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

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"We totally Shadowcatted! Chase is gona be so jealous!"
11945 members | you are not logged in | 25 November 2014




Tweet







May 09 2009

(SPOILER) Discuss the US season finale of Dollhouse. Omega. The End? And if you missed the episode, it's now available to watch the episode for free at Fox on Demand and Hulu and can be purchased on iTunes.

It better not be. I'm so excited for the episode. I can't wait.
Really looking forward to tying up some loose ends/answering questions, although I'm sure many more little threads will unravel. And I can't wait!
Is it 8pm Arizona time yet? Geez Louise.
I'll be able to say the joke title I've had for this episode for a while now in a few hours time. Hooray!
Hey gossi, how do you see these things early, anyway? You always stress that you just work for a tuna company. And yet you have such abilities!
I do indeed work for a tuna company and I am indeed just an idiot.
Just 20 more minutes until Omega! I need to start planning snacks. I don't want to have to get up in the middle except during brief commercials to run and hit refresh here (I am becoming increasingly more jealous of people who can access Whedonesque while watching Whedonverse material on television without moving... :P)

gossi, looking forward to hearing the joke title soon! ^_^
I just finished watching MotS again... what a great episode that was. I'm pretty excited for this finale.
gossi, is your joke title ohmygod! ? get it? Heh.

-slinks away-
Please let this be the season finale and not the series finale!
So freaking in love with this show...I could not handle it if the show ended.
Oh, the anticipation is building...

I'm really glad I avoided watching those preview clips. More unspoiled fun ahead.
"go and help Victor" -- we need to make sure he's still able to work!
Well that pretty much confirms the Saunders theory, yes?
Flashback!
Oh, yeah. He's out of his mind(s).
This episode has flashbacky goodness.
Tudyk is amazing. My oh my.
Client getting what he deserved, frankly.
KNEW IT. The Whiskey last week gave it away!
Ah, that explains that.

Also, more Amy Acker in stripper wear, please.
SON OF A! That's... Creepy... And all I see is Fred...
TOTALLY DID NOT SEE THAT COMING.
"Thanks for the ride".
That was ehhhhh-cellent.
I'll be in my dang BUNK... wow, Amy Acker.

Check out Ballard being awesome. Sadly he takes the heat for this.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2009-05-09 02:12 ]
Minear directs the shit out of his stuff. He's awesome.
OMG, the flashback with Alpha and Whiskey was SO creepy!
HOLY SH--! This is just...WOW!
Word, pat.
Is that George Frankly? :)
Ah, hell, they just shoved a copy of some poor old guy's personality in her.
Alpha's having a man-reaction.
Whoa, the Alpha instant fixation on Caroline as she walks by is reminding me of Viktor for Sierra, especially Alpha's intuition into Caroline's emotions.
Oh, punch him, Ballard, punch that punk-ass little shit NOW.
OK, he sounded like Sonny right then. :D
These guys *deserved* Alpha, frankly.
KingofCretins, I don't think so. I couldn't justify murder, even of those I hate. In particular of those I hate, in fact.
The actives didn't though.
The 'crazy' scenes are very Jubal Early-esque.
What did Topher mean when he told Ballard, "Couple more decades"?..
Deck hands.
Whoa, this stuff is getting deep.
Theory: In Alpha's mind(s), you have to kill "yourself" in order to ascend.
Oh sweet Jesus....!
Topher is the dumbest smart person in the world, basically.
Holy cow!! All of them!!!
OMFG!!!!

+1
THE OLD GODS WERE RIGHT!

(what kind of silly people would obsess over a soul in a glass bottle like a firefly?)
All those personalities turned her into Faith?
For future reference....


If you are fostering a rescue dog (sweet as a button pitbull, bytheway) and you keep yelping with aesthetic bliss at a TV show, you make the dog nervous.
Lots of Buffyness--soul talk, eye-gouginess, ascension-talk, tower-stair climbiness.

[ edited by Brett on 2009-05-09 02:52 ]
Awww...he "saved" the girl after all! :)
Ha, Ballard's purpose has been fulfilled!
Best. twist.on. Gwen. Stacy. Plot. ever.

[ edited by doubtful guest on 2009-05-09 03:00 ]
Lots of Angelesque and The Inside, too.
9:52? It's almost over!! Nooooooooooooooooo!!
Come on, seriously.

How could they cancel this show?
Yeah, gossi. It's like Tim composited. Eep.
I'm ready to rinse and spit...(or words to that effect) awesome!
HA! Called that too!
Great song choice -- "Eternal Sunshine" :)
The potential this show has to go on past this point is incredible. I think I am officially on the "don't cancel it!" bandwagon now.
I take back the stuff I said about Ballard in last weeks episode.
That was beautiful and sad and amazing and...Season 2, please.
Oh, Fox, PLEASE don't cancel this! It's going to be epic!
Wow, that was possibly as good as Zoe buying back Wash when she had to make a choice (and more of a surprise).
So is THAT the "connection" between Saunders/Whiskey? She's the one to humanize Topher, to get him to really see what he's doing to people?
KOC- ya beat me to it.
And now we know why Boyd would join the Dollhouse too! That's just lovely. I love Paul and Boyd. I'm gonna go write some fanfi--nevermind.
Oh, man. So many things left hanging.

Paul's a "contractor"? Is he gonna be a doll? Trading his freedom for November's?

Everything about Whiskey/Saunders is uncertain, and very intriguing.

Alpha's still on the loose.

Topher's starting to look unsure about what he does.

What're they gonna do with Victor?

As a side note... they still have Wendy's mind on a wedge. They could insert her in a blank body, if they ever get any. I was actually pretty sure that's what they were going to do to Alpha upon catching him.
I wasn't shocked with this ep but it was still well acted and shot. An entertaining hour. I hope it gets a season 2 because I'm very interested to see what they'll do with Victor and Novemember(Madelaine).
I wish they hadn't had Alpha poke out the handler's eyes. That's too much of a Caleb/Xander thing for me.
I'm not sure I like how this worked with Paul -- I buy that he'd be willing to trade his own freedom for Madeleine's, but I don't buy for a second that he's suddenly "okay" with the Dollhouse, and there's nothing to suggest he is. I hope his servitude is *as* Paul Ballard and not as an Active (even though that would leave the Dollhouse two down, including "Victor"). As an Active, he's just another slave. As Ballard, he's the only one who showed *any* insight into tracking Alpha at all.

I have to assume he's just decided Kraft (because really, he never was Alpha after all, even if it sounds cooler) is a bigger threat in general and that maybe he's decided Boyd is right to the extent he can better guarantee their safety from inside. But I still can't imagine he doesn't want to raid the self-shelf, free those people, and then take a match to the Dollhouse.
@Dingoes8: Well, when he said "I'm nobody" to me it pretty much sounds like that's what he did. He did get her name first though, so that'll be part of his primary record, if that's in fact what's going to happen. Wow. (Oops, KoC is faster than I am!)

[ edited by CellarDoor on 2009-05-09 03:08 ]
Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind!

LOVE.

The episode was awesome. I want more. :)

[ edited by VeryVeryCrowded on 2009-05-09 03:09 ]
That was so amazing! Amy rocked her Whiskey scene, so gorgeous. And that ending? Totally creepy.
1. At exactly 8:52 Fox cut out altogether here in Davenport, and did not come back on here for almost 5 minutes. The last thing I saw was Paul catching the dropped card with Echo's personality on it; then, the next thing I saw was Paul sitting in Adelle's office when she took a phone call and then Mellie walked in. I do not know what happened in between. So which doll was permanently deactivated? Mellie, given her freedom, or someone else?

2. Now, I have to say, I was sort of engaged up to one point, and again it is my specific training that took me out of the story, and that was when they mentioned that they were using prisoners as some of their early subjects. Well, the law would not let them do so, as embodied in 45CFR46 section on the use of prisoners in research- you can only do research on prisoners for two reasons: (1) to study prison conditions, and (2) if a specific prisoner has a disease for which research exists. And you cannot offer any incentives, no early release, no privileges. This is no small matter, as the use of prisoners in research was endemic during the Nazi regime; for this reason, we developed the Helsinki Accords, and then our current Common Rule. SO, yes, someone might say, well, they broke the law- but then why say anything at all?

Anyway.

I have not really engaged this show, but my wife has. She has enjoyed it a lot, but she was left laughing out loud at some of the absurdities tonight. These are all really dumb smart people, all of them including Adelle and Topher. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, these folks only see what they want to see.

There was nothing that happened that I did not see before it happened, from Echo's body being shot just when you think they will put the mind back in it= a predictable Joss maneuver- to Paul asking for Mellie to go free, not Echo, to Claire being Whiskey and that being her in the murk when we first see Alpha.

Still, if this gets a new season, I hope it is not focused on Alpha to the exclusion of other things. I knew Echo could not go free, because you have no potential for the show if she does. Oh well.
I won't lie, I didn't think Amy Acker could get sexier than when Fred crawled up Gunn in "Supersymmetry".

