Thursday, January 28, 2010

Epitaph One

General Impressions: My-my, the most overrated episode ever. I used to think that. I still think that the characters of this episode stepped out from Alien Resurrections. And I still think it's overrated. I mean, we've got pre-apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic before with Whedon - Buffy season 7 and 8, Angel season 5 and After the Fall... I liked the not-so-Whedon-Dollhouse-ending-with Greg-Laswell-song-more... but whatever. This, like most of Dollhouse, got more awesome in second viewing.

It's the flashbacks. I mean, there really isn't anything else to talk about. I'm thinking that most of these memories are Adelle's. Because except for the Boyd memory (and russian Echo), she is in all of them, and the memories form one continous narrative around the themes of giving people what they need, rather than what they want.

1) What Dollhouse is. That's the scene from the original pilot. Nothing special about that.

2) Welcome Topher to the Dollhouse. Awesome Reed Diamond, and awesome Topher.

3) Paul, Topher and russian Echo. This probably takes place after Instinct.

4) Boyd and Saunders from Getting Closer. At first, before the Boyd-factor, I assumed that this tells why Whiskey got left behind. Because she wanted to wait for Boyd. Now of course, there seems to be another reason.

5) Adelle and imprinted Victor with mr.Ambrose. This I assume takes place either in post-Hollow Men, or before Getting Closer. "This law will be legal within a year." This kinda implies that senator Daniel Perrin is already a president. I think. Or around the same time when Echo is helping mexican immigrants.

6) Adelle and Dominic. Beautiful scene. Awesome in it's bitterness and tall morally judgemental men. I love how Dominic keeps shooting at Adelle. And that near-crazy realization hitting home. Also, in light of new reveleations... Dominic asks "which one is Caroline."

7) Victor and Sierra. "Don't end up like November" "Which one?" What's the deal with these "which one" Novembers and Carolines? I was sad to see that their greatest love story has ended. Sierra would still like, and she has all that unloved woman on crack vibe to her, but Victor is all "no." What's up with that?

8) Crazy sad Topher and Echo's return. That cult thing was just scary. Fucked up world. Taking cues from Battlestar Galactica with it's fascist humanity collective, I see.

And why does Echo refer to herself as Caroline. It made me sad. Is she going to kill Adelle? Sad. And Topher's scene just tore me apart.

I'm thinking that this is the flashback that we will see in Epitaph Two again. In trailers, you have Echo and Paul walking in post-apocalyptic LA and shooting people, so I assume that is just before their arrival.

Right before Caroline pointed the gun at Adelle, it was sort of hinted that Caroline was behind this new crazy culy. Adelle cynically refering to them as Caroline's lambs. Okay, not specifically as Caroline's lambs, but she was all dissappointed in having this cult.

What I expect from Epitaph Two? Answers dammit. Boyd to make sense (he does kinda, but also not) and to see why Echo isn't Echo anymore but some mean bitch leader of a religious cult.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


General Impressions: I still think they were playing around with the idea of Paul and Adelle. Because we see in this episode, how Adelle's initial "such a tool" reaction gets replaced by a certain respect, admiration. This carries over to Belle Chose, where we can see Adelle watching Paul in action with an admiring smile. And then in "A Love Supreme", Adelle seems to have a somewhat jealous reaction over the Echo/Paul romance revelation. I mean, remember the EvilGlare!Adelle in the end of that episode! And since the next episode started immediately with Adelle in sack with Victor, which kinda implied that she was trying to hump out whatever infatuation she had for Paul, but Victor rejects her and thus makes her unloved woman twice in a row, and she's all double unloved and starts drinking heavily, and that episode actually ends on a certain note that she's sending Echo to the Attic because of jealousy. Of course, it's all part of the big plan in the next episode... but the point I'm trying to make is that, in my opinion, they were playing around with the idea of Paul and Adelle (and making it potentially very complicated quadrangle) and this episode drops the first hint of this with Adelle's first admiring smile, which then gets repeated in Belle Chose and... I'm a bit unfocused. Sorry. It's just I've got all these recent events running around in my head... probably the whole thing needs to be redone.

Also Topher is just so hurt when Whiskey says that she hates her. That Whiskey is one fucked up individual.

Echo's Journey to Enlightment: We already discussed the Briar Rose allusion in the previous episode. All we can say is this. Echo get's a treatment that should fix her back into a normal doll, she walks, notices that Topher is sad and then comforts him... and cue meaningful song. Echo's a real person now.

The Question of Boyd (did they pull it out from their asses or not?): "There's always a girl." - Boyd's comment when Paul says that he isn't working for Dollhouse, but looking after Echo. Fits perfectly with the new revelations.

