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March 28 2009

(SPOILER) Discuss the seventh episode of Dollhouse. Titled 'Echoes', this episode is written by Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft. And if you missed it, the episode is now available to watch at Fox on Demand and Hulu and is available for purchase on iTunes.

I'm.

Getting.

Exciiiiiiited.
So is Echo like Multiple Man and there are a dozen different versions of her running around and that's why it's called "Echoes"?!

This is me, with my overactive imagination.
I'm usually one of the last to post here because I'm on the west coast, so I thought I'd get in early before it airs. I can predict I will love love love this episode because by Friday night 10 PM Pacific time I'm usually thoroughly owned.

I'm Dollhouse's bitch now.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2009-03-28 01:25 ]
We watched the last three episodes yesterday on Hulu, so we're super psyched for tonight!
*crossing fingers for a 'post BSG-finale surge' in viewership... for those in need of a sci-fi -- or Tahmoh -- fix.*
I wonder if Tahmoh felt any guilt the last few weeks about BSG. Heh.
Wow, it kind of just hit me that I wouldn't be watching BSG after Dollhouse today. Weird.
I'm hoping we'll get better numbers this week, too.
It's started!
I hope it's at least as good as Man On The Street.
Tonight on "Dollhouse", M. Night Shamylan's "The Crappening".
Hey... Isn't that the one guy from Ghost?
I want to be a professional sleeper!

Miracle Laurie really is gorgeous. And I really love her shirt. I want that shirt. I like that they're all relationshippy, even though they haven't actually been together that long.

I like that she's being used to throw him off the case, though whether that's the programming talking or "her" being in love with Paul.

What's with the skeevy guy from "Ghost" who wants to make a video? Ugh, wretched.

Awesome...so Alice used to go to the college! Or was it Caroline...oooooh.

[ edited by The Ninja Report on 2009-03-28 02:13 ]
Yeah, it is the guy from Ghost. I imagine why the seemingly unimportant clip was shown in the beginning.
"I said, would the good people like a reply?!?!?!"
Gods, that programming of Victor by Topher was made of awesome.
I thought I was the only one that found that commercial funny.
Man from Ghost = Matt (Brett Claywell)
I know you... curds and whey!
Alice in Wonderland
NO to the treatment. Fascinating.
No, Boyd!

And also, we can now safely assume that Boyd isn't a doll because it looks like he is affected by the memory juice.

[ edited by crazygolfa on 2009-03-28 02:23 ]
'Treatment?' 'No.' = awesome!
Topher has the cutest laugh.

I didn't just say that.
"I could eat that word." LOL
This is amaaaazing.
THANKS, JOSS!!! Er...Elizabeth and Sarah. He's lovely! :)
OMG!!! This is wild!!!
Dollhouse's answer to "Spin the Bottle"!!! lol
This is aweeesome
Oh my God, josswhedonaddict! I was just thinking that!
Maybe it'll be different on a second viewing, but the pacing of the episode seems a bit off, so far. For example, I realize Topher's "drug rant" was to inject humor into an exposition heavy scene, but I think both went on too long with unnecessary technobabble.

I'm surprised, considering that it is Fain & Craft writing and Contner directing. (IMDB says Minear directing, but I thought I saw different in the credits.)
Topher wears boxer briefs. I love the goofyness of this.
Topher and Adelle totally need to have druggie sex followed by awkwardness.
There are words I've never used and don't even know if I'm using right. So Bear with me...


SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Me too steph424!!!!
How old is Enver? Just so I'm clear as to the exact level of perviness of my eventual crush.

[ edited by josswhedonaddict on 2009-03-28 02:40 ]
She's too British.. Haha This is the best episode ever! I can't stop laughing..
Dominic and his suit love. Brills. This episode is twisted and I love it.
So are we calling her November or Mellie? We know her more as Mellie, but technically...???
Gorram it!! I was just liking Sam too!
OMG!!! WTF is he doing???
Oh no he didn't!
Boyd is getting way too many cool points...he's definitely not long for this world.
Great ep and I can't wait to see it again with a new repeat Enhanced TV gizmo by Time Warner Cable. Yayy!!
"Again, so sorry for trying to burn you alive." I think Dominic should just stay high all the time.
If he is going to stand there and twirl his mustache in front of Echo (ie. explain his devious plan), I think the character should have shown a little more grief about his friend dying. Then the scene would have been more about him "confessing", instead of standing around and talking. (It was necessary for the viewer, but not for the character.)

And Boyd really, really likes that right hook.
He is rather hilarious, isn't he.
I finally like Dominic. I'm kinda glad he tried to hurt Echo just so he could continually apologize..
So does this mean that Dominic is really genuinely sorry or is that JUST the drug talking?
So...Debbie will be played by Echo, right?
Whoa.. he's the newest doll??? What's his name going to be? Sellout?
Wow that preview... how can the stuff in it happen so soon?
Why do they make me want it to be next Friday everytime they show next weeks preview??
Whoa!!! next week looks very exciting!!!
Because Joss is smarter than the average bear.
So can it be next Friday yet?!?!?!
So how did the infection spread? And especally how did it spread inside the Dollhouse (i.e., to Topher)?

BTW: next week's ep looks awesome!
Anyone else concern about what happen to Matt, is he still tied to the bed?
He hired Echo for sex, personally, I hope he still is.
Anyone else getting the "Caroline = Adele's daughter" vibe?

We have heard Adele mention the five year mission more than once. I wonder if the Dolls are memory-glitching because they've been working longer than that. If the Dollhouse is ethically challenged, what would stop them from *not* ending the engagements at the fifth year?
POLL: How far has Dominic come on the Whedon villain scale where 1="kill this guy now" and 10="I know this Spike guy is evil, but he's fun! I hope he stays around for a while!"? Just curious.
I can't believe the show is moving this fast after being so slow. It's kind of weird. But I'm willing to just forget the first 5 episodes happened. This is too wonderful.
SteveP: it spreads through tactile contact, so when Topher gave it to November/Mellie, he got it too.
Yeah, so Adele mentioning Sam's mother brings up another point. What do the dolls' families think of their disappearance? They are getting paid, but what are they told has happened to their child?
SteveP,

The reason why it spread to Adelle and Topher was because Topher probably touched the fluid at one point, thus him getting exposed. And when he touched Adelle, she got exposed.

It also explains why the Boyd and Dominic got high, it was because someone who had it touched them.

Or what Maratanos said more efficiently.

[ edited by crazygolfa on 2009-03-28 03:09 ]
I spent the entire hour staring at Topher's undies.
Best Whedonverse drug depiction yet, by an enormous margin. Perfectly balanced smart drug comedy and dark memory drama. WOULD WATCH AGAIN A++++++
(Nevermind.)

[ edited by fortunateizzi on 2009-03-28 03:10 ]
Terrific episode! Well, for the most part, given that my local Fox channel decided to break in at 9:30 and show a boatload of commercials and I know I missed some things when they did. But loved what I saw. Dominic apologising repeatedly and petting his suit like a kitten was hilarious; Sierra's flashback was painful, Adelle and Topher were funny as all hell, and my heart couldn't decide whether it was breaking for Mellie or Paul. Quite an emotional roller coaster of an episode.

And the preview for next week's episode looks mind-blowing!
After not seeing Rushmore in years I'm back to being in love with the British lady. I want her to give me detention.
Seeing Adele turn a new prostitute is super duper creepy and the fact that it plays as deserved comeuppance is the single nastiest equivocation the show has asked us to countenance.
I thought the reason Topher got it was because he high-fived Mellie and then he touched Adele passing it along.

Anyway, very good episode. I loved all the funny. Can't wait until next week...though the moving company will have taken my tv by then. So I won't see the episode until the next week some time. :(
That was so good. Spin the Bottle is my favorite Angel episode (so far as I can pick a favorite) and this definitely had some of those vibes. I had to try not to laugh so that I could hear everything. I'm sure there were tons of great lines I missed. Hope it doesn't take as long to show up on iTunes this week.

And next weeks episode? Wow.
I resent the moral acrobatics that this show is making me perform. Boyd arrives at the last second to save Echo from remembering her actual past and in a Whedon show we're supposed to be glad at the burly male saviour's deus ex machina appearance? And yet I was. Infuriating.
Yeah this episode definitely had some "Spin The Bottle" and "Band Candy" vibes...I thought it was fun and a nice change of pace, though I also felt it was a bit disjointed. Not as tight as the last one. Can't wait for next week!
Gorgeous bit of plotting: Boyd barely notices Echo's first rejection of the 'treatment' offer - like Willow and Tara kissing onscreen for the first time in the context of grieving a death in 'The Body.' Don't know whether to be scared, sad, happy, relieved, or what. My ambivalence about Echo's fate and that of her pimps is maddening and I think this might be Joss Whedon's most interesting work. And kudos to Fain and Craft for knocking this shit out of the park!
Dollhouse: The Awakening. Next episode has a subtitle. Thats how you know its good!
So how did the infection spread? And especally how did it spread inside the Dollhouse (i.e., to Topher)?


He high fived November. :)

(edit - oops, beat to it while I was making my comment !)

[ edited by Sweet Fragility on 2009-03-28 03:17 ]
The ending felt a little rushed. Did Topher find a antidote or did the effects just wear off? The meeting between Adelle and Sam was pretty cool though.
Waxbanks, exactly. I keep having these automatic responses that when I stop to think about, I go "that's wrong!" Like at the very beginning when the two college students were laughing hysterically as they went crazy. The way they were smiling and laughing made me smile and want to laugh too (the way you automatically return a smile when someone smiles at you), but I realized how wrong it was to want to laugh right then.

Dollhouse spreading it's madness, one conflicted and confused viewer at a time. I love it. Mess with my head some more please.
OMG laughed out loud at this one. Was amazing. We don't get the preview for next week up here in Canada, so could someone post it please!
This was fantastic! And so much information all at once, I'll have to go back and re-watch to pick it all up. The scene with Adelle and the famous Drug guy Topher was in love with seemed really exposition-heavy and clumsy, but that's really my only complaint.

I feel like I finally understand who Caroline was. That little video clip of her we've been seeing made her appear so generic, I had a really hard time rooting for Echo to remember Caroline at all. Now, I'm invested in both Echo and Caroline.

The Dolls remembering traumatic things was heartbreaking. I thought more would come of Mellie remembering the whole incident with Hearn and the flowers in the vase, but I guess the promo was just misleading.

What really stung was Sierra remembering being raped. I think it was necessary too, as much as it was disturbing and emotionally painful, since in her Doll-state Sierra couldn't really deal with the gravity of being raped by Hearn in any authentic way, and here she was able to actually deal with it for the first time, even if she has to forget it all again later.

Some of the drugged-out humor seemed a little forced, especially in the first few Adelle/Topher scenes, but it grew on me. And I especially liked Dominic apologizing to Echo. That seemed really significant. Also, Boyd's piano playing was so surprising and funny!

I don't quite know what to think of Mellie leaving Ballard, but I figure she'll be back. And I'm sure we'll find out more about what Victor was remembering (his acting was great in this episode btw!), cause I know I'm interested!

Overall, fantastic episode. The show really seems to be on a roll now, given the preview for next week. I can't wait till it's Friday again!!
The affects eventually wore off. The person who Sam killed at the beginning was given a deadly amount.
Waxbanks, Boyd didn't say it right, which probably helped Echo say no. So, did Dominic and Adele have sex? They are very ill at ease with each other at the end.
What a funny episode!
Am I the only one who had a feed that showed the first 10 mins, went in and out the entire middle, then finally came back on with 5 mins left? :(

Guess I'll have to Hulu it tomorrow.
I loved Adele climbing/falling the over the railing in that tight skirt. Hilarious.

Not sure about some of the rest of the episode, parts of the humor seemed a tad forced or awkward, as though they should have gotten another take of the same scene, or edited things a bit differently.
Good episode tonight although last weeks was going to be tough to top.

The flashbacks to Echo/Caroline's past were the real highlights to me.

The present day story with the virus was interesting and how it tied into the backround of the company but it didn't do as much for me other then for some fun highlights of the characters acting goofy.

Dominic drugged up was my personal favorite.

And the ending was a surprise with who the new active was.A good tie back to Caroline/Echo's flashbacks and how she ultimately ended an active.

Next weeks episode looks like a real burner though.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2009-03-28 03:38 ]
I've gotta say, after last weeks episode, this one was kind of a let down. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't a good enough follow up to last week's, in my opinion.
I was a bit confused at the end, with the Adele and Dominic stuff. I felt I had missed something. Beyond that, the only thing I regretted about this episode was that Amy Acker's character wasn't in it. I want to learn more about her.

I LOVED this episode. :)
I disagree with Waxbanks.

Echo saying "no" sets up the point that Boyd was tripping out, not that Boyd was fine with it or that it wasn't a big deal.

Boyd's appearance was a convenient and quick way to end the scene (and to have him slug someone again). I don't consider it deus ex machina because the scene would have worked just as well if he didn't appear there. (For example, Sam (was that the student's name?) would have run off, so we would be surprised later to see him in the Dollhouse. Echo is confused with her memories, but still stumbles to the van for Treatment.)

Sam fate was not "deserved comeuppance". It was seeing Adele as a human being for the entire episode, and then being reminded that making her more sympathetic does not make her actions any more moral.
I agree, Thisyearsgirl, it did seem like we missed something in that last scene with Adele and Dominic. I was on the same page as Lioness thinking they must have slept together or something - like the whole Angel/Eve thing.
I could be wrong, but I was just assuming they were both just really embarassed by their behavior.
But it's not like either of them actually witnessed each other acting all drug-induced and silly, right? Why would they need to be that embarrased?

I don't think there's any evidence to say they did sleep together, I just didn't get why they were so uncomfortable around each other.
The way Adelle acted when she heard that Dominic had been infected definitely told me they have a more intimate relationship than just coworkers.
Loved the episode. Laughed out loud several times. Loved the Topher drug speach, he was babbling like we might when meeting Joss for the first time, the guy was obviously a hero to Topher.
Hehe. This episode was so much wacky fun. And sometimes it was sad. And intense. I can't wait to rewatch.

Also...

There's a new doll in the house.

*glances around twitchily and quietly returns to corner*
Another solid episode. While it wasn't as tightly woven as last week's, it had some really hilarious moments, further insight into the mythology, and set things up nicely for next week. Dominic's scenes were amazing as were Topher and Adelle's. I think I've completely fallen for Ms.Dewitt. :P
Maybe it's because last week's episode set the bar so high, but did anyone else think this episode was a little sloppy?

I'm digging that the show is really getting into the characters and backstory now, but I found a few things unsatisfying:

What happened to Matt? A second appearance should mean we care a little more about what happens to him, right?

Why, when Echo (Alice) was with Matt this second time, did she seem like a different person than before? What's the reason for re-using Matt if Echo was going to be implanted with a different personality? It seems like a distracting detail that didn't matter to the larger parts of the story.

Why did Domenic and Adelle have the awkward discussion at the end when Adelle and Topher were the ones who shared a drug experience? Adelle and Topher's experience went unaddressed, and Domenic and Adelle addressed an experience they didn't even share.

Why did Sierra have a flashback and then not appear in the episode again? What was the purpose of Sierra's flashback? Just remembering the rape again doesn't advance the story. I think I need to watch that again; it looked like there was another scene mixed into it.

What was the point of using November as the guinea pig? Yes, it showed how the drug affected actives, and started the infection within the Dollhouse, but it seemed to waste a character development opportunity to have her almost say the trigger words and then lie on the floor.

Just nitpicking because I care.

[ edited by Intelligent Calcium on 2009-03-28 04:35 ]

[ edited by Intelligent Calcium on 2009-03-28 04:41 ]
edcsLover9: I had the same bad feed- so frustrating. Hulu tomorrow for me, too.
I did not like this one as much as last week's, but I did like it better than any of the other episodes.

I started getting the 'people run by dolls' vibe during it, which is something I haven't seen anyone mention (or maybe I missed it). I really liked the idea that for a while there, the programmed dolls were taking care of the crazy helpless people, and that they were doing a really good job of it.

