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April 11 2009

(SPOILER) Discuss the ninth episode of Dollhouse. Eliza Dushku stars in "A Spy In The House Of Love", the best titled Dollhouse episode to date. And if you missed it, the episode is now available to watch for free at Fox On Demand and Hulu and can be purchased at iTunes.

Btw the show's off the air next week but will be back in two week's time.

Still 4 hours out for me, but this way I'm the first comment instead of the one-hundred and eighty-third or somesuch! Enjoy everyone! |-)~
Looking forward to this. Girlfriend's going out to dinner, though, so I'm gonna have to time-shift this one. Alas.

Great title, though. I love long titles, I think. "What Kind of Day Has It Been" is my favorite title for any TV episode, probably. And this one's super too.
Jobo - the title so nice he used it twice. Or maybe three times? He used it a lot. But it is great.

I'm a sucker for the one-word titles full of thematic heft that Joss is so good at: Innocence, Passion, Becoming, Hush, Restless, The Gift, Chosen. Heh, reading those through is almost like a summary of the Buffy character over seven seasons.
I'm really looking forward to this tonight, and I hope that people will avoid getting into a discussion of the finale & 13th episodes here, because I would rather just focus on the 9th one (and avoid any inadvertent spoilers for the later episodes).
Nineth? :-)

Totally off topic, but the new Red Dwarf is a bad thing of badness. Like they hacked together first takes with some pretty rusty actors. Plus CGI that looks ten years old, and a mediocre script to begin with. Very sad.
That's true, bonzob, I do adore those too. When I found out the title of the Buffy finale was Chosen, I both loved it and felt like it was the most obvious choice in the world. Not that I ever would've come up with it, of course. It just seemed so right in retrospect.
Is Anais Nin the originator, or is her title quoting someone else?
I was in my girlfriend's home office the other day looking at her books and noticed for the first time (she has a LOT of books) a book by Anais Nin titled "A spy in the house of love" will have to read it now.
Shambleau Wikipedia has no earlier entries then for the book. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Spy_in_the_House_of_Love for a synopsis of the book.
The best and most fitting title of a show ever in my opinion is "Many Happy Returns" from the Prisoner.
Of the Whedonverse titles, I have to say "Objects in Space" has always been a high mark for me. "Lie to Me" and "Fool for Love" are good ones too.
Of all of the Buffy finales I think "the Gift" is my favorite title. Its simple and tells you so much about the episode but you have no way of knowing until you see it. And on the first airing it had that thank you for five years from the WB at the end, which added to it making the episode really feel like a gift. They're all good though.
Any way its almost showtime.
Woohoo.
What the f*** was that on Terminator?? I was *shocked*, and I just saw the first season, this was the first time I saw something from season 2! It was weird
"Shiny Happy People" is a good one. I never got the meaning of "Sanctuary" though. The title, I mean.
Angel was giving Faith sanctuary, then Faith found sanctuary in prison.
I love the title, and I just can't help saying 'A spy in the house of Luurrrrve' with a James Earl Jones level of vocal resonance, (in my imagination anyway, because I am aussie, female and not old enough to come even close to that tone!)
yeah, Pat, thought of that.. I still don't like the title. Love the episode though. One of my favorites of the Buffyverse. Anything with Faith stands out for me - except for "Touched", which I think is very... well, I don't wanna say bad because it's Buffy, but...
Things are heating up. The sky is darkening. Tension is rising. Blood is flowing. The Sun is rotating around the Earth (because I will it to be so). Tonight will be a great night. I am VERY excited.

I love this show.
It's starting!!
I love this show too. I love it so much. I need it to go on for many years. Oh boy, I need a treatment.
Wow. She's a dominatrix!
This ep was named after a Doors song.
Coooooooool. She's volunteering to be imprinted.
:( i still have 2 hours and 48 minutes to go until it airs for us west coasters

*goes off to sit and twiddle thumbs until dolllhouse airs*
I love how Topher 'just lost an argument to a doll.'
I loved that whole sequence.
Huh? Someone's been messing with Echo's programming.

I say Ivy or Saunders.
Does everyone have a conspiracy wall?
Only the cool crazy people.
Holy crap...I wasn't expecting him to find out so soon.
So far all I have to say is ow... My heart :( Poor Paul.
Mellie/November is cool.
That was awsome!
anyone else think of Jane's shirts on FF when they saw Paul's t-shirt?
I love it so far.
Sierra wearing a wig. And I got the second season of Alias on DVD today. Coincidence? Definetly.
@josswhedonaddict Me too.

Wow, Paul is going to continue to go off the deep end.
How does she know where to go in the NSA?
She's imprinted as Sydney Bristow.
So... How close is this to an episode of Alias?
victor's handler is a hottie.
Man.... Time should definitely speed up so me and the rest of us West Coast'ers (Oregon FTW!) can watch, what seems to be, a decent episode with some interesting plot developments. Only 2 and a half hours now. *sigh*
I kinds like that the NSA isn't that easy to break into.
everything is simultaneous
Good thing I was an Alias fan...I don't mind. But if I hear one word about Rambaldi...I'm gonna be PISSED!! (jk)
Uh-oh. New level of using people. Still gonna sleep with?
YES!!! Oh... Nevermind. That's kinda... Ew.
NO WAY!!! It's Adelle.
OMG!!! Didn't see THAT coming!!!
Now that one (Dewitt) I saw coming. But gotta be more to it.
I like Rambaldi, he's still a mistery to me.
Holy shit moment.
HOLY CRAP. That's not who I expected Katherine to be.
Is DeWitt Miss Lonely Hearts????????????????????????
Think Adele gets an employee discount?
shouldn't they be wearing face masks?
Have you seen Victor's arms?!?! Those are good arms to have.
What B-Funk said.
Fencing! HOT!
My soul is cringing a little through all of this.
*blinkblink*
I love how it's all simultaneous.
I love and hate DeWitt at the same time. Joss makes me feel funny.
Well, everyone likes to talk about the layers of a Whedon show.
Echo's turn!!
This episode is making me sad.. I hope it's not going to end how I think it is. ;_;
I kind of expected the whole Adelle being Ms. Lonely Hearts.I'm kind of glad that they show Victor going on a non-group engagement. Now, why is she crying?

This episode is spectacular.
Echo in Sydney Bristow-gear. Loving it!
I think she's crying because she knows hiring a doll is pathetic.
ETA: What was here is gone. Like a wiped brain. Because I am sometimes stupid.

[ edited by pat32082 on 2009-04-11 03:28 ]
How awsome would it be if Jennifer Garner guest starred on Dollhouse? That would be my favorite episode for sure. She could be a client hiring Echo for a romantic engagement. Who wouldn't want to see that?
Finally realized: Ramirez was on Dexter and The Dresden Files.
I'd take Jennifer Garner back on tv any way I can get her. And doing Joss-speak? She'd be all kinds of awesome!
Holy crap...is it Dominic? Of all people?!!
Jennifer Garner and Eliza Dushku are made of awsome in every single way. My favorite TV superstars.
ok, this is so far my favorite episode.
Is this another newbie writer? Where is Joss finding these people?
Starting to think that Adelle is a doll...
Well we are certainly getting a lot of reveals tonight.
bonzob, are you saying this is good or bad? That sentence confused me...
I was beginning to think the same thing about Adelle, but I'm not sold on the idea yet.
I'm digging on it. So far, this is my favorite episode.
So... What was the NSA doing with that chip? I don't think Dominic was the one feeding Ballard info, so there must be at least two people/groups interfering with the imprints.
This episode. Good. Me likey.
Yeah, I don't buy that it was *all* Dominic...
I meant, where's he finding all this talent? This weeks and last weeks are pretty spectacular. Sorry if that was unclear.

Some of my favorite Firefly eps were written by relative newbies, too.
Everybody's so broken, I love it!
So which one(s) does Topher imprint for himself?
Ok, before I read this thread, must state my basic impression.

I believe I have just seen one of the very best episodes of Mutant Enemy produced televison made to date.

Now I will go read.

ETA: to remove a factoid (that I still think is probably true) based on an incorrect fact.

[ edited by doubtful guest on 2009-04-11 03:09 ]
I think Adelle is the person sending Paul the messages. She used the device to reroute Viktor her way as well as send the mesages. maybe? maybe?
Ooh, at least they said in the promos that Dollhouse will return in two weeks.

And I just loved tonight's episode.
Holy crap. Getting sent to the attic is like getting administered the Dementor's Kiss, except that you get stored afterward. And Adelle was engaging Victor! This episode was ridiculously awesome.
Totally loving Olivia Williams tonight--that was some mad badassery.
So this episode left me with two unanswered questions.

First, What was Dominic's purpose? He said he was trying to keep the Dollhouse from imploding. But if that's so, then who is feeding info to Ballard?

Second, what am I supposed to think of the new handler guy just being dropped out of nowhere into a major role?
That was definitely my favorite episode yet.
I don't think he'll be her handler long. Didn't seem like someone who would last long. Just my impression.
By far the best episode so far. I loved that it was completely focused on the Dollhouse and the characters, and not a specific engagement. It was by far the most exciting episode...I was totally at the edge of my seat from beginning to end. Olivia was amazing...that whole thing with Victor was unsettling but really interesting and well done. The fencing scene was awesome. And wow...Dominic...didn't see that coming at all. Claire became so much more interesting in this episode. This is what the show should be ever week. Wow.

[ edited by MoonOnAString on 2009-04-11 03:10 ]
That episode rocked my socks and kicked me in the face.
Adelle is feeding info to Ballard! aha!
For the first time I did like the show. But there were some glitches along the way, like the easiest infiltration of a major security operation ever done, Echo bringing Reed to Olivia's house (was that her house) when no one knew she was there, Topher being unable to string together a single meaningful sentence, a woman with kung fu skills who couldn't really use then, and a whole lot of bullets that missed their targets. Still, a few good reveals; Reed may be NSA, but he is not really the mole, Olivia being really not so nice, Victor at Olivia's, though it was obvious that would end, etc.
Probably just a filler to show us for sure the connection between Boyd and Echo. New guy definitely reminds of Wesley's early days.
Loved tonight's episodes.Lots of neat reveals.DeWitt being her own client as it were,I actually didn't see coming.

The Dominic reveal wasn't surprising though.He's given an underhanded slimey vibe from the beginning so I figured something was going to be revealed about him eventually.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2009-04-11 03:12 ]
This was the best episode yet, although the scenes with Victor and Adelle were pretty boring.
I would say this is my favourite episode to date. I'm glad it was Dominic. Good riddance. OTOH, while he was a rather vile human being, he was also a government agent doing his job. So, the Dollhouse is still a very bad place, IMHO.

I could have done without Echo in the rubber get-up. Way to not look like the show exploits women.

The thing that bothered me most? During Victor and Adelle's tryst, it occurred to me that since it wasn't real (on his part, anyway) that I wasn't emotionally involved. But then it also occurred to me that since they're both actors on a TV series, it's never real. And that reminded me that I was just watching a show, and took me out of the moment. I didn't like that. Olivia was quite good in the scene, though.

Interesting things are happening.

I still don't like Topher. He wipes the dolls minds, then demeans them for it.
I think I was so floored by he episode that I missed stuff (need to rewatch)...so what exactly was Dominic trying to do? Like, what was his (or the NSA's) goal? So was he the one sending messages through the dolls? Ahh!

[ edited by MoonOnAString on 2009-04-11 03:19 ]
for those interested, the lyrics to the Doors song. Quite appropriate, though haven't myself read the Anais Nin book:
I'm a spy in the house of love
I know the dream, that you're dreamin' of
I know the word that you long to hear
I know your deepest, secret fear
I'm a spy in the house of love
I know the dream, that you're dreamin' of
I know the word that you long to hear
I know your deepest, secret fear
I know everything
Everything you do
Everywhere you go
Everyone you know

I'm a spy in the house of love
I know the dream, that you're dreamin' of
I know the word that you long to hear
I know your deepest, secret fear
I know your deepest, secret fear
I know your deepest, secret fear
I'm a spy, I can see
What you do
And I know
I love Dollhouse. Twists within twists within twists. I believe this is Joss' most complex show ever. Poor Paul having to use Mellie/November, Adelle hearts Viktor, Sierra as Sydney Bristow, Echo asking to be the spy hunter, Dominic the spy (but not for the reasons we think), welcome to the Attic - Dominic, Boyd gets a promotion and Echo saved the Dollhouse. This show is made of awesome.
Second, what am I supposed to think of the new handler guy just being dropped out of nowhere into a major role?

I think he was wearing a (metaphorical) red shirt.

I did wonder why Sierra was wearing the same clothes as the agent (and how they knew what the agent would be wearing). Wasn't it more important that she physically resemble her? (which she didn't). Didn't anyone in that office know the agent beforehand?

[ edited by redeem147 on 2009-04-11 03:16 ]
In my mind, these newer episodes (except ep 7) could not more starkly contrast with the first five. They look much better without all the Fox prints all over them!
Exactly. Echo saved the Dollhouse. Not Caroline. Echo is becoming her own person, which, mindfuckingly awesome.
Is this another newbie writer? Where is Joss finding these people?

I think Andrew Chambliss was Tim Kring's assistant on "Heroes" and "Crossing Jordan."

I think there is another spy in the Dollhouse - the one who is sending messages to Paul Ballard. I'm thinking it's Adelle.
Best thing about Dominic going to the attic: This excellent actor, who has been fun to hate, can come back if the series survives, either "really" as himself or "imprinted" as himself (and how is this different from a vamp who both is like who they used to be but who doesn't have a soul?)

In the meantime, now his brain is soft...like a kitty.
I'm in the minority, I thought this ep was lame and cobbled together...with a clear mandate to give everyone some screen time, no matter how disjointed it made the show. Also, Travis has a cheesy moustache :)
Dana5140, at the end of the Victor imprint part, Adelle comes in and cries. I took that to mean maybe she used a landline phone to check in on the Dollhouse and was told about Dominic. Then she would have told them where to bring him, maybe?

ETA: Upon re-watching, I realized that the crying takes place after Echo and Dominic were at the house. But there was still probably a phone call involved in some way so they'd know where to bring him.

[ edited by sammygeen on 2009-04-11 23:45 ]
I'm sure Topher created the Dollhouse technology and then used it to make himself a genius so he could... No, wait.

My point: Does it bother anyone else that people keep posting that they saw anything and everything coming?? 'Cause granted I'm easily bothered, but it's kinda pointless and dubious and pointless and self-aggrandizing and pointless and I don't see a lot of people typing about all the things they saw coming about which they were wrong...

I tried to hide my personality here as long as I could...

P.S. Loved the ironic irony (I think that means something.) of "Everybody gets that wrong."
cobbled together? more like, woven together into a tapestry of awesomeness!
I totally saw Brett's comment coming!
She was in love with Dominic. I believe. I think that's why she was crying, because she knew what would have to be done. This episode, the stuff with Victor, only served to show that she's human after all. Now, with the Dominic situation "handled", she's determined to keep the game-face on at all times. To go full-on Lilah Morgan.
I know! It was like SO obvious he would say that. Dude.

ETA: And aw shit, that's probably it about the crying. I totally didn't put the timeline together on that. Damn show, making me need to pay attention....

[ edited by pat32082 on 2009-04-11 03:27 ]
What, that doesn't make everyone who says they saw it coming smarter than Joss and the rest of the writers?
I can't say I see everything coming. It's not like it's Supernatural. ;)
This episode rocked. Hard.
So very Alias with Sierra. She can't run in heels like Jennifer Garner could. Shame.
1 hour and a half left before Dollhouse starts. *sigh*
All of yous people, I saw your comments coming...from like a mile away.
Was Adelle secretly changing the imprint for Victor behind Topher's back?

I was impressed with her ability to get shot and not even flinch. But I still think too many people get shot in this show.
What the hell was "Bones" thinking with the ghost soldier-episode? God that bugged me.


....bet you didn't see that comment coming. Hah.
I also thought it seemed cobbled together a bit. And also confusing. May be my own fault for not paying close enough attention, but I didn't exactly understand what Dominic was actually doing there, and exactly what he was doing with the imprints. And why he hated Echo so much. It just felt... hurried. Like this all happened maybe too soon, before some build up could make it seem more important.

Also, I yell at the TV every time I hear a line blatantly ripped right off Buffy! "I'm not gonna brag..." or however it went. Who are they kidding?! This is not the first time, either. This is not a recycling facility.

I just didn't feel it this week.
No, pat32982, but I've thought that comment before. ;)
That was funny how Brett said he doesn't like it when people say they saw it coming, and then people said they saw what he said coming.
I saw your comment coming.

Brett has a good point about people constantly saying that. Especially when it's pretty obvious that it's bullshit most of the time, at least when it's regularly from the same people.
Oh and by the way, I used to listen to the Doors a lot, and this episode was way better than the song.
Dominic was making sure that the L.A. Dollhouse and Rossum kept its shit relatively together for the government so the technology didn't spread to where it could be used against the U.S. in more serious ways.
I think when Adelle came in at the end of the victor engagement, that was actually AFTER being confronted with Dominic and Echo in person, not just after hearing about it on the phone. (So, it's still unclear how they knew to take him there... maybe a little bit of Sherlock Holmes?)

Also, this was a great episode. Probably the best one yet. I especially like how forcefully gray it remained; just as individual characters (Adelle, Topher, Boyd) express some discomfort with how the Dollhouse operates, they then turn around and wipe Dominic for acting against it. Yowza!

I think it's still kind of unclear what Dominic was doing. He SAID he was keeping an eye on the Dollhouse to prevent them from losing control of the technology. Adelle clearly thought he wanted to control the technology for the NSA. It also does not seem likely that he was the one imprinting the dolls on the sly, but he could have been.

And, the irony sequence was just beautiful.

[ edited by Septimus on 2009-04-11 03:50 ]
Hey.

I just mentioned that about the irony bit before. It's ironic that everyone took up the other part of the post but not that. No? It's not ironic? Damn.

It's like how everyone uses the word "literally" wrong literally all of the time.

See now THAT was ironic.
I think what happened was that Topher discovered a thing the mole was doing, not Dominic, which funnily enough, led to Dominic over-reacting to the situation to cover his ass and being brought down.
1 hour left... I'm dying out here guys....

Seriously... Your comments... Make me... Crave... Watchage....
Apparently few midwesterners watch Dollhouse? It seems to have gotten quite for this hour's showing of it. Should pick up when it hits Pacific time though, yes?

We should start a petition to make time flow the OTHER way. I wonder how many signatures that would take. Hmmm.
The only signature necesssary, -DED-, would be Captain Hammer's fist.
A-W-E-S-O-M-E

Literally... I am struck by awe
Also... I probably say this every episode but Holy Crap Amy Acker... I am mesmerized by her every time she is on screen and I SO want to know Claire's story...
But with a pen in it. And signing something.
With a pen in it? That he was.... Signing with?
Um, central time shows at 8pm, so at same time as Eastern. from 10 eastern/9 central until the start of the Pacific showing, you have two whole hours with only the Mountain time zone, which is, population-wise, by far the smallest of the continental U.S. timezones. My point: We midwesterners can see y'all when you fly over us in yer fancy a-er-o-planes!
But that fist is not the hammer!

The hammer is my penis.
Question, Doubtful Guest. How the heck do you know anything about the internets? And how did you get one of those fancy computer systems in which to write your comment?

Do all the other midwesterners envy you with your snazzy technology? Are you a god among insects?
The hammer isn't MY penis.

I'm just sitting here refreshing the page, waiting for the midnight west coast feed of Flashpoint.

Or, I may just be ready for my treatment.
1. Loved how Fox marketed this episode as 'the bondage episode'. Sarcasm much, since it had no actual bondage.

2. Really well written. The Sierra bit was weak. Poor Dichen, given her something to work with. Other than that, it's one of the best episodes of the series to date.
Also, "sooner or later, you'll be the one erasing them". That whole scene is both brilliantly writ and awesomely shot. Even the score works. It's nice when this show really hangs together.
It is interesting to me how Mellie's plot line is playing out. I was surprised how soon we learned she was a doll, though this was probably 'cuz so many of Us knew long before the series premiered. I was more surprised how quickly Ballard found out. I am thinking it is intentional to reveal all dolls to the audience quickly so we don't have relationships completely taken out from under us as the story progresses. You know, the "it was all a dream" cliche.

While I would not be totally shocked if there was one more sleeper in the very far future, it has the potential of being a very unsatisfying twist. After all, it is one thing to know that there remains one last cylon to be discovered, but if anyone could be at any time, well, pffttt.

Of course, it also adds to the grey. Can Ballard still sleep with Mellie if he truly despises what the Dollhouse is doing? I think he could easily get out of it by saying he fears for her life and they need to back off, but we shall see.
Speaking of finding out your girlfriend is a cylon, poor Helo-Ballard.
I vote for him to keep sleeping with her. Bad choices make good TV. Also, sex sells.
redeem147: "I could have done without Echo in the rubber get-up. Way to not look like the show exploits women."

Huh?!? Since when is a professional dominatrix exploited? You might want to read up on the lives and opinions of professional doms.

Unless you're saying that Echo is exploited by having to be imprinted with that outfit/personality? Or Dushku having to play that part? I'm really missing your point.
I mean that making her a dominatrix at all, and thus wearing that outfit, is not going to endear the show to people who think the show is exploitive. Which is a lot of women I know.

And the first of the last two points too.
The reality that Paul is now facing and the revelation about Ms. Lonely Hearts: seriously twisted. I did not think things could get more twisted than they already were, but we have now reached new levels. It was really hard to watch the final Dominic scene. Awesome that Echo still looked straight into Boyd's eyes for her "with my life" line.

This show is awesome.
That was intensely good. I loved how we got to better understand the inner mythos of the Dollhouse as well as seeing more of Adelle, Saunders and Dominic. I'm honestly not completely sure what Adelle was crying about - I think in part she was crying about having to end things with Victor, but I also thought she was crying because she'd just gotten the news that Dominic had betrayed her. I think it hit harder than she wanted anyone to see, but she allowed herself to breakdown in front of Victor because he's the only one she'd show her vulnerable side to. But then I've been reading the Adelle/Dominic vibes for a while now. How Dominic said "if anything happens to her" in this episode demonstrating his concern and how she asked for the agents to make sure Dominic was okay Echoes. They had some kind of unspoken regard for each other and I think Dominic's betrayal shook her. I even wonder if what Adelle had with Victor was a transference of what she might have wanted with Dominic, but found the latter impossible because of her job so she created "Miss Lonely Hearts" to facilitate this need.

I know so many fans seem to love hating on Topher, but come on wasn't it sweet that he went to warn his manfriend before reporting the chip he'd discovered? Aw, Topher totally has a bromance for Boyd.
I am SO sick of the argument that anytime a women looks sexy she is being exploited... is it really that simple? Because if it does then the ultimate tool against exploitation is all women wearing Burkas

and also
1. one of the major themes of the show is the exploitation of women so when people say the show exploits women it's like saying to kill a mockingbird is racist.
2. Ignoring for a second the fact that Echo is a doll and doesn't actually have a choice... how do you know Echo-as-a-dominatrix is being exploited? she seemed wicked confident and feeling in charge of her choices to me
3. The definition of exploited in case anyone needs it
1 : to make productive use of : utilize
2 : to make use of meanly or unfairly for one's own advantage

[ edited by witch_kat on 2009-04-11 05:02 ]
Emmie, Toyd. Or Bopher. Set your slash to cocky.

Everybody is so broke in this show. Which is awesome. Although I'd like to see Claire smile just once.

witch_kat, having the Dolls basically raped every week, dressed up, dressed down, abused and sold for rape (Sierra) is pretty much exploitation in very human trafficking sense.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-04-11 05:03 ]
I'm confused about the end because I got a call...is Dominic dead?
Riker, he got wiped and sent to the Attic. Which is pretty close to death, one thinks.
Oh of course the characters are being exploited every week... but isn't that kind of the point?
There is a difference between exploring exploitation through the characters and saying that the actors are being exploited when they where sexy clothes.
Gossi,
I sort of saw what was going on, but it looked like he died/was brain dead. What does it mean to be in the Attic, precisely?
redeem147: "I mean that making her a dominatrix at all, and thus wearing that outfit, is not going to endear the show to people who think the show is exploitive. Which is a lot of women I know.

And the first of the last two points too."

I don't see what's inherently exploitative about being a dominatrix. This is probably a point that we're just going to have to disagree about.

I would agree that forcing the Doll into any sexual role is bad.
But I would argue that this particular imprint is not any more exploitative than her other, more subservient sexual imprints in previous episodes. In fact, I was marginally comforted by Dr. Saunders saying that Dolls are never imprinted as BDSM subs, even if the reason is to protect the Dollhouse's "investments."

Besides, I think we are supposed to be turned of by the exploitation in the show. It sounds like you (and the women you know) are complaining that Buffy promotes vampirism.
I loved the revelation that Claire hasn't left the Dollhouse since the Alpha incident. Sounds like serious guilt, paranoia and concern all wrapped up into a psychosis package. Wonderful characterization reveal. And I imagine the scars are a daily reminder of her failure to keep Alpha "healthy" - that she's to blame for him going crazy.

Yep, Toyd is quite awesome. And I'm going down as someone who actually likes Topher most of the time.

Did no one else here read the Adelle/Dominic vibes? I've actually read some nice fanfic on the subject so I know I'm not totally alone here.
It depends who you are worried about exploiting. The actors, the audience (a key one in the case of Dollhouse), or being seen as exploiting women in general.

Dollhouse often dresses down it's leads in a cheesy comeon kinda way, and I've made no secret that bothers me. I don't care if it's intentional - I didn't watch Dollhouse to see Eliza's wobbly bits. In the case of this episode I thought everything hung together quite well (I'm talking 'bout the episode, get your mind out of the gutter) as everything had a purpose. The BDSM thing put the point of trust across reasonably well.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-04-11 05:15 ]

[ edited by gossi on 2009-04-11 05:15 ]
Great, great episode. I wish Adelle hadn't brushed off being shot so easily. In the moment, I liked it, because it seemed very, "I don't care that I'm bleeding, I want to see this through, I want to see this bastard lose his mind." But the scene afterward was just weird because of how little she seemed to care.

Oh well. Still, superb episode. Read a topic earlier today theorizing that Adelle was Miss Lonely Hearts, so that was kind of disappointing, but they managed to fool me for a bit when the actually-old woman answered the door for Victor. Next episode's preview didn't super-intrigue, but it's written by Jed, Maurissa, and Jane, so I doubt it'll disappoint.

ETComment on the end, too. Echo's staring at Boyd as she said the "With my life" was wonderfully sweet, and I'm very happy he has Larry's old job. Excited to see where they go with that, as Boyd's by far my favorite character. Except maybe Victor. Maybe.

[ edited by Jobo on 2009-04-11 05:16 ]
I was bothered by that until I saw her being stitched up. I had thought she was gut shot, but it looked like the bullet skimmed along her belly and took some skin with it, instead of entering her and rummaging for vital organs.
I really want to see more of Dr. Saunders' story ( and not just because Amy Acker is ridiculously cute.) If she has been living in the Dollhouse "24/7" since the Alpha attack, it makes me wonder if she's agoraphobic and only feels safe in the Dollhouse now, or maybe she is a Doll herself.

The dominatrix outfit seemed over-the-top and a bit pointless, IMO, but I won't complain too much ;)
Heh, I felt a little bad during the scene where Saunders admitted she hadn't left the Dollhouse since Alpha. My first thought was, "Has she been using the dolls' shower?"
gossi: "Dollhouse often dresses down it's leads in a cheesy comeon kinda way, and I've made no secret that bothers no. I don't care if it's intentional - I didn't watch Dollhouse to see Eliza's wobbly bits. In the case of this episode I thought everything hung together quite well (I'm talking 'bout Eliza, get your mind out of the gutter) as everything had a purpose. The BDSM thing put the point of trust across reasonably well."

Fair enough that it bothers you. I still don't agree that an actress playing a dominatrix is inherently exploitative.

I would like to point out that we've seen a fair share of Tahmoh's wobbly bits (thanks the Gods), not to mention Simon on Firefly and of course Spike. In those cases, without a real sense of storytelling value. Joss is an equal opportunity exploiter.Or maybe he's just comfortable confronting sexuality.

Sorry, edited for confusion.