"Call me Omega again and I'll..." She has finally finished her Echo identity. This shows how she identifies from now on as Echo, that she won't let others tell her who she is, and not as Omega or Caroline.

Briar Rose

General Impressions: With this extra week between Getting Closer and Epitaph Two, I've had time to think about what exactly I found to be missing in the last few episodes. And this episode provided the answer.

In the first season, Dollhouse was more meditative, it was more about making allusions of what Dollhouse is with metaphorical or symbolical exmples. Like True Believer for example - Dollhouse is like a cult, where people trade away their individuality for imagined safety adn comfrot, and Esther is the blind girl who sees the most.

It was much more of a symbolical show, and they always had some Greg Laswell song finishing the episode. Okay, so there was a Greg Laswell song just a few episodes ago, but Dollhouse 2nd season is still much more of an typical sci-fi action show - and there are also those thematic similarities, or repeated patterns if you will, with Buffy 7th and 8th season and Fray.

Oh, it has been a breathtaking and awesome second season, but I miss this old Dollhouse with it's symbolic meditative approach.

Speaking about allusions that mirror the current situation in Dollhouse - Echo the Imprint making ironical comments considering she's Echo the Sleeping Beauty.

All that talk of the prince showing up in the last minute and taking all the credit for rescuing Briar Rose. And then Echo says something about Briar Rose dreaming the prince up...

...flashback to Needs where Echo calls Paul and asks his help...

The prince is coming and in a clever twist, we find out that the real prince is the other guy. Alan Tyduk is just awesome in this episode - I really enjoyed his Stephen Kepler personality, with all those brilliant moments like "the earth day speech" and "this is the same kind of expansionist thinking that led to the Trail of Tears."

And this is also the first episode, where we the viewer, start to realize the awesomeness that is Enver Gjokaj with his brilliant and intense Dominic imprint scene.

Echo's Journey to Enlightment: In the style of 1st season, the current mission personality of Echo is an allusion that mirrors the situation in Dollhouse. Her speech about Briar Rose really creates this clever irony, because she is the Briar Rose. And she's right about her dreaming up her rescuer right before the curse was about to end. Because by now, she was just one step away from Super Echo. Her prince, Alpha who dropped all her imprints into her, arrived in the last moment to take credit for making Echo into "a god". But we see in Omega what she says about that. She was her own person before Alpha did that thing, and that person kicked Alpha's ass.

The Question of Boyd (is there anything that would reveal whether Hollow Men was pulled ot from their asses in the last minute or not?): No. Not really. However you see his fight (particulary his lines) with Paul in a new light. There is a bit of that "whoa, I now see" moment, but there are also some other things that make it more fuzzy - his expressed reluctance over Adelle's idea of making Paul into a doll against his will, and his surprise over Adelle's "we're not going to let a thing like Attic stop us from speaking with mister Dominic, now are we?"

The word "Whiskey" uttered by Victor/Dominic. Plus, Boyd dialogue with Ballard is interesting in light of the recent revelations.

Grade: Awesome. Fucking Awesome.

Friday, December 11, 2009


General Impressions: Hmm... funny how our memories can be rather selective. I remembered this episode as somekinda Murder She Wrote tribute with all that 80's soap opera the lives of rich people angle. And I was like „oh.“ I kinda somehow managed to separate all the small touching moments of Topher and Ballard and Echo's Murder She Wrote into different episodes in my head. So yeah, surprised to realize that one of the best moments were in this episode. And I didn't actually mind the
Murder She Wrote story this time. I kinda enjoyed this time.

Ballard was really braked with this episode. Mellie just going with her low self-esteem "it doesn't have to mean anything" speech and then Ballard's eyes... a decision, rough sex, and a sad aknowledgement that he too is a Dollhouse client.

I remember how painful it felt when Boyd couldn't be Echo's handler anymore. This really rubs it in.

And Topher's birthday. So sad. So lonely.

Adelle: "Loneliness detaches. Sometimes the people who need reaching out the most are the ones least capable of it."

Echo's Journey to Enlightenment: This episode doesn't really provide any writing material for this section since Echo had no personal moments in this episode. All the Dollhousey goodness was being done with the other characters. I guess this episode happened when it wasn't exactly clear that how they were going to be allowed to do the show. With the show that Dollhouse now has become and end, this episode does seem a bit out of place. Very out of place. But in that alternative universe where Dollhouse seasons lasted 24 episodes and it had 5 seasons, and each season had a bunch of stand-alones... I guess it would have fitted there. But in this "Dollhouse the Miniseries" dimension it's kinda out of tune with the rest of the episodes. However the Dollhousey goodness was great. The revelation that it was Topher's birthday made it all so tragic and Ballard's shower scene... heartbraking.