Also yay with the funny! I got worried when Joss kept saying 'oh no, we won't have much humor because this show is strictly drama', but there's plenty of humor there.
Hmmm, shades of Xander after he ate a pig! Finally, something to like about Topher and Adelle. Contrived but completely funny.
I liked this episode just fine. It moved the show along, it was funny at times, all in all a good episode

[ edited by whedon is GOD on 2009-03-28 04:13 ]
I`m surprised a few people here said this week didn`t live up to last week... Man on the Street was awesome for sure in that significant things happened that will escalate and move forward the story, but to me Echoes was non-stop engaging entertainment.

All the bits of Caroline`s backstory, finding out her last name, that she attended Freemont, that she was an activist that discovered stuff about Rossum and was pursued for 2 years by DeWitt before being forced to become a Doll....for a while I wondered if Leo was going to turn out to be Alpha. There were tons of `lol` funny parts as well as sad parts (traumatic flashbacks + Mellie-Paul). I loved Langton`s piano playing (wow he is good!), Dominic caressing his `soft like a kitten` jacket sleeve, not to mention the moment November uttered the first part of the code phrase and freaked out Topher and DeWitt.

IMHO this has been the best ep so far. I definitely plan to rewatch a couple times to make sure I remember all the Caroline stuff going forward!
There were some answers to the nitpicks in the episode Intelligent Calcium. Adelle states that Echo is with an old client (Matt) but a new fantasy. We also see Sierra one more time. I have stated before that I think there is more to Dominic/ Adelle relationship than what we have seen.
This episode was great! The stuff with Topher and Adelle...the writing was on fire, and I loved see Olivia Williams loosen up. Kind of reminded me of when Giles got drunk.

Next week's looks mind-blowing.
If all the Actives become self-aware and understand the Dollhouse so soon, where does the show go during Season 2?

(I wonder how quickly Joss expected to reveal these plot details in his original 'velocity' of the show?)
Dewitt said to Caroline that they've been dancing around the final outcome of her becoming a doll for two years, but I don't think that means she was being pursued by the dollhouse for that long. I think Dewitt was including the time that Caroline spent to digging stuff up about them as well. What I found interesting about all the dolls (or most really) is that it seems that they've all had traumatic things happen to them that they want to forget and that is probably part of the profile Dewitt mentioned. They look for young people that not only are in some kind of pickle, but have something they don't want to live with. For Caroline, it was the death of her boyfriend Leo. At least, that's what I got from Boyd asking her if she was ready for her treatment even though she was remembering who she was and she seemed almost relieved to say yes so she wouldn't have to remember it anymore.

Some of the situations might have been forced for the funny, but they were still hilarious. Dewitt and Topher. Dominic and his soft as kittens suit.... Boyd and the piano... all good. ;)

Good to know most of the baddies aren't also dolls though. Mellie being a doll was bad enough. I'd have a fit if Boyd was too.
Good to know most of the baddies aren't also dolls though. Mellie being a doll was bad enough. I'd have a fit if Boyd was too.

Oh, wow, I hadn't even realized that this helped show us who isn't a doll.
Did anyone else think that the most hilarious part of the whole episode was Adelle commenting on how she doesn't say Rs, becasue she's British? That was HILARIOUS to me. And Topher having no pants on for no reason.

I'm surprised people don't think this episode lived up to the bar set by last weeks. I thought it was awesome, possibly the best yet. (Next week's looks AMAZING)
snakebyte: Oh, wow, I hadn't even realized that this helped show us who isn't a doll.

crazygolfa mentioned it upthread. I actually hadn't thought of it until I saw that either. I'm so glad someone's paying attention to this show. ;D
For me, each episode has been getting exponentially better, and I loved this one (and, yes, more than last week) -- this is what I'd been hoping for, and worried we wouldn't see.

The lawyer in me may just be imagining things, but I don't think Caroline agreed to "join" the Dollhouse because she wanted to forget Leo's death; I think it may have been because she could have faced prosecution for murder -- in some places, if someone dies during a crime, the person(s) who commit(s) the crime can be prosecuted for murder, even if they didn't directly cause the death. Rossum would have had the ability to cover up the crime (or at least her part in it) and offer her a way out -- that "clean slate" she and Adelle discussed in the first episode. I don't think she'll ever lose her feeling of responsibility for Leo's death (as Caroline), but I can see her deciding that the 5-year sentence was a better deal than life in prison for murder.

That line Adelle utters when having "tea" with Caroline both tonight and in the first episode -- "nothing is as it seems" -- isn't that what the Operative says to Mal (right before Inara says, "And that's not incense")?
Well written funny esp olivia williams jumping over the bannister provocative and after all that the guy is hired by the company girls take a bow 2 cool episodes in a row with episode 8 right behind dollhouse rocks
"The Naked Time"...anyone...anyone?
Was I the only one who saw some "Hands of Blue" gloves ala Firefly tonight?
Eileen, although I agree that the criminal charges Caroline might have faced could have been part of Dewitt's leverage, I think that maybe the deciding factor for her was not having to live with the loss of Leo- even if only for a little while. Caroline seemed pretty passionate, so I'm just thinking her choice might have been based more on emotion than the logic of less jail time.
Awesome episode! I must confess I laughed so hard I spit up!! lol Great Comedy & Great Drama, can't complain, not all episodes are going to have the same build up, or pacing that would be unrealistic.

I honestly feel the show keeps getting better and better. So much for people thinking the show doesn't have "the funny". As far as next week's episode with the Actives becoming self aware, obviously something keeps them in the Dollhouse. I just pray the episode or awakening event doesn't turn out to be a dream!!!!!!!!!!!
Geek department: "Rossum" is from "Rossum's Universal Robots," or R. U. R., the Czech play that gave English the word "Robot." Cool.
Wow. An entire thread and no one mentioned that Foxtrot was speaking Mandarin instead of Cantonese?

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-03-28 06:12 ]
Awesome episode, so excited for next week.
Yeah, but whaddaya gonna do? Foxtrot always gets the damn dialects wrong, but hell of a dancer!
I'm just sayin'. 100+ posts and no one calls out the Firefly joke. Shameful.
That made me laugh cause we were just talking about it in that other thread.
I thought it was Mandarin instead of Cantonese.

QUESTIONS:

1) Does anyone else get the vibe that no matter what Caroline (& Sam) decided to do with their fate, there was no way they were leaving that room without becoming a Doll? That "tea" Adelle poured for both of them seemed too ominous to be just tea... perhaps another mind-altering drug from the Rossum Corporation?

2) Sierra DID have more than one memory unlocked. Besides the rape with Hearn, there was also some other memory involving a soldier (?) and a woman covered in cloth. If the woman covered in cloth was Sierra, it seemed to me that she was also being raped. How crappy would it be if the whole reason Sierra signed on was to *forget* about the rape... only to have the one person she *trusts* rape her again? WTF?

3) I love Adelle. I love Dominic. My feelings for these people are very different than what they were when I first started watching Dollhouse. I kind of wonder if we're mistaking the "dependable partner" relationship with a "romantic" relationship. They can be close professionally, and seeing/knowing/acting unprofessional in front of their partners can be quite awkward later. What I thought was neat was that Adelle seems very relaxed with Topher. Very cool.

4) OMG DID ANYONE SEE THE WORD "JOSS" ON THE SIDE OF ECHO'S MOTORCYCLE? The camera hovers over it. Great Easter egg!

5) I'm confused about what to think about Mellie & Paul. Is Mellie moving out by *her* choice, or did the Dollhouse program her to move out? I knew the relationship wouldn't last, but this went quicker than I thought. Guess it's better that she's leaving him, anyway.

6) When Sierra (after freaking out) collides with Victor, does he SHARE the same memory with her? Hmm.

LOVE IT!!!
I think the soldier memory was Victor's.
Intelligent Calcium: I was under the impression that Matt wanted to relive the same fantasy over again. It's just starting back from the beginning again (much like how last week's client lives the "his wife coming back" fantasy over and over from the beginning. That's why Matt says, "you'll be riding this bike," much like we see Echo do in the first episode, just later on in the fantasy. I assume it's the same one. Maybe he got a 2 for 1 coupon :).

NYPinTA: For all we know, it could be two years that she evades Rossum. She does escape the initial hospital confrontation after all. The guard says that Caroline "fits the profile." I wonder if that profile is having nobody close to her. I wonder about those two friends that Caroline and her guy friend (can't remember) had dinner and drinks with. Could they make a return appearance?

OneTeV: I was thinking about what would force them to keep the 5 year engagement too. Also, I wondered what of their minds would be left at the end of the five years. Do they have a copy of their original imprints lying around somewhere? I guess that in case they ever get caught, there is at least a paper trail to protect them. "Human Trafficking? But they signed a contract!" Perhaps they all get stuck up in the attic after five years when they sign another contract in their doll-like state. Who knows.

I have to admit, I'm a little underwhelmed by Caroline's back story. An animal activist sneaking into the lab to bring down the evil corporation? Seems a bit cliche. I mean, perhaps we'll see more of what she has done to Rossum, but getting a little bit of evidence (in a left behind camera) about the evil doings, is probably not enough to put someone away. And while I like the lawyer-y explanation from Eileen, that doesn't sound like a plot point that would be used in the show.

All that being said. Good ep. Next week's will definitely be annoying if they get the problem under control by the end. Also, the Dollhouse really stinks at what they're doing. That's three weeks in a row with a major control issue. You'd think Rossum would fire Adelle or something.
That could very well be. But I thought there was a moment of a close-up and we could *see* Sierra in the cloth, with a man on top of her...

Did you see Joss' name on the motorcycle? And check it, the motorcycle was *red*. How perfect is that?
I loved this episode, at first I would say that last week's was better, but really this one was amazing; the chaos of the story telling fit the chaos it was describing (just as last week's was more structured in every way). It had all the excitement and humor I could ever ask for!
I might have felt bad about Mellie, but knowing she is a doll means that her heart wasn't broken by his unwillingness to give up the case for her... instead we know she was programmed to pull out all the stops in the manipulative guilt tripping. Kudos to Paul for not falling for it!

I definitely will be rewatching this episode several more times!
@korkster: The motorcycle says 1098, not Joss.

@bryguy: Seriously, Topher specifically says an old client with a new fantasy. Matt is not redoing the same engagement from Ghost. (And Alice doesn't even behave like whatever Echo's persona in Ghost was called anyway.)
Hey, b!X - no one's pointed out that the only "flashbacks" we get are from the Dolls, either. We don't find out anything about Dominic (Except that he feels "really bad about" trying to kill Echo, and might have a kitten...thing), Boyd (Except that he plays piano), Adelle or Topher.

Nothing really insightful, like we got with Caroline/Echo. Even with Sierra, Victor & November we got some backstory as far as past (unseen) engagements, and it seems Mellie was hurting more about Paul's obsession with Caroline than she let on. (That line about "is she what you see?" really killed me.)

So...here's a question - we see five coffinsbeds. We know Echo, Victor & Sierra sleep there. And apparently there's a Foxtrot, but we haven't met him/her. So there's one other unnamed Doll that stays @the House constantly. Or is that fifth bed empty, and November will use it when she returns? Or is that fifth bed empty...until the end of tonight's episode?

And also...could the friend of Mellie's that she mentioned might be using her apartment be another sleeper Doll?

I actually said "And people were complaining because of lack of funny" to myself during an ad break. (I really should stop talking to myself.) And thought "shades of Band Candy" when Topher & Adelle were lying on the floor.

I had a little antenna hiccup - what's Topher's last name?

It feels to me like Joss is delivering a full package here, just in case (Heaven forbid!) it doesn't get picked up for a second season. So this could be a complete story as it is, in 13 episodes, but, knowing him, he's left it just ambigious at the end that it can continue if FOX does renew.
bix, are you sure? I was so positive! I felt like they were hovering on it for a reason. *starts to wonder how much "fiction" is really in this show...*

I thought it was pretty sad that Matt wanted to try a new fantasy, but instead of the competitive girl he had before, he gets to be the teacher. Pretty silly.
You haven't seen my drawer of inappropriate starches?!
When the show comes on-line, can someone screen-capture the bike?
I believe the soldier memory was Victor's, Korkster.

Thought it was choppy occasionally, and some of the humor felt forced. Agree with other posters' wtfs on the last Adelle/Dominic conversation.

But it was a solid ep. I laughed out loud two or three times, including Boyd's line about not keeping control of the situation. I never thought I'd think Boyd was funny, so that was a welcome surprise.

It makes sense that the Dollhouse finds its own "volunteers". Could you actually have a secret organization that just has walk-ins who want to join up?

I'm beginning to think that the best actor, maybe even the break-out, is going to be Enver Gjokaj.

No security people in the Dollhouse noticed Topher in his skivvies cavorting with Adelle?
@korkster: I've checked the bike. I wouldn't have chimed in if I hadn't.
Okay bix. I'm just shocked that something I was so *sure* about (like really sure) is a complete lie. *cries*

SO, who here would like to drink that tea that Adelle pours for her "new sign-ups"?
The optical illusion is there. I had to find the right set of frames to freeze to not see it as "Joss" since that's what I was checking to see.
So far, no sign on Hulu or PiFeedback. How long does it usually take for numbers & uploaded episodes?

*checks wrist, realizes there is no watch; checks computer*
Thanks bix. That's somewhat comforting. Not as good as inappropriate starches in briefs, but it'll do. ;)

I vote for Adelle to be awesome. Cuz she is. Now I want to find British people and help them with their R's. :D
I'm LOVING it!

Laughed so much with Topher's and Adelle's scenes!
Olivia Williams kicked ass in those scenes... From what I had seen on the previous episodes I'd never expect that comedian side of her, but she totally delivered. Reed Diamond too, very very good.

All Caroline's flashbacks were very interesting. I particularly liked that the scene with Adelle ended with "Nothing is what it seems to be" (not sure that's the exact quote), matching how the first scene of "Ghost" started.

Not much of Victor and Sierra, but it was cool too.

Mellie/November... as someone said above, looks like she was even more upset with Paul's obsession with Echo than what we could see on the previous episodes.

Only thing I missed was Dr. Saunders. I'd imagine she'd be a part of the researching team (with Topher) to find out more about the drug.

Anyway... AWESOME episode! Not what I was expecting at all! Is it Friday (again) yet??? I want episode 8!!
Did anyone else read anything into what the tripped out girl said to Boyd? "There are mansions in your eyes. I can see all the rooms." Or something along those lines. I must concede that his reaction to the infection would seem to preclude him from being an Active, but it was cryptic in such a meaningful-sounding way that I couldn't just write it off as the girl just being high.

If anyone else is gonna be outed as an Active, it'll be him. Maybe after the whole Alpha debacle they decided to test out partnering Actives with Sleeper Actives, and Boyd is the first test, maybe an Active from another Dollhouse so no one notices. Although obviously they'll need to explain why he reacted the way he did.

Then again, considering the way that the show seems to have decided to play all its cards at once, I also wouldn't be surprised if Mellie is the last secret Active reveal we'll see.

Also, did we actually hear that Mellie's codename is November? I know that's what Miracle Laurie (so gorgeous!) was cast as initially, but I didn't actually hear Topher call her that.
Topher does indeed refer to her as November out loud.
alpha5099, Topher does call her November. Near to the end of the episode, when he figures out how the drug is effecting the Dolls.

[ edited by maxsummers on 2009-03-28 07:27 ]
You know, thinking back to last week's episode... where Adelle corrects Dominic by saying "I played a bad hand very well. There is a difference."- does anyone see this reflected into our television screens? A bad hand, that is being played very well?

Bravo. *claps* Well done.
Did anyone else find it amusing that Caroline was a bit of an animal rights activist, after all the bad mouthing Eliza got from PETA over the past year?

Oh, and I'm totally going to buy a bunch of chips and various pastry snacks specifically so I can make a label for a "Drawer of Inappropriate Starches"! That was probably my favorite line. In general though, I have to rewatch the episode tomorrow because people kept coming into our apartment and being very loud!
I paused my rewatch on what turned out to be a shot of Adelle frantically talking on the phone while walking towards the camera while Topher stands in the backround in his boxer briefs wit his hands on his head. I'm having trouble unpausing it because I think might be my favorite shot of the episode.
korkster, ratings usually come out around noon eastern.

I'm beginning to think that the best actor, maybe even the break-out, is going to be Enver Gjokaj.

I agree.
fuffybaby18, yeah, that animal activist history was not above me. And how beautiful it is... making a difference indeed!

Hilariously, even after she saw that they were testing on humans, she still cared more for the animals. Soooo cute!
korkster, ratings usually come out around noon eastern.

