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"I'm not the bad man."
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March 08 2009

(SPOILER) Hazel is saved. "People can be molded, but everyone has a right to their own personality". The Dollhouse ARG (Alternative Reality Game) run by FOX has concluded. Here's a summary by a fansite of what went down. They (the ARG) reveal a Dollhouse plot point spoiler near the end, so spoiler adverse folk will want to avoid.

Please tell me that "there are dollhouses all over the world" isn't the plot point spoiler... please! Although I had noticed some heavy-handedness with the philosophical/political 'lessons' in the first few episodes, I can't believe we will end up in this trite place after 13 episodes.
I kind of agree. I mean, it's still somewhat open to metaphoric interpretation in what it says. Like there could be other Dollhouses like the one we know, but I hope it isn't a whole "Matrix-y" we're all (literally) subjects of Dollhouse-style mind-shaping.
That would be lame.
It reminds me of the Italian version of Wolfram & Hart. I mean, that just didn't work for me. I hope there won't be an Italian Dollhouse.
Yarr, tharr be spoiler ahead.

I'm quite chuffed that I guessed that spoiler. Early on it occurred to me that at some point a second dollhouse would be inevitable (didn't guess multiples though).
I hear there's one in Cleveland ;).
Well, like I said, it's unclear what exactly the multiple Dollhouses means. Is it (a) there are a number of super-secret Dollhouses each run by various super secret organizations or whatever, or (b) Dollhouses are everywhere, we've all been wiped and re-built a la The Matrix. Or, to put it another way, is it (a) an interesting metaphor for ideology or (b) a heavy-handed one. Given that the Joss is typically NOT subtle in his metaphors (see first season of Buffy and Serenity movie), I suspect the latter. I hope he is able to do it in an interesting way that makes up for the heavy-handedness.
Actually, now I am really excited to see Ilona (the Italian W&H CEO) as the head of the Rome Dollhouse giving air kisses to Active-Spike and Active-Angel before sending them off on their engagement, which will of course involve a them riding on a pink Vespa! Bring on Episode 13!!!!
Who said it takes 13 episodes to get that far into it, baxter?

Although, sad to say, there's no Active!Spike.
No Active!Spike? Man, I may not make it to episode 6 (isn't that when this show is supposed to get smokin' according to the creator and star?)
Well, like I said, it's unclear what exactly the multiple Dollhouses means.

I want to say it's a CIA front for something.
Simon, that would explain why the FBI can't find it :-P
They also waterboard Actives (lies).
Well the concept does sound like something the CIA would have done in the 60s and 70s. If there were no secret governmental ties with the Dollhouse I would be surprised.
Why would they need waterboarding? They can simply imprint you to be a compulsive truth-teller. I wonder if their 'recruiting slogan' is a take-off of the army's: Be All That You (or Anyone Else) Can Be.

[ edited by baxter on 2009-03-08 17:50 ]
Simon, like the Initiative? Deus-ex-government again? Although the government tie-in would help to make sense of Adele's horror at disappointing the higher-ups (think Cheney!!)

[ edited by baxter on 2009-03-08 17:54 ]
Thinking about it, I'm coming up with three broad scenarios.

1) The government is aware of the Dollhouse and will use its services if necessary but has no direct control over it. Bit like Global Frequency.

2) The governnment has its own version of the Dollhouse and occasionally there may be conflict with the privately owned Dollhouse.

3) The government pulls the strings at the Dollhouse. For what purpose we can only speculate.
I'm guessing 1 or 3 :).
Doesn't the preview for next week's episode say that the engagement is actually a mission for the government? So, SOMEONE in the government knows about and uses it.
Yes, it does :).
So, did Ballard's branch of the FBI just not get the memo? However, I can see how #3 may help to address the trillion-dollars budget deficit for the US since we are told how horribly expensive it is to lease an Active. This is simply a different type of 'sin-tax'. I guess the price tag was too hefty for Eliot Spitzer though... pity.
He should've looked into vouchers or something, I bet if he'd just filled in the right forms ...

You know the government, one hand almost never knows what the other's doing. Then they'll spend hundreds of thousands of pounds and 18 months of committee deliberations finding out (i.e. it's easy to assume that people much higher up know or at least know something but aren't telling everyone else - after all, the impetus for what's presumably a fairly expensive ongoing investigation that everyone in the FBI apart from Ballard seems to think is a wild goose chase must come from somewhere).
FWIW, Joss himself outed the multiple Dollhouses thing in an interview months ago.
I like the idea of multiple Dollhouses. Of course, I've always had a weakness for government/corporate conspiracy stories.
So regardless of how canon this story is, can we get this on the DVD since I have nothing but rebuffering hell on the site and haven't been able to watch past clip 16?
Eliza also outed the multiple Dollhouse thing in one of the early interviews. I suspect it supposed to be one of the early things we learn in the series, but got pushed back as a reveal. I'm guessing, like. It still counts as a spoiler in my mind as it hasn't aired.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-03-08 19:42 ]
I only started to wonder about that possibility during this past episode when there's suddenly an intern-like person training under Topher, and Topher was fretting about some Japanese scientist maneuvering for his job. It sounded very network-of-peers.
Plus Adelle gets a phone call from somebody bossing her around, Sunfire.
@Sunfire: Yes, I suspect that was the first tip-off as well.