Foreshadowing: Oh yeah, rich people would definitely use the bodies of worthless lower castes to have everlasting life. And Adelle's "I'm not planning on presiding over the end of Western civilization" seems so ironic now.

Grading: Eh, it's a B-C thingy. Kinda like Stage Fright.

Can't wait for tonight's episodes.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Spy in the House of Love

General Impressions: This felt like a season 2 episode. Perhaps it's the same pieces falling together with a touch of descending into hell, that leaves you with a feeling like someone ripped a hole in your soul and you want more. But it's not just that. Echo in this episode was Echo – really season 2 Echo, so very close to what Echo was in episodes what we now just saw last friday.

Heh, it's funny how Dollhouse wanted to end Echo with giving her a sense of closure... but she's even more Echo. People are like talking important stuff before her and she's listening and thinking along. It was just so crazy. I'm doing Topher's body language here. The thing with the hands, the head and the stuttering. Echo's amazing.

Really amazing episode. The way it starts... you know something dark is going to happen... but to whom?

You know, a lot of these things that have now happened in past 4 episodes... much of that was hinted by True Beliver. Miss Lonelyhearts got it's first mention there. First signs of Victor/Sierra romance. And of course Echo's "I see perfectly" when looking at Dominic. Speaking of Dominic... very powerful stuff. What he said through Mellie, that Dollhouse deals with fantasies but that's not their true purpose. So true. That Rossum is going to destroy the world. So true. He's right. And he helps Ballard in his quest. But he despises the dolls. He can't stand them. He's mean. He didn't smile when Sierra was talking about killing Topher.

Let's look it from Echo's perspective. There's this guy who walks around and yells a lot and then everyone is unhappy. Tragic really.

And Ballard. This was the moment when I was really starting to fall for Ballard. This obsessed desperate guy. I like that sort of thing. And then his only attachment with reality turns out to be unreal. Damn. I wonder, Ballard hasn't met Dominic, right? I wonder if he will... I mean Dominic sort of helped him and everything.

Lot of pain in this episode. Very intimate look at Adelle. All that Miss Lonelyhearts fantasy. And then Dominic. Total breakdown. And concluding with Boyd's slight pain with Echo getting a new handler. Now it's time to look this episode from Echo's point of view.

Echo's Journey to Enlightenment:
As I already said Echo is very season 2-ish in this episode. She walks around, she notices things, she listens to what people say and even thinks along. It's crazy. And very cute. Eliza might be a slutty sexy type, but Echo's all cute.

From her perspective, there's this guy who once tried to kill her and now that guy walks around and makes everyone sad. Then there's November who she just said hello to. Then she waves at her when November's on the balcony, but November is different. Then mean guy takes Sierra and she follows them and suddenly Sierra's different. It's also funny that Echo's hearing is rather selective. She tunes in to Boyd's and Saunders discussion when they are talking about how the system is flawed. And she hears changed Sierra talking about killing Topher. So she goes to Topher. For some reason she's thinking of Topher as part of her flock. And she states it very echoianly clear. Change me so I could help you.

And then when she's programmed with her mad spy-detector skills, she's again doing Echoian observations. She's interviewing those people and making all those small meaningful observations. She really made Saunders pause.

In Grey Hour Echo makes a statement "I'm not broken." Dominic calls her a broken doll. They fight. Echo wins. And then she says "I'm not broken."

Dominic: After you beat me to a pulp, they're gonna erase me. But first they're gonna erase you.
Echo: I can take care of myself.
Dominic: I know. That's why I'm smiling. Because one day you'll be erasing them. Even after all this, they still won't see it coming. Sooner or later everybody gets theirs.

Also when they're programming a new handler for Echo, Echo looks at Boyd.

Foreshadowing: Dominic's rant could be rather prophetic.

Grading: Perfect.


General Impressions: I noticed a couple of things, that in my opinion in post-Bennett episodes world are rather revealing.

First thing, when that soldier doll comes home, Victor hides himself rather knee-jerkly, while others are hiding in normal way. They are sitting behind the car and watching. Victor acts like he's about to go under the car. Which seems to imply that Victor is not just a former military guy, but he is also in trouble with them.

Second thing, Echo (or Caroline) is saying that she thinks doctor Saunders is a prisoner like them. So true.

Third thing, Boyd says "Echo wanted to save us all." Notice the word us. Quite telling, no?

Echo's "huh?" face when Mike names a lot of sweet things and just mentioned mayonaisse. Okay, that was just a cute touch. Other cute touch was Victor finding a rather homosexual costume in his rack.

Ballard's dream. Beautiful. Weird. Funny. "I'm sorry but I have a thing she needs." Lol. He's really under pressure. Dancing between two fantasies. Sometimes fantasies can be quite tough.