That's too long! I'm "ssstired"! I won't make it til then!
Hilariously, even after she saw that they were testing on humans, she still cared more for the animals. Soooo cute!

I found that less cute and more of an all too common tunnel vision on the part of hyper-activist personas. (Then again, the animals were actually there in the room, whereas he was just looking at data on a computer screen.)
Hmm, I did not get the impression that Caroline signed the contract to be a doll in order to avoid angst/guilt about Leo's death. In Ghost she said bitterly to Adelle "I have no choice, do I?". To me that doesn't suggest she was choosing to avoid emotional pain. It suggests a more tangible reason imposed by outside forces was making Caroline believe she had no other options.

Oh and I forgot to mention before one other cool thing in this ep; remember last week when Ballard was getting his message through re-programmed Echo, that he needed to figure out the real purpose of the Dollhouses, since renting out programmable people is not the real purpose? We got part of the answer when Adelle said to Dominic something about the cause they (Dollhouse) were funding being very important.
Well there were fetuses in jars. Or maybe those were just upside down cows.
Aw, but puppy! Must save puppy! Forget the baby in the jar, it's already dead. (Not blender dead, but dead enough.)

Seriousfully though, I'd probably save the puppies too. In fact, I would (well, cats in my case).

I wonder though how much was hyper-activist persona and how much was "OMG I was right! I knew I was right!". Because, when I get that "right" vibe, I get tunnel-visioned as well.

But yes. Good point. But perhaps this could help explain her guilt over Leo a bit better. She was essentially Paul, who had a strong grounded tether to the "safe" world. The tether got cut, the world went to hell.
Meanwhile, it's definitely Victor flashing on being a soldier and Sierra flashing on being raped. But I'm not convinced the attack she flashes on is Hearn's.
See, I took the soldier flash & Sierra's *other* rape to be the same situation.
Unless the heavily-garbed woman in Iraq (or wherever) was wearing something with thin purple shoulder straps underneath all those clothes, no.

So, no.
So on a scale of 1 to 10, this episode would rate?
Could be Sierra was one who was human trafficked? And maybe Victor went AWOL after something happened? I gotta think November must have some trauma in her past too, possibly relating to what's going on with Paul now that contributed to making her so upset.
I'm thinking a 9.3, Simon.
Oops! Killed the thread (for a little while). *waits for sun to rise in the easternly West, passes out with cats*
I thought they were fetuses in the jar, so it didn't bother me much that she went to the animals. Why save a fetus in a jar when there are animals in pain?
I can't help but point out that Victor didn't seem to have a Slavic/Russian accent in his soldier flashback. If anything, I'd say he appeared to be an American soldier in Iraq.

"I find lentils completely incomprehensible." Wow.
Hm. I still don't get why Sam is wasting time and risking so much with "Alice". Girl comes in, mumbles something about needing to get into Rossum, and he's *so* paranoid (even though she clearly knows nothing about him, and there are already far more qualified people investigating), he has to take her out too?

I just don't buy it. Unless I'm missing something here.


[ edited by Bruce on 2009-05-14 19:52 ]
Adelle was hi-larious. Both the dialogue and physical comedy. Love.
The episode is now available to watch on the Fox site so I've added the link to the entry.
Caroline would be in considerable trouble as a result of that break-in -- the felony murder kind of trouble. Her boyfriend died in the commission of a burglary, that is (I just checked) first degree felony murder in California. Whether the guards acted reasonably or not wouldn't be relevant, just that they acted foreseeably. So at least that's an indication of why Caroline would be feeling so much heat on her that she'd think she was out of choices.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2009-03-28 10:02 ]
I just love that at first it's a very fuzzy distinction between Topher as himself and when he's on drugs. (Given how he exposited that they have bi-weekly drug tests, I can just imagine that he figures out ways to get around them.) I generally liked his scenes with Adelle but I thought the physical humor of her having trouble with the railing was a bit over done.

But her on the trampoline though! And the fact has Topher has one! Or that their brilliant effort to escape from Mellie was to just hide in the same room!

As other stuff goes, I actually sorta liked Sam before it was revealed he accidentally killed his friend but I was more convinced he was going to get killed or something. I wonder if they have a new opening in the alphabet (is he gonna be a new Alpha? Foxtrot's putonghua gonna be blamed on the active?)

Also, I'm a bit surprised I like Dominic a bit now, I think it'd be neat if he actually were apologetic about the whole fire thing and fit in with the idea that nobody is like how they seem at first.

And oh right re: Nasarius, I assume that part of the reason that Sam escaped with Echo was since she was also really into entering the building and a had a potential way in. Plus she served as a handy decoy aside from the fact they were both pretty clearly kind of drugged.

[ edited by orangewaxlion on 2009-03-28 10:45 ]
Was trying to place where I'd seen some of these actors before. Going by their IMDB pages, I most recently saw Mehcad Brooks (Sam, the student Echo/Alice teamed up with and then was betrayed by) in the season finale of True Blood as that recovering kid with the guitar who speaks to . He was also a regular in the second season of Desperate Housewives, but I didn't stick around the show for more than a few episodes after Season 1, so I don't really know how he did aside from having Alfre Woodard as his mother. I liked him on Dollhouse and in True Blood though.

Josh Cooke, who played Caroline's dead lover Leo, was in the Canadian comedy Young People Fucking (unfortunately his segment in that film was one of the most boring, though he and the girl were fine). Apparently he's also in the new Paul Rudd/Jason Segel comedy I Love You, Man.

Bix said:
Wow. An entire thread and no one mentioned that Foxtrot was speaking Mandarin instead of Cantonese?


Loved it, but the naming of yet another doll (yeah, I know they're from the military alphabet--do we know how many of them the Dollhouse has used though?) has me feelig that this show is treating the extras a lot like Lost does. I wasn't sure things would be that way after the first few episodes, I thought some of the fit people walking around in the background of blissful ignorance might be more than extras. It's not a complaint, just something that seems the writers have to be careful about writing around lest they stretch visual credibility (like with Lost, I seriously doubt the same extras were hired to play the remaining non-main-character survivors of Flight 815 throughout all five seasons thus far--plus now there're the Ajira 316 survivors--'cause aside from some simliar faces popping up in Season 1 like that one dude with the beard, I haven't noticed any others in recent years). But maybe they have a storytelling way around that, I dunno. Or maybe it's just one of those things the audience is expected to buy into, which wouldn't be that big a deal given what other shows have required.

Does the writing team of Elizabeth Craft and Sara Fain usually write comedic eps ? I can't recall, but a quick look at their IMDB profiles shows that, aside from "Harm's Way" on Angel, they seem to get the serious stuff (okay, and there was some funny stuff in "Shiny Happy People"). This was funny in parts, a few moments were very funny, but...

I think it was way too early for this kind of episode. Showing that side of Adelle this early on felt...off...forced (I know other people have already said "forced")...like we would've gotten a heck of a lot more out of it if we actually knew the non-Actives Dollhouse staff a bit better and for a lot longer. "Band Candy", "The Zeppo", "Spin the Bottle", none of those episodes would've fit in the seventh episode of their respective series and I felt that was the problem here. I understand maybe the need to do a zany funny episode to keep the attention of that portion of the audience that demands/expects/hopes for a heaping dose of humor every now and then or even nearly every episode for some. I also understand the plan to maybe go for broke because the series might only end up being one season, but even so...*shrug* Some of it just didn't work for me and it felt like a joke. All the flashback and Caroline-reveal stuff was fine. I didn't like feeling embarrassed for the show for being too-goofy-too-early though. I guess I was just hoping for the kind of heightened sense of urgency like we got last week (only felt it again during the Mellie scene where Topher and Adelle cowered from her as she began to recite the trigger), it felt like we needed another week of that before a break in the tension.

[ edited by Kris on 2009-03-28 16:40 ]
I didn't read sex into Dominic and Adelle's awkwardness after it was all over.

I just figured that Dominic and Adelle were embarrassed with each other because, as head of security, Dominic has access to (and probably had to review for debriefing purposes) all of the surveillance tapes- which would show Adelle being a big British freaked-out, starchy-snack-eater. And Dominic would be embarrassed because he got his gun taken by an Active. That's a probably a pretty big "no no" in hard-assed-security-guy-land. And she had to return it to him on top of it. Insult to injury.

She did, however, seem a bit overly concerned when she found out he had been effected by the drug. I read a bit more than co-workers into *that* scene.

Oh, and whoever it was above (too tired to go look it up) who remarked about animal rights' activists caring more about the animals than people and having tunnel vision or whatver. I am not an activist by any means, but I expect one of those people might say that we are more human (maybe even at our best as humans) when we care for animals' rights and take responsibility for their proper and non-abusive care. That, in that way, protecting animals' rights is, in fact, protecting human rights... even humanity itself.

Just my thought... I mean, if Rossum will treat animals like that, who knows what they would do to humans/fetuses/dolls, right? :)
There might be a more complex reason why Joss made Caroline an animal rights activist/hopeful conspiracy cracker, but it'll probably turn out (if we're shown more of who she is/was) to be another aspect of the series that challenges some viewers' ideas of right & wrong. I know there're gonna be some viewers who are turned off by that, that Echo's original personality will make them like her less, that they'll have a gut reaction "OMG PETA-craZy!" sort of thing happening, but regardless of the animal rights aspect, she was trying to investigate and potentially take down a shady company that she seemed to have some reason to believe were committing some kind of abuse, so...in the right, even if illegal in her methods ? Although not exactly Mulder, who also went snooping without a warrant, 'cause she doesn't have a badge. And now Paul Ballard's the Mulder/conspiracy nut to take her place, but also without a badge.
Tarae:

I've always loved this quote:

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress, can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

--Ghandi

[ edited by josswhedonaddict on 2009-03-28 11:34 ]
I really don't like this episode. It's fun in a fan sense, but dramatically, it's just noise where nothing connects. Except Mellie, 'cos, Miracle could sell anything.
This was by far my favorite ep so far. Last week (MOTS), it started feeling like a real Joss show, rather than a Fox tinkered with Joss potential show. This week, it seemed to settle firmly into Jossian territory.
I loved that more of the other actors got more time to show what they're capable of, it was the first time it felt to me like a cohesive ensemble.
I loved that Caroline was a brave, idealistic activist (no matter what the cause). Adele and Topher were hysterical, I was amazed at Olivia Williams, as I've never seen her before. The entire cast was in top form, great timing with all the mood shifts and mix of serious/funny dialog.

I loved the mix of drama, humor and reveals that moved the storyline forward. More of this, please (not expecting the overt humor every time out, but more of this kind of sneaky humor in the dialog would be great).
I've always wanted my own pantry with chips and rice crackers in my room, but apparently I just need a drawer of inappropriate starches. :D

Favourite scene was definitely the Topher-Adelle "heart-to-heart". I got a Band Candy vibe there too. :D Hadn't thought about Spin The Bottle, though - obviously I need to see that episode again very soon. LOVED Dominic's tripping.

I did miss Dr Saunders. :(
How very "Spin the Bottle" that was. But I'm not complaining, they're free to recycle old ideas as long as they do it well which they did here. In fact, I'd rate it slightly stronger than "Spin the Bottle" since in this episode the "effect" was less just a fun exercise and more tied to the core arc, probably since the entire show is about mind alteration. Either way, it's safe to say that last epi wasn't a fluke and the Dollhouse has finally hit its stride.

(One thing though, didn't Echo and that other guy manage to escape the detention area or whatever awfully easy? Kinda bugged me out...)
Less-than-great-editing and what kris said about forcing the funny too early aside, I enjoyed the episode in a Band Candy way.

I hadn't considered it yet, but I also agree that it was a clever way to show us who is and isn't a doll.

Favorite off-character moment: Boyd on the piano

The soldier flashbacks were definitely Victor's. I assumed Iraq.

Poor Sierra. Poor Mellie. Poor Paul. But not poor me for getting sucked into actually fretting over characters again! Thanks, Joss. It's been awhile.
Just noticed the music at the end of the preview for next week sounds like The Guild theme.
I guess I'm a little more dense than some, but the first time I watched this episode, I was overwhelmed. The time-shifting plot confused me in the first watching.

But like any Whedon show, it is meant to be watched over and over to pull out the nuances of the plot that rocket by you the first time you hear and see them. Damn, that man's mind is complex beyond belief.

We have at last learned of the evil corporation that is controlling the Dollhouse and how it obtains its actives. Essentially, to surpress or contain them, it recruits them.

But Echo is the random element. Part of her pysche, the anarchist that is Caroline is still there, no matter how they have tried to wipe it. And that rebel escapes the mind-chains and plants a time bomb in the apparatus that will eventually blow sky-high. Kick their ass, girl!

I'm loving this show.
ShadowQuest said:
So...here's a question - we see five coffinsbeds. We know Echo, Victor & Sierra sleep there. And apparently there's a Foxtrot, but we haven't met him/her. So there's one other unnamed Doll that stays @the House constantly. Or is that fifth bed empty, and November will use it when she returns? Or is that fifth bed empty...until the end of tonight's episode?


Huh. I have been assuming that there is more than the one room of sleeping pods and that there is an entire alphabet of Actives currently in the DH, if not more. I wonder which is correct?
peach, you are correct. You can see many of the other Actives in the background in scenes. They don't wear shoes I seem to recall.
Thanks for the confirmation, gossi.

I watched the ep again. How are we all going to last another 6 days until the next new ep?? Oh, the humanity!
'There's no way Dom would consciously try and have fun'.

Loved this episode with all the Bandy Candy/Spin the Bottle-ish stuff. The Topher/Adelle moments were brilliant:
'It's made of Brown.'
'Brown...mined from the earth by the hard scrabble Brown miners of North Browndeton.'
'I find lentils completely incomprehensible'

Dollhouse is now very much pure Joss.

Eliza played Caroline a lot better this time, maybe because it was the serious, rebellious side of Caroline that we saw here and I agree that it's a side that cannot be wiped from Echo.

I'm loving this show more and more.
Seems like the perfect candidate for a doll includes both the "in major jam/danger" and something deeply troubling that the person would give almost anything to reverse...and is therefore tempted to permanently forget. Because Caroline seems to me to be someone who would have stepped up to being arrested- and maybe even relished the chance to publicize her issues, if it were not for her horror and guilt feelings about her boyfriend's death. Oh, and I guess they'd also need to be people who don't have tons of friends/family to insist on finding them.

It suggests to me the way some people may seek to be wiped clean of their sins via religious faith ...they may fervently wish to be a new person who is no longer responsible for the bad deeds of their un-transformed prior selves. Sometimes over and over again...like the dolls being wiped...a magic "get out of jail free" sort of atonement.

The temptation to sign on the dotted line seems pretty real to me; a escape for people who feel irrevocably trapped by their misdeeds and mistakes.

[ edited by toast on 2009-03-28 16:00 ]
The One True b!x
Wow. An entire thread and no one mentioned that Foxtrot was speaking Mandarin instead of Cantonese?

I would have, but it was all Greek to me...
So, the purpose of this episode was to reassure us that there are no more hidden actives? It would get old quickly if we kept on second-guessing, "what if Adelle/Boyd/Topher/etc. are actives?" Now we know they're not, and we can move on.
There was a lot of good in this episode, but for me at least it doesn't rank among my faves so far. I wasn't really ready for a "band candy"-style ep (funnier if you know and love the characters better) and I felt like some things (Caroline's relationship with her boyfriend and how she loses him) were rushed when they could have been drawn out and made more meaningful.

I am wildly curious about the Adele / Caroline relationship though. When Adele was called into the hospital, it sort of sounded like she hadn't met Caroline before, but the way she smiled when she realized Caroline had escaped made me think she did know her.

I enjoyed all the scenes with Topher and Adele too. And Boyd on the piano! Lovely.
I also find it interesting how much people are saying, "this now feels like Joss," since we know he didn't write this ep. That said, some of it really did sound pure Joss, so maybe a few of the lines are his... anyone know how much Joss contributes that's uncredited?
I loved Boyd on the piano, too. So we don't know about Claire then, as she is the only major character we haven't seen on the drug.
I greatly enjoyed the ep, a bit of a departure in tone from the rest of the series, even from last week. November is quickly emerging as a fave, as is any scene with Topher and DeWitt.

