This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"The human mind is like Van Halen. If you just pull out one piece and keep replacing it, it just degenerates."
11971 members | you are not logged in | 19 January 2021


March 20 2009

(SPOILER) Discuss the sixth episode of Dollhouse. Will 'Man on the Street' live up to the hype? If you missed it, the episode is now available to watch at Fox On Demand and Hulu.

Countdown is ON baby!
That's the spirit :).
I hope everybody watches it with me and tivos bsg.
Not to be a fucking nerd but I am SO GODDAMN READY FOR THIS!!!!!!

Been preparing with white wine, obviously.
Bring it- rah, rah, rah!!! ;-)
I'm going to miss it...
I just wanna hype the hype a bit more that way if the episode was over hyped then we forget about it because of the disappointing nature of the hype about the hype... what?

chart needed: Dollhouse ----> hype about it <----- hype the hype up = confused
Keep an eye out for the twitchy and unreliable-looking guy.
12 minutes!!!! I think all heck's gonna break loose in the dollverse!
okay - I can't watch the ep until tomorrow....but still BRING IT ON!
bring back the chat!!!!
So excited!
Can someone explain the first ten minutes?

I had to go out and got back just in time to see the opening credits...

I literally got every stop light on the way home. I'm pissed.
Um, is Mellie going to die? Because I really, really don't want her to, but knowing Joss...
Chrisham2, Paul followed a money trail from Cristejo and has now found Echo out on assignment. Also, Sierra had a freak out session when Victor touched her. Apparently she'd had sex with Victor in her doll state - that Victor liked to play "husband" with her.

[ edited by Emmie on 2009-03-21 02:17 ]
Porn, indeed. That was hilarious.
Thank you, Emmie
Pure speculation here but I'm wondering if it wasn't Victor who had sex with Sierra. I'm thinking it was her handler.
Ohhh, gross, Emmie. And maybe brilliant.
Moral spankitude
"Moral spankatude." and "Facebooger." Love it!

Emmie I kinda wonder that too!
"This house will fall" & "Go live in your real world, if you ever did." Awesome lines.
Paul kicks so much ass! I want him to beat up more people!
I hope it isn't the handler (although that has the ring of truth). Kevin Kilner was the best part of "Rodenberry's Earth: Final Conflict", when it was a sci-fi show (instead of the mindless action show it morphed into).
And really well delivered.
(The two lines Emmie pointed out)

[ edited by Fredikins on 2009-03-21 02:27 ]
Victor's so sweet!
Aw poor Victor. "I think I did something bad."

Ah! Mellie/Paul kiss FTW!
Holy Cow!!!

[ edited by whedon is GOD on 2009-03-21 02:30 ]
Oh no... Now Mellie's so sweet! Oh she's gonna die isn't she?
B-Funk... that's what I thought too
Yikes!!!! It IS her handler.
I frakking love Boyd.
Go Boyd! Ha! Called it. :)

ETA: But I seriously was doubting it though once it started to play out. So even though I suspected, I still wasn't sure. Well-written story.

[ edited by Emmie on 2009-03-21 02:34 ]
Okay, I keep going back and forth between "aw" and "eek". That handler thing was horribly disturbing. I love Boyd.
Tahmoh+shirt off = good times.

Great episode so far!
I get the feeling Mellie will be involuntarily inducted into the Dollhouse, which would piss off Paul to no end. And while a Paul/Echo fight will be fun, I'm waiting for the Boyd/Paul fight!
Wow, Boyd/Paul will be epic.

ETA: Erm, I meant a Boyd/Paul fight.

[ edited by Emmie on 2009-03-21 02:36 ]
Yay, cute Asian assistant!
Holy Cow Again!!!
Lol a soupçon of rage.
I love Boyd. I love him the same way I love Giles. I love him because he loves her, and that makes us love her more.
Totally agree Fredikins. But Topher gives me awful Warren vibes... And, oo look, torture.
"I find it a bit sad that you think you're a candidate for anyone's fantasy." Oh Adelle, you're awesome.
Oh... Crap...
Yes, B-Funk, I totally get the "Warren" off of Topher. It grosses me out. Oh, no, Mellie.
Oh my god, Mellie!

ETA: Heh, Paul. I've got a cup of sugar for ya. ;)

[ edited by Emmie on 2009-03-21 02:42 ]
MELLIE!!! NO!!! Well it only makes sense since she's clearly happy now. Why the adorable ones? Why always the adorable ones?
I have a feeling this is a trap for Mr. Evil Handler.
Poor Mellie! Am I surprised? No. Am I sad? Totally.
I love this ep! "I'm not a piece of meat. I have a heart." Hee Paul!
Why do I do this? I know Joss will hurt me, I know he will kill the people he makes me love, and still I come back. I really don't want Mellie to die. Or become a doll.
Oh god I'm having a flashback to Passion and Paul getting home to find Mellie dead.
Oh, Emmie, ow.
Oh, god! Emmie! WHY?! No I can't get it out of my head!
Ernie: ETA: Erm, I meant a Boyd/Paul fight.

Much like this episode, "Wow!" and "Eww!" at the same time. ;-)

Paul better make it back in time to stop the MisHandler!
White pants? Really? Who wears white pants to an assassination?
Again Joss?

Why do you do this to me?
Best fight scene I've seen in soooooooo long.
B-Funk: Who doesn't?
Holy crap! Best freakin' plot twist ever!!!
No, no, no, no, no, no, no...
OMG! Epic plot twist FTW!!!!!!
Mellie's a doll !!!!! I knew it.

[ edited by RavenU on 2009-03-21 02:51 ]

Let me just say, I called it!

[ edited by crazygolfa on 2009-03-21 02:53 ]
What? THE? HELL?!
:O... That is all.
Holy Smokes!!!!!
Wow...other best freakin' plot twist ever.
November! Holy crap awesome plot twist!
Best ep so far. By a lot of much.
Amazing! Love it!
Oh my mind, stop messing with my MIND!
Joss is a freakin' GENIUS!!!!!
WOW...I literally jumped out of my seat. That was excellent!
I don't think Topher's assistant is the inside man or woman. It's too obvious.
Lol Fredikins. I concur - best episode by "a lot of much". They really cut loose with this ep.
I can't sit still right now! This show is epically awesome. Joss Whedon you're so my effin hero!
So, crazygolfa, do you think it's Topher?
Best fight scene I've seen in soooooooo long.

Agreed. I liked the first alley-flip, feet hitting the car.
Is this the same stunt team that did "Angel"? The quality is up there.

So much for the MisHandler... damn, that was cool!
Leave it to Joss to create a show that starts out marginally entertaining and evolves into one of the best shows on television. And the last 5 or 6 eps are supposed to be even better!
You know, I'm really digging the "interview" clips. I think they're a very nice plot device for pulling everything together.
20 Dollhouses worldwide???
I hope it's Topher. Then maybe he'd creep me out less. Also, fierce aw to Victor and Sierra.
"I played a very bad hand very well. There's a distinction." Wow I'm loving Adelle in this ep. Wow.
Was there a cut in that scene (with DeWitt), or is that a functional elevator for the Dollhouse set?
Awwww... Victor/Sierra is so cute.
Emmie, I concur. Also, the Victor Sierra made my heart hurt.
Yeah, DeWitt is cool... But I don't think she's evil enough. Yet.
Oh, God. This is so good. It hurts in the Joss way.
God, how wrong is it that I'm finding Echo's closing assignment at the house to be sweet? And wrong.

*holds head* I'm so confused.
Wow. Next week looks EPIC.
OMG for the next episode.
Emmie, me too!

Epic. Epic. Epic. Win. Thank you Joss.

Next week is going to be so rad!
Holy crap! Next week's episode looks even better! Sheesh, talking about turning it up to boil. I can't wait!

(yes, I know I'm using too many exclamation points but I'm kinda giddy)
Next week's ep looks awesome. Ok, I'm fully on board. I was a fan of Dollhouse. Now I'm a Fan, capital "F".
OneTeV, I thought that was a cool shot, regardless.

The look Adelle gives at the end of the preview for next week looks spectacular.
I'm just so happy to have a show on that I care about again. It's been so long, and I liked Dollhouse before, but now I care, the way I cared about Buffy and Angel and Firefly.
I can't wait until I can watch this episode on Hulu.

It was the best if the series by far.

Fredikins, if it is not cute lab assistant, it could be Reed.

Next week also looks intense.

That was truly amazing. I'm so loving on this show now. The moral ambiguity, the twists, the fact that there are levels up levels that I don't understand...

The guy playing Victor, the lady playing Mellie... really everybody, just amazing. But those two get my YAYs for the evening.

And the fact that nobody gets to be a good guy or a bad guy. Anybody wondering if Boyd was working with Alpha? Distracting Topher?
BTW, what is the lab assistants' name?
Best of series, etc. etc. Isn't saying much.

I swear, FOX already bogged the show down. It took 5 extra weeks to get to this point, which was going to be episode 1. Ballard meeting Echo, November and Victor being dolls...I mean, I knew these twists were coming. Joss isn't that good of a twist maker, especially when there are all these leaks, and I think it's cool that he's embracing the net, even though he's spreading misinformation for the sake of good TV.

Point is, it was a good episode. All the stuff "changed" due the reshoots has essentially been reset. And it only took 5 weeks of meandering plot and ratings to get here.

PS - Patton Oswalt is good because he has great timing. That's why he was so good as Remy the Rat.

edit: FOX better not take credit for the goodness.

[ edited by John Darc on 2009-03-21 03:06 ]
Okay, was the inside person who corrupted Echo's imprint Adelle? Because she clearly isn't playing someone straight. Sends Dominic out of the room, then tells the creepy handler (Herne, I think his name is) to go kill Mellie, only to send the phone message that activated her fight-ness. I missed some dialog at the end so it's possible that was explained, but if that was something the Dollhouse higher-ups wanted her to do, I don't see why she would have worked to prevent Dominic from knowing about it.
Vicot, Mellie and Boyd are all really starting to touch my heart.
OMG, that kiss. I'm totally in love with Tahmoh now. And Miracle for that matter. Whole lotta hot in that bed.
Loved "heart of gold", "you're not long for this world" & Mark Sheppard all in the first couple of minutes.
Awesome. Loved it!
...How to make the "when harry met sally" structure never work the same again...

...have man/woman in the street interviews filmed months ago that predict exactly the discussions we would be having about the ethics of "Dollhouse"/the dollhouse, including the language we would use, then go one step further and draw a convincing picture of what sort of things people would think about if they had been living with this "urban legend" for 20+ years (like the young woman who seemed to think being a doll would be an odd altruistic thing to do, like joining the peace corps)...

...stage the most shattering scene of sexual violation to make it on network TV in a long time, then twist it, without taking away the emotional effect felt by Mellie...

...then make me shed tears for the client, Joel Minor, in the last scene, for the utter melancholy beauty of the fantasy of this man who, at episode's start, seemed the most straightforward of icky clients of the Dollhouse...

...I am beyond sold...
110 comments already? I seriously need to move my computer nearer the TV....

Anyhow, awesome episode. I fell for every plot twist. Didn't see them coming, believed what I was supposed to and damn that was fun to be surprised.

But now I'm confused. What was actually real! Did someone that wants to take the Dollhouse down really speak through Echo or was that part of Dewitt's plan to discredit him? I'd like to think it was the former, but Dewitt's proved to be one devious woman!
It's got to be a science person, no?: Topher, cute lab girl, or the Doc. Unless Adelle is a scientist, as well as a administrator. Or she and Topher did it without telling the others? Adelle had to have taken Boyd off the assignment, I guess...

[ edited by toast on 2009-03-21 03:12 ]
Wow, holding up this gun is really making my arm start to hurt..

Can't wait for next week! It will be hilarious and crazy!
I really can't see Dr. Saunders as the inside guy...she's too earnest with Boyd.
The lab assistant's name is Ivy. I'm wondering if she's behind Echo's message.
"I swear, FOX already bogged the show down. It took 5 extra weeks to get to this point, which was going to be episode 1."--John Darc

I don't think it's totally on FOX. Buffy and Angel took about 20 episodes to get good (and Buffy started out really bad), but even Firefly took a few episodes. While I know there are ratings and renewal concerns, at least Dollhouse only took six (and without the scheduling issues Firefly had). Bring on episode 7!

[ edited by JesusSavedIn01 on 2009-03-21 03:13 ]
Dominic gets "man-handled" next week. Can't wait.
HOLY CRAP. That was some powerful TV.

Patton Oswalt was great, and his assignment was the most compelling yet.

I was soooo afraid Mellie was gonna die, because I really like her. But this is even more tragic, in a completely Joss Whedon way.

When she put the hit out, I was ready to declare DeWitt the villain of the series. But it turns out, she has a conscience, and actually does care about the safety of her actives. Nothing's black or white here.

I'm glad the Victor/Sierra relationship is staying innocent for now. It's cute.
The rapist handler just goes to show that while the Dollhouse cleans up well and WILL end you, they really aren't run very well. Unless Hearn was an Alpha protege, there's no excuse. This is why I never understood how they can just hire former cops and regular joes and tell them to Handle Actives on a job. What if one of them quits or talks?

ALthough, a global shadow hand keeping the Dollhouse thriving probably helps. Leave and reveal, and no one will believe you AND you die.
Very nice. About 40 minutes in I was ready to start complaining that the episode wasn't living up to the hype and then the twists started twisting. I liked the dramatic speed of the reveal too! It really packed a punch.
Toast, I assumed it was Alpha.
I thought it was Alpha at first, but he really isn't "inside" the Dollhouse.
Finally Joss is here, what an excellent show. The fights that Joss puts together ruin fight scenes in any other show. They just look so real, I am hyped up and ready for next week.
How do they get the imprints? Wouldn't they have to extract something from the dead wife's brain in order for that to work, right?

And things are moving so fast, what's going to happen in season two? wink, wink.

[ edited by CaptainB on 2009-03-21 03:22 ]
How did Boyd figure out that the handler was the one abusing Sierra?
shnoods, he knew that the cameras couldn't pick up that spot where they met.
Toast, I assumed it was Alpha.

deadbessie, I'm thinking now that the Dollhouse has enemies- plural. And I'm thinking that Alpha is the least of their worries.
Mellie is a doll. o_o She finally gets the guy, is in the required post-guy-getting mortal peril, and then instead of getting killed, is revealed to be a doll. Weird that the first of those developments seemed least likely. I'm still kind of rooting for the Mellie personality getting to remain "neighborly" with Ballard. It's not her fault she's a doll, so why shouldn't she get to love him? Also, random, but I love how the voice actor for Remy of Ratatouille portrayed a guy who got rich off "Bouncy the Rat". That engagement was kind of adorable in a way that was also sad (and much harder to see as twisted than usual). Did not see nasty handler abuse coming. Boyd is amazing. As soon as Topher walked away from the computer and Echo's new personality cartridge thingy, the alarm bells went off in my head that there would be tampering. Definitely wasn't disappointed there. And in the end, all is well and thoroughly cute with Victor and Sierra. Adelle continues to become more fascinating every week, and Dominic inspired less hatred than expected. So, overall, yeah, this one was pretty much awesome beyond all reason, and next week looks incredible as well.
Baxter: effulgent, indeed. I'm glad the ep lived up to the hype. JesusSavedin01: I agree that it took a while for Buffy and Angel to hit their stride, but both shows had brilliant eps way before 20 (Buffy: "Angel", "Prophesy Girl", Angel: "I Will Remember You", "Hero", "Five by Five", "Sanctuary"). And with Firefly, the last person I introduced it to didn't love it till "The Message" and then was heartbroken to learn there were only two more eps. The point is, Joss and the people that he surrounds himself with are incredible, and of course this show was going to hit its stride. Do we get to keep it, is the question.
What if one of them quits or talks?

We don't know yet what it means to be "sent to the Attic"...

I was thinking, while this episode would have made a great pilot, I don't think it would have been as good without the 5-ep set up. We've had a few episodes to want Mellie to get together with Paul and to see that Boyd has a heart to go along with a mean right hook.

As far as Victor/Mellie spoilers, since Mutant Enemy redid the pilot and tweaked the first few episodes, I wasn't completely sure if those actors had their roles changed or not.

CaptainB, I didn't get the impression that Echo was imprinted with Rebecca's personality, just something similar (which the guy can use in his fantasy).
PS, anybody know what that song was at the end?
Hmmm. This was good, definitely, but I think I need to watch it again. But yeah, strong stuff. Patton Oswalt was great, and his final scene with Echo made me shed some tears.

Mellie turning out to be an Active was sadly predictable. I just knew that's where it was going, and had for weeks. A little disappointed, I must say. But someone hacked into Echo's programming to send Paul a little message, and that shit blew my mind. My prime suspect right now is Ivy. Or Claire.

The more and more I think about this episode, the more and I like it. Must...rewatch...

Oh, and Paul and Mellie's scene in bed together was really cute. I'm feeling their chemistry for the first time.
UnpluggedCrazy, I have to say, I didn't see Mellie being a doll. I thought, in typical Joss fashion, that she would die. This hurts so much more. So even if you did see it coming, you have to admit it was pretty clever...
That was an enjoyable television program.
Also: Did anyone notice how Adelle kept threatening to send Hearn [sic?] to the Attic? So handlers can be Attic'd too?
141 comments, and still an hour and a half before it airs on the west coast. I'd be totally happy to get it at the same time as England!

Geez, Joss kills a character, there's complaining because it's "predictable Joss." Then he doesn't kill a character, and still....guy can't win.
It's different. We knew November was going to be a thing. Joss just tried to lie about it. Some of us didn't believe him.

edit: And I didn't say the twist was bad. I liked the episode and the twists.

[ edited by John Darc on 2009-03-21 03:36 ]
Everybody who spoiled themselves knew, you mean.
Exactamundo, John Darc.
Well, pat32082, Miracle Laurie was originally cast as the Doll November, and speculation has been rampant that Mellie might turn out to be a Doll despite Joss saying that he had nixed those plans. I didn't go trolling for spoilers, I just used my brainthing.
I was sure that Mellie was going to die, so her surviving and being revealed as a doll caught me completely off guard (even though I had expected her to be one from the start).
I knew Mellie wasn't going to die because we had seen Adelle say that she had to die. That would've been anticlimactic.
Seriously, it's the equivalent of promoting the show as "Tahmoh Penikett will be a doll named Charlie." and then saying "I changed my mind". When you promote the show and shove it in our face that Victor is a doll, what do you expect?

