Character of the Month: Martin Klar - Jamie Bamber News
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Character of the Month: Martin Klar


He makes evil look good.


Title: Dollhouse: Vows
Original Airdate: September 25th, 2009
Availability: Season 2 is now on DVD.

Synopsis: A mysterious and well funded corporation runs a number of underground establishments known as "Dollhouses" around the world. Working in these Dollhouses are individuals referred to as Actives, or Dolls, who have (supposedly voluntarily) been stripped of their memories and programed with temporary personalities and skills. Wealthy clients hire the Actives for various (and often dodgy) purposes. One Very Special Active is Echo (Eliza Dushku) who, unfortunately for those involved in the Dollhouse, is becoming increasingly self-aware as the series progresses. In the season 2 opener, Echo is tasked with marrying arms dealer Martin Klar (Jamie).

Worth Watching? Yes. On a superficial level, Jamie looks amazing. Also, for the first and, thus far, only time Jamie gets to play the bad guy.

Does he live or die? Lives! But given Martin is presumably facing a lengthy prison term and looks like Jamie Bamber, sucks to be him.



Before I begin, full disclosure, I am not a Dollhouse fan. I watched the first few episodes of the season 1 then quit. While I loved (and still love) Joss's previous work and thought Dollhouse presented some interesting ideas the execution of those ideas often made my skin crawl. After giving up in disgust and frustration, I infamously made the statement I would never watch the series again....unless Jamie Bamber was guest starring. Who knew I had that kind of power? I could expound on my issues with the series, but this isn't the forum for a Joss Whedon rant so I shall stick to focusing on the reason we're all here. And zegeekgirl can provide clarification and counterpoints in comments, I am sure. ;)

"Vows" opens by recapping stuff I either barely remember from the little I saw or didn't stick around long enough to learn. Paul (Tahmoh) looks pretty hot in the blue shirt though. And I think several of these actors, particularly Olivia Williams, deserve better. Not Eliza though. I find her unworthy of following in the hallowed footsteps of Clooney, Baker, and Fillion and finally getting herself a series that sticks around.



Martin waits at the alter for his bride to be, Roma AKA Echo AKA Caroline AKA OMG It's Hard to Keep Track!


Jamie! In a tux! Smiling! In the sun! And he's not just a guest star, he's a special guest star. Apparently, Echo has been deep undercover for longer than any Doll before her. That cannot be good for her pysche. On the plus side, she's had the opportunity to have lots of sex with Martin.

Topher (Fran Kranz), the tech guy who creates all the imprinted personalities, makes a Jonas Brothers joke. This is not important to the story, but I must point out how this already feels like a dated reference.

Dr, Saunders AKA Whiskey (Amy Acker) is pissed at Topher AKA The Sociopath in a Sweater Vest. I'm uncertain why she is feeling as she does, but from the little I had previously seen of the character I'm willing to accept "just cause" as a valid reason.

Blah, Blah, Blah....far too much time has passed with no Jamie.

He's back! There's wedding cake and kissing. But no speaking. I'm having Scarlet Pimpernel flashbacks. Finally, he speaks! He's being all adorable! And using his own accent! The real one! Not the Law & Order: UK one. :)



Awww, they look so in love. But white, Echo? Really?




Martin looks very happy. I must remind myself he's an arms dealer and potential terrorist and even though he looks like Jamie Bamber I should not feel sorry when he has his heart ripped out. But it's very hard.




The wedding night. Nuff said.


When Next we see Echo she's meeting up with Paul. Echo believes Paul is still with the FBI, she's his partner and they're working a long term sting to take down Martin, who is the biggest arms dealer on the coast. Paul seems more disturbed by what Roma/Echo has had to do - marry and have sex with Martin - than Echo does. She tells Paul it hasn't been so bad and that the "man's got a work ethic". Heh. Paul's not happy, but comes off as a jealous wanna be boyfriend rather than a concerned partner. Mercifully, we find out later Martin's house is not bugged so Paul hasn't been listening in on the honeymoon.

There's more about Martin being thick with some terrorist in the 90s. Which would seem to indicate Martin started arms dealing in his twenties. Industrious!

UGH. I had forgotten about the 'What the Hell Were You Thinking, Joss?!' gyno exam administered to Echo by Dr. Saunders/Whiskey. During the procedure, Echo flashes back to kissing Whiskey while on a previous assignment. The Joss Whedon ISSUES! alarm sounds loudly. But I digress....

Alexis Denisof also is guest starring in this episode, as a senator. And, like Jamie, is using his own voice. So weird!