Boyd on the piano was indeed a thing of beauty. Hopefully we'll get some Acker next week. Good stuff.
Great episode. I love that Catherine is an animal rights activist.
Nasarius: I thought it made perfect sense that Sam would latch on to Alice: he needed to get into the lab but didn't know a way around the security, and she knew a way around the security. Then he needed to disable her so he could get away with his booty, I think the talking was just his self justification while he waited for the strong exposure to the drug to kick in (which it never did because she is an active).

I seriously enjoyed ALL the scenes. I didn't feel it was too early to see some silly from Dominick Topher and Adele, we've all been hating on them since the beginning. And I thought having Caroline be an animal protection activist had a very nice irony since poor Caroline is now a lab rat running the drug company's maze.
Simon, if you're still taking rankings, I give this episode an 8.5 (last week's was a 10). Still enjoyed it very much even though not as much as last week's. Hope we get some improved ratings!!
Hahahaha! This episode was hilarious. "It's made of... brown!"

Anyways, once more, I bring you the review from this site I visit. The guy who wrote it was apparently not too excited by it, I loved it, though.

"Echoes" at the Independent Comics Site.Net
Given that they were able to work through the drug to some degree and make constructive decisions despite its effects, what prevented Topher and Adelle from calling some of the other agents and lab technicians to help them out ? Pure embarrassment ? That doesn't seem justified. Lives were at stake. Mellie was a potential threat. Get on your walkies or your cell phones and call for help.
Pifeedback has the ratings and it looks like this is a new low for the show.
Viewers: #4, 3.87 million; A18-49: #3, 1.3/ 4

http://pifeedback.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/63310451/m/208101991
This episode was good or better, I thought. Lots of the funnies. I was amazed at the tremendous amounts of exposition so early in the season. Victor and Sierra in their programmed roles were my favorites. (Dominic's reaction to the NSA badge was priceless.)

Dominic was much less dicklike, and I still don't like Adelle. I thought the antics in the pencil skirt were very "I Love Lucy".

But we are definitely in the JossVerse, so YAY!!

Crisham2, I salute you!!!!

[ edited by falina on 2009-03-28 17:13 ]
I know many people have mentioned "Band Candy" and "Spin the Bottle," but the episode I flashed back to was "I only have eyes for you." When Alice/Echo/Caroline told Sam "just because you didn't mean it doesn't mean you didn't kill him; you're responsible" juxtaposed with her flashbacks of getting Leo shot, I couldn't help but think that she was identifying with him, and the blame/accusation was also directed at herself, just like how Buffy reacted in "I only have eyes for you."

On a side issue, how does one distinguish between an "appropriate" and "inappopriate" starch?
"She's not tripping, she's glitching." Classic.
I liked it very much. Hilarious at times, but well balanced against the drama and the tensions.

Was this the first episode with Jane Espenson as Consulting Producer? Would explain all the "Band Candy"-talk... :)

I kind of didn't get the point of Sam dragging Alice along for the ride, but that's probably because I didn't understand their first conversation all to well.
I mean, if Rossum will treat animals like that, who knows what they would do to humans/fetuses/dolls, right?

That doesn't make sense logically, unless one considers animals to be more deserving of protection than humans.

At any rate to be clear: I didn't say anything specifically about animal rights activists and tunnel vision. I said something about hyper-activist people generally. Read it again. ;)
Great episode. I didn't like it as much as the last one, but probably second favorite. I can see the notion that it is too early for such an episode, but there are those who think that all of Joss' shows need to be laugh out loud hilarity all the time apparently, and this should appease them. Also realistically with the ratings they are, not sure if we will get to the "logical" season to do such an episode.

But I did think it was well placed, and furthered Caroline's saga. I was quite angry at her for not freeing all the animals. Yes realistically what good would it do, but to just stand their with all those adorable animals made me deffiently understand her desire to help at least one of the dogs.

That said, I didn't understand why she hated the company so much when she was with all her friends (ie before she had proof, obviously then there is a great deal of cause to not like it so much). Yes obviously animal testing is wrong, etc. but she seemed to jump from animal testing, to "There Evil and must be hiding something" pretty quick. Unless she had previous run ins, which would make sense, but it would have been nice to reference them.

edit: b!x, I had a whole elaborate argument to support in some cases mistreatment of animals is worse than against humans, but I figure its just not worth it. I'll just say that I felt way worse for the monkeys and dogs than for the fetuses or for the new Doll recruit, and that I personally value my cats life far above the average humans.

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-03-28 18:50 ]
OneTeV,
I definitely found myself wondering if Adelle might be Caroline's mother. I don't know how likely it is; while she's been more than normally concerned about Echo, she also seemed a bit more stoic about needing to "neutralize" her in the museum heist episode than you'd expect if she were talking about her own daughter. But there's definitely something more to that relationship - the bit about Caroline having gone to the college in order to punish Adelle really stuck out.

I also, got a kind of a Maggie Walsh feel, and wondered if Adelle might have been a Professor at the college and Caroline a prize student, and that that was what was meant by "doing the dance" for two years. Also, echoes of Spike in "Fool for Love" talking about dancing being what they've always done.

Also seemed to me a very good candidate for Alpha would be Caroline's boyfriend. We don't actually see him die. If he survived and was captured by Rossum, that would explain his special interest in Echo/Caroline. I understand there is some casting spoiler, that I don't know, that would make this unlikely, but it sure would be compelling.

bunnykitty, thanks for the tipoff about "Rossum's Universal Robots." Wasn't that the first ever use of the term "robot." I actually read it in high school, but didn't remember the name.
Just noticed the music at the end of the preview for next week sounds like The Guild theme.

It's music boxy, much like the end of the Dollhouse theme itself.
I love this show so much I want to take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant.
I don't think I care for the characters enough yet to want to see them act totally different. Also... drugged/drunk strangers are hardly ever funny, in real life, or on tv. But that's just me.

In other words, didn't like the episode that much. Didn't hate it either.
So, the purpose of this episode was to reassure us that there are no more hidden actives? It would get old quickly if we kept on second-guessing, "what if Adelle/Boyd/Topher/etc. are actives?" Now we know they're not, and we can move on.

...but we don't know about Dr. Saunders! :O
wonderflonium: Cool it on the crudeness.
I liked this episode. I loved Olivia Williams' expressions when dealing with Topher (Or "Topha" since I'm English and apparently can't pronounce the letter R), even before the drugs kicked in

And Boyd seriously needs some new kit. When the tripping girl went to touch him he had in his hand a first generation Magellan GPS, seriously old stuff. I had one of those and sold it on ebay a couple of years ago for about $40.

Actually, now I think about it I do pronounce Topher as Topha. Damn you Joss!

[ edited by zz9 on 2009-03-28 19:30 ]
We have at last learned of the evil corporation that is controlling the Dollhouse and how it obtains its actives.

Except we don't actually know that Rossum runs the Dollhouse, only that they must have made some drugs/technology essential to what the Dollhouse does. Maybe even be their tester. I just didn't get the vibe that Rossum was actually in charge of them.
What Adelle says is that what the Dollhouse does is funding the work Rossum is doing, work she believes in. Whether or not that means Rossum runs/owns the Dollhouse could be debated. Although she also says that the Rossum guy only has his job because he couldn't handle hers, which suggests some intertwining.
So while I really enjoyed the Topher/Adelle scenes, and even some of the backstory, I dunno, I feel like Joss could have done more and just didn't. It's like there's all this buildup and kinda a cop-out resolution to it all every time. Examples: Mellie starting to say her trigger phrase...and then lying on the floor; Echo flashing back to her animal-loving past but then having a really generic personality through it all (I like animals too, but still, I mean slightly generic, though it does give her a reason to sneak into the building, though I would have favored parent/sibling/friend injured/killed by the Rossum corp or something like that); Sam feeling sorry but not really about killing his best friend (they really could have done so much more with that); Caroline's teacher from Fremont confronting her. However, like I said, I did enjoy the comedic moments and the glimpse into Victor's past as a soldier (poss in the Middle East?). I also think that the final scene with Adelle and Dominic seemed odd considering they barely interacted the entire episode, but maybe it was just a representation of everyone's embarrasment in general. I was kinda hoping that Caroline's boyfriend would be Alpha, but guess not since he's dead. Also, if just seeing an image of a place she used to go to school get's Echo all flashbacky, wouldn't that happen to any active, and since she's still in Cali (presumably), wouldn't she see other familiar landmarks all the time and constantly flashback? Maybe it's something that got programmed into her when she got the remote wipe from Alpha. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the episode, I just thought it could have been better. Kinda like how last week's was more than awesome. Just some random thoughts.
Oh and also, no matter what anyone says, Topher rocks.
Simon, Wonderflonium's comment (which was only marginally crude, I thought) is a reference to another show (30 Rock, in a fairly hilarious episode).

And Rune, I think that Echo's glitching upon seeing her old school has to do with her specific glitchiness which (so we have been led to believe) does not affect all of the dolls. Remember, everyone has different chemistry!

[ edited by Septimus on 2009-03-28 20:17 ]
barboo, I like the idea of a professor/mentor role. Like you said, that would explain the "family" vibe without the risk of cliche. ("Echo... I am your mother!")

Like my other comments indicate, I'm siding with gossi and catherine. The episode was fun and entertaining, with lots of interesting moments, but it wasn't a great show. The more I think about it, the more parts of the episode are bugging me (pacing, characterization, narrative flow). I don't think it was bad, but there were a lot of missed opportunities. Is there somewhere to post an amateur critique? I'd like to go over the episode again and make notes (it is bugging me that much).
roofpig, I had the same hit as you...the whole "you think Buffy is in the role of the teacher but she's actually in the role of the boy" was exactly what was going on...especially as the episode goes to great lengths to play up that the boyfriend is in this because of Caroline and not vice versa...She sees her own guilt in Sam's situation, which, we have to remember, was also a case of not intending to kill anyone...He is majorly guilty of something, but not in a clear cut way.

Also, kudos to the people noting that this episode allows us to say with pretty much near certainty that most of the major dollhouse management characters are NOT dolls, due to their reaction (Claire and Ivy the obvious unknowns at this point.).

Also key: All the dolls flash back to their "real" past traumas, right? In that situation, I think it is significant that what Mellie flashes back to islargely her fear that Paul is thinking more of Caroline than him, which reinforces my personal hope that, when all is said and done, "Mellie" and her thing for Ballard are meant to be very close to the "real" character of this active, not just an imprint (I still like the idea that one possibility is precisely that the dollhouse sent her out in to the theworld with her REAL personality, just with a few hidden extra abilities and triggers. Think what a cool narrative possibility that opens: someone you really have known for years/your whole life being a doll, but you don't know it because they have been sent out with their "real" identity in place instead of a separate imprint!)
Quite enjoyed this one but I think the "too soon" and "slightly lacking dramatically" camps have a point. The only thing that excuses it is, the whole series is about "mash-ups" so to me it makes sense that you could get away with deconstructing the characters earlier on a show that's actually about deconstructing characters, it's almost as if it's part of how Joss et al are maybe tweaking the grammar of programme making slightly.

That aside, is anyone else wondering if the plot re-use from earlier Joss shows might be deliberate ? We've had "Homecoming" ('The Target'), maybe 'Tabula Rasa' ('Gray Hour') and now something like "Band Candy" and/or "Spin the Bottle". Or maybe it's just that there're only so many plots ? I dunno though, feels like there may be something there ...

- apparently I can only stand Topher when he's high cos I almost never wanted to punch him in the face in this one ;)

- even the animals in the lab being basically a mash-up of ALL experimented upon animals. There's the rabbits with make-up, monkeys, what looked like beagles (as in smoking), probably others. Almost a greatest hits.

- liked seeing a bit more of Adelle's pitch to future actives and finding out a bit more about how Caroline came to be there

- did anyone else think Leo would've probably backed out of the "liberation raid" if Caroline hadn't pressured him a bit ? I like that, seems to me like guilt could've contributed to her signing on too and it also ties in to the idea we see over and over in this show that choices are never clear-cut, never totally free but very rarely totally imposed either (I think when we get to the end and re-watch all the episodes, we're going to find that instances of volition totally clear of any external pressure are gonna be pretty thin on the ground - just like real life)

- what looked like a little bit of genuine pre-active "Victor" (AFAIK we don't know his real name right ?). Post Traumatic Stress is actually one of the few reasons for signing on that make any sense to me personally.

- is this the most explicit jibe yet about how even heroic female characters tend to run around dressed like a male fantasy in most TV shows ?

- and IMO one of the more distasteful engagements too in its own seemingly innocuous way. Apparently nice guy Matt may well be getting off on the idea that he can play "dress up" with the doll's entire personality. Unlike the other engagements which have been about meeting a specific need, this one has a large element of being about having a programmable woman (since he presumably specifically asked for Echo's body but with someone else inside).

...but we don't know about Dr. Saunders! :O

That's an extremely good point. She's the only main dollhouse character we don't see affected by it (one way or another). Interesting.


ETA: Some of which doubtful guest covered a mere 2 minutes previously ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2009-03-28 21:20 ]
I am somewhat confused at some peoples lack of dislike towards Matt. I really don't like the guy, never did (and it should be noticed I think Topher is awesome, who many people dislike). It probably has to do with the rich, well groomed guy flitting about on a goofy bike (at least have the decency to have long hair, aviators and a ridiculous mustache while doing so). This guy has to spend a ridiculous amount of money to hire a doll... and then teach them how to ride a motorcycle? I'd assume there are many girls who don't know how to ride a motorcycle that would be willing to allow a ridiculously rich guy teach them (admittedly none would look like Eliza, but still). Also, he's way to into the whole rope tying thing. He's certainly one of the more creepy... Johns? Customers?...IMHO, not including the obviously murderous or insane ones.

As a final note against him, how stupid can you be to video tape yourself with an incredibly illegal Doll? Sure she has no identity, etc. etc., but you think he'd seen a movie or too to know that someone like Paul would be trying to bust the Dollhouse.
You know, when Mellie/November was breaking up with Paul, I completely forgot that she was a doll. Seriously.

I'm going to watch it again later to figure out what I think about this episode. Something felt off for me.
In episode one, I found myself having an oddly positive feeling about Matt, based mostly on his sort of wistfully and appreciatively watching Echo leave the party that made me think there was something about her that he "got" at whatever level. At the time, I justified this to myself by saying "well, maybe someone bought him that weekend as a gift and he just thinks she was a really cool, really kind prostitute who he kinda bonded with but had no illusions about." Now, I know that isn't it, but he still seems to be -- what's the word -- attentive to her (and notice how he doesn't got the "you fucking crazy bitch" route even when she leaves him tied to a bed? seems a fairly gentle soul.) So, at this point, since he has appeared twice, I am suspecting there is something more going on with him, likely having to do with the fact that part of his deal seems to be TEACHING her or INTRODUCING her to certain things, which goes along with the "Alice in Wonderland" theme. Of course, he also sleeps with her, but I am one of those who is in the camp of being more interested in the stories surrounding the sex (including various riffs on power and identity) than on whether actual (gasp) prostitution going on. (Yes, I am one of those who found the end of the episode 6 Joel Mynor story more touching than gross). Could be wrong, but could be right :)
As a final note against him, how stupid can you be to video tape yourself with an incredibly illegal Doll? Sure she has no identity, etc. etc., but you think he'd seen a movie or too to know that someone like Paul would be trying to bust the Dollhouse.

Good point SteppenMarc, however history (er...or Entertainment Tonight?) has shown us that when it comes to fulfilling their sexual desires/fantasies, many people (esp celebrities/the rich) do all sorts of really stupid things.
Just a little comment on something that I don't think anyone else has mentioned yet - the song playing in the background of the Caroline flashback before she shows off the blueprints (where they're eating and passing round the Rossum Corp advert) is Portions For Foxes by Rilo Kiley. Blake Sennett, guitarist and singer for the band, played Michael in the Buffy episode Gingerbread.

(And is really like Topher in person.)
Victor's flashback in this, flashbacked to me his comment in his Russian gangster persona that he would like to be a doll, and be able to forget the terrible things he's done. I think there is some of his real self talking there.

And it's interesting that there are real-life experiments going on with drugs that eliminate traumatic memories.
...when it comes to fulfilling their sexual desires/fantasies, many people (esp celebrities/the rich) do all sorts of really stupid things.

Yep, the video's a clear case of thinking with the wrong head I reckon ;).