@gossi: That just indicates she has a boss, not that there's more than one Dollhouse.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-03-08 19:48 ]
@b!X - it also indicates gossi's been down the pub ;).
I just assume that as a fact for analysis.
It is important to rely on facts, I hear.
@b!X - true, but Adelle seems to be overseeing the full operations at The Dollhouse (anybody see the potential misdirect in THAT name?), and if she has a boss it implies they must be overseeing something bigger. Or The Dollhouse is owned by G.E.
Well we've known Adelle was not the boss-of-bosses since the pilot, I thought. To me that doesn't imply more Dollhouses, just an upper management of some kind.

Or what bix said as I typed this.

I no longer assume anyone on the internet is sober when they're typing. Particularly not when they're arguing with me. It makes being always right that much easier.
I tend to think its option G.E. and she's speaking with Jack Donaghy or Don Geiss.
gossi the upper upper management could have multiple shady enterprises that don't involve Actives. It could really be Evil, Inc. I don't think Adelle having a boss implies there are other Adelles elsewhere.
I'm just not sure why having multiple Dollhouses is any more sinister/suspenseful than having one. Was Wolfram and Hart in LA worse in its actions because there were branches in other cities/dimensions? I just don't get why having it be one of a group (either corporate or government) ups the ante dramatically unless it does go down the 'matrixy' road (the whole world is part of the conspiracy/cover-up) and that will be lame (IMO). We know already there are bigger bosses with bigger cojones (witness Adele's twitchiness on the phone) - are we supposed to fear them too since they might be able to 'get at' us?
Maybe I am simply too jaded by the 'real-world' of corporations who systematically rip off consumers/taxpayers and get away with it and 'secret' government installations in which mock-drowning people is considered a perfectly acceptable interrogation technique. The truth is out there... and it is a lot scarier than fiction.
Everybody fears Jack Donaghy.
baxter - More is always scarier/better, just ask Nigel Tufnel.

gossi - that's fair.
That Adelle has a boss, to me, mainly opens up the possibility that to some extent there could be times when she's been protecting Echo from upper management. If only because this would help further complexify her character.
zeitgeist, I'm already dialled up to 11 ;-)
Well, I don't know that multiple Dollhouses DOES make the story more sinister. Good point, Baxter. But, it raises intriguing possibilities, including rivalries/competition, using the technology for different purposes, and of course enemy actives.
baxter - well, it's one more, isn't it? ;).
Just to add, since it's relevant - in the "Save Hazel" game, we learned Hazel's mum invented the mind wiping and programming technology Topher now uses, and passed it to R-Corp who misused it.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-03-08 20:18 ]
I hope we have a "crazy old inventor" episode, I like those (that's one of the strange attractors of sci-fi TV, along with "the Groundhog Day episode" and "the body swap episode" - both of which Dollhouse has sort of built-in to the premise).

I don't think Adelle having a boss implies there are other Adelles elsewhere.

Mmm, multiple Adelles...

I think dollhouse as franchise makes it slightly more sinister because it brings it closer to that most sinister and nefarious of organisations, McDonalds. If Adelle's boss is Hamburglar that'd be the icing on the sinister cake.
Hamburglar? I actually think that clown is a lot scarier!

[ edited by baxter on 2009-03-08 20:40 ]
At least Ronald can speak. All Hamburglar ever said was "Robble robble." And what the blazes is that supposed to mean, any way?!

And what the HECK was Grimace?
I always assumed he was a big purple McNugget-shaped blob. I wanna know why they named him "Grimace". Because that's the expression you'll be making soon enough if you eat too much of their food ?
Grimace predates McNuggets, howevr.
Food foreshadowing ? See what I mean ? Positively Machiavellian.
Fy'allsI, I believe here's where Eliza first spills it

and here's where we first discuss it on whedonesque.
If there are multiple dollhouses, Topher's whole spiel about the Japanese programmer gunning for his job makes somewhat more sense.
Speaking of the interns, is there ANY chance everyone who works for the Dollhouse (sans Topher, if you believe that theory that he's the head of the whole business) isn't a doll or mindwiped? Boyd is a former police officer. What's stopping anyone from just leaving the DH and spilling it all to the news? The Japanese intern girl really confused me, as if to say that UCLA has an internship program at the Dollhouse.
No, no. It's EvilUCLA that has the internships.
UC-Sunnydale probably had some pretty fascinating internship opportunities.
Grimace? Please, everyone knows the Hammurderer and the Grapist are way scarier.
Wait, did we get a happy ending?

There's no happy endings! (So they say...)
Multiple Dollhouses sounds like a fantastic idea, I really love it!

And yeah I do think it makes Topher's line about the Aisan hacker nerd gunning for his job make more sense. Because he "likes the beach" which is maybe why he wants to be at *that* Dollhouse and not just some other one.
Can it be considered happy? One thief is dead, and I was watching and chatting with friends, so I don't really know what happened to the other one. Did they say they wiped him? Did he know about the DH?
I think Craig Oxbrow meant the ARG, not "Gray Hour".
zeitgeist, you link is disturbing on many levels.

Glad to see that Saje is back! *sends glare*

What if Adelle's "evil boss" is in fact the government... which would mean that we elected to sponsor human trafficking? Now that'd be a twist I'd like. Here we are saying "oh, it's awful! the cleavage! (and all the other bad stuff)" when we, in fact, are the ones that passed Proposition Blahdy-Blah that gave Dollhouse its mission. That'd be neat.

But, of course, it falls apart if Dollhouses are available globally. The American government doesn't control the world (yet). But, then again, Chinese dolls could take out Brazilian dolls in a "spy vs spy" government sort of way.

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