[ edited by Arsenal on 2009-04-11 05:25 ]
The fact Tahmoh constantly has his shirt off also bothers me. Yes, I'm serious. I don't mind sexy, but if the show sucks around it you risk becoming Baywatch.
Baywatch didn't suck. And frankly, I was disappointed Tahmoh didn't take his shirt off this episode---and he was JUST about to! Damn the mole!!
I thought it was awesome. So brutal the way November told Paul Mellie's a doll. And Dominic! I was shocked he was the mole, thought for sure it was Ivy. I have been constantly surprised by this show in regards to twists, which I love.

Also Echo as dominatrix... I never liked the whole scary black leather S and M thing, but her whipping the handler was hilarious. I don't think her dressed as that is bad, heck she's the producer if she didn't want to do it, she wouldn't have to. Tahmoh shirtless is not bad, nor is Eliza or any one else in skimpy outfits. Ain't nothing wrong with the human body.

Shocked at Adelle and Victor. I liked seeing her outside the Dollhouse. But they need Alpha coming back soon to have more bad guys.

Also so sad that Echo got a new handler!

Re Terminator (sorry about that):



[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-04-11 05:33 ]
Speaking of Tahmoh, am I right that the back of his shirt just said JAPAN in Japanese?
I think this episode was awesome! The DH universe definitely has a Jossy captivating feel, IMO.
SteppeMerc, Terminator finale talk may bother people who haven't seen it yet.
Is the Chinese writing on Paul's shirt Firefly/Blue Sun related?
Again, fair enough. But I do feel that you seem to have a different sense of what is prurient that Joss. Plus, I've never felt that the shows sucked.
Just curious Gossi (and this is going to come across as snarky because of the lack of inflection on the internet but it's a serious question) if someone without a shirt on is too sexy for you what do you think is an appropriate amount of sexiness on a serious tv show?
I think I probably have a different sense on many things to Joss, and think the show has on occasion delved into suckatude. I'm surprised episode 7 made it to air.

That said, I'm a real fan of JW's work, and in particular I suspect I'm a fan of this writers (Andrew) work, since the episode was made of episode tasty.

witch_kat, I'm not bothered about sexy or naked fun, I just think it has to be with substance. Classic example - Echo gets her bra off in episode 3 of Dollhouse for very little to no reason.
WOW. My mouth literally dropped open 3 times during this episode. Gosh, I love Victor. His accent seemed a little weak in his "Roger" state but I just love Enver's performances.
I felt bad for Paul. :(
Adelle is such a rich, complex character.
I think I'm officially hooked. And yay, I enjoyed Echo for the first time I think.
I liked it. The time-jump-overlaps were sorta 'Out of Gas'-ish in a slightly different way- the same, but different. Most of them seemed to me to be simple overlaps but I could be wrong.

Only three eps left for the season. I have been waiting patiently for Alpha to show up and I hope I will be rewarded very soon.
I still think Alpha is the one planting messages through Echo and November to Ballard. SERIOUS SPOILER AHEAD: Just my thoughts, really, I have no confirmation, but it would make some serious sense and awesome storytelling.

[ edited by DisChunk on 2009-04-11 05:42 ]
Hey, could someone tell me if this was the episode that had a spoiler from it revealed in the April Fools' Day video FOX released? Just wanna know if I can watch that yet or not.

EDIT: DisChunk, to do invisitext, type this:

< span class="invisible">TEXT< /span>

But without the spaces. Oh, except the space between span and class should be there. But none of the others.

[ edited by Jobo on 2009-04-11 05:44 ]
I found it, thanks. Imagine clicking a link that said 'How To' to show you how to!
gossi: "witch_kat, I'm not bothered about sexy or naked fun, I just think it has to be with substance. Classic example - Echo gets her bra off in episode 3 of Dollhouse for very little to no reason."

My take:
A. It was meant to show Jordan (and the audience) how uncomfortable the pop music stage life can be, which set up the pop diva's issues with privacy.
B. I really didn't see that scene as titillating. Uncomfortable, yes. Certainly less that some of her fully clothed scenes with client Matt and his ropes.

[ edited by Arsenal on 2009-04-11 05:46 ]
I don't know if this even makes sense to me, but:

The biggest problem I had with the dominatrix outfit was the context. She was coming off an assignment, and they could of wrote it so she was just out with a guy (or girl) who wanted to see a hockey game or something else that required a different wardrobe. If they showed her doing her dominatrix-y thing, it would've made more sense.

Also, Paul looked ready for a tin-foil hat before he found out about Mellie being a Doll. His obsession with finding the Dollhouse is taking over everything in his life. If things keep going like this, I could really see him offing himself. He really is an interesting character, and I can't wait to see how Joss plays it out.
It's possible that the show has kept some (albeit shallow) viewers because of the high amount of T&A. If the show ends up stabilizing at ratings that are just good enough to be renewed, will the sometimes unneeded raciness be worth it?

From my perspective though, I don't think that the sexiness comes from a desire to grab ratings. It would be disingenuous to the world of the Dollhouse to suggest that the main use of dolls in the real world would be anything other than people fulfilling their sexual fantasies.
"You're a piece of work."
"So they tell me."

Thought these lines would be interesting to the people in the "Adelle is a doll" camp. I have no idea if she's a doll or not. I don't really like speculating about such things myself, but rather appreciate seeing such plot developments unfold in the show.

I agree with others that the conversation between Dominic and Echo at the end was quite intriguing. And talk about gray - after the reveal about Dominic's "betrayal" you initially feel like he's a scumbag and are happy about his demise, but then you realize that he's potentially one of the good guys in the real world outside of the dollhouse. Hard to say since his motivations and goals are a little unclear at this point.

An overall really interesting episode. It was the first that I found myself watching the clock, not wanting it to end.
Oh, also thought it was a neat moment of self-awareness and awareness about the dollhouse when Echo suggested to Topher that he imprint her so she could help out with the investigation.
Why would someone pay for a doll to go to a hockey game with them? It's a show largely about sex... why pretend it's something else?
Why do Victor's tie and scarf change from green to purple on the way to his engagement? Several times?
First....This episode is AWESOME!!!!

This episode continues Echo (Doll mode) increasing intelligence and soul growth. And we see another side of Adelle. A really interesting side, really. Quite ironic too.
Personally, i didn't like Dominic.
And the story is getting deeper and deeper.
Jane, Jed, and Maurissa, you nailed it!
Congrats!
Man. The only thing wrong with that episode was it was too short.

I'm amazed. Lotta twists and reveals. I loved it. It looks like we have another plot-light episode in 2 weeks before the tempest that is episodes 11 and 12. I can't wait. Really. I don't wanna wait. Damn time and not being under my control.

I so hope Dollhouse gets renewed in some shape or form.
I absolutely LOVED this episode. The last three or so have knocked my socks off. It keeps getting wilder and more entangled and deeper and darker and more disturbing. And yet also I feel more warmth for some of these characters - surprisingly so.

Great, great stuff. Must rewatch. Too many "my god!" reveals and surprises and twists and heavy, meaningful moments. Wow.

I so want this to be renewed. I'm so distressed that the signs are grim re: that eventuality.
witch_kat That might not of been the best example. Sex could've (and probably would've)happened afterward. It just seemed out of place, IMO.
Did you listen to the dialogue in the Dominatrix scene? That was the purpose of the scene. The writer felt the audience would be able to get how that imprint would be able to talk about trust without any background.
what beckyboo said :)
LOVED this episode!

*runs off to make squealing fangirl sounds before watching again*
Did you listen to the dialogue in the Dominatrix scene?

I honestly might have been a bit distracted at the time. :)
Honestly, every single time Dollhouse goes to commercial and we again see a glistening naked Eliza Dushku looking all sexed up towards the camera, I cringe. The first episode premiere laid it on thick with all the "so fox" stuff with Eliza and Summer. Sometimes I feel like I'm watching a show by the creators of FHM magazine.

Yeah, sexy and smutty stuff has it's place. But I would have been seriously turned off by Buffy if the WB had promoted the show the way Fox promotes Dollhouse. I know SMG as an actress kept a pretty tight rein on that kind of thing and I have tons of respect for her for it. There's almost a forced feel to the Dollhouse... "Let's have her in thigh-high stockings!" "Now a dominatrix getup, make sure there's butt cheeks involved!" It doesn't flow, it seems disruptive, and here I go saying FORCED again... it's the only way I can describe it. It makes me uncomfortable watching it.

Firefly and Buffy and Angel for the most part were so devoid of this kind of thing that I didn't really know he had it in him. Not loving the knowledge. Thankful there were no Firefly DVD extras that included pans over bare naked Kaylee or River skin for no reason at all, if such commercials in fact existed! I'd rather be in the dark on that one for sure.

I just really need them to change those commercial lead ins.
Eric_Curtis... so you thought the scene was in bad taste but also hot?
PaulfromSunnydale, Jane, Jed nor Maurissa wrote this episode. It was Andrew. New guy.

ailiel, don't even get me started on the stockings shot in the opening credits. Instant turn off from the show.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-04-11 06:22 ]
Another great episode. Not quite as good as last week's IMO, but very very good. These last four eps have been such an amazing mix of complex characters, fast-paced plotting, and butt-kicking action. And this is from someone who enjoyed the early eps as well.

I wish we actually got to see the attic at the end, but Dom getting wiped was very creepy.
Very possibly my favorite episode so far. The stories were interwoven so well and all of the actors were at the top of their game.
ailiel: "I just really need them to change those commercial lead ins."

You are 100% right about the advertising, especially the conversations with Summer and Eliza.

But advertising does not dictate or represent content. Nor did SMG being on the cover of Rolling Stone in a dominatrix outfit during an early Buffy season define that show.

Edit: Do you feel that it was "forced" of Joss to include a companion character in a sci-fi western show? I just saw that as compelling television.

[ edited by Arsenal on 2009-04-11 06:27 ]
I wish we actually got to see the attic at the end, but Dom getting wiped was very creepy.


Seconding that, bonzob. The fact that Echo was watching from below and seemed - on some level - to understand what was going on made it all the more creepy.
The whole point of advertising - by a network - is to dictate and represent content.
alliel and gossi, did you guys dislike Firefly? Cause Inara was all about sex. One of her first scenes is her doing a sponge bath. Then there are way more actual sex scenes. Remember "I'll be in my bunk," and "Good bible"?

River is introduced naked. Not in a sexual manner, but still. And she's supposed to be 16!

I really can't understand how Dollhouse is exploitative compared to Firefly... besides the obvious fact that the show is more about sex. But still, I really don't get it. Joss has always had sexy in his shows.

edit: And Eliza's the producer... so if she felt she was being exploited, wouldn't she have the power to change it? I mean heck the show is about essentially a high tech brothel mixed in with an assassin's guild. Outfits that aren't sexy or risque wouldn't really make sense.

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-04-11 06:31 ]
"The whole point of advertising - by a network - is to dictate and represent content."

And we're shocked that they're doing a bad job?

Personally, I find it amusing that the show is advertised as indulging lascivious activities, but instead makes the audience question their feelings on these issues. Like the conversation we're having now.
In addition to what SteppeMerc said add: sex that makes the house fall down, curses that make you want to have sex all the time even when people are in danger all around you, that very wholesome thing that Tara and Willow are doing offscreen in the musical episode
I was one of the people who complained about the poor take on gay in Firefly. River's introduction worked, because it wasn't sexual and it was about vulnerability and shock. (Also, 16 is perfectly legal here in the UK). Inara was all about choice and power. Echo is about lack of power through lack of choice.
While the other shows certainly had sex play a role, none focused on it nearly as much as Dollhouse does. I agree that the "back in 90 seconds" type shots are unnecessary, but all the scenes with the dominatrixwear, etc are to be expected and are completely reasonable and justified, IMO. I would be surprised to NOT see such things in what is basically a "high tech brothel."

[ edited by snakebyte on 2009-04-11 06:36 ]
gossi: "I was one of the people who complained about the poor take on gay in Firefly. River's introduction worked, because it wasn't sexual and it was about vulnerability and shock. (Also, 16 is perfectly legal here in the UK). Inara was all about choice and power. Echo is about lack of power through lack of choice."

Jayne is hardly the source of progressive thought on the Serenity.

The show was not made in the UK, it was made in the puritanical United States. The same US where every parent screams bloody murder about the slightest bit of sex, but ignores violence. At least acknowledge Joss' boldness in that regard.

And Inara's scenes with Shephard Book were clearly about acknowledging "traditional" values about sexuality. Let's not pretend that sexuality was not a part of the Inara character.
No, not at all. Inara was an interesting and developed character and the companion thing was well-explored, including the very degrading aspects of it. The sponge bath thing could have been bad, but I think the way it was handled was tasteful. The only time it bordered on being a little forced (in my opinion) was the build up and the conclusion to Inara having a female client. Just the way it was done was a little silly. But that was really the only time. And I loved the "I'll be in my bunk" line.

It's all about context. It's not sex itself I object to. I watch HBO shows all the time. It's more of how is it presented and how is it relevant to the plot. Seeing Bill Paxton's bare behind as he gyrates over Chloe Sevigny as she lies back and thinks of the prophet is often graphic and uncomfortable, and that's the point. In the context of Big Love the characters' sexual dynamic is an important part of their character dynamic, and it isn't ever glossed over or gratuitous. In turn, I never felt that Inara's line of work was EVER either glossed over, or gratuitous. I just rewatched the first episode recently and Inara's first client ever (which I realize was not the first episode aired) it seems all romanticized and then you are instantly slapped in the face with the reality of the situation, as is she, when he accuses her of cheating him. In that one scene, as you see her reaction to the insult and the fact that she has to take it, and Mal's own attitude towards what she does, and Book's reaction, it's all so THINKY and good. I could really go on and on about it.

Dollhouse, not so much. So far I feel like all the sex stuff has been both glossed over and gratuitous.
Loved this episode so much! Two weeks is too long to wait.
Joss likes to show us powerful women who at one point seemed less so. Willow goes from computer nerd to all powerful witch. River goes from fragile kook to kick-ass Reaver-slayer. Right now, Echo is in her powerless, definitely exploited state. I am sure she will not stay that way.
Indeed witch_kat, as far as I can remember, Dollhouse has shown a deal less actual sex. Mostly its just collapsing right after their done. Instead of all the examples you listed, as well as Inara having sex with her clients.

gossi, I did not know about Firefly when it was on (or before about a year and a half ago), so I don't know the controversy you are talking about, so I can't really comment, sorry. But it seems to me that Echo had a choice as far as we know (though not pre-Sierra). And indeed the entire purpose of the show seems to be exploring the sex, the choice, fantasy and stuff. I can't see a way of doing it other than how they are doing it, and I love Dollhouse.

Though really I'm not the kind of guy to talk about things I love objectively, so please feel free to ignore me.
I agree with Arsenal, witch_kat and SteppeMerc. More importantly, I agree with Scaniano.

I've finally discovered the one advantageous part of watching the show some 3 hours later than the east coast folks: I don't have to bother to write my own reaction.
Echo doesn't have a choice now, since she's programmed to like anybody who pays enough. Make no mistake, the show is a whorehouse, to use Tim Minear's term. Or a sexy human trafficking show, to use Joss Whedon's term. It's done knowingly, and the proof of the pudding is if they can explore it in a way which doesn't piss me - as a viewer - off. This episode worked.
aillel: I could go on for hours about how THINKY I feel that Dollhouse has been about sex. But as a brief example, wouldn't you agree that the Patton Oswalt character presented a very complicated, interesting scenario? Especially considering that the audience is made to sympathize with him, just as he is about to sexually use Echo?
Have we seen any dolls who have been given a real choice as to become dolls or not? Caroline was in big trouble with the chemical company, as was the dude a couple episodes ago who tried to sell the drug to a rival. They weren't given much choice. Sierra was forced in by that creepy guy 2 episodes ago.
"The whole point of advertising - by a network - is to dictate and represent content."

More accurately, that's how intelligent advertising works. There will always be the school of thought that goes with T&A to bring in viewers who don't care what the show's about as long as they can see some skin.

What I would have liked to have seen instead of the pitiful Summer/Eliza bits during the premiere? An encounter between Cameron and Echo, told in 30-second bits, which together made a coherent story that revealed something of both their natures (a la the R. Tam Sessions). Fans would have loved it, critics might have been intrigued, and it would have gotten the show off to a cooler start. The award-show banter was just embarassing.

[ edited by C. A. Bridges on 2009-04-11 07:02 ]
That's just it. I do think that the sexual aspect of what the Dollhouse does WOULD be very interesting to explore-- but all I can think is it would have to be done another way completely. The scenes that involve sex or that are sexually titillating now seem so shallow to me, so one-layered, so transparent. I think we may be crossing signals here in what I mean by "exploitative"-- I don't think it is inherently exploitative to have a sexy or sexual character, or to wear revealing outfits, to be completely naked, or to have graphic sex depicted. I enjoy many shows with these elements. After all, real life contains these elements.

What I don't want is the wink to the camera of Eliza wearing the sexy outfit here, entertaining some guy's fantasy there. Like I said, it's like looking at an FHM photo spread sometimes. And for me, so far, they have never handled the issue head on or even very well of the sexual implications of the Dollhouse. MAYBE they might in the future-- but in the show I've been watching, I haven't seen it addressed nearly as well as Firefly managed to do in the first episode, in one scene! And I think it's because of this awkward line-toeing that they are doing-- pandering to a certain demographic of viewers, dumbing it down instead of smartening it up for the sake of ratings.

And if the question is, would I rather have Dollhouse with the ratings grabbing gratuitous T&A, or only one season of a show that handled these issues without any pandering but head on and well-done? No brainer to me.
eric_curtis, she was just out with a guy (or girl) who wanted to see a hockey game or something else
People paying gobs of money to get dolls aren't going to want someone to accompany them to a hocky game. 9 times out of 10 it's going to be sexual in nature.

Eliza has a good waxer. I'm just sayin'.
I'm not offended by Echo's dominiatrix outfit but I did immediately think of it as a ploy to gain viewers. Especially since it was placed at the beginning of the ep. For me - and perhaps this is wrong of me - but I don't consider seeing a man's bare chest the same kind of "exploitation" (or whatever you wish to label it) as a person's butt cheeks.

I'm always surprised when I read other people's reactions to shows. I'm amazed at how many people were confused by Adelle's crying. To me, it was obvious that she felt a connection with Dominic. I, personally, perceived it as a friendship but perhaps others are right in assuming she had romantic feelings. When she came into the room "Roger" had been sleeping and he asked "Why are you dressed?" So it was obvious she'd had to meet with someone -she probably would not have dressed just for a phone call. During that actual scene I didn't know why she was crying but as soon as the Dominic reveal was made, I understood. Especially after her confrontation with him. She felt so betrayed. I felt very sorry for her at that moment. That said, Dominic's wipe was hard to watch. It felt so violent and disturbing.

Adelle as the mole...seems too obvious to me.

I really feel no connection to Boyd yet. Or for the Boyd/Echo storyline which makes me surprised and a little disappointed. I had such a huge place in my heart for Buffy/Giles.

I haven't liked Topher before - and I still don't like him (I wanted to smack him when he was cheesing it up about being a genius. "Could you contemplate getting over yourself for a minute?") but I did enjoy some of his dialouge much more tonight.

Anyone know what kind of car "Roger" drove? Beautifullllllllllllllllllllllllll
Operative, Sure they were in trouble... but I'm sure they could have chosen to go to jail, or to kill themselves, or something. Not great choices certainly. Really bad ones, even. But still, choice. And like I've said, I've said this before, and people say I'm wrong. Which they have the right to, but until I see proof on the TV that they had a gun to their head, or that Caroline was 'sold' to the Dollhouse just like pre-Sierra, and the same thing happened to pre-Victor and pre-Sierra, then I still think that choice is involved.

ailiel, I agree that they should be able to show what you are saying... but this is made in the uptight, backwards, basic cable, America. They should be able to show what you say they should, but they can't. That's not Joss' fault. Nor is it his that Fox has a horribly incompetent promotions department.

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-04-11 07:08 ]

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-04-11 07:09 ]
Oh wow, that was awesome! I was already blown away by T:SCC (best episode ever), and then the follow up was this incredibly brilliant Dollhouse episode!
I loved the opening w/the dominatrix explaining her job: this is a show about sex and exploitation, but there has to be trust.... You give someone the power, and then you have to be able to trust them. Adelle gave Dominic power and she felt betrayed by him.... Clearly Topher trusts Boyd, and (surprisingly) Echo. There are a lot of layers to this and I need to rewatch to even begin to sort them out (because of the mind being blown thing).
But I have to say that Eliza's performance was seamless, her dominatrix was a strong individual like none of the others she has played, and Echo is really developing into a fully realized character that I love far more than Caroline.

Seriously, how is this show not a huge hit?!
I'm so glad this episode followed the Terminator season finale. Not only was it amazing and possibly the best episode yet, but if more people watched this episode, it can only mean more viewers next time around... right?
No, I didn't find the Patton Oswalt character very interesting. "I'm basically hiring a hooker to live out a fantasy about my dead wife, but actually I'm a very nice guy!" I found it to be pretty standard. Nice guy hires hooker. I think I've heard that one before. I was kind of annoyed by what I felt was a heavy-handed "This is a sympathetic character!" dialogue. Here I go wanting to say "forced" again. I felt more like I was being told to sympathize with him, than I actually found him truly sympathetic. Maybe I would be able to take the whole show more seriously on sexual issues without those commercial lead-ins five times an episode, I don't know. It's possible it's coloring my take on the issues. I just feel like the show lacks subtleties. I find the sexual implications of the Dollhouse very interesting in my own head, but so far what I've seen on-screen hasn't really made me rhapsodize the way I have over the way sex workers are portrayed on Firefly. Your mileage may vary of course.
SteppeMerc, none of them have a choice *now*. That's what I was saying.

I think they should make an episode where Echo and Sierra have sex with 5 extremely fat, very sweaty, kinda old guys. One each act. The sex trade, when not US TV'ed, isn't that FHM.
gossi, those guys would have to be quite rich of course. Though I do find it odd that they mention the ugly clients, but never show them. Except for the fact that everyone in TV land is way more attractive than real world land of course. Kind of like how real pirates and cowboys aren't nearly as good looking as the crew of Serenity.
You should watch some British TV, they let anybody on here. It's like watching Lord of the Rings during the Orc battles.
I loved this episode.

1. Did anyone else notice that the show actually exploited the dolls to tell the story of the Dollhouse employees? Every time I watch this show, I think I got a feel for how they style is... and then this happens. What better way to get across your point about exploitation of people than to use the Dolls themselves as literary devices to tell the main picture?

2. I really loved the opening dominatrix scene. I know some have problems with it, but here's my take on it. First, we're "baited" with the "ooh! Eliza's hot in that skimpy outfit! Oh, wait, they're exploiting her body so we will watch!" and then "switched" with the "this has nothing to do with Echo being a dominatrix, but about trust.

And, funny enough, this is exactly what the dominatrix said- "It's about trust." The trust that Adelle had given Dominic, only to be betrayed. The trust that the dolls place in the Dollhouse employees everyday. The trust that Topher gave Echo to help him out. While we were all too busy shouting "oh! Eliza's boobs!" at the TV, the main clue and the theme of this episode was talking to us, but we were too busy looking at her chest to listen.

And, not only is it about trust, but pain as well (which the dominatrix tells us also). The pain of losing that trust. The pain of causing the betrayal of trust.

The fact that the show and the story work so well together (but at times use each other) is amazing to me to witness on my TV. I love the meta levels of it all. *grin*

3. The characters are fucking amazing. Adelle has heart... just not in the Dollhouse. The way she took that bullet; her complete meltdown with Victor! (And personally I believe she climbed down that cliff to get her phone back. As much as she would like to run away, she depends on the need to fulfill the "mission", which is why she can't quit. She & Caroline have a lot in common in that respect.)

Mellie/November was heart-breaking. That poor girl. And, I know I also feel bad for Paul, but I gotta say... why is it that those feelings he has for "saving Caroline" don't also apply to "saving Mellie"? Instead he'll use her and distrust her, while she gives him complete trust (again our theme here). But he does need her for sure. One more map or line on his wall and he'll definitely be carted off to the asylum. ;)

Echo is wonderfully wonderful. I like to laugh about how people didn't know how they'd be able to connect with this girl. Now it seems that we're crossing a moral dilemma- we root for Paul to "save Caroline" (after all, she is a human and has rights), but now that Echo is truly developing into her own self, what happens to her if Caroline comes back? Does Echo die in favor of Caroline? I'd hate to see that happen. But I also don't want Caroline locked up forever either. A dilemma indeed.

I loved Eliza's take on the dominatrix. I really believed there was nothing even remotely resembling the Echo we know and love (or Faith for that matter). She's developing into such a fine actress. One of the best.

Ah, Dominic! I don't know about you guys, but I actually liked Dominic. He may have been a super under cover NSA spy, but the trust and mutual respect he and Adelle had was real (which is why it hurts all the more). I don't get a romantic vibe from it, but it's nice to know that someone you ultimately trust to always have your back is actually the one stabbing it. When we really got to see his feelings in "Echoes", and his remorse for the person he's had to become for his job, it's such a shame to see him go. Amazing how he grew on me (I used to really hate his guts. Now I miss him.)

4. My thinking on the spy. I do believe Dominic was the one who programmed Echo & November. To me, it makes more sense on why we didn't think he was the spy. He spends all his time trying to kill his contact, so he's the one we least expect to do such a thing (like SpyHunter Echo says). Of course, I could be wrong. Only time will tell.

5. I cannot wait til Paley Fest!
"gossi, those guys would have to be quite rich of course. Though I do find it odd that they mention the ugly clients, but never show them. Except for the fact that everyone in TV land is way more attractive than real world land of course. Kind of like how real pirates and cowboys aren't nearly as good looking as the crew of Serenity."

Exactly, and how many overweight, non-caucasian Scoobies were there again?
@korkster: I think most of us were busy staring at Eliza's ass, but I do see your point. ;)
Gossi, the only British TV I've ever seen was Monty Python, which, while supporting your point, probably wasn't what you were referring to. The only non American live action show that I can think of other than that was Farscape, which is Australian, and hardly has that many unattractive folks.

Though I do know, at least from watching Russian movies, that it seems attractiveness is not nearly as important as acting over there (It should of course have a bigger focus here, but that's another issue). At least in the guys. Some would say that's always the case, but for example male leads have tend to have a lot more hair in America, and I don't mean that their hair is longer.

korkster, your thoughts are brilliant, and insightful, and I agree with all save that Dominic was trying to contact Paul. It seems to me, if what he was saying was true, he wouldn't want Paul to continue sniffing around. Indeed earlier he was always for more violent methods against him. But then again who else would it be besides him? Questions, questions. Also, I thought that Ballard didn't do anything in regards to trying to save Mellie because what could he do? Tell her, freak her out, and then have her sent to kill him? Bringing down the Dollhouse will save Mellie too. Plus I think it shows how obsessed he is becoming - he is willing to do what he hated so much from the beginning, sleeping a doll. Which is heartbreaking, but brilliant TV.

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-04-11 07:38 ]

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-04-11 07:40 ]
Korkster, I hope you'll post all about the Paley Fest for those of us who can't be there!
But I think you're wrong: I don't believe that Dominic programmed Echo or November, he was NSA and has little or no contact w/FBI... Besides the information Paul is getting seems to be guiding him in different directions. There is so much going on here! I love this show.
I felt sad as I watched this episode.

Not because it was a bad episode. No, I think it was the best one yet. Not "by far," as others have said. They've been getting steadily better, and since "Man on the Street"--maybe even earlier--I've been a True Believer. But tonight was one of the best things, outside of LOST, that I've seen on network television for a very long time.

Sad because of the very real possibility that this amazing vehicle won't be allowed to continue past the initial 13--scratch that, 12--episode run. Because this is not like anything I've seen.

You know how, after you've been watching TV for a while, you sense what's coming? And you kinda cringe? Like when the ER patient codes and they need to pull out the crash cart and apply the paddles. I'm no doctor, I've never worked in an ER, but I've heard over and over again: In real life, they almost NEVER use those things. Yet how many times have we, as television viewers, seen it? You just know it's coming.

"Dollhouse" subverts the conventional television experience. I loved "Alias," and totally picked up on the Sydney Bristow vibe as Sierra infiltrated the NSA. Familiar ground. So my heart started to sink a little: All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.

Yeah, right.

I didn't see much of what was coming tonight. I mean, did any of you think that DOMINIC was the mole? And that smug smile of his as he lay on the floor of the van. Mellie's coming out to Paul that she's November. The look on Ballard's face as the awful realization sinks in.