I don't think it's possible to finagle a completely new show like that. Mellie, Victor, they were all part of the plan.
I was disappointed. There was nothing that happened here that I did not predict, from Mellie being a doll, to Echo providing Paul with information from her programming. Even to finding out that there were people above Adelle and more than one DH. In fact, when my wife- who likes this much more than I do, just to be clear- began saying that Mellie was going to die, I told her no, because there was no way Joss Whedon was going to kill anyone right after they had sex ever again, ever. I told her to hold on a second, wait for it, and there it was- Mellie the doll. So, not the game changer I had hoped for.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2009-03-21 03:42 ]
I did think way back in the earlier episodes that Mellie was a doll, but I was actually convinced she wasn't in this episode.. and then she was! Or is she? I mean, it's obvious that she was programmed by Dewitt to activate into MellieKillah but is Mellie a doll or a Manchurian Candidate? I'm wondering if she isn't something else... just a person with her own personality but with a bit of programming built in just in case.
But it won't really matter to Ballard if he ever finds out. Even if Mellie is Mellie, all he'll know is that she's been programmed and he will see her from then on as a program and not a person. Which is another dangerous side effect of the Dollhouse, IMO. If people know that anyone can be programmed to be anyone, then the social contracts we all have with each other would be void. We would never trust anyone ever that they are really who they say they are. That's just totally frightening.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2009-03-21 03:41 ]
UnpluggedCrazy, I thought Mellie was going to die because we saw Ballard running to rescue her. I was flashing back to "City Of", when Angel failed to arrive in time to save Tina.

[ edited by Taaroko on 2009-03-21 03:41 ]
Curiously, Victor being an Active DID shock me. I have no idea why, since I knew that Enver Gjokaj had originally been cast as a Doll and not as Lubov. Hmm.
The song --- sounds to me like the same voice of the guy who sings that "dream about an orange sky" song...anyone know who that is?
Well, pat32082, Miracle Laurie was originally cast as the Doll November...

Which proves his point that you needed information outside of the show itself to figure out the "obvious".

I was disappointed. There was nothing that happened here that I did not predict

But when did you predict it? After seeing the promos? 10 seconds before each event happened? How about all the things that you predicted would happen, but didn't (but the mind conveniently forgets when thinking about all the predictions that were correct)? I'll be disappointed if you don't write a complete synopsis of next week's episode before the start of the show.

(Maybe I'm being a little harsh, but so are you. But then again, I was unimpressed by the movie "Usual Suspects" because of its obviousness, and then I read about how lots of people were surprised.)

[ edited by OneTeV on 2009-03-21 03:53 ]
doubtful guest

'Orange Sky' is by Alexi Murdoch :)

I agree with One Tev and Pat it's pretty hard for Joss to try and trick us when we're always looking stuff up about the show. Don't forget there's people watching this show who don't do that!

[ edited by vampmogs on 2009-03-21 03:48 ]
Taaroko, I thought she would die, but I was flashing back to Kendra in Becoming, Part One...
I don't see that predicting all the twists has much to do with the quality of the episode. I called all of them (sans the insider, though I've got theories there) but still thought it was a great episode of television. Even if the plot is predictable the writing and the execution can be top notch and was, as far as I'm concerned.

Now I'm just hoping we don't get back into the formula of the first five episodes. I understand the need for buildup in order to make this episode have more weight, but I'm thinking two could have done what five did. If we get more of what we saw tonight, however, I'm absolutely sold.
One word: finally!

Some more words:

It's awfully convenient that Boyd was taken off the engagement when Echo had to deliver the message. My theory is that Adelle is working her angle from the inside, much like the Season 5 Angel crew in Wolfram & Hart. (A strong, smart female leader who outwits those in charge by using the very power they gave her? I see a big check mark in that box.)

In fact, the "20 Dollhouses" reminded me very much of Wolfram & Hart spanning time and dimensions. It's a nice diffuse evil that they can continually fight against but never destroy. It also satisfyingly eliminates the Gilligan's Island problem of the show ceasing to exist when outsiders discover the Dollhouse or insiders escape from it.

I'm so relieved that the show is super-duper awesome now.
And she's British. That's extra points.

And Dominic wasn't a dick tonight. No one really pissed me off that shouldn't have. That's a good sign, right?
Does anyone know where I can watch this episode online? I missed it & don't have tivo. It's not on or hulu...
Oh Joss - once again I am your beeyatch! Well done. With all the bells and whistles and humor and eye candy that I was missing. I have to rewatch it because my jaw dropping at the twists and turns kept distracting me from the twists and turns! I am quite excited now!
I think it will be on tomorrow.
So glad to see that November wasn't entirely written out of the show, even though I was suspecting she wasn't.

The main problem with that twist, especially after the Lubov->Victor twist is that we could constantly fall into the trap of questioning who is and is not a doll. Is everyone around Ballard a doll? Is Tanaka gonna turn out to be "Foxtrot"? Is Ballard the only one who's not a doll? Is Ballard a doll?

Interesting questions, sure, but I only worry that it's going to detract from the story Joss is trying to tell if people get bogged down in the "is he or isn't he?" question all the time.

Interesting to note some parallels between the Mellie->Active reveal and the Angel->Vampire one.

But anyway...that was an awesome episode.
HFS! It was suddenly like a real tv show, with story and characters to care about! Of all the shows I am tuned in to, this is one I want to see (now that Battlestar is over).

I watched it live, but since that doesn't count for anything I'm going to buy this episode on as soon as it is available on Saturday.

Like Fredikens said, I thought Millie, in typical Joss fashion, would die. That she turned out to be a doll was fantastic, despite the speculation. It was fantastic because of the way it changed our perception of Adelle. Suddenly, Adelle rocks.

[ edited by willbueche on 2009-03-21 04:30 ]
Awesome. So brilliant. I loved the fight scenes, so amazing. Ballard is so awesome and brutal, and seeing him against Echo was nuts. I loved both times when Sierra's evil handler got beaten up. This episode was no holds bar in general, especially content wise - rape, violence, love, and the idea that not everyone who hires the dolls are as black and white.

When Mellie was being attacked... I yelled out "Damn you Joss! Not again!" My little brother, who I've introduced to the Whedonverse (said in Joss' funny voice from Robot Chicken), was sure she was going to be killed as well. But her as an active, wow. Still brutal, but I'm so glad she wasn't killed.

I was also glad to see Mark Sheppard again. I'm hoping he is in a lotmore, cause I love (and occasionally love to hate) him.
This episode was more like it. This is the kind of story I expect from Joss.
Freakin' great television.
Good plot, good writing, great pacing with incredible twists and turns. It's Joss and the other episodes were Joss lite.
It is one thing to predict that Mellie would live, but I don't think it was predictable how it happened. There are many ways that Joss could have gone, all consistent with the events of this show:

1) Paul gets back in time to stop Hearn, and accidently kills him
1a) Paul stops him, but has to keep Hearn alive to get information (with Hearn tightlipped)
2) Dominc takes care of Hearn
2a) Dominic takes care of Hearn, behind Adelle's back
3) Boyd takes care of Hearn (in his free time)
4) "Victor" takes care of Hearn, so that Paul will trust him more
5) The choice that Joss made (which kicked ass, and spinal cord)
6) "Sierra" takes out Hearn (despite being in blank state)
7) Saunders gets maternal, takes out Hearn
8) John Conner takes out Hearn, tells Mellie "come with me if you want to live"

Okay, the last three were unlikely, but that still leaves a lot of possible paths to the same destination.

[ edited by OneTeV on 2009-03-21 04:49 ]
IMO the very best episode of Dollhouse so far.
JMaloney, I see your point, but on the other hand, isn't that the basic premise of "BSG"? The whole question of who is or is not a cylon? And yet the show is interesting and complex and has a lot more to say than just "yes, she is" or "no, he isn't." I think the same applies here. There will be the underlying suspicion in all of us ("can we trust him, or is he secretly a doll?"), but in the end that adds to, not detracts from, the story that's being told.
I'm going to rewatch the episode later, but I'm tempted to fastforward right now just to watch the Echo/Paul fight. That was epic.
As someone who only read and watched official clips of Dollhouse before it began, and then has since avoided any post on Whedonesque labeled 'spoiler' about an episode I haven't seen, I was thoroughly surprised that Mellie was a doll and I definitely pegged her as being dead. In fact, I was mentally preparing myself to watch her/hear about her being raped and dead by the time Boyd got back. I'm so glad she's not dead, though I'm not sure whether or not to value the relationship between Mellie and Boyd as much because Mellie is 'fake'. Except she's so real, and I've believed her as real from the beginning.

Also I thought it was AMAZING that I was teary at the end.

As for who's the inside person, I was trying to run it through my head. It's easy to suspect the assistant, and at the same time possibly Topher, but I wonder if it's a doll that Alpha has somehow infiltrated in the past and is retaining memories that Topher is not wiping. Like ECHO. Because Alpha didn't kill Echo.

Hee. I want to watch more now please.
Unplugged Crazy

I didn't know Millie was going to be a doll and I'd like to think I'm pretty smart about stuff like this. I totally expected her to be killed by Hearn and was happy when she put the beatdown on him. I felt it was a great twist.
I knew she'd be a doll! And activated by phone, no less! I wonder who the 'inside person' is, who implanted Echo with the message.
MWP didn't believe me when I said Mellie was an active. Woot! I finally got something right. He called the handler thing before I did.
That was pretty awesome. As if the characters weren't convoluted and morally confusing enough before, now we've got layers of conspiracy- enough layers that we don't know how many there are.

Hearn's death? Ow, put down hard. The Dollhouse does not skimp on the combat package. There was some great dialogue this episode, particularly for those who complained the previous eps weren't Jossy enough. Excellent episode.

Can't wait for next week.
Ok... Can we all pray for a season 2 now!! lol Awesome episode!!
Song at the end...

Shazam calls it...

Sweet Dream
Greg Laswell
from Three Flights from Alto Nido
of Vangaurd Records

If I could write out my own dream
For the next time that I sleep
You'd be the first one that I see
And I the last one that you keep
The dream would go on and on
While we sway
Against all things thrown our way
And the morning would be so cruel
When it came
With sunshine and warmth to bring
For announcing the end of my sweet dream
For announcing the end of my sweet dream

[ edited by Wilhelm on 2009-03-21 05:29 ]

[ edited by Wilhelm on 2009-03-21 05:36 ]
Wow, what a difference the lack of Fox involvement makes. Joss is brilliant. That is all.
My prediction:
In the weeks to come, we are going to get about 2 dozen different guesses on who the Insider is, ranging from "Adele" et al., to "someone we haven't met yet", to "there is no Insider". When we finally get the answer, it will be so obvious because someone will have "predicted" it ahead of time. This is the "one chip on every number including 0 and 00" method of playing roulette. (And then someone will call me "Nostradamus", but in a sarcastic Topher manner.)
<Topher>Way to go, Nostradamus...</Topher>
Well, 6 episodes in and I'm finally feeling the suspense! Yeah, I know I don't contribute here very often but I hope you don't mind me posting a few thoughts. I never did like Sierra's handler. Nice to see he got what he deserved. Knowing Joss's knack for knocking off the cute, sweet characters, I was sure Mellie was gonna suffer a grissly death. Thats why I was pleasently suprised when, in the midst of my cursing Joss for staying true to form, Adelle turned the sweet neighbor into Ms. Bastard-Killer :).

I hope they put more emphasis on Ballard's relationship with her than a potential one with Echo. Truthfully, and I know I probably won't get much love for saying this, I find his character to be a bit comical - dry, no personality, dim-witted... I'm just waiting for him to start speaking in a mock french accent and start doing prat falls in every scene! I'm more interested in finding out just how much more Adelle is gonna jerk the guy around than whether or not he'll crack the case and get the girl. Is there an inside man leaking information out, or is that just another red herring Adelle threw out to Ballard? Who installed the camera? Was it Mellie, Victor? Just how long have they been playing him? Was Boyd (who is becoming my favorite character) taken off Echo's assignment as a disciplinary action or does Adelle suspect he's more than just an ex cop looking for a paycheck? I wonder if Joss is planning to pull a JJ Abrams and blow the Dollhoue wide open in the middle of the first season only to expose a bigger, more dangerous conspiracy.

I think the conversation between Ballard and the internet mogul (I forget his name) did more to present the moral ambiguity of the Dollhouse than all the street interviews that were shown or any of the previous episodes. If they keep up the pace they set with this particular episode it will definitely get more viewers down the road.
So they gave Mellie ninja skills.
I'm still laughing at the quip "Why don't you go paint something."

Great episode. And I'm not just saying that. I may be wiping the previous 5 from my TiVo.

I might be a bit disappointed to find out that Mellie was an active. It was an awesome twist, don't get me wrong, but like on "Heroes" its not necessary to give every character a superpower/direct connection to the Dollhouse. I liked the possibility that she was a conspiracy theory chick. I'll have to see where this goes to decide.
Now that, *that* was a show cookin' with gas. I was intrigued, moved and surprised. Well done.
My husband laughed at the Kindle line, as it neatly sewed together two of my loves -- Whedonesque stuff and my book reader.
Fantastic episode.

Easily the best of the season. It was funny, shocking, disturbing and action-packed. What more could you want?

I had already suspected Mellie was a Doll but I wasn't sure if she was a doll Alpha created or not. I certainly wasn't expecting Adele's trap for that disgusting handler, glad he got what was coming to him. What a repulsive character.
I don't have much to say, other than pretty awesome, it encompassed so much in such a short amount of time.
Also: Yes, that was a game-changer.
Stoopid Fox. I could have had this show weeks ago.

Oh, and there's the Joss wit.

I'm placing my bet on Topher's assistant.

I'm also thinking that the FBI is in on it. Though seeing Tahmoh and Mark twice in one night has me a little discombobulated.

[ edited by redeem147 on 2009-03-21 06:10 ]
Scattered shots over the bow:

1. Alpha must be the inside man. He's been one step ahead of everyone the whole time.

2. Joss Whedon dialog + Patton Oswalt delivery = a master class on 'How It's Supposed To Work'. Most every scene in that house was brilliance in execution in every area. Except maybe landscaping. Plus, 'Porn!'.

3. Boyd Rocks.

This is it, folks, this is the one. Tell your friends.
Sweet merciful crap!!! Oh my GOD that was good TV. I can't even form a coherent thought about the episode, there's just so much awesomeness swirling around in my head right now. Gotta go watch again once the tape rewinds. Love my VCR. I'm old school like that. I love this show!!
When the frosted glass went over Hearn and Sierra, did anyone else think they saw Alpha's silhouette? Instead of Hearn, that is.
Wow. I jumped out of my seat when Millie went active. I was thinking to myself "how many rapes can we have in one episode" and getting seriously frustrated then "bam!". She responded the way I wish Buffy had in season 6. This episode was crazy exciting, Echo giving Paul the message seemed a little telegraphed. I think Millie going active first would have made it a bit more surprising, and wouldn't have taken away from the shock of that event.

I love that art keeps being a mirror for Echo to see what's been lost. It was hit on the head too hard in the heist episode, but here it was subtle, and then Adele letting her finish her engagement? She's such a perfect madame, she loves her girls but she also knows they're her only means of financial gain.

Long term prediction, I see Echo going rogue and Adele feeling betrayed, Boyd taking her side and protecting her...that much has been hinted at strongly. She doesn't necessarily want to fight them but with the Dollhouse working on the tech to do remote wipes (we just saw them do a remote trigger), joining with Alpha and whatever tech he's running might be the only way to ever be truly rid of this sodding chip...sorry, I mean dollhouse tech in her brain. So it's River meets Spike with a twist of Faith. I'm intrigued.
(half a bottle of champagne later)

Oh. My. God.

Does anyone else want to make sweet, squishy love to Joss' brain?

Ok, no...that's gross. Heh.

Seriously though...Wow! This episode was insanely amazing. It was:

1.) Difficult to watch at times (but see number two).
2.) Intensely thought provoking (especially during the scene with Ballard and the internet guy. Internet guy has his number I think.
3.) Much with the humor (though also, with the dark).
4.) Also much with the awesome hand-to-hand combat.
5.) Surprising! (Mellie!!!!!! Thank the Gods! She went from my least favorite character to possibly my favorite, even before I found out she was a doll. Also...Dewitt? Much more going on there than meets the eye!)

Loved the episode with all my heart.
I was worried that I might be expecting too much from this episode, but in fact I am far more blown away than I could have ever predicted. This was completely awesome... I need to actually sit down and think about all the levels of sexual fantasy, all the urges (good and bad) being fulfilled. And of course all the exciting dollhouse puzzle to be solved! This was really something special, and just once again confirms that NOBODY can do it like Joss, no one can bring the funny, and the scary, and the exciting all wrapped up together in something so completely entertaining and thought provoking.

Awesome. Seriously.
Also: Lived up to the hype. For me, anyway.
An episode that truly changes the rules of the game. I want more! Can it be next Friday, now?
My money's on Topher for the inside guy. They drop a such a huge obvious hint that it's Ivy (having Topher step outside the room, leaving her alone with the imprint), it has to be a red herring.

The line about the Dollhouse having a larger unknown *purpose* was the high point of high points in this episode.
I wonder what the other two flowers in the vase do. And what happens if the third one is red, instead of green or yellow.
I'm with you, ShanshuBugaboo. Loved that episode.

Mellie was amazing. I was sort of thinking that that was going to happen, that she wasn't just a happy go lucky lasagna loving neighbor but actually a doll, but I was still surprised and excited when it happened. It was executed so well.
I was really impressed at the acting in this episode - Patton and Eliza, and Mellie in particular.

But I think Adelle should have sang the Fruity Oaty Bar song on the phone.
"There are three flowers in a vase. One of them makes you bust out of your blouse."
So one thing that's been nagging at me all along is, with the kind of technology these people have, why would they be using it just to create fantasies for rich people? Sure that brings in a lot of cash, but I've been thinking, with that kind of technology couldn't they access a whole lot of money in ways that would leave them less open to exposure (as supersecret as it is, there's a lot of people who know about it to be clients)? Given the technology shouldn't they be taking over the world government or something a little more ambitious than satisfying rich people's fantasies?

So now we know - there is a deeper purpose to the Dollhouse. And all of the sudden, the suspense ratchets up an exponential level. I suspect Adelle knows what it is - she did tell Hearn that he didn't know what the organization is really about.

And the truly Jossian plot twist of the seemingly creepy internet mogul guy turning out to be really kind of sweet with the fantasy being that he wanted to give something to the wife he truly loved - once again the villain (was he a villain?) having a motive that doesn't seem so morally bad, having real human emotional desires. Plus, just loved the whole way interplay between him and Ballard, just all calm and collected, plus Eliza being hysterically funny. After that no one can dismiss her by claiming that every role she plays is Faith. "Porn!"
But I think Adelle should have sang the Fruity Oaty Bar song on the phone.

Does anyone else want to make sweet, squishy love to Joss' brain?

Hee! Nah, 'cause I feel like his brain already made love to me and my psyche. I can tell that for so long I was going through artistic withdrawal because this episode was like Whedon meth coursing through my veins.
Wait! Oh, I see how that....Oh my gosh, how could he think that way when....ECK!! Damnit, I should of seen that coming the moment....oh, that's just heartbreaking. Why did he....Ohh!

See a pattern here? Thank Goodness Joss is in town again!
I don't know how to do the fancy quotey thing yet (I really just started posting tonight), but "One of them makes you bust out of your blouse"...hilarious. Lol, b!X, but for real.
How do they get the imprints? Wouldn't they have to extract something from the dead wife's brain in order for that to work, right?

That would assume that they didn't know they were going to need the wife's imprint before she died.

Perhaps the Dollhouse kidnapped his wife while she was alive, scanned her, killed her, and then offered their services to the husband.