There's a lengthy conversation between Adelle DeWitt (Olivia Williams) and Paul about the Dollhouse's past and future, all of which means very little to me. Though Paul continues to creep me out with his Echo fixation.



Martin walks down the stairs, hotly.


OK, maybe I’m imagining things, but when Martin first begins speaking on the phone Jamie sounds American. Maybe he momentarily forgot what show he was on? Or that he was allowed to use his own voice? ;)



More kissing and happy coupling. It's gonna be so short lived!


There's some talk of shopping and supper before and after the kissing. Ultimately, they decide to skip the meal and go upstairs. Sadly, we see none of that.

We cut instead to more Topher and Dr. Saunders/Whiskey angst. It seems Whiskey was imprinted with Dr. Saunders personality and skills after Dr. Saunders was killed and they needed a doctor they could trust. Whiskey is now very confused as to who she is, as am I.

Echo wakes up alone in bed. She decides to go downstairs and snoop and show off her cleavage. I mean, seriously, with servants around, who walks around the house with their blouse buttoned with one button and their bra showing? But I digress...

Echo makes a half-assed check to see if Martin isn't around. She then proceeds to try and break into Martin's desk. But guess who is standing outside creepily staring at her through the glass doors? And Martin, of course, isn't happy to find her trying to break into his grandfather's antique desk with a letter opener. Think of the loss in value if it's damaged! Echo claims she was just curious to find out where he was taking her on their honeymoon. Martin's response is to slam her head against the desk and accuse her of betraying him.



The moment Martin turns into the explosively violent, abusive husband, any sympathy I may have felt for him as the hurt, betrayed husband evaporates. But seeing Jamie get to play this type of unrepentant asshole is fascinating and he does a good job of making you hate him.

Unfortunately for Echo, Martin's security guy has pictures of her and Paul together. However, Echo is almost able to sell him on it all being a mistake and her being the loving wife until her programming goes haywire and she forgets who she is supposed to be.

On the way to the airport, we find out the honeymoon was not just a honeymoon, but was doubling as a cover for an arms deal. Martin has a briefcase full of explosives to be used in dirty bombs. On his lap. That can't be a good idea.

At the airplane hanger, Paul suddenly appears. He sensed something was wrong(-er) and calls Topher to verify his fears before charging in.



Tahmoh, I'd forgotten how tall you are!"


Martin's first words upon seeing Paul are, “My God, this is becoming surreal.” I can only assume that as intended to be a little Joss humor as he reunited Lee and Helo Jamie and Tahmoh.



At this point there is a lot of hitting going on. Martin whacks Paul with a gun, Paul smacks Echo around to get her to remember (Because Joss could think of no better way to jog Echo's memory than to beat her up. SIGH. And I digress again...) and Echo does remember and begins kicking ass and shooting Martin's bodyguards. Meanwhile, Martin jumps in the car and drives off in it, with Echo on the hood and questionable CGI behind her. She, fortunately, grabbed an explosive device before jumping on the hood of the car and clings to it with one hand while tossing the explosive in the broken passenger side window. I roll my eyes. Martin manages to jump from the car just before it goes boom. Maybe they hoped to have him back, but FOX had other ideas.

So the episode ends with Echo revealing, via some atrocious quasi-zen dialogue, she can remember all of her past personalities. It's then that Paul decides to sell off the last shreds of his soul to the Dollhouse folks and become Echo's handler. It's the only way he can protect her and stay creepily fixated on her.

The End.

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Comments
dramaturgca From: dramaturgca Date: October 25th, 2010 04:40 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Full disclosure, I loved this episode, I loved Jamie's role in it. It is easily my fave ep of Dollhouse and the only one I will watch repeatedly.

Yes, Martin Klar is a bad guy, but it's so good to see Jamie play something non-heroic and less on the woobie side. I loved it. And I do feel for him because regardless of being evil, he did actually marry Echo/Roma/Caroline/whatever (can we get a good portmanteau for that, like YoSaffBridge?) in good faith and it sucks that he got royally screwed like that.

zegeekgirl has heard me complain in the past that Jamie only marries brunettes onscreen (and off, come to that), which makes it hard to do icons of shots from over the bride's shoulder that one could pretend are Kara. ;)

I love Martin's sense of style, I love how snide Jamie can sound in his native accent (he never gets quite as caustic in any other accent), I love the weeding night sequence on a purely shallow level. Mostly I'd just really like to see Jamie keep getting roles that stretch him as an actor. Also, with the square jaw/big blue eyes combo he looks the part of a hero, so it subverts the dominant paradigm when he plays evil. (Forgive me, I'm in academic paper hell right now and my syntax shows it)

In my personal I-love-the-chemistry-between-Katee-Sackhoff-and-Jamie-Bamber-too-much-to-give-it-up universe, Sarah Corvus from Bionic Woman breaks Martin Klar out of prison and they go around evilling hotly together.
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: October 25th, 2010 05:56 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Echo/Roma/Caroline/whatever (can we get a good portmanteau for that, like YoSaffBridge?)