I hope ASITHOL goes a ways toward silencing the Eliza haters. You can't say this was great merely because she wasn't in it much. She's ALL OVER IT. And she rocks. HARD. I found her completely convincing as the dominatrix--and in every other part. She just felt completely comfortable in multiple roles that, face it, would intimidate a lot of actors. Highlights: Climbing into the chair of her own free will, to help uncover the person who might bring an end to her captive existence. The "20 seconds ago" reveal. The subtle eavesdropping when she's supposed to be the dutiful blank slate. That most excellent fight with Dominic.

And best of all, the "with my life" directed not at her new handler--but past him, to Boyd. This show has found its beating heart.

One last question to the group, and then bedways is bestways: Am I the only one who thought Dewitt might take Dominic's archived imprint from Topher--and hurl it off the balcony? It's much better the way they played it--she is all about self control, Adelle is. But can you imagine holding the essence of a mortal enemy's life in your hands--and choosing to simply put it away for safe keeping?

This is so much better than I expected. And my expectations were pretty fucking high.
I am in love with the complexity of Adelle's character in this episode. And Chamberliss developed this psychology for her in a very subtle way.

Through her building relationship with Laurence that could never go anywhere for over 3 years, being forever stymied when they did have that chemistry - it led to Adelle creating "Roger" who was the perfect embodiment of what she wanted. Someone who mocked the Dollhouse and it's rules like Adelle wanted to, who wasn't chained to it (in theory - Roger is free, Victor is not) the way Dominic and Adelle were. "Roger" is a creation of Adelle's need and that need was frustrated by her workplace situation surrounded by Dominic. It doesn't mean that Adelle was thinking about Dominic when she was with "Roger", she was fully wrapped up in her fantasy. But that's how transference works. Her stunted relationship with Laurence led to a need to indulge in this fantasy life with "Roger".

And it should be very telling that as she discovers Laurence has betrayed her, she cuts herself off from "Roger" forever, finding the indiscretion too costly now. It cannot be ignored that her excising Laurence from her life and sending him to the attic occurs at the exact same time that she cuts "Roger" from her life. "Roger" was the fantasy version of whatever real connection Adelle had with Laurence. And when Laurence betrayed her trust, she cracked down hard on every soft emotion inside of her. This is why we see her refusing the anesthetic from Dr. Saunders, why she just brushes off the bullet wound. She's like a wounded animal in a trap who would gnaw off her own arm in order to survive, ignoring the pain. She must remake herself into stone, hardened inside and out. Just as she's hardened her heart, so has her skin hardened. She is impervious to bullets now, impervious to pain. She won't let herself be hurt.
@korkster: I think most of us were busy staring at Eliza's ass, but I do see your point. ;)

Well, kasadilla, I was in dance for a while, do the back just looked like a leotard to me. However, I was trying to figure out how much support the chest area gave, and how revealing it might have felt. But yeah, same thing. ;)

Plus I think it shows how obsessed he is becoming - he is willing to do what he hated so much from the begging, sleeping a doll. Which is heartbreaking, but brilliant TV.

I agree with you on Paul's obsession, SteppeMerc. The difference that I see (which I find to be a moral problem for me), is that knowing what Mellie is doesn't seem to flick on his "must save her" thing he has for Caroline. He wants to save Caroline, while Mellie is just an "extra" I guess. Before he could "lie" to himself to believe that Caroline needed his help while Mellie didn't. Now that he knows that isn't true... I didn't see much change in his attitude towards her (well, except distrust now). Of course, it was a slight moment and I'll have to wait (2 weeks!) before we see what becomes of it.

korkster, your thoughts are brilliant, and insightful

We'll just leave it at that then. ;)
Paul's so busy trying to save somebody he forgets to save anybody. He was, quite literally, standing on the doorstep of the thing he was investigating (and invested in) and didn't even notice.

Tin Ear Tom, if you listen carefully to Adelle and Topher when he has the hard drive, she tells him to "lose it".
But can you imagine holding the essence of a mortal enemy's life in your hands--and choosing to simply put it away for safe keeping?

I had wanted her to stomp on it with her sexy business heel of a shoe.

She is impervious to bullets now, impervious to pain. She won't let herself be hurt.

Trust & pain, trust & pain. I like your take on the romantic frustrations between Adelle & Laurence, Emmie. Even if I don't fully agree on it (which might be due to the fact that I'm living in denial that it's all about sex, which this show makes a point of saying that "nothing is NOT about sex"). I do agree with you that whatever pent-up levels of their relationship they couldn't disclose to one another at the work place was exercised in Victor. Remember "Echoes" when they saw/knew each other had acted unprofessionally? It was very awkward for them, and since their relationship can't last in that aspect (free, loose, sex), they return immediately to their comfort zones.

And no I don't think it was a coincidence. Adelle basically told Victor that he was the only one she could trust to be her real self with. And, if Victor was being used to exercise Dominic for Adelle, it would make sense that once Dominic is boxed that she would deny herself that trust with Victor. She trusted someone to see her flawed self, and pain was the result.

I can't decide if in the end Adelle is strong or not. Is it stronger to trust others when you don't know if they'll betray you, or is it stronger to cut all ties with your real (human) self shown to others as protection? I'm kinda leaning towards that while Adelle is strong professionally, she is weak internally (how she broke down and cried to Victor). While that's not a negative thing on her (she is human, and I applaud her professionalism), I don't think she can grown as a person that way.

By doing this, by severing ties of trust to others (and to the outside world), she is a reflection of Dr. Saunders in that respect.
I thought she said to archive it.

Korkster, it's not even necessary for it to be a romantic connection between Adelle and Laurence, more so that it's a personal connection that Adelle refuses to indulge as it crosses her workplace boundaries. There's a lot of leeway to read more or less into it depending on the viewer. I think it carries a romantic angle to it, but that's more intuition than their being actual romantic elements to the way they treat each other. Laurence was the one person Adelle was moderately close to and I think she wanted to show her true self to him, but instead couldn't trust enough to do that and showed "Roger" instead.

[ edited by Emmie on 2009-04-11 08:08 ]
I think we're more or less saying the same thing, Emmie, which is why I agreed with you. The "less" being that while you saw a romantic angle, I came at it with an "always be loyal/be there" angle (kind of like what Boyd has with Echo). Which is fine, and wonderful- we can essentially see the same thing but with our own twists on it. :)
I've not read this thread yet but just wanted to say ... Oh. My. God. That was not only the best Dollhouse yet by a long way but one of the best episodes in any Whedon show. I laughed uncontrollably, was very very moved and was genuinely shocked multiple times. Wow.
Let's get rid of my double-post here. Stupid Firefox.

[ edited by korkster on 2009-04-11 08:14 ]
I loved how Echo's dominatrix persona was setting the tone for the episode. She talked about trust, and surrender of one's will to another... and also the freedom one experiences through that surrender, how it all becomes so much more simple. Interesting that a kind of freedom was equated with not having to make decisions.

And to have her explaining this while dressed ultra sexy, yet intimidating and powerful, well that's a whole lotta Dollhouse right there.

The way this first scene set the stage for the story reminded me of the beginning scene in War Stories where Book was discussing the writings of Xiang Yu with Simon. Book brought up the aspect of discovering the "real" person through torture, which ended up being the theme played out in the episode.
Exactly my thoughts, 11thHour. :) Well, not exactly, but the same motif.
Regarding the attractiveness of the clients, though I'm not sexually attracted to men I didn't think Patton Oswalt was particularly handsome; certainly, he didn't fit the standard image for male beauty on television.
Well I was wrong about pretty much everything ever.

So, so much awesome.
he didn't fit the standard image for male beauty on television.


I was thinking the other week that Victor as a Doll wasn't what you would called conventionally handsome. But when he became "free" in Needs, he really blossomed.
korkster I appreciated your insights very much, you wrote so much of what was on my mind. Echo's dominatrix outfit was such a strong visual that many people were missing what she was really saying, and what that whole persona was providing as an intro to the theme of the story.

Of course aside from all the carefully crafted underlying themes, and insights into the human psyche, sometimes it is about the pain...

;-)
@korkster and @kasadilla i think thats where we were all looking at.

i had to send my poor little brother ou of the room so many times this episode but I loved it!

oh and we should make a list of how many of us are going to PaleyFest for Dollhouse or Dr. Horrible!
The episode is now available for streaming on fox.com (Fox On Demand) (moderators might want to add it to the entry), so I'm off watching it and then I'll be back to check out this thread. :-)
They say it's there but it's not online yet as far as I can make out. ETA: Now it is.
I'd gone from "meh" to liking and admiring the show more and more, but after tonight it's officially love. I burst out laughing several times, and not just at the jokes, but from the sheer joy I was feeling in how the episode flowed - from humor to tense action to heartbreak, to surprise, to betrayal and trust. That was a top-of-the-line ME production all the way, and one of my favorite episodes ever. Kudos, show, kudos.

I adored the chemistry and dialog with Victor/Adelle. Enver is batting a thousand on his different roles. LOVE that guy's work.

Paul's dream about Mellie and Caroline looks now like foreshadowing for his obsession starting to spin out of control. I think I'm finally on board with his character, probably because he's getting more tortured.

Along with the twists and turns, we got snippets of four different genres within one episode, which is so Joss. Victor and Adelle were in a Cary Grant romantic comedy. Sierra was in a spy thriller (and by the way, for whoever said it was the easiest entry into a secret facility ever, it being a set-up played a role in that, no?) Mellie and Paul were in a romantic tragedy. Echo was in a detective story.

Liked Ivy's funny line in her interrogation, liked Topher, or, more accurately, liked his characterization.

Interesting that Boyd said "we" are pimps and killers,including him. His disgust with the Dollhouse should include himself, so that was nice to see.

Happy, happy, happy! Waiting eagerly for Hulu to add this to their list.
The episode is now available on iTunes...sorry don't know how to link it.
Everything shambleau said
Deleted 'cos

[ edited by Let Down on 2009-04-11 10:35 ]
The episode is now available on iTunes


Thanks for the heads up.
Has anybody else noticed who Sierra sits next to on the train yet?
This was the first episode in which nothing seemed forced. I've enjoyed all of the episodes so far--well, except for "Stage Fright"--but even the best ones had something which felt just a little off. But from the first scene of this one, every single thing was clicking, including Tahmoh Penikett's performance, which up to now has seemed a little too rigid.

Basically, this is the episode that made me realize how much I'm going to miss this show if/when it is canceled. It was so good.

I'd been hoping that Adelle was Miss Lonely Hearts. That was a wonderful development. She's quickly becoming my favorite character after Topher.
I have been very critical of ED's acting up to now but she really delivered in this episode.
That was my favourite episode yet, and the one where Enver Gjokaj cemented his status as my favourite performer. He's got serious acting skills. Also loved the revelations, including the fact that Dr Saunders simply never leaves the place. A sad lady just got a whole lot sadder.
Re. Paul not getting all "must save her" about Mellie compared to Caroline:

I think that it actually makes a lot of sense. First thing to remember, Caroline DOES need to be save; Mellie does not, because Mellie was not a real person. Second thing to remember, Paul knows and like (quite a lot) Mellie and bringing down the Dollhouse would be the end of her. Third, it's easy for him to imagine Caroline as the embodiment of all that is good, exploited by evil people for evil deeds; with Mellie, well, he's a lot more implicated in that.

So, I do think that he SHOULD have just as much desire to save proto-Mellie (whoever she was) as he does to save Caroline. But I completely get why he doesn't.
Olivia is a doll. I believe this.
What a nice episode, if only the first ones would have been half this good... I liked the interlacing of the parallel plots, and the focus on the dolls, instead of another mission-of-the-week. The acting was nice, and I actually liked Topher too, he can be a bit over the top, but it's starting to grow on you.

I did not like the beginning, though not for the same reason most of the people here mentioned it. The brief dominatrix thing works well as a reminder about what the dollhouse is providing, without actually taking the time from the actual episode. However, for the first time I found myself agreeing with the doubters of Elizas acting, while dressed hot she still was pretty much Echo... Made me think of The Wish and Doppelgangland, where Alyson really was different.

Also, about the speculations and guessing. I usually tend not to do that, I'll just watch and see what comes. But still, I was pretty sure Ivy was not the mole. It was so obvious that there was no way in hell she was it, that many hints would prevent it even in other shows, and more so one supervised by Joss.

Anyway, the show has been good before that, but for the first time it really felt like a Joss show.
Dana5140: We saw in 'Echoes' that the dolls who were infected with the virus 'glitched' ie. had flashbacks to their pre-doll life. By contrast, ordinary people just acted really weird. Adele's reaction to the virus seems to prove that she's not a doll. Though before that episode I thought there was a very good chance she was an active herself.
Wow, that was a brilliant one! Loved every second of it!

Maybe I didn't get everything but I keep wondering what Dom's intentions concerning Ballard are. Does he help him or throw him off? If he's NSA, why not report to them and let them deal with the FBI.
okay, first of all, gut wounds in the Whedonverse? Not like gut wounds in our Universe. I half expected Adelle to be revealed as a Terminator or something, they way she barely flinched. As for everything else, fantastic episode for the many reasons I've read well described in this thread. I loved every single minute of it. I fell in love with the show sometime between Gray Hour and True Believer and it's been growing ever since. If it's allowed to live, I may reach Firefly/Buffy levels of obsession with it. Scary thought :)

BTW, does anyone else have the feeling the show is going incredibly fast? It's like they're cramming at least a couple of seasons of storylines into these 13 (or 12, whatever) episodes.

I really really wish both this and TtSCC come back next season.
Whoah, that was an epic episode. Seriously. Goddamn. I was most impressed with DeWitt. Shot, but still standing there and acting as if it was nothing.

However, my favourite review-site doesn't really see it that way. Couple of things he didn't like, but yeah, some valid things.

Spy in the House of Love at The Independent Comics Site
ok, the gut wound was not exactly portrayed in realistic way, but the way, they're always doing their chasing scenes in those killer heels proves that the laws of physics don't apply to those people.
What, that doesn't make everyone who says they saw it coming smarter than Joss and the rest of the writers?
josswhedonaddict | April 11, 03:27 CET


Probably in most (not all) cases, it means people have been gobbling up spoilers.

My short review: Awesome squared, it just keeps getting better.

Thanks doubtful guest for the lyrics. I was going to Google and post them, you saved me the typing. ;)
Ailiel, right on.

So, are we going to start taking bets on who's going to die soon? Because for the usual run of a Whedon show, you know, we should be expecting some really likeable character to get offed soon in a sudden, shocking way...
Just finished watching it - really, really enjoyed it.

Question: When Dom is in the van talking to Echo he impies that she'll end up wiping everyone. Now I'm wondering if Caroline ended up being involved with the NSA before she eventually got "caught" by the Dollhouse.

The NSA obviously have a grasp on the technology - maybe they've made Caroline a sleeper agent for them - it would make it understandable that she's somehow different from the rest. Remembering things. She's managing to get all the main players in the Dollhouse to trust her - well, Echo is.

I get the feeling now that the final "battle" will be between Caroline and Echo, with Echo chosing to side with her friends in the Dollhouse, rather than wiping everyone.

Hum....
Wowie. Another awesome episode. Loved the parallel engagements and I felt sorry for almost everyone here: they've all lost something they trusted and I loved that dominatrix/Echo talked about trust in the beginning. Poor Paul, he's becoming ever more obsessive and tortured.

I was a bit annoyed at how Adelle took the bullet with just a small gasp and not even an 'OW!', but this is Tv and the Whedonverse.

I love this show! Kudos, Joss, another great episode.
Anyone catch the reference to the Torchwood episode "Fragments", specifically Toshiko Sato's VERY similar Ministry of Defence infiltration?

It was a wonderful episode, this week.
gossi, I have no idea who that girl is. You mean the actress was someone verse-related? Is it the fan dancer at the Persephone lounge in "Serenity"?
“I just want you to appreciate how awesome I’m going to be when I deliver.”

Pretty much sums up what everyone is saying....
Adelle told Topher to "lose it in the archives," meaning she wants to keep Dominic's imprint, just not somewhere nearby. Keep in mind she also told Dom before having him completely wiped that, should the NSA come knocking, she'll pull him out of the Attic and imprint him with enough of his personality to tell the NSA that everything is quite alright, and then send him back to the Attic. Which was quite possibly the scariest thing she's ever said.

gossi, who were you referring to on the train next to Sierra? The actress portraying the woman she was supposed to be pretending to be while under cover?

...what a convolutedly worded question that was.
Hmm, best episode yet IMO. Now we're really cooking on gas. Now I completely love the show. Makes sense for it to be cancelled round ... about ... now ;) (and ;( ).

- the return of "i'm not broken". Has Echo genuinely been playing a long con since 'Gray Hour' ? Is it not (as i've assumed) that she loses bits and pieces in-between but that she just got much better at hiding it ?

- the re-imprinting with a new handler and Echo looking at Boyd as she said the words (and him seeing it, and maybe Adelle).

- Adelle being Miss Lonely Hearts was a nice twist and gave us some truly great acting from Olivia Williams. It also played very nicely off the idea of women needing (as far as onlookers are concerned) to be stronger, smarter, more ruthless, less emotional than even men would be in the same position in order to prove themselves their equal.

- Dominick being the baddie would've been obvious except of course, Dominick was actually the goodie. Or was he ? Maybe it actually is better for the technology not to be under government control ?

On that though, not read all the comments yet so i'm sure someone must've mentioned this but why would he pass information onto Ballard when he worked for the NSA and his stated purpose wasn't to blow the lid off the dollhouse but to protect the technology from public knowledge ? Could there be two spies maybe (despite what Mellie says about their person being discovered) ?

- the revelation of Mellie to Ballard was great. Turns out Ballard wasn't having sex with consent so (by his own interpretation) the Dollhouse has turned him into an unwitting rapist. So now we have the flip side of the consent issue - can you rape someone if neither you nor they think you are ? It's the ultimate way to screw with a guy who is so rigidly against the dollhouse and the people who use it.

- the dominatrix and the later fencing between "Roger" and Adelle raised possibly the thorniest issue of all around these topics i.e. rough sex and the line between trust, consent and something altogether darker.

Question: When Dom is in the van talking to Echo he impies that she'll end up wiping everyone. Now I'm wondering if Caroline ended up being involved with the NSA before she eventually got "caught" by the Dollhouse.

Nope, to me that just means he sees Echo becoming a "real girl" who then goes on to wipe them (either literally or figuratively). We get a little bit of uplifting hero music at that point because it's telling us of Echo's future, almost a statement of intent by her via the most unlikely proxy in the whole dollhouse - ironically Dominick has been trying to kill Echo because he believes in her as a person and sees the full implications of her self-actualisation in a way Adelle with her delusions of control just doesn't.

Except it's not even that simple because when Echo decides for herself we don't always see her act against the dollhouse's interests i.e. Echo seems to feel like it's not cut and dried herself.
Loved it, and as always, more so upon re-watch.

Adelle is wildly complex. It made perfect sense she cut off Roger after Dominic's betrayal. She totally cared for Dominic--exactly why she was able to hurt him, imo. The way she harshly ordered his brainfreeze was not unlike a sword to the heart. People hurt the ones they love. Sometimes on purpose. Like when betrayed.

Eliza was totally convincing as the Truth-Dominatrix. She's showing very believable range at this point. As others mentioned above, her jumps between characters now feel natural and believable enough.

Echo... Sometimes I think she's contacting Paul. Alpha being second on my list. Or some combination of the two. I keep thinking we'd have meet him by now, but I've avoided spoilers as much as possible as of late.

I loved Buffy/Giles, and am finally getting a similar sense of Echo/Boyd. But I'm very pro-Boyd-biased. LOVE him.

Sierra's storyline was a little weak, more like rushed or something. Her shoes were cute.

Here's where they really got me. I love Echo, not Caroline. I don't want Echo to go away. I guess that was the point. Mission accomplished. Bring on the Composite Event already!

Woohoooo and Bravo!
Wow! This episode blew me away. And I'm happy to say I didn't see any of it coming (I'm a spoiler-phobe).

...it being a set-up played a role in that, no?

Absolutely. When Sierra first met her doppelganger on the train, I thought, "Huh? How did she know to dress like that and wear the wig?" But it makes perfect sense -- Dominic set up the whole thing, and there would have been no reason for Sierra to question how he knew so much.

Someone mentioned upthread that Sierra and her "twin" don't really look alike. True, but they look similar, and I wonder if there wasn't a little jab there at the "they all look alike" mentality of some Americans. Even if not, we see what we expect to see.

Speaking of that, gossi, who is the doppelganger?
Saje - Yeah - I don't disagree, I mean, it makes no sense for someone working with him (i.e. the NSA)to become a target for him. So, scrap my theory. I just got the feeling that he knew more than he was saying and my brain jumped.
Oh, one more thing re: Paul not immediately getting the save-Mellie-from-the-Dollhouse vibe. Give the poor guy a break. He knows Mellie as a real person [ETA: not as an imprinted Doll], a real person much as he imagines Caroline to be. It might take more than, say, 20-30 seconds for it to sink in that the Mellie he knows and cares for isn't real. (Or is she? This show makes me question everything) It's easy for us to separate out the personalities b/c we've seen her as November; he hasn't. And, much as he thinks he knows, he hasn't seen the reality of the Dollhouse.

[ edited by ActualSize on 2009-04-11 15:34 ]
When Man on the street came out, this was my comment.
I think the inside person is Dominic.


I don't know how I guessed it, but I am glad I did. Although I had hoped the inside person was related to Alpha. does this mean that the NSA is also trying to figure out why the dollhouse exists?
So, scrap my theory. I just got the feeling that he knew more than he was saying and my brain jumped.

It's still possible bubblecat, pretty much anything is but to me it almost had a little bit of "he's convincing himself" to it too as in, it's something he thinks strongly BUT also maybe something he needs to believe as consolation for being wiped (rather than something he actually knows). And he says (roughly) "everyone gets theirs" - clearly, unlike what Adelle tells herself, Dominick is a big believer in actions having consequences.

True, but they look similar, and I wonder if there wasn't a little jab there at the "they all look alike" mentality of some Americans. Even if not, we see what we expect to see.

I wondered that too (not just of Americans but of anyone that's less used to seeing people with different skin tones and facial feature distributions, it's apparently to do with how our brain "tunes itself" to recognise faces. Which is quite an amazing system when you consider how similar we all look in broad terms).

The credits have "Kae Shimizu" as 'Asian Woman' so she's presumably the real Sato. Must admit, I don't know her from anything previously - should we ?
gossi, I want to guess Maurissa, but I don't want to get it wrong and be one of those people who thinks all Asians look alike. Although I guess everyone at the NSA thinks so, apparently.
Absolutely. When Sierra first met her doppelganger on the train, I thought, "Huh? How did she know to dress like that and wear the wig?"

The wig I get. That was to make her more resemble the woman she impersonated. But does that woman wear the same thing to work everyday? Why (or how) would she dress the way that woman had dressed that morning? Had she been to the office and then left and then come back by train? (which still wouldn't matter since her face was totally different)

Okay, yeah, nitpicking. But things like that niggle at me.

[ edited by redeem147 on 2009-04-11 15:42 ]
She looked enough like her that an inattentive guard who didn't know her might assume she'd lost some weight or whatever.

I actually quite liked that aspect, it's a common failing of security systems with fancy electronic measures (like iris scanners) that the human element just stops paying attention so in that sense it seemed realistic to me, especially in a large impersonal organisation with thousands of employees.
It totally made sense when she was only dealing with security guards, Saje, for the reasons you state, but it made less sense when a coworker stuck his head in the door to tell her something. Although even then he was all the way across the room.

The clothes didn't bother me because it's one of those things where a good writer could have come up with some way to get that information, but it would have just slowed down the episode. So I went along with "they figured out what she would be wearing somehow."
This episode was loaded with storytelling goodness and ponderitude.

Brilliant comments Korkster & Emmie - My thoughts^2

Watching, I read Dr.Saunders staying inside as hiding from Alpha. Rethinking may be in order as I ponder the story. The basic theme was opening one's self up to others, trusting and risking pain, to be more human vs. closing one's self off and hiding to stay safe. The former takes more personal strength than the latter, and narrative here seems to be about the strength to reach out to others for 'more' and how doing that will show that parts of you that are 'less'. Something like that anyway, more thinkage required.

Re: The initial scene; sadly I was distracted trying to figure out how the outfit was constructed and not by the wobbly bits - and I like the wobbly bits. Curse my engineering oriented brain.
...I need to get out more.
I really enjoyed this episode. It was less about self contained story, and more about the bigger picture.
...it made less sense when a coworker stuck his head in the door to tell her something. Although even then he was all the way across the room.

bonzob, I still maintain we see what we expect to see. Even working at the NSA, would everyone be expecting one of their co-workers to be drugged and replaced with a (semi) lookalike? Would they be looking for that, or would their brains just see the person they work with every day?

That's my spin, anyway. :)
It'll do for me too (bit of a fan-wank but not the thinnest i've seen by a long way ;).

(i've actually recognised co-workers from a distance - and I don't mean couldn't see so assumed, I mean actually thought I knew it was them - only for it not to be them but someone else with the same t-shirt, hair colour etc. Under what seems a minor emergency people may be even less attentive)
"Pimps and killers," said Boyd promptly.

I know, I've been harsh in the past, saying dollhood is slavery. I'm not retracting that but I no longer care. It's TV, for heaven's sake.

I still find Topher annoying, I don't like Adelle. Her trysts with Roger were a surprise to me but well done, imo. Made her look kind of pathetic, also imo.

I saw an interview online with Eliza in which she expresses enthusiasm for the Domme outfit.

I seem to remember comments by Paul (during the dream sequence) in which he clearly references a history with Caroline. Also, if he's not showering why is he shaving??? I think he was too blown away by the revelation to act in any other way than, well, blown away. He has to process the Mellie implications.

Also, I don't see the invasion of Rossum's lab as sufficiently guilt-producing for Caroline to become a doll. What did she do? Was she caught trespassing? If so, I missed it. As for her boyfriend dying, if he did, I don't see that as an adequate reason either. I think there's more.

I think the show is fully aboard the A train now. BTW, everyone writes about "Joss and Fox". As I recall, it is ELIZA and Fox. ED had a commitment from Fox for a show, and this is what she took to them. Now if Fox, behind her back, had their own idea of what show she would bring and it wasn't this one, Fox has screwed itself.

I remember reading Joss tied up all loose ends in Buffy for the the first season and maybe others because he wasn't sure of renewal. He may be trying the same thing here for the same reason, because the info is coming fast. YAY!!!

GREAT EPISODE!!!!!!
i've actually recognised co-workers from a distance - and I don't mean couldn't see so assumed, I mean actually thought I knew it was them - only for it not to be them but someone else with the same t-shirt, hair colour etc.

Oh, my facial recognition software is terrible, which is probably why I don't have a quibble with Sierra/not-Sierra.
Hell, I've had people not ten feet away from me wave and call me by someone else's name several times, and never realize I wasn't who they thought until I looked at them oddly and said, "Excuse me?" A few years ago, I was given a clear photo of someone driving an open hot rod through Daytona during Bike Week, and if I didn't know I hadn't been there that year and didn't have a car like that if I had been, even I would have sworn it was me - he was about my size and build, wore his hair and beard the same way, dressed just like I usually did at the time, wore the same shape sunglasses, sat behind the steering wheel in the same exact posture, even wore his wristwatch with the face inside. It was kinda spooky, actually.

[ edited by Rowan Hawthorn on 2009-04-11 16:24 ]
Anyone know what kind of car "Roger" drove?


A very nice person emailed us to say it was a Porsche 356 Speedster.
I liked this episode a lot. Some stuff was sorta predictable, like Ms Lonely Hearts, but that was only because I read those casting sides last year. It didn't make Adelle all that sympathetic to me... or at least, minus the "-sym".

So now the Dollhouse has murdered a federal agent... yay? Laurence seemed like he was somewhat dirty, or at least had more interest in the government taking over the Dollhouse than actually shutting it down, but it was hard not to share his grim amusement at the mental image of "Echo"/Caroline compositing and redecorating the Dollhouse in Topher/Adelle viscera.

Good observation earlier about Ballard's motives with regard to Caroline vs. Mellie. Honestly, he's probably disgusted that he has to be lovey-dovey with this woman, basically take part in raping her, in order to maintain the cover he needs to free her. Bleh.

The gunshot wound was silly, very silly. I'll buy that it was a graze, but there is NO WAY AT ALL that Adelle, who, as best we know, is neither an emergency physician, paramedic, or battle-hardened Navy SEAL, who can tell in half a second that the gunshot wound to her stomach was dangerous or not.