I was so, so very wrong.
The story 5 down on the main page... "Last Chance to Visit Joss Whedon's Dollhouse?" shows a picture of November and Sierra in their mercenary gear at the abandoned plant. The reviewer also says they've seen the episode, and mention two pairings we've never seen before. So I assume there must have been a B-story with S and N tracking down Alpha that was cut for broadcast, but still included in copies sent to reviewers? I hope the full version is on the DVD!
FANFIC CHALLENGE:

Now that (the actors who played) Mal, Zoe, Wash, and Jayne have had their turns as Whedon villains, imagine the perfect scenario for (the actors who played) KAYLEE, RIVER, SIMON, BOOK, and INARA to bring the pain as Whedon Big Bads....
OMG...there were no deaths! Or did I miss something?
Jewel Staite as villain? Really?
Love:

- Direction. It's brilliantly dark.
- Fran Kranz at the end. Nailed it.
- Echo touching Topher's shoulder/heart.
- Eternal Sunshine toonage. Love that movie. A lot.
- Amy Acker is a freakin' man. For those who missed it.

dingos, yes, there's an entire thing about Sierra and November in this episode. Was that not broadcast?
I enjoyed the episode - maybe not as much as last weeks craziness, but it was a good ending to a fun season of TV.

The Alpha storyline reminded me of Bride of Frankenstein, with Alpha being Dr. Frankenstein/Dr. Pretorious/The Monster, and the composited Echo/Omega being the Bride of Frankenstein. They also got the "if you use a criminal mind in a science experiment, it ends up bad" bit from Frankenstein. Not bad source material. My favorite part of the episode was Ballard picking Mellie instead of Caroline - finally someone does something on the show I can root for.
So, did Topher in fact feel something for Whiskey? is that why he made sure that Dr. Saunders didn't like him? But past episodes suggested his sexual drives weren't actually developed enough for that to happen.
And hurray for the possibility that Alpha will come back - because I do, I must, believe it will be renewed.Alan Tudyk was scary here. Really really scary, so I appreciated even more how Echo stood up to him.
I will be very disappointed if they don't continue with another season. This episode was thoroughly (spelling?) enjoyable. Must admit, the Whiskey twist surprised me (and I'm usually *very* good at predicting plot twists). Anywhose. Tired. Work tomorrow. Awesome Episode. Hope Fox doesn't screw it up.

Good night, all.
right on Dana, I totally saw, way back in '99 our government creating an offshore prison camp for detainees it wasn't sure how to classify as normal geneva convention prisoners! This show is so pathetic in its unrealistic assumption that power and technology never sway the letter of the law to ends we thought only existed in sci-fi...keep up the good fight.
Jewel played a wraith! They aren't very cuddly - kinda villiany.
Gossi, no... nothing abotu Sierra and November beyond their being imprinted and getting ready for an engagement. We don't see what they actually go out to do, unless I bilnked for like... 5-10 minutes or so. We missed something?!
The Operative - yes, there was a strong Dr. Frankenstein feel to it, wasn't there? Like that a lot.
dingoes8 I had seen those pictures and was looking forward to seeing the Sierra/Novemember scene. I was horribly disappointed it was cut! :(


[ edited by azzers on 2009-05-09 03:20 ]
Fraking. Amazing.

Caroline...
We saw Sierra and November get imprinted and sent out, but they don't appear again in the episode at all until November walks into Adelle's office.

What got cut? I've seen the promo pics of them in gear.
After Ballard named his conditons, it occurred to me that might be what he'd do - and it made me say "HA!", too! I knew he wasn't that one-tracked! And yes, I do think we now have a good possibility of how Boyd ended up here, too.

Much awesomenes here; and Joss and co did give us an ending - with open possibilities remaining, but, as with many of the Buffy season finalies, a resolution which can serve as an end point if need be.

I won't say too much more at the moment - but I do want to give a nod to director Tim Minear for that Alpha/Whiskey(1.1) sequence - some memorable visual style, for certain.
Lioness, I really wanted to know more about that too, and I think Topher almost wanted Whiskey to look at her original file because then he wouldn't have to hide whatever he tried to bury anymore. I wonder if she was very close to him originally, maybe he even got her into the Dollhouse...? It seems like more than just her being a "birthday friend" one year.
KoC said: Jewel Staite as villain? Really?

Did you see Wonderfalls? She wasn't exactly evil, but I could see how she would get there.

Now, Kaylee as villain? Never ever ever ever....
Who do we ask to have the Uncut episode put on Hulu or iTunes?
See, Tamhoh learned from BSG that if you want yer baby back, you gotta let yerself get killed and reborn in another body! Grace Park walked him through the whole thing.
Amazing finale and I certainly hope the show gets another season.

Alpha is still out there and I sure want to see more of that.Alan Tudyk was amazing.A truly chilling baddie.His fixation on slashing people's faces as a carry over from his pre doll days was just creepy.Very stalkerish vibe he has with Echo/Caroline in the flashbacks.

The episode confirmed what was suspected.Dr. Saunder's is a doll and Whiskey was downloaded with Saunders since her disfigurement at Alpha's hands prevented her being used as an active in the field anymore.And again,uber stalkerish how Alpha disfigured her so Echo could be the new number one girl.

Since Whiskey/Dr. Saunders is now aware that she is a doll,I so want to see where that goes.It's a great setup for a second season plot.Hopfully we get it.

Oh and Amy was smoking hot in the beginning during the flashback where Whiskey and Alpha are all natural born killers.

Loved Boyde and Ballard teaming up.I'm not surprised that Ballard ends up joining the Dollhouse either.It makes sense,his career as an FBI agent is in the crapper and the FBI thinks he's nuts, and he does it for very noble reasons.I love that it's to give November her freedom.If there is a second season,I could very easily see Ballard becoming Echo's handler.

Another question to ponder.What will happen to Victor due to his disfigurement?

This was an episode that while answering many questions raised just as many.And it makes me also can't wait for July to see "Epitaph One" on the Dollhouse DVD.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2009-05-09 03:32 ]
Jewel Staite as villain? Really?


Did you ever see her in "Wonderfalls?"
Can someone tell me where I missed exactly WHY Ballard was looking for Caroline in the first place? What is THEIR connection?

I think this stuff is way too sophisticated for my tiny brainpan, since I didn't understand most of it. then again, I am more than a little out of practice, I guess.
The cut Sierra/November stuff was awesome. DVD extra, anybody?

Dis, why Paul is after Caroline isn't disclosed, nor why Boyd is even there, what Topher's deal is and I'm still curious about Adelle.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-05-09 03:31 ]

[ edited by gossi on 2009-05-09 03:36 ]
Caroline was the first "face" that Ballard saw while he was still searching for the myth. People try to make it deeper than that, but it probably wasn't. She was the first "human" face he saw. As he started to see more of them, they lost impact with him.
gossi said- Amy Acker is a freakin' man. For those who missed it.
Huh? I don't get it.
Please don't end forever, Dollhouse! I just started to love you!

Good finale...still lots of unanswered questions so I hope it continues!
Jewel wasn't exactly nice on Dead Like Me, either.

I thought Alan was amazing tonight. I thought Tim did a great job directing. Alpha is the most compelling character of the series, and Whiskey/Saunders a close second.

But Faith... I mean Eliza. I just don't think she can cut it. Unless Faith was actually a composite of 20 different slayers, which might explain a lot. I still think she's the weakest link on the show.

I wonder if Paul's contract will be as the new November, or if he'll be working as a handler or security person. I wonder if we'll ever know.
I remember back in episode three Boyd and Dr. Saunders were talking, and Boyd said something like, "She (Echo) is the best (Active)." Saunders replied she wasn't always. After the episode my roomate suspected that the doctor was once the best active, and I told him that I was positive she was talking about Alpha. Man, I feel really dumb.
I'm a little confused here. I understand Paul apparently voluteering to free Madelaine/Mellie/November. But still confused on Echo's apparent willing return...does she feel sorrow for Wendy, killed with her Caroline personality? And apparently, she's retaining something about Caroline, even in her Doll state.

This SO needs another season to explain all the loose ends.

And yes, I too was expecting to see Sierra and November as "two more hands on deck" to help in the rescue. Methinks Joss may have released the photos of Bountry Hunters Sierra and November as a red herring.

[ edited by Riverine on 2009-05-09 03:37 ]
VeryVeryCrowded -- I so agree. I have nothing insightful to say, but I so agree (and I think you are thinking of the Charlie Kaufman movie, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"?).

Earlier tonight, on a bus ride home, I listened as 6 women first discussed "Firefly," then "Castle," then "Dr. Horrible" and a big of "Buffy". It oddly gave me hope that maybe "Dollhouse" will get a second season...not sure why.
Wow! And I mean wow. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but Caroline's mind wasn't transferred with those other 38 mind cells, yet, something didn't quite go to plan as Alpha invision it? Now, Echo is makng her own rules for her (?) game.

Ohh, thank you Joss! Another mindbender to think about. FOX had better renew his show. Otherwise, I'll be pulling out the flaming pitchfork and stalking their studio. :)
Do pitchforks flame, Madhatter? And really, if they do, it might be hard to stalk! Otherwise, I'm there with you! ;-)

[ edited by Lioness on 2009-05-09 13:28 ]
I understand Paul apparently voluteering to free Madelaine/Mellie/November. But still confused on Echo's apparent willing return...does she feel sorrow for Wendy, killed with her Caroline personality?


