himself from the Attic all by himself. Definitely candidate for the biggest badass of the show.
"Getting Closer". All of it. HSQ! Apparently we have dueling chessmasters between Caroline, Adelle, and Boyd!
Ladies and Gentlemen, say hello to the Magnificent Bastard incarnate, Boyd Langton. Although we don't know his plan yet.
Victor is confused that the new skills he's been uploaded with don't seem to have kicked in, then he takes down two Rossum soldiers in about three seconds.
Mellie gets a few as well, first when she convinces Paul to take the sneaky easy way to Rossum's mainframe, then again when she overrides her sleeper programming through her love for Paul and commits suicide to save him from her.
In The Hollow Men during Boyd's creepy I Am Evil speech Adelle can be heard to reply in a hoarse pained voice. You realize she is on the verge of tears. This troper just about broke down. All the credit to Olivia Williams, it's a spectacular understated moment of AWESOME.
There's also the moment when he points a gun at her head and orders her to trigger Mellie. It's meant to be a threat, but Adelle doesn't blink and basically tells him to go fuck himself.
In 2x11, Topher facing down a guy with a highly powered rifle at point blank range by saying "I have imprinted myself with many useful skills," in order to protect Echo while she was being imprinted. This five minutes after his one love was shot through the head right before his eyes. Damn.
Echo's first 'date'. It includes a motorcycle race that ends through a hotel, night clubbing, and at the end of the night she gets a nice necklace from the hot guy she initially agreed to have no strings attached with. Who wouldn't want to be her?
Then she forgets him and throws the necklace away. Yeah, it's not as awesome as it sounds.
Meta example: all of the dolls' actors had to play a variety of characters, which meant different walks, expressions, diction, and everything. They all do a really good job of this.