Re: Matt, rope/schmope, that's a "floats yer boat" detail between consenting adults (setting aside what that means where an active's concerned), no issue with that at all but the "same body reprogrammed" thing is pretty insidiously creepy IMO. I could imagine a lot of clients even wanting to forget that aspect of it, after all the unique selling point of the dolls is that (in some sense) they want to be there for you - reprogramming the same body is almost like revelling in the idea that you're making them be there, picking them off a rack like any other piece of merchandise.

And Topher's arrogant and deeply callous in amongst all his funny lines and quirky charm. He's also wrong a lot which maybe wouldn't matter as much if it was only his life at stake.

(Yes, I am one of those who found the end of the episode 6 Joel Mynor story more touching than gross)

Yeah that was more touching IMO too (and also sad - not just for him but at him if you see what I mean. Pathetic would be the word i'd use for him I guess).
I also had that "it's too early for Band Candy" feeling, but I enjoyed the ep. a lot, and considering how unlikely it looks that we're going to get a Season 3--I'm OK with having it now. And it served some great purposes--the "who's a doll" reveal, the softer (hee) side of Dominic, a glimpse of Victor's past, a look at how deeply "Mellie" has affected November, all the Caroline reveals, lots of funny lines...yeah, I'm happy with this one. I find I'm not all that interested in Caroline, but I'm very interested in the Caroline/Adelle relationship (and in Adelle in general). That smile in the hospital was very interesting.

Also, I thought the fact that the guy hired the same doll with a different personality for a new fantasy made him even more disgusting than he was the first time around with his little heart necklace. I hope he's still tied to the bed.

ETA: Just discovered that y'all had a long conversation about Matt while I was posting! (Agree with Saje. --again)

[ edited by jcs on 2009-03-28 22:00 ]
Personally I think that smile is partly the "vibe" people are getting. Adelle just likes Caroline IMO, she admires her a bit I think, possibly because Caroline is a maker of choices, she's not a sit back and go with the flow sort and when she's high (i.e. less inhibited) Adelle seems to be a big fan of making choices, it seems almost to be an article of faith for her that we even do in the first place (the lady almost protests too much).

There might be some deeper relationship but i'd be fairly surprised if they were related (and certainly not mother/daughter - sisters maybe). Not just because of how British Adelle is either ;).
I've just finished watching for the third time, and the episode just keeps getting tighter and funnier... I like it more and more! And while I get this complaint about the episode being too 'early', nevertheless this is the point for some fun before we run out of total episodes (assuming the show is not renewed). Wouldn't we all have liked a comedy episode of everyone on Serenity being drugged and revealing their true selves? Even if it had had to be shoe-horned into the few episodes we got? I would have liked to have seen that episode, and I'm grateful to have had this one!
part of his deal seems to be TEACHING her or INTRODUCING her to certain things

That just makes him creepier. He's got this sugar-coated power and control thing going on that's just YUCKY.

i'd be fairly surprised if they were related
Yeah, I certainly don't think Caroline is her daughter, but she seems to have a pretty strong attachment to her. Possibly the attachment developed during that "2 years" that was mentioned.
I am suspecting there is something more going on with him, likely having to do with the fact that part of his deal seems to be TEACHING her or INTRODUCING her to certain things

Since the last time we saw him, she almost beat him in their race, I think the teaching was more about ensuring that wouldn't happen again. He wants to be superior, and that adds to his shadiness. Otherwise, I don't think he's really worth talking about. (I see now jcs just said the same thing.)
I almost liked this ep better than last week's, with its Joss-brand of silliness despite the serious nature of a lot of the goings-on. Awesome!
Posting way late so just about everything's been covered but with so many mentions of editing, there was a glaringly sloppy cut when Alice/Echo pulled up on and got off the bike at the University.

Otherwise, my over all = funnest episode yet.
I've been trying to figure out how the Dollhouse got Sam. Boyd walked off with Echo and left Sam lying there. I assume once they reviewed her memory tape or whatever it is, they put out a net for him and picked him up at some point. I don't think Boyd went back and grabbed him based on some comment Echo made, because Sam did seem to think he was being held by cops of some kind. Boyd hauling him off to the Dollhouse wouldn't have given him that impression, I don't think.

I noted on re-watch the concerned look on Adelle's face when she learned by phone about Dominic being infected. It could have just been worry that the virus was contaminating Dollhouse staff, but it seemed more personal than it should have, somehow.
I watched this episode while too sleepy to really appreciate it, so a rewatch is in order. But in general, I variously enjoyed it and was creeped out/disturbed by it - all things I feel I should be during Dollhouse.

I will say this, though: even in my sleepiness, I was startled by how sloppy the editing was at that point noted by Brett. What the heck? There were a few other points in the show where I wondered about the editing. It just didn't seem up to snuff.

Interesting discussion above about Matt.
Weee. Guess what. There was an instant i saw my school. On 16:37, that's the Associated Students building on the San Jose State University Campus.
On another note, i did enjoy all the fun of the people in it. Topher i didn't notice as much because he's naturally fun. But Adelle, that was fun to notice all the differences in her composure.
doubtful guest, I also felt bad for Joel. I didn't necessarily think it was touching, just really really sad and pathetic. But I felt for him, as a human. I also understood the motivations behind the guy wanting the piece of the Parthenon (though I'd have gone for a more interesting ancient piece from Persia or the steppes, nothing Greek. But to each there own). Also of course understood the guy wanting his daughter back. Not for Matt though (and none of the other main clients either, AFAIR). Matt particularly is egregious I think because he seems 'normal' or whatever, less of an obvious villain. But I'm hoping that maybe he'll run into Paul Ballard for some 'aggressive questioning' about the Dollhouse.

Finally I'd just like thank ShanshuBugaboo, since of all the times I've had my handle misspelled over the years, I think I like SteppenMarc the best. :)
One quick question: How was Sam immune to the drug?
One quick question: How was Sam immune to the drug?

He wasn't. He started getting a little crazy at the time that the other guy killed himself, but by the time Echo ran into him it had worn off.

[ edited by snakebyte on 2009-03-29 00:48 ]
My friend and I noticed that cut with Echo getting off the bike. Honestly, I think it had to do with that absolutely ridiculous outfit she was wearing the whole time. I don't think there'd really be anyway to show her getting off that bike in such a short skirt that wouldn't show us too much, so they just cut around it, in an admittedly pretty jarring way.

God I wish she'd changed out of that stupid outfit. It was pretty much impossible to take her seriously while she was wearing those silly stockings. If anything, that's what creeps me out the most about Matt's fantasy, that he had her wear that.
Words cannot express how much I hated what they dressed Echo in. It's creepy enough we have episodes where the child-like Dolls are busy getting raped by their 'handlers', but now we have Eliza dressed as a japanese schoolgirl having videotapped S&M sex.
I enjoyed the episode, but I'm not that fond of Caroline. I realize they're trying to show how she screwed up enough to have to accept the Dollhouse's offer, but she's both self-righteous and stupid and that's a bad combo.
Hmm. Will I come across as a horrible creepy person if I say I liked the outfit now? Don't get me wrong, I thought it was out of character (presumably) for the shy nice girl to be wearing that (unless she's supposed to be in a very very odd school uniform, which just turns the creepiness about Matt even higher). Seems more like what Lilah was wearing with Wesley than anything your average person would wear.

But I would be lying if I said I didn't like it.
If someone decided to wear that for me I wouldn't exactly hate it, put it that way. That's what's so cool about the show IMO, it presents you with situations where you might like something but it makes you question why, whether you "should".

Ultimately though, stockings and high-heels are sexy and I don't think that's exactly a minority opinion among straight men. It's the context that makes you feel a bit weird about it.

I enjoyed the episode, but I'm not that fond of Caroline.

Yeah I loved that about it. She's gutsy and no-nonsense but otherwise, to be honest, i'm not sure I particularly like what i've seen of her so far.
Well regarding Caroline, I definitely got the idea that when 'Alice' told Sam that he was a murderer, that it didn't matter if he hadn't meant it to happen, that she was realizing somewhere inside of herself that she had manipulated her boyfriend into a dangerous situation that got him killed. So yeah, Caroline cared about animals, but she didn't do well by her boyfriend, she bears a lot of responsibility for his death. That kind of goes back to b!x's statement about fanatics fighting for causes doing a lot of damage (er... if that is even what he was saying).
Saje, you have summed up my feelings far better than I ever could, especially since I'm running on about 3 hours of sleep. And I agree exactly what you said about Caroline. I don't really like her nearly as much as Echo or some of her other personalities. She can't shine a light to Mellie so far. But that's ok, I don't need to like the character, since the character is good (hmmm....) I mean she's interesting and complex, but I like the fact that I don't agree with her right away. And I think that the idea that the blank slate Echo (and the other Dolls) is far more likable than their original personalities is fascinating.

edit: Wow. Proof of my lack of sleep: I just realized now (I know this was already discussed up thread) that that her name was Alice, which was one of many of Through the Looking Glass references, as well as dressing Alice in an outfit that some would consider young girlish (though I'd be horrified seeing a child in that short of a skirt).

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-03-29 01:31 ]
Stockings and high heels are fine. Lacy stockings with garters and high heels combined with what is apparently meant to be a schoolgirl outfit creeps me the hell out. Don't like sexualized schoolkids, me.

But I didn't have the problem with her outfit during the rest of the show. It helped illustrate that she was way off-mission, and she was so focused-yet-scattered that I honestly don't think it would have occurred to her to stop to change (and change where, exactly?).

And they stressed that people were affected differently. Sam just had a higher tolerance than she did, that was all (and who besides me thought the flies being released at the beginning were going to be the carriers?) But just how many agents were Actives? Only one besides Dominic went nuts, were the rest all dolls?

But what took me out of the show, briefly, was this: Echo and Sam were far away from the Rossum building, they went down a ladder, found the red pipe she made a point of pointing out, which led them a whole [i]8 feet[/i] to another ladder [i]that could be seen from where she pointed at the pipe[/i]. That ladder must have then moved them through time and space to the far away building. Sloppy. Could have at least added a cut to suggest a longer tunnel.

[ edited by C. A. Bridges on 2009-03-29 01:34 ]
You see them standing on the drain and then you see them in the tunnel. They could've walked a fair distance underground after climbing down. What took me out of it briefly was the idea of them just lifting a drain cover and climbing down it in broad-daylight on a crowded campus without anyone caring even slightly. Minor niggle though.

Don't like sexualized schoolkids, me.

Well, look at her as a "sexualised adult woman" then, easy enough if you don't confuse clothes with who's inside them (I can honestly say I had to watch parts again to figure out that it apparently is meant to be a school uniform).

It's an interesting area though, albeit one that's probably impossible to talk about honestly without being branded some sort of heinous pervert. But "Catholic school-girl" for instance isn't a popular role-play for no reason and I doubt it's because most men have sexual fantasies about children. Likewise with "naughty nuns" and so on. Seems like it's the illicit frisson from the incongruity that might be doing it rather than imagining you're having sex with a child (or a nun).

[ edited by Saje on 2009-03-29 01:48 ]
Finally I'd just like thank ShanshuBugaboo, since of all the times I've had my handle misspelled over the years, I think I like SteppenMarc the best. :)

Oops! Haha. Sorry about that, SteppeMerc ;)

She's gutsy and no-nonsense but otherwise, to be honest, i'm not sure I particularly like what i've seen of her so far.

I agree, Sage, I was not particularly fond of her either. The whole "animal rights" thing reminded me of some particular types I went to college with that were very narrow-minded when it came to the grand scheme of things...and overly caught up in their petty (IMO) causes.

Other than that, I loved all the scenes with Adelle and Topher. Hilarious stuff.

I was a little disappointed that the drug just "wore off" after all. That seemed like weak tea.

Can't wait till next week's though. Looks amazing!

[ edited by ShanshuBugaboo on 2009-03-29 02:11 ]
I love how Adelle's rather different when stoned and Topher's just himself turned up to a new level. He already has the drawerful of various high-carb munchies, he just wants to eat them all at once. He already dresses relatively down for his workplace, so he removes his pants.
I thought this episode did not live up to last week's...It was better than some some the first 5, but not great. I definitely reminded me of "Tabula Rasa", "Band Candy", and "Spin the Bottle."

Also, I realllly don't like that Caroline was an animal rights activist before becoming a doll. I wanted to care about her, to like her, and if there is one thing I do not like, it's people who break into labs to rescue mice and puppies. Besides my dislike for people who actually do this, I thought the role was cliched. I do see the parallels between Echo's story and the animals...but perhaps it was too obvious. I am hooping there is more to her back story than that.

Also, some of the drugged-out humor was good (actually a lot of it was), but I think it got a little too silly for my taste.

Finally, as a medicinal chemist, it bugs me to no end that the grad student (now doll) had to steal the vial of the compound to sell it to another company. All you would need is the structure of it (and a patent on the structure)! They even call it a phenethylamine, (a class of drugs that includes mescaline and ecstasy), which are notoriously easy to synthesize molecules.

I know, I know...I'm all "What's powering that flying kick? Raw enthusiasm?" But it still bugged me.

Overall, I give it a B-
I was just annoyed by how she pointed at the red pipe and stressed that that was the one they followed, and then turned to the left and there was the ladder they needed. Good thing that red pipe was there! They'd have been stumbling around that 8 feet of tunnel for hours!
C.A. Bridges, yeah, I laughed out loud during that scene. Either something got lost in editing, or the director really fucked up.
I am surprised at the reaction by some regarding Caroline being an animal rights activist. So caring about how animals are treated is bad? I'm not saying that how she handled it was correct, but some people seem to be very harsh on those that feel strongly about it. Maybe because I went through a pretty strong animal rights phase myself when I was younger (not so much now... kind of hard to be against fur when the people you want to devote your life to studying needed, and still do need to wear it to survive). Besides, being someone who eats meat its just dishonest. That said I do believe those that abuse animals (not always the same as testing animals of course, I do realize researching some diseases is a pretty important thing, but there are cases of unnecessary cruelty) are amongst the scum of the earth.

I also don't think its a bad thing to not agree with Caroline immediately. I do not think she was very wise, and didn't love her all that much. But I think she is a very interesting character, which is far more important than my own personal beliefs. I saw it similar to the resistant group in Battlestar Season 3: didn't agree with how they carried it out, but I understood and sympathized with them.

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-03-29 02:46 ]

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-03-29 02:47 ]
This show has been good in other ways but yeah in terms of internal caper logic it's failed gloriously.
Re: the comparisons to "Band Candy," "Spin the Bottle," etc.

I think it was inevitable. Those episodes were about former consciousnesses, former identities, and how people have changed. This show is all about consciousness and how your memories define you. If your characters are going to start getting blips of memory in a stressful situation, odd things are going to happen. Look at what it did for us:

We've seen different sides of Adele, Dominic, and Boyd, and frankly we needed to see the first two.
Topher and Adele's helplessness gave added weight to November's possible ninjaing.
Dominic's apology was unexpected, at least to me, and helped move him back (a bit) from the one-sided evil guy.
The rest of the group being goofy made it that much more startling and dramatic when the Actives started "glitching" and it stopped being funny and became traumatic and revealing.

Granted, this could have been done without the narcotic effects of the drug, making it a purely memory-affecting agent and making Adele and Topher's plight (for example) horrifying rather than silly. But I liked the comedy. It was about time we had some, and the events of this episode... Can't say. If I say anything about the next episode b!x will esplode.

[ edited by C. A. Bridges on 2009-03-29 02:47 ]

[ edited by C. A. Bridges on 2009-03-29 02:48 ]
On Topher just being more of himself when high, I loved that he asked his boss to get him a juice-box.
And he wasn't even high yet then.
Well, her stockings were kinda nice *g*
I re-watched it to see if I could get a different perspective on the problems I mentioned previously.

At first I thought giving November the drug seemed nearly pointless, but it accomplished two things: It showed that her real feelings about Paul have more to do with her jealousy of Caroline than with her insistence that he stop investigating the Dollhouse because it's dangerous. This isn't new information (she even mentioned the "dumping the stock" metaphor again), but I guess it's OK to reinforce it. The other thing it does is hint that she'll correctly say her own trigger words in the future.

