Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Campus Dollhouse

So, tyranist and I have watched the last two episodes of "Dollhouse," and I guess I'll blog about them, though I have little to say.

First up was "Echoes," not to be confused with "Echo," which never aired. It was written by Elizabeth Craft & Sarah Fain, and had Echo back with the motorcycle dude from the teaser of the first episode. Meanwhile, there was a death (a mysterious death, though I probably don't need to use the word "mysterious" on a show like . . . well, any show, really) on a college campus, and the Dollhouse team are brought in to get to the bottom of it. There was some kind of psychotropic drug released into the atmosphere, and everyone who is exposed to it (looks like it's passed from person to person by touch) goes a little bit loopy.

Echo sees what's happening on a news report, and feels compelled to return to the campus, even though she doesn't know why. We learn why: Echo, when she was Caroline, was responsible for a mishap there, because of the animal testing that was going on in one of the labs. Caroline, it would seem, was a bit of an activist* and all concerned about naughty corporations and secret experiments and poor cuddly animals. She was also responsible for the release of rage-infected monkeys in the U.K. not long before.

Anyway, Echo goes to the campus, and because she's acting strange, is taken to where the infected folks are. One of them is a young black dude who was there when the mysterious death occurred--a med student-type had a vial of something, then started freaking out, and smashed his head against a window until the credits started--and he decides to help Echo get to the lab where she is impelled to go.

Along the way, she begins to remember what happened to Caroline in the same place. Meanwhile, other people are being affected by the drug, and Victor and Sierra start acting strange, and Topher and Adelle act all stoned and relaxed.

In the end, it is revealed that the friendly black student with Echo is the one who got the guy in the teaser killed, and he's forced to attack Echo to protect his secret. The tables are turned on him, though, and Echo, trippingly remembering getting her boyfriend killed on the campus, subdues him until he can be taken away.

Caroline, instead of any prosecution for her actions, was given the choice to become an Active, which she accepted. The young black student (who I should have learned the name of, but didn't) is given the same choice. I thought that was pretty cool.

This episode was a pretty good one. I don't really have a problem with it, but nothing is standing out for me now. Oh wait, Eliza looked real good in her little skirt and leggings. So there's that.

Sometimes, I swear I see her struggling with the material (in the script, not on her body). It's something in her posture or what her hands do that tells me, "She's not quite able to pull this off." I wonder if anyone else has noticed that.**

I'm starting to like Topher less and less, but I can't really say why.

More on that later. Or maybe never.

The most recent episode was called "Needs," and it was written by Tracy Bellomo.

And basically, we see that a bunch of technical problems are happening at the Dollhouse--the computers are on the fritz, the lights are turning on and off, doors that should be locked are unlocking, and FOX is allowing "American Idol" to run long so it cuts off part of "Fringe."

Speaking of problems, each of our main Actives are, conveniently enough, the ones who are "glitching" the most. So, Adelle and Dr. Saunders and company come up with a plan to give them what they yearn for, and see if it fixes them. Actually, this isn't revealed until the very end of the episode. For the bulk of it, we're to believe that something went wrong, and the five Actives that we're focusing on: Echo, Victor, Sierra, November, and a new guy are awakened in a not entirely blank state.

They reason among themselves that they've been brought there against their will and that they have to play along like the rest of the Dolls, and see if they're able to get out of there.

Eventually, they not only get out of the Dollhouse, but out of the building and onto the streets. November remembers she has a daughter and wants to see her. Sierra remembers the face and name of a man who hurt her, and wants to go there to confront him. Victor just wants to go where Sierra goes. And Echo, well, she's not content to leave, but wants to free all the others who are being held captive in the building.

The whole point is that Dr. Saunders believes these Actives are acting up because they have unfinished business, and that, if they achieve closure on that, they'll normalise. So, when November finds the grave of the child she used to have, she falls asleep. Sierra faces this man who mistreated her (and he's aware of her being an Active, and even seems to have been responsible for her going to the Dollhouse), and Victor sweeps her away from there, proclaiming his love for her. They kiss, and both fall asleep.

Echo beats a couple people up, which is her way, and rounds up the blank Actives from the Dollhouse (tyranist and I have wondered if there's only twenty-six of them, but she either rescues all of them, or there's a lot more than twenty-six), and marches them right out of there. As soon as she reaches the light of day, she falls asleep too. They had all been programmed to go unconscious as soon as they got that closure they needed (Victor's was to get the girl). We further find out that, had Saunders not suggested this solution, the other option was to send these four to the Attic (which is where bad Actives go when they die). The end.

This was another good episode. It did that Joss Whedon where we're led to believe one thing, then, via flashback, we find we only got half of the conversation and were tricked (though I didn't enjoy it as much as the other two times he's done it it).

Originally, this was two posts, neither of which talked about the plot. I just wrote up my thoughts about the show on each, including my feelings about its impending cancellation. These two are so long in coming that a third episode has since aired, so I think I'll just stop here and include that other stuff in the next post.

Be well,

Rish Outfield

*Which is similar to Active, I guess, though it has no relevance.

**I've heard people call her a bad actress, but everybody who knows nothing about acting has called everybody a bad actor, from Mark Hamill to Al Pacino, so who knows?

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