I admit it, I'm a little bit won over. Episode two didn't bore me for a second and I am now planning on watching this series, despite my issues with its sexual politics.
It was a smart move introducing a character like Richard early on, showing exactly how easily Dollhouse can be misused/abused, and he was a frightening psychopath if not an especially original one. That said, I am disturbed by the snuff-like aspect of Joss's Richard's fantasy - here is a man who sees women as animals. He wants to fuck them, poison them, hunt them down, kill them. And while Echo turned the tables on Richard and managed to best him in the end, the majority of the episode made me feel deeply uncomfortable. I was a bit reminded of Tarantino's "Death Proof" except that in that film every female character had a distinct, appealing personality, so the misogyny in the story never overshadowed the Girl Power (and omg at least in "Death Proof" none of the girls actually fucked Stuntman Mike before he killed them/tried to kill them). Here though, I couldn't tell the difference between the person Echo was programmed to be and Caroline, the person Echo once was. I don't plan to criticise Dushku's acting ability every week because I found her quite compelling here, but my problem is that I can't get a hold on who she is - I'm not sure if the characters she's playing are all beginning to bleed into one another or if she's just not a precise enough actress. Time will tell, I suppose.
One thing I want this show to explore at some point is the rape factor inherent in the setup of the organisation. Given that the actives are generally hired as prostitutes, is it enough that they consented to be brain wiped (if indeed they did consent)? What exactly were they told would happen to them and why did any of them agree to take part? Did they know their personalities would be removed? Did they know they would be used as prostitutes? In the pilot Caroline says something along the lines of, "I don't have a choice in this" which makes it seem as if she knew what she was getting into but was consenting only very reluctantly, which may as well be not at all.
Tahmoh Penikett's character, Paul, wears clothes very well, and I like the way he walks. Not sure if I find him attractive yet, but there's potential there.