I don't know whether to think Caroline is still bonded to Boyd or not... I didn't see her as shifting her intention to Boyd by looking at him, but rather sort of understanding that the bond between them was going away. "Victor" already told us that there is consciousness underneath the doll state, so Caroline is playing that script out against her will on some level.

Falina, Caroline's problems wouldn't be limited to guilt, and her crimes wouldn't be limited to trespassing. Under California law, in fact, Caroline could be charged with Leo's death as felony murder -- he died in the commission of a predicate felony, burglary.
I didn't see her as shifting her intention to Boyd by looking at him, but rather sort of understanding that the bond between them was going away.

I think it's more that Echo truly trusts Boyd, that it became built on real trust rather than what was fabricated by the Handler bonding process. It bridged the line between fabrication and reality imo during The Target. So her looking at Boyd during the new bonding process with Travis was kinda like 'yeah this is my new guy but it's not the real deal, you're still numero uno'.

[ edited by Emmie on 2009-04-11 16:55 ]
Thank you Simon. Checked out the 356 Wiki page. That is the car. Absolutely gorgeous. Thanks again.

Also, I wonder if "Roger" was an imprint of a real past lover of Adelle's. I say that because of her line, "I want the real you."

[ edited by CrystalSC on 2009-04-11 17:07 ]
BTW Can I pick one nit? I loved LOVED the episode, but did anyone else notice that the ocean at Adelle's balcony stands still? It seemed an odd mistake to make, having a great frozen ocean behind them was distracting (to me). But of course everything else was awesome.
And I want to set up my own conspiracy wall now.
KoC - I don't remember seeing her arrested, leaving her guilt as motivation.

embers!!! You ROCK!!!!!. I saw that but thought others would think it too nitpicky to bring up. (like a shoe thing)

Thanks!!!!!!
Yeah - I'm presuming the ocean behind them was VFX. It looked... very wrong. The VFX in Dollhouse so far has been great (because, yes, there has been some - you just don't notice it), but this one didn't hang together.
So. Fucking. Amazing.

The scene at the end where they're all effectively murdering their head of security with a more tense and nervous but otherwise routine set of actions gave me chills.
I'm also quite pleased with the VFX, but they do have aproblem with the backgrounds. Looking down the mountain in "The Target" and the ocean in ASITHOL were really not all that.
Has anybody else noticed who Sierra sits next to on the train yet?


Was it Sarah Michelle Gellar?
Also, from here on out my money's on Boyd as the mole.
...Wasn't Laurence the mole?
Sunfire, do you really think that Boyd knows enough of the technology to change the imprints? My guess is that it's Ivy or maybe, maybe Claire.
Do you think Laurence was the same person who's talking to Ballard through Dolls?
Having just rewatched the episode, it seems to imply that Dominic was the person sending Paul the messages, since the chip that allowed someone to alter the imprints was an NSA chip. So unless I'm missing something, or there's a more complex explanation (very possible knowing this show), it would seem it was Dom, though why he would do that is still a mystery.

Also, some people seemed confused about what caused Adele to start crying...she walks into the room holding the fencing sword, and she has it in her hand when she confronts Dominic for the first time, so the crying scene happened right after, I assume. I guess they brought him to her house? So it wasn't a phone call, he was actually brought there and that scene (and sending him off to get wiped) is what got her upset.

Wow this show is trippy.

[ edited by MoonOnAString on 2009-04-11 19:02 ]
Eh, rethinking, he does say he kept Ballard from bringing the Dollhouse down. I guess I'm having trouble reconciling his supposed NSA goals and Dollhouse security goals with whispering in the slightly crazed FBI guy's ear to keep going and keep his head down. Also he's still Laurence. Those messages seem very unlike his style. But yeah, Laurence being the only one messing with Doll programs behind Topher's back is the simplest solution.

Not sure simple's right in this particular instance. And Boyd's pinging my Uncharacteristically Cool In A Weird Situation radar like crazy. Seriously, he's watching and helping kill one of his bosses like it was just a slightly bad day. I get that Boyd is not really the white knight here, but everything we know about him so far suggests that should bother him.

ETA: Yeah I didn't pick up the sword as Adelle walks into the room on the first watching, but indeed it's the thing that tells you she goes directly from confronting Laurence to falling apart in Roger's arms. She did lose something.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-04-11 19:05 ]
I'm very late because I was too tired to read through all the comments last night... but I LOVED this episode. I watched it with a friend and there were three moments (Mellie, Adelle, and Dominic) where we both started yelling "WHAT! WHAT???"

I don't think Dominic was the only spy. Why would he be leaking information to Ballard, if his goal was to contain the Dollhouse? More likely someone else was using his equipment to mess with the imprints. Also, didn't Mellie say that their person inside had been captured?
Now, what I don't get is: If Dom sent the messages to Paul, why choose this way of communication? I mean there has to be an easier way to tell Paul "The Dollhouse is real. Fantasy is its business, not its purpose. Find out about the purpose." Like, slipping an envelope or something. Why go through all this trouble?
I also wonder if the whole Saunders not leaving the Dollhouse thing is more than just character detail. Like, maybe being there all the time gives her easier access when most of the staff is gone. If there IS another mole seems like it might be her, but although she seems conflicted I don't get the vibe from her that she necessarily wants to bring the Dollhouse down. It's so hard to figure it out because we don't really know what the end goal of involving Paul is.

wiesengrund, I was just thinking that...again seems to suggest Claire, who DOESN'T LEAVE the dollhouse...this may be her only way of doing it.

[ edited by MoonOnAString on 2009-04-11 19:12 ]
There are 2 moles. One sent stuff to Paul, and one is talking through Echo (Dominic???). See the fight between Paul and Echo in the alley where she says her person didn't send anything.

Unless, of course, she's lying.
My take on why Adelle did react as one would after just being shot, is that she wasn't really "in her body". She was in her mind... all her concentration, emotions and psyche were fixed on Dominic. She had to be that way in order to see the procedure through to its incredibly disturbing conclusion. Also, she wasn't going to let a little thing like getting shot deter her from dealing with the matter at hand. Hell hath no fury...

Such an amazing range for Adelle to go through in just one episode. We saw everything from a woman who yearns to live with the man she loves in a place by the beach with dogs coming in through the door, all the way to a stone cold Madam meeting out her justice in the most merciless way to the man who betrayed her trust.

Wow.
There are 2 moles. One sent stuff to Paul, and one is talking through Echo (Dominic???). See the fight between Paul and Echo in the alley where she says her person didn't send anything.

Well, we know that Alpha is the person sending him stuff, that's what Echo meant in the alley. It's their first communication, because the picture and the DVD were from Alpha. But if Echo was a messenger for Dom, I have to wonder why he didn't contact Paul more directly (and more untraceable).
Because then the reveal wouldn't work.
I'm a little bothered that people seem not to notice Sierra is very different from Saito.Do we asians look all alike?Even Saito's colleages can't tell the difference.
The characters on Paul's back means Japan.
Also,I think the lady Victor gives flowers to is totally channelling "M",that makes Victor 007,heh.
Because then the reveal wouldn't work.

Could well be, bit lazy if so because it doesn't make much sense for Dominick to risk (and as it turns out, blow) his cover in order to communicate with Ballard in that way.

And how could he change Mellie's imprint to tell Ballard "our person inside has been captured" before he even knows anyone's onto him ? Actually I think that may just be a full-on goof since how could anyone do that ? November's imprinted before or at roughly the same time that Topher apparently finds the chip and certainly before he tells anyone. If it's not a goof though then I guess only Topher could change an imprint in that way before he (apparently) "finds" the chip.

Still, potential goofs aside, I reckon Dominick may have planted the chip but someone else was sending the messages (someone not necessarily having the same agenda as Dominick).

Maybe someone that never left the dollhouse, 24/7 ?
Excellent episode. Reminded me of Conversations With Dead People. Thought if I were to nitpick, I liked to think NSA buildings would be protected by Stinger Missiles.
Ningjing, presumably if her friend saw her it would be a problem. But it was just security guards. Besides, she was supposed to get in there, supposed to find the information. So pick the explanation that makes the most sense. Personally I pay no attention to the people around me, except for my friends or my professors. If some one replaced the person I sit next to everyday in class with someone else, I wouldn't blink. And that's regardless of their ethnic background.

I agree Saje. I believe that Dominic was not the one modifying the imprints, but I could certainly be wrong. Especially since there aren't a lot more episodes for there to be another reveal of a mole, unless its gonna be saved for season two... sorry I just kind of choked up there due to the increasing unlikeliness.
Thought if I were to nitpick, I liked to think NSA buildings would be protected by Stinger Missiles.

Someone upthread (I think) mentioned how easily Sierra managed to break into the NSA building, but I'm thinking if Dominic was NSA, then he probably warned his friends to be a little lax on security. Not so much that Sierra realized how easy it was, but enough so that she could get through it all without too much hassle.
Does anyone know the exact line that November says to Paul regarding the "person inside has been captured" because I thought it was more along the lines of "if we keep sending Echo to you, the person will be more likely to get caught."

And I know there have been several times I've mistaken random strangers for friends. Once I saw a brown-haired girl in the art studio at my university and I talked to her for five minutes before referring to her by name and having her react with a confused stare.
[stuff about Mellie becoming a killer at the flick of a switch] then "Our person inside has been captured, this is the last time you'll hear from us through a doll". Starts about 16 mins 35 seconds in.
No, it's "If our person inside has been captured..." You're right that it's temporally impossible for Mellie to know Laurence is about to get caught, though. The spy hunt's just starting as she walks out the door.
I've listened to it 10 times or so and really can't hear either an 'If' at the start or a question inflection at the end of that sentence, to me it runs from "... the dollhouse can turn her into a killer." and then straight into "Our person inside has been captured ..." delivered as a statement. Slightly later on (after she urges him to investigate the why of the dollhouse) she says "We will find other ways to contact you".

Not certain about the 'if' though cos we can't see Miracle's face as she says it. Does anyone have it with closed captions or subtitles or whatever ?
It does say the "if" with Hulu's subtitles. Which I had on for that scene because I have trouble catching some lines whenever I watch this show on Hulu, especially quiet/fast scenes. I can hear it, but I don't think she says "if" all that clearly. There's another "if" at the beginning of a previous sentence, and they're both barely audible to me. But I do think they're both really there.

Hulu's wrong on entire sentences in other places, so I don't consider their subtitles authoritative. In that scene it's spot on with every line though.

ETA: Also it's not a question, but a warning. If the inside person gets caught, you won't hear from us using a Doll again. The previous similar line is the one about, if Mellie knows you know she's a Doll, they'll kill you. Using her to do it.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-04-11 21:47 ]
Wow. PHENOMENAL episode. If not for the typically awful acting from Sierra and November, this would've been Dollhouse's first perfect episode. Great work, Joss!
ETA: Also it's not a question, but a warning. If the inside person gets caught, you won't hear from us using a Doll again. The previous similar line is the one about, if Mellie knows you know she's a Doll, they'll kill you. Using her to do it.

Fair enough on the questioning intonation but that 'if' was pretty clear to me (when she says "... if the dollhouse knows you know they will kill you and they'll make Mellie do it."). We can see her mouth when she says it though which may make a difference.

But there's also the follow on statement where she says "We will find other ways to contact you" (my emphasis) i.e. presumably cos this method is no longer usable (again, how could they know that ?).

Oh to have a script in front of us ;).
Best episode so far! Joss is amazing.
Since the lab was damaged - in particular, the chair - Laurence knew Topher and Ivy would be rebuilding the kit. Including the chair, which had the chip. That's why - I believe - November was imprinted with the warning.
Some observations on rewatch:

Echo says at the beginning of the episode, as she and Sierra watch through the window while Dominick is being sent to the attic, "She made a mistake. And now she's sad." Interesting first of all that she remembers that much and intriguing that it's Adelle's feelings she focuses on.

In the NSA building, as Sierra enters an elevator, there's a guy with glasses exiting as he's talking on the phone and saying something like he's got it covered. He looks at Sierra as he walks out. Later on when she's being chased, I believe there's a guy with glasses among the men chasing her. If so, he's probably making sure she escapes, but also making it look like she's in real danger.

The wound that Dr. Saunders treats looks very much like a mild graze, bur is slightly differently placed from the blood on her blouse, which should be more to the side.

I definitely never thought either time I listened that November said the agent had been captured.

I wish nobody had mentioned the non-moving seascape. Now I can't look at the scene without being distracted, and it went right by me the first time.

On the other hand, the trust theme went right by me too, and, thanks to Korkster and others, it now just leaps out on second viewing and I'm glad to see it there.

Oh, I'll add Roger saying that he totally trusts Adelle to the list of people mentioning trust, since his statement hasn't been brought up.
That's why - I believe - November was imprinted with the warning.

Yeah, that'd work if it's an 'if'. If it's not an 'if' then someone can see the future and it'd seem the only person that can see Topher's future is Topher (probably way off beam but i've wondered about him for a while - he just seems to be wrong a lot for a genius and of all of them he'd be the best placed to setup a lot of the stuff that's happened).

But it's one of those situations where slightly dodgy sound and choice of camera angle combined with what might be slightly lazy writing could be inspiring me to create a narrative mountain out of what's actually just a production molehill. Textually it doesn't make much sense for Dominick to communicate that way but outside the text it does make for a nice reveal, maybe that's all there is to it.
The NSA plot was obviously the weakest on the how-they-did-it, but I don't really care. If they had a full episode on that, it would have been better, with that little time they just had to jump forward alot. Thus, speed and major points over fully fleshed leverage-class detailing. And come on, it was still better than any episode of Alias on the tech part.
I'm going to be completely honest (Brett, take note) I had absolutely no idea that the whole DeWitt/Victor plot line was going to take place. However, I would love to go back and re watch episodes with this knowledge, as I think that there *was* something.

I thought it was a great ep, although I think that it could have been blended together a little more - but that was part of the joy in itself.

Echo-Boyd? Sadtimes.com/pleasedon'tdothat!

I'm really hoping that Dominic is out of this for a long time. His character completely bored me, and he failed in most scenes he was part of. He just, well, faded into the background for me. Even when given amazing material....meh.
I'm gonna be annoying and repeat my question, since I don't think anybody earlier saw it.

Hey, could someone tell me if this was the episode that had a spoiler from it revealed in the April Fools' Day video FOX released? Just wanna know if I can watch that yet or not.

Also, is there a term for shipping, but that applies to father-daughter relationships? Like, "Man, I'm totally hoping for a Giles-Faith Fathership. FILES 4EVA!" 'Cause I'm totally doing that for Echo and Boyd.
No, Jobo. The spoiler there is something you haven't seen yet. I think it is a very end-of-season spoiler. I think the spoiler in that video happens in "Omega."
Ah, all right. Thanks for that, then.
That was an absolutely fantastic episode. Much better than last week's, which I found pretty disappointing. Too much reset button last week. This time, holy crap. Lots of stuff went down. I'm very surprised they did that to Dominique, particularly so soon. Obviously, it can't be the last we'll see of him. And of course there was Ballard finding out about Mellie. Oh noes! Amazing. I was kind of sad we didn't see more of that storyline after the first act. The way the three other storylines dovetailed, I was really hoping we'd see some more from Ballard and Mellie at the end. I'm very excited to see how that goes.

I was really ambivalent about Ballard at first, but I think the character has improved dramatically since he's been kicked out of the FBI. As a friend pointed out, Whedon seems to have no idea how to write for governmental institutions, e.g. the ridiculous gibberish that came out of people's mouths during the days of the Initiative. I love Season Four, but I must admit he handled the military pretty clumsily, and the FBI wasn't much better. Ballard is much better on his own. And crazy. And miserable now that he knows about Mellie.

I really liked the format of the episode. Although I like Echo, there's so much to be done with the other actives, and I'm glad they've started branching out.

I'm kind of apprehensive about next week's episode. It looks like a return to the mission-of-the-week format we got in the first five episodes, and that is not a return I really think we need to make. Hopefully there will at least be a good B plot. With all the stuff you can do with the reshuffling of the Dollhouse leadership and the personal stuff with Ballard, there's plenty to keep the episode afloat. Because god, I have so little interest in seeing Echo solve a murder.

God, I loved this episode. Possibly my favorite so far.
I have to comment before I start reading. With every episode I get a little more attached to this show, which saddens me because, all great artistry involved aside, and trying not to buy into the couple of articles I've read about its uncertain demise or continued life, and I so want to see what happens next, I will be bent like a car wreck if the plug gets pulled. I promised myself I wouldn't let Fox do that to me again.

Anyway. Dollhouse was the bomb last night. Such juicy secrets revealed. Dolls, and lovers, and spies, OH MY. Of course, the best sense of irony in the whole episode is that Dominic was brought down by the doll he tried to kill, twice.

Adele breaking down and crying didn't imply to me she thought what she was doing with Victor was embarrassing, but a release of how unhappy her life is, even in fear for her life, in that she is indentured somehow to the Dollhouse industry. When she spoke of her past work with stem cell research, it was wistful. It definitely made me want to know more about her because there's a story of how she came to be doing all of this in the first place.
there's something really interesting right at the beginning of the episode. did you guys notice that when echo and sierra are looking up at the wiping room, echo says 'she made a mistake. now she's sad'?

at the first watching i assumed someone female was being wiped, but now i find it really interesting that echo was able to remember enough about her last 'mission' to remember what adelle's body language had told her when dominic was being interrogated.
So is Adelle a masochist? I had the impression the S&M thing at the start was to get us thinking along those lines, and then Adelle a) carrying on as normal for a while after the wound and then b) refusing anaesthetic. I'm not suggesting she enjoys it, per se, but there's definitely something there...

Also, I cannot overstate how powerful I found the Dominic/mind-wipe scene at the end. Just imagining being forced down into that chair, knowing you're not going to be killed, but just... erased. It was like watching him be raped -- very uncomfortable viewing, but also very powerful.
Ivy's wearing a flamingo pin. Isn't that a Shawna Trpcic thing?
Couldn't agree more with people up-thread criticising the NSA-treatment. Coincidentally, I was reading a wiki article on how the NSA has been portrayed in fiction, and I don't think there's been a single believable representation of them on TV. I just don't get why that fancy transparent document thing was included. What's the point? It doesn't exist in real life. Personally, I can fully accept a few well-defined non-realistic things (i.e. the Dollhouse), but I'd like to see the rest of the world portrayed as accurately as possible. Real-world physics/technology/etc. rules shouldn't just be casually discarded. It just destroys realism, which is the worst thing. When I saw those transparent document things, all I could think was "they'd have to design that, manufacture it somehow (secretly), and spend an absolute bomb on it, when all that is necessary is a plain old computer file encrypted with very cheap (i.e. free) encryption, like military-grade AES." It'd be cheap, simple, offer just as much security as the fancy transparent document thingy and ultimately is completely what would happen in the real world.

Also, common confusables:

Adelle, not Adele
Dominic, not Domnique
Laurence, not Lawrence

Not that this really matters, and I feel quite petty pointing it out, but I've been reading these threads for weeks, and it always annoys me when someone drops an 'l' from Adelle. /is embarrassed

[ edited by MattK on 2009-04-12 03:43 ]
One thing I liked about Laurence's NSA motivations (which I think presents the NSA in a somewhat good light, as opposed to the usual paranoid uberlord light) was that the NSA wanted him there, apparantly, because they feared the dollhouse would lose control of dangerous tech, not because they wanted to necessarily hijack it, or use it for nefarious purposes, or even close down the dollhouse. No matter what your politics, it's hard to argue with a government agency that would prefer that we not get an A. Q. Khan scenario with dangerous technology. You can be repulsed by the personal betrayal of Adelle or Echo or others by Laurence, but it is hard to make a case that the motives that sent him into the dollhouse weren't pretty reasonable.

What I liked about this, incidentally, has nothing to do with my own opinion of the NSA (yeah, I tend to the standard liberal paranoid fears about them, justly or not) or its realism (which I lack a basis to judge), but that it was NARRATIVELY surprising (since their cliched role in movies is as pseudo-big-brother extremists).
Just got caught up on the Episode. It was awesome and I was excited to see the Torchwood (awful guilty pleasure) reference.

Liam Mars said: "Anyone catch the reference to the Torchwood episode "Fragments", specifically Toshiko Sato's VERY similar Ministry of Defence infiltration?" But even more obvious than how similar the break in was is the fact that the NSA staffer that she impersnated was Dr. SATO - it said it on the sign outside her door and she was called by name during the lock-down.

It's no secret that Russel T. Davies was having dreams of being Joss when he created Torchwood - is this the Mutant Enemy team giving Russ a friendly pat on the head? I think so!
I created an account here to say that was one of the best episodes of television I've ever seen. Remarkable how I'm invested in all the characters now after not caring at all for the first few episodes. Couple of thoughts...

I'm wondering how much Echo was in control of stitching up Laurence as revenge. His being atticked feels the greatest tragedy, even moreso because he won't be remembered fondly. Reminds me of Jonathan in Buffy: good intentions but not heroic so fails and dies for nothing. Joss knows life is bitterly cruel to real people with weaknesses, it's only larger than life comicbook heroes who return from the dead and live forever.

Topher is the only real innocent in the whole place; he's amoral because of inexperience and his keen responsibility-deflecting skills. I really want to see him being forced to face himself in the next three episodes and see what kind of man he becomes. More interested in that than in Echo, who presumably will composite into yet another superhero.
watching again... Topher and Ivy run into the office when Dominic starts shooting, when they're standing right beside the door!
I doubt if Echo gets that far in the superhero department in the (presumably)last few episodes. Maybe after a couple of seasons, she would have.

Joss is indeed a master of getting you invested in the characters. They begin as stock variations on a type, like stuffy librarian or eevil corporate head. Then, he gives them so much individuality and life that you are swept up and you're going "Damn, how'd that happen?

[ edited by shambleau on 2009-04-12 06:48 ]
I actually had started to like Dominic as of "Echoes." Didn't see that one coming. He didn't change at all, I just understood where he was coming from after that abhorrent Dolls=pets line. And I think not seeing events as much from a Boyd/Echo perspective the past few episodes let that happen, too.

So, surprisingly, I was a bit sad to see him go to the Attic. He added a certain something to the Dollhouse.
On the sexploitation thing, I think some of you are missing the point of it all there too. This is exploiting sexploitation to tell a more tragic tale ( Though I do have to say that Patton Oswalt, while a very funny man, is no Charles Atlas ). I think it's as incidental as a company of actors playing roles in a summer theater group. Lots of people have to play parts in a summer theater group that they may not identify with or agree with on a philosophical level. Difference here is just the level of preparation. I think the commitment is pretty much the same, except in the Dollhouse, there's no cast parties, just a great big backstage.

And now, my opinion:



Alpha . Alpha is behind it all. He exposed Dominic and the NSA ( OK, he didn't make Adele cry, that was Dominic's not-sudden-but-still-inevitable-betrayal). He imprinted Echo with the idea to approach Topher about the Spy Hunter gig. He layered November with the warning to Ballard. ( Did anyone unravel the time sequence enough to realize that November was imprinted AFTER the chip was discovered? Or am I wrong there?)

It's Alpha, boys and girls. He's still playing with the dinosaurs, and the Dollhouse is This Land. Alpha is the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy here, and he's blowin' Tuba. He's the genius behind the whole thing, and I mean the WHOLE thing. I think Alpha's genius brings Topher's being 'sort of a genius' down to a 'C' on the Bell Curve. I also think Saunders is staying inside the facility out of fear of the Alphster. Alpha has Saunders right where he wants her. And I DON'T think we've seen the last of Laurence Dominic.
I also think Boyd will have a lot to say before this plays out. And I think a lot of it will be just plain SHOCKING.


Or not. I AM just making this up as I go along, after all. I could be WAY off base. So someone throw to first and see if you can't pick me off and make me eat dirt.

[ edited by DisChunk on 2009-04-12 06:10 ]
To Saje and others trying to figure out the sentence starting at minute 16.39: I also had similar questions to yours and have listened to the episode several times. I think Mellie/November says: "Her person inside has been captured." Based on the context it appears that "her" is Mellie/November (but that interpretation doesn't make total sense -- why would Mellie or November "have" a person?) What really doesn't make sense to me is how Mellie/November would know, at this point, that Dominic has been captured. That leads me to believe that there are two spies: Dominic and someone else. However, it does not appear that the non-Dominic spy has, in fact, been captured, or at least we the viewers are not privy to this development. I would appreciate anyone's thoughts on this. (This is my first post. My margins seem off but I don't know how to correct.)
I believe that Mellie says "If" Later in her conversation with Paul, she says "We will find another way to contact you" implying that the person behind the reprogramming is not expected to be captured.
Tied with Man on the Street for best episode yet for me. Really hope this show doesn’t get cancelled.

On Adelle crying, maybe I’m just being too simplistic here, but I never felt it was really to do with Dominic. Indeed, I never really felt any romantic chemistry between those too. Obviously here emotions would be heightened and she would be torn up by the terrible thing she’d just had to do, but I took the crying as being primarily to do with her genuinely having developed feelings for “Roger”, with all the confusion and dilemmas that must entail. It’s clearly Adelle who planted the chip that allowed her to program “Roger”, and that chip had now been discovered. It would be too dangerous to risk another attempt.

Hence, this meant that, once wiped, “Roger” was effectively gone forever, and this surely would have driven home for Adelle both that she had such feeling for “Roger”, and how pathetic and ultimately meaningless those feelings were. I think that this is driven home by the bit at the end, when Adelle says she hasn’t lost anything that she can’t live without. Saunders thinks that she’s discussing Dominic, but we see Adelle staring out at Viktor, or “Roger”.

In a way I think this is much more interesting in terms of the themes that Dollhouse has been exploring. Can feelings between people be meaningful if one person isn’t real? What are the implications of something like the Dollhouse for our own personal identities? and so on. To have it simply be a never hinted at unrequited thing between two “regular people” would seem a lot less intriguing to me.
I think Adelle's crying because she indulged herself in trusting Dominick and then Dominick betrayed her. She then shelves 'Roger' because she feels that indulging her feelings is dangerous, that she has to be alone and remote to function properly. And just because, in general "she made a mistake, and now she's sad".

The being shot thing i'm not sure. To me that had a slight feel of a commanding officer being shot during a battle and putting on a strong front for her men. But there may well also have been an element of wanting to feel pain, wanting to be punished both for putting the dollhouse at risk and maybe for what she was doing to Dominick (after all, as she says herself, "everything that happens under this roof is my fault"). He was going through pain, she felt she should too, he's being wiped and by the end of the episode Adelle has effectively "wiped" herself of emotional attachments, she's lost (or rather given away) a part of her humanity (or at least she's "buried it in the archives" for now).

As always with Dollhouse, every time it looks like someone has had something taken from them, there's also a sense in which they gave it away themselves, further up the causal chain (even Dominick volunteered for the NSA and maybe even for the mission itself - knowing what they did at the dollhouse he must've known what could happen to him if he was caught but he did it anyway for what - to him - was the greater good).

( Did anyone unravel the time sequence enough to realize that November was imprinted AFTER the chip was discovered? Or am I wrong there?)

Well it's at least ambiguous anyway DisChunk, there's certainly not a lot in it - she's just walked out of the imprint room and is standing on the balcony while Topher talks to Boyd about the chip (and Ivy actually does her imprint so we could assume Topher has already left at that point, with the chip in his hand). But the actual role of the chip wasn't totally clear to me, seemed like it may not need to be there for the actual programming but maybe more for the imprint design process, the point at which things can be added to the personality ?

eand, yeah it could be 'Her' just by the sound of it, i've been assuming 'Our' because it also sounds a bit like that and because November refers to 'we', 'us' etc. a few times so in context 'our' makes more sense.

Like I say, unfortunately I think we'd need a shooting script (or word from someone that actually knows) to be sure and it may well just be a bit of loose production or writing that we're interpreting as narratively significant when it isn't - it's always tempting to see meaning in everything but some of it is just the "scaffolding" that supports any TV production.
Dudes. I'm a complete moron. The person on the train is very much not the person I thought it was. Yes, I'm THAT GUY. D'oh.
Yeah I think you got mixed up - they wanted Fillion but he was busy on 'Castle' at the time.
I also got a strong impression that the chip was found and removed during the repairs between "Needs" and "ASITHOL", and that all four engagements were done without it interfering. But I guess we just don't know enough about the Primary Imprint Protocol (which shall be called PIMP from now on) to decide that. Imo, I don't see how it could have been Dominic's doing. Just as I kinda don't see the point of him communicating to Ballard this way.