This would also give a clue about the true purpose of the dollhouse. Perhaps they give the clients a reason to need the dollhouse. Then they can get money from them, but also use them for some other purpose that might require a bunch of rich powerful people in the future.
Porn! Wow. I never post but I was so psyched! I had thought Mellie would be a doll some time after the Victor reveal, but then this ep I somehow became totally convinced she wasn't. Then she got so likable and Paul got so cute, so my daughter and I were looking at each other going Oh No! Unhollywood-shaped woman having fun in bed! He's respecting her mind! He's going for takeout--She's gonna die! And I was all pissy, thinking, OK, Joss, time to come up with a new idea, not *all* happy couples need to end in heartwrenching violence. . . come up with a new one . . . and then, the twist I had predicted and discarded was somehow all the more surprising and . . . twistier. Yes! with the funny and the dark and the moral ambiguity. HOORAY! and Porn!
this episode was like Whedon meth coursing through my veins.

I hear you Tonya J!

Almost makes me want to ask "did I fall asleep?";)
"That was so... neighborly!"
Love the Kindle line
As to the wife's memories, I get the distinct impression that they can create memories from scratch, but that skills and personality traits are sewn together Frankenstein-style from real people
Fredkins, welcome to the room! As for posting, check the top of the page. If you have any questions, just ask. We're friendly bunch here.
Spoilerphobe here... is it "safe" to read the original pilot script now? Have we passed all the developments in there?
My world is turvy-topsy.

Was anyone taking notes?

The look on the wife/girlfriend's face when the guy was going on about "Sometimes two guys just want to experiment" was priceless.

I loved the interviews - they brought up all the kinds of thoughts we'd had when we first heard about this, and also some others to consider.

But here's another: Were some of those Actives? That'd be a trip and a half - Mr. Public saying the Dollhouse is bogus is actually an activated Doll, planted to mislead the interviewer/viewing public.


Loved how Echo's painting was a representation of her "incomplete" engagement. (I missed one episode, so I don't know if this is something she does often; paint her engagements.) I was wondering if she was referring, though, to her implanted side-engagement - giving Paul insider info. Like she knew she wasn't done being "used" to bring the House down. So that was a bit of a mislead for me. I liked that she got to finish the engagement, and let Joel have his happy moment. That was bittersweet. (And...damn, now I want to write a Buffy/Dollhouse crossover. So many couples were broken...)

Vierra is adorable. (Sictor just doesn't work.)

Hearn was one sick bastard. That was so...disturbing. But it does bring up an interesting point - male handlers for female Dolls. Have we seen Victor's handler?

Mellie. OMG Mellie. WTH?!? Is she a Doll? Or an implanted...well, plant? I, also, wondered what would happen if the third flower was red.

I love that Paul told her she was beautiful. I was getting a bit of a Kaylee/Tara vibe from her a few times.

AND! What happened to Adelle's message on Paul's machine???

Goodness sakes, my brain hurts.

I wish I was able to hook my VCR up through the converter box so I could've taped this. Guess I'll just have to hope it comes out on DVD this summer, so I can watch them all in a row.
My thoughts.....

Well it was alot of fun.


Why were the man on the street videos not used as viral campaigning for dollhouse. Imagine if they were commercials for dollhouse and aired during other shows. It'd certainly bring in viewers. I also am annoyed it took 3 TERRIBLE episodes(with small amounts of awesome moments mostly involving a handler) and 2 OKAY episodes to get to a GREAT episode.

People don't give shows chances anymore especially when GREAT shows like Wonderfalls get canned after 3 episodes.This was a awesome episode BUT it was too much too late. Lets hope the ratings say otherwise.

If Joss had even made a OKAY pilot the show would have been growing in viewers rather than dropping. The only ratings jump Dollhouse has had was after a OKAY episode. So what do we need for Dollhouse to survive well, Echoes needs to be a GOOD episode, because this episode should create watch Dollhouse buzz, not much but if Dollhouse can consistently grow in viewers before it is pulled for Prison Break's return then it could finish the season and maybe even be granted a second.
No imprint from dead wife. Just a collection of similar qualities so he could see a reaction that his girl might have had.

No answer for the memories though, cuz they definitely wrote her as the anxious Rachel coming to see what was wrong.
I still think there is a way the dollhouse could have gotten the wife's imprint before the wife died, if her death was planned Lottalettuce.

We just don't have enough information yet.
I assumed that Bicks guy was Victor's handler.
OK. That was good. Scratch that: That was freaking awesome.

Five episodes in, after having little to do but make moon eyes and shuttle pasta, Mellie finally gets her spotlight. We get to know her, see how swell she is. But you know what? When a spotlight's on you, you're a much easier target.

The operatic music, the dire camera angles... yeah, I was sure she was a goner. And my heart began to sink like a stone encased in lead circling a black hole.

Then my favorite line of the series so far, even if the actor merely phoned it in: "There are three flowers in a vase..."

That. Was. Cool.
1) I totally called Mellie being a doll all along. And by "call" I mean thought repeatedly to myself without actually verbalizing it to anyone else in any sort of verifiable fashion.

2) Since love can't be forced, I'll just say I really, really liked tonight's episode.

3) That said, I'm going to cry if they cancel T:SCC.

4) Does anyone know where I can get the jacket Tahmoh wore to pick-up Chinese food? Joss, a little help, please?

5) Where did I put my copy of Chariots of the Gods? because, you know, the forefathers of the Tolteqs, etc, etc...
A couple thoughts...

Mellie did die! And it hurts so much (amazing that I grew to like her as much as I did in basically one episode). She died in that she isn't real. She's fake. There is no Mellie. It's just a created personality. It's almost worse this way than if she had simply been killed by Hearn. Instead of having a beautiful character get killed and then in turn being remembered as an awesome, beautiful character that we love, we have a character revealed to be basically fake. Non-existent. Completely not real. It hurts so much worse that way! She gets to keep "living," but only after "dying," so to speak. "Mellie"/November is ultimately revealed to be another walking empty shell. And it hurts :( (Although, who knows, maybe there are more layers to Mellie yet to come).

Also, check out the scene where Topher creates Echo's badass personality. Notice when he puts the hard drive thingy into the slot, the two doors behind him leading into the implanting room are closed. Then notice when he comes back into the room to get the hard drive thingy after talking with Boyd, the doors are slightly ajar. Ooo, mystery! An inside man, indeed!
I assumed that Bicks guy was Victor's handler.

He said he was only there for a week, subbing for Ramirez, Victor's actual handler, who I don't think we've actually seen yet.
My sweet Jebus, can that Joss Whedon guy write or what?

I watched the BSG final, took 2 tablets of Tylenol PM, saw a pretty extraordinary episode of Sarah Connor, and started Dollhouse with the drowsiness starting to set in. And having said that, this episode of Dollhouse will be the bit of television that will stay with me over the weekend.

So excited am I that got out of bed fully awake and now I'm posting and typing semi-coherently.

Joss kicks Diphenhydramine HCL's ass.
AMAZING episode!

LOVED to see more (a lot more) of Mellie!! She's soo sweet! And I didn't expect Paul to kiss her and all this quickly, and I loved it.

And then.... Mellie is a Doll!!! When the show started I expected this, cause of all that "There'll be no Victor, but we used the actor..." *and he turns out to be Victor* and the "There'll be no November, but we used the actress..." ... yeah, right. BUT, when after a while I was like, "ok, maybe not..." and then BAM!! AWESOME!! AWESOME!!! Sad (cause she's not really Mellie), but awesome.

Btw, Miracle Laurie is gorgeous.

Also, Victor/Sierra ... I'm loving it. Could Victor be any cuter? I think not.

The insider giving Paul info thing I totally did not expect, and didn't understand it all, need to watch it again and pay more attention. My mind already started thinking who might be... Dr. Saunders? (maybe together with Boyd... He calls Topher, she changes the imprint) Ivy? (which imdb tells me is Toppher's intern or something... I dunno what she is) ... It'll be fun to find out.

Another great thing (and very Joss-like) was the great mix of emotions on this. From porn joke (Eliza was amazing in that scene, btw, very funny) to sad (yet creepy) story with the guy reprising the day his wife died. From very dark (Sierra's and then Millie's -almost- rape) to to very cute (Victor and Sierra). And so on.

Oh, and fraking awesome fights. Echo and Paul and then Millie (November?) kicking ass.

There's so much more to comment, but it'd be too long.

So let me just say again: That was awesome. *claps*

[ edited by maxsummers on 2009-03-21 08:00 ]
[I]t does bring up an interesting point - male handlers for female Dolls. Have we seen Victor's handler?

Though I've not yet re-watched the episode, I'm fairly certain that the nervous man to whom Boyd was speaking on the Dollhouse catwalk (Bicks, John Darc said) was Victor's handler. I liked that he seemed concerned about Victor, though in light of what happened to Sierra's handler Bicks may have been concerned about reprisal for his vicarious misdeeds...

EBPTA: The ever-vigilant b!X seems to have answered this better than I, before I even finished doing so.
I think I'm in love. With Tahmoh, with Miracle, Eliza, Joss, everybody. What a powerful episode. I can't really translate my reaction into articulate words just yet, but I did want to say how much I loved the bedroom scene.

Sex scenes can be awkward or too staged in TV, but the Paul/Mellie scene was pretty realistic (great kissing!) and ultra hot. They kind of scorched my screen! I was shocked at how soon they took it to the next level. I really thought she'd remain the lovelorn neighbor always pining away for him.

And then I thought she was going to die! I was all, "Oh great, Joss strikes again!" But wait! She's an active! Holy christ.

And then at the end, with that song (what song was that?) and Patton Oswalt and Echo...I just wanted to cry from either happiness or sorrow or hopelessness, I couldn't decide.

Oh, Joss, what you do to me. Like I said, I'm in love! with a new show. *sigh*
Ronald-SF, I'm pretty sure that's everything. Amazing how much was packed into that script.

As for Adelle's message being left on the machine, I'm gonna guess it's gone, with some technical wizardry of some kind.

The wife was Eliza's best acting yet, and everyone else was uniformly excellent. Ballard is still my least favorite character, but he's getting depth and colors fast. The conversations with Mellie and Internet guy were fantastic, although no one is as insightful as internet guy was, especially in such a stressful situation.

I'm going with Echo/assassin girl's message as a manipulation, probably Adelle's.

I'm not hopeful that the ratings for this ep will be very good, due to BSG and college hoops, but people catching up on DVR and Hulu will be sucked in, I'm sure. Here's hoping the next few episodes see at least a slight increase in viewership.

[ edited by shambleau on 2009-03-21 08:32 ]
She's fake. There is no Mellie. It's just a created personality. It's almost worse this way than if she had simply been killed by Hearn. Instead of having a beautiful character get killed and then in turn being remembered as an awesome, beautiful character that we love, we have a character revealed to be basically fake. Non-existent. Completely not real. It hurts so much worse that way!

Indeed it does, Greendwood.

No hay banda. Il n'y a pas d'orchestre. There is no band. It is all a recording.

Too much awesome TV tonight. Will have actual thoughts tomorrow.
I think... I think I enjoyed that more than the Battlestar finale. There, I said it.

And not in a Joss way (I mean, there were certainly things only Joss's shows have given me, and this ep finally felt like something to follow Fray's and Firefly's progression in style and realism from the Buffyverse), but in a, dare I say it, Battlestar way.

This was compelling, twisty, surprising TV, when I didn't think there were going to be any surprises. I was sure, after the Victor reveal, that Joss was basically working his way back up to square one of the pilot, with November and Victor. I was both hoping for the November reveal of Mellie and dreading it as I liked Mellie SOOOOOO much. I like Miracle, because she is so supremely gorgeous and so realistically shaped. I like Mellie because she is so supremely awkward and vulnerable, and because I am so so so a Paul and that girl is the perfect way to get to me which is exactly why she's an active. But then he got me anyway. Joss used my previous experiences with his material to make me as blind as much as a new viewer. Even as I theorized that maybe Mellie was an active and this was a trap, I knew I was wrong, because of Penny's death and the lesson I learned there. As Paul ran to save her, I knew he wouldn't make it, because the gruesomeness was going to outdo Jenny Calender's demise, and it would remove obstacles between Paul and Echo, which we are assuming is the point, just as Mellie is.

Then, this happened. I fucking cheered at my TV out loud by myself. The scope of the Dollhouse is bigger than we thought. The scope of the Dollhouse's enemies is bigger than we thought. Mellie is still Mellie, but also not Mellie at all. Paul is not backed by the FBI any longer. Someone at the Dollhouse, possibly someone we hate (I'm counting on Topher or Dominic; Ivy, DeWitt, Saunders, or Boyd are almost so obvious as to be meaningless) is not as evil as we think. The clients, just like Johns, while not morally shiny, are people, who also tend to not be morally shiny 99.999 bar % of the time.

This has actually convinced me that even though I think I know who Alpha is, that Joss will actually surprise me with the reveal of the information I already know.
Wait! I have a question. What happens to the answering machine tape with Adelle's message about flowers? Does Mellie erase it or does Paul just think it was a crazy wrong number?
I'm thinking the tape might end up being static, erased, or removed altogether, them counting on Ballard being distracted by Mellie when he first gets home. Also, if you've got a video/audio tap on the man's apartment, you know his answering machine code and can erase a message from anywhere.
It's different. We knew November was going to be a thing. Joss just tried to lie about it. Some of us didn't believe him.

I believed him. It pays to be gullible in the Whedon fandom. :)
Oh man oh man. So much goodness! I agree with Lockescythe, the man on the street videos would have made fantastic commercials. Although the structure geek in me loves that they weren't used in that way, because they tie this episode together so extraordinarily well, and it would have been a shame to have seen them in another context beforehand (it probably would have taken away a bit of their power). But wow.

There's lots I want to say about this episode, but one thought keeps nagging me (and it's probably the kind of 'it sounded good at the time' 3 AM thought I'm likely to get at 2:54 AM). I'm guessing that lots of frequent Joss-watchers like me thought that Mellie was going to get raped and killed once the Handler attacked her, because that is what happens to Joss's characters when they are happy - they die. He knows this, we know this, he knows we know this. The twist then, is that Mellie pulls a Buffy out of nowhere, and fulfills our fantasy of Joss's couples managing to stay together despite the threat of death.

In other words, a doll fulfills our fantasy.

This seems rather curious to me. Instead of feeling overjoyed that the love interest stayed alive and all is well, the whole romance seems cheapened by its 'fakeness' - another type of death to the relationship. In some way, Mellie still was raped in this episode, in the sense that her power was completely taken from her. (In fact, what with the flashback-like suppressions of trauma that were previewed, I've got a feeling there will be a lot more correlations of Dollhouse-as-rape coming up, which makes sense, given its focus on power and its abuse. Ok so anyway!)

But what really chills me (and makes me more excited for the show) is that this detail forces us, at a real, immediate level, to confront and think about our fantasies, what they mean, and their power sometimes to help, but often to greatly hurt (often completely unintentionally).

Before, this (dangerous, unsettling) level of confrontation was a little more easy to throw aside, given that the bad guys were all Bad Guys who of course objectified and controlled these women because that's what the Bad Guys do. But in this episode, it was a lot harder to tell the bad guys from the good guys. There's the messy "I'm going to save the girl cause I'm a Nice Guy (TM)!" angle of the FBI dude, the "I'm kinda sketch but I got feeeelings and besides I'm just like everyone else" side of the nerd, and then all the nuance of the women/men on the street. And what Mellie shows us is that this level of messiness does not end where the TV ends, but rather is inside of us, where messiness and fantasy all collide and there aren't a lot of right answers but a whole lot of ways to mess up.

And its that level of mess and complication that gets me excited for this show.

(Sorry for the inarticulate rambling; it's late, and I need to watch the episode again and be able to pause to ramble incoherently about specifics.)
ebb_of_laughter, I wholeheartedly agree, and you made me think up some other things I meant to say but got distracted --

#1: In certain ways, the Dollhouse just got Paul to unwittingly rape November using the Mellie persona, someone obviously attracted to Paul enough for him to not feel imposing on her at all. And in that way, they used Mellie to rape Paul. The good news, however, is that --

#2: Mellie is not dead. One of the things Dollhouse is saying with the Echo, but even moreso with Victor and Sierra is that love cannot be faked and you can never truly erase a soul. I'm not getting religious here, I'm just saying that there's an underlying idea the show is saying about identity, that even without memories, that there is a person there underneath that cannot be helped. Call it the body without the mind, the innocent, animal self, the soul, what-have-you... Victor and Sierra are attracted to one another, and will be no matter what is in their past. Mellie is still alive and as real as you or I or someone who contracts amnesia or goes through trauma and comes out differently. The only way Mellie dies is if the "Mellie" imprint is erased forever and never put back into November. And DeWitt implied that November is in love with Paul. Even if she's being facetious, the Vierra plot implies that will come into play even without the Mellie persona.
because the gruesomeness was going to outdo Jenny Calender's demise

I was thinking about Jenny Calendar also, strangely enough. For some reason it felt similar.
Did anyone else think one of the interviewees was Stacey (Groupie #3) from Dr. Horrible? The one with the husband who liked the idea of gay engagements. I swear it was her.
PuppetDoug, I absolutely agree. Very interesting point about the love of November/Mellie, and all the various ways the power works and doubles back on itself and all that craziness. And it will be really interesting to see what other directions the show takes concepts of identity, the soul, and, really, the very meaning of humanity. (woooo existential crises wooooo). Sierra/Victor is especially unique and cool and will be really nice to see play out.
Three flowers = Echo, Sierra and November

Green = kick-ass
Yellow = current active personality mode
Red = ?

How's my theory sound?
Interesting, Nile. I couldn't make heads or tails of the flowers thing myself.
The lesson I took from this ep was that "In Joss We Trust" is never a misguided notion.
Especially since I watched it just a couple of hours after the BSG series finale (weird time-zone issues, working out well for me)and one of the best T:TSSC yet.

I really didn't think anything could completely distract me from the whole "psyche overload" from BSG, even for an hour. But this ep did it. Now I'm back to that sinking feeling that BSG is gone forever and that I've lost something irreplaceable in my life.

But that doesn't take anything away from the awesomeness of Man on the Street, you can't compare a four season investment in one of the greatest shows ever on TV, to a six ep investment in a show that has obviously been tampered with by those who should stay in their offices and let the creators create (no matter how Joss doth protest, because .... well, he wants to get renewed and have a chance to tell his story).

But the tampering has been so obvious to me, up until now, that a part of my mind has been buzzing in the background of every other ep, "this is pure Joss, that was Fox meddling". That voice was completely stilled, in this ep. Bravo Joss!

I hope it isn't too late, it's in the middle of a big sports period again and it was up against BSG in a lot of time zones apparently, plus another network is madly hyping an upcoming show called Kings, that I think will be in the same time slot (could be wrong about that).

Will think good positive hopeful thoughts (and stick pins in little dolls in suits). ;)

[ edited by Simon on 2009-03-21 09:57 ]
ebb_of_laughter, if that's inarticulate rambling, please don't ramble articulately; I'm a philosophy major, and my self-worth is dependent upon my ability to out-communicate/-articulate my peers.