EchRoLine? XD
dramaturgca From: dramaturgca Date: October 25th, 2010 06:01 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Or something like that. ONE NAME IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR MOST OF US. ;p
asta77 From: asta77 Date: October 25th, 2010 01:42 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I most definitely agree that I would like to see Jamie play more bad guys or at least guys who are less good. He definitely showed he could pull it off with Martin and, putting aside my issues with Joss in regards to Dollhouse overall, I was glad Joss gave Jamie the opportunity to show another side of himself as an actor.

I do feel Martin believed he loved Roma/Echo, but if he truly loved her, even with the betrayal, he would not have slammed her head against the desk. Though points to Jamie for not having Martin come off as a one dimensional abusive husband in the scene. I could definitely see Martin's pain even as I wanted to see his ass kicked for what he just did to Echo.
koolaidmom11 From: koolaidmom11 Date: October 25th, 2010 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Hahaha...I loved this entire comment. And I love the idea of Sarah breaking Matin out of prison. Hilarious.

I've never seen the show but the recap was excellent.
rachelindeed From: rachelindeed Date: October 28th, 2010 05:58 am (UTC) (Link Me)
zegeekgirl has heard me complain in the past that Jamie only marries brunettes onscreen (and off, come to that), which makes it hard to do icons of shots from over the bride's shoulder that one could pretend are Kara. ;)

Hee! Thanks to kag523's mad skillz, this problem has been solved! :)

zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: October 25th, 2010 05:53 am (UTC) (Link Me)
And zegeekgirl can provide clarification and counterpoints in comments, I am sure. ;)

LOL, well I'll try. ;) It's kind of hard to do proper counterpoints re: the series at large because I don't think "Vows" is at all the best example of the show doing what it did best; it's a very crowded season opener that I think may have suffered in the final draft by trying to accomodate too much. I am waiting to hear what Joss has to say in the commentary on the DVD (and I'm glad this episode merited a commentary at all, not all of them did) - that said, I'm still operating under the assumption that they moved up a lot of the Whiskey storyline, including her whole tango with Topher, because they knew they were about to lose Amy Acker to another show so they wanted to get some of what had been building up w/ her in the first season out of the box and move on rather than save it for a future episode. Therefore, Jamie's plotline may have lost valuable screen time, affecting its impact. Le sigh.

SO TRUE about the Jonas Brothers gag. Although to be honest, I had completely forgotten about it. XD

But white, Echo? Really?

*chortle*

There's more about Martin being thick with some terrorist in the 90s. Which would seem to indicate Martin started arms dealing in his twenties. Industrious!

Bahahaha, another item that I'd forgotten. Seriously, no wonder it took them so long to nail him. He's an old pro at this! (Also, to this point, I wonder if that's a line that they just didn't bother to address/revise after Jamie was cast. If I remember right, the initial casting call had Martin Klar described as a man in his forties.)

But seeing Jamie get to play this type of unrepentant asshole is fascinating and he does a good job of making you hate him.

WORD. It was a bit of a risky call for Joss bringing in someone who is so well known for playing heroic characters for this one-off guest shot who seems very charming but is in fact a nasty man who makes wee bombs that probably kill a lot of innocent babies, and god knows what else. But Jamie plays against type beautifully. And gets to play with some great one-liners. ("Well, if it isn't Paul Ballard. Special agent in charge of BUGGER ALL." Heeee.)
dramaturgca From: dramaturgca Date: October 25th, 2010 06:06 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I'm not sure it's a great example of what the show was trying to do, but I do think it was one of Eliza's best episodes. The difference between "Vows" and the one after it with the breast-feeding is startling.

It could've been a family business you know, the arms dealing. Could've been one of his dad's arms dealer friends in the 90s.

Also, I have to appreciate a director who casts Jamie and gets him naked. I mean, there are so many directors who fail at what would seem like a basic courtesy. ;)
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: October 25th, 2010 06:11 am (UTC) (Link Me)
The difference between "Vows" and the one after it with the breast-feeding is startling.