When I first saw Sierra and Victor's flashbacks I was quite confused. After re-watching closely, here's what I see now. First, I see Sierra flashing back to her handler abusing her. Next, I see Victor flashing back to being a soldier. Then, as soon as the two of them touch while stumbling around, they share a flashback of the two of them having sex. Check out Victor's haircut. The back of the guy's head in the flashback does not look like it belongs to Sierra's handler. Sierra did say Victor liked to pretend they were married...

I still think the Matt thing is unfulfilled. Whether you hate him or are interested in his character, his arc didn't go anywhere satisfying in this episode. Perhaps he'll show up again.

I still think the Domenic and Adelle conversation at the end didn't connect well enough with anything.

I agree with those who aren't inspired by Caroline's animal activism. I don't think it's big enough or personal enough to really make you root for her. But the Caroline story isn't over; animal activism was just the thing that started her on her mission. When she's having tea with Adelle, she's obviously trying to escape something larger than caged puppies or her boyfriend's death.

This episode conveyed a lot of information and threw around lot of disposable funny. I only wish I enjoyed it more.

My favorite moment was Domenic apologizing to Echo. That was the most unexpected, and therefore the most interesting, character development for me.

roofpig: Complex carbohydrates are the appropriate starches, of course. But the inappropriate ones are so much tastier!
To the people wanting more to Caroline's backstory than the animal liberation stuff - I'm pretty sure that what we see in this episode is *day 1* of the 2 years discussed, rather than day 730 (or 731 if it includes a leap year). So there's another 2 years of story/character development to come.
Half the point of the episode seems to have been this: get the audience to relax and enjoy those charming, adorable, fun-to-be-around drugged-up...

...PIMPS.

These complex people do monstrous things and the show dares us to forget them. Then slaps us with them. If your Dollhouse-related pleasure and/or disdain are uncomplicated then you're missing all the fun and all the work (which is the fun).
Blue gloves. Do you think that was just a shout out to the Firefly fans or coincidence?
Intelligent Calcium said:
When I first saw Sierra and Victor's flashbacks I was quite confused. After re-watching closely, here's what I see now. First, I see Sierra flashing back to her handler abusing her. Next, I see Victor flashing back to being a soldier. Then, as soon as the two of them touch while stumbling around, they share a flashback of the two of them having sex. Check out Victor's haircut. The back of the guy's head in the flashback does not look like it belongs to Sierra's handler. Sierra did say Victor liked to pretend they were married...


Is the sex scene between them a flashback though ? Or, because they're touching, are they both thinking of what they'd like to do with eachother ? If they had already gotten together at the Dollhouse, it's likely Claire and Topher would've found the evidence when they were going through the security cam recordings in "Man on the Street" (though I suppose another blind spot, like the area Hearn used to abuse Sierra, may have been discovered, however unlikely it would've been for the complacent dolls to seek one out). Unless the people Victor and Sierra were before the Dollhouse knew eachother and were involved, I think that flash is more likely to be their wishful thinking than a memory fragment.

[ edited by Kris on 2009-03-29 08:50 ]
Re: Victor and Sierra...

The way I saw it was that he was flashing back to being a soldier, and trying to comfort a hysterical woman, telling her that he wasn't there to hurt her or something. Sierra was flashing back to a rape (but not by the handler, I don't think...perhaps a rape that she had before she went to the Dollhouse). Because they flash from one to the other it looks like he's doing it, but they are separate memories.

are they both thinking of what they'd like to do with eachother ?

I don't think so. Sierra's expression is definitely not one of pleasure. She is saying "this is not a fun game" and she is crying. Clearly rape.

[ edited by ShanshuBugaboo on 2009-03-29 08:55 ]
Yeah, the memories getting mixed up is probably more likely.

Oh and this might've been mentioned before, but the heavily clothed woman who soldier-Victor is trying to calm down can't be Sierra because we see that woman leave the safety of the house despite Victor's protests, and it definitely looks like she got blown up.
My earlier comment about animal activists comes off as pretty harsh. I definitely do not think that caring about animals and their treatment is bad, SteppeMerc. Quite the opposite. I believe that saying (can't remember who said it, though) about how you can judge a civilization on how it treats its animals (we definitely fail on that front with the industrialized farming practices). I personally do not believe in animal testing when it comes to cosmetics. But when it comes to saving people's lives? Finding possible cures for diseases? Where I get annoyed is when people don't see the larger picture, and I have known people like this. I am not saying all animal rights activists are like this, any more than I would say that anyone who is pro-life is likely to blow up an abortion clinic. But the level of activist that Caroline portrays in this episode is over the top to me.

However, after thinking about it, it bothers me less. She is young, and it probably was a phase. Still, I was a bit annoyed by her, for reasons that I probably shouldn't get into here (regarding fetus' in a jar) because it's touchy and a bit too political/ethical.

That said, I don't need to agree with the characters in order to enjoy the show. I definitely enjoyed the second viewing much more.
The schoolgirl outfit was not something I'd expect to see in public, but it felt acceptable for a university with a large private campus, as this one had. Students experiment with crazy fashion ideas. Her outfit was no different than my old roommate wearing his bathrobe to classes. Except much, much more sigh inducing.

Adelle and Topher were delightful.

And those long-legged undies are called trunks, not boxers. They're part of the hybrid boxer-brief family.

I suppose if Topher had slept with Adelle she'd have made him erase that part of his brain, so it's lucky they didn't go that way.
Three points: one about Caroline, one about a particularly nice cut, and one about a line of dialogue.

Caroline: What I love about Caroline being an animal activist is her plan of getting revenge on Rossum. She decided to attack them by...filming them. By putting herself in the director's seat, where she controlled the eye's gaze. And it was for this crime that she was punished by Rossum -- punished by putting her 'in her place,' in front of the camera's gaze. 'Where she belongs,' in typical patriarchal ideology, ready to be consumed for clients' pleasure. In terms of furthering the show's mythology, I think Caroline's backstory is strong and interesting.

Cutting: I love the moment in which Caroline sees the professor that recognizes her. But even more than that, I love how the cut from the professor's laughter links to Adelle's line, "We make choices." The professor laughs, and her laughter cuts to Topher's hand, squeezing a brain-like pile of mush, surrounded by food. The camera then pans in the opposite direction the professor walks, up to Adelle's face, where she recites the line. This in itself is wonderfully resonant - it links an 'insane' woman to Topher's grasping hand, consuming the women just as he consumes so much food, and then contrasts such imagery with the solemn truth of Adelle's statement. Even nicer, just as Adelle says, "I'm well aware that there are forces beyond our control..." the camera cuts to another location. What does this say about how much control the Dollhouse has over the camera when Adelle herself, while meditating on forces out of control, is unaware of the process of filming and cutting going on around her? This self-conscious shot that really lets the viewer examine the nature of film makes my inner film nerd so happy.

"Then you make it make sense." So says Adelle to Topher. Now, this seems a bit strange. Yes, the conclusions they reach are correct - there was a murder, and technically, nothing they say is wrong. But what does their attempts to 'make sense' of the mess fail to tell them? They think nothing of the dangerous recollections of the dolls, and their experience face-to-face (literally) with the consequences of their human trafficking leaves them unaltered. I think this says a great deal about the role of sense, especially in an episode based around non-sense (Alice, etc). To impose sense and other forms of control on that which is out of control only leads to suppression, more madness, and, as Adelle would say, consequences. And that dichotomy between freedom and oppression definitely underlies this show, just as it did with Firefly.

Also: I love love love the role of drinking and lights in this show. I'm going to let them filter through more episodes before I start thinking seriously about them, but dudes. They are everywhere, and they seem to play a very specific and intriguing role.
I have to say I applauded the schoolgirl outfit very much. You're doing a show about playful youth and forgotten memories? In the Dollhouse-universe? Of course it will turn out to be about rape, trauma and abuse. Matt's her teacher and some guys like to send dolls to school. What else did you expect?

This is Dolllhouse, after all.

And thx, ebb_of_laughter, for that Caroline-wanted-to-film-them-theme. I totally missed that, although it is so incredibly beautiful.
I thought this episode was really great! Besides the humour of it, I especially loved that for once we got to see the human side of the more solemn business-only DH characters...like Adelle and Dominic. And Boyd.

I do wish Caroline had a more distinct character. So far she seems like just an average socially-concerened college girl. She is brave and makes plans, and that's cool, but I think she's lacking in something that might make her whole, unique, and real.

But maybe the point is that she is average and a nice person, and even average nice people can suddenly find themselves dolls.
So... I'd just like to point out as someone who has read "Rossum's Universal Robots" that the robots in the story:

A) Are never identified as overtly machines in the circuits and gears sense but are simply programmable servants. Like the Dolls.

B) Are a Marxist analogy for the working class. Could Joss be pulling a bit of a bait and switch with this show? The obvious direction of the show, thematically, would suggest that it's very much about the exploitation of women and builds on Joss' "feminist cred". But what if feminism is a red herring for a Marxist message?

In other words, we get drawn in with the idea of women being objectified/exploited. But maybe the mostly female cast is there partly as a red herring and partly because Joss likes writing female characters? The real message is about the exploitation of workers and, in particular, the exemplification of the capitalist/American idea that what you do for a living is who you are.

In the U.S., one of the first questions people ask is "What do you do...?" However, I've always heard that question fades in importance the less capitalistic a society is. At least until you get into a caste system, which is the other extreme.

Capitalism as an ideology is all about managing people's impulses and desires by relationship and status, the idea that people's ambitions will cause them to play certain roles that, on the whole, create a society of excellence. The spirit of individualism, which comes from the more appealing side of capitalism, pushes people to occupy roles of necessity.

However, the flipside is that in a more collectivist society, if you have a communist government, a theocracy or a tyrannical state, people also wind up occupying prescribed roles out of a kind of necessity.

Basically, any system that governs people forces roles on them. We're all dolls, just more specialized. We learn skills and facts to do certain jobs and perform certain roles. A cop learns forensics and how to use a gun to be a cop. An artist learns painting and aesthetics and art history to be an artist. Whether by economic or political force, people tend to program themselves or be programmed for jobs or roles.

If the Dollhouse causes us to view this as sinister then maybe what Joss is arguing is basically for the idea of the classical liberal arts education, learning for the sake of learning, experiencing the world for the sake of experiencing it.

The underlying message of the show could well be, "Learn Swahili even if you don't plan to visit Africa. Learn recipes to cook in your own home, not to get a job or entertain guests but simply to share and enjoy. Learn forensics and physics and astronomy even if you don't fight crime or build rockets or own a telescope. Useless information is the best kind. Learn and grow for the sake of expanding your mind, not fulfilling some objective that other people or circumstances impose on you."
Patrick, I would be surprised if Joss got that explicitly Marxist. But, the show is definitely about ideology and the roles that we end up playing in/for/as society because of it. I think you're right on.
Useless information is the best kind

Given where we are, and the context of the discussion, I think we've all pretty much got that part down. :-)
I prefer "differently useful" ;).

When she's having tea with Adelle, she's obviously trying to escape something larger than caged puppies or her boyfriend's death.

To me that was about someone hunting her, likely the Rossum corporation, and her needing to escape them. So it's directly linked to her animal activism and not only that but it complicates Adelle's involvement since there seems to be some sort of influence/relationship between the dollhouse and Rossum.

My issue BTW isn't with her being an animal activist or with animal activism in general, it's more with any person that becomes so dogmatic in their views that they can't even consider opposing viewpoints.

Oh and this might've been mentioned before, but the heavily clothed woman who soldier-Victor is trying to calm down can't be Sierra because we see that woman leave the safety of the house despite Victor's protests, and it definitely looks like she got blown up.

How some are seeing Victor/Sierra is interesting. To me that was never about more than the handler rape and what looked very like a real memory from "Victor" before he was Victor. I.e. traumatic memories for them both, not of them both.

Good thing that red pipe was there! They'd have been stumbling around that 8 feet of tunnel for hours!

Yeah that struck me funny too - "We follow the red pi... OK, we're here, phew". But I guess you can fan-wank that she's trying to follow someone else's fragmentary memories and Alice is also clearly not used to doing that sort of thing so her terminology might be off (if she just hadn't said "follow" but e.g. "the red pipe leads us to the the ladder" then it'd be a non-issue). It's not an editing thing though because they're talking for the entire 8-10 feet so it's not like there's a missing cut or whatever.

Learn and grow for the sake of expanding your mind, not fulfilling some objective that other people or circumstances impose on you.

I think that's a lovely sentiment but maybe a bit unrealistic. Sure, "follow your bliss" but most of us still need to earn a living so there will always be conflicting demands placed on finite time. If someone wants to be a cop they need cop skills, same for a doctor or a network administrator or an artist.

So you pick areas to focus on either through talent, choice or (regretfully) necessity. Such is life in the real world.

And those were really insightful comments ebb_of_laughter, nicely observed.
As far as the Marxism / Joss connection goes here's a bit of trivia I recently learned. Joss said that after 'Anne' aired he went online and saw how people had noticed that Buffy held what looked like a hammer and a sickle in the power shot while she's rescuing the workers. He said it was entirely unintentional but that he was 'most pleased' (obviously that doesn't mean he's a Marxist). The sickle was actually a weapon called a humba jumba (I think) and he used to annoy people be yelling out 'humba jumba' for no reason.

In other news, I've got all my housemates hooked on Dollhouse. In fact, they liked ep 7 much more than even I did (and I really enjoyed it).
Regarding the awkward cut when Echo gets off of the bike, I think there are two reasons for it. First, as someone pointed out, there's no discrete way to show someone in that outfit dismounting from the bike. Second, that's not Eliza riding the bike (plus, her outfit is different; the stockings are solid (probably because of the heat from the bike) not fishnets).
I'm a bit surprised that people are complaining about the timing of this episode. Before this episode the timing of almost everything on this show felt a bit off to me. For example the street interviews in ep. 6, that I think would have worked great as an intoruction in the first ep or maybe the second, felt a bit random and forced in ep. 6. The Ghost story line in the pilot, so far still my favourite part of the series on the other hand felt like it came way too early. This episode however I thoroughly enjoyed and felt completely in place, if anything I think it should have been placed earlier as it humanizes characters like Adelle, Dominic, etc. and makes clear the intentions and roles of all the characters (by subverting them). Like episode 6 made me care about Paul Ballard and Mellie, this one finally made me really care for the Dollhouse staffers. That might have been a bit too late for Joe Regular.

To me this episode delivered most laughs and dramatic twists, though they definately blew the ending. It all just worked itself out... really, that's what you came up with? Argh! Also very dissapointing: Caroline's past. Hope that's not all of it.

Still this one was the most fun and most Whedony, so it's definately up there with Ghost, True Believer and MotS as one of the better episodes of the series.
Maybe the Marxist part is off...

But I think this whole series is definitely a commentary on education.

Joss, I think, tries to mold himself as a teacher and his school experiences shaped him to be an academic.

Meanwhile, if my timeline is right, about the time that he and Eliza would have pieced together this show, she had made some comments that she was thinking about taking a hiatus from acting to attend college/university.

I guess my big thought here isn't necessarily that a cop learning cop skills is bad. Obviously, you NEED certain skills for certain roles.

But a lot of high schools have been cutting into electives in recent years. Colleges are refocusing towards more vocational programs where they can sell themselves as "pay and put your time in for degree X and get career Y."

The problem is, education is supposed to promote inquiry and, even beyond that, it's the useless, extraneous details that allow us to be more than simply the roles we function as.

Take the "pay and play" philosophy of education and learning to an extreme and the Dollhouse is the new world order. Sure, it finances itself with a limited number of dolls and houses in the series as it stands but if you really follow the philosophy behind it, you arrive at some kind of pragmatic, utilitarian "utopia" where everyone is a doll, including the handlers and the organizers. (My gut says everyone we've seen in the organization was programmed with their current personality and skill set.)

Think about how perfect Topher is for his job, how many disciplines he's mastered. Or Boyd's protective ex-cop mentality as a handler. Or Adelle's businesslike demeanor? Who says they aren't dolls too?

For that matter, it seems to me that Paul could essentially just be a failsafe or a kind of internal affairs to test security, a doll himself. And even if he's not, his single-minded focus, the fact that he's essentially perfectly groomed himself for one thing and one thing only, his life is a single task -- well, how is he any better than the dolls?

With the right setup, it's entirely possible that there is no one running the operation and that everyone was programmed.

But it strikes me as the idea of utilitarian education and specialization taken too far.