I don't know enough about mark-up to know why this is appearing so tiny, nor whether it's an oddity unique to my machine or browser. Sorry to hurt anyone's eyes.

[ edited by Mercenary on 2009-03-21 09:49 ]
tiny tiny tiny tiny.

It's happening to me too.

I think Shey did it, with the voodoo needles ;)

[ edited by ShanshuBugaboo on 2009-03-21 09:52 ]
Oh good, we're no longer the land of the Whedonesque small people. And the episode is now up on FoD (linked to on this entry), I'll add the Hulu and iTunes links later.
No more munchkin land!

Aww man, the Fox on Demand vids are so grainy for me :-(

Does anyone else think that the guy in the beginning who goes: "They're out there...dolls" is hilarious?
Oh good, we're no longer the land of the Whedonesque small people.

Not sure what that means, but yay?
Fascinating bit of trivia about this episode from

Interesting coincidence: In May of 1966 the band The Blue Things released a single with the song Doll House on the front side and one called Man On The Street on the back side. The song Doll House was about a young girl's life as a prostitute, which some think is a similar concept to the Dollhouse in the series.

That episode moved me to tears.

I loved the Dollhouse episodes before this; I was always on board and fan'd. But now... it's a part of me.

Being a frequent person here, I was *spoiled* from before that Mellie was November. But then I thought, okay, maybe not. Then I thought, oh, she's sure to die. It as always either/or. Never both. Awesome. I don't think anyone can call Joss a one-hat-trick guy again. He definitely fooled me. And I love him for it. I'm so glad I'm going to Paley...

EVERYONE is this episode was *more* than they seemed to be at first (in the first 5). That was rewarding. I had fretted (at first) that Agent Ballard would be like the (ex)FBI agent on T:TSCC, but that is not the case (so happy!). Paul & Mellie gave excellent vibes, and in one fell swoop a veil is lifted (for both the characters & the audience) and we really get to see what's going on.

I wonder what the other two flowers in the vase do. And what happens if the third one is red, instead of green or yellow.

My thoughts exactly, Taaroko. I noticed that the *green* flower made her a killer, so I associated the green as *go kill*. Then when she went back to her *Mellie* state, the flower was *yellow*, which I took to be *hang out and be in love until I call on you again*. The *red*... could it be a self-destruct sort of thing? Are those the only codes? Adelle only uses the right vase for operation, what do the other 2 do? Do all of the Dolls have this?

I loved the Victor/Sierra moments. They are so cute together. Her sharing the book with him at the end was the beginning of my tears.

Echo was lovely. Her wife role was hilarious and touching. I loved the painting of the house. I find it interesting that Adelle finds the need to communicate to Echo, and even goes so far as to complete the mission. Adelle has really provided an extra dimension to her character that I haven't seen before. Even Dominic (who I was sure was *evil*) was so... humane. It was beautiful and confusing, all at the same time.

So this is what it looks like to look through Joss' gray-colored glasses. I like them.

Next week looks hilarious and fun. I can't wait to see Dominic's "heavy gun" moment. LOL.

This is truly a fantastic show. *cheers, whoops, and the occasional panty-tossing*
Does anyone else think that the guy in the beginning who goes: "They're out there...dolls" is hilarious?

He's the guy from the music video! All I can think of whenever I see him is that the background looks an awful lot like the outside of Fox studios where a bunch of us went to picket in support of the Writers Strike on Mutant Enemy Day.
Those interviews were hilarious. And the guy not being afraid to experiment while his wife (?) looks at him funny was the cheese on the cheesecake.
Oh, I'm talking about the first interviewee (ok no idea how to spell that...but that's definitely not right) not the interviewer. But yes, I recognized the interviewer/news man from the awesome music vid :-)
That was kinda poetic. As one show died (and I'm not talking about it ending) another has risen in its place. Cause ladies and gentlemen, we've got a show. This was all that I hoped for Dollhouse to be and while it took a while to get there, now it's here for real and I can't wait for it to continue. Almost immediately this episode felt different somehow in a way that I can't define. But this was a Joss show... And it was beautiful!

(And I love how he played on our preconceptions of him killing the cute girl and then flipping that on its head. Joss, you have yet again proven your genius.)

And however not gonna go into detail regarding the other dying show really, just that I did enjoy the first 60 minutes and that I'll simple choose to ignore those last 30+ minutes for the most part. I will try to not let it ruin my enjoyment of that show...

[ edited by Djungelurban on 2009-03-21 11:04 ]
I love it when they throw the pans at each other. Or when Echo flips Paul onto the side of the car (and his feet are in the air). Ouch!
Back to one of OneTeV's earlier comments, I was pretty amazed by the elevator shot too and still wonder if they actually had one massive set (which hey, they do) but just imagine it to be so much more likely that they cheated like in Serenity. There's like a frame or two where things seem to jitter like an elevator coming to pause where I imagine they could have pulled a "Bewitched" style edit. Even though I sort of got distracted by "hey, how they'd do that?" it still really sells the idea that this is one contiguous place.

As for that thing about how Mellie is a doll after all, I actually bought into the misinformation a little bit. I still haven't read the original pilot and just read press releases (which aren't really ever considered spoiler material right?) but after they used Victor as a doll anyway (which I kind of found inevitable since he's in all the promotional pictures in the same style clothes as other actives) I thought that it was pretty unlikely that we'd see November pop up. I still think that's pretty true though since we were introduced to her as Mellie and I imagine this is a role she might have going on for awhile, whereas if we knew her as "November" then we might come to expect something more like Sierra where she would just keep popping in and out of different other characters.

Speaking of the other dolls, while I've come to accept that this series will mostly follow Dushku (who totally sells the badass thing she basically slips into every episode-- but I even liked her performance as Rachel freaking out about "porn!"), I'm a bit bummed out that we don't get to see a bit more of the empty shell actives. They all seem to be way more aware than I ever thought, but most of the scenes on screen emphasize how they come off a little bit bison. (They're just sitting there munching on lettuce and broccoli?!) I wish we'd see whatever free time they get to interact with each other unsupervised where Sierra could get the impression Victor wanted to play House...
It's late, and I have to get up early, so I can't read everything... But I will say, having been to the Dollhouse set, the elevator gag was TV trickery. I need to watch it again to figure out how they did it. I have a pretty good theory though. The main Dollhouse set and Adelle's office are on separate next-door stages and aren't even lined up in a way to make it work physically. Adelle's windows face the Dollhouse main set. So it was trickery with editing. Very nicely done I might add.

EDIT: Okay, watched it already.... Watch when Dominic crosses the frame after they get off the elevator. That's the edit. And very nicely done indeed. BTW, notice the camera doesn't even pass the elevator doors, so they never close, so not a real elevator (or at least not used as one in that shot).

Is late, g'night!!! |-)~

[ edited by bobw1o on 2009-03-21 11:32 ]
Oh, this was good !
Just watched again. Now I'm incredibly tired but happy. (My mind must be wanting spring rolls at the moment.) Will write more tomorrow (when I watch it again on DVR). Yay!
Watched again too :-P Me go bed now.

I love this episode.
To answer a few q's:

a) No real elevator on the set. It's all done in editing (also, kudos to the director and camera guys).
b) November isn't even in the original pilot script.
c) Ivy is the hot asian lab assistants name.

To pose a few q's:

a) If Mellie isn't even real, can you fall in love with her?
b) 'cos I loves me some Mellie

Edit: bob wins at life.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-03-21 11:56 ]
Gossi in regards to your question of how you can fall in love with something that's not real, it's something that I've been pondering, too.

If you believe the hype that one really does have a 'soul mate' , what happens when the soul is removed and the body remains? Since science has shown that a major part of love is indeed physical attraction, would they still be your soul mate if implanted in the body of a 300 pound member of the opposite sex?

Perhaps more fittingly, what if Mellie's personality and memories were to be somehow implanted in Echo? Could we expect Echo/Paul fireworks?

Oh my Joss, I think I kinda love this show...
Okay, that episode was the stuff of pure AWESOMENESS!

Patton Oswalt was terrific! And it blew me away when his fantasy turned out to be not exactly creepy, but sweet and s little pathetic. PORN!

I never believed Victor raped Sierra, but wasn't sure who had.

Victor just broke my heart when he said he thought he'd done something bad but no one would tell him what. The sad, bewildered look on his face almost brought me to tears.

Whoa, Mellie/Paul hotness! (I want a cup of Paul's sugar!) Oh, no! She's so gonna die!

Was definitely not expecting Echo to give Paul info on the Dollhouse. Now I'm gonna wonder all the time who the inside person is. But what a killer (almost literally) fight scene!

And what a horrific fight scene with Mellie. I thought sure she was a goner. But then the phone call. Oh, wait, she's a doll! (I KNEW IT!!! I KNEW IT!! I KNEW IT!!!) But then, like all great Joss episodes I start wondering "Is she a true Doll or is she (like Spike in season 7) simply implanted with a post-hypnotic suggestion and a sleeper agent?" (though the breaking of the slimy handler's neck reminded me more of Buffy with the Lei-Ach demon in Family. I don't want Mellie to be fake!

"It's unfinished." Yes, the fantasy was unfinished, and I liked the way Echo seemed to understand that it wasn't finished.

Victor/Sierra = a twosome of cuteness

And Adelle gets all the coolest lines!

I want more NOW!!! Is it next Friday yet?

[ edited by Giles'chainsawchick on 2009-03-21 14:54 ]
What a good episode!

I can't add anything that hasn't been said, but I'm so thankful we've moved onto a different plane, quality-wise and story-wise. I love the extra complexity and layers.
..... Okay, this show has fully cemented its place in my heart.

Oh, and I think I have a new girl-crush. Her name is Miracle Laurie. The "sleeper active" thing just... Wow. Wasn't expecting that.

Bring on the next episode!
I dunno. Some things really don't add up after a moment's thought. The biggest for me is this: (1) We must have the dumbest FBI in history. Ballard is forced to hand in his gun and badge after shooting the cop (and after a huge fight that had to have been witnessed by someone), but the feds are so stupid that they fail to also take into account the fact that the woman Ballard just slept with was attacked in her home, right next to Ballard's, and a man is killed there? (2) In fact, I don't even see why it was necessary to send the rapist over to Mellie's house to get killed. There was no reason to do it in the context of the story- Ballard already knows the DH in on to him, so there is no need to send that message by killing his lover. So they killed the rapist handler by Mellie because Mellie won't remember what she did? So what? They could have killed him by throwing him off a bridge or doing whatever and it would not matter who remembered. No, the only reason they sent him to Mellie is for the audience, to make the audience think Mellie was going to die. That's pretty manipulative, and when you already know she is a doll, also not a surprise she lives. Plus, as I noted above, I do not think Joss will ever kill someone right after having sex, ever again. But that's me.

Someone noted the similarity to the Cylons- who is a doll and who is not? I was afraid of this. Someone also noted about Adelle caring for her dolls and how this is all shades of grey. Well, not with Adelle, you know? The fact she cares about the dolls (and we do not know what that caring really means; maybe she just cares about her investment, rather than the people they were) hardly wipes the slate clean of the fact she just had someone killed. This makes her evil. Period. Does not matter what the guy killed did. All they were doing was covering the DH. Since they no longer could trust him.

Finally, the idea of the DH as all powerful, as something more than a sophisticated rental unit for the wealthy, but in actuality something influencing global politics, is to me, meh. Been there, done that. This would work better if it stuck to the local. IMVHO.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2009-03-21 13:11 ]
The fact she cares about the dolls (and we do not know what that caring really means; maybe she just cares about her investment, rather than the people they were) hardly wipes the slate clean of the fact she just had someone killed. This makes her evil. Period. Does not matter what the guy killed did.

Like Willow!
I think the FBI is in on the Dollhouse. Shades of the X-Files.
Couple of quick things:

The actor playing Victor does a startlingly good job separating his 'Lubov' personality from Victor - while Echo and Caroline seem to be converging in some ways, he's moving toward something we haven't seen, and the work he's doing with his face alone is startling.

This week's fantasy/inner story was the most satisfying so far, the least didactic - and far and away Joss's most interesting handling of the 'Internet baron/nerd' type on his TV shows. I'm telling ya: Dr Horrible has had a real effect on his writing. Topher is clearly something of a creepy self-flagellating Joss proxy - and in this ep we got the most satisfying version yet of brilliant/quippy/angsty/arrogant Topher. No surprise that it took Joss's pen.

Atop which, the male-protector roles also allegorize Joss's role on the show - and the director raping the actress is really close to Joss's original intent with the series, I suspect.

The academic's talking head was 'melodramatic,' in a friend's words, but its ending - maybe the end of us is only fair - was devastating. Just about every talking head was a rotation away from where I expected it to be.

Best non-Joss direction of a Whedon script yet.

Waxbanks- that thought, about Willow, had crossed my mind!

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2009-03-21 13:39 ]
Dana5140: I don't think (1) is really an accurate description/problem; but I'll have to rewatch the episode before I can get back to that. And

(2) In fact, I don't even see why it was necessary to send the rapist over to Mellie's house to get killed. There was no reason to do it in the context of the story- Ballard already knows the DH [is] on to him, so there is no need to send that message by killing his lover. So they killed the rapist handler by Mellie because Mellie won't remember what she did? So what? They could have killed him by throwing him off a bridge or doing whatever (...)

No, this way they 'killed two (or three) birds' with one stone:
Paul Ballard is shown that the Dollhouse will go after not just him, but anyone he cares about if he continues his investigation;
they get rid of the rapist handler; and Paul and his neighbor get closer (emotionally) by sharing a traumatic experience (so she can be all the more effective in keeping tabs on and influencing him).

[ edited by Tristan on 2009-03-21 14:36 ]
Blargh, this was supposed to be "The one episode to rule them all?" I thought it was rather weak, but it did kill time most excellently. Also, have an internet-review.

Man on the Street Review
Then notice when he comes back into the room to get the hard drive thingy after talking with Boyd, the doors are slightly ajar.

Doh, you're completely right. So that would rule out Topher, Boyd, and probably Ivy (she left via a different exit?). Not a lot of likely suspects left, besides Saunders.
Blargh, this was supposed to be "The one episode to rule them all?"

Has anybody ever said that? I think Joss's words to the press were 'these episodes are a better representation of the vision of the series', which some members of the press did kinda run away with.

That said, I don't think it was a game changer myself, because the game is still exactly the same - Paul is trying to get in to the Dollhouse, Echo is trying to get out, Mellie is fictitious (and more than a little good looking).

I do think it's a really good episode, though. In particular, the thriller'n'twisty aspect works.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-03-21 14:30 ]
Tristan= given they just had sex, I am not sure your argument holds weight- they are already close. Again, I believe the main reason it was done was to fool the audience into thinking Mellie was at risk in order to get the big reveal that she was also a doll.

nasarius: which means it is not Saunders.
The scene where Joel Mynor talks trash to Paul Ballard seems at one level to have Mynor in total control of the situation and the conversation- but they both kept their secrets. Mynor may be more involved with the Dollhouse than just as a client, and Ballard never told him what his connection to Echo is. This leaves things open for a Mynor return AND keeps us clueless on Ballard's whys.
Well, there's close and then there's closer... anyway that would still leave 'two of my three stones', whereas you said
There was no reason to do it in the context of the story (...)
(so it was just manipulating the audience;) I don't agree with that.
I mean, sure, they were also using it to 'manipulate' the audience, but I have no problem with that as long as it makes sense in the story (and to me it did). Adding some extra suspense is not a bad thing IMO.

[ edited by Tristan on 2009-03-21 15:00 ]
Amazing episode. I fell for almost everything. I love it.

On a different note: Does anyone else think that Topher's cute assistant looks like an Asian Olsen twin?
FINALLY! An episode that felt Joss-like, plot twisty and witty. I love Echo as Rebecca (PORN!), the Ratatouille Remy-the-rat references, and the evil handler thrown through glass.

I love that hungry for Topher equals almond-crusted salmon. Not a burger. Or Chinese. Hmmm...

My only question is, when Paul is running to rescue Mellie, he's got his cell up to his ear, we presume, to call and warn her. We hear the phone ringing in the apartment, then realize it's Adelle calling. So, who was Paul calling? I would think he would get a busy signal, right?

All-in-all... Luved it.
Absolute awesomeness. Loved the layers, constant plot twists, the fight scenes, everything! I knew Mellie would have some other purpose than to turn up with pasta all the time but I did not expect that!
I just wanted to hug Victor when he said 'I think I did something bad' and the Victor/Sierra stuff was very cute. It seems to be beginning to fall apart for the Dollhouse now - they can't control every aspect of the dolls.
Yep, this was good tv, now we're getting somewhere, with just enough pieces of the puzzle and connections between the pieces now available to make the rollercoaster ride enjoyable.

Ah pasta girl you've earned your name, Mellie it is. If there is a third remote command I'd bet it is 'kill your target', having Ballard dating his potential killer gives the Dollhouse all the options.

And the inside man/woman is ...
What if the insider is really a fakeout by Echo herself hiding her real abilities behind the role of an active ?
Too twisty maybe, I'm not sure anymore, I know I'm going to enjoy the reveal when it happens.
This was such a smart episode...nothing spoon-fed. Loved it!

However, I'm concerned (as some above mentioned) that this will turn into a constant debate about who is and isn't a skrull. Er, a Doll.
Adelle's message must be gone - it was in Mellie's apartment, yes? The whole place is rigged - cameras and all - and they would certainly create a message machine that erases messages because that's how they trigger her.
I watched it again, and loved it even more. My new favorite moment is the small sad look on Dr. Saunders' face when she and Topher are interviewing Victor and Topher says, "That's kind of the point: beauty." Very well done, Ms. Acker.
I'm not so sure that the thing at the end of the ep was Adelle letting Echo finish the mission, but rather a flashback of the actual mission. We don't see the internet mogul and his "wife" until they enter the house and Paul sees them. The entire conversation shown at the end of the episode takes place outside of the house before he ever brings her inside.

Not sure though - I guess I'll have to go back and rewatch :)
Gossi in regards to your question of how you can fall in love with something that's not real, it's something that I've been pondering, too.

Seems to me to be something that many of us do on a regular basis. How many people fall in love with someone, only to realize later that what they saw and loved was a projection of what they wanted onto the other person?
As John Locke would say, "We're gonna have to watch that again."

The good parts -- which were pretty much the whole gorram thing -- kept whizzing by so fast, I felt kind of light-headed by the end. This should definitively put to rest strained comparisons to other shows and characters ("a little bit Alias, a little bit Buffy, a little bit X").

It wasn't like anything else. This was new.
I totally LOVED it. Loved the Mellie reveal where we think she's gonna die but then she hears the poem and kills the rapist. Handled beautifully. I love Adelle. I also loved the sad little dot com guy, and the poignant visit at the end. And loved the "men" on the street. And plus, action, twistiness and emotion abounded. Thanks Joss. You totally delivered. Can't wait to watch it again.

Can y'all believe how different (in a very good way) this ep was from the first five? This was so obviously Joss.
This is it, Joss is clearly IN THE BUILDING!!!! Great show. But I see no reason to believe every word of Echo's warning to Paul, because, after all, she's just reading a script.

So her warning may be about one thing when something else is actually going on.