I it may be that the imprints that Echo has so far don't have any knowledge of how to "imprint" a mind. Alpha seems to have an imprint that does. So it could be that Echo simply "needs" the Dollhouse for this task and realizes that if she wants to bring back Caroline, she has to continue to play the part.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-05-09 03:46 ]
Eileen, I got that same feeling of hope this morning when I saw a guy on the train wearing a Serenity tshirt.
doubtful guest - funny the foster hound dog I watched this episode with was unimpressed with our exclamations... guess the show just wasn't smelly enough :)
...they were using prisoners as some of their early subjects. Well, the law would not let them do so, as embodied in 45CFR46 section on the use of prisoners in research- you can only do research on prisoners for two reasons: (1) to study prison conditions, and (2) if a specific prisoner has a disease for which research exists. And you cannot offer any incentives, no early release, no privileges.

Yeah, 'cause the Dollhouse has been so very law-abiding up until now.
Amazing! (When Echo was kicking Alpha's butt, I said to my husband that I was glad that Faith was one of her personalities. So awesome. The whole thing. Really said a lot of the nature of the soul, mind- deep.
amazing episode. from start to finish, there wasn't a thing i didn't like. paul has always been close to my heart because helo was my favorite character on bsg, so seeing him not only enter this grey area, he finally, literally "saved" caroline(catching her imprint), which was his mission, but in the end, freed the woman he loved, which i thought was very touching (and echoed, no pun intended, back to bsg when he stayed behind on caprica in the miniseries).

i loved the whole structure and flashbacks (tho mildly regrettably, due to our astute observers from last week's discussion, whiskey was slightly spoiled for me). i said to my dad as we watched the show "someone's really gotta give alan an emmy for this." and as someone earlier posted, i totally got that jubal early vibe from the way that both alan played it, as well as tim's superior direction.

as we all feel, here's hoping it's a season finale, not a series finale. my biggest worry is that with the opening of the new star trek movie today that viewership may decline, however, that would also likely make dvr +3/+7 numbers a lot higher than they have been. i find it hard to believe that there will be a drop from last week in viewship tho, because last week was so amazing and compelling that i suspect many of the viewers would be hooked into the 'what happens next' "A story" and be able to get past the "B story" of the tertiary characters like victor and sierra (who aren't tertiary to the show, just the last two eps' narrative).

btw, did anyone other than me think that there was a little in-joke when topher mentioned "fireflies"? :)

at any rate, i hope we get a second season (and many more should we be so lucky), but if not, we got 12 really great episodes that told a wonderful, creepy, murky, human story, and i think we all thank joss and co. for that. yeah, it took a couple episodes to get going, but other than 'welcome to the hellmouth,' even buffy took until episode 7 ("angel") for me to become fully invested in the show.

oh, and if i had to guess, i would suspect paul would become a handler, not an active. he and boyd seemed to get along very well, despite kicking the snot out of each other, at best, narratively, six hours ago.i also felt that the actors seemed to have a very good chemisty.

what i finally, as i complete this essay :) really liked is that there are so many places for the show to go should it get picked up, whether in stand alone episodes like many of the early buffy and firefly eps, or in a long cohesive narrative, like angel s3-4, which other than maybe 4-5 eps, was essentially one long (mindblowingly amazing) story.

[ edited by kefka on 2009-05-09 04:06 ]
First, I just want to say that I loved the episode. Now for the tiny nitpick that bothers me...

I remember people wondering, at the beginning of the season, why Dr. Saunders didn't have cosmetic surgery to remove her scars. I assumed she didn't want them removed. But now that we know she's a doll... why doesn't the Dollhouse just have Victor and Whiskey undergo surgery? They'd get their #1 doll back...
knuckleball - maybe it was just more convenient since they needed a new doctor
Did I not say Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? Or on? Or... I always get that wrong, because it makes more sense for sunshine to be on something rather than of something.
That episode was so incredible. I very badly want a second season.
But why use their most popular active, to fill that void? They mentioned twice how well-liked she was. Surely the cost of surgery would be covered tenfold by an engagement?

I will admit that everything went by very quickly on that day. When we see her in the flashbacks from "The Target," she's still injured, but has already been imprinted as Dr. Saunders. So I can understand why they'd temporarily imprint her as Dr. Saunders, but I'm not sure why they'd keep her that way.
Woo, I got a shoutout in the finale! Loving this episode a lot.
I'm assuming the scars are too deep to erase. I actually expected somthing to happen to Whiskey, and for Victor to be the new Dr. Saunders.

btw, did anyone other than me think that there was a little in-joke when topher mentioned "fireflies"? :)

The glowy soul in a jar resonated with me as well.
redeem147: i totally forgot about the angel wink at the jar holding a soul. awesome spot :)
I liked it. I'm not sure I loved it--besides the Eternal Sunshine song in the last few minutes, and any scene with Amy. I'm not sure how exactly Alan or Eliza should have played people with thirty-plus personalities inside them, or how Tim should have written or directed them, but I wasn't ultimately sold--the two ended up articulating valid philosophical viewpoints, which is good, but I wasn't entirely convinced, at least in Echo's case, that they really came from what's happened before in this season. I'm not sure I wanted to play a spot-the-reference game, but some relevant momentary flashes akin to last week's to Ballard and Boyd might have helped establish where Omega-the-composite-Echo was coming from; she sounded a little like, um, Caroline, which was maybe the point, but.... It blunted the impact of the central Echo/Alpha confrontation for me; Alpha is supposed to be a bit opaque, but I should understand Echo, and I don't really feel like I did. I'm not entirely clear on why Alpha needed Ballard so badly, anyway; and was he the one who was sending Ballard messages via Echo and November? But I liked it. More to come later (maybe). I really do hope there's another season.
I have to say why I loved tonight's fare. My mind wasn't blown. There is just so much to digest.

I don't think Paul is volunteering to be a doll, but I think he's going to be the lead in capturing Alpha. Or at least that's what I got from that scene. And the only way he's doing that is if Madeline is free from her contract.

And Paul is right, no matter how much you wipe a person's mind away, the soul is still there. And the reason why Echo didn't composite like Alpha did was that her core personality, Caroline, took over. Caroline, who made several mistakes, is still a good person at heart while Alpha's original personality is a crazy, psychopathic nutjob.

Kudos to Alan and Eliza for playing these character's well and adding so much depth to them. As well as, Franz, Amy, Dichen, Miracle, Olivia and Harry for bringing their A game tonight.

I also have a theory why Topher imprinted Dr. Saunders to hate him. I felt he did it because he blamed himself for the death of the original Saunders. (There's a KFC joke there, but I digress.) The composite event happened in the chair, which is Topher's responsibility, and that cause everything that happened from that point. So he just did that to remind himself of what he did, and keep himself grounded.

I have other thoughts, but will add them later.
Maybe Topher slightly hates what he's doing to these people and by having Whiskey hate him he doesn't have to hate himself.
crazygolfa...Re: dr. saunders...do you prefer original recipe or extra spicy version?
1. I wish the fight scene between alpha and omega was longer and more intense.

2. I liked the twist with Ballard saving the girl.

3. Is Caroline's original imprint wedge destroyed? That was unclear to me.
Worldwidewhit: No, Paul caught the wedge when it fell. He 'saved' her, after all.
@doubtful guest...I knew someone would find the right joke.
Thanks mouse. But I was unclear whether the wedge was Caroline or that random lady Wendy.

...Which is why I'm rewatching it. :)

[ edited by worldwidewhit on 2009-05-09 04:31 ]
AMAZING. Joss Whedon blows my mind.
I loved this ep on account of Amy Acker and on account of Whiskey's story being so much more compelling than that of any doll thus far. But...the concepts of this show are probably better suited to a book, where we can hear the thoughts and feelings of each identity more clearly.

Regarding Topher's decision to make Dr. Saunders dislike him, Topher must have known Whiskey before she was Whiskey. He sounded heartbroken when Dr. Saunders expressed no interest in seeing who she was before. Yet, their ages seem a bit too far apart to have been lovers (assuming Topher is meant to be early 20s and Dr. Saunders is meant to be mid-30s). (A very very hot mid-30s).
The episode was amazing.

I was left with a bit of a confused feeling though. I had seen the promo photographs of November and Sierra in mercenary gear on E! Online and was so anxiously awaiting them to be a kickass duo together and the scene never took place. I'm sort of left wondering now what their entire purpose of being imprinted earlier in the episode was at all. I do hope that this scene will appear in full on Hulu's version of the episode or, if we have to wait that long, as a DVD extra at the very least.

And did they simply let Alpha run off again? That seems somewhat irresponsible if November and Sierra's purpose of being imprinted was to hunt him down. He's messed up the Dollhouse from the inside twice now, you would think that by now they would have stopped at nothing to eliminate him this time.

I don't know if this is FOX interrupting our full enjoyment of the show again or what, but by the time we returned to Paul negotiating Mellie's freedom at the end of the episode, I was scratching my head and going, "Uh...did we miss something????" Maybe it's just me... :/
Just to add another voice: FOX, please don't cancel the show. It's the best thing we've seen on TV in a long time.
I'd think the DH wouldn't send Whiskey out again as an active as even though the desired damage was done she still might be a target to Alpha.
Okay, some things:

a) If anybody missed it, the male doctor who Alpha poked the eyes out of - that is (was) Saunders. Topher stuffed eyeless dude into Whiskey and did some reprogramming.

b) I'm hoping (praying, more like) they include the deleted scenes/alternative version of Omega on the DVD. They didn't just let Alpha run off and they did try to catch him with November, Sierra and Boyd. There's also some funny with Paul thrown in. However - it all got cut as the episode ran long.
Hmm. If the older man Dr. Saunders was imprinted in Whiskey's body (with a few changes, like ensuring he wouldn't be surprised to be a beautiful younger woman), that would mean that the Dollhouse had a copy of his mind at hand? Is that standard procedure for the 'house? Is there a "back-up copy" of, say, Topher's brain somewhere? Or Adelle's? If not, if they didn't have a copy of Saunders prepped, then maybe "our" Dr. Saunders, Claire Saunders, isn't a man transferred to a woman's body after all, but a Topher-crafted personality? Named "Saunders" because the dolls are programmed to look to "Dr. Saunders" for medical care?