And the issue that Echo raises, for me, is this:

If one person can be any of these amazing things, just imagine what that one person could be if she wasn't limited to a single role...

Training is good. Facts are good. Skills are good. But maybe life defined by any one central purpose or meaning is bad.

Maybe a little meaninglessness is good. Maybe a clear path to an objective is the worst way to get there. Maybe fulfilling a function, while necessary, is also overrated.
"Look, the guns, right? The running around, the barking orders. This is not all there is to Lawrence Dominic. No ma'am. This is just my job. I'm not all hard edges. I mean, look at me. Check this suit out. Check this suit out!"
It was a nice suit in fairness. Soft ;).

Who says they aren't dolls too?

Well, in this episode we see many of them respond differently to the drug than the dolls do so i'd say that's evidence that not everyone we see is a doll. That said, just to throw back open the whole "What if everyone's a doll ?" question, a lot of that information comes from Topher who, to date, has been pretty much nothing but wrong so it's not necessarily that reliable.

(I hope they're not because personally I find "everyone's a doll" to be very close to the classic childish narrative cop-out "And then they woke up and it was all a dream" i.e. it's facile and makes the story fundamentally less interesting)

But the question as to whether everyone we see is "programmed" is near the heart of the show IMO because it's asking to what extent are "normal" people "programmed" (by our genes and our culture and, yep, formal education is a big part of many cultures, certainly in the so-called developed world).

To me the dollhouse itself is (as with a lot of sci-fi) fairly explicitly a sort of thought-experiment that takes an idea to the Nth degree in order to highlight the parallels to real life and the way our choices are influenced by everything from our own biology to the nightly news. So it encompasses the way education tries to channel kids (even from fairly young) but it's about culture in a broader sense.
I hate to be the voice of unreason for a show that I really enjoy despite its slow start, but while Joss has provided US with plenty of fodder for debate on the human condition, I'd like to see more of that in the show itself. The idea is fascinating, and the discussion more so. It's just the execution I'm worried about.

I want this show to stay on as long as he feels the story needs to go, but that just won't happen unless he can appeal to a slightly bigger audience. Look at what he did with Buffy and Angel, he brought in numbers (though at many points not the highest) and had a consistent fan base that allowed him to keep making his show until the numbers went down or the show ended. Firefly has more mass appeal than either Buffy or Angel I think, just from personal experience because literally everyone I show it to loves it, it just wasn't handled properly by the network. By all accounts (and correct me if I'm wrong obviously) Kevin Reilly is fully behind Dollhouse, but the numbers just aren't rolling in and that worries me. It's not that the first 5 episodes were bad, it's that they weren't good enough for intro episodes to a series, especially considering the rapid plot development in just the first few episodes of shows like LOST or Heroes, which do appeal to a wide audience.

I think starting with Man on the Street, the show is going where it needs to. My question is why didn't Joss do that earlier?
As for Hearn not being in Sierra's last flashback, I agree. It looked more like Victor's head. Upon re-watching, I came away thinking it might very well have been Victor she remembered. She did scream when he touched her, and Hearn's game didn't include marriage.

As for not liking Caroline, I get that vibe. The girl we met in Paul's video seemed charming and cool, and we liked her. We haven't been given a reason to like animal-rights activist Caroline. I DO like that this character kinda shows Eliza indeed has some range. She doesn't feel like other Eliza characters. But she hasn't given us a reason to really care yet. I'm guessing that in grand Joss-style, eventually we will.

Leading back to her 2-year dance with Adelle. They definitely have a history, and my immediate thought about this several eps ago was first, a relative! Mother not working for me, as the whole British/American thing doesn't mesh, although plausible in some wacky scenario. But more because what mom, even if she didn't raise her daughter, would sign her own daughter on to be pimped out? Sister? Aunt? Not feeling it. I read mention of a Maggie Walsh-type character, and I'm digging this option for their shared past more. They are definitely connected.

Yes, Adele also showed serious concern for Dominic. You wouldn't think worried-scrunched-brow and "please take care of him" would be her reaction to finding out Dominic's loopy. I'd expect the Adelle we know so far to just be annoyed at that situation--even if they didn't know the drug's effects, I'd expect Adelle to simply be annoyed he got himself infected.

Adele? Adelle? I've seen it both ways.

I also noticed there is indeed an illusion that makes it look just like "JOSS" is spelled out on the motorcycle. You can clearly seen in the next frame that those are numbers and not letters, but no doubt that very cool little illusion is there.

Echo's clothes were goofy and didn't jive with events, a la her entrance into campus... but that was the point, I think.

Matt at this point has served to move along the renting-out aspect of the LA Dollhouse (come on, it has to be in LA--where else?), but I don't have a darn reason to like him. He's sorta-cute wallpaper, but no real depth. Then again, maybe that's the point?

Ha! I read above Topher is just more Topher when he's stoned. True indeed. He and Adelle with the munchies was classic. Inappropriate starches. <-- for someone who keeps a file box full of non-perishables at work, this was my favorite funny, while Boyd on the piano still my favorite moment.

I can't help but think what the very small student said to Boyd could eventually have meaning. She said something to the effect of there were mansions in his eyes, and he can see doors. She totally had a Poltergeist vibe, and certainly she still would if not affected by some drug. She was too interesting for me to ignore. Why have such an interesting character at that moment, when they could have had a wallpaper Matt as this device for moving the plot along? If the drug revealed inner-people, then I think she was in the scene because she's important. We now know that people who knew Caroline are still hanging around campus with Rossum.

Then again, I could completely be reading too much into that moment. Still, I loved her line.

Sidebarish: So last night when my plans changed at the last moment and I unexpectedly ended up home, I re-watched Serenity (pilot), Out of Gas, and Objects in Space. Now I'm enjoying Dollhouse, but those episodes resulted in my total worship of Joss, not to mention kinda Tim. Dollhouse has yet to have episodes of this magnitude, but MotS comes close.

After re-watching those Firefly eps and re-reading this thread, you know, I'm sure now I'll enjoy Echoes (was that the title?) more on DVD. Nothing beats several hours of show at a time. I bet when the 12 or 13 eps are viewed as a single unit, okay maybe over two days, the humor in episode 7 actually will not feel rushed. It will feel welcome in that context, and we'll love the characters more by then.

Getting back to loving the characters, my love seems to go in this order:
1) Boyd
2) Paul
3) Topher/Saunders, can't decide
4) Adelle
5) Mellie/Sierra
6) Victor
7) Now Sam!
8) Dominic, inching his way up, slowly but surely.
But Echo? I have no idea where she fits in to this list! I think it depends on the episode... plus, we've experienced so many shades of Echo it's making my head hurt trying to figure out where she fits in that list.

Wow. I like Not-so-tabula-rasa-anymore Echo more than Caroline.

I'm just not feeling Caroline, so I'll be way let down if events don't conspire to make her out to be more. That she likes animals and doesn't want to see them caged and abused doesn't make her heroic, because who really wants to see animal caged and abused, even if you do happily accept meat consumption and leather accessories with a smile, as well as believe that drug and other testing on animals is in many cases justified?

I want to love Caroline and I don't. I'm almost loving Echo... and this is why I'm hopeful, and expect some seriously serious events to go down. Startling revelations and all that jazz. Joss is way too good not to at least make us love Caroline by the end of Season 1.

If Season 1 culminates with satisfying events and answers, I'll be happy with that and enjoy my DVDs or eventual downloads for a long time. It was great to watch Firefly last night precisely because it's been so long since I've done so I don't even remember the last time. I envision enjoying Dollhouse again in such a manner.

And last night I wished again Joss were writing/directing/producing on a cable channel or FX. He doesn't believe his audiences lack intelligence, but Fox sure does.
I don't think "it all just worked itself out" is a bad ending at all, especially with Topher, the go-to guy, stoned out of his mind. It would have been unrealistic for them to pull a rabbit out of the hat in that situation. It also shows that the Dollhouse isn't in control of the forces it's unleashed, just lucky so far, the way Adelle and Topher were with Mellie. That all just worked itself out too, since Mellie didn't finish the trigger phrase. If she had, all the ineffectual hiding of the two people who most pride themselves on their competence would have been for nothing.
I kind of like the fact that I like Echo more than Caroline. It fits with the moral murkiness of the show. And maybe it will turn out that Victor and Sierra have a pre-doll connection & he just isn't the cutie-pie he seems to be. If the newly-created people are better than the originals...yeah, murky.
Well the memory wiped/childlike sweetness and sincerity of the actives would be hard to dislike, it would be like hating toddlers! I think it makes sense that the RL characters (ie before the mind/memory wipe) would be faulty people who made mistakes and could be disliked. It makes sense to me that Joss would not make them saints.
April, according to the admittedly often inaccurate IMDB, it's Adelle.
It's 'Adelle' according to the original script for "Echo" too so I think the double 'l' can be taken to be canonical ;).
Septimus said:

Patrick, I would be surprised if Joss got that explicitly Marxist. But, the show is definitely about ideology and the roles that we end up playing in/for/as society because of it. I think you're right on.


I am quite sure there was at least one pre-premiere interview with Joss where he explicitly connects the premise to a Marxist interpretation, going so far as to say that the dolls are "the ultimate underclass" (quoting from memory, not 100% sure) and that his show are always about "the rich people taken advantage of the poor people" (kinda-mocking his own simplified formula there). (If someone knows which one I mean and has the link to that handy, it would be very much appreciated...)

I don't think feminism a is red herring for Marxism, though. Simply put, this show does both topics, I think.
The Marxist interpretation is undoubtedly there for the seeing if it's what you see, any exploited group can be seen to be a sort of "underclass" but I think that description may not fit what may well amount to maybe 150-200 people world-wide. And clearly the problem is only society wide at the metaphorical level (i.e. when you look at the real-world issues the show is drawing parallels to) - within the dollverse itself the actives are too small to be a class of any kind (and rather than being born into servitude they - ostensibly - volunteer).

Course, it's no more or less there because Joss said so. How do I know that ? Joss said so ;).
Of course, they are not a "class" in any meaningful sense in-universe (well, let's wait for "Needs" on that...), but if we take the Dollhouse as a metaphor for society (and who doesn't, from time to time?) you get juicy goodness.

The interview I meant was btw this one, but the part about Marxism is only on the audio file, not in the transcript. The audio is one of the best Dollhouse-interviews I have heard him give, I can only recommend it.
Thanks, Saje. I missed that whole topic when it happened.

So, in summary: please ignore me/pay attention to me, and judge my work on its own merits unless it has none in which case give me a pass 'cause I said I was a feminist.

I actually separate it out, Joss. I do judge your work on its own merits, though I don't think you can deny that your love of women in all their glory: strength, weakness, merits, flaws, anger, love, their humanness, always find a place in your work.

Thanks for the shoe explanation; however, it didn't address the shoes Eliza was wearing in True Believer (noticed by many here [and elsewhere, I'm sure] towards the end of the episode) which got harped on more than I thought analytically needed. No shoes with heels allowed in a religious community? Continuity error? A non-sighted woman can't have some fashion sense? Personally, I don't care and it didn't faze me at all when watching, but it became like a zombie that needed a bullet in the head and is still shambling around someplace.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2009-03-29 21:32 ]
Yeah double Joss postage, Bonanza !


... or was that Hoss ?

And yeah, sometimes a shoe is just a shoe ;).
Oh, I absolutely think that it is Marxist in many senses. And while I would not be surprised if we found out that the "Dollhouse" phenomenon is bigger than 150-200 people worldwide, dealing with it on the metaphorical level is enough for me (just as it deals with human trafficking without actually featuring human trafficking as we know it).

Maybe I spoke too hastily or generally when I said that I didn't think it would get so explicitly Marxist. Obviously, the whole concept of ideology and exploitation basically comes out of a Marxist understanding originally, and there's no way that the show isn't going to be about that. So, I expect the show to deal with how people are socialized to serve the needs of a (capitalist?) society (in fact, the show already does so), but I don't expect it to really get into the exploitation of the working class or a labor-theory of value or something.
Here's something that just occurred to me. Are we sure that the events Echo remembered, breaking into the lab as Caroline, are really pre-doll memories? Could that have been a mission?

The ending of that flashback, her watching her boyfriend dying on the grass, didn't really match her then ending up in hospital virtually comatose. Could the Adelle/Caroline in the hospital have been leading up to her becoming a doll but the lab break in was after she became a doll?
I know she remembered her name was Caroline but could that have been her memories being jumbled up?
Thank you all for the extended converstaion about Caroline. I find myself very glad for the (sorta (intentionally?) cliche'd) animal rights history they give Caroline for this reason:

This background really emphasizes Caroline as a fairly average, decently educated young woman (NOT a special mystically chosen one or mutant or anything) who, through circumstance, becomes more deeply aware of some odd things going on and comes to the attention of the Dollhouse. I like that her focus on a fairly common ethical obsession among the late collegiate/early post-collegiate set inadvertantly leads her to the odder fact that the company is doing whatever human experiments (and leads to her becoming such an experiment.) (Said another way, her interest in animal experiments is not meant to appear to be the most nuanced or original or best (or worst) expression of animal rights, but just a common issue for her demographic that she might reasonably have.) She does NOT start the series as bizarrely exceptional. As RedSkye says, "But maybe the point is that she is average and a nice person, and even average nice people can suddenly find themselves dolls."

This feeds into some people's feelings above that Echo may well turn out to be more interesting than Caroline. At this point, I tend to assume that the nearly two-years of dancing around the issue that Adelle refers to suggests that Caroline managed to stay on the run for about that time period after her break-in. If this is so, then the ability to rise to the occassion and demonstrate the resourcefulness to remain on the run for that period may likely have been the first really extraordinary thing she did, the thing that marked her as unusual (and might explain some of Adelle's seeming grudging affection for her.)

Oh, and I really think we can't be too quick to completely dismiss the possibility that when Adelle says that the dollhouse does good work in her interview with Caroline, that she believes this: What we learned about her connection to Rossum and the sort of work they do is very suggestive to me that, when we learn more about Adelle's history and motivations, there will be something about treating victims of trauma or others who may actually benefit from selective forgetting (i.e., maybe she had a friend/family member who was incapacitated by the mental trauma of a war or an assault) and she started down this path thinking that dollhouse and rossum experiments would reveal a benefit in this direction that, to her, justified other ethical compromises.

I am NOT making a blanket excuse of her or the dollhouse, or suggesting that if she started with good intentions it excuses the compromises she may have made. And I am not trying to put rose colored glasses on my enjoyment of her character -- I am very much in agreement with the gist of WAXBANKS's several posts about Dollhouse purposely being written in a way that forces us to find ourselves having pleasures that we immediately feel a little bit gross about having enjoyed -- but I also very strongly feel that we are still not at the point where it makes sense to blanketly assume topher, adelle, etc are no different at all from pimps or are categorically evil/bad actors.

(Example: Alan Sepinwall of the Star-Ledger (whose review is linked on the "what the papers are saying" thread, and who insists that that Topher and Adelle are "loathesome in just about every way" and, therefore, an episode encouraging us to feel even slightly different about them is a bad idea from the start) is my best current example of a media professional with a patheticly shallow understanding of what the show is attempting to do. When I see a professional review that seems to have a subtle understanding of what a show I like is attempting to do, but believes the show is a failure, I don't get angry. When I see someone with the analytical skills of a dog's ass get paid for professionally pontificating, I want to retch even when they like my favorite show. Sepinwal makes me retch.)
Does anyone feel like Matt is one of those harmless little bastards who will eventually do something terrible? I don't know why, but something about him REALLY rubbed me the wrong way.
I thought the whole point of seeing Matt again was to show us how full of crap he was in "Ghost" with the locket and the special evening he'll never forget. And also to show us apparently how insecure he is in his masculinity.

The first time he engages Echo, she can pretty much go toe-to-toe with him with the bike-riding and is adventurous in the bedroom, etc. The second time Echo's "Alice," is incredibly more naive and can't ride so he has to teach her and...yeah, he's a prick.
(This is off topic, but we've moved pretty far off topic so I feel okay with it.)

I was thinking about what it would be like if there is a second season, and if the end of this season IS a revelation that the Dollhouse phenomenon is worldwide (not just 20 dollhouses, but a widespread secret technology). Presuming that Echo gets out, and makes some sort of allies/friends along the way, here's what it would look like: young woman/girl works with her team of friends to battle against evildoers who appear to be normal people, and of whom most people are ignorant. Something tells me Joss could do a show like that really well...