I didn't mind the 5 week leadup (except for the parts I didn't like) because the GINORMOUS ROLLERCOASTER has crested the first hill and is on its way!!!!

JossIzBoss, I think the last scene with the internet mogul fulfilling his fantasy was real - after all, he showed Ballard that he is protected, and he didn't get "what he paid for" the first time around.

Tin Ear Tom - "This was new." Abso-frikkin-lutely! Dollhouse: complex, twisty, sci-fi, mystery, emotional, kick-ass!
My theory: Echo is the inside person. The wipe doesn't work on her correctly, so she retains a lot of information. This may be because of something Alpha did (perhaps forcing her to break through and access skills from another engagement when on a different engagement), or it may be something she has in common with Alpha. Anyways, she is the one masterminding the attack on Dollhouse.
Loved it loved it loved it. This is why Joss is, for me, the best in the world at what he does. An episode that takes you everywhere, makes you feel everything. Death. Revelations. Mysteries. Practically every line had a memorable aspect to it. I'm rambling. I love this show, next week please!
I'm now a believer. Thank you, once again, Joss Whedon.
gossi: If Mellie isn't even real, can you fall in love with her?

missb: would they still be your soul mate if implanted in the body of a 300 pound member of the opposite sex?

From 3 different sources, the answer is "yes". :-)

1) "Dark City" - Emma/Anna personality was created by the Strangers. Of course, it helps that she looks like Jennifer Connelly.
2) "Now & Again" - Only lasted one season, but the Michael Wiseman character had his brain moved from an ordinary person to a fabricated superman. (Again, helps that he now looks like Eric Close.)
3) "Lathe of Heaven" by Ursula LeGuin - Awesome book (and the original PBS movie was pretty trippy too). George Orr ponders if it is possible to grieve for a wife who never existed (after the reality change). Book ends with the challenge of reconnecting with someone who is different, but the soul is the same, if you will.
Anybody wondering if Boyd was working with Alpha? Distracting Topher?

Yes. Wondered during second viewing. That would be so Joss.
Although I have enjoyed this show from the first episode, "Man on the Street" did indeed raise it to a whole new level! I have seen glimpses of 'Jossness' throughout the first five episodes. Having watched Joss's shows and analysed them for hours, I never doubted that what we were seeing had much more meaning than it appeared on the surface and I was willing to be patient for it to unfold as he saw fit. I also had no problem seeing Eliza in different roles and not thinking 'Faith' continually.

This episode, though, hit a home run out of the ball park and so far past it that it is impossible to see where the ball went - or is going! (Too much metaphor? and I'm not even a baseball fan!) I agree with the person above who said this was the best non-Joss direction of one of his scripts. I thought it came together in a note-perfect way.

So much was packed into that 50+ minutes: 1) The Internet mogul who just wanted to see the look on his wife's face when he showed her how far they'd come and yet slept with the 'doll' each year because she was there and she was hot. 2) Victor and Sierra - could they be any cuter? I was glad that it was her handler. I thought it might be, since he was so sleazy from the beginning (Joss setting us up) and yet I believed it was Victor's temporary handler when they took him away so the twist and reveal was effective.

I'm not sure if there is a 'mole' or if Echo was just following the script. After all, she had to disarm - and 'disarm' Paul - in order to hand him back his gun and force him to shoot the officer. To me that looked perfectly planned so that he would be suspended and discredited and be much less of a threat to the dollhouse. However, I don't think they took into account the relationship he has developed with his colleague who may still be willing to help him. I don't think we've seen the last of Mark Sheppard's character either.

As for sending the handler after Mellie, I think that was a win-win for Adelle on several fronts. It put him at arm's length from the Dollhouse; if he succeeded in killing Mellie, blame could be put on Paul and/or the handler would go to jail for murder - and who would believe the ravings of someone obviously unstable (plus if he did say something, his rape of Sierra would undoubtedly come to light); but most of all, it was a test of Mellie's conditioning, for lack of a better word. I think this is something Adelle has done on her own - maybe with help from Topher, but probably not. In "Gray Hour", she said they were working on remote wiping and this was a step in that direction. Mr. Dominic was obviously not in on it - she sent him out of the room and specifically said to him that Paul telling a 'civilian' so much was a threat to them, thus giving her a valid reason for sending the handler after Paul/Mellie. I wonder if her bosses are aware of this remote 'ability'.

The camera was in Paul's apartment, as was the attack. Paul had gone out just to pick up the Chinese food and Mellie was dressed in one of his shirts. I assumed he was calling her cell phone, although we are obviously supposed to think that the ringing phone was him, but it was ringing in his ear several moments before it started ringing in the apartment.

Finally, regarding moving the soul from one body to another: I don't believe that is what they are doing. They are removing personalities, but the soul remains, as we are seeing - and isn't that what Joss has said this show is all about?

He also said in at least one interview that we are coming in at the beginning of the end [of Dollhouse], when it all begins to unravel.

I can't wait to watch this episode again - and then see what happens next week! ('Course I should probably watch the BSG finale first.)
The Echo / Ballard fight scene was fantastic. As was the reveal that Echo's programming had been messed with (which we already suspected, after Topher went back to the room after talking with Boyd). I think Adelle is the "inside man." Because I want her to be ;). (She would know enough to get Boyd off an engagement she didn't want watched too closely, too).

The handler going to kill Mellie - that scene was utterly excruciating. Brilliantly shot, brilliantly played by Miracle Laurie. And then Adelle's voice on the answer machine - god, what a mix of creepiness, horror, delight and relief all at once! That whole scene is going to linger with me for a long time.

I think this episode works as well as it does because it's the sixth episode ... we did need the setup. It's just tricky, hooking people before you give them the really good stuff (which is only really good if you wait a little before giving it). Anyway I hope the positive reviews lead to an uptick in viewership.

The actor playing Victor does a startlingly good job separating his 'Lubov' personality from Victor - while Echo and Caroline seem to be converging in some ways, he's moving toward something we haven't seen, and the work he's doing with his face alone is startling.

I know! We haven't had a chance to see him do much but he really is fantastic, isn't he? Looking forward to more of him.
-Why doesn't Adelle freak out that Echo can even remember that she didn't get to finish the assignment? She was wiped, right? Even if wiped, residues of assignments should worry Adelle.
-I'm worried about Ballard's reaction when he finds out that Mellie is a doll. The recrimination about partaking in the dollhouse evil enterprise is gonna be huge. And if Ballard has deeper "neighborly" feelings, are we/Ballard being set up to hate the Dollhouse that much more when Ballard feels betrayed?
-I'm not entirely convinced that there is an inside person. They've thrown Ballard a bone so that he will back off some. Otherwise, what was the point in sending Caroline/Echo specifically? Take away the 'message' from the scene. She's only there to distract Paul while Mellie gets a chance to kill Hearn? Doesn't make sense.
-I, too, wondered about the elevator. I love that Joss puts thought into details like that.

Loved this episode. So far I'd rank this at the best, followed by The Target, then the pilot. The other three were all okay to me but not stellar.
This episode, as others have said, was INCREDIBLE.

That fight scene was probably the best fight scene I've seen in a long time. And the part where Mellie was being thrown around by the rapist handler was just awful. I was sitting their holding my breath, covering my face and trying not to watch. It was very intense.

I think the inside man might be Echo herself.
Why doesn't Adelle freak out that Echo can even remember that she didn't get to finish the assignment? She was wiped, right? Even if wiped, residues of assignments should worry Adelle.

There is definitely more going on with Adelle than we know about yet, and a connection between her and Echo that hasn't been fully revealed. Love it!
Loved every second of it, totally on board. 100%.

I feel bad saying it, but I think the key when it comes to Eliza is less is more. This is an ensemble show. I feel convinced that firstly she doesn't need to carry the other cast members, and secondly she can't. Eliza is a great actress, but so is everyone else on this show, and they all have amazing characters and arcs of their own. Eliza is only a piece of the puzzle. So far the episodes have been 90% her. This one strayed from that and I would be happy to see more of this in the future.

Major Victor and Sierra love. Topher, Adele, Boyd, Paul, Mellie all amazing too. Can't wait for next week!
OneTeV - I totally loved Now & Again. Yet another Friday night show that didn't deserve to be cancelled. Heather Matarazzo was fantastic as Wiseman's daughter.
Just re-watched. I don't get a Warren vibe off Topher so much as I get a Mr. Universe vibe. I'm not sold on him as full on evil but I'm sure he's capable as long as the price is right.
Is Sophia Crawford (SMG's Buffy stunt double) Eliza's double in this? I swear I read that somewhere before the show started, and now I can't find it anywhere.

Yes, that was random and OT.

To say i really enjoyed this episode might be the monumental understatement of the century.

Victor is adorable. And Echo's last "PORN" had me dying laughing for reasons I can't comprehend.

I was already in. Now I'm IN.
Why is this awesome ep not yet on iTunes?
I thought Eliza was very funny as Rebecca too :).

This is the first one I've wanted to re-watch, and that's a fun feeling. Re. the fight scene, loved that flippy jump from lying on back to get back on feet (I have no name for it...) Echo did on the car. It was so Buffy. Aside from it being really creative and well put together, both Tahmoh and Eliza can really sell a fight scene and it was so much fun to watch them go up against each other!
catherine - That move (the sinuous spring from supine to standing or crouching) is called a kip-up.
Why is this awesome ep not yet on iTunes?

I was wondering the same thing, it's usually up by now.
I would like some feedback on the remark made by Paul to the client (during the champagne and strawberries conversation) regarding the Japanese having the zeros, not the Germans. This remark seems so oddly out of context that I am wondering if it is supposed to be a clue to the identity of the rogue programmer (rather than simply an insult to the client in the moment). Perhaps the zeros refer to binary code? I do not know whether Ivy is supposed to be Japanese (Liza Lapira has played both Chinese and Japanese roles in the past--Michelle Lee on NCIS and Yuki Amado on Dexter). (And I agree with people who have commented that setting Ivy up as the rogue is too obvioius.) Perhaps the line refers to characters we've not yet met or to some type of international conspiracy regarding the Dollhouse. Or perhaps it means nothing at all. Comments?
That move (the sinuous spring from supine to standing or crouching) is called a kip-up.

Thank you for that bit of information! I have been wondering for years what that was called. I have almost asked the question about here numerous times, but I always think it is so OT, so I don't follow through.

I don't think the zeroes comment had anything more to do that be a lame (and, of course, incorrect) metaphor the guy was using to say how many zeroes were on his paycheck. I thought it had more to do with his character than with anything nefarious. Was the client supposed to be programmed, or to know more about the Dollhouse beyond the actives he has met on his anniversaries? He was the one who said it.

[ edited by palehorse on 2009-03-21 19:50 ]
@ palehorse... interesting, I hadn't thought of the possibility of the client knowing more about the Dollhouse. I had simply meant that the "zeros" clue was for the audience (in the way that LOST contains clues for the audience). But your idea that the client may be providing the FBI agent with a clue for future use is intriguing.
willowcedar, I assumed it was something to show that this guy was ego-preening about how smart he was, and then Joss undercutting it. (Kinda reminded me of the "Animal House" Belushi-speech.) A CS major may not have been as interested in taking history classes in college.

Now that I think about it, most of my WWII knowledge comes from TV ("Black Sheep", "World at War" documentaries) and Avalon Hill board games, not from school.

[ edited by OneTeV on 2009-03-21 20:00 ]
...just watched for second time...with utter surprise that I had tears in my eyes again at the final scene with "Rebecca" and Joel Mynor. Have yet to watch BSG Finale, because I want to give it its own emotional space, and I've obviously not detached from this experience yet...

...on the subject of Fox meddling: The podcast that couch-somethingorother did with Minear last week noted that, if you listen to old Angel commentaries, the idea of doing the first six episdes of a new series as "six pilots" is something in Joss' head long ago, and I think he is right to think this long does it take for a groundswell of buy-in to happen even for the shows with the best initial word of mouth and groundswell of ratings? three or four episodes minimum in which the new viewers need to be let in on the concept? Probably. I've now read the pilot (no spoilers here, don't worry) and it does not suggest to me that we would have gotten to the reveals and twists we have here any earlier. We certainly wouldn't have had the opportunity for our interest in and affection/dislike of all of the characters to develop enough that the show could start to play with this emotional baggage. Would some of the plots have been more interesting along the way, possibly with a tad less experience of "ick" without meddling? Probably, though I believe waxbanks' blog post does get at something key about the "ick" here.

...not as much Eliza this episode, which is fine. Notice this show is called "Dollhouse" (like "Firefly"), not "Echo" (like "Buffy" or "Angel"). If "Angel" was the flipside of "Buffy" (I have essay length thoughts on how it was structured to be this, but not now), then "Dollhouse" is the flipside of "Firefly." Instead of being in the warm (if tenuous) family embrace of a small ship out in the black, keeping its' distance from the evil Alliance, here we have our "family" firmly on the very inside of the beast, and from there, we will meditate on what it means to act from this if Mal and Zoe, way back when, had been captured by the Alliance and become early prototypes for what would be done to River, and the story started there, with River as the product 20 years in of this project, just as Echo joins the dollhouse, it appears, some 20+ years after its' founding...

...for a "genre" show, the show is starting to put a lot of supposedly more realistic cop/etc. shows to shame. Was I wrong to see a teensy little slam at a few other shows when Topher quized Boyd about whether he had some cool cop skills at "reading" people that let him solve the rape mystery and Boyd responded "I did the work"? Or that, despite the sci-fi twist in the attack on Mellie, there was still more of a sense of the real trauma that Mellie (however we define her persona) went through than there is in a season's worth of the clinical after the fact analysis on L&O: SVU?...the writer of the Atlantic article elsewhere on the front page of Whedonesque today is very eloquent in reminding us that, much as we love Joss' dialogue and mythologies, these are ultimately not why he has such a devoted fan base...most non-"genre" teevee only wishes it had the ability to stick to the human heart of its characters as insistently as Joss does...

...breaking doors or opening doors, and how does that reflect on us? A secret door opens for Sierra's assignation, then Boyd punches the culprit through plate glass. Ballard uses a glass door to block an attack in a fight with Echo after seeing her reflected in the glass window of another door. Hearn reflected in a glass door as he sits bound for interrogation at Adelle's feet. Are we through the lookingglass now? And then we get the open door behind Topher (kudos to the poster above who drew my attention to this) after he is distracted by Boyd. I rewatched the scene, wondering if it were possibly a continuity error, but given the above fixation on doors and break-ins in this episode, I am convinced it is intentional. If that is so, then it makes no sense to paint Topher as the double agent, or to say that the double agent narrative was purely a trick all along – someone snuck behind Topher's back to do something, and it happened while Boyd was talking with him (probably innocently, but possibly in cahoots with, say, Saunders, to distract Topher). Saunders and Ivy are the most obvious candidates, though it could be an as-yet-unrevealed other party, or even Adelle. I like Ivy, because, when we see her with Topher during the final minutes of the show, she is wearing her hair as two odd pigtails that loop over her head like mouse ears, so I smell a rat. (and, yes, I am strongly hoping that computer genius Mynor has more to do with the dollhouse than merely using its services)...

...lastly, whatever we call Sierra + Victor, can it NOT be "Vierra"? I will never be able to the connotation of Meredith Vieira/The View out of my head with that one...

ETA: willowcedar: regarding the zeroes thing, it made me remember Paul's correction of Lubov's "sweet home Georgia" line, and I am beginning to think it is a character trait that Paul is extremely well read or trivia-astute. Whether this is "just" a character trait or related to something else in his background, well, I guess we'll see!

[ edited by doubtful guest on 2009-03-21 20:05 ]
The "six pilots" thing might have made sense back when episodes weren't available online for people to use to catch up on what they missed if they happen to have started a series by watching episode four. But in this day and age, I don't buy that the "six pilots" concept makes much sense anymore.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-03-21 20:06 ]
Willowcedar - Mynar boasted, "My first check had more zeros than the Luftwaffe." I don't think there was any hidden info in it... but zeros were Japanese fighter planes, while the Luftwaffe was the German airforce. Hence Ballard's correction that, "The Japanese they had the zeros. Not the Germans."

It was completely in context, since the client started with the flawed WWII reference.

[ edited by QingTing on 2009-03-21 20:26 ]
How did Boyd figure out that the handler was the one abusing Sierra?

Bicks mentioned the actives smiled all day and then Sierra cries at night. Which made Boyd realize the attacks must be happening when the actives are sent to bed. So he walked the halls of the dormitory and found a spot where the cameras couldn't reach. And since Hearn was the one who suggested to check the cameras, he realized that was because Hearn knew he wouldn't be picked up on them.
b!X: people with the bandwidth and inclination to watch e.g. Hulu are AFAIK still a minority, at least in the US. A lot of the folks counted as having "high speed" in the US are on DSL lines of 512kbit or less, which is insufficient for YouTube let alone Hulu or iTunes. So I think the multiple pilots thing has merit, it's just they're damn difficult to write. Last week's Minear-isode was the first one I felt worked completely, and this week's while arc-heavy I think still would be nearly as awesome for a new viewer as it was for us. So it can be done.

doubtful guest: I second that Sierra/Victor not be "Vierra". Gaaaah.
B!x, you are right for whatever percent of the audience is willing to go play the hulu/itunes game. But I was actually more interested in the idea of the six pilots' effect on the viewer experience of those watching the whole time: each episode is a different take on the set-up and gives us time to build a certain emotional resonance with the characters. Admittedly, this is more about the pacing of the first six episodes than their status as "pilots," but I think, even for the faithful, you gotta re-hit the basics of your set-up a few times, because it is amazing how much even the most astute of viewers/readers/etc seem to depend upon variation and repetition to start to build a deeper understanding of and interest in a premise.
Due to go out in a minute or two, but waited 'til last minute to watch "Man in the Street." So late, but hadda say:


This show has found its soul.
I think I heard someone here talk about more than one Dollhouse about 2 weeks ago, so congratz on a good prediction. The entire length of this show was awesome, but the last 10 minutes blew my mind. I think the inside person is Dominic. Or an Active.
Re: the zeros, etc. I realize that Mynar started the conversation and that Paul was responding to his comment--nonetheless, I think the war reference was out of place within the overall context of the conversation. However, I do agree with "doubtful guest" that the reason for such an odd reference could be merely to show that "Paul is extremely well read or trivia-astute." The writers would indeed have to throw in odd references to address this particular aspect of Paul's character.

On another note, dobutful guest, I love the door analysis. You should turn that into an article for Slayage.
So much better than the previous five. Like a new show. Shiny and new. This is what I expected. Yay!
The more than one Dollhouse wasn't so much someone's prediction as a development that got outed a couple months ago.
embers said it for me:
This was really something special, and just once again confirms that NOBODY can do it like Joss, no one can bring the funny, and the scary, and the exciting all wrapped up together in something so completely entertaining and thought provoking.

Alpha can program people, right? Maybe he's programming Topher's assistant.
ooh, that would be a cool twist!
I am thinking the "Inside" person is not an Active, but one of the regular employees who is Doll-like. Someone who is programmed to do things but have no memory of doing them similar to the way they had Echo deliver her message to Ballard. We know someone outside of the House is capable of remote wiping Taffy back to Echo. Someone with that kind of skill could possibly have someone being the Inside person without them or anyone else knowing they've been 'altered'.