We had no idea what would happen with Nolan, eh? He got what he deserved to be honest. I kinda felt sorry for him in Belonging... only kinda (very small tiny kinda), but this episode only added to my self-righteous satisfaction.

Dominic was right about the possible post-apocalyptic future that could happen with Dollhouse technology. But, why does he dislike the dolls so much? Oh well, his downfall. Wonder if we see him in season 2. I miss him.

It was very interesting to see how these people act with their original personalities restored. All those small touches. Victor's "I'm in a shower with naked people so I'll just think about baseball" chant and November's "Being naked is fun"... touches like that.

Echo's Journey:
After witnessing Bennett in season 2, and now watching this... methinks Echo did some really bad things between the time she escaped from the hospital and before she became a doll. She's very intense. Oh there is that caring side to her... like starting to wipe that handler's blood before giving up... but...

There's those opening lines from Ghost.

Adelle: Perhaps better than you have. We can take care of this mess.
Caroline: I don't deserve this. I was just trying to make a difference. Trying to just take my place in the world, like she always said, but now...

And now Adelle's "You couldn't bear to live with the consequences of your actions. I can't reveal it to you, I would be breaking a trust."

I'm starting to think that I know who that she in "like she always said" is. Or I'm just imagining to much. But that's what Dollhouse is. Each episode throws pieces of the puzzle in the air and then they all fall in place at the right time and it will be the greatest heureka moment ever.

Caroline wants to save everyone. So does Echo. But slightly differently. Like Topher said in Bennet two-parter "Echo's a friend." Echo looks out for all the prisoners in Dollhouse. Caroline just points guns at sad broken people. Echo has a more nuanced way of doing things. But yeah. Beautiful ending.

"The devil that you know, is better than the one you don't."

Hmm... wonder if that mountain resort will ever start to mean anything? Caroline was great. She really surprised Adelle. Gotta love their relationship.

Foreshadowing: Nolan, Victor&Sierra, Echo/Caroline need to save everyone and that line "I think doctor Saunders is a prisoner like us."

Grading: B for Beautiful. Actually it's P for Perfect.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Public Eye&Left Hand

General Impressions: Enver Gjokaj is my new God! Seriously awesome. He's like the new Nathan Fillion, only he's Enver. There's just no way to describe it.

This episode reminded me of a Buffy quote "It's about power."

I loved it how they are all working together... somewhat – Echo, Ballard, Boyd, Adelle and Topher. There was this sort of team vibe in these episodes.

I loved how misleading the episode 5 was. I was really thinking that Perrin's wife was a doll.... but, awesome.

And Topher's and Bennett's awkward attraction for each other... golden. Speaking of Bennett, perfection from the first moment. I guess there's more to Caroline than we've seen. I guess that must have happened between the time Caroline escaped from the hospital (Echoes flashback) and before she became a Doll.

This two-parter was just so rich in story and characters. Balancing brilliantly between regular and guest characters – Perrin and his discovery, his wife the handler, Bennett, Topher, Echo, Ballard and November. Dollhouse is blowing it's wad and I love it.

I just hope they manage to put a bit of Boyd's background somewhere there too in these last 6 episodes. And hot sex between Ballard and Adelle. I'm a Badelle, or should it be Paudelle? Since you know. Speaking of Ballard, can't wait to see what he is going to do.

Echo's Journey:
Echo has really changed. I love how Echo has produced a really deep philosophical thinking to the stamp words of Dollhouse. As in, she's thinking in those words, because that's the vocabulary she possesses, (but she really has made the meaning of those words her own) but what she means by them is something much more meaningful and deeper. "You try to be you're best." - with a really understanding look. "I understand. I don't want to fall asleep. Not even for a little while." - with a look like she really means it.

"She's broken. Let's go." Okay the last one wasn't very philosophical, but "brokeness" is a big part of Echo's philosophical system. Echo is a warrior-philosopher. Or hero of the working class. Or just crazy. Depends on your take on the show.

Gotta love Echo-speak. "You just awoke a lot of people and they all think that you're a bitch!" We can see how guarding Echo is of her friends. November is sad. Echo sees that.

And it's funny that by now the whole Dollhouse crew is like discussing these things with her. Their body language... and Topher's "Echo's a friend" to Bennett. Makes you think about Bennett's words that Caroline has hold over people. Kinda seems true, doesn't it. Because Adelle would have had a reason to Attic Echo a long time go, but in the first episodes it sort of hinted that Adelle admires Echo (or Caroline in her). It's quite interesting. You can even see a rather meaningful thoughtful glance from Topher when Adelle is speaking about using every resource to find poor defenseless Echo.

Oh and "They're in your head but you don't have to listen, you don't have to be what they tell you to be, you can belong to you!" - best definition of libertarian socialism ever.