(Oh, and I agree with Pat32082 about the meaning of Matt's reappearance.)

[ edited by Septimus on 2009-03-30 00:58 ]
Someone else pointed out that it is strange that Matt would try to videotape an engagement with Echo. Either he is getting psycho-obsessive with her, or he will make the (poor) choice to try to blackmail the Dollhouse with exposure at some point.
I think people may be reading too much into Matt's reappearance. I think he was there because the plot needed a reason for Echo to be far away from campus, to see the news item, to be able to get to campus quickly, and to have some plausible way for leaving the engagement without the client preventing her. We know Matt was into motorcycles and bondage, so that took care of 3 and 4. And as for it being a different fantasy, I think that was also plot-driven - Alice needed to be more docile than the first Echo persona we meant, less confident (I'm such a doofus I can't even turn on a video camera right), in order to contrast with the emerging sense of needing to go to campus and get into Rossum, as Caroline's memories and self start to emerge.
Someone else pointed out that it is strange that Matt would try to videotape an engagement with Echo. Either he is getting psycho-obsessive with her, or he will make the (poor) choice to try to blackmail the Dollhouse with exposure at some point.

Other options include 3) taping the encounter makes it more exciting for him and 4) he gets to extend the er, usefulness of the session longer by making a record of it.

He seems to have gotten an expected level of awesome from his earlier "bad girl" engagement with Echo, and now he wants to relive parts of it again, only where she's new to all of it and he's introducing her to wonderful things about her own sexuality.

It's not too hard to think like the clients, which I think is rather the point. He's got a pretty common fantasy, but he's hiring Actives to live it out on a regular basis. From this episode he seems to be a relatively vanilla type who enjoys the "Marco Polo" aspect of exploring sexual boundaries with a willing but less experienced partner. Motorcycle thrills, light bondage, sex on tape. Erase, rewind, introduce her to it all over again.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-03-30 01:29 ]
I found the episode a little to similar to Star Trek and the Naked episodes, both in transmission of the 'infection' and in purpose for the development of the series.

I did find it significant that the lab thief had made an agreement with his friend, and didn't allow that friend to change his mind later (so he killed him) - rather like the situation the dolls are in.

Someone else pointed out that it is strange that Matt would try to videotape an engagement with Echo. Either he is getting psycho-obsessive with her, or he will make the (poor) choice to try to blackmail the Dollhouse with exposure at some point.

Porn.

I wish I had the energy to read through all the responses, but I've been at a con all weekend and am ready for my treatment. *yawn*
I just watched it a second time and only have a few things to point out, which really, at this point, is just talking to myself but hey, "free space."

Boyd and Dominic were the standouts in this piece as far as staff go, probably because they became the most unlike themselves from the drug exposure - though I did find Topher and Adelle's little tete-a-tete very amusing: crisps, eating words, etc., while they struggled to remain focused on the antidote.

Boyd playing Chopin's (one of my favorite composers) Fantaisie Impromptu was a brilliant touch, although he appeared to be playing the simplistic version of I'm always chasing Rainbows that was ripped off from Chopin's famous piece. His playing this harks directly back to Topher telling Mellie after her shot to just think about pretty things, rainbows (and of course, as Topher explained to his millionaire hero at the beginning, drugs affect people differently, including the Actives, so Mellie didn't get a pretty rainbow). And Caroline/Echo are always looking for the rainbow ending, making things right (why Echo consistently is able to think outside the programming box). Caroline's activism, I think, only serves to point out her altruism, her need to make things right as she sees it, not say "I'm an activist" surrounded by red neon lights.

Some lovely, subtle things here - really enjoyed it.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2009-03-30 06:00 ]
Sunfire wrote: It's not too hard to think like the clients, which I think is rather the point. He's got a pretty common fantasy, but he's hiring Actives to live it out on a regular basis. From this episode he seems to be a relatively vanilla type who enjoys the "Marco Polo" aspect of exploring sexual boundaries with a willing but less experienced partner.

My guess is that it's easier for male viewers to "think like the clients" since women are much less likely to hire prostitutes.

These threads are so long that I've been skimming, but I was surprised that people like Matt. But then again, I'm one of the people who thinks these clients are rapists because they know the actives have had their minds altered.
"(Example: Alan Sepinwall of the Star-Ledger (whose review is linked on the "what the papers are saying" thread, and who insists that that Topher and Adelle are "loathesome in just about every way" and, therefore, an episode encouraging us to feel even slightly different about them is a bad idea from the start) is my best current example of a media professional with a patheticly shallow understanding of what the show is attempting to do. When I see a professional review that seems to have a subtle understanding of what a show I like is attempting to do, but believes the show is a failure, I don't get angry. When I see someone with the analytical skills of a dog's ass get paid for professionally pontificating, I want to retch even when they like my favorite show. Sepinwal makes me retch.)"

He doesn't understand, but we all do? Because he wrote a critique you do not agree with? I happen to think Topher is well beyond loathsome and a waste of screen time. Adelle is completely unlikeable. And that's what I think, so I guess I must have a shallow understanding as well.
Dana5140, would answer privately to avoid derailiing this thread, but don't know how. Note that I address Sepinwall specifically in his role as professional critic, from whom I expect more analysis to back up his statements than I do from the rest of us in more casual circumstances and forums. As I very explicitely and specifically stated in my post, I have no issue with attentive analysis followed by judgement I personally disagree with. Sepinwall is the opposite case. In the case of Dollhouse, there are quite a few critics that seem to try very hard to honestly tease out what Whedon and co. were attempting, only to ultimately decide that, no, they don't think he succeeded. And often, it seems, the reason they believe he has not succeeded is because they feel the potential venality of the characters or situations ultimately overwhelms the project. OK. Don't agree with them, but OK. Sepinwall does the reverse: provides an unsupported statement about the "loathsomeness" as,essentially a factual given, which can now be used as objective proof of his next judgement.

As I also noted in my post, I am specifically addressing the issue of what evidence we do and don't have of the likely contriuting motives of Adelle et al at this point, NOT whether I do or don't find her slimy. Basically, I am accusing Sepinwall of shallow analysis, not of a shallow emotional or affective like/dislike of the characters. There is at least one character in this show that I, myself, have got an antipathy for so strong that I strenuously doubt my mind will be changed, but I do not believe the strength of this antipathy is, in and of itself, evidence for where this character's arc will go, etc, so I don't use this antipathy as evidence in any argument I make about the show, and I try to keep an eye open for any clues that something will turn out to be going on with this character than will totally reverse my opinion.
doubtful guest, addressing a critic's analysis, or lack thereof, is one thing -- but "pathetically shallow understanding," "analytical skills of a dog's ass," and "makes me retch" is absolutely OTT. In fact, it's just plain obnoxious. No more of that, please.
Obviously, the whole concept of ideology and exploitation basically comes out of a Marxist understanding originally, and there's no way that the show isn't going to be about that... but I don't expect it to really get into the exploitation of the working class or a labor-theory of value or something.

"Obviously", "originally" ? C'mon, people were being exploited before Marx (slavery is at least thousands of years old but even exploited for profit) and people suffered due to ideologies before Marx (mainly religious in nature), "all" he did was describe what he saw to be the case with some rigour (and then speculated as to what could be done about it, which by its nature was less based in reality). So to me a Marxist interpretation is just too specific (though I don't disagree it fits, it's just that as with all pre-prepared frameworks, you have to shave off a few edges to make it do so).

For instance, the show seems to go out of its way not to judge that capitalist arrangement, or rather not to judge it as categorically evil (which seems to be a problem for the viewers that prefer to be told within the text whether a morally murky act is good or bad). Never met him but i'm fairly sure I know where Karl Marx would stand on the dollhouse and it ain't exactly "Hey, maybe it's a good thing " ;).


edited to fix a tag

[ edited by Saje on 2009-03-30 10:49 ]
Saje, I didn't say that ideology and exploitation were derived from Marxism. I said that the concept of them (as we now know them, I suppose I should have said) did. And, I stick by that.
I figured you meant that Septimus (you don't strike me as daft enough to not have heard of slavery ;) but I still don't agree, it's more just the terminology that came from Marx IMO. He wasn't the first to acknowledge that "underclasses" were exploited and he wasn't even the first to talk about it in print, he was just (AFAIK) the first to use the terms that are familiar to us nowadays.

When you take out the specific Marxist elements that you yourself said you don't expect the show to deal with and you take out an explicitly negative judgement of the dollhouse itself (which seems essential to a Marxist interpretation) then you're left with "people who arguably volunteer to be exploited for profit" (as you say, they're not even really an underclass as we - or Marx - knew it). It's just using the same words to describe a very broadly similar situation, there's not much/anything that's specifically Marxist rather than e.g. Platonic (Plato also talked about exploitation of e.g. the poor).
I suppose it depends on our own different understandings/interpretations of Marxism, Saje (which, you know, is probably a bit off topic for a discussion here).

For me, what is most powerful and itneresting about Marxism (as a mode of cultural critque) is its articulation of the nature of ideology and the destruction of the "freedom" vs. "exploitation" dichotomy (you're either a free person or a slave) that it enables. That's what I see reflected metaphorically in Dollhouse rather than any specific anti-capitalist or pro-communist point being made.
My guess is that it's easier for male viewers to "think like the clients" since women are much less likely to hire prostitutes.

These threads are so long that I've been skimming, but I was surprised that people like Matt. But then again, I'm one of the people who thinks these clients are rapists because they know the actives have had their minds altered.


For what it's worth, A) I'm a woman and B) there's not been much support for Matt in this thread. There's been a lot of interest in him, and some sympathy here and there, but I've seen more comments describing him as creepy or at best in a seems-nice-but-whoa-wrongness way.
... its articulation of the nature of ideology and the destruction of the "freedom" vs. "exploitation" dichotomy (you're either a free person or a slave) that it enables. That's what I see reflected metaphorically in Dollhouse rather than any specific anti-capitalist or pro-communist point being made.

Aha, I see what you mean now Septimus (possibly ;), think i've been looking at it too literally. So for you it's open to Marxist interpretation because the production of ideas, the very way the dolls (and by extension we) think, is controlled by - and intermingled with - other interests (as well as their/our own) i.e. just like Marx thought.

OK, that I think is spot-on and an interesting take on it and i'd say not just metaphorically but even textually the show is very much about not presenting easy opposites and not allowing us to be totally clear about who's right and who's wrong, who's good and who's evil, which choices are free and which coerced etc. Depends how the season finishes I guess but highlighting and questioning false (or possibly false) dichotomies and generally acknowledging real-world ambiguity is one of the stand-out properties of the show I reckon.
I reckon so. (Yay for agreement!)
The show isn't working for me. I think that is the best way to put it, because I don't have a single reason why I'm not enjoying it, it's just not gelling. My hopes rose with Man on the Street and fell with this extremely generic sci-fi episode. When the crazy was transmitted by touch, I understood it as being back in whatever episiode of ST:TOS that was. Nothing went anywhere surprising. And I also had the feeling of other former activists that there's nothing realistic about Caroline or her group. I really wish I liked it more.
dreamlogic said:

And I also had the feeling of other former activists that there's nothing realistic about Caroline or her group.


One of the reasons I strongly reacted with DISLIKE to Caroline was exactly because I thought she was an excellent and realistic portrayal of so many activists I knew/still know. My viewing of Caroline was that she may be well-meaning, but that she is rather shallow and naive in her approach to activism in general and her specific issues in particular. Her desire to let out the dog was a perfect example. Releasing an experimental animal, no matter how well-intentioned, is an extremely bad and poorly thought out action. It might seem on the surface to be an act of kindness, but that animal could be infectious and endanger other lives. That animal could be sick and receiving experimental treatments. And so on.

As somewhat of an activist (or "trouble maker" depending on the eyes of the beholder...) myself at times, I have met far too many of this type of "activist wannabe" who may one day accomplish great things but whose maturity and understanding lags behind their good intentions.

Sorry. Long-winded way of saying I think Caroline was extremely realistic and well-done in portraying a very real set of people whom I often disagree with and sometimes even dislike.

In that sense, she is a brilliant means of (1) pointing out that I can feel differently about Echo vs Caroline and in (2) raising overall moral questions (because I would much prefer to have Echo be allowed to stay as a controlling persona than restoring Caroline) as well as (3) introducing fundamental questions about what makes us who we are: would Caroline be different if she had experienced the events in her life in a different order? Would Echo turn out like Caroline if she were allowed to experience Caroline's memories? If a person experienced moments of happiness and trauma, would that person be the same if those moments had occurred in a different order? Would different people with the SAME imprint behave the same way, or is there something inherent -- genetic, chemical -- making us respond to that imprint differently?
Sunfire, thanks for setting me straight.
After sort-of-coming-together last week, this show (like Echo's psyche) is kind of falling apart for me. I don't think I 'get' it and I'm finding it tedious (the extra ten minutes doesn't help). What's more, every episode seeks to add a new layer to the existing premise, but as it hasn't succeeded in getting me invested enough in the existing one, it only makes matters worse.

Worst offence: Hearn and Mr Dominic look too similar to me and until this episode I thought they were the same person.

I'm hoping this is just a case of the show finding its feet. But I feel like the show's too confusing to really hook anyone in at this point. (And yet, weirdly enough, I feel like the exact thing the show needs is for the format to twist around a bit - Echo on the run from the Dollhouse rotating through multiple personalities at random or something - a situation perhaps less streamlined in some areas but easier to grasp on why we should care about certain characters.)

Also the cast is too big for the show to go about in this disparate way. In almost every episode the Paul Ballard scenes have nothing to do with anything else that goes on in the series. Shows like this with big casts seem to do better following the Lost model of focusing on each character with their own episode. I know it's there to maintain some continuity, but it really doesn't mesh with the "new identity of the week" profile.

Oh yeah, and revealing the list of actives on a cast list, and then a year later revealing them on the show as "surprise revelations"? Not fun.

[ edited by daylight on 2009-03-31 02:15 ]
I didn't know where else to put this, but is anyone else getting really spoilery photos on Facebook?

I am! :-(
Yes. It seems FOX rediscovered their Dollhouse account today and went all spoilerspammer with it. It's nothing I haven't seen but it is mildly annoying.

On the happy side, once I go beyond my annoyance with FOX marketing non-logic (I let it go, like so), there's people commenting on and approving the photos all over the place. Shockingly, shirtless Paul in some suggestive scenes is proving rather popular.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-03-31 03:29 ]
Awesome thread. I had questions/comments, but I forgot them along the way.
Just adding a couple of things, although no one's probably reading this anymore. I'm always late to the good parties.

Matt bothers me more than any other client, because of how normal and decent he seemed, and yes I had assumed it was a birthday gift from someone else in Ghost, but now he's just nasty. However, him coming back intrigues me -- is he just going to be that repeat offender with the same boring fantasy? Are we going to get a pay off when things start to really go wrong with him on a later ep, or was this the pay-off? Or is he drastically more important than we realize (as in, is he teaching her things other than riding a bike? Is he taping what they do because he plans to show her that she's been there over and over again?)

I reeaaaaaallllly hope we NEVER meet Foxtrot, and that he is mentioned for the duration of the show, like Tino on My So-called Life or Marris on Frasier.

I loved the Marxist critiques, the Film Geek nuances. Let's not get too distracted though, trying to make lots of things into one thing. The great thing about Science Fiction is that a story that is not anything real can represent several real concepts at once. This is feminism, Marxism, and a meta-metaphor for theater and film, and how celebrities are treated. This is a reality show. Seriously awesome concept, so much so that I care not that it isn't feasible.

Here's a new gray you guys aren't really touching on (although someone up there mentioned Adelle thinking Robot company was doing good work): What if they ARE doing good work?

In other words, what if the animal activism angle is a much larger allegory than we realize, and this Dollhouse we hate so much, and all the "loathsome" people within it, are using these dolls as tests for something huge, something that could save all of us? In other words, the actives are the animals, and Rossum is "curing cancer"?

If you agree with animal testing to save human lives, and hate the Dollhouse, that'll be a slap in the face. And this becomes an animal rights allegory as well.
Wow, nice thought, PuppetDoug. Evil Dollhouse to be the cure of all cures.

I can see Adelle seeing that to the a major cause worth doing. And it would need a lot of funding.

Definitely something to think about. :)

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