Dangit, jcs, ya beat me to it.

[ edited by mangydog on 2009-03-21 21:26 ]
I don't think that's going to be the case. At some point people need to just be who they are. You can't have a show where every other person is revealed to be a mind-wiped puppet of someone else.
BSG is still far too much on the mind but I was still able to watch MoTS and really enjoy it. Finally an episode I can safely say was great. While it didn't live up to the hype for me, it was definitely the strongest episode to date with some very interesting developments that now have me excited.

It's really nice to see such positive buzz from critics and fans alike. :)

ETA: Whoa! :O Next week's looks awesome.

[ edited by Rhodey on 2009-03-21 21:43 ]
The character of Mellie is now so fascinating to me. I think there are still layers yet to uncover about her.

We know "Mellie" is a created personality of some kind. Adelle told Dominic they should bring her in for some diagnosis and stuff. This means they have some degree of control over her like that. But I think she's a slightly different imprint than the others.

For one, she can be remotely activated. They weren't even sure about remotely doing stuff a few episodes ago (which might have been a clever mislead, at least as far as Adelle is concerned), and here Adelle is using it with total conviction.

Two, Mellie actually wants Paul to keep investigating the Dollhouse. After their hot, passionate cup of mutual sugar, Mellie tells Paul to keep investigating Caroline and the Dollhouse. Why would she be imprinted to want Paul to keep investigating the Dollhouse?

And then, questions!: Is she only there to be the eyes and ears watching Paul (and doing so by being imprinted to love him)? The cameras that seem to already be in Paul's apartment would make this kinda unnecessary. So maybe she's there just in case they need to activate her kick-ass persona and take Paul out if he found out too much. Again the cameras, but also it sure seems like that would be a lot of resources devoted to a somewhat rogue FBI agent with few real leads (until this point). Does she have a handler? Dominic didn't know about her at one point in the episode since he referred to her as a civilian, but then at the end he was talking with Adelle about how the sleeper active performed perfectly, implying that he does know about her. Maybe he just found out? But why send him out of the room when Adelle was talking to Hearn?

Ahh, questions! I love it!! I'm so hooked! "Fantasy is the Dollhouse's business, but it's not its purpose." I think Mellie might have more to do with the Dollhouse's purpose.

Also, I think Adelle knows way more about everything than she's letting on, and I absolutely love her character, but that's for another (way too wordy) post.
Mellie's remote activation was a totally different beast than the remote wipe of Echo. The latter was an outright technological event of some fashion. The former looked more like simply some sort of a trigger word to turn on some latent programming. A lot like a call and response ("do you trust me?" "with my life") than anything else.
Ooo, good call. I hadn't thought of that. But still, why so much secrecy surrounding all that? Secrecy = planning = deception and manipulation = some deeper purpose = the path to the dark side...wait, maybe not that last one.
Why not b!x? Just like those who live by the sword, are doomed by those very swords, those who live by Mind Control are similarly condemned.
Another bird killed by Adelle's stone:

At the end when Dominic is congratulating Adelle on her "well-played hand", she asked about the break-in fingerprints. Dominic says that Hern's fingerprints are indeed read as Russian, which connects Ballard to the messing with the Boradins.
Why not b!x? Just like those who live by the sword, are doomed by those very swords, those who live by Mind Control are similarly condemned.

That might be so, but I'm talking dramatically. I don't think you can have a show, or rather sustain one, if every single person is constantly under suspicion of being an empty puppet of someone else. At some point, there needs to be firmly established solid ground under some number of the characters' personalities. You could probably make a movie that operated completely at sea when it came to the people, but a series? I don't buy it.
I think for the moment we are done with the doll reveals. If the show survives, then down the road we might see a beloved character turned into a doll, or a doll from another one of the 20+ dollhouses, but we've currently burned through what I understand to be the full stock of "surprise" dolls to be found in the original pilot or the various spoilers from the development process (excepting Alpha, of course!).

More interesting is the array of possibilities of doll consciousness that we now have to play with -- Of course, we see Echo seeming to hold onto elements of her imprints and possibly elements of Caroline, and we have a central narrative concern about how this might relate to Alpha's "compositing" disaster. This might be what we see happening with Victor, Sierra, etc, but those could be something totally different:

-Victor, in his, um, growing, interest in Sierra shows us a doll having an unanticipated ability to desire a connection with another doll without obvious evidence that this reflects the content of his past life or imprints.

-Victor, in Claire's eyes, being at risk because of multiple imprinting events with the same imprint for "miss lonleyhearts:" the issue apparantly being the NUMBER of identical imprint events rather than the net DURATION of time in those personas.

-Victor and November (if that is still Mellie's intended "doll-sign") as having long DURATION imprints

-Sierra being traumatized WHILE IN THE DOLL STATE, which is different than being traumatized while imprinted or while as her old self -- not meaning to touch, here, the issue of whether one these traumas would be worse than another, just on the fact that this idea of the accretion of experience that the doll undergoes in tabula-rasa state is its own thing.

-November as now raising the odd case of an active who is "in love" not just for a night, but for an extended period of time: most of us seem already to be both sad at the possible irreality/deception that both Paul and Mellie are victims of at this point, but there are subtler possibilites: If I were going to put a long term agent in place for a subtle emotional task like Mellie's, might I not purposely choose an active whose "real" personality was particularly amenable to the imprint. Or more radically, I might do something like notice the neighbor mooning over my surveillance target (Ballard) and not imprint her with a whole new personality, but just with a few useful "sleeper" protocalls, in which case it is at least possible that Mellie, when all is said and done IS ACTUALLY MELLIE (kinda like Boomer is identifiably Booomer, no matter what sleeper protocalls were built into her).

-Similarly to this last, do dolls, as they "composite" come to have a specific emotional identity, rather than just a collection of skillsets (ninja assassin, hostage negotiator, short-order cook)? Other posters have pointed out that Echo seems to have a tendency to act as a sort of caretaker who is worried about the emotional experience of others, both as a doll and when imprinted. Is this a consequence of her past as Caroline, or is it something new that is a part of the emerging personality of Echo? How are these related?

-The whole idea of sleeper protocalls at all: How does remote activation, as in "three flowers in a vase" or Echo's secret conversation with Paul (or, for that matter, remote wiping as in Gray Hour) complicate the otherwise controlled process of imprinting a nicely integrated Topher creation back in the lab?

-The consequences of HAVING BEEN a doll -- my own curiousity is if a character such as Claire WAS ONCE a doll, though is now her original self (as far as that is possible). Others seem to wonder if Paul has a similar history. And at this point, we have no idea what the show will reveal about how skilled the dollhouse is at re-inserting the original personas into its actives at the end of their service. Will there turn out to be a character with this past history?

Of course, it could all be simpler than this. Victor and Sierra could be undergoing processes that are no more and no less than what we see as Echo's ongoing "compositing." Mellie could be no more and no less a doll than E/S/V, but I would suggest at this point that, in a very BSG way, the fun stuff going forward will be less who is/isn't a doll and more what are the implications of a whole host of possible variants of "real self"/"doll"/"compositing"/etcetera.
When Topher left to talk to Boyd and came back, I was definitely expecting something to have happened, like for the hard drive he was using to be missing or in a different spot or something. Didn't notice the open doors, but the vibe of that scene was most definitely, "SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT!!!!" so I can't believe that it would be a simple continuity error. Really excited about this show. I welled up a bit at the end. Wrong as using the Dollhouse might be, seeing Eliza/DeadWife's face at the new house was heartbreaking.
Adelle is sooo extremely interesting and well played. I am looking forward to watching developments there.

As to possible former dolls...if they are, in fact, "free" and paid substantially after the designated contract period, to function plausibly, they would need to be programmed not only to forget their experience and the Dollhouse entirely, but with a (false) belief about what they have been up to for the past few years. Otherwise, it would be too dangerous to let them go. But that would mean they'd never get all of their true persona back, as they would have this false memory.

Perhaps when their time is up, some are given a choice to have their entire personality and dollhouse sign-up memories intact , if they remain to work for the Dollhouse system, implicating themselves in its activities, and thus unlikely to reveal secrets. This might be a choice which would appeal to an Active who felt (s)he had been trapped and wanted to work on exposure of the Dollhouse from the inside, no?

[ edited by toast on 2009-03-21 22:20 ]
toast, I think that from what we've seen of how adept the dollhouse is at dealing with external and internal threats (Paul, Hearn), it isn't hard to imagine it would have little trouble impressing upon an ex-doll not to go all vigelante-justice on them. More than this, one thing to remember is that, if the dollhouse actually does have some competence at the whole wipe/replace process for reinstalling the original person, then most of those people probably do not have a traumatic memory of the dollhouse and so not necessarily much reason to WANT to go after it. While the show we are watching is focusing on a doll who is having an, apparrantly, unusual experience in a dollhouse where an apparantly unique "compositing" event recently took place, the implication seems to be that, for 20-odd years, these places have not had too much trouble with such issues.

Even if we assume that a number of dolls, like Caroline, might have a less-than-precisely-free "choice" about entering the dollhouse, and of course ignoring for the moment the fate of dolls who die or get sent to the attic, think about the likely common experience: Young person joins dollhouse either willingly or as a preferrable option to something they feel is worse (jail/etcetera). During their service, they would completely lack the viewpoints and insights and memories that we are privy to as viewers. Five years later, they wake up with no memory of the past five years, with a body that has spent its time doing yoga and swimming and being expertly attended-to when injured, with a brimming bank account, and with, most likely, a cover story provided to them by the dollhouse that they can use to explain to others where they were. They would have no memory of Trauma, and whatever trepidation they might have had five years ago, they are now safely out the other end -- sorta like leaving the military must feel if you are lucky. In that situation, hard to imagine that most dolls would be feeling like taking on the dollhouse, and might feel quite protective of it.

I have been watching because it was Joss while actively disliking it more each week as one character after another became more dislikable and the organization remained awful.

I still don't like the characters and hate the organization, but it finally sounded like Joss, was interesting, had dimension and did not come off as a thin excuse for tittilation. Yea!

I have been wondering if the problem was that this was actually a horror show and I have never liked horror. I don't know much about the genre because I don't like it. It has made me feel icky and ugly inside whenever I have watched any and I really don't need that. This show has been making me feel the same way until this episode.
hahaha Porn!

everything was great last night. the writing was spot on, it really was the best episode so far. and i love dewittes line. i didnt play a good hand i played a very bad hand very well.
Hey, only the dolls at THIS house are gone nutsy, and all at the same time! Amazing!
Hey, maybe there's a reason for that, but we just haven't been shown it yet! Amazing!
The Dollhouse is their business, but it isn't their purpose.

I have no thesis to offer re this, but I am starting to obsess over it a bit, What does that mean? I can only hope it isn't as mundane as world domination, but maybe a mixture of Fringe (companies that use the general populace as random cattle for their science experiments) and sort of The Manchurian Candidate; great way to manipulate politics - your President a programmed person. And 20 such organizations? I can hardly wait to find out.

ETA: And the Mellie scene actually sent my brain shooting to Twin Peaks, when (okay, who hasn't seen it, raise your hands... I'm invisfonting anyway) .

[ edited by Tonya J on 2009-03-21 22:57 ]
If you felt icky and ugly UNTIL this episode, but not with this episode then I am scared of you ;). I tease, of course, newcj.
YES TonyaJ! I've always felt that the Dollhouse gives off a tiny Twin Peaks vibe (less cheesy though), especially with the music and our viewings of the Dollhouse.

But that Mellie-murder scene definitely had some elements of that Twin Peaks scene. Not a bad thing!

Maybe it's just a new ick to feel. Ick that looks like sugar. But it's still ick. I love ick.
...pick pick pick it apart... ;)
Anyone else notice that Dominic really seems to care about Adelle? He compliments her, checks to make sure she's got a backup plan if she gets sacked, and when Hearn says "You know you're sweet on me" or something to that effect, Dominic instantly whacks him one.

Adelle's line that Mellie "loves him," meaning Ballard, could be read two ways: she could be being ironic, but since she knows the Dolls aren't perfectly blank, she may simply speaking the truth.

Adelle is now something of a mystery to me: is she a loyal agent of the Dollhouse(s) who believes they genuinely do good, or is she working to bring it down -- but in her own way?
Awesome episode. Random thought re getting sent to the Attic - could that mean in the case of the handlers that their memories/experiences get taken for use in Dolls and they end up with no memories (a bit like what happens' to Tommy Lee Jones' character at the end of Men in Black)
Great episode. I just had to give some props to Patton Oswalt, as he did a really good role here! Also the director David Straiton was on top of his game. Really strong stuff. Can't wait to see more of his work.
Oh yeah, loved this episode a lot. Thanks Joss!
I'm thinking more and more about the Zero/Luftwaffe comment. It may just be a throwaway joke that everyone's reading too much into but...

* An Internet mogul/geek should know the difference.
* Ballard clearly does.
* ... and most of the audience knows right away that it's wrong, too. I'd like to think we tend to be a rather more literate fandom than the average TV audience.

So why put it in? Could it be something else? If so, I don't see what, really, but logically, the statement was itself true: If the Luftwaffe had no Zeros at all, a check would have to be no more than $10 to have more zeros than the Luftwaffe has Zeros.
a) If Mellie isn't even real, can you fall in love with her?

I see three possibilities here:
1) No, Joss Whedon has been making documentaries all this time.
2) No, people spend an inordinate amount of time posting on Whedonesque about characters they don't care about.
3) Yes :)
Uh, why should he know about WWII terminology just because he's an Internet mogul?
Someone posted this link: somewhere on one of the threads regarding this ep. Whether through my own ineptitude or due to its deletion, I can no longer find the post to address the poster, who noted that they agreed with some of the blogger's points... I couldn't disagree more with many of the points. While I totally support anyone's right to say that a certain level of violence is beyond the pale in their eyes, the blogger mostly seems to be saying that it's okay to show women fighting as long as they're winning (which, ironically, both of our girls ultimately did).

Realistically though, we don't win. On average, men are larger, stronger, and more likely to have experience with violence. Sure, there are exceptions. There are probably more exceptions every day, but that doesn't change the rule. To only present violence involving females when those females are superpowered or when slotting them into a traditionally male role... well... those glasses are a little too rose colored for me.

I don't want to watch women being victimized every day. It's uncomfortable. But I don't want to forget that it happens, or to pretend that we're all superheroines or pugilists, well able to meet any threat head on with a mean left hook and a quip. And I fully believe that Starbuck could have been presented as tough-as-nails without resorting to poker-table brawling (as, in deed, she often was), so to laud that scene as a well written characterization and to dismiss Dollhouse's fight scenes as gratuitous smacks somewhat of hypocrisy.
doubtful: I do think the ex-dolls, if there are any, would have to have implanted and watertight cover stories for the lost time and money- I don't see this outfit relying solely on the intimidation factor to keep itself secret. Too many possibilities for unintended slip-ups.

ManEnough: I was wondering about Dominic's sort of hovering over Adelle..not sure if he is just being an obsequious employee, or if he actually cares about her welfare. Hard to tell.
Finally. That feeling.
That familiar feeling of just having looked straight into the awesome. I've been waiting for that feeling. I remember that feeling from Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Serenity and Dr. Horrible. Finally it has reached the Dollhouse. This was an excellent episode. I still haven't gotten used to the length of the episodes, but I'm not complaining. It didn't feel too long at all. It was very well paced.

As for guest stars, the performances of a couple of the people on the street felt a bit stilted. But Patton Oswalt was great.

The show has started.
That episode was awesome. Epic, even.
Also I agree with GreatMuppetyOdin. This is the first episode where the show hit its stride. The awesome was uninterrupted, except by those pesky commercials.
What struck me about Topher preparing Echo's personality is how he was startled by Boyd and made sure to hold the conversation outside the lab, going so far as to close the door behind him. He didn't want Boyd in there, it seemed to me.
I felt sorry for poor Mellie - faced with a half naked but oblivious Ballard. Then he made it all right. It was a great bedroom scene. They were already so comfortable with each other, then bam! Joss twists the story.
Yes, this was a good good episode. Thanks Joss.
That was indeed a game-changing episode of "Dollhouse," and now I think I understand what the show is trying to achieve.

I always thought Hearn was a little off, but I never suspected that he would abuse a doll. His conversation with Adelle was dark, but true. When you erase people of their own personalities and free will, how are you, the people handling the event, any different from the people on the receiving end? That doesn't excuse him in the least, of course. Adelle got some great one-liners in this ep.

I think there could be an inside person, but I am choosing to believe that Echo's "program override" was programmed by Adelle, on purpose. She wants Ballard to back off, so feeding him some hope that the Dollhouse exists and that there are others who would seek to destroy it makes sense. Then Ballard's own actions lead to him having to turn in this badge, with some help from Echo shooting the gun.

And I think Mellie is an awesome example of the very gray lines the show presents. We like her as a person, we learn about her character. Then we find out she's an active. Does that change how we feel about her? Is she now less than? Are we fools for believing what's presented to us?

So much to think about, and for that, I am very happy. I think Rebecca Mynor is my favorite of all Echo's personalities so far. It was simple and sweet (and slightly comical), but I could feel the affection she had for her husband and that he had for her.
About Dominic having feelings for Adelle...have you seen her? Seriously, as long as you have no pesky concerns with good and evil, she's awfully attractive.
Ballard's coming on to Mellie just after talking to Patton Oswalt's character is interestingly ambiguous. Is he just using her to prove to himself that he's not obsessed with Caroline? If so, nice touch that it's a doll he's using to fulfil a fantasy.

If he's genuinely interested, it's new, since he's been ignoring her obvious interest until now. Telling her she's gorgeous did seem sincere, although that might just mean he's got eyes. Although how he couldn't he be charmed by her once they actually talked is beyond me. Even so, the pace things move seems a little off, which is why Mellie isn't certain that his interest is particularly deep. Although I think she's convinced in the end, when she says she's been thinking about Caroline, and gets back his strongly (too strongly?) stressed "Well, I wasn't."

Personally, I couldn't tell if he was trying to humorously exaggerate to show how much he enjoyed the sex or was being defensive and protesting too much. Maybe both? I do think after the attack though, that things move to a new level. He already seemed genuinely at ease with her and affectionate, and now his white knight tendencies have a focus other than Caroline. Not to mention that his tie to her is likely to be heightened by guilt over not being there to help her.

It would be cool if, after everything seemed to point to a probable Ballard/Echo romance, he ends up with Mellie.

[ edited by shambleau on 2009-03-22 04:03 ]
Seriously, as long as you have no pesky concerns with good and evil, she's awfully attractive.

Really, what would it matter in a place like that. Dominic wouldn't hate himself the next morning, like Wesley with Lilah.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2009-03-22 04:08 ]
Uh, why should he know about WWII terminology just because he's an Internet mogul?