General thoughts: Best ep so far, even better on rewatch. Thematically incredibly strong, major tiwsts and character developments and on top of that four different genres to switch through. It doesn't get much better than that.

I like that we had spys all over the place: Dominic in the Dollhouse, Sierra in the NSA, Mellie in Paul's apartment, and Victor definitely having some 007-vies. And Echo. She is the uber-spy and got her deserved and well-done eaves-dropping sequence right in the beginning connecting everything. She is the conspiracy wall, not only for Paul, but for us as well. (I like the way Novembers message was intercut with Paul's wall. Since we are speculating about her hidden transcript... Keyser Soze anyone?)
I've seen this episode 3 times now I think, all in all, it'll be the 2nd best of the series. Unless the 13th episode rocks the house.
"Season". The word you were looking for ... is "season". :)

What is your #1?
I can't get a hang of this American season thing. Our shows all say "coming back for a new series next year" and such.

Omega. That said, I've not seen or read 10 or 11, so they may also be laced with good episode crack.
'Season' and 'series' mean the same thing to we Brits wiesengrund (it's not necessarily a lack of faith in the future of the show ;).

I also got a strong impression that the chip was found and removed during the repairs between "Needs" and "ASITHOL", and that all four engagements were done without it interfering.

Hmm, that would mean Topher waiting a long time before reporting it. It seemed like he was going out of his way just to give Boyd a two minute heads up, feels a bit unlikely that he'd have waited possibly days before mentioning it to anyone. On the other hand, it does slightly explain Topher letting Mellie leave when he didn't know if her imprint had been tampered with - up to now i've been assuming that's yet another in the long line of catastrophically stupid mistakes from our boy "genius" (or yet another sign that he's more than he seems) but maybe he had good reason to suspect she was uninterfered with.

... and Victor definitely having some 007-vies

He's even called 'Roger' (as in Moore ?). I may need to watch Enver for "eyebrow acting".

[ edited by Saje on 2009-04-12 11:38 ]
Oh, that's a point. Enver. Enver Joke-Eye. He's my favourite actor on the show in terms of raw talent. He is a-maze-ing. For serious, from the child like faces, to last week, to Lubov to now, he has a rare quality of being both infinitely likeable and slipping straight into roles. If Dollhouse doesn't get picked back up, he deserves his own show.
Hm, I thought the time between "Needs" and "ASITHOL" was basically a few hours. The show is more or less moving pretty much in real time now for me, so the gap wouldn't be that huge, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, I didn't get the feeling that November was imprinted with the chip still in place while the other three weren't.
I'm not saying the others' were (or weren't) interfered with or whatever, just that the timing is pretty close with November.

As to the passage of time, we know they slept and had at least one engagement between the end of 'Needs' and the start of 'SitHoL'. Too long for Topher to have discovered the chip but just be waiting IMO, pretty sure myself that we're meant to think he found it soonish before he warns Boyd (though I guess it depends how long engagements last but the norm seems to be a day or a day/night - if I was into that sort of thing and had paid that sort of money I know i'd like to be whipped by Dominatrix Gal for more than a couple of hours ;).
If our person inside has been captured, this is the last time you will hear from us through a doll.


"Our" and "us" means more than just (presumably) Alpha, in addition to Dominic. So who else, I wonder? People we already know or someone new?
I wondered that, too, Manic D. In the first Eliz/Tahmoh encounter, the re-programmed Echo also says something like "We have a person on the inside."

Possibly, it just means the NSA, but that's still unclear.

I think it's possible that Dominic WAS the one sending out the messages, and that he / the NSA were serious in that they did not want the FBI to take down the Dollhouse, but they DO want to figure out what its real purpose is... i.e. they're investigating Rossum, not just the Dollhouse.

[ edited by Septimus on 2009-04-12 15:24 ]
Our = Dominic
Us = NSA

[ edited by gossi on 2009-04-12 15:25 ]
Do you think it was the NSA/Dominic that programmed Alpha, or is there something else that happened with him?
I'm hoping it was something else. from what has been getting hinted at (especially at the end of the last episode), echo is going to turn into something like alpha did, however if it was the NSA, then Dominic wouldn't have been trying to kill Echo in the first place
Hey, thought I would mention here, while I was watching the ep on HULU I paused it on Dr.Saunder's computer before she had a chance to minimize the screen (during Echo's checkup). Turns out she's into online dating.

The window read.... crap I can't remember but I'm 90% sure it was something like meet-cute.biz. Seems like another layer to the doctor.
I'm trying to figure out what she'd say about herself.

"I like taking long walks in the hallways. My favorite tv show is The Prisoner. I believe your imperfections shouldn't be covered up."

What else I wonder?
good catch, Jes. you are correct

meetcute.biz (how dare you add the extraneous hyphen!)

on my screen resolution, I can't make out any other words.

here's a screen cap.

ETA: With great sadness, I report that there isn't, apparantly, a real server out there that answers to either "meetcute.biz" or "meetcute.com," so no fun, um, Easter Eggs. Someone has staked out "meet-cute.com" as one of those empty "you can buy this site name" pages.

[ edited by doubtful guest on 2009-04-12 18:44 ]
>_< that's the 3rd time this week a hyphen has screwed me over!

Oh man shambleau, that's hilarious! "non-smoker (er.. non smoker*), hobbies include doll collecting"
meetcute.biz is registered to Fox so it's a dummy site for TV use. Bit like searchwise.net that is a generic search engine that shows up on Doctor Who a lot.
I made a post about the ep last night after seeing it and now I come here and after reading all the posts, I've ended up quite possibly more confussed.

As soon as I heard about the attic-ing, I thought of the Dementor's kiss. good to know I wasn't the only one.

I liked the Torchwood shout-out.Tosh is my favourite.I'm still pretty bitter about the finale.

My theories about Roger:
Roger was someone Catherine lost when she became Adelle and uses the Dollhouse to recover him even though this Roger is only a 'living photocopy.'
Also,I don't think Dominic's betrayal is the only reason she stopped. before it happened, she was saying things like "I want the real you" and at one point it seemed she wanted to tell him he was a doll. so I think the relationship between Roger and Catherine was becoming too real,she wanted more and that made her realise how dangerous it was and how she had to stop. because the Dollhouse was in trouble,she'd been distracted and the Dollhouse must be her priority.
I think she wanted in a way to feel the pain, to remember it, because she needs to be stronger and she shouldn't feel anything.
she made a mistake, she punishes herself, she moves on,being tougher, more stoic. more ice queen.
She is now fairly high on my list of favourite characters. She and Topher are fighting for the first spot.

While I do think Adelle and Dominic were rather close,I just don't see much romance in there

IMO,Echo wasn't imprinted. the whole point for her is that she is ,in topher's words, evolving, as Echo, not Caroline coming through but Echo is gaining a new personality.
Alpha isn't pulling strings from everywhere.he can't.

Re:Caroline. she spend two years running from the Dollhouse,from rossum.At least that's what Adelle said I think she must've done stuff in that time that left her no choice but o join the dollhouse

About Claire. LOVED the detail of her not leaving the dollhouse.(oh,god the bunnies! they're attacking me)
Also,I think what she said about the last ep, about Echo leading the dolls into "a world of hatred and fear that would destroy them" was her referring to herself. she feels safe in the Dollhouse, in its controlled enviroment.
besides,Alpha hurt her but didn't kill her and he could have. he must've had a reason not to. I don't think Alpha is gonna come after her again. I don't think she does either, but she is still scared. and I don't think it's just Alpha, I think something else has happened to her,something bad and Alpha just renewed previous fears.

Dom- is he the only mole? at first I thought so,now I'm not so sure. I don't think he could've done the programming on his own. we'll have to wait and see if paul gets moremessages
it could be that someone else was using the chip without his knowledge


In the beginning, when Echo and Sierra are watching, there's a big stain of blood in the window. it doesn't fit Adelle's reaction, she doesn't even fall down. that is so far my onnly complaint.

I see I'm not the only one who went to check if meetcute.biz was real. I wonder if that's important, if it means something. I mean, it must be hard to date if you don't ever leave your house.
Roger (as in Moore?)

Did Moore ever fence as Bond? That car Victor/Roger drove was straight out of a Bond movie (or, The Avengers). I sure did love the British invasion of that whole scene.
All I can say is I finally was able to join my favorite folks at Whedonesque. My life is now complete.

To the attic with me.
I like your username :).
I'm surprised it wasn't already taken.

:)
careful, didifallasleep -- when you feel your life is complete is usually when Joss starts thinking up shocking reversals.
Adding my two cents about why nobody could tell Sierra from Miss Sato. I'm with those who don't think it has much to do with "they all look alike". Sierra's in a building with thousands of employees. She only has direct contact with three people. The first guard is busy and barely looks at her. She's had to enter eye prints to get as far as the second guard. So, he has the presumption that she is who she seems to be.

The odds that either security guy knows her personally are slim. She hasn't been in her office or, more than likely, near where she usually works up to that point, so nobody recognizing her seems completely plausible.

That leaves the third guy, who pops his head in when she dashes into Sato's office to chaeck out the document, and/or hide for a second. There's no way of telling if he is a close co-worker or not. He could be a security person checking the floor to make sure everyone is evacuating. Even if he knows her, he calls her Miss Sato, which means he doesn't know her well. Combined with him being in a hurry and relatively far away, it seems plausible that he wouldn't notice anything out of the ordinary either.
OMG OMG OMG!!!! This is my very first post and I am sooooooo excited! I have been lurking around Whedonesqe.com for YEARS and always seem to miss open registration. I've been a Buffy fan since the movie and I feel priveledged to be a part of this group.
Now, on to Dollhouse.
At first Echo's dominatrix outfit for off-putting. It IS the first thing you notice. But her dialog about love made the outfit really interesting. Love comes in all shapes and sizes and is important in different ways. Friendship (Boyd/Topher), romantic (Adelle/Roger), budding love (Ballard/Mellie), trust (Echo/Boyd) (Adelle/Dominique)...and all the fun ways love can be trotured without whips. Damn I love Joss!
Have now gone back and listened multiple times to Mellie's dialogue, and, while her earlier "if" ("if the dollhouse knows you know...") is a bit mumbled by Miracle, I am utterly convinced that she does NOT say the word "if" later: She says "Her person inside has been captured. This is the last time you will hear from us through a doll." This is also consistant with the later comment that "we will find other ways to contact you" (notice this statement does not have a conditional linked to it).

Have also reviewed the chronology in the various segments about where Topher, Ivy, etc. are during Echo and November's imprints. Some definites: Topher is working on the computer while Ivy does Echo's script. Topher is absent from the room by at least the end of November's imprinting, and we see him talking with Boyd while Mellie wanders out and sees Echo waving. His agitation in his conversation with Boyd is such that it is hard to argue that he hasn't just discovered the chip.

So this makes it difficult to see how November's imprint could know that the insider was caught, since the chip is in Topher's hand most likely before November's imprint, and at the latest during the early part of her imprinting. In other words, it still seems more logical for Mellie to have said "if" in the key sentence.

My theory: The chip, once in place, allows for some version of remote messing with the imprints -- I assume the person placing the chip there only needed to "sneak in" once to plant it (presumably during the scene in MOTS where we've previously noticed the door to the room open after Topher is distracted by Boyd) and could then carry out imprints from afar. ONCE THE CHIP IS REMOVED one of two things might happen: (a) an automatic protocall/dead man's switch such that the chip has already planted the Mellie imprint corruption with instructions to add it to the next imprinting of November as Mellie that occurs after the chip's removal (a version of the old "if you are reading this, I am dead/captured" plot device) or (b) a signal is sent when the switch is removed that allows the mole to personally activate the already planted dead man's switch described above. Actually, even in option (a) (where the mole doesn't have to personally activate the emergency Mellie imprint), it makes sense that the removal of the chip might be programmed to send a signal of some kind to the mole as a warning.

Either case makes sense of Mellie's conversation with Paul, both because it explains how the imprint corruption got into November, and why it went the extraordinary step of dropping this bombshell on Paul.

As to how this affects who the mole is, I think there are really only two strong possibilities: One is Lawrence, which makes sense with his declared NSA motivations because he might well like the idea of Paul investigating the dollhouse but not finding it directly (remember, he doesn't seem to want the NSA to take over the dollhouse, he just doesn't want the dollhouse to sloppily compromise itself and be taken over by someone who is, by NSA standards, worse). This mechanism doesn't require Lawrence to personally know much about the programming: presumably the chip was provided to him by his NSA handlers, who did the heavy lifting. This also makes sense of why Mellie is being imprinted at all at this time: As head of security, Dominick would presumably know that the surveillance device in Paul's apartment was blown, giving him a reason aside from his NSA assignment, to reintroduce Mellie even without the corruption of her imprint.

The other strong option is Claire. We know she has strongly mixed feelings about the dollhouse that suggest she thinks taking it down directly would somehow be harmful to the dolls (as seen in her comments in last week's episode as well as in this weeks conversation with Boyd about thinking the dollhouse is flawed, but for different reasons than he does). And here's my favorite possible piece of potential Claire evidence: the meetcute.biz site that Jes found! When she walks over to the computer during the Echo exam/conversation with Boyd, she seems to do so only to hide the embarrasing dating site. But what if meetcute.biz is actually either the disguise for whatever interface she uses to mess with imprints OR EVEN BETTER, this seemingly innocuous website coming up on her screen IS the signal that the chip has been compromised! This would make sense, continuity wise, since the conversation with Boyd takes place after Echo's imprinting and during November's imprinting, which is the same timeframe as Topher's most likely discovery of the chip. I really like the idea of the old romantic comedy warhorse of "meetcute" being a code word for the distinctly non-cute meetings triggered between Paul and the two dolls.

**disclaimer: I am also aware that, even if I'm right about the presence/absence of the "if," we may find out in a commentary or something down the road that the continuity of what Mellie's imprint knew was going to be slightly different, but final subtle rearrangements of scenes in postproduction left us with this seeming important detail that was just a byproduct of production necessities.
"Do you think it was the NSA/Dominic that programmed Alpha, or is there something else that happened with him? "

I am pretty sure that nobody's been programming Alpha except Alpha himself, for a very long time.

Gossi, have you seen the 'Omega' episode already? How? That's hardly fair!
It's because Gossi is all special and makes tuna.
Tiny thing,but it bothers me. dominic =/= dominique. one is male,the other one is female.
Here comes my first post. I'm coming late to the party on most of these issues, but...

First I want to say that I thought the Victor act of this episode was excellent. Great acting by Olivia and Enver (is this their first scene together?) and an emotional revelation. What an interesting choice to do an episode so focused on Adelle, considering how utilitarian her character seemed to be at first.

I am among those who saw a romantic element between Adelle and Dominic. I'm also among those who believe that Mellie was saying that "the mole was captured," making Dominic the mole. (How he programmed if he'd been captured is a different problem.) He was a very strong character, and I especially found it interesting how he manages to be against the Dollhouse and still such a bastard (remember how eager he was to kill Topher and Ivy?). I don't mourn his loss from the show, the dramatic mileage they got from his departure was worth it.

I think the argument about how sexuality (ie the dominatrix outfit) serves the show is interesting, but something of a red herring. Even if the sexuality is just for its own sake (which I don’t think it was here) that’s still not necessarily exploitative. I don’t imagine Eliza having a problem with the scene.

Regarding the argument about Sierra and the girl she's supposed to be replacing not looking alike, I don't think it's a racial issue. To me, they look as alike as two people who are supposed to look alike (but not identical) on television ever do.

Okay, that's all. Hi everyone.
I like how in 'Echoes' Adelle said 'I have a funny story about him [Victor]'. I immediately thought 'that's going to turn out to be something' and it did.

What an interesting choice to do an episode so focused on Adelle, considering how utilitarian her character seemed to be at first.

Pretty sure Jeremy Bentham and JS Mill never advocated wiping peoples' memories and sending them out to be prostitues and killers :)
Sure they did! It's right there in On Liberty, under Exceptions to the Harm Principle. There's a whole list.
Four Hundred! Heheheh.
OK, the $64,000 question:

If fantasy is the Dollhouse's method, but not its purpose, what is the purpose of the Dollhouse?

(I'm not even guessing at this point.)
First things first: This is my very first post and I'm beyond excited to be able to contribute to the site. I've been trolling for years and seemed to always miss open enrollment so this is my best day ever! Alright, enough schmoozing. Onward!

Best ep yet! So much intrigue, mystery, heart, humor, and WTF! moments that I had to rewatch it two times to catch everything. I'm still so blown away with the majority of the episode that I'm having a difficult time wrapping my head around my numerous theories.

So, instead of expounding on what I agree with that's been previously posted, I will just say that I'm continuously intrigued by the evolving story and can't wait to see where this is headed. (And that, perhaps, when my brain is a little less mushy, I will be able to throw out some thoughts on what's happened so far.)
Well, I just rewatched the episode and I noticed something freaky. I'm pretty sure it was a coincidence, but when Mellie/November turned into an informant for Ballard, the music changed to sound similar to the Head Six theme from BSG. Like I said, I'm pretty sure it was a coincidence.
Ok, so joining the onslaught of new whedonesquers, and am very excited to be doing so! And here's my very first post. Ooh, I feel all tingly!

Alrighty then. So: definetly thought this was another beyond brilliant ep, certainly one of the best. I keep on finding myself surprised to be sympathising with characters I was initially very unsure about, like Dominic- although I never would've thought he was the inside man, which made for a lovely little twisty thing- but I fell in love with him at 'soft like a kitty'. His final scene just gave me goosebumps. Scary.

This show just keeps on breaking my heart and fixing it. And then breaking it again.
Oh, and Let Down's point I like how in 'Echoes' Adelle said 'I have a funny story about him [Victor]'. I immediately thought 'that's going to turn out to be something' and it did.
(I hope I did that right. Sorry.)
I never thought about that connection! Wow.
Now I must go watch again, so as to make actual insightful points next time.
sorry okelay. Dominic. I have it right now =)
Intrepid Reporter, you might wanna check your word choice there. I think you mean "lurking" which is reading,but not participating. trolling is something different and quite annoying.
Only insane troll logic would lead to trolling.
Maybe it's because I'm a straight female, but I didn't find the dominatrix outfit distracting at all. In fact, I was so focused on all the things she was saying about trust that I didn't even realize you could see her butt in the outfit.

I'm definitely one of those people who did not feel a romantic vibe between Adelle and Dominic. I did pick up on vibe between Adelle and Victor, but I never in a million years thought she was a customer. When Adelle broke down after sentencing Dominic, I thought it was because she knew about the chip and was using it see 'Roger'.
So maybe this is just me, but I thought I remembered there being something in an earlier episode about the people who run the Dollhouse not necessarily knowing what any given Doll's mission or parameters are.
If that's the case, Adelle wouldn't need to know about the chip: she could have hired Victor just using her fake client name, nothing fancy.

I assumed Adelle broke down because she finally admitted to herself just how self-deluding she was being by hiring Victor in the first place.
I agree with Tessa.. didn't see any connection between her crying and Dominic
Alan Tudyk used to say he was trolling the internet all the time. I could never work out if he was an Ain't It Cool News talkback poster from hell or he just lurked a lot.
Adelle is the ultimate Mistress. Her priority is Dollhouse and Actives #1. She loves the dolls.
One is Lawrence, which makes sense with his declared NSA motivations because he might well like the idea of Paul investigating the dollhouse but not finding it directly (remember, he doesn't seem to want the NSA to take over the dollhouse, he just doesn't want the dollhouse to sloppily compromise itself and be taken over by someone who is, by NSA standards, worse).

But why would he want Paul to do that? He's ready to kill Echo behind Adelle's back because she is risking exposing the Dollhouse (which fits perfectly with his NSA motives) and going off mission during goverment-jobs but he's also ready to actually send her off mission in front of an FBI agent? Why would he do that? And let's ignore the fact that there have to be easier ways for Dominic to contact Paul, what is the purpose of this contact? Why does he need Paul? What can Paul find out about the Dollhouse the head of security cannot? How can an external FBI agent ensure better than Dom that the technology doesn't get into wrong hands? It just doesn't seem right, somehow.

However, I do see Dom and Ivy both being NSA agents. Dom would have good use to have someone inside on the tech side. It also makes for a nice show for the other employees (he is after all in charge for these 48 hours and can decide her "punishment" and stuff...).

But right now I'm leaning towards "there's gotta be someone else". Claire's sounds fine. But Adelle is still my first choice. Here's how it happened: After "True Believer" (still the very first direct action Dom took behind Adelle's back and his first harmful doing towards Echo) she was pretty unsure about his loyalties. She sensed his betrayal, she maybe even sensed he is government/NSA since "they were sniffing around the Dollhouse for years". From that moment on, she tried to keep everything low-key. That means, her little mid-game with Paul in MotS had to go unnoticed and sneaky (because telling Topher "Give her the 'hidden message'-imprint." automatically leads to everyone knowing about this nice little dance with the FBI... something a government spy should probably not know). Then in "Echoes" we had this final, awkward scene where no one knew why it was there, because Adelle and Dom have not seen each other in any embarrassing capacity during the drug-time. Well, the scene was awkward because Adelle has seen and heard the security footage from Rossum, with Dom babbling about how sorry he was for trying to kill Echo. From that moment on her suspicion is solidified. It is not only a hunch, Dom is trying to harm Echo behind her back. Gotta be awkward afterwards. In "Needs" she looks out of the window while he gives his "pets" speech, but shoots a troubled and angry look at the back of his head when he says "Any developmental progress and Active makes is dangerous to the house and a possible step towards a new Alpha." Now, the outcome of "Needs" gives her a perfect opportunity: Topher has to repair the chair. That means he has to dig. Adelle leaves a government chip there (which actually does nothing but be a chip and hint towards a spy and is probably crafted by the great technical geniuses over at Rossum) and goes off for the weekend. She leaves Dom in charge, knowing that this is the best chance to prove that he is indeed spying for the NSA. She likes solving problems from the distance. She also likes that with her gone, Dom will get a power rush and make a mistake (which he did). Nice, how her office was empty, and that emptiness was crucial for Dom's mistake, his phonecall. If she would have been there during the spy hunt Dom would have been way more careful. So, when Topher calls while she's on the balcony, she knows what the call is about. Because she planted the chip. She doesn't answer it, no need to. Since the chip doesn't do anything in that scenario it explains why Mellie is still all hidden-messagy. The job she had do was imprinted by different means, and again by Adelle I think.

A little crazy, I know, and still some loose ends (like: What insurance would Adelle have that Dom can be contained after he made his mistake/exposed himself?) And I'm still not sure about the "guessing NSA"-part: Topher doesn't recognize the chip. He's all bout "coulda, shoulda, woulda", with no actual idea where it comes form. Dom is the one telling Sierra that it's "NSA tech", which - of course - he hast to, since this is the only place where he can plant evidence pointing to Ivy. I doubt that he has the technical skills to recognize the chip. Same with Adelle. So basically Adelle didn't even need to guess the agency. She could have said to Rossum "Give me a complicated looking chip, matching no known design", knowing that Topher would have no idea what agency it belonged to, report it to Dominic and that Dom would make up a story to contain the threat (because he is in charge), thereby giving away his homebase. As nice as it sounds, "farfetchedness" doesn't do it justice. :)

[ edited by wiesengrund on 2009-04-13 14:09 ]
wiesengrund: No matter what theory of Dom's motivations I come up with (i.e. with him as the chip placer or not), his attitude towards Echo remains confusing. He seems to have a real ability to compartmentalize such that even he does not seem to always know in whose interest he is acting when he acts against her (which Adelle essentially points out by tripping him up when he uses Echo as an argument in his interrogation). Then again, it may be as simple as thinking that she is too like Alpha, who appears to be a threat to his mission whether as a dollhouse security man or an NSA man.

Regarding contacting Paul (if it was Dom that planted the chip), it was important to him that Paul not DIRECTLY find the dollhouse. He makes it clear that the NSA does not see a direct "bust" of the dollhouse as the best strategy. As security chief in the L.A. dollhouse, he may or may not have been able to get good info on the wider organization's "purpose" -- if he could, then he needs to mislead Paul but doesn't necessarily need Paul to make other discoveries for him, and if he could not, then Paul might actually be helpful as a source. In any case, contacting Paul through a doll is a brilliant ploy for directing Paul's obsessions (rather than, say, having Paul contacted mundanely by an NSA recruiter or something).

Another interesting (to me) thought possibly pointin to Dom: Mellie says the inside "person" is captured but "we" will find another way to contact Paul: this would be consistant with Dom assuming that, if the chip is discovered, he will do just what he attempted this episode: incriminate a fall guy for the chip but remain otherwise undercover himself. I do think your "both Ivy and Dom" is a possibility -- There are infinite permutations of mindgames that could be worked out (either with or without Ivy's cooperation) to assure that only one of them went down if busted.

Though I may be wrong, Adelle as the mole just doesn't resonate with my current take on her motivations, so I will leave discussion of that possibility to others.

Anyone buying my "meetcute.biz is a signal" theory?
Okay: two small things because everything else regarding this episode has pretty much been said:

1) welcome to all our new members posting here for the first time!

2) this episode was awe-inducing. Very, very good television. I think the tiny doubts I had left are starting to slip away. Soon I'm going to hop on board of the 'I'm in love with this show' train.
Anyone buying my "meetcute.biz is a signal" theory?

It's possible but to me there's absolutely no reason to think it and it actually resonates more just as Saunders being a lonely, damaged woman who's embarrassed about being seen to be online dating (also we see it just before she talks about how debilitating it can be to have a desire you're afraid or ashamed to express). If it's a signal then she could just have used a totally innocuous page and avoided the slightly suspicious looking action of "hitting the boss button" when Boyd gets close.

As I say, I also don't buy Dominick communicating with Ballard in that way as part of his mission and though it at least makes plot sense, I also don't buy it in order to manipulate his obsession, it's too subtle for Dominick who seems much more the knock people out with a gun butt type (he suggested killing Ballard earlier on in the series presumably without knowing if Adelle would just say "Yep, good idea, get it done"). That sort of byzantine manipulation isn't beyond Adelle but it's beyond Dominick IMO (even post discovery when we'd presumably be seeing the "real" Dominick his parrying with Adelle is straightforward and uncomplicated and his plan to avoid discovery, assuming it's even his and not his handler's, essentially consists of planted evidence that incriminates someone else - complex in execution maybe but single layered and psychologically unsubtle).

As i've said though, not buying it doesn't necessarily mean i'm definitely convinced someone else was sending the messages either, it seems possible that it's just a bit of writing that doesn't work for me, that makes more sense as a "how to get to the reveal" shortcut than it arguably does from a character/plot perspective. Joss has said his writing sometimes worries less about plot consistency in order to hit the emotional moments/reveals etc. - this could just be one of those times.


ETA: And yep, welcome aboard the crazy train newbs *waves* ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2009-04-13 14:13 ]
Saje, you're probably right, especially since the screen shot is so fleeting...it would make little sense as a key plot point, but marvelous sense as a character revealing easter egg for anyone who caught it (or was told by a whedonesque poster like Jes how to catch it).
If anybody is wondering, meetcute.biz (Claire Saunder's dating website) was registered by FOX:

Domain Registration Date: Wed Dec 17 19:59:41 GMT 2008
So, wouldn't it be an odd thing for Dr. Saunders, who has not left the Dollhouse since Alpha, to be looking at meetcute.biz, at least if she's looking for a date?

[ edited by Septimus on 2009-04-13 14:43 ]
Not if she's better than Adelle at denying herself the fantasy scenarios she yearns for.
And added to that she may actually be cyber-dating i.e. dating on the computer, not just using the computer.

It's a good catch that Jes, a fleeting glimpse that inspires ponderings on a whole pathetic backstory about Saunders telling her online dates she's house-bound for some medical reason (which she'd have no trouble coming up with) or meeting her "the one" but being too afraid to reveal herself to him (or her).
I think it's just a placeholder screen. I don't think it means any more than the stuff that was on Adelle's computer screen.

I did enjoy the fake personal ad bits earlier in the thread though.
It has been a very long time since I posted here. I am enjoying reading this thread and watching the show.

I am of the 'there still is another mole' brigade - not sure if the chip was just an NSA monitoring device and not really involved with sending those clandestine messages to Paul thru Echo and Mellie.