And, I would be very surprised if Ballard ended up a doll. The way that Adelle said that she felt confident about catching Alpha "now that we have our new contractor" (or words to that effect) led me to think that Paul is basically the new special- liason-in-charge-of-Alpha-hunting.
This ep rocked my world. I have to admit, I too am confused about the point of the November/Sierra printing. My guess is that they did it to show Ballard what the process is, so he could really understand the transformation. That just doesn't explain that cool pic on E! though.

Loved the Whiskey storyline and cannot wait to see next season...hint hint

Did have one complaint about this ep though...Alpha gave me some Caleb/Xander flashbacks....I started yelling at the TV "BAD PREACHER!"

b) I'm hoping (praying, more like) they include the deleted scenes/alternative version of Omega on the DVD. They didn't just let Alpha run off and they did try to catch him with November, Sierra and Boyd. There's also some funny with Paul thrown in. However - it all got cut as the episode ran long.


Augh! I will be very surprised if this doesn't end up on the DVD, considering how generous they've been with it so far. I'll also be very upset. And Paul being funny! I've wanted some more of that since "Did I mention I got shot?"
That's one messed up personality cocktail Topher made for Dr Whiskey. She seems much more sad than the glimpse we got of original flavor Saunders. And how kind to have given her a specially inserted memory of being slashed up by Alpha rather than any other cover story. No wonder the resulting imprint isn't too fond of him.

gossi, I believe you owe us a joke title...?

(Fox, I believe you owe us a renewal...)
Lioness and CellarDoor: I'm also interested in the Topher/Dr. Saunders relationship. My take on what we saw late in this episode is that Topher is finally showing his feeling responsible or guilty over what he's doing or done. That is, when Alpha cut Whisky/Dr. Saunders it was, in part, because Topher failed to program that aspect out of Alpha. And by programing Whisky/Dr. Saunders to not like Topher, he is sort of paying for his failure. This is the first episode where one sees that he feels guilt or responsibility, but maybe he's been feeling it for a while. I didn't get a sexual attraction vibe between them. Another interpretation, my husband's, is that maybe the original Dr. Saunders didn't like Topher so the new one doesn't, though he admits that such is not nearly as interesting as these other ideas.
Gossi, what did you mean: Amy Acker is a freakin' man. For those who missed it.
Was this a typo as in she is the man or am I missing something really big? ;)

Really enjoyed the episode. Guess we have a pretty good idea of which side of the soul debate Joss comes down on. I was so glad Paul saved Mellie/November. It definitely went a long way to redeeming his character for me. The single-track obsession with Caroline frankly was becoming a little squicky for me. Although I hate that we've likely seen the last of November. I heart Miracle Laurie. I sincerely hope we see a second season, I think there's much more to plumb here. I'd especially like to see more of the other characters. I'm dying to know more about Adelle, Topher, Boyd and Whiskey. Particularly Whiskey - it was awesome to see her outside the more limited Dr. Saunders role. It would be fascinating to see how they developed a fully self-aware doll. Amy’s fantastic so that storyline is at the top of my list. Also fantastic, Alan Tudyk. Wow, there are no words for how impressive his performance was. I’m glad I got to see him in this, it really displayed his range. I really liked the way they shot his ‘multiple’ moments, well execute and well acted. On another note I just finished reading Nietzsche's 'Beyond Good and Evil'; very interesting to think of the composite event as analogous to Nietzsche’s perspectivism. And the irony of Kraft/Alpha invoking Nietzsche but not realizing that his own soul (and Caroline’s) was still operating within them, that it was in fact indestructible – thus reinforcing the ‘atomism of the soul’ that Nietzsche was so against. Nice, very nice Tim.

One of the questions I have left though is why did Alpha send the picture of Caroline to Paul. It doesn’t really seem like Paul’s help was absolutely necessary in breaking into the Dollhouse. That seems like something Alpha could have handled on his own. So what was the point of involving Paul? Why send him the picture and focus his efforts on investigating the Dollhouse?
I'm likely to be in the minority on this, but I think the show as a whole is a gigantic disappointment. I'm a huge fan of all of Joss's other work, but this show did not work for me.

If I were somehow able to watch this show without knowing Joss made it, I would have sworn it was made by someone who didn't know how to make a compelling, coherent TV show. How is this possible? Joss is the yardstick by which I measure all my entertainment! But when I measure this show with my trusty Joss-stick, it comes up short by at least a foot. I'm more than a little distressed about what that means. Anyone else feel the same way?
Yes Anthony, I'm waiting for gossi's joke title too, unless I missed it somewhere already?

@eand: regarding what will.bueche said too, there's that inexplicable sadness we see in Topher when Saunders won't look at her original file though. That seems to precede anything about Whiskey, or it could just be him trying to atone for messing with minds and souls by offering her a look into her original but she won't accept his act of penance? I'm reading too much into his "look" I think! :P

[ edited by CellarDoor on 2009-05-09 05:13 ]

[ edited by CellarDoor on 2009-05-09 05:20 ]
perhaps you need more vitamin D, I. Calcium.
*keels over*
And now I get why Mr. Dominic uttered "Whiskey" in "Briar Rose"...
Finale was pretty darn great. Some bits were a little clunky but overall it was a solid hour with some fantastic developments.

After this, I absolutely need to see "Epitaph One." (as if those pictures weren't enough to incite) And a season two. Please.

[ edited by Rhodey on 2009-05-09 05:26 ]
Please Fox, don't cancel another excellent Whedon show that is just getting its footing. Remember your screw up with Firefly??
I figured Topher made Dr Saunder's hate him so she would stay away from his work area and accidently discover the truth. But him feeling guilt over what happened to her makes sense too.
And I'm pretty sure that Ballard has just signed on to find Alpha. He gets a steady paycheck, gets to be close to the Dollhouse (which I don't think he's given up on taking down), and her got November's freedom.
rehabber - none of the current Foxites had anything to do with Firefly, plus those who did probably remember it as $2M/ep and no ratings to speak of.
Weeeeeeelllll, Mickey and Mallory didn't last too long. I love everything about this finale, with 15 minutes left to go. What will happen next ... stuff, I'm sure.
TonyaJ - I could tell you, but that would be mean, right? :)
I don't know how anyone could say this episode didn't blow their mind.

Absolutely magnificent.

I can't believe nobody died!! Deaths are too common on television now; they are starting to lose their impact. If you kill off a character say, every few episodes, it just doesn't resonate anymore *couugh, Lost* I loved that this episode didn't have to have that to make it incredible. Topher was brilliant. Alpha was brilliant. Whiskey/Saunders was brilliant. It was a brilliant piece of television. WE NEED MORE OF THIS.
Yes, Z, it would but what could hurt ... 10 minutes left!
Somebody did die! The kidnapped woman, Wendy, except she died with Caroline's mind.
Does anyone know the song that played at the end? I'm pretty sure it was Beck...
Okay, I don't hate Paul anymore. Does this mean no more Miracle? :( Because there has to be a second season of this.
I don't know how anyone could say this episode didn't blow their mind.


Scroll up, you'll find some people saying DH was the worst JW show evar and this ep wasn't so hot. An opinion I violently (time for my treatmeant? I like the treatment!) disagree with.
Gossi- The person whose eyes were gauged out by Alpha was his handler, not Doctor Saunders. They don't show us what happened to the good doctor, though earlier Topher told us that, "Doc Saunders looks like a jigsaw puzzle."
I think that DH season one had growing pains like Buffy. I really like his show and thought the season finale was amamzing (just like I loved loved loved Prophecy Girl). It's not my favorite and it didn't rock my world right away the way Firefly did in season one. But I am certainly in the PLEASE BRING THIS SHOW BACK boat.
I don't care what the ratings are for this one. I said in that Ghost Whimperer topic and I'll say it again, in terms of sheer exciting acting ability, Alan Tudyk in the house, yo!.

Thank you for messing with my mind for a lovely freaky hour, Joss. Now gimme it back.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2009-05-09 06:12 ]
I didn't even come close to imagining how responsible the Dollhouse is for everything Alpha/Kraft did. They were the ones who broke the law by experimenting on prisoners (rendering, yet again, any contracted agreement null), they were the ones who used no judgment at all in choosing candidates, they bear the full responsibility for everything he did with the skills they gave him. This includes all the Actives he killed, all the employees, the disfigurement of whoever "Whiskey" really is, the disfigurement of whoever "Victor" really is, and Wendy's murder.