Yeah, that second episode was a hot mess. And it IS one of Eliza's better performances. The point I was trying to make tho was that it's hard for me to advocate for what the show was aiming to accomplish based on this episode. Stuff like "Man On the Street," "Epitaph One" and "Belonging" are soooo much better, even though they contain some pretty nasty subject matter.
dramaturgca From: dramaturgca Date: October 25th, 2010 06:19 am (UTC) (Link Me)
It's true. It played more as an Active of the Week episode, less overarching plot. But still. JAMIE. Ergo, best episode. ;)
asta77 From: asta77 Date: October 25th, 2010 01:48 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I'm still operating under the assumption that they moved up a lot of the Whiskey storyline, including her whole tango with Topher, because they knew they were about to lose Amy Acker to another show so they wanted to get some of what had been building up w/ her in the first season out of the box and move on rather than save it for a future episode. Therefore, Jamie's plotline may have lost valuable screen time, affecting its impact. Le sigh.

Isn't that always the way? ;p And you'll need to let us know what is said about Jamie in the commentary. I may even have to add the disc add to my Netflix queue!

I wonder if that's a line that they just didn't bother to address/revise after Jamie was cast. If I remember right, the initial casting call had Martin Klar described as a man in his forties.

You are correct and the same thought occurred to me. Getting into the gun running business in the 90s makes more sense if the character were about ten years older.

is in fact a nasty man who makes wee bombs that probably kill a lot of innocent babies

Maybe the Cylons rebuilt their empire and used Lee Adama as a model? It's all happened before and will happen again... ;D
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 25th, 2010 11:12 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Jamie in a tux AND Jamie nekkid. What's not to love.

I enjoyed watching him play the bad guy. I would love to see him do more evil roles. I would love to see him in a really sinister role. He would make a terrific serial killer. Someone who seems to have it together on the outside whose charming and charismatic but really deeply disturbed. kind of Ted Bundy-ish...but way hotter.

asta77 From: asta77 Date: October 25th, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
Now you have me envisioning him in a Lifetime movie. Which is a step or ten up from SyFy Saturday films so I wouldn't complain! Or maybe he could guest star on something like Criminal Minds? I'd also suggest L&O:SVU or L&O:CI, but that might get confusing. ;)
lemurling From: lemurling Date: October 25th, 2010 10:59 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I sort of like Dollhouse but it took a while to grow on me, and I definitely haven't thought too much about the show's socio-cultural commentary, and probably shouldn't :). I haven't been able to see the 2nd season though, and that's the whole reason I bothered to watch the first season, but stupid Netflix hasn't put it out on instant play yet, so I'm still waiting. At least now I know there's tons of lovely Jamie worth waiting for. He looks rather dreamy, though I confess, I prefer him pale to tanned, I'm not a proper Californian or something. Is that a bicep I see? *sigh*
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: October 28th, 2010 05:19 am (UTC) (Link Me)
OK, Disc 1 of Dollhouse S2 arrived from Netflix today, for the express purpose of me listening to Joss's commentary on "Vows". XD Here are the major highlights (in teh Whedon's own words - please read with his customary, occasional whiff of sarcasm):

Dancing at the wedding scene: "I want to take a minute here to say... Jamie Bamber. I was SO not having a man-crush on him. Because that would be weird if I did that, and I'm proud of my rabid heterosexuality. He was just great, a real gentleman and spot-on with his work. Very fierce, the two of them played off each other beautifully. She did not mind when he took his shirt off, she was totally OK with that, which is really professional of her. And it was a great experience for me because the episode requires a bit of a straw man, that character is not necessarily drawn out that much. He's a villain, he's an arms dealer - he's a charming guy, but an arms dealer. And Jamie, having been Apollo, had so much righteousness and so much decency behind everything he said that he played off and against the character in a way that really strengthened it."

Martin shoving the photos of Echo with Paul in her face: "And of course, the subtext here is: 'Why does Helo have a bigger part than Apollo in this show?' And we deal with that a lot because obviously that's what the audience is asking themselves." XD

Jamie's big villainy monologue @ the end: "I love Jamie in this scene because he's playing his hurt and his outrage that he's been betrayed, while getting to be completely villainous and... British. And, you know, playing very arch without every really losing the reality of the thing. That was a good time, and he just has a great electricity in this scene."


And... that's about it. :P Although he does confirm that due to their having limited access to Amy Acker, the Whiskey plotline was increased in this episode, he doesn't go the extra step and expand on whether or not that affected the Martin/Echo plot w/ regard to screen time.

Also, of note, the last fist-fight between Martin and Paul before Martin tries to escape... all Jamie and Tahmoh. No stunt doubles. W00T. ;) (It's kind of short in the edit, tho, eh? NEED RAW FOOTAGE. Heh.)
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