Looking forward the the next 3 eps.
Oh god.. there's only 3 more episodes... I really need this show to be given a 2nd season.. I really don't think that Joss can wrap everything up in 3 episodes the way he managed to do on Buffy season 1, since this show is like Firefly in that it has so many, themes, stories and characters to explore.. It would be like Joss telling the reaver story, Book's story, and the Blue Sun Corporation story within that 1 season of firefly... there's too many loose threads in dollhouse to satisfactorily cover.

Maybe that's why Buffy did better with rating and such, since it started as a simple story which became more complex as the show went along.. it became more morally ambiguous, and fleshed out and added characters as the show progressed, whereas Firefly
started out complex and multi-facetted and so has dollhouse (well, it had the ingredience to be multifaceted from the beginning and began cooking with them from the 6th episode on).

Thanks to those peeps who welcomed us newbs, we appreciate it
I think it's just a placeholder screen. I don't think it means any more than the stuff that was on Adelle's computer screen.

What was on Adelle's computer screen ? Think I missed that completely.
Okay, so just joined yesterday and haven't gone through this massive thread in its entirety, so forgive me if this was brought up already...

What happens with the mind of the person when they are put into an active? It seems like this is a bit of the Quantum Leapness that Joss was referring to.

I saw the preview for next week and Adelle's friend that dies seems to recognize she has a new body.

Well, that's all dandy when the personality imprint is deceased, but we've also been introduced to the situation of personalities that are very much so alive (and I'm not even going to remotely get into the Sierra being that gal's "twin" without her so much as noticing even when asking for a pen......so much for NSA-iness....).

It seemed odd to me in Friday's episode when Echo was imprinted and Topher and Dominic continued to be very open and upfront about the Dollhouse and the fact that she had a memory implant, etc. Actually, I'm pretty sure that's happened quite a bit, but it got me thinking...

If the dolls are fully to believe they are the people they are imprinted to be, if they looked in a mirror, shouldn't they be all Scott Bakula and be all "Oh boy" every episode...?

Of course it seems Topher also gives them varying skills that seem to come from several personalities as well, so the process just seems a little confusing. But then again, like I said, I guess we'll just see in two weeks.

Don't get me wrong though - I honestly think if this show gets its planned five year run I might actually like it MORE than Buffy.

(Shhh....)
No one has remarked on Boyd's reaction to Mistress Echo's "It's all about trust". His reply was that being open to someone leads to pain, IIRC, and I don't think he was only referring to her job. So, we probably have a little hint about his past there, and his present attitude, certainly toward the Dollhouse. On the other hand, he trusts Echo, and she trusts him. Will that trust between them lead to pain? It certainly did for every other character in this episode.

I know the ME writers probably endorse, or at least want to believe, the sentiment that being completely open to another person is a beautiful thing, that taking that risk, even though it will often lead to pain, is how we get to love and being fully human. But being writers on a show this dark, any characters who do open themselves are going to get stepped on. Hard. So what Boyd says is right and the actual underlying message of the show. ME is "of the devil's party without knowing it".

ME may think the counter-examples of Victor and Sierra and Boyd and Echo show that trust won't always be abused. But since three of those people are in a childlike state of Edenic innocence, I'm not sure those examples hold much weight, especially against all the ways we see that people are using and being used .

[ edited by shambleau on 2009-04-13 18:08 ]
I still think Dominic was the one sending the messages to Ballard (I guess, even if it is surrounded by plot holes), but do you guys suppose there might be anything to the idea that the dolls were used as the messengers simply as the easiest way to show that the message is legit? First they used Echo, who Ballard knows is a doll, and then they used November, who repeated various key phrases from the Echo communiqué. This can leave very little doubt in Ballard's mind that the messages are actually from within the Dollhouse.
I had the same thought about Boyd's past when he said that line, shambleau. I really liked Adelle's line about "poor self-deluded fools" or whatever it was, for the same reason. It's about the clients, but it's also about how she sees herself. There's layers and layers in it in that scene.

Adelle's a welcome change from most of tv. I miss "bad" characters who aren't flat or unsympathetic. I miss the terrifying ordinariness of human evil. So very very much. Sometimes I think I need Whedon villains even more than Whedon heroes. Which might explain why I like this show.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-04-13 18:30 ]
There's a huge plot hole with the Dollhouse imprinting a sleeper agent and walking her through all of the dolls.

Echo waved to an imprinted Mellie. She's now going to go back to her apartment, across from the FBI agent obsessed with the Dollhouse whom she's also sleeping with. She sees one picture of Echo and tells Ballard, "Hey, I saw that girl at my doctor's office." "Ok, Mellie, can you take me to your doctor's office?"

Otherwise awesome ep, but they didn't think the sleeper deal well through.
Good point. Didn't Mellie already see a picture of Caroline in an early episode....? Of course, those memories could easily be erased - and if she's a sleeper doll, I'm sure they could stop her from entering the facility.
I think the "treatments" memories may well be compartmentalised away from their conscious mind once they're outside because they never question it after being imprinted, never wonder what sort of "treatment" they've just had (even imprints you'd expect to be fairly paranoid like spies and professional thieves). I mean even if Mellie didn't know she was in the dollhouse she'd have memories of a very strange underground spa-like place and presumably of occasionally meeting people on the way back to the dollhouse (possibly dressed as dominatrices ;) - that'd make any normal person ask a few questions IMO.

I had the same thought about Boyd's past when he said that line, shambleau.

The way he says it is fairly off-hand so my take is more that it was just Boyd's normal slightly world-weary voice of experience but he does say "always leads to pain" (my emph) so maybe it means something specific. Seen in the noir mold Boyd is (apparently, so far, and various other hedges ;) the closest thing the show has to a sort of Marlowe-esque battered urban knight, the guy who crawls through everyone else's shit but still manages to come out more or less clean on the other side and part of that role and of being battered means you've got your share of painful emotional baggage in tow.

I do like watching Boyd talk to imprinted Echo though - when it's not a life and death situation Harry Lennix always gives him a slightly superior air (in a nice way), like a father indulging his daughter in her first forays into adult discussion as if he can't quite take her views seriously. It's a nice little character thing.
Yeah I really like the Handler/Active interactions, too. I'd sort of assumed the compartmentalization bit, and I've also assumed they're programmed to be really complacent about certain things. Especially in this last episode, with several scenes like the Mellie/Echo waving and Spy Hunter Echo's placid/obedient behavior about the nature of the the place she's investigating and, by relation, herself. There's always weird stuff going on during the Doll exits and entries, like the dominatrix "accepting a ride" from this guy who looks trustworthy and then casually handing him her whip as he escorts her to whatever place she thinks she's going. Or the blind woman accepting a ride-- you know that's not what really happened when they left the Dollhouse.
Yes, I think it's true that there is a bit of fudging on the writers' parts (or clever programming on the dollhouse's part) to account for those entrances and exits.

I was also slightly taken aback when Echo waved to already-imprinted Mellie and Mellie said "Where do I know her from?" instead of something like "holy frakkin' &^%%$! That's the Caroline girl that my luvvy-duvvy Paul is all obsessed with!"

I don't think we're going to get much backstory on Boyd this season, so I think his comment can be chalked up to general world-weary cynicism. Though, of course, there were a lot of nice double-meanings to that whole conversation. For instance, the "I got in the van with you" comment and Boyd's response "Do you think that was wise?" refers both to that particular instance and to Caroline signing up for the Dollhouse in the first place. Overall, I don't think the show really DOES endorse the beauty of complete trust in another person, at least not beyond it being an unachievable ideal.

I also really liked when Dominic told Adelle that she was not responsible (or was it "not to blame" ?)for the problems the dollhouse had been having and she replied "I am responsible (to blame?) for everything that happens under this roof." (I don't remember the exact quote, but the gist was that Dominic was responsible for it for the next 48 hours.) What I liked about it was that it sounded like she was taking responsibility/blame not just for the problems they have been having, but for any wrongdoing the Dollhouse ahs engaged in, like she was feeling the guilt of it - which makes sense since she is about to go off and unburden her soul (somewhat) to the only person she can tell, Roger.
I think the programming clearly makes the Actives automatically ignore and accept anything Dollhousey, at least until they go outside. Time and time again we've seen the staff discuss stuff in front of the actives that would make any normal person go "Wha?"

In the kidnapping episode the client is specifically warned not to say anything that might confuse Echo, like saying she "Was only a doll" or anything, so I assume once out in the wide world they would pick up on these things. I suspect if Mellie saw Echo pass her on the street she's call Paul and tell him straight away. Because she saw her in the Dollhouse she was programmed to ignore her.
Yes, quite likely. Echo (who is clearly a special case at this point) certainly took it in stride when Dominic told her explicitly that she was a doll, both in the office and in the van.

Someone up above mentioned that perhaps the imprinted spy-hunter was not really an imprint in the traditional sense but was still Echo in some way. That actually seems kind of possible, especially since Echo suggested it to Topher and we never get her "name" or anything about her backstory unlike most other imprints (does anyone ever addrress her by name? do they actually just call her Echo?). Or, you know, it was supposed to be a normal imprint but the Echo-iness just shines on through now.
Re: Boyd and Pain. I agree with the general impression that he, and his past, probably are pretty typically "noir." But in his trust and pain comment, I also thought he was specifically also obliquely referring to "Target," which had the whole back and forth about "trust me?"/"with my life" for the first time (which is again referenced at the end of this ep) and ended up with Boyd gut-shot by a hunting arrow.

ETA: and, of course, being gut-shot seems to be emerging as an absolutely intentional motif in the show -- anyone care to take a run at what might be symbolized/shared/counterpointed in the scenes of Paul, Boyd, the thief in "Grey Hour" and now Adelle each getting gut-shot (and am I forgetting anybody else? I think the client in Target died of a gut shot, but I'm kinda focusing on the ones who lived, thus might be expected to have their injury somehow linked to their character development.)

[ edited by doubtful guest on 2009-04-13 19:52 ]
Sunfire, I am with you on the villain front. I really miss a good villians. Ha, good villains. I was watching Buffy season 3 the other day and had forgotten how much I missed the Mayor. Now, I know he was of the non-human variety and so not someone we would find in the Dollhouse. But I liked how sincere he was. He was not mocking in his politeness, he was true to his character and did make excuses for his villainy.
On the contrary, I'm sure the mayor was a regular dollhouse customer! Where else could he get the satisfaction of another person guaranteed to be as obsessed with cleanliness and manners as himself: Probably the only person in the world whose "woman in a french maid outfit" truly was about a woman being a french maid.
"You'll never reach the corners with those heels on, let me find you some flats. And maybe some overalls" ;).

I also really liked when Dominic told Adelle that she was not responsible (or was it "not to blame" ?)for the problems the dollhouse had been having and she replied "I am responsible (to blame?) for everything that happens under this roof."

Yeah, Dominick tells her it's not her fault and Adelle says "everything that happens under this roof is my fault". Then later, in the series' second darkest scene so far IMO when they're wiping (i.e. effectively kinda-sorta murdering) Dominick we see her refuse medical attention after being shot which seemed like a bit of self-flagellation to me (she feels she deserves the pain, both for letting it happen in the first place and for what she's doing to Dominick).

Not sure about the wounds, it could be it's just a convenient "non-fatal wound" position that, being on the torso, still looks serious and is visible i.e. more cinematic (none of them seem to have actually been "gut-shot" BTW, it's always been more off to the side). Probably coincidence but Boyd, "Richard" in 'The Target', the thief in 'Grey Hour' and Adelle were all hit on their left sides (whereas Ballard was hit on his right).

(and this is soooo thin but whenever I think of wounds in the side pretty near the top of the list is Jesus being stabbed with the spear. Can't see a way to join those dots though)


ETA: A thief

[ edited by Saje on 2009-04-13 20:23 ]
Rather than self-flagellating, I kinda think she's just very focused/agitated in that moment and is pushing the bullet into the "not now" space for dealing with later. Similar to not wanting anesthesia-- she's pretty tense and needs to stay that tense to stay on task and finish the deed.

It's a must-maintain-control thing. I recognized it.
Yeah that was kinda my first thought (mention upthread about a commanding officer putting on a front) but I dunno, on re-watching it feels like more than "getting it done" to me. She certainly feels responsible for what's happened and what's happening (say what you like about Adelle but she owns her triumphs and disasters both).
Have I mentioned how awesome it is to be a part of everyone's conversations on here?!?!

Screw Easter! Yesterday was Christmas for me!
Yeah Saje very get-it-done, I agree. I'll keep the self-flagellating idea in mind though when I rewatch, it could be one of those very subtle things I don't see until someone else points it out.

Also I've completely forgotten everything said before comment 300 or so, I think.

Hi didifallasleep. I wonder how many new people there are.
doubtful guest: that's crazy!!! I was just thinking the other day about non-morally compromising engagements and I thought about a really rich neat freak who would have a doll programmed to clean their house EXACTLY the way they wanted it, no questions asked. I know it seems a little iffy but who knows? I think that the Major would be their highest paying client.
I am right there with you didifallasleep!
Playing the "there's more than one mole" game:

What if Ivy is another NSA agent? And that record they found was real, but it was like "spy vs. spy" with Ivy & Dominic? If that's the case then both characters would act like they did (trying to be normal) and not give anything away.

Now, even if both are NSA spies, that doesn't mean their mission is the same. While Topher is away, Ivy could have programmed November with that "message", not sure if she'd be caught (and she almost was), just to have things flipped and the other agent gets caught. Hm.
Yes, quite likely. Echo (who is clearly a special case at this point) certainly took it in stride when Dominic told her explicitly that she was a doll, both in the office and in the van.

Someone up above mentioned that perhaps the imprinted spy-hunter was not really an imprint in the traditional sense but was still Echo in some way. That actually seems kind of possible, especially since Echo suggested it to Topher and we never get her "name" or anything about her backstory...


Good point Septimus. It may well have been that Topher merely added the skills on top of Echo, not replacing her. Both because he was in a hurry with no time to prepare and because Echo was the one suggesting it. It's also clear that he would have had to give Echo a lot of information about the Dollhouse itself, I wonder how much she might remember?
Welcome, Newbs-a-plenty!
Wow, almost 9000 members. In 2010, it'll be 10,000 members and a Whedon-themed park on the moon!
Maybe we'll finally have flying cars and silver jumpsuits by then too.

Must admit, i'm starting to get a bit pissed-off with the wait. We were promised dammit !
OooOOooOoOo....that reminds me. I need to upload my videos of the Beth and Bill's Big Bad Buffy Bash '08 Halloween Party my friend and I through last year. Took us three months of planning and we "staked" our friends and told them who they were dressing up as and everything (just for our own entertainment as none of them were really Whedon fans...well, before the party at least...winks). It was pretty damn awesome.

I really don't know how we will top that this Halloween.
Uh....I meant "threw", not "through"....say, this reminds me...how do you edit your comments after the fact?
There'll be a little [edit] beside your name under the comment. It doesn't usually kick in until a few days after you've joined though (presumably to avoid abuse ?).
Thanks, Saje.

:)
I was going to wade through all the added comments since I last checked in with this thread, but rather than kill my eyeballs for another half hour I'll just throw in my two cents and hope they aren't repetitive or trite.

1. I think Adelle broke down in Roger/Victor's arms because she felt the betrayal of trust that came with finding out Dominic was NSA. Piecing the episode back together chronologically, we see Adelle threaten Dominic when Echo brings him to her. He calls her a lot of not-so-nice things and then she picks up a fencing sword and walks out of the room. From there, she returns to the bedroom. Roger asks why she's dressed, she puts the fencing sword down, and returns to bed, tears in her eyes.

2. I think meetcute.biz is going to be somehow significant. If Saunders isn't sending hidden messages in the dolls' imprints, then she could be unknowingly involved with something else as a result of the website. What if Alpha is disguising himself as someone else to talk to her through a personals page? Wouldn't that be a twist in the pants?

Also, random factoid. A "meetcute" is a contrived way for two characters to meet and fall in love through a zany occurrence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meet_cute
Just wanted to add: as a newbie myself but a longtime fan of Joss, it's really a testament to how well this episode was executed in all departments (writing, direction, acting) that so many people feel the need to chime in on this discussion.
I hope Joss is very, very proud of what he's done with Dollhouse thus far.
Welcome didifallasleep. And I'm sorry that this is my first comment to you but would you mind not putting details of next week's episode in this thread. There are quite a few of us who don't want to know that stuff. Thanks
Yeah, didifallasleep I spent like 15 minutes yesterday trying to figure out how to edit one of my posts, and the funny thing is that I clearly remember reading that we (new people) don't get that privilege for four days.
Nope, us newbies are in a probationary period. We're fledglings!
I loved the episode, but ... wouldn't Dominic have a connection on the outside with whom he'd report regularly? Does he have no family? It seems like they made the decision to send him to the Attic without thinking this through very well. I know they said they could program him when needed, but I'd think they'd need to do this fairly often.

It doesn't make sense for Sierra to dress exactly like Sato. It's a big risk that no one on the train noticed that there were 2 people dressed exactly the same and looking somewhat similar. The only reason I can think of is that it was done to convince the viewers that they looked the same, when they really don't. Or, maybe because it made an interesting scene.

When Sierra is running, she takes off her wig, which wouldn't make much difference in her ability to run. You'd think she'd kick off those ridiculous shoes, which would be a much greater hindrance.

For those who don't understand why some people object to the way women are dressed (or not) on this show: Showing some male skin doesn't balance the equation because men and women aren't on a level playing field. For much of recorded history, men have been making representations (paintings, sculptures, photo shoots) of women, who often are portrayed in a sexy manner for the pleasure of the male viewer. Women have not had the same opportunity to do that to men. So, it's disheartening to see the almost-naked ads of Eliza or a spy in stilettos.
Sorry to let you down, Let Down. I just posted the only tidbit that was shown in the mini clip after the episode....

:(
I said:

Okay: two small things because everything else regarding this episode has pretty much been said:


*cough*. You guys certainly all proved me wrong there ;).

Anyway... on to what I was about to say. I still think it's possible that Dominic was giving Ballard the info to keep him away from the Dollhouse, instead of having him actually uncover stuff. That might seem silly, because they're handing him actual information, but then again he's already convinced the Dollhouse is real and he doesn't give up easily, so he might a) see through it, if the info's false and b) this might be the only way to string him along, make him trust the source and keep him engaged. Since Dominic controls what he gets to know at any given time, he has him under control. He might even use him to find out stuff he couldn't find out on his own, if he so decides.

But all that still doesn't make much sense from a he-wanted-to-kill-him-in-an-earlier-episode point of view though, like (I think) Saje mentioned somehwere upthread, so I may just have typed a bunch of utter nonsense ;). Then again, having figured out he couldn't kill Ballard, he might've been making the best of a bad situation by then using him. I think it's all pretty much still on the table.

I just think if it wasn't him who'd at the very least placed the chip there (which was, after all, NSA material), he wouldn't have panicked enough to try to fool everyone into thinking it was Ivy. In fact - given that he seemed sincere in his wish to keep the technology of the Dollhouse out of the hands of others - he probably would've wanted to catch the real spy if he wasn't the one who did it himself.
Alrighty. I finally watched this (awesome) episode and read this entire thread! Yay!
So, two things I noticed that have not been mentioned yet.

One, Ivy brings Topher a juice box and puts it next to the computers on her way in to work. (which makes me giggle, I love little stuff like that.)

Also, when Joss posted on the "shoe scandal" thing a while ago he said "Coming soon: Sierra infiltrates the NSA in a ridiculous pair of pumps! TV is funny!" And this is the episode where this actually happened.
I totally forgot about that! Link.

It's like he could see the future. Or uh, kinda wrote it.
It is killing me that I'm not sure if Dominic was the one sending Paul the messages!
I am rewatching the episode and Mellie/November said our guy on the inside has been caught. Either Dominic had the forthought to tell Paul about his eminant capture or they is ANOTHER NSA agent on the inside. I could go for either but Mellie's monologue has shed some light.
And yet... if there is a second mole, they haven't been caught yet. So why would Mellie say they had been? Basically Mellie's monologue completely confuses me and I've decided not to think about it any more. Perhaps what she was trying to say will become clear as the last three episodes unfold.
Re: The wound. In case anyone is still interested, after consulting my resident trauma expert...

Okay, assuming that the intention of the writers was to have Adelle shallowly grazed so that she could be shown to be all stoic-y and tough. This as evidenced by the bullet passing through her (blood splatter), her nary a flinch, location of the revealed wound, and her rejection of any pain killer.

The problems with this scenario are:
1. No bullet hole in the glass(?), even bullet proof would craze. In fact where is the bullet? The blood spatter indicates it went through her.
2. She was facing the gun when it went off and not turned to the side - but there was no exit hole on her blouse.
3. That type of wound would 'burn' and damn it would hurt. People also cry out when shot or twitch or at the very least get pissed off... unless it is really, really bad. What they wouldn't do is stand around and ponder the implications of Echo's evolving behavior. Totally unbelievable that.

All of which means the stunt was wrong.

That's the problem with having specialized knowledge of any field... film makers always get things wrong. Hazards of the trade. Normally I can glide right over this stuff, but this time I found the narrative cues a little too contradictory - and therefore confusing.

Now as to what was going on in Adelle's head...

I think Dominic was the person she worked closest with for three years. He was her right hand guy; the person she could convey her worries and uncertainty to. Of course she was devastated when she found out he had in effect been lying to her. I think she felt betrayed and of course she trusted him so now she has even more reason to question her judgment. I'm sure everything feels like she's losing control and she is all about control.

I think she took a vindictive pleasure in watching Dominic be wiped and that he knew she was doing the one doing it to him.

BTW the circle of collusion as they murdered him was the most chilling thing I've seen in a while. Talk about the epitome of evil. And here I've been thinking Dr. Saunders was the scariest thing in the Dollhouse - especially after E8.

Man, I watched the episode late and now it's taken me days to get to the bottom of this thread. I can honestly say however that I read 'em all. So if you ever wonder whether everyone is just skipping over your highly original, screamingly funny post just to get their own posted I can assure you that is not so. They were probably at least read by me. That's right, I'm a thread whore.

And wow, there's some great stuff on this one, but at almost 500 comments I can't even begin to engage. Y'all are brilliant.
Bah, I really don't think Dom was THE inside guy the Actives were referring to. It's just... I don't see the NSA's motive to make sure the Dollhouse doesn't get out of hand as well as try to bring down the Dollhouse at the same time...

I was thinking of the possibility of it maybe being Topher? I mean, besides Ivy and apparently Alpha he's the only one that we know that has that capability. Unless they introduce another character... Also, we don't know Topher's back story, there's much to be discovered. On ALL the characters for that matter.

As for the NSA building being lax in security, well my take is that one, people who know the non-Sierra wouldn't really associate Sierra as trying to impersonate her. As for the security guards, well either they don't know her too well and/or Dominic did call in to tell 'em what to expect. I remember the scene where she gets on the elevator while another guy is exiting talking to presumably Dominic saying that "everything is handled" or something along those lines.
OMG! I just had a thought! When Dominic and Echo are in the van Dominic says "you will eventually erase them." I think the NSA/Dominic might have programmed Echo as some type of sleeper....maybe? "They won't even see it coming," is what he also said. It doesn't really make sense with the Dominic trying to kill her thing but hey. It's a theory.
Reading this monster thread has left me too exhausted to make any kind of substantial comment...

But this was my favorite episode so far, start to finish. I loved Eliza in every role she took on here (including the dominatrix), but really all the performances were just stellar and I was thrilled to get to see Adelle outside of the Dollhouse. So well written. So well shot. So full of surprises. Great, great episode. I know the previous week's episode was quite popular here, but it left me feeling sort of flat and disappointed. This one has me truly hooked.

The only quibble I have is one that I think Sunfire mentioned further up:

Boyd's pinging my Uncharacteristically Cool In A Weird Situation radar like crazy. Seriously, he's watching and helping kill one of his bosses like it was just a slightly bad day. I get that Boyd is not really the white knight here, but everything we know about him so far suggests that should bother him.


I agree - Boyd should be better than that. And if he isn't, how are we supposed to feel for him or think we know him at all? It doesn't add to his mystery, it just feels jarring. I don't think he has to be A Great Guy, I assume he has a dark past or terrible secrets or something, but for him to stand there and watch that way bothered me intensely. It wasn't "Boyd."

Otherwise, fantastic episode. I thought Man on the Street would be my fave of the season, but this topped it.
Hm.. that's a good point. Though, Boyd is VERY protective of Echo, and this was the man who tried to kill her... twice.
Boyd should be better than that. And if he isn't, how are we supposed to feel for him or think we know him at all? It doesn't add to his mystery, it just feels jarring. I don't think he has to be A Great Guy, I assume he has a dark past or terrible secrets or something, but for him to stand there and watch that way bothered me intensely. It wasn't "Boyd."


Maybe he didn't react because he knows that if he did speak out against the Dollhouse, he might eventually end up in that chair too. That's what makes some of the employee's morals so gray for me. Because there isn't really a way out. It seems that once you're in the Dollhouse, you're in for life. Or they wipe you. Not exactly great options.

Nope, us newbies are in a probationary period. We're fledglings!


I sincerely hope you're referencing the House of Night novels. Because that would just make my day. :)
... pick pick pick it apart....
Chant with me now:
Al-PHA! Al-PHA! Alpha ( Boyd) !
Al-PHA! Al-PHA! Alpha ( Boyd) !
The next three eps are gonna be so much fun to watch!
Not a problem, didifallasleep. It's not like you spoiled, say, Alpha's identity. I'm just a bit neurotic about spoilers. Nevertheless I think (I could be wrong) that the Whedonesque rule is that in episode threads we don't discuss any events in upcoming episodes
Welcome, young Padawans! I was able to join after Angel's demise drove me in search of Joss Stuff online and I then learned of Firefly's existence. I joined just prior to the Serenity movie announcement. And dammit, I've waited this long to post on a current Joss show! I feel quite noobish these days as well, even if Whedonesque has been my homepage for years now. I've even made a local Whedonesque friend and we attended Slayage together. This site rocks. It's made me far more polite online. Bonus!

Glad to see these threads continue long after rolling off the front page. Years ago I realized I didn't completely "get" a Joss show without multiple viewings. Viewing after reading commentary here: Another Bonus!

didifallasleep I'm kinda jealous of your nickname and am considering updating my own.

Adelle's a welcome change from most of tv. I miss "bad" characters who aren't flat or unsympathetic. I miss the terrifying ordinariness of human evil. So very very much. Sometimes I think I need Whedon villains even more than Whedon heroes. Which might explain why I like this show.

Sunfire, Adelle is very quickly becoming one of my favorite characters. I realized a few episodes back how much she loves the dolls. Considering her prior research, I'm even more convinced her protection of them is deeper than some can see. Her "Besides, she loves him *knowing smile*" re: November awhile back was telling.

Firefly's Nandi was willing to die to protect her house and charges.

Adelle LOVES the Actives. I haven't seen much discussion of her role as Mistress here, but maybe I'm just seeing what I want or intrigued by the obvious.

As for the shooting and bullet wound, blood for TV bonus. She even says at first "it's just a graze." I didn't hear that until I watched with my fan off. We viewed from Echo's POV, so we needed the blood to know a gunshot takes place. Maybe it looked cooler than just cracking bulletproof glass? Cheaper FX? Worked in a Hollywood well-enough way for me. As for no anesthetic, we're meant to see Adelle's strength, possibly what she herself perceives as strength. We also found out she swordfights for fun (very cool). I'm willing to bet we are seeing the surface of her boldness, coldness... I gotta keep thinking of the right word... right now.

Even if the show ends, we already know that Adelle has balls of steel. *stands, applauds, then bows down to the awesome Adelle* Hell. I guess ballsiness might be the word I'm searching for. Adelle's ballsy. I like it in the same way ED digs her dom role and outfit.

Good call on meetcute, CrazyKidBen. Nearly everything means something on a Whedon show. Thinking about how much little line-by-line dialogue bits and small actions or objects mean on his shows makes me spoil myself a little sometimes. If Saunders hasn't left the Dollhouse in forever, the URL is significant. I'd have never noticed if I hadn't read about it here.
Yeah, I realised after this episode that I've come to love Adelle (and Boyd too) every bit as much as I love say all the chacters in Firefly. Joss really does still have it
I sincerely hope you're referencing the House of Night novels. Because that would just make my day. :)


Yes =)
I rewatched this episode with my bf last night and he couldn't believe all of the information that was thrown at us. All the reveals and such was just fantastic.