B!x, any one of a number of reasons. 1) He appears to be in his 40's, which means he went to school when they still taught such things, 2) Geeks often watch old movies, 3) Geeks often wargame, be it computer or board, and WW II is a rich topic well represented there, and 4) the fact is just too basic--we're not talking about the difference between brownshirts and blackshirts, or precisely when the Soviets declared war on the Japanese. Ultimately, though, I can't imagine either myself being as successful a geek entrepreneur, nor as ignorant of basic historical facts.

Again, not sure that it matters--it may just be a throwaway incongruity like the heels in the last episode. It doesn't bother me at all that Ballard would seize on the mistake immediately and correct him, though, but it seems almost like a "gimme" pitch, like the line was or could have been a setup for something deeper which either never materialized or I just missed.
A capacity for evil adds to the DeWitt appeal. It doesn't take anything away.
jclemens a lot of geeks are also very hyperintelligent in one very small area of their world and pretty clueless in many others at the exact same time. So I really don't think being an Internet mogul has much weight in determining what he should or should not have known
I wondered about Ballard's sudden interest in Mellie too, shambleau. He did get quite the earful about how supposedly he was obsessed with Caroline, so wanting to disprove that, both to himself and a girl who has definitely noticed the Caroline fixation, is well within reason. On the surface, though, I think he just likes Mellie. I mean, why wouldn't he? She goes out of her way to make him what looks like really good Italian food, turns up to visit him at the hospital, genuinely cares about his work, and is just full of adorableness in general. But, then again, now that we know Mellie is a doll (or at least has been mindraped by the dollhouse to a similar extent that Spike was by the First), the outlook for this relationship doesn't look too bright in the long run. Which is maddening.
We don't actually know that Mellie isn't real. We just know she's a sleeper agent. It's possible she retains her real personality and they just tweaked some behaviors. In which case the line between her real feelings for Paul and her sleeper programming could become very fuzzy and disturbing indeed.

It seems like that'd be the best and most reliable spy, actually. Also the most unsettling use of Topher's abilities.

ETA: Although recalling the lines toward the end, it does seem like she's a programmed persona. But then when Adelle says "she loves him" it's really jarring with that impression.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-03-22 04:47 ]
Sigh... If the Zeros comment is a clue for anything in the future I would be very, very surprised. It's just a joke that the writer put in - someone uses a play on words to brag about his paycheck, but gets it wrong and someone else corrects him. That's all it is. Supposed to be funny.

Also, when Ballard asked if the inside guy is the same person who's been sending him the info about Caroline, Echo says no. We know Alpha's been sending Ballard that stuff, so Alpha probably isn't the inside man also.
Exactly, Sunfire. And maybe it's because I like Mellie so much that I don't want her to be one of Topher's creations so I'd rather Mellie was always Mellie but with some Dollhouse tweaking.

And I too found it interesting that he suddenly takes an interest in her after his conversation with the internet mogul, especially since he kissed her during the part of the conversation where they were talking about him and what he said was probably on Ballard's mind. His kiss seemed almost like he was saying to the mogul in his head, 'see, I can like a real girl'.

And after watching again on Hulu, I don't think what Echo said to Ballard during their fight was Adelle messing with him. The thing with the door and what she said that would actually keep him after the Dollhouse even more is the opposite of what they want him to do. Sure, she knows he'll keep coming, but she isn't going to goad him into it by giving him false information, I don't think.
I actually think it may be worse for Mellie if she's a real person but the Dollhouse is just manipulating her behavior with programming.
I grew up with about as little interest in wwII trivia as you can have, and won't claim to be particularly well-educated in such details, yet I knew the zeroes were japanese. so what? (1) I'm 41 years old, and as distant as wwII has always seemed to me, it ended 22 years before my birth, which is less time than has elapsed since my H.S. graduation: we are all, whatever else, formed by the time and place we live in. (2) not at all: there are tons of facts that I get wrong all the time or surprise myself by not knowing. despite all this, I think that the average amount of info of a given time period you have is still very closely related to the years you grew up in (and the place).
Agreed about Mellie. And like I said up thread in the 200's, it won't matter to Ballard if Mellie is Mellie or not because he'll think of her as a program because of the tinkering the Dollhouse did. Well, maybe he'd be able to seperate the programming from the girl, but I doubt it.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2009-03-22 05:19 ]
Yeah, and I expect this is just a brief detour on his obsessed-with-Echo journey. Mostly to prove to himself he's not obsessed. Finding out she's an Active of whatever stripe just means she's a distraction from the quest in every sense.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-03-22 05:23 ]
I finally got around to watching 'Man on the Street' and I have to say I was truly impressed. I completely loved it. It was a definite improvement from all the other episodes that has premiered so far. I am hooked and I am so glad that this show has finally found its footing. I just really hope we get to see another season of this show.
The pessimist in me (or realist, considering whose show we're watching) is starting to imagine that Mellie's ninja skills mode might be employed against Ballard at some point, and one of them will end up killing the other.
I am agog for the next episode. This one rocked!
Thought on Mellie: Maybe she's a prototype? Maybe they developed the implant "science" first, and tested it on regular people, and then eventually got around to doing the "wipe first, then implant" technique. And since she's still able to function like a "regular" human, they just allow her to continue her existence.

And, if that's true, then...what's the step after Echo?
Where to begin... well, a could of weeks ago I had several questionmarks between "Show some episodes" and "profit." Those questionmarks have been replaced with "Show the episode that changes everything, and is a true thesis statement about where we go from here."

There has been something that has bothered me since show #1: Echo makes mistakes / things happen and yet somehow things all work out. And now, finally, with 1x06 I believe we have our answer.

Joss, I assume you are reading this. =) THANK YOU. Dollhouse was telling interesting small stories, a distant cousin to Quantum Leap. Now you are telling small stories connected into some epic huge story OMFGWTFBBQ~!
I know I'm late to the party but that was absolutely extraordinary. For my money it was better than any episode of Firefly (which I adore - not a criticism of Mal and his crew).
A lot of speculation that the insider is Adelle. It seems odd that she would have the technical knowledge, though. I like Saunders for it better, but maybe she's too obvious?
Sigh. Is it still not on iTunes? I must rewatch. And I wanna do it in good quality.
I am in my forties and went to school when they supposedly taught these things and I know very little about WWII. Most I learned from movies. Wasn't the least bit interested in the details back in school where there were boys and cars and clothes. Pretty easy to see how someone with one specialty could totally screw up a reference like that.
Someone whose one specialty was usually inventing ideas someone else had already done, no less. That doesn't especially suggest someone paying attention. ;)
In my forties. I had no idea what Ballard and iEntrepeneur were talking about re: Japanese. Still don't.
I've just flipped the video of the sequence where Topher builds the personality to imprint Echo with. I can now read segments of the display he's using.
Is there anything particularly interesting?
The boot screen reads: "[Something] Factory 2.01 SP 1".

There's a list of names in a menu: Alice. Alice Mark II. Alison. Audi. Betty. Caroline. Echo. Echo Mark II. Sierra. Sierra Mark II. Sierra Mark III. November. November Mark II. November Mark III. Infinity. Lambda. (Note: When starting this build process, he begins by selecting the first Sierra.)

The big circle that comes up in which he starts building brain parts is marked "AGGRO RANGE". The other part of said circle says "[Something] INDEX".

Atop the build process: "LOADING ROOT IMPRINT".




Did anyone think "Fruity Oaty Bar" during the Mellie activation scene?
RE: Ballard's interest in Mellie after the conversation with Mynor... Maybe the conversation with Mynor just reminded Ballard that the opportunity he has with Mellie could be a fleeting thing. I mean, they were talking about the guy's lost love... Seems like the kind of thing that might prompt a fella to pay more attention to a fantastic lady that's been working awefully hard to catch his eye.
TOTALLY! In fact, the more I ponder, the more I am getting that Dollhouse owes a lot to Joss's past series.

As in Buffy, you have the seemingly innocuous girl hiding a secret, who sometimes kicks ass, but for whom every day is like Tabula Rasa.
Like Firefly, you have a potential assassin who can be unleashed with a mere suggestion, plus the moral dilemmas that living on the outer of society can bring you. (And according to Book's reasoning, clients would be all be going to the 'special hell'!)
Similarly to Angel, you have characters navigating their way through the mean streets of LA, coming to terms with their complexity and what it means to have a soul...and to sell it.
And, as in all of Joss's series, you have the notion of disparate characters somehow coming together to form a core family.

This is a rather simplistic overview and of course, Dollhouse has its own merits and quirks. But it would be interesting to see a more academic comparison of Whedon shows once we have a full series of Dollhouse.
I did get a strong Firefly dialogue vibe between Ballard and Loomis in this episode. And when Ballard was fighting Echo, I was thinking Adam Baldwin would have made a interesting choice for Ballard.
Speaking of that fight, and the one in the house where he recovers from being tasered in a nano-second, not only do they remind me of Buffy, they remind me of Alpha. Obviously, he doesn't look like Alpha, because the Dollhouse has seen him, but someone programmed by Alpha with his fighting skills is a possibility.
As to the Luftwaffe error and correction- it stuck out to me, (a 1949 baby who studied WWII in highschool and college, but was never a military detail buff.)
I wouldn't have known who had the zeroes ...but it would never have occurred to me to refer to them jokingly, for that reason. It seemed like an intentional awkward mistake -in tone. Which made me think maybe there was some significance.

[ edited by toast on 2009-03-22 18:21 ]
"I have been wondering if the problem was that this was actually a horror show and I have never liked horror. I don't know much about the genre because I don't like it. It has made me feel icky and ugly inside whenever I have watched any and I really don't need that. This show has been making me feel the same way until this episode."

If we ever get to actually see The Attic (and ohpleasegod let that happen), I think you're going to find yourself stranded in true horror, newcj. Every time it comes up in conversation, it makes everyone squirmy and uncomfortable. Including me.

I say, bring the ick. Bring the ugly. Show us what happens to broken dolls.
Yep, I want to see too. The attic gives me pleasurable chills, like W&H's White Room. And, can Humpty Dumpty be put together again.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2009-03-22 21:04 ]
Okay, finally saw it. I need not re-iterate everyone else's expressions of love for this episode by gushing about it myself. Suffice to say that I thought it was masterful, a real sign of what this show can be.

I think that Adelle is the person "on the inside." Remember that "on the inside" does not mean "trying to take the Dollhouse organization down." It means "trying to discover its true purpose." Adelle's unorthodox running of her particular Dollhouse the shady higher-ups to whom she answers make me think that she would want to know more.

Also, what is the consensus understanding of the 20 other Dollhouses? Does that mean one large organization with 20 "franchises" (each, apparently, with relative autonomy), or 20 different competing organizations?
I'm thinking the attic is gonna be some sort of major twist. It's been mentioned so often with the implication that it's where bad dolls go to die, but nobody has ever come right out and said it. Leading me to think we're all gonna be shocked when the truth is revealed.
I think Kranz blew what The Attic was in an LA Times interview in the lead-up to the premiere. I remember being annoyed that someone had revealed it and that I had read them doing so.
I remembering you warning many of us off that interview, b!x and I still thank you for that. I would liked to unspoiled for at least one thing on this show. :)
ShadowQuest said:
The look on the wife/girlfriend's face when the guy was going on about "Sometimes two guys just want to experiment" was priceless.

I love that Joss snuck that in. Funny, plus more than a little true. I messed with a "straight" married dude once (not my proudest moment, but I was in a "life is short/don't give a fuck" mode at the time, before and after that event I was so very anti-cheating, not nice). Felt a bit sorry for him--though he doesn't seem to pity himself, just lives his life and is angst-free content/resigned to the situation--felt bad for his wife, didn't know quite how to feel about assisting someone in cheating, and...yep, it happens lots and more people have really gotta get to know themselves in their tweens to twenties otherwise you're just gonna end up with more of that shit happening and hearts getting broken more than they would otherwise. Geez, careful with the subtle prompting Whedon, you might upset the status quo.

Mellie would've been screwed if the line was busy with Paul or a telemarketer getting through first (yeah, I know, Adelle and her techies probably messed with Paul's phone line to make it overridable, the same way they covered every angle with likely obtaining his answering machine code to erase trigger messages).

This whole line of thinking from a few members here that Mellie being a doll is sadder than if she had do you figure ? If she had died, she'd be gone for good. We don't yet know if Actives can be given their original personalities back, if they can be recovered easily enough, but the implication is there (Caroline in a contract). So, since she's alive, I call that a win and a sign for hope. Maybe not that Millie will stick around and be recovered (although that could indeed be who she is, simply with some implanted abilities/triggers instead of being a doll), but someone worth saving will. Seeing a character--regardless of whether they're regular or altered--raped and murdered (emphasis on the being dead part), would be unquestionably far more tragic than whatever the Dollhouse has done to this woman.

The risk of having Joss kill another character off after sex (or having seeming consequences re: Angel & Buffy in "Surprise/Innocence", though it's been explained many times that it was more about the boyfriend being a different guy after he's gotten what he wants, not the anti-sex-before-marriage message that many in the media seemed to run with) didn't occur to me. I think most viewers are intelligent enough to not automatically associate that sorta plot turn with a message like that, heck some viewers don't see messages at all. And Joss should never be afraid to go after whatever the story calls for regardless of how some of his fanbase has reacted in the past. I'm not calling for it, it's not something I want to see, but if he ever needs to kill off another lesbian lover again and it's crucial to the story, then whatever the story requires. A writer should not live in fear of his audience, regardless of whether it's something free online like Dr. Horrible or something hugely tied up in business considerations like network television.

[ edited by Kris on 2009-03-23 02:13 ]
I'm probably grasping at straws, but is there not a good chance that there is no insider and the message from Echo was just a ploy from Adelle to get Ballard to back off. After all it can't be very good for business to have Ballard hassling clients, something which he was unlikely to stop doing just because he got suspended.

I was delighted with this episode even if at times it was difficult to watch. To be honest I watched the first three episodes more out of loyalty than interest, but these last three episodes have really grabbed my attention.
That was what I thought at first, mgmn, but now I'm not so sure. I don't know what to think any more. But if the message wasn't the point of that engagement, what was? Distract him while Hearn attacks Mellie? Just throw him off balance? Get him fired? I'm a little confused.
The point of the engagement was to throw Paul off the trail and impeded his investigation, since he'd gotten enough information to figure out who a client was, interrupt an engagement, recognize an Active, and in general puzzle out how the Dollhouse hides its paper trail in its business transactions with clients. The goal was to rough him up and stage a violent incident to draw negative attention to him and get him into trouble at the FBI.

Delivering the message, whoever put it there, was a secondary goal. Hypothetically, if was Adelle, she needs him not interfering so much and thereby jeopardizing her job, if she really is working against the Dollhouse from the inside.

ETA: The other, stronger message to Paul was Mellie's attack. I think a suspension just complicates his access to information and distracts him a bit, whereas an attack on Mellie in his own apartment is probably going to give him real pause. I expect the suspension and attack combined with the message will mean he pursues more discreetly now.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-03-23 04:03 ]
I had thought Ballard was the true 'man on the street', but from the beating he took quite easily, he seems to have him some superpowers. Which has serious implications.
And oh-so-casually dropping the fact that he used to be married? I bet cashy money that his ex is/was in the Dollhouse, part of her has been implanted into Mellie and that's why she 'loves' him.

But hells, I thought Dawn was a slayer, too!
Had to come to the Archives after watching that. Dumbstruck. Awestruck. Pretty darn struck really.

That absolutely rocked my world.
The "Zeros" were a model of aircraft that the Japanese flew during World War II. However, I only know that from having looked it up (thank you Google). And it does seem an odd joke, but maybe like Faith's "Five by five" which was never explained on the air.
I feel like the Japanese flying Zeroes is something i've pretty much "always" known (since History lessons in my early teens at the very latest) but it's apparently far from universal knowledge. I know a few techies that have almost no general knowledge though so I guess I can believe it (even if he's not necessarily even that technical - there's a difference between a techy and an internet entrepreneur, sometimes a big one).

Way too late to actually enter the discussion but I liked it. Must admit, not hugely more than e.g. 'True Believer' or even 'Gray Hour' (if you overlook the holes) but it was definitely good. Maybe just a bit more consistent than what's gone before, not sure if it's in a different league though.

- the Echo/Ballard fight was brilliant, the sort of thing that wouldn't shame a Bourne movie nevermind a weekly TV series with its much greater time/budget pressure. All the fights in fact have felt well arranged and well sold by the actors.

- the notion of a positive engagement, one that Echo herself even seems to see merit in

- coupled with probably the nastiest it can get. Child rape basically. Joss wasn't kidding about the dark.

- the "guy-curious" guy and especially his girlfriend was pretty funny

- Topher was marginally less dickish this episode but probably just because we saw less of him ;)

- presumably cute assistant to Topher is right up there as the potential Echo tamperer (though Saunders can't be far behind - Boyd seems a bit obvious).

My only real issue was with Mellie being an active, just because it came right out of centre field. Or whatever the opposite of "left-field" is. Not exactly a killer twist. Though in fairness it wasn't necessarily presented that way either.
Anyone else figures that Mr. Dominic is an Active himself, programmed as head of security?

YES!!!! I'm amazed at how many posters seem to take Echo's warning to Paul at face value, considering how many other things could be happening. TWO insiders??? And Paul's focus has now shifted (maybe) from whatever plans he had made (whatever they were).

I'm annoyed the Zero/Luftwaffe thing, while arcane, was so unknown to so many. It sounds like a number of posters weren't aware of who fought whom in WW2. The five by five thing is also military, and could be googled at any time.

I agree with Saje about Topher, loved the gay curious guy's girlfriend. I was impressed with the young woman angrily denouncing human trafficking. An example of clear human outrage, not diluted.

Dominic also seemed less dickish this episode, although he should wear more color. That very, very pale outfit was weird, would have looked better if his hair had been redder, maybe. Perhaps it was left over from his Homicide days.

I was really pleased with the Mellie actions.

The plot thickens.


One thing I would like to see is the dolls in the dollhouse. Do they sit and talk about the weather, or behave as very young children (2 year olds???) who don't know how to play together yet? I saw more of interaction in this episode, but still am curious.

Adelle sent Hearn/Hurn/Hirne to be killed by Mellie to 1) give Mellie practice; 2) deflect Paul (in some way) and; 3) really stick it to H. as he died know a DOLL was killing him.


[ edited by falina on 2009-03-24 05:13 ]
Sending Hearn to be executed by Mellie was a show of power for Adele. VERY Michael Coreleone. This is exactly the move he made against Carlo in answer for Sonny. Give the person false hope for salvation and then WHAM-O. This was a strong message about who Adele is as a person and as a leader--one, she uses power shrewdly and plays close to the vest. Her unpredictability is both terrifying and intriguing. It also suggests that she treats a violation against one of her dolls very seriously--which makes me think she's working for them and not against. (for me the insider is either Saunders, Adele, or Boyd--suspicion is ranked in order).

Mellie had a very River moment there, n'est ce pas? Joss really loves this idea of latent feminine power triggered by some external power structure. Which only makes us, you know, WANT THEM TO RECLAIM IT FOR THEMSELVES--yah. Good hook there.

My favorite line--other then YAH throwing the Kindle? Another one from Oswalt/Minor: "The biggest hurdle are the people who haven't accepted that the change has already happened."