Alpha/Kraft himself got the philosophical smackdown I was so hoping that we'd see. Some "ubermensch" -- babbling to himself incoherently as competing imprints tried to ascend, all the way, his sociopathic true identity, his, yes, soul was really driving all his actions and disproving all the Nietzschean drivel. I was glad to see that it was "Echo" herself, the "Omega" version, that rejected it, and also recognized that the fundamental truth underneath herself is still... Caroline. I loved her inviting her "self" to come home (I say "self" because Wendy's imprint wasn't really Caroline per se, but a copy -- the fact that the data is retained on the wedge demonstrates that).

Did they say whether "Whiskey"'s primary identity wedge was destroyed? I missed that.

I thought it was pretty hilarious that Ballard immediately tried to get the FBI onto the Dollhouse and that they didn't believe him. It's like, it worked, but not quite how he meant for it to work.
Oh my sweet Baby Jesus!

Ok, I will be the first to admit it. I had Ballard pegged so WRONG. But I still stand by what I felt at the time. I don't hate him anymore either, hacksaway. I am glad that I was wrong, because I really, really didn't like what I was seeing in him.

I haven't read this whole thread yet, because I don't read comments as I'm watching...but here are some initial reactions:

1. That first scene with Alpha and Whiskey torturing the guy while In Dreams plays in the background -- TOTALLY an homage to a scene in Blue Velvet (even the same song).

2. OMG Dr. Saunders/Whiskey! I guess we sort of saw it coming, but it still felt huge! (that sounds not right)

3. I love that Echo is her own person, and that she wanted to save Caroline. And man, she kicked some serious bootay.

4. Alan Tudyk is a god.

5. Alpha is still out there! We need a season two now!!!!!!!!!! Please!!!!!

Ok, that's all I can muster right now. I've got my wine to go back to.

ETA: Ah! And Eternal Sunshine...make that two homages. I've thought about the similarities between Dollhouse and Eternal Sunshine before, so that was nice.

[ edited by ShanshuBugaboo on 2009-05-09 06:22 ]

[ edited by ShanshuBugaboo on 2009-05-09 06:28 ]
Oh man, I loved every single thing about this episode!
Please, Fox, I'll do anything you ask: I've already ordered the DVD.... please please please?

It is hard to even discuss this... but I did love that psycho/sociopathic Alpha couldn't handle his download but Echo had the basic building blocks of a strong ego and a desire to help people, and she did find the strength to hold on to and access whatever she needed.

This was awesome, totally and completely awesome!
OK, time to watch Buffy again! :)
I second everything people have said about this episode. It was great.
But face it, folks. The Governor isn't calling to give this show a reprieve. Fox has disconnected the phone....if you know what I mean.
But maybe a tsunami of DVD sales could give us a mini-series, as that blogger frmo Time has suggested? It would be something, and better than someone suggesting that "Epitath One" would be a pilot for a spinoff.
Thoughts.
1. I thought I knew how good an actor Alan Tudyk was, but these last two episodes have sent him so much higher than his already impressive "plateau", I find myself... wow, just... wow.
2. The last time a season 1 finale made me that emotive was Wonderfalls. Tim Minear should get more of those.
3. Joss never fails to leave you with so much material to chew. While there are a lot of entertaining shows out there, only a few bear re-watching. Whedon's shows' layers have layers.
4. I know I've said it before but, my entire faith in television will be dealt a fatal blow if a Dollhouse Season 1 DVD is all we get out of this.
5. I must digest.
Great episode. Felt a little rushed, but still outstanding. Had that classic Joss finale feel - humor, plot twists, action, horror, and tons of ideas to boot.

Two things:

1) Sad we didn't see Sierra and November do their bounty hunter thing... I would love to see the uncut version. Seems like there were a lot of looped lines to explain around this plot hole.

2) The April Fools' Day scene still hasn't showed up in any episode, but it does fit with the plot developments we saw tongiht. My guess is either that it's part of Epitaph One, or, knowing this episode ran long, that it was the original final scene of Omega. If so, it may have been replaced with the (shorter) scene of Echo returning to her pod, which was the last scene from the first pilot. Any insight, Gossi? Or anyone? Speaking of, how many shows could take the last scene from an (unaired) pilot, make it the final scene of their season finale and still have it make sense?
I dunno, zeitgeist, I defend (to the death!) a person's right to voice an opinion that just so happens to oppose mine.

Yet- it's a tad strange that the same people keep coming back week after week to tell us how much they dislike the characters, themes and plot... but they still tune into the show, and take the time to write about it, the very next week!

ETA- It has nothing to do with anything, but anyone who enjoys the Whedush might like to check out this pic that Eliza posted on Twitter. http://twitpic.com/4twto

[ edited by missb on 2009-05-09 07:06 ]
Wonderful. I have nothing to add to all that has been said. Second season please!
The nods to both Angel and Firefly in the same line sent me directly into squee mode. I loved the difference between Alpha and "Omega", and how it really does boil down to the nature of the soul, no matter how much the body's allegedly been emptied out. I vote for Ballard to become Echo's handler. He won all of his lost points back for freeing November and working so awesomely well with Boyd.
It seemed as though Ballard could have been Echo's handler in the un-aired April Fools clip.
More thoughts:

-- One of the central questions of the show has been whether or not we would lose our humanity if the Dollhouse technology were to exist -- would we just become vessels, shells to be downloaded into, etc.? Someone above wrote how these ideas/characters would work better as a book, but I love the way Joss (and, tonight, Tim Minear), managed to effectively dramatize the philosophical debate. Revealing Alpha and Omega as opposites rather than like-minded Gods was just brilliant, as it allowed them each to take a side, with Alpha saying humanity was over and they are the next step in evolution, and Omega saying (to quote the promos) "you can't wipe away a soul."

-- I know some thought it was cheap that Alpha's original self was already on his way towards being a killer before becoming an active, but I thought it was smart, because it proves Echo right. Alpha wasn't a God -- his original, messy, human soul, was still there, beneath everything, even after he tried to destroy it (and again, beautiful dramatization of an internal thought process by having Alpha literally destroy his original self).

-- I further enjoyed how Minear dramatized the idea of man being replaced by technology, first by having the villain hold his gun not to the head of a person, but to a circuit board, and later, by giving Paul his big hero moment, not catching Echo/Caroline's body, but catching her downloaded brain.

-- Some have mentioned Alpha gouging out his handler's eyes was too similar to Caleb/Xander for their taste, but for me it was much better used here than it was on Buffy. On that show it felt like they needed a reason to make Caleb look extra dangerous and to make the fight more personal for Buffy, and since you can't kill a Scooby, let's at least maim one. An okay reason, but without much thematic depth.

Whereas on Dollhouse, it was the culmination of a visual motif that's lasted the entire season. This show has had an obsession with eyes and sight, both human and mechanical, since day one. The biggest previous example is clearly the cameras placed in Echo's eyes, making her "blind," in "True Believer," another Minear ep.

However, there are many other examples. The very first shot of the pilot was seen through a surveillance camera, for instance -- at the time, it seemed like, for no apparent reason. Then, Joss made such a big deal of the fact that Echo's "Ghost" imprint needed glasses. Moments like this are layered throughout the series.

"The eyes are the window to the soul," indeed.
Amazing episode! My faith in Paul has been restored. Whiskey/Saunders! Wow! I loved how when Echo composited, she was a good person who wanted to do the right thing. Made my heart swell for her. Alpha was evil because he's always been evil. And like others have said above, I feel Topher made Saunders hate him because of the guilt he felt for the original (or is it?) Saunder's death.

So, who do we think sent Ballard the secret messages? Are we supposed to assume it was Dominic or would that possibly get answered next season (fingers crossed).
Terrific episode to a fantastic series! Thank you so much for filling my pretty head full of thoughts and identities and soul vs. mind. It will be lovely sleeping with my 47 other people...

The DOLL-messages were sent by Dominic. The photo & video were sent by Alpha.
I think most of us had faith that the show would get good by the end, which it definitely did. It doesn't change the fact that the first half of the season was terribly sub-par. Especially the pilot episode, which may have ultimately doomed the show from the start.

If it comes back, I'll be very happy. But if it doesn't, I won't lose too much sleep over it. I'd just be looking forward to what Joss has up his sleeve next.
Really, korkster? Is that for sure? I didn't think Dominic understood all the technical stuff.

And I was hoping Ivy would make an appearance. Oh well.
I can't possible read all your comments right now, but I want write some of my thoughts...

AMAZING!

While it was maybe not SO exciting as other episodes (and I don't mean this in a bad way), there is nothing I didn't like! There's only one small thing that is: I felt it was completely pointless to show Sierra and November being imprinted to help and not show any of them doing anything. [EDIT: Just read gossi's comment about the deleted scenes. =D]

Now that I got rid of that...let's go to the highlights, imo.
First I gotta comment on how I was truly surprised that Paul made the deal to get November out of there! True, it makes sense since Eliza is the lead and if there's a Season 2 it makes sense that she stays, but still... when I saw November going into that room I was very shocked. Paul working for the Dollhouse, not so shocking... =P ... maybe he'll be Echo's handler or something.

Whiskey thing: Very cool! Loved that she chose to stay as Dra. Saunders, and that bit about Topher programing her to hate him... got me thinking... earlier in the Season I thought Topher had a thing for her... so that added to this line of her and Topher asking her if she didn't want to know who she was... so, what I'm thinking is: Maybe she was Topher's girlfriend? (maybe sister...) And that's the one he imprints every year during his birthday.... but he made Dra. Saunders hate him to help him cope with the feelings... something like that? Don't know...