He also pointed something interesting out about the dominatrix scene. Echo sumbitted to being a dominatrix. I think Dr. Saunders said something similar but he came to that thought on his own. Love Joss fans!
So....are we really gonna have to wait two weeks for a new episode?

Eeek!
Hi! I'm a first time poster, although I've lurked for a while.
First, let me say that I've liked this show from the first episode. Although the first five eps lacked the wit, snap and sparkle I've come to expect from a Joss Whedon show, I was patient because he said that ep6 was the first one he had full creative control over. He hasn't disappointed, and I will be very sad if (when?) this show isn't renewed for next season.
Having said that, I have read through this entire discussion and there seems to be this big elephant sitting in the living room that everyone is politely ignoring. Didn't Adelle kill a handler in ep6 for doing to Sierra what she did to Vincent? Yes, I know that Vincent was imprinted to provide a romantic experience whereas Sierra was used(!) in her doll state. Dose that mean it would've been alright if the handler (I forgot his name) had managed to imprint Sierra with a suitable personality or at least managed to wipe the experience afterwards? I was astounded that out of over 480 comments no one has mentioned this. I'll be very interested to read your comments.
Hi, squarepeg2!

I have to say, now that you mention it... This is indeed a very tricky and new layer to Adelle. Hearn's "it makes it better 'cause she thinks she's in love for the whole day"-line actually resonates with Adelle. Yes, she obviously does think it's better that way. And her "Did it make it better?"-question.... ooooh, nice shivers going down my spine.

Thanks for that post!
It ties into Adelle's self-loathing/mockery in the episode - she knows she's a bit pathetic.

Dose that mean it would've been alright if the handler (I forgot his name) had managed to imprint Sierra with a suitable personality or at least managed to wipe the experience afterwards?

Not necessarily 'alright' but at least only as grey as the rest of the engagements. Sierra didn't want to have sex with Hearn and says so, she was raped. Victor (as Roger) very much wants to have sex with Adelle (who he knows as Catherine) so it comes down to the question of whether the (presumed) consent given by the man Victor was before is enough to cover what happens to Victor while he's imprinted ? Which is the same question the show's asked from the very beginning with Caroline/Echo and the others.

It's more complicated because it's arguably possible to claim "[blank slate] Sierra isn't fully human and therefore doesn't have human rights" and so in that sense it's like "raping" an animal or even "raping" an inanimate sex doll - pretty weird certainly (well, IMO anyway) but arguably not illegal or even by some lights immoral. I.e. it asks the question "if only humans get human rights then what actually constitutes a human ? Where's the line between humans and non-humans ?". To me personally BTW, Sierra is like a child or maybe a mentally disabled adult and so for me she's human and deserves the protection of human rights, i'm just saying the question is there if we abstract ourselves from the horrific act itself (even including Dominick being wiped it's Dollhouse's darkest moment so far IMO).

(i'm just assuming - because there's no reason to suppose otherwise - that the people who feel certain the actives are raped whenever they have sex while imprinted also feel that Victor's being raped when he does - he's an active after all and it's obviously no different because this is the first time we've seen an imprinted male have sex)

And welcome BTW squarepeg2 ;).
Thank you for your comments. Actually, I was happy that the events in ep6 occurred. The potential for such abuse was glaringly obvious and I think that it would have been dramatically irresponsible for the show to not raise the subject and show how the dollhouse would deal with it. I mean that situation is as if someone went to the ford modeling agency and slipped rohypnol into the water cooler. Therefore, I was very satisfied with the zero tolerance policy that seemed to be in effect and it came as a total surprise to see the boss also "dipping from the company till". I watched that episode with a friend of mine and when the scene with "Roger" and Adelle in bed came on I turned to him and asked "didn't she just kill someone for doing the same thing?" and he gave an emphatic yes.
NOT THE SAME. Hearn abused a serious trust. Adelle didn't. It's this kind of contrast that I think Joss had in mind when he designed the show. Some things are contextually morally ambiguous while other things are never so- no matter what the context, they're wrong.
There is a HUGE difference between sleeping with an 'active' on a mission as a client ( this is what they are mostly supposed to do anyway ) and abusing a 'doll' with no current imprint.
Saje - You raise interesting issues. So, if an active thinks s/he's in love with the client the sex is OK? Therefore, Sierra's rape by Hearn was despicable because she was NOT programmed to love him?

I'm just asking, I don't know. (Actually, the Hearn thing was despicable and I was happy to see him die.)

Going along with societal mores (possibly incorrect), is it more acceptable for Victor and Adelle because 1) men always want sex and 2) sex means less to men than women??

Very complicated questions, even though I see it as slavery.

[ edited by falina on 2009-04-16 17:10 ]
Yeah, not clear-cut though if it's rape for a woman then it's rape for a man too IMO (it's not really true to say "men always want sex", and it's definitely not true to say "men always want sex with any woman", that's as much a myth as the ones about women's sexual appetites and kinda paints men as rutting animals who'll always drop whatever they're thinking or doing for a shag - we won't just screw anybody for instance but I bet Victor has had imprinted sex with all sorts of women that he'd normally find profoundly unattractive).

So, if an active thinks s/he's in love with the client the sex is OK? Therefore, Sierra's rape by Hearn was despicable because she was NOT programmed to love him?

I don't know if it's OK myself but it's at least open to debate (since if whoever Sierra originally was consented - and that actually seems pretty uncertain after "Needs" BTW, more uncertain than for any other active we know of IMO - then she may have consented to repeated consensual sex while imprinted if you see what I mean i.e. she may have agreed to have sex so long as she didn't feel forced into it. She was sure as hell forced into it with Hearn though).

[ edited by Saje on 2009-04-16 17:25 ]
OK, I appreciate your thoughts, thanks.

Next question - if, hypothetically speaking, people did consent to be dolls - I agree, Sierra is questionable - did they understand exactly what their bodies would be used for?? Did they know they'd fulfill all the roles shown so far and more??

What do you all think??

Also, if fantasy fulfillment is the Dollhouse's method, not its purpose, what is the purpose of the dollhouse?
Given how upset Caroline was in "Needs" when she saw Tango tarted up for her "date", I can guess that she's not down with prostitution, and thus would not consent to having her own body used in such a way. On the other hand, Caroline might have been made aware she'd be prostituted out, but didn't feel she had any other choice but to sign on. So far we've seen two people in dire straights offered contracts (and after being held with no contact with the outer world for a couple of days), we can assume Victor had PTSD, November was a mother grieving her lost child, and Sierra was kidnapped. At this point, "consent" doesn't really come into play, so far as I can see. Even if these people were told what they'd be doing, none of them came to it freely, and it could very well be that both Victor and November were mentally unfit to give any sort of concent. The dollhouse preys on people who are in their weakest moments.

As for the purpose, I think it's rather simple--mind control of the masses. By who, I can't guess. But these kind of things aways come down to controlling the masses.
Soooo much happy about this ep that it's too much to write here.

But I will say one thing...

Thank you ohhhh thank you for making Eliza a Domme and that none of the dolls will ever be submissive's...ahhh I loved that line :)
The actors who play "Victor" and Adelle DeWitt are the biggest finds of this series (though I realize they've been in stuff before this--I remember Enver from the recent HBO Kevin Bacon TV-movie Taking Chance and I liked Olivia's small role as one of my favorite non-mutant/non-powered/regular-person Marvel characters, Dr. Moira MacTaggart--this may be their highest profile project from a worldwide film industry perspective). They're my favorite characters at this point (Victor was already my favorite doll aside from when Echo gets some really meaty scenes and DeWitt was my fave character from early on).

Back to the shallow end of the pool, they're also the most attractive characters, IMO. Someone upthread (Simon?) mentioned that they'd thought about how Victor wouldn't be the "classically handsome" type you'd expect most people would want in a doll, but I think he's very all-around handsome. He's got a great bod, a cute face (but square-jaw, almost broken-nosed masculine, not near-androgynous and/or pretty-boy model type as is too often the case with young leading men on TV). And Williams...Brit + attractive mature woman/ice queen usually seen in slinky business wear = [omitted for ban-worthy crudeness, heh].

Was away from TV for a couple weeks, just caught up on "Needs" and "Spy..." among some other quality PVR'd shows...what a day. Wow.
Actually Olivia Williams is a fairly well known actor. She's best known for playing the wife in the Sixth Sense and the teacher Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman fought over in Rushmore. Adore her.

I don't think Enver has done much, though, and he truly is a find.
It never registered for me that she was Bruce Willis' wife in The Sixth Sense. I remember that being Madelaine Stowe or someone dark-haired and composed like her (getting my movies mixed up--those two co-starred in 12 Monkeys, not Sixth Sense). Maybe 'cause Williams didn't have the accent in The Sixth Sense. I see from looking at her IMDB profile that I also saw her as the mother of all the non-Neverland kids, Mrs. Darling, in the 2003 live action Peter Pan.
I would guess that from the Dollhouse's point of view, Hearn is doing a couple of things wrong that Adelle is not. First, he isn't being professional. He's abusing his position to get sex with Sierra (without paying for it - as pimps, this would be a big deal for them) and causing trauma to her neutral state (another problem that is avoided if the doll is imprinted for a romantic encounter). If Adelle is doing anything wrong by them, it's probably just that she isn't being professional. We're not even sure if she's breaking an established policy, she calls it an "indiscretion", but we're not sure how much trouble she would actually get into over it.

Both acts may be equally wrong, but a Dollhouse administrator would almost certainly not see it that way.
I really hope they make topher the inside guy (because I think there must be another one).. Perhaps he created this technology in a fit of creative genius but has since realized that what he's doing is not morally right.. Or maybe he is yet to realize this, but soon will. Sort of like a frankenstein type of situation. then they could just send him to the attic and keep his genious mind on file in case they need someone to fix the system.
Both acts may be equally wrong, but a Dollhouse administrator would almost certainly not see it that way.

I don't think anyone in the dollhouse acts from such simple motives as "profit and loss" personally though this makes sense as a suggestion for how Adelle might justify it to her bosses (and maybe even partly what she might tell herself i.e. that she's cool and detached and just making decisions from a business perspective).

Re: consent, here's the thing - we can speculate about Caroline and "Sierra" (i.e. the pre-Sierra original woman) and "Victor" and "November" and everyone else as to whether they knew about the sex and whether they consented or whether they were forced or whether a choice made while grieving or suffering PTSD is freely made (or what a "free choice" even means to a social animal like us, with all our cultural pressures etc.) BUT we don't know the circumstances so it's a grey area, no-matter how strongly held our opinions might be (I don't buy drawing conclusions about how Caroline would think and act by looking at how a chopped down version of Caroline without her memories thought and acted. They're not the same person at all IMO - our memories and experiences are a huge part of our attitudes and decision making process, take 'em away and our attitudes and decisions change).

With Sierra/Hearn we know she didn't consent - she actually explicitly says she doesn't want to do it. That's why it's different and that's why (assuming you see Sierra as a human being who deserves human rights) it's rape.


ETA: An 'o' ;)

[ edited by Saje on 2009-04-17 09:41 ]
Finally got to watch this.

Wow - the plot didn't just thicken. It got up and danced the Spanish Fandango.

So, Adelle's not just the President of The Hair Club For Men. She's also a customer.

I have to say, I totally saw the thing with her and Victor coming. Unfortunately, that was because when I watched it on Hulu, for some reason it opened in the middle of the episode instead of the beginning, and I saw the thing with her and Victor. It was still a shocker, but I think it lost some of the impact that it would have had in the proper reveal.

[ edited by barboo on 2009-04-17 15:22 ]
This is comment 499... who wants it?

[ edited by mortimer on 2009-04-17 18:39 ]

[ edited by mortimer on 2009-04-17 18:39 ]
So, Adelle's not just the President of The Hair Club For Men. She's also a customer.

Wow. Massive lol. barboo just won the thread in my book. Also, yay 500. (Sorry everyone... I feel unworthy, but I had something to say...*shrug*)
Revolver that was an entirely worthwhile 500th comment!
(I won the thread - do I get a prize?)
With Sierra/Hearn we know she didn't consent - she actually explicitly says she doesn't want to do it. That's why it's different and that's why (assuming you see Sierra as a human being who deserves human rights) it's rape.

Rape is sex without consent. So that was rape regardless of how you view Sierra
Having read through the entire thread after watching this episode a second time, a couple of things occur to me. It seems that there is a particular point being made about how much the staff talk about the actives in front of them, whether they are "activated" or not. I guess they assume that their memories will be wiped after or that in their wiped state they aren't bright enough to make sense of it.
But Echo clearly is and November seems to have some awareness. Victor doesn't, that I can see but he has had a number of engagements where he knows about the Dollhouse.
Now Echo has as well and Sierra.
I agree that there is some imprinting whereby all the Dollhouse info (the treatment etc) means nothing to the dolls when they are in their roles but I wonder if that is going to change.
I think I have finally read the whole thread, though I may have missed something, and it took me long enough that I am sure I forgot a bunch of stuff.

Did I miss the explanation for Dominic's earlier attempt to kill Echo for glitching while also supposedly working for a government agency to do something about the Dollhouse. That and his general hostility to Echo made no sense to me, so I am hoping it was not supposed to and Dominic's whole explanation of his behavior was a lie.

I am firmly on the side of the horribleness of what is being done to the male actives being just as bad as what is being done to the female actives. What Hearn did to Sierra was even worse than programing them and then using them how ever you want because it was very reminicent for me of taking advantage of a child. On the other hand is it better when people are brainwashed to believe that their wants and needs should be based on those of other people and that they live to satisfy others?

I like the show more now, but I still do not see the "grey" in this world. As said before, to have grey you need there to be good and bad. I see no good here. At best I still see shades of black. The fact that there is more dimension presented makes it a better show, but has not shown anything to justify the Dollhouse organization or change my initial impression that it is a bumbling, amateurish, bottom feeding organization with no redeeming qualities.
I think episode 6 did a great job of showing the grey, personally... I felt happy seeing echo (with the personality of that guy's dead wife) being able to see the new house that the husband was never able to show her while she was alive... I think it was a touching moment that showed how great the dollhouse can be for giving people an emotional outlet.

I also thought that Adelle had real feelings for Roger in the latest episode... he gave her something that she needed.. a place away from the dollhouse to vent her feelings.

So, I think that you could certainly still argue that the dollhouse does at least some good.. although it may not be good enough to override the evil aspects of the company (the human trafficking and what-not)
As for the Dominic trying to kill echo thing, I think it makes sense for him to try and kill her... since he wants more oversite on the dollhouse and doesn't want X factor situations (such as an active who is glitching/remembering past engagements) that could lead the dollhouse to becoming more public and/or undermine the secrecy of the dollhouse... he doesn't want another Alpha.
I think Dominic's aggression to Echo and his protectiveness of the Dollhouse actually go hand-in-hand. He is willing to kill Echo because she is a risk to the Dollouse, risks exposing it, risks destroying it, risks hurting everyone in it.

(I also think his stated purpose (keeping the Dollhouse under wraps) is not in conflict with his being the mole, since he doesn't want Ballard to take down the Dollhouse, just to investigate its purpose.)
yes, but surely Dominic would know how much of a wild card Ballard is... he's an emotionally unstable cop who has a history of unneccesary physical violence and an inabilty to follow orders... why would Dominic want this guy to know the secrets of the dollhouse? Ballard could potentially use any proof he has of the dollhouse's existence to alert the media of it's existence, and that's definately not what Dominic wants (or wanted)... I think there has to be another mole.
Some viewers use or have used prostitutes, often without being absolutely certain that the prostitute had given full and uncoerced consent. Some viewers are or have been sex workers. Some viewers have been raped or have experienced attempted assaults, sometimes when their minds were in an altered state due to illness, drugs or alcohol. Some viewers have committed rape. Some viewers have done something that would be considered rape by some people in some locales, such as getting a woman really drunk or giving her drugs in hopes of "taking advantage" of her.

I understand that personal experiences are not the only things that shape opinions. (Shorter version: I don't think that everyone who disagrees with me is a rapist.) Nevertheless, some people may watch this show and feel guilty. Some may feel like they need to justify their actions. Some may feel traumatized .. and then traumatized again when they read other people's reactions.

It should be clear that one person's "gray area" is another person's "shades of black," to use NewCJ's phrase. Some of us think the actives have not and cannot give informed consent. Others of you disagree, accepting some degree of coercion as well as the idea that people can give a blanket "yes' to whatever might happen later (something that isn't accepted in most states for consent to sex). In many places, it is illegal - it is not a gray area - for someone to sign a contract that requires them to have sex with anyone and to do anything for a specified period of time in exchange for money. This is human trafficking.

Some of you think the show is asking questions to which there are no easy answers. Some of us hope the show is asking questions in hopes people who abuse others, or look the other way, will question their actions.

Saje says: "It's more complicated because it's arguably possible to claim "[blank slate] Sierra isn't fully human and therefore doesn't have human rights" and so in that sense it's like "raping" an animal or even "raping" an inanimate sex doll - pretty weird certainly (well, IMO anyway) but arguably not illegal or even by some lights immoral."

Saje, it's possible to argue anything. But it's hard to imagine any decent member of human society arguing that a human who has lost her memories and personality is no longer human, and thus, is not entitled to the same rights.

Mortimer says the rich guy who paid for a brainwashed woman to thank him and have sex with him, in remembrance of his dead wife, "showed how great the dollhouse can be for giving people an emotional outlet." Similarly, prostitution may give an emotional outlet for some people (overwhelmingly men), but I'd rather the focus be on prostitutes, especially any who have signed a contract from which they cannot escape.
Suzie,

Excellent post. I concur. I think Saje went way too far in saying doll-like Sierra isn't fully human, etc.

A big reason bad things happen to people is because there are BAD PEOPLE out there. While Suzie is more hopeful than I am about their ability to 'question their actions', it's a nice thought.

I don't know if it's useful for viewers to KNOW what Joss has planned. Will people behave better after watching the show if they think Joss wants them to? I have a lot of respect for Joss, but I lived a life before I knew of him and I'll probably live after Dollhouse stops - whether it's over after 1 season or 7.

And by the way, I do not get why people think Patton O. is so great. He was fine in the role, but no better than any other actor I've seen in a limited role. And emotions can find outlets in many ways, destructive or constructive.

Again, Suzie, kudos!!!!


P.S. Regarding Dominic's animus towards Echo, I thought that was made clear during the first 5 episodes. He actively tried in the fire in the cult episode, and at least one other time.
Suzie, thank you for your eloquent and thoughtful post. It strikes a lot of chords within me.

I'm not really sure how to explain the thoughts I have right now, and why your post resonated. I struggle with my opinions on Dollhouse, and can rarely articulate why I feel the way I feel. I feel things in my gut, and it's hard to dig those things up and present them in a coherent manner.

I've made no secret of my dislike for the first few episodes. In return for that, I've been told I don't "get" it, that I'm not bright enough to grasp the complexities, and that I'm too uptight and incapable of enjoying a show that features sex and prostitution. Or my very favorite: that I have an agenda against Joss.

The fact is I bring my own experience into it, and it's always in the back of my head while watching. I probably judge the show based on standards some people don't consider, and thus am harsher than some people in my assessments. And maybe that isn't fair, but it's not like I can judge it in any other way.

Some of us hope the show is asking questions in hopes people who abuse others, or look the other way, will question their actions.


I had an interesting experience when posting on another board--a board filled with a lot of die-hard fans. I was again struggling with my ability to express my opinion, and I was trying to explain why I was so offended at a certain aspect of Dollhouse. So I shared my personal experience to help explain where I was coming from. A poster threw my experience back in my face and made a vile comment. I was shocked, and replied, thinking we were misunderstanding each other. His reply to me was even more heinous. Not one person called him on it, and some people even quoted his words and added their own. So I wondered what message people were getting from this show they professed to love--they're enjoying a show that features abuse and exploitation of its characters, yet when faced with a real person's experiences, lack empathy simply because this person doesn't like their favorite TV show. So while I'd love if Dollhouse opened eyes to the abuses in this world, based on what happened on that board, I'm not too hopeful.

In the last few weeks, I've turned around in my opinion of the show. The latest episodes have weight that I felt the first few lacked. I have a clearer idea on where Joss stands morally on these issues he's presenting. It no longer seems like there's a mixed signal being sent--exploitation is bad! But isn't it sexy and action-y! I don't see everyone as black, even while I see the actions of the dollhouse as a whole as black. I'm interested in the exploration of how people come to compromise their morals and end up doing evil, and I find that very interesting indeed. There's a depth here that was missing, and an exciting, fast-paced story to boot. And I know this is all YMMV, but I own my opinion and respect those who feel differently.

ETA: I forgot to say that FWIW, I think Saje was playing devil's advocate to stimulate more conversation. I don't think he actually believes that dolls in the inactive state are less than human, only that given the structure and questions of what makes up identity in the show, it's possible some people in the world of Dollhouse could excuse the rape of Sierra by saying she was less than human.

And I've been meaning to say that I don't consider inactive dolls as children, even if Joss describes them that way. They don't seem childlike to me--children are curious and interested in their surroundings, and the dolls aren't. Rather, I see them as lobotomized or mentally disabled--which, as a matter of fact, is literally what they are.

[ edited by Dizzy on 2009-04-18 22:12 ]
Falina I think that's a pretty extreme misreading of what Saje said. I've been reading this weblog for a long time and Saje has always been one of the most thoughtful commentators. I can't image him ever thinking that someone like a "doll" isn't fully human, and if you read his post he absolutely says that he does not believe that. What he and many people are doing with this show, which is frankly disturbing in many ways, is to look at the whole concept of exploitation, why some things are considered exploitative and others that are arguably just as damaging are not. Within that framework he was suggesting how some people might justify what they are doing.
And on less fraught ground, I don't think that Dominic is the inside person whose been contacting Ballard. The mystery contact is telling Ballard to find out the mission of the Dollhouse. Dominic, in his sneer at Adelle, seems to know what the mission is, although he clearly believes that she is deluding herself by believing that whatever it is justifies what they do. On the other hand, he is willing to do some pretty ruthless things himself in furtherance of his mission - trying to kill Echo, and trying to pin the blame for the breach on Ivy who would then suffer for it. But again, if he's really a "good guy" maybe he really didn't want to hurt Echo but felt it was necessary, and that is why he apologizes to her while under the drug.

Meanwhile, Adelle really does seem to believe in her mission - it was clear from this episode that she would rather have a more everyday job, that working for the dollhouse is costing her personally, and last week, I thought she was completely convincing when she told Echo that she wouldn't restore the dolls' memories because she had promised them she wouldn't.

What IS the mission? Why the hell is Boyd a part of this? Could the insider have deliberately left the disk in order to smoke out Dominic (knowing they are so far undercover that they would evade blame)?

Everything we've been told is wrong.
It no longer seems like there's a mixed signal being sent--exploitation is bad! But isn't it sexy and action-y! I don't see everyone as black, even while I see the actions of the dollhouse as a whole as black.

I think the show is supposed to be sending mixed messages, messages that are mixed in an interesting way.

This is human trafficking.

Some of you think the show is asking questions to which there are no easy answers. Some of us hope the show is asking questions in hopes people who abuse others, or look the other way, will question their actions.

"It's human trafficking" is only one side of the story. The entire point of the Patton Oswalt story was to complicate the view of the Dollhouse as entirely evil. In typical Joss style, the theme of the episode overall is also summed up in one thirty second scene (where the "I think that could be beautiful" girl was juxtaposed with the "it's human trafficking, end of story" girl). The Dollhouse deals in fantasy. The first interviewee doesn't seem to think that's such a bad thing; neither does Echo, in this case. I think if you're not sympathizing with the Patton Oswalt character in that episode, then you're not picking up what the show is laying down - There's something worthwhile in what the Dollhouse does, even if they way they go about it is evil. If what you want is an uncomplicated moral theme, then the show is not going to do what you hope it does.

[ edited by Revolver on 2009-04-19 07:45 ]
ETA: I forgot to say that FWIW, I think Saje was playing devil's advocate to stimulate more conversation. I don't think he actually believes that dolls in the inactive state are less than human, only that given the structure and questions of what makes up identity in the show, it's possible some people in the world of Dollhouse could excuse the rape of Sierra by saying she was less than human.


Yes, I agree.. I think that Sage was putting forward a philosophical position taken to it's extremes.. for example, in Kantian Philosophy, Animals are not seen to have inherent rights because they are not "autonomous beings"... some other philosophers have criticised this argument by saying that this logic could be used to put forward the idea that mentally retarded humans should not have any rights because they are not autonomous human beings... I think Saje was picking up on that argument.

I'm just going to repeat my comment from before which, I think, makes it seem less likely that Dominic is the Mole who was sending ballard messages... does anybody have a counter argument to this?

"but surely Dominic would know how much of a wild card Ballard is... Ballard an emotionally unstable cop who has a history of unneccesary physical violence and an inabilty to follow orders... why would Dominic want this guy to know the secrets of the dollhouse? Ballard could potentially use any proof he has of the dollhouse's existence to alert the media of it's existence, and that's definately not what Dominic wants (or wanted)... I think there has to be another mole."

[ edited by mortimer on 2009-04-19 09:34 ]
I right there with you, mortimer, in thinking that there is another mole. My guess is still somewhere around Topher and Adelle, since those two would have nice opportunity to plant a chip there to flush Dom out, and since Topher's "life coach gig"-speech to Boyd in MotS is simply too unconvincing on rewatch.
"Mortimer says the rich guy who paid for a brainwashed woman to thank him and have sex with him, in remembrance of his dead wife, "showed how great the dollhouse can be for giving people an emotional outlet." Similarly, prostitution may give an emotional outlet for some people (overwhelmingly men), but I'd rather the focus be on prostitutes, especially any who have signed a contract from which they cannot escape.
Suzie | April 18, 19:09 CET"


Suzie, You're not understanding my point at all. I was happy to see echo give this man the closure that he needed... he never got to show his wife the house that he had managed to buy her.. he wanted her to be proud of him because he loved her... The fact that he slept with echo afterwards isn't what made me feel good about seeing that scene (that is the part that makes it all seem a bit more sordid, which is why Ballard pointed that fact out to Patton Oswalt's character during their meeting).. it is that he actually got to make his wife proud.

If you want to see me as pro-prostitution that's your choice... But I'm not. I agree with you that coerced consent is not fair grounds for these women and men to be made into dolls... But what about in other situations such as with the Army.. more poor men join the army in order to earn a good living... isn't this a coerced consent? Would these men have joined the army if they had money already? Dollhouse is about exploring these ideas, and the degrees of coercion within society.

Couldn't you say that the employees as the dollhouse are being coerced into doing their jobs by the fear that they will be sent to the attic if they don't conform? Does that mean that they aren't evil? if they quit their jobs would that make them good, or do they have to actively attempt to bring down the dollhouse in order for them to regain their morality? It's all shades of grey. If you want to see only black and white then I doubt that you're going to enjoy the show as much as I will.

[ edited by mortimer on 2009-04-19 10:07 ]

[ edited by mortimer on 2009-04-19 11:40 ]
Mortimer - Patton Oswalt's character needs closure every year into perpetuity??? It is an annual event with him. Some reason he can't make the effort to find a new wife??

Barboo - I just respond to what I see here. If it's an extreme misreading - big deal. Saje's comment seemed like an extreme statement to me, one I found very offensive, arguable or not.
I know I am going to get in trouble here, but one of the tings that has disturbed me and depressed me most about this show, has been the reactions to it. From the beginning so many people want to find the good in this organization. They want to give the characters who run the Dollhouse and their customers the benefit of the doubt and see the shades of gray while finding reasons why the actives are responsible for their situations. Usually I'm all for seeing both sides. In this case, however, it not only feels forced, it is rather alarming.

The idea that Echo reenacting what might have happened for a rich guy every year (How is it closure if he does it every year?) is something "good" that helps justify the Dollhouse seems to set the bar really low considering its price in human exploitation. A good actress could do the same. A prostitute who is a good actress could give him the whole package and still retain her ability to consent. If you doubt that, remember, the whole thing is being played by an actress anyway. ;-)

As far as this military thing, it seems like a bogus comparison. In theory, the whole country has oversight of the military, including the people in it. We vote for the people who decide how to use it. There are rules and laws about how the men and women of the military can be treated and what they can be ordered to do. Even so it is abused. How can we possibly compare that to an organization that has no oversight and advertises that they don't know or care what clients are doing with their personnel (as in the robbery episode) as long as the client pays extra if the computer says it will probably be dangerous.