Another swipe at the networks, yes? I discussed this on my blog, but I won't be surprised if this show is pulled and it was part of the plan all along. And I'm thinking Oswalt is going to be coming back at some point. We haven't seen the last of him. Too good an actor to waste on a ha ha "minor" role.
Many people do not watch television with a computer at their fingertips in order to look up any arcane references that might occur. And not knowing the name of the aircraft that the Japanese used during WWII is a far cry from not knowing what nations fought in that war.

OAT, I have a feeling that Adelle could eat Lilah for breakfast and still go a couple of rounds with the Senior Partners.
I didn't know the plane reference. I'm fairly well read but military aircraft is not something I pay much attention to. My dad would've gotten the joke, because he's all over WWII planes. I'm sure I've probably seen one, in a museum, or even as a model or in a one of his computer games, while he pointed out stuff and told me all about it. I think all I needed to know here was that Joel made a lame joke about how awesomely rich he is, and Paul corrected his reference. It was a good screw-up to watch them play out, since that conversation's all about who really has the upper hand in the situation and who's really got the moral high ground.
WSSTM. In fact, I've made an especial study of certain parts of WWII - including the Holocaust - but have been mainly focused on the European front. Never heard of the zeroes, but then, I don't tend to focus on the aircraft or weaponry.

I think interpretations of the line about the change that has already happened shouldn't be confined to studios or execs or even showbiz in general - it's true of most of us humans, at least at one time or another.

ETF: a typo - I originally typed "WWI" instead of "WWII" as falina so kindly pointed out below.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2009-03-24 06:31 ]
On the other hand, I did get the "the rich really are different" line, and Tamoh Penikett's perfect delivery made it hilarious.
The F Bitch I teaches these skills at Quantico. Interrogative Sarcasm and Trivia 101. Teaching it is rumored to be Mulder's new day job under an assumed identity, but I think that's just net chatter.
I apologize if my ignorance on obscure WWII trivia is annoying to anyone. We won. Right?
That's what they'd like you to believe.
Picked up from another forum - anybody else notice how the dolls talk like lolcats? "I have a book!"
Great. Now I have to stop watching the show.
loldollhouse. That's all I'm sayin'.
I can has my personality back?
Argh. Hate lolcats. Hate them. They make me angry and now gossi has ruined Dollhouse for me forever!

LOLSIERRA: "I has a book!"

LOLVICTOR: "I can has book?"

LOLSIERRA: "My book. Let me show you it."
b!X can has lolcats?
b!X can has aneurysm, I expect.
I will now leave this thread never to return!* (Seriously. It's like that woman who had seizures at Mary Hart's voice. I have a visceral reaction of intense anger at lolcats. Hate them.)

* I'm sure you're all positively crushed.
Ballard: I can has cup of sugar?

Mellie: You can has lasagna!
Actually, she ated all the sugar.

Or he did.
I've actually never seen lolcats. Is that wrong?
Well now that b!X is gone we can talk about him. In lolspeak!

crazygolfa: Here's a bit about lolcats, with relevant links.
Thanks, Sunfire - great line at the end of that article:

"We have seen the lolcats, and they are us."

I wonders what bix sayz.

I never knew about the history of LOL cats. Thanks Sunfire.
Mellie would've been screwed if the line was busy with Paul or a telemarketer getting through first (yeah, I know, Adelle and her techies probably messed with Paul's phone line to make it overridable, the same way they covered every angle with likely obtaining his answering machine code to erase trigger messages).

Except that Adelle had a camera in Paul's apartment and was able to watch what was happening and know the right time to call.

I did get a strong Firefly dialogue vibe between Ballard and Loomis in this episode. And when Ballard was fighting Echo, I was thinking Adam Baldwin would have made a interesting choice for Ballard.

I kept thinking Adam Baldwin was Tahmoh's stunt double. Sure looked like him!

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2009-03-24 00:17 ]
Thinking more about the aftermath of the fight and Echo/assassin girl's warning. She said they didn't want to kill him, which makes sense, considering they've got him so compromised. But she also warned him, obliquely, that Mellie was in danger. No one knew, besides Adelle, that any imminent action was going to be taken against her or at least seemingly taken. It makes the person who re-programmed Echo even more likely to have been Adelle.

[ edited by shambleau on 2009-03-24 00:53 ]
Hugs shambleau.
"Man on the Street" fits Ballard, btw. He is well on the streets after being suspended.
(channels Kendra) No hugs!

Some sort of remuneration, however...

Considers DOLCAT blog
I can has my personality back?

Thanks doubtful guest - that cracked me up :).

No one knew, besides Adelle, that any imminent action was going to be taken against her or at least seemingly taken. It makes the person who re-programmed Echo even more likely to have been Adelle.

Good point! And I hope it's true. I love the idea of murky-moraled Adele working sort-of-against the Dollhouse in some complicated way.
Nice catch, shambleau. I watched it 5 times and that clue still went over my head.

LOLz @ Caroline. :)
Ok, what to name it?


LOLHouse is taken on blogspot. Yes this involves the path of minimal work.

This is for serious.

ETA: The original gossi mentioned, LOLDollhouse is also free.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-03-24 02:20 ]
Oh and in regard to real discussion, I had the same thought about that warning but because it was so oblique, I'm not entirely sure it was about Mellie specifically. But I totally see that reading.
went to find what "lolhouse" would reveal and found this. (It's a recap of a House episode done entirely with screen caps with LOLcat captions inserted). Clever idea (but don't worry, not something I'm planning on putting any time into emulating!)
Excellently crafted, sometimes shocking, all-around pretty great episode, one end to the other.

As far as Mellie the doll: I can't be sure that the possibility would have occurred to me without reading on this site that the actress playing her had originally been cast as a doll; but, as I had, that chance was in my mind... until Adelle ordered the hit on her, which made me absolutely certain that she was not one. So, by the time Mellie was trigered, I, too, was completely surprised by the reveal. Nicely played, Mr. Whedon *salute*

Oh, and I should also salute Mr. B!x for the very clever deductions about Boyd's detective work - I hadn't quite gotten yet how he'd figured the "when" and "who" of it out, only the "where". Impressive!

I was already on-board with this show, but between all of the nice moments - from Eliza's comedic turn early on to Adelle's new depth to the unexpectedly quick pairing of Paul and Mellie (hmm, soon as they switched from pasta to Chinese food...) - to the raised scope of the whole thing - "Someone besides Alpha is gunning for the Dollhouse?" being only the most immediate concern - this was a huge show, and I would probably agree with the many here who have hailed it as the best ep of Dollhouse so far. And still seven more to go this season! Very nice!
I loved Dr. Saunders' support of Victor. And what can I say about Echo and the husband's porn? This is so Joss. Finally. I'm sad Mellie is a doll, but maybe she is Mellie, and she could just be triggered somehow (?)

What's the song in the end? That song gave me Alias flashbacks.
Good point about Adelle & the warning, but that means she programmed Mellie, too, right? Makes her quite the technical whiz.

I should also salute Mr. B!x for the very clever deductions about Boyd's detective work

Sadly, b!X's lolcat revulsion will prevent him from enjoying his accolades.
lolhouse is outstanding!!!!!

And I'd love to see Adam Baldwin on dollhouse.

[ edited by falina on 2009-03-24 05:21 ]
Quotergal - I myself don't know what planes (if any) the Japanese flew in WWI - I was referencing WW2 (TWO, aka WWII, Pearl Harbor), which is also when I thought the Holocaust occurred. In Europe.
With 20 Dollhouses all over the world, I guess we can look forward to spinoffs such as Dollhouse: Miami and Dollhouse: New York.
Dollhouse: Las Vegas.
Apparently my reference to the Holocaust wasn't a tip-off that I simply made a typo when I wrote WWI instead of WWII, falina, so I will also note it in my post when I correct it.

Sarcasm seems a little strong for... a typo, but hey, knock yourself out.
Dollhouse: Rio de Janeiro

But only if Eliza crosses over :)
electricspacegirl replied:
Mellie would've been screwed if the line was busy with Paul or a telemarketer getting through first (yeah, I know, Adelle and her techies probably messed with Paul's phone line to make it overridable, the same way they covered every angle with likely obtaining his answering machine code to erase trigger messages).

Except that Adelle had a camera in Paul's apartment and was able to watch what was happening and know the right time to call.

Ah, you are wise and full of explanationy goodness. But ! What if, during the entire attack, a string of telemarketers or the same telemarketer called continuously (it has happened...*grits teeth*...yes, it happens), never letting Adelle get through ? What then ? Would my override-the-phone-line theory come into play then ?

Re: WW2 references ('cause sure, why not, let's beat up on this some more)

I didn't know what types of planes either and was completely lost during that exchange between Paul Ballard and the internet mogul. It's generally in poor taste to make fun of folks for their lack of knowledge in particular areas of study. Heck, even a history buff could decide WW2 isn't an area of study that intrigues them as much as others (I know it's chock full of intrigue/worthwhile study, but let's just say), they could be more into the medieval period, and know very little about WW2 beyond what they might remember from highschool history class and the odd movie, TV show, and newspaper article. Yes, I know the whole those-who-forget/discard-the-past-are-doomed-to-repeat-it fear/concern, but it's still not a crime or a sign of idiocy/carelessness if someone has neglected to learn more about a particular subject that doesn't apply directly to and benefit their current situation. Choices, yay.

I also read an article today positing that the internet encourages an overload of snark and potentially may be one of the culprits behind facillitating us being meaner to eachother.

[ edited by Kris on 2009-03-24 08:44 ]
We don't know that Adelle was the only person who knew Mellie was about to be attacked. In fact, we know that Dominic knew so it's at least possible some others knew
It's not a bad theory but the "tip-off", as Sunfire says, wasn't 100% unambiguously about Mellie so it doesn't need to be someone that knew about that so i'm not convinced (yet). That's one of those nicely subtle clues that will seem the work of genius if/when it turns out it is Adelle though, good spot shambleau.

It's generally in poor taste to make fun of folks for their lack of knowledge in particular areas of study.

Maybe what's more interesting about the "zero" thing is that Ballard seemingly considered it such common knowledge that it was something to mock someone over ? I mean, i'm all for making allowances for lack of knowledge just because no-one's is totally comprehensive BUT there's a line, as with all things (this is nowhere near it for me BTW but it apparently is for Ballard/the episode's writers).

Seems like the kind of thing that's gonna vary with school syllabi, when/where you were educated and maybe personal interests though so not exactly a cardinal sin or sign of intense stupidity (in a tangled web/rich tapestry stylee, my dad also used to work for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries - who made the Zero - though that was years after the fact).

Oh and

I iz a persun ?
I can has soul ?
Heh, I iz not broked !

just in case B!x wandered back in, thinking the coast was clear - hah, that'll learn him ! The coast is always unclear ! The coast is virtually the Yoda of geographical features !
Btw, everybody speaks about Elizas acting. Let's talk about Tahmoh's for a bit. I find him extremely tense (especially with his shirt off - no one presents himself like that when he has a sore shoulder), as if he wants to make sure everybody recognizes him as badass.
Even when he kisses Mellie, he's got that bitter or tense streak around the lips. Or am I overly critical here?
Seems a valid enough observation but it's arguably overly-critical to assume that's bad acting rather than just playing Ballard as I personally think he is i.e. quite an angry man (about a lot of things, not just the dollhouse).
Just a totally random observation: The Whedonesque thread-counts pretty much mirror the ratings of the show:

Episode 1: 643 comments
Episode 2: 453 comments
Episode 3: 333 comments
Episode 4: 316 comments
Episode 5: 353 comments
Episode 6: 464 comments (and counting)

Strong in the beginning, hitting a low around "Stage Fright" and "Gray Hour" and trending back up since then. :)
I'm not generally one to make fun of someone for not knowing some bit of trivia... But trying to act like a know-it-all and getting it WRONG? :D Open season.
Agreed, Saje. Maybe I still get the BSG pilot vibes of him. :)

This brings me to another interesting point - Ballard's back story. What made him become an FBI agent? He doesn't strike me as the guy with a straight career. What has he done before? And I do believe he has a very own motivation to search for Caroline.
Maybe she is a colleague entering the Dollhouse as a ruse? Or maybe the mistake that made her vulnerable to the DH was committed against someone close to Ballard? Did someone die and he wants her to face a trial instead of "getting away"?
There's just something about the "zeroes" exchange that is a little bit weird, in context. Could be it's the strange assumption about what is common knowledge and what isn't, as saje noted. Or it could just be curious that internet tycoon guy would make an off-hand-seeming joke with a reference to something he doesn't know about. Just feels unlikely to me, just kilter. It's just so awkward that it seems like it might have some significance.
I thought the Zero exchange was clever. An avoidance of popular cliches to express great wealth.

I'm among the first to agree 1) NO ONE knows everything and 2) snark is rampant in internet posting.

I have very little tolerance or patience with obvious typos, however. PREVIEW before posting and correct as needed.
Wow. Or we could just be nice?
falina: tone it down. Express your intolerance and impatience in your room, not this one. Thanks.
Of course, using LOLcats for Sierra would be harder to do after this episode.

LOLSierra: I iz raped!

That just doesn't sell the "cute"-ly wrapped tragedy for me.
I can has new handler?
Fox says: "No, this has to be this way and you can't do that at all" Rating: Below poor.

Fox says: "Ok Joss. Let's do it your way." Rating: Through the roof.
Not being much of a student of (mid-20th century) history, I only know that a Zero was a Japanese warplane because 1) I used to watch a lot of '50s and '60s TV, and 2) I used to build a lot of model kits. I could see someone like what's-his-name catching just enough references to think it sounded cool without actually knowing much of anything else about the subject; Patton Oswalt himself is considerably younger than I am (and, by extension, his character was, also), but at about the right age to watch, say, "Tales of the Gold Monkey" and remember the references to Zeroes without necessarily remembering the show's setting other than "around WWII".
Why doesn't Adelle freak out that Echo can even remember that she didn't get to finish the assignment? She was wiped, right? Even if wiped, residues of assignments should worry Adelle.

Did you see how wide her eyes got when Echo said, "It's not finished." Of course, she keeps her cool and asks if she wants it to be finished in a calm manner but you can see in her eyes that she's completely shocked that it was something she retained despite the wipe.
Sunfire, I iz laughin' alotz. Youz iz cleverful.

And Joss, Youz iz my master now...againz.
... and remember the references to Zeroes without necessarily remembering the show's setting other than "around WWII".

And "in the Pacific region" surely, which doesn't exactly scream "German" ? Man I loved that show when I was a youngster. Bet it's actually shit though ;).
One of the things that struck me after watching this episode (and this I think is a point about the show that Joss has been saying) - there's been so much talk both within the show itself and by real life critics about the Dollhouse being nothing more than very expensive prostitution, but the fact is that the kind of people who can afford the services of Dolls don't need them for that purpose. They can already afford the best sex that money can buy. What they are coming to the Dollhouse for are the things that money supposedly can't buy - like the joy in the face of a dead wife.
And "in the Pacific region" surely, which doesn't exactly scream "German" ?
Well, yeah, but that was just the first example from that time period I could think of (my memory ain't what it used to not be, either... *cry*)
I actually have a few episodes on tape, and in general, they're not bad at all.
Sunfire, I love your LOLDollhouse!
And finally I watched it.

And it was was very good.

*relieved sigh*
That episode was freaking amazing!
I wish I had basic cable so I could watch when it aired, but thanks to the power of internet-viewing, I just caught it now. WOW! Really, I was very much afraid that Mellie was going to be one of Joss' "let's kill the lovable one" moments, but then when she started kicking ass.. I'll admit I jumped up and let out a HELL YEAH! If that episode didn't get people hooked, nothing will.
I am so invested in this show, it's scary.
Vindication, baby! All my faith in Joss, well placed.

I've been a little on the fence on Dollhouse. I was always going to watch all of it, but it hadn't quite become a huge priority. I missed the last three episodes, and caught up over the last couple days. The first five episodes, they weren't terrible, but they weren't what I was watching for. I knew that the show would take a little while to get its footing (all Whedon shows do, the first seasons of Buffy and Angel are both pretty meh). I was willing to sit through TV that didn't inspire fanatical devotion, because I had faith that soon enough, the show would punch it up a gear, and get to the point where fanatical devotion was the only way to approach it.

This was that episode. I knew it would be. Everywhere, Eliza and Joss were saying, wait for the sixth episode, you won't be sorry. And I wasn't. I loved it. It was fantastic. It was everything a Joss show should be.

My one regret is that I read a lot about the show before it came out, and I knew a whole lot about casting. I had heard that whats-his-name was cast as Victor, and when he showed up as someone else, I pretty much knew he'd end up as an active. Similarly, I knew that Miracle Laurie had first been cast as an active, and although I wasn't as positive about her, I still had a pretty good idea that they'd eventually make that reveal. So I saw that coming. It was still amazing, and until Adelle's voice came up on the answering machine, that scene could've honestly gone two ways: Hern could've killed her, because Joss Whedon hates happiness, or she could've been triggered and killed the frak out of Hern. The latter happened, obviously, and I'm quite happy about it, because Miracle Laurie is awesome and there's going to be some great stuff to do with her character.

My one concern is whether the show will maintain its momentum. I think it would be a huge mistake to take the foot off the gas now and go back to the ho-hum adventure of the week stuff we've been having so far. I've seen the ads for tomorrow's episode, and I'm pretty hopeful it will maintain its course on mythology heavy route. The thing I wonder about is, if things go as I think they will (and I've read some spoilers) will there even be a way to go back to standalone episodes? This show might soon be hurtling into the land of pure arc, and I couldn't be happier.
I wonder if after the season finale, will there be any story left to tell?
had same wonder, korkster, then remembered having same wonder after buffy graduated high school, then after buffy died, then...

If he get's the chance, I think Joss & co. will bring it in ways we can't imagine, no matter how many eggs they seem to have in this season's basket.
Good point. That's well put. :)
Joss said he presented The Network with a Five year plan, so I'm assuming he still has something to show us if they get picked up for a second season.
I somehow doubt we ever need to worry about Joss running out of stories.
Agreed Rachel :-) I think if it does get picked up he's going to eventually go more global with the story.
Joss said he presented The Network with a Five year plan, so I'm assuming he still has something to show us if they get picked up for a second season.

But I thought that the idea was that he had jammed pretty much all of that into the current episodes, so that it would be a complete story if it does get canceled.

That said, I agree that we don't need to worry about Joss running out of stories.
We should be OK for as long as he still needs to use the loo ;).
I agree that he will go more global if there are future seasons. It's definitely his model to just expand and expand the mythology, making the world less and less like our world with each season (that's what happened with Buffy). If there are more seasons, I expect them to deal with the idea of multiple dollhouses and imprinting technology run amok (assuming that there really ARE multiple dollhouses...).
I think it's a given that there are multiple dollhouses. Adelle and Dominic were discussing communications with the other houses. It seems unlikely that they would be doing just to . . .um. . . well, I can't think of any reason they would be doing that, other than there being other dollhouses for them to communicate with.

Actually I took that conversation as confirmation that what the informer told Ballard through Echo was true.

This thread has been closed for new comments.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.

joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home