Echo kicking Alpha's but : Didn't know what to expect, loved it. The whole soul thing was very well played, and it took only showing that girl from Alpha's past with the scars to explain everything. Brilliant.

I think those 3 points are the ones that comes to my mind better now, just after watching it. I'll definitely watch it again and then I'll have more elaborate thoughts. Oh, and just a note that all the flashbacks worked very well! And even if the huge hint that Dra. Saunders was a doll last episode, I still jumped of my seat when I saw that it was her dancing!

Now it's waiting to see if we get a Season 2, and if so, wait for it! Too bad we probably won't see more of Miracle though...

Anyway, that's it. Will read comments later!

*claps for Joss and everyone at the Dollhouse team*
Brilliant! Thank you all so much for this amazing show!

[ edited by maxsummers on 2009-05-09 07:33 ]
Well, Haramalicious, others seem to disagree. I guess it's open to interpretation.
I really liked this finale. At this point I would like to see more, but if this is all we get, I'm okay with it.

My favorite part was where Alpha was urging Echo to kill Caroline. It resonated with me because of what I've been thinking all season-- I would never let anyone do this to me. No matter how spa-like, how cool it sounds, I would rather die, I would fight until the bitter end and if it came down to someone holding a gun to my head, I would rather take the bullet.

But I never thought about how I would feel towards myself if I did allow it. Towards the person who, in essence, signed away my mind. Abandoned me, left me to those people. I loathed all these people, Caroline and Madeline and everyone else. Who could do that to themselves? It didn't occur to me that they could feel the same. Dollhouse provided them with the gun, but who pulled the trigger?

I think I would hate myself forever. But could I kill me for it? I'd been ready to see everyone else in the Dollhouse go down tonight. But maybe they are not the people who are ultimately responsible.

I feel a lot of sympathy for Alpha still, although I don't think I would make the same choice he did.
Very good episode (finally some character development!)


I dunno, zeitgeist, I defend (to the death!) a person's right to voice an opinion that just so happens to oppose mine.

Yet- it's a tad strange that the same people keep coming back week after week to tell us how much they dislike the characters, themes and plot... but they still tune into the show, and take the time to write about it, the very next week!


This just means that there is at least one element in the show that they like enough to be willing to suffer through the elements that they don't.
Buh. Self-deletion.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-05-09 07:51 ]
I really want another season.

I didn't think this episode was as quite as good as Briar Rose, and there were a few things I found jarring (like the "Obama" line), but mostly I loved it, & I'm looking forward to watching it again. Amy Acker was spectacular. I was completely surprised by Ballard freeing November. He wasn't who I thought he was.
Really, brinderwalt? I'm not sure what that one element is. Simply can't understand wasting my time commenting on something I think is bad/beneath me/utter crap. I have never had the slightest interest in finding blogs/message boards and commenting on Dancing with the Stars. Not for a second. Nor do I subject myself to it in order to bash it publicly. Takes all kinds.

To be clear, this is not directed at brinderwalt's comments.
Yeah, the Obama line made me think "O... kay...". But I forgot about it 5 seconds after, hehe.
The thing that keeps eating away at me is the nature of consciousness. I can't decide what's happening to personalities, when they leave the host body and when they return.

How would it not be that every subsequent version of Caroline that might theoretically enter a host body is not simply a copy, a duplicate file. Assuming that's the case, what makes a person a person? Is it personality or consciousness?

It's 4 AM and I'm so tired and I should not be thinking about philosophy right now, but that's what eating away at me. You can't ever get out of your body without dying.
The Obama line was indeed obnoxiously unsubtle--though, in all fairness, I suppose it kinda balanced that "I've got four brothers, none of them democrats" line from "The Target". The other politically loaded bit that irked me was when Omega/Echo was bashing Alpha for "cutting up women" as opposed to "cutting up people". Victor, various other male dolls, the real Dr. Saunders, Alpha's handler, and Echo's original handler all had it coming, did they?
http://www.amazon.com/Dollhouse-Season-One-Eliza-Dushku/dp/B0024FAR66/

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #19 in Movies & TV

#2 in Movies & TV > Boxed Sets > Television
#5 in Movies & TV > Television

Dr. Horrible is #17 in Movies & TV
"The other politically loaded bit that irked me was when Omega/Echo was bashing Alpha for "cutting up women" as opposed to "cutting up people". Victor, various other male dolls, the real Dr. Saunders, Alpha's handler, and Echo's original handler all had it coming, did they?"

You're so anti-PC that you've gone PC. How meta.
I imagine it was the Omega gestalt personality or the remnant of Caroline getting all het up over Alpha's behaviour concerning WHY he carved up Whiskey's face and gouged out his handler's eyes and did something presumably despicable to the original Dr. Saunders, rather than WHO Alpha has maimed or murdered, Taaroko. Besides, other than Victor, the only known survivors of Alpha's hijinks are Echo, Whiskey and the woman Ballard and Boyd tracked down...so Alpha/Kraft seems to prefer female targets for his obsessions, and Victor was the unique case due his proximity to Whiskey/Dr. Saunders during that specific part in Briar Rose. Though you're right in that it does come off a bit militant in tone, though once again we don't know if its a collective acknowledgment of disgust by Echo's imprinted personalities or possible less-than attractive element of Caroline's personality relating to how the personal worth of each victim would be calculated by her.

In any case, I sit here and I am still filled with shock and awe over just how freaking brilliant that episode was! Especially the reveal that Dr. Saunders used to be a Doll and she was the top attraction at the Dollhouse until Alpha's psychotic break! Cuz that was rather "Holy....whoa!" in its personal impact.

I was disappointed there wasn't more Ballard/bouny hunter!November interaction, though Sierra basically dry humping the poor guy had me busting a freaking gut when I saw in unfolding. I think the main thrust of the disappointment is that would have for some ironic dialogue where Ballard gets to see what Mellie meant about how the Dollhouse could program her to take him down through her bounty hunter imprint for tracking Alpha.

In summary, episode awesome and we need more! Now comes the fun part of waiting for Fox to make a decision...
RE: The April Fool's gag.

I just thought it was Fox playing an April Fool on *us*, the fans, by teasing us with Ballard being Echo's handler which didn't happen - we're the fools, not Dushku.
Now that the notion of political correctness (what a tedious concept) has been attached to it, I kind of hate to say so, but I was also irked by the "cutting up women" line. The implication seems to be that murder can be more or less wrong depending who you murder and why. We watched Alpha kill a lot of people in that episode (and most of them men, unless I'm mistaken?), but when he targeted females, it was treated as a deeper level of evil.

On another note... I definitely had a music-geeky freak out when I heard Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime in the closing montage. It's a song that I love for many reasons, one of them being how perfectly it concludes Eternal Sunshine, and the resonance between this work and that one is awesome. (By the way, has anybody heard the newer cover by Glasvegas?) I did kind of feel that it wasn't "fit" to the action on screen as well as is usually done. Am I alone on that one?

Another point: Did anybody else find Topher's joke comparing Ballard and Boyd interesting? I don't remember the line exactly, but it was near the beginning...

Last thing... After all of the controversy on the thread for last week's ep, do we now not hate Ballard for going to work for the Dollhouse? (And in exchange for the freedom of just one active!) I liked it but... I was rather surprised that others did too, I guess.
I think it was realistic for Caroline to have focused on the cutting up of women to a greater extent, partially because she had only a limited sample of Alpha's choices for victims, (which was 100% women,) but also partially because she struck me as one of a certain strident group of women feminists who would find that a more heinous crime - though this may result from me, in turn, having only a limited sampling of Caroline.

I may respond with more analysis on the morrow, when I've had time to sleep and process, but for now I'm overloaded.
Now available on iTunes.

Agree with you about the Beck song, Revolver. It concluded Eternal Sunshine perfectly -- and here too (even if it was a rather obvious choice for music). But yeah, the editing to it wasn't note perfect -- guess it might be due to scenes being removed at the last moment. ETA: Actually rewatched, with the editing in mind, and now I think it's perfect. Eerily perfect, even.

Have to check the Glasvegas cover out... Going to see them at a festival in July =o)

ETA: Had a quick listen, and although I'm not too happy about them dropping the chord changes at the end of the verse, it's a good cover. Still much better than the original.

[ edited by Kaneda on 2009-05-09 10:27 ]
Love. Love. Love.

Heartbreaking and beautiful on multiple levels. "Briar Rose" was a much easier episode to get into. This is the one that needs to be watched more than once.

FOX, please, guys...don't leave a brother hangin'...
Hah, I thought Topher was the only one not living with guilt! Joss totally got me. That was AWESOME.

Loved the Eternal Sunshine reference when they all have spotty minds at the end.

Going to read the comments now.
doubtful guest (100 or so posts up): I was not commenting on what our government did. All I said was, what I saw took me out of the story. Sort of like seeing a 2007 Jaguar in a film set in the 1975.
Tim (the writer/director) is not a democrat, so I wouldn't say the Obama line was a political party shoutout. I have to admit, though - it's a clunker.

And yep, I just rewatched, I was wrong about the eye socket hilarity. That's the handler. It's unclear what happens as aired to Saunders, but ultimately he got sliced and diced.
I dunno, zeitgeist, I defend (to the death!) a person's right to voice an opinion that just so happens to oppose mine.


Er, not sure where you are going there; all that I had said was that some folks didn't like the ep or the series. I thought it started a bit stumbly and ended up loving the back half of the season.