I have a difficult time discussing this show because I want to ignore the first bunch of episodes and because the discussion depresses me so much.

Couldn't you say that the employees as the dollhouse are being coerced into doing their jobs by the fear that they will be sent to the attic if they don't conform? Does that mean that they aren't evil? if they quit their jobs would that make them good, or do they have to actively attempt to bring down the dollhouse in order for them to regain their morality? It's all shades of grey. If you want to see only black and white then I doubt that you're going to enjoy the show as much as I will.

See, I don't see anything good in these questions to make gray. You are asking what it would take to make any of the people who work in the Dollhouse moral or good. That indicates that you recognize that they are immoral and that their actions are not good. So where is the good that makes the shades of gray you are talking about above, and so many people have been talking about since the premier?

I think it is agreed that some of us are not enjoying the show as much as you. In my case, I think it is because my natural inclination is to see the awful possible results in the actions and attitudes of ordinary people every day. As a result I enjoy a mix of a little bit of actual good in my fiction. Good people are much more rare, and should be portrayed as such, but I like the reminder that they exist and that that is what we should be aspiring to. I'm guessing that that is who Echo and perhaps some of the other actives are supposed to be, but it is hard to tell when they are the ultimate cardboard cutout characters with no personality that you can be sure is their own. Hmmm. Sounds kinda like a stereotypical movie victim.
Hey newcj, I never said that the dollhouse employees weren't moral or good.. I think they are deply flawed, but that there are degrees of moral perversion, and then there are also different ideas about what is and isn't morally right...

I was asking a question to be answered by those who, like you, don't think that the people who work in the dollhouse have any morals (or shades of grey in their characters).

Personally, I think that morals need to be explored and discussed, not just forced on to people. If you think your moral position is right, then make an argument for it, don't just say that the dollhouse is bad because it's like human trafficing! fullstop.

Tell me why Human traficking is wrong, and the try to follow your own logic and find where the line is.

ie: Human Trafficking is wrong because it's Coersive.. Then does that mean that coercion is always wrong? Is there other instances in society where you see coercion as ok? Where is the line?

These are the moral grey areas that Dollhouse is exploring.

The military comparison seems fine to me. Just because everyone can vote doesn't mean that everyone is on a fair playing field, or that they're equally informed about the issues... Government's coerce people into doing things all the time.

[ edited by mortimer on 2009-04-19 14:34 ]
I think if you're not sympathizing with the Patton Oswalt character in that episode, then you're not picking up what the show is laying down - There's something worthwhile in what the Dollhouse does, even if they way they go about it is evil. If what you want is an uncomplicated moral theme, then the show is not going to do what you hope it does.


Revolver, forgive me if I'm overreacting here, but this is kinda the straw on my overworked camel's back.

I am quite tired of reading this type of reaction to anyone who criticizes Dollhouse. It boils down to "you don't get it." When it comes to the final scene in Man on the Street, I do get it--isn't it sweet that Echo wanted to help this poor widower, and therefore if Echo is willing to help him, it's not a bad thing, it's beautiful shades of gray.

It happens to be my opinion that what Patton Oswalt's character is doing is disgusting , and no amount of wistful music or soft camera filters will convince me otherwise. For me, I can't forget that Echo is basically a slave, brainwashed after being coerced into signing a contract, and having no way of changing her mind because she's being kept in a brainwashed state. As for "uncomplicated moral themes" I don't find anything complicated in the Patton Oswalt storyline. It's simplistic and shined up for laughs and "awww"s. He's a widower who could never show his wife the house he bought for her, isn't that sad? So every year he buys a human doll to reenact it, then has sex with her. It's not about his wife or her memory, it's all about him never having his moment, and he feels the need to have his moment every year. I find his actions reprehensible.

I'm of the opinion that nothing the dollhouse does with the dolls is good or justified, because I see the dollhouse as dealing in sex trafficking. I can't move past that. It doesn't mean I don't get what the writers are trying to show, or that I want my morals all simpled-up. It means what I'm bringing to the show are my own personal strong opinions, and I'm not going to be moved by simplistic writing directing me to see shades of gray when I find the entire concept black.

It's my opinion. Other people have opinions too. And I love discussing different opinions--that's why I came back to w'esque after a long absence--I want to discuss the questions Dollhouse brings up. But can we leave the personal judgements out of it? It's quite possible to understand something and still not agree with it.
This thread is turning into "your opinion is wrong and my opinion is right and that's the end of that". It also seems to be getting a bit too personal for my liking. So I would ask that people tone it down otherwise action will be taken.

Re: Patton Oswalt, creepy as hell. Something very sad and deeply evil about his actions. Prime case of a rich man and his toys. I'm trying to remember what exactly he said about the internet elite and whether that was foreshadowing for something.
Sorry Simon.. I think we're all just trying to find something to do, since there's no Dollhouse episode this week.

p.s: I agree that Patton Oswalt's Character was creepy, but I also felt sympathetic towards him, somehow.

[ edited by mortimer on 2009-04-19 16:19 ]
I agree that Joel Mynor was in no way awww. What I found most creepy in that regard was actually Echo's reaction at the end, how she got that the engagement wasn't complete. Because, spinning the tale how Mynor spins it, the primary motive for his doing is the look on her face when she sees the house. That has happened. We didn't see it because we were obsessing about Paul, but it happened, the first time. The only thing that didn't happen was the sex. So, Echo getting that (and the nice double layer of Rebecca being freaked out by the bed where she would have performed - in a way - simulated sex) is even more creepy to me than Mynor wanting it. Mynor being a predator was pretty well established. Echo wanting to continue the engagement till that point, that creeped me out.
I was completely onboard with Mynor's storyline (thanks for the reminder of his name, wiesengrund) until the final scene. I found it creepy (the word of the day!) and ultimately disgusting, and I was comfortable with the idea that Mynor was supposed to be reprehensible, despite his sob story. While watching, I felt the writers were toying with the idea of sympathy--how this guy tells a sad story to justify hiring a doll, and how Ballard sees through it. I thought that ultimately the direction the writers were going for was for viewers to come away with the idea that Mynor is not some poor lonely widower, but in fact a skeevy lowlife. If he only hired the dolls to reenact the house reveal, I could feel a little sympathy for him. But it was made clear that sex was a big part of the deal for him, which puts a yucky spin on his motivations. Mynor didn't care about his wife, didn't truly miss her, and I doubt he truly loved her. He was a loser married to a hot wife, and he got off on it. He wanted to show his wife the house he bought for her, but he didn't buy it for her--he bought it so he could have his moment. When robbed of that moment, he goes on, year after year, to hire high-tech hookers to play his wife, then bangs them. Just, eww. But an oddly satisfying eww--I found the story compelling.

However, the ending, done all romantic movie montage-style, undermined the message for me. I'll admit that maybe I'm missing the point of why Echo wanting to go back and complete her mission was presented as a sweet, romantic moment. Coming away from MotS, I have no idea what the writers were trying to say about that engagement. The message seemed very inconsistent to me.
For the record, I'm finding the discussion mostly interesting and enlightening. I don't have the visceral reaction that a lot of people seem to be having to this show. I'm more engrossed by the intellectual mysteries - what is the mission of the Dollhouse that so many people working there think justifies the wrongs it does, what is the connection between Adelle and Caroline/Echo, what is the connection between Alpha and Caroline/Echo, who is the insider contacting Ballard, if all these questions get answered what would be the topics for a second season if the show gets renewed?

But I feel that I'm gaining from hearing others' perspectives. One thing that I do think the show is doing in terms of moral issues is reminding us that people who do heinous things can still be personally likable and even charming. Some of us find Topher cute and enjoyable because he's funny - even though what he does is thoroughly revolting. I, for one, did find Patton Oswalt's character kind of sweet and endearing. But yeah, what he is doing is vile. Boyd seems to have a good moral base - but he's enabling what goes on at the Dollhouse. It's a worthwhile lesson because real life is like that. The bad guys don't wear black hats, and may genuinely love their families and donate to the local charity, and be witty and fun to be around. And still do appalling things.
I'm somewhat confused by the whole Dollhouse = human trafficking argument. (Especially when it is stated as, basically, the end of the discussion.)

I mean, obviously, I see the parallels and the connections. But, the way the Dollhouse operates is not the way that human trafficking operates. There are clearly differences (ostensible consent - the most iffy of the distinctions, I'll grant; lack of memories; handsome remuneration after five years).

I guess it's like the "wage slave" argument, to me. Yes, working for a wage can be exploitative, and can be the result of societal pressures and coercion, but that does not mean it's the same thing as slavery.

(This is not to say that what the Dollhouse does is good, just that if it's bad, it's not because it's the exact same thing as human trafficking.)
On a related note, but in a separate comment, I think part of what the show is challenging/asking us is whether there is EVER a reason/justification for the kinds of exploitation/programming that the Dollhouse enacts. That's why we have these likable characters who seem to have signed on for what appears to be an evil enterprise (Adelle and Boyd). Adelle certainly seems to believe in the larger mission of the Dollhouse, for instance. Could she actually be right? Would there be something that would actually justify this?

(EDIT, for a further unrelated note, but I won't start a whole 'nother comment. Mynor didn't really get to reveal his success to his "wife." She saw the house and was in disbelief and suspected the worst (Porn!), but the actual telling her the truth and celebrating (including, but not limited to, the sex) didn't happen.)

[ edited by Septimus on 2009-04-19 19:04 ]
Septimus I for one am not saying "it's human trafficking end of discussion." Just that for me, that's what it is, and therefore it makes it difficult for me to see shades of gray. I certainly recognize other people don't see it that way, and that's one of the reasons I'm interested in discussions. Just as you're convinced it's nothing like human trafficking and can't understand how people see it that way, I'm convinced it is nearly exactly like human trafficking and don't understand how people can't see it. Makes for interesting conversations, hee. :)

Most of the dolls we've seen ended up at the dollhouse in dire straits. The dollhouse swoops in, offers an answer to their problems, but at the cost of having their bodies used in any manner seen fit by the dollhouse. Surely there is pay--if the doll doesn't end up killed on an engagement or glitch and end up in the attic. And who's to say the dollhouse even makes good on their end of the deal? Once someone's mind is wiped, the dollhouse has absolute control.

It's a bit like a runaway living in the streets--no where to go, nothing to eat, no hope of getting out. A pimp then approaches the runaway and offers a deal of shelter and money in exchange for working as a prostitute. For a desperate person with no where to go, this might seem like the only choice they can make. But the pimp knows once such a person is hooked, it's nearly impossible for them to get away. That's why you're not going to see pimps trolling the local high schools looking for girls willing to sell their bodies--they count on desperation to gain control.

Another example would be human traffickers who go to third world countries to find people to come to the western world to work as maids. They offer a fantastic new life in a fantastic new country, in exchange for X number of years of service. But because these people are desperate and vulnerable and kept from the outside world, most end up abused, as sex slaves, or simply disappearing.

The dollhouse holds all the cards on the dolls. Once snared, there is no freedom for the dolls to change their minds, and no reason for the dollhouse to make good on any of their promises. And that's where I see the parallels with human trafficking.
I didn't say that I was "convinced it's nothing like human trafficking." In fact, I said "I mean, obviously, I see the parallels and the connections." Those parallels and connections are exactly of the type that you describe. I agree.

Now, what about the distinctions that I pointed out? What about (1) the fact that the Dollhouse may very well make good on their promise, (2) the lack of long-term damage to the doll if they really don't remember anything, (3) the really high remuneration, and (4) the possibility of a higher justification/reason for its activities?

These are definitely distinctions from traditional human trafficking. Do they not make any difference?
Septimus, I'm posting from work, and there was about a half hour between reading your post and my replying to it, and it was quite a hetic time here as I formulated my reply. Sorry that I missed some of what you said, and didn't address some of your points. As I'm still at work and don't want to make the same mistake twice, I'll come back to your post later tonight and post my views when I get home.
Dollhouse is equally as evil as human trafficking. Not the same, but similar and evil.

[ edited by stuffy on 2009-04-19 22:38 ]
Ah well, whether it's evil or not is a different question. I'm definitely leaning toward it IS evil.
I read some of your earlier comments and edited mine as I realised we were kindov already in agreement!
Septimus - could you please expand on your #4 point about a "higher justification/reason"? I've asked this before, and the "mind control" answer I read seems too simplistic even for me. Thanks!!!

I'm pretty sure we don't agree on some (or every)thing(s), but your postings are eliciting some interesting responses.
Septimus, as I've said, I don't think the Dollhouse is an exact parallel to anything, but I'll answer your questions: 1) the promise of a great job and lots of money is often used in human trafficking. Maybe the Dollhouse will prove different by delivering on this promise, but so far, we have no evidence of anyone who emerged after 5 years happy, healthy and rich. Instead, we've seen that the work is so dangerous that it's possible actives could be killed or disabled. We've also seen that, if they have too many glitches, they could be sent to the Attic indefinitely.

2) Why do you assume their will be no longterm damage if the actives don't remember anything? First, we've seen how drugs and other glitches can bring up memories that were supposed to stay hidden. Second, people can still have trauma if they know something has happened to them (such as being raped or causing harm to another while being black-out drunk) even though they can't remember it.

3) This promise is often made in human trafficking. With the Dollhouse, we've yet to see it pay off anyone.

4) We don't have any proof that the Dollhouse has a higher (good) purpose. But a lot of people try to justify prostitution by saying it benefits society. Some people think it takes pressure off men who might otherwise rape women. It has been used as an attempt to reduce pressures in the military. Some say it helps sad, lonely men, etc.
Mortimer, I didn't mean to imply that you were pro-prostitution, but I can't understand how someone who was anti-prostitution could condone what PO's character is doing.

I agree that there are levels of coercion in much of our society. But I still think it's worse for the actives because they have no way to resist or refuse, after their minds have been wiped.

I think I read this somewhere else, but ... Dollhouse is sort of like a show centered on Wolfram & Hart, in which the focus was on the employees and how they came to work for the law firm and whether or not it did any good.

There's a lot of SF in which we hate and fear the bad guys (think of the Borg, for exmaple) but later begin to see their backstories. We meet individuals and get to like them. This is reversed with Dollhouse in which we meet some interesting and likable people who are doing evil things.
And now for something completely different...we have seen very few actual assignments, what about non-sex gigs, like an assassin who takes out certain individuals hostile to other governments or business interests? (Someone like Pol Pot) Or Actives programmed to act as aid workers in developing countries who are not as vulnerable, due to programming, as actual aid workers?

Actives could be interpreters, cooks, teachers, sperm or ova donators, scientists or many other possible occupations. (btw, does anyone actually KNOW if Caroline or Echo was acting as midwife in that episode??)

Do I think these assignments are a likely as the pimping, as Boyd said?? Maybe not. But it's possible.


Again, KUDOS, Suzie!!!!

[ edited by falina on 2009-04-20 03:17 ]
I find the harsh judgements of Joel Mynor pretty scary. Everyone wants things from other people, everyone uses people. I think the best you can aim for is not hurting them directly. If the prostitute you just saw is no more unhappy than before, you aren't doing harm. As you get older you accept more greyness, I think. I really appreciate Dollhouse for showing people at different stages of maturity/damage; the clashes between their outlooks are very lifelike.

Also, interesting to note the Scoobies' family gang safety only emerges in adult life if you're in a cult or a Dollhouse - and then federal agencies want to shoot you up. Seems like growing up is mostly about learning stuff slightly too late. All Joss' shows are great for showing this.

[ edited by doublemeat on 2009-04-20 03:10 ]
Thanks to everyone for all of the responses to my admittedly deliberately provocative questions.

I agree with a lot of what people have said. All I'm saying is that the show seems to present things as more open-ended than many seem to treat them. Adelle, for instance, is a generally likable and seemingly moral and caring character. She also seems to believe that there is a greater mission for the Dollhouse and possibly that she is even doing good for the Dolls themselves. Now, we can simply discount that and draw the parallels to the way that real-life human trafficking works (manipulative and lying traffickers, abusive pimps, etc.), but that seems to deny the complexity and strangeness of the world that Joss is presenting to us. Similarly, we can say that in real life people DO remember things even if unconsciously or that they can be traumatized by what they have done even without a memory of it, but that does not seem to be in keeping with what the Dollhouse does (or at least tries to do and thinks it does) either.

I mean, what's all the sci-fi hoopla for if it's REALLY only human trafficking. What's the point?

Anyway, all of this should be framed by the fact that I think the Dollhouse is almost certainly evil, even if it's not in exactly the same way as human traffickers are (mostly because it has the qualities of other potentially evil forces too, like an exploitative corporation, or brainwashing education, etc.).

Joss seems to have become more and more interested in what it means to be (or to try to be) good from within a decidedly evil/corrupt system. In the later seasons, Buffy struggled to come to terms with the cruelty and horror of the slayer heritage. Angel and the gang went into Wolfram & Hart. The Firefly crew were just trying to find a place to be free within an oppressive society. Dr. Horrible seems like a nice guy except for his desire to take over the world, etc. And, even more so, Joss seems to be working on the question of whether you can actually do evil for good reasons (Angel addressed this most directly, but Serenity had the crew passing as Reavers and quasi-aligning with them, and Dr. Horrible flirts with it). Dollhouse seems to be the most fraught and (to my mind) deep examination of this issue.*

*I'll refrain from speculating as to WHY Joss might be interested in this issue, mostly because I think the easy and fun explanation (he's got some experience trying to work within evil flawed systems) does not give him enough credit.
Good point doublemeat.. If anyone is arguing that Prostitution is most wrong because it damages the prostitute emotionally, then the dollhouse could be seen as a better alternative. (Of course this is complicated by the fact that echo is starting to remember things). Ofcourse Mynor didn't know that this was happening (Adelle did though).

[ edited by mortimer on 2009-04-20 04:22 ]

[ edited by mortimer on 2009-04-20 04:30 ]
Falina, thanks!

Doublemeat finds "the harsh judgements of Joel Mynor pretty scary." The real world gives a big ol' pass to men like Joel Mynor. A rich man who gets caught with a prostitute generally loses little. I was just reading how the prominent men who used the women who worked for the DC Madam skated. She and another woman committed suicide, and other women were ruined. A lot of guys say prostitution isn't that bad, but I don't see them hiring former prostitutes for other work. Shorter version: Women who do sex work face harsh judgments in society. Men who buy prostitutes face much less criticism.

If the prostitute you just saw is no more unhappy than before, you aren't doing harm. There's a concept of cumulative harm. Let's say the woman hates sex work, but does it to feed her child. Don't you think every time she has to do it adds to her unhappiness? How would the john know if he had added to her unhappiness or not?
I know prostitutes who love their work. Sex, meeting new people, the strength from giving happiness to someone who might not be able to find it elsewhere. At the end of the day there are as many kinds of prostitutes as there are kinds of women. You just have to be sensitive to your effects on them, same as with anyone. Joel could look at Rebecca and know she loved being with him. That's what he was paying for. He can't know his effect on Echo/Caroline, probably believes he has no effect, and has decided it isn't his responsibility in any case. I can't judge him harshly for that, it seems like an everyday mature decision for dealing with people.
About cumulative harm, let's say the woman hates retail work or telemarketing. How do you treat them differently? Silently acknowledging that sometimes we have to do things we don't enjoy, remaining upbeat and perhaps telling a few jokes is one way. Not using their services is another.

I tip waitresses more if they're grumpy than friendly, but either way I'm not forgoing my pie.
I'm curious why the sexual aspect of it is the only thing that's considered vile about Joel Mynor's fantasy. The whole thing requires rewriting someone else's personality to meet his needs. Why are we willing to forgive him tending to his emotional needs in this way, but find him disgusting as soon as his sexual needs become involved? This seems to presume that his sexuality is a separate and lesser impulse, entirely divorced from his emotional well being. I don't think that's a realistic view of people.
I think that doublemeat has a point when he compares prostitution to telemarketing, etc. There's a certain amount of frustration and disrespect that is an element of any job (ask anyone who's worked retail). If we accept these feelings in the case of other workers, but find them an unacceptable burden to sex workers, aren't we suggesting that the desire to have sex is loathsome in a way that wanting someone to bring your food from the kitchen for you or change the oil in your car is not?

To me, one of the most interesting points that the show is making is that prostitution is among the least of the ways in which the actives give up their autonomy. The romantic engagements are the only ones in fact that don't involve a huge amount of personal danger. When a doll is sent to serve as a soldier, a bodyguard or an assassin, their body is being used to fulfill someone else’s purpose in a way no less profound, and much more hazardous, than when they're sent to have sex.

[ edited by Revolver on 2009-04-20 06:53 ]
All I gotta say is this show just doesn't stop surprising me. So much awesome packed into an hour. I can hardly wait for the next episode. :)
And now I've got my room mate hooked.
To me, one of the most interesting points that the show is making is that prostitution is among the least of the ways in which the actives give up their autonomy. The romantic engagements are the only ones in fact that don't involve a huge amount of personal danger. When a doll is sent to serve as a soldier, a bodyguard or an assassin, their body is being used to fulfill someone else’s purpose in a way no less profound, and much more hazardous, than when they're sent to have sex.

Well, we had Topher acknowledge in episode 3 that that should be the case, but that it isn't. Her romantic gig in "The Target" and MotS both had to be saved by Boyd because of some serious violence going on.

But, I do agree in part about "the ways in which the actives give up their autonomy", because it was Echo who actually wanted to finish that part of the Mynor-Engagement. Her first conscious decision in doll-state.
Wiesengrund: We already saw that bits of Echo's experiences remained after being wiped. In "The Target," she slaps her shoulder, for example. After the experience with Mynor, it would not be surprising if some of the implanted memories/feelings remained.

Revolver, no one else can judge which is worse for a particular person - being forced to be a soldier or being forced to have sex. For many men, they don't seem to have the same fears and anguish over the idea of rape that many women have. So, I think it may be hard for some women - it certainly is for me - to read a thread in which men insist that the actives being brainwashed into having sex is the least of their problems.

I think all of the Dollhouse is abominable. I think we've ended up arguing about prostitution because that has the most real-world application. But I'm equally prepared to argue against hired assassins. ;)

Doublemeat: I understand that some prostitutes like their jobs. How many is hard to say. The prostitutes that you know ... do you know them as a client or a potential client? If so, this doesn't really count because their job is to make you think that they enjoy their job. You say, "You just have to be sensitive to your effects on them, same as with anyone." The trouble is, they are acting, and so, it's hard to know what effect you're having. You suggest that it's not Mynor's responsibility to care what effect his use of a brainwashed woman might have on her.

Both you and Revolver suggest that men shouldn't have to deny themselves the pleasure of having sex with prostitutes, even if the women don't enjoy their work, because other people do jobs that they don't enjoy.

But being a prostitute is different from being a telemarketer or a waitress. In many places, prostitution carries such a social stigma that a family might kill a relative who did that work or might not want her to return home. In more liberal societies, the stigma may still hurt a woman in various ways, such as getting other employment.

For many women, having sex with men they don't particularly like, when they're not particularly in the mood, is a soul-deadening proposition. If a woman who does sex work says she likes it, fine. But it's too self-serving for men to argue that it's not a bad job.

Revolver, I don't think anyone's saying that the desire to have sex is loathsome. But some of us think it's loathsome for people to expect others to service them, with no thought to the consequences.

With that, I'm leaving this discussion, feeling pretty much like NewCJ.
You always know if they're acting. That's why you want dolls. See episode 2.

I can see how sex can feel like giving away a lot of yourself, leaving not enough left to live on for some women. That's sad. I also know my only legitimate argument is in bringing forward prostitutes who can account for themselves. And fwiw I also found the idea of using people loathsome – until experience taught me we're all animals with wordy confusion on top, and nature is bloody. I like Dollhouse, it's a mature show that for me continues Jossy themes beyond adolescence, beyond Wolfram & Hart's black and white grey areas, into the real red in tooth and claw grey areas of adulthood.
But being a prostitute is different from being a telemarketer or a waitress. In many places, prostitution carries such a social stigma that a family might kill a relative who did that work or might not want her to return home. In more liberal societies, the stigma may still hurt a woman in various ways, such as getting other employment.


This is why we should talk about prostitution openly and honestly rather than simply calling it "wrong".
I think it may be hard for some women - it certainly is for me - to read a thread in which men insist that the actives being brainwashed into having sex is the least of their problems.

Well, first of all, you don't really know that doublemeat and I are men. And don't say you can tell by our positions on the issue, cause that's cheating. Second, I didn't say that it was the least of their problems. Falling out of touch with all their pen pals is the least of their problems. I just said that there's one obvious problem that's bigger.

Both you and Revolver suggest that men shouldn't have to deny themselves the pleasure of having sex with prostitutes, even if the women don't enjoy their work, because other people do jobs that they don't enjoy.

That's close to what I was suggesting, but actually I was suggesting that no one should deny themselves the pleasure of sex even if the sex worker, regardless of their gender, isn't really enjoying it.

For many women, having sex with men they don't particularly like, when they're not particularly in the mood, is a soul-deadening proposition. If a woman who does sex work says she likes it, fine. But it's too self-serving for men to argue that it's not a bad job. Revolver, I don't think anyone's saying that the desire to have sex is loathsome. But some of us think it's loathsome for people to expect others to service them, with no thought to the consequences.

I never said it wasn't a bad job. I think it fits pretty handily into the category of "bad job." I just don't think it's the worst job. A lot of men and hardly any women make their money working construction on high rises. Some of them fall and die. So it goes. Does that make it sexist to want to live in a tall building? More to the point, any job that involves, to use your phrase, "servicing others" is a soul-deadening proposition. Serving drinks, driving a cab, juggling geese, cleaning houses, whatever - they're all bad, soul-deadening jobs. Unless they involve sex or sexuality in some way, we tend not to talk about the "consequences" in grand, ominous terms.

Believe it or not, I've never once had sex with a prostitute and I probably never will. My opinion is not based in justifying some literal desire of mine. It has more to do with being creeped out by the anti-sex (and at times, noticeably anti-man) attitudes that go into condemning prostitution, as evidenced on this thread by Joel Mynor. I thought that Joel Mynor had a fairly wholesome fantasy. (I am not defending the things that were done in order to fulfill it, only the fantasy itself.) The only disgusting thing about it was that it involved sex. If you happen to think sex is disgusting.

Suzie, you've taken your (incidentally correct) assumption that I'm a man, and made it the be-all and end-all of what I have to say. I don't know about everybody else here, but I think it's kind of a cheesy shortcut to take an argument about sex and turn it into an argument about gender.
Lots of discussion on the whys of Dollhouse. The whys of Dollhouse have changed dramatically since their inception, and I am not just talking about on the show itself, but behind the scenes. How is it that we expect consistency and fully-thought out sub-plots such as 'why' from a show that has no such consistent sub-plotting applied to it?
I think 2 of the articles listed on the first page today are very substantive - they actually discuss some of the rape issues. This issue is a huge swamp - although I don't think telemarketing and prostitution are remotely the same.

Some weeks ago a professional sex worker put up a link to a 'newsletter' for whores, the name of which I forget. She had her own view on Joss' vision. It showed a different life, and I wish I could remember the name of it. Simon?? Do you remember this??

Revolver, I don't agree (a shocker, I know) that Suzie considers your gender to be the "be-all and end-all" of what you have to say. While it may be a factor, I think you are taking the easy way out, dismissing her opinion.

I do think that one's gender in contemporary society does have a PROFOUND impact on one's perceptions (and therefore life) if only because males and females have staggeringly different expectations for and from society, and one's experiences because of that. Let's not forget, a male slut is a stud and a female one is well, a slut, a notion still depressingly common.

And really, doublemeat and revolver seem more like male names to me, which is probably due to my societal conditioning. Maybe.

Yes, certain individuals can and do escape from those expectations, but they are not the majority.
Prostitution in and of itself doesn't bother me. I'm not interested in being or hiring a prostitute... but I'm not interested in being or hiring a life coach either.

My problems with prostitution stem from the frequent pseudoconsensuality of it. I've personally had a few acquaintances that worked at various times as prostitutes. None of them exactly chose the job. Two of them were literally forced into it.

If I were coerced into joining the Dollhouse and somehow came away with any knowledge of my experiences, I think I would be much less concerned with having sex with someone that I thought I loved, than with killing someone that I thought I hated. My own morality has much more trouble with killing than with fornicating. And use is use... I'm not sure that I feel it's substantively worse to be used sexually than to be used in other profound ways.

Certainly, in a situation such as that between Nolan and Priya, wherein context clearly excludes consent, everything changes. It's rape. Very elaborate, very expensive rape.

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