Dana - I'm confused as to why its absurd/stupid for an illegal organization to have illegally performed experiments on prisoners with a subset of the government enabling that.

gossi - as you know, Tim's pen would not necessarily be the only one to have touched the page for this. Joss or Liz & Sarah are likely to have done so... also just because someone holds certain beliefs doesn't mean they are incapable of writing characters they disagree with. Joss and Mal wouldn't exactly agree on things, but he still wrote him pretty well.
Brilliant twist. For months I've been sliding into a Nietzschean nightmare (not because of television) and the idea that the composite you can still be good is really really uplifting. Thanks.
Topher called Ballard a tall, morally judgmental man, then qualified to suggest Boyd is, too, but that Boyd is welcome.

There was a lot of "Eternal Sunshine" in this episode -- right up to "Echo" telling Caroline to meet her in Montauk at the end.
Er, not sure where you are going there...

Me neither z- the full moon seems to have given me a case of anal vocalization, you know, talking out one's #@*. Sorry, as you weren't even being snarky!
I'm going to save the bitchiness for someone who really deserves it. (Possibly FOX, if they don't renew!)
:) No worry, missb, was worried I had written something unintentionally snarktastic being up super late and chatting away in webbychat.
Amazing way to finish the season. I had wondered why they showed the scene of imprinting Sierra and November and then nothing came of it, but gossi saying a scene was cut makes sense.

I love that it turns out that back in "Stage Fright" when Saunders said "Echo wasn't always the best" she was referring to herself, not Alpha, even if she didn't know it. Brilliant twisty story telling. I need to go back and watch all of Saunders scenes for more clues.

I'm a bit disturbed by Paul signing up so easily, and the condition being to let Mellie go. Everything he's done with Mellie has been to ease his conscience about something, but ultimately he's been using her in the same way any other client uses the dolls, and this is no different. Releasing Mellie clears his conscience about sleeping with her and also about joining the Dollhouse. He's definitely not the hero of this piece, and I love that the show can be so ambiguous that the leading man obsessed with morality actually has just as many moral failings.

I'm feeling so ambivalent... I want to just celebrate how awesome the episode was, but I'll be so sad if we don't get another series because we know that Joss would just take it to an even better place.
...more thoughts...

...belatedly realized that "Mellie" can be a nickname for "Madeline"...how much of "Mellie" was built from elements of her real self? I really like this as a narrative possibility to suggest that Paul and "Mellie" in their attraction might have had a kernal of something real to build on, a kernal that could be built on for real between Madeline and Paul...which, come to think of it, totally fits the "Eternal Sunshine" callout...

...and in Joss' next series the villain has to find a person with THREE eyes to destroy...(oh, and realized since my earlier post that, of course, Gina Torres HAS already played a Whedon big bad, so I guess it's up to Ron, Jewel or Sean to practice their eye-gouging skills...Summer has already given us so much of the psycopath-dealing-ultra-violence playing for the good guys that she gets a free pass to just play an accountant or something if she prefers)...

...in addition to punishing himself by programming hatred into Whiskey, Topher may also be prudent enough to have made sure he is never tempted/able to pull a Hearn by programming her this way...

...on the "cutting up women line": (a) it was said in a moment when the only victim before Echo's eyes was a woman about to be cut up, when the only regular past reminder of Alpha's proclivities that Echo/Caroline would see was Saunders and (b) She stated this as a "MINIMUM" requirement, with a wonderful sense of dismissive loathing. It's not like she said boiling adolescent boys is ok, just don't give girls so much as a papercut....

...While we didn't see too much continuous footage of Amy Acker as the female half of the "Mickey and Mallory" duo, she had a really nicely specific malevolent characterization going there, which more thoroughly demonstrates her ability to pull off roles far from the sweetness of Fred and the (more melancholy) sweetness of Saunders than Illyria did (not that she wasn't great as Illyria, just that the whole "inhuman god" aspect put it in sort of its own category)...

...noticed the Blue Velvet reference, too, but haven't been able to suss out why it is there as easily as the "Eternal Sunshine" shoutout -- I mean, the whole "erasing memory in traumatized people" is still relatively unusual as major device in fiction, while the analagous B.V. scene (psycopath who likes to torture women) is apt but not that unusual in pop culture...

...ETA: Oh, and how many Whedon shows so far have the villain's lair under a power plant? Flashing a bit to BTVS Season 1 for a minute....

[ edited by doubtful guest on 2009-05-09 14:04 ]
Wow. What a great finale. You had me at Opening Scene BLUE VELVET Reference! :-)

I really, truly hope that's not our final glimpse of this clever, wicked, complicated story. (Other than ep 213 of course.)

Meanwhile: where do I sign up for The Tim Minear Fan Club?
I have no problem with believing that Ballard would join the dollhouse. It has been an obsession for so long. He has been trying to convince people that it exists for so long. And now, here he is, among people who confirm his beliefs. There must be a sense of relief there.
And if he tells himself he is only there to catch Alpha and that Mellie is being let go, then he can justify it all to himself. His acceptance of Echo/Caroline being there is a little more problematic for me. I would expect that he would have a harder time not "saving" her as well.
Meanwhile: where do I sign up for The Tim Minear Fan Club?


I'll take your membership dues and your coat. Please have a seat ;)! Would've loved to see TM-BSG and would still like to see TM-Mad Men.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2009-05-09 14:01 ]
In the lair Alpha is holding a "SATA' wedge (at gunpoint), later Ballard catches an "IDE" wedge.
So maybe Alpha just threw a decoy to get Echo off his tail

It would explain Alpha's nonchalance at giving up the wedge. It would mean Ballard choice of November over Echo was no choice at all.

or it could mean it was just a bad continuity error ;)

correction: I bow to zeitgeist superior observational skills. I think I'll try eyedrops before comments.

[ edited by Carbondated on 2009-05-09 19:13 ]
I havent read all the comments (there's so many!) so sorry if I'm repeating anything, but I have to agree with people that this show just kept getting better and better each week, and definatley needs a second season. And Alan's a genius. A couple of plot points annoyed me though:

The biggest one, is why would Ballard want to work for the Dollhouse? I understand that he got to free Mellie, but does he no longer see the Dollhouse as evil? I thought he wanted to bring it down? Secondly, why would the Dollhouse want him working for them? If he poses a threat, they can either kill him, or send him to the attic, or whatever the hell they want. It's not as though they couldn't get someone else to hunt for Alpha. This all just struck me as a little strange, but maybe I missed something.

Something else that a few people have brought up, is why did Alpha need Ballard? Was it simply as a distraction? Surely he could have come up with something else if he's as smart as everyone says he is. That didn't make sense to me.

And one thing which I need cleared up: was it Alpha or Dominic sending Ballard the messages through the dolls (or even someone else)? I assumed it was Dominic, but didn't he say he was actually committed to protecting the Dollhouse (though for other reasons)?

But seriously, in all, great episode, and great season (well, great six episodes anyway :p) and I really hope there's another season.
It's a continuity error. You massive geek! :D
This is really dorky, but I thought it was adorable when Alpha kissed Echo and she just continued her sentence.
Nope, its a SATA wedge that Paul catches, too, it just also has a molex power connector in addition to the SATA data/power connections. Screenshot.
That flashback - HOLY SH**! That was creepy.

'Just watch your step'
'I'll do that' *walks off watching his feet*
In the midst of all this I could still go 'awwww!' at that moment.

Alan was effing fantastic! I loved how despite all the multiple imprints Alpha and Omega/Echo had, their actions were driven by their true selves still buried underneath, their souls. Loved the Omega/Echo-Alpha fight scene and the soul talk!

Love Ballard. Felt so sorry for Dr Saunders, I had a slight suspicion that she'ed be an active but did not see the whole Whiskey thing coming!

Freaking brilliant episode! I WANT SEASON 2!!!!!!!!!!
...How do I know I'm not yet a big enough geek?...

...everytime they mentioned the "wedges" in the show, I didn't realize this term was already used in the real world computer jargon. I did, however, keep thinking it might be a callback to "Restless," because, for me, I hear "wedge", I think "wedge of cheese"...

...So in the spin-off, they don't need to use the NATO alphabet to name people, they can just go "american, brie, cheddar, danbo, edam, feta, gouda.....
Big fan of Dollhouse in general, but, as a season ender, it left me feeling...meh. Lot of stuff didn't make a whole lot of logical sense.

Bad Guy's got a gun, you gonna chase him? Bad Guy with gun has someone chasing him, rather than wasting time taking the occasional pot shot at someone who's not even bothering to slow down, shoot them. If you don't want to kill them, shoot them in the leg. Then there's Winkin' and Blinkin' (Ballard and Boyd) who're about ready to sneak down into Alpha's lair, yet dumb-ass Alpha has to take a pot shot at them as if to say 'Hey boyz...I'm over here. Come chase me too!' Why do Bad Guys have to be so dumb? Caroline's 'wedge' magically landing on the ledge, rather than falling all the way to the gound and its destruction. Basically, that whole end sequence with Alpha running away and everyone chase him...too much with the lame, over-used tropes and cheesy melodrama.

I expected better from Mr. Minear.

[ edited by mangydog on 2009-05-09 14:37 ]
Just a comment on the poster who said that Paul's plan when talking to the FBI failed. I thought it was very clear that the result was exactly what he predicted, and wanted.
Tremendous! So many great parts adding up to a great whole.
The Obama line was hilarious. I'm really surprised to see people taking it as some kind of ham-handed political statement by the writers.
Oh, WOW.

So much to say about this brilliant episode- Thank you, Tim!- but am finding it hard to actually formulate proper thoughts. Wow, that was good.

It was so great to see Paul choose to release Mellie/November/Madeline. I had the briefest inkling that he might go down that path, a minute before she entered; I was just flashing back on the Whiskey reveal at the start, really. But still; this completely redeemed him for me.

And looove UltraEcho. THAT was pretty amazing. Not to mention, Caroline- I really began to like her in this, after being a bit distant in 'Echoes'.

I got chills in all the Whiskey scenes. Especially when Alpha decided to 'help' Echo become number one...
Some of the Alpha flashbacks were cute, though. Creepy, but cute.
"Watch your step." Ha.

But, basically- if they don't give me another season, my mind may actually spontaneously combust.

This is why Dollhouse is the best. Thank you, Joss and everyone!! I'll get to work on that shrine right away.

Now, to re-rewatch! Away!
Now that was excellent stuff.

Loved the Obama line. Loved Alan/Amy (she simply has to be in the main cast for season two). Eliza was very good, once more. The ending was magic. I need more now. Thanks, Tim, Joss and everyone.
Re: the "cutting up women" line . . . Alpha had just told Echo he was going to imprint lots of women as Caroline and then cut them up. So she was responding directly to him threatening her and other women.

There's obviously a "female empowerment" element to the scene, but I think reading that line as PC, or as minimizing harm done to men, is missing the context.
Heh, heh. No, I think Alpha just created a monster that even he couldn't conceived.
Amazing episode. Best of the season. I have officially fallen in love with Dollhouse. Even the twist with Dr. Saunders worked better than I expected. I was afraid that making her a doll would destroy her character, but I like that she's not just some artificial imprint (i. e. created from multiple real persons), but that she has an adjusted personality of the real Dr. Saunders. I also like that the original Dr. Saunders was an old man. And since they didn't deactivate her after she found it out (I was afraid that she might be the deactivated doll from the press release – after all, Amy is signed to a new pilot), there are some quite intriguing possibilities for her character's development in the future. Of course, if there is some future for Dollhouse which leads me back to the perfect timing of my falling in love with it. :-/

BTW, I really loved some of Topher's lines in this episode. Especially the "Why is there a tall morally judgmental man in my imprint room besides him?" and "I'm smarter than everyone in this room" bits. Adelle expression after he said the second line was priceless.

I also quite liked Ballard in this episode and him getting November out of her contract (with a proper reward).

Anyway, as I already said, Omega was a fantastic episode and I really hope that Fox will give the show a one more chance. Come on, they owe it to Joss after what they did to him with Firefly.
Amy being signed to a new pilot wouldn't necessarily mean anything because that contract could have an escape clause (they release her from the new show if her old show is picked up). Or it could even be possible that she could do both shows if they are in near by lots. But of course the most likely scenario is that Dollhouse won't be picked up... :(.
I want Dollhouse to return for at least 13 more episodes! *sigh*

I'm belatedly fearful: wouldn't it be possible for Mellie to be arrested for some of the things November did as an active? I realize that the Dollhouse erased FBI records (before our eyes) when her finger prints were put in the system, but that doesn't erase the crimes and eye witnesses!

[ edited by embers on 2009-05-09 15:37 ]
The biggest one, is why would Ballard want to work for the Dollhouse? I understand that he got to free Mellie, but does he no longer see the Dollhouse as evil? I thought he wanted to bring it down? Secondly, why would the Dollhouse want him working for them?

I figure Ballard wants to catch Alpha, wants to be where he can keep an eye on Caroline, and (still) wants to bring down the Dollhouse.

As for the Dollhouse's motivation, Ballard has seen it all now, and they don't want to leave him with too much time on his hands. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. (Yeah, I guess they could just kill him or stick him in the attic, but if he disappeared a whole bunch of FBI agents would remember the last place they'd seen him was at the scene of a bomb threat.)

Bad Guy's got a gun, you gonna chase him? Bad Guy with gun has someone chasing him, rather than wasting time taking the occasional pot shot at someone who's not even bothering to slow down, shoot them.

mangydog, I'm no expert on this, but I've heard/read over and over how difficult it is to hit a moving target with a handgun.

dumb-ass Alpha has to take a pot shot at them as if to say 'Hey boyz...I'm over here. Come chase me too!'

I didn't think Alpha was shooting at them. He didn't know they were there. He was still shooting at Caroline.
Just a comment on the poster who said that Paul's plan when talking to the FBI failed. I thought it was very clear that the result was exactly what he predicted, and wanted.

Yep, that was very clear, with the smile he gave when he looked up into the surveillance camera. He accomplished exactly what he said he'd do. (Although I really wanted more of Mark Sheppard!)

Re: the "cutting up women" line . . . Alpha had just told Echo he was going to imprint lots of women as Caroline and then cut them up. So she was responding directly to him threatening her and other women.

Yep, that was my take, too.

I took it at the end that Ballard was engaged as a "contractor" specifically to hunt for Alpha. That would pair him with Boyd in the (hoped-for) season two, and would give Tudyk a recurring roll (something like the "one-armed man" in the original Fugitive TV series).

I'm glad, if this is the last episode that airs, that we did get confirmation of the residual "soul" in the dolls. And I loved the Angel/Firefly reference.

I thought Amy Acker was fantastic in this episode. As was Tudyk. I can't rave enough about what Tudyk brought to these last two episodes.

My only complaint was the abrupt cut from the chase at the power plant back to the Dollhouse. Like so many others here, I had been looking for the Sierra/November pairing, and clearly this is where that was cut. It so took me out of the narrative for a minute, far more than the Obama line, which I thought was a little heavy-handed--to refer both to the slavery issue and to make the passage of time resonate more strongly for Caroline. I think the reference was a convenient one to tie both ideas together economically, but it was truly a clunky line. But the larger cut really caused me to go "whoa, what just happened."

Overall, though, a great episode, and I do hope the series gets a chance to continue.
Re: the Obama line. Caroline was a (I'm guessing) a die-hard liberal and animal activist. Of course she'd react to that, and apparently Echo retained enough info about her to realize it. And it was a nice way to point out how long Caroline's been "away," and a way for the women to bond just before Caroline gets shot, making it more startling.
Let me add my appreciation. Very well done episode.

I was discombobulated by the cut from the power plant back to the office as well. For a few seconds, I thought it was another flashback and even leapt to the conclusion that Ballard was the one who caught Caroline and brought her back to Adelle after she'd been on the run for two years. That would have been creepy. :)

I'm really hoping the deleted scene(s) will be included on the DVD and that there will be a second season. Please?
Has anyone checked yet to see if the Hulu/iTunes versions have the deleted scenes?
The runtime on the iTunes and Hulu versions seems to suggest not. At 50 mins 20 secs it's about the same length as all of the other eps.
love love love joss and the entire troupe, but have to say -- my brain is overheating and everyone in my neighborhood can smell the smoke coming out of my ears -- four or five episodes unfolding some of the the most subtle and complex plotting ever to hit the TV airwaves--crammed into the space of the season's last 50 minutes? I am still reeling and expect that I will be for months.

Hey, you don't suppose this was intentional -- a three-dimensional experience of what it felt like in Echo's head when it all started to converge? Ah, shucks --
I think it's a definite possibility that Topher didn't program the new Dr. Saunders to hate him, but rather that is a manifestation of the original Whiskey/Dr. Saunder's personality. As demonstrated in the episode with Alpha and Omega, the original personality is never completely buried.

Also, I thought Topher's reaction could have been surprise (or guilt - hard to say). He definitely was uncomfortable with the observation.
Beautiful. Mr Whedon, you have taken my brain to places it's never been. Not sure what to do there yet, but that's neither here nor there.
I really hope that this is not the end. I want more!!! Whiskey FTW!
Am yet to read this thread. But my in-depth thoughts on this episode are as follows:

Oh. My. Fucking. God. That was brilliant.

My housemates and I watched it and gasped the whole way through. And then we spent about an hour discussing its philosophical implications. My housemates (much as I love them) aren't a hugely intellectual bunch so that should tell you something about this show. Just brilliant
To me (and others, it seems) it appeared that whoever "signed up"(?) to be Whiskey was someone Topher actually cared for -- and who cared for him. His "surprise" at the "why was it so important for me to hate you" seemed to me to be more of a realization that she didn't know -- i.e., that she hadn't read her file. And he asks her about that right after.

Brings a "watch again" light to Topher's speech to Boyd about human flaw in "Ghost" -- spoken while looking at Dr. Saunders from a distance.
This was amazing.
When was it said that this episode was cut for size?
Wasn't it mentioned in an interview somewhere? It ran something like 10+ minutes over from memory.
I have never had the slightest interest in finding blogs/message boards and commenting on Dancing with the Stars. Not for a second. Nor do I subject myself to it in order to bash it publicly. Takes all kinds.

I would assume that the people who don't like Dollhouse (and I'm not totally entralled with it - it's my least favourite Whedon show) are fans of Joss' other works, and that's why they're in this community. I should think any member should feel free to voice an opinion about Dollhouse that is contrary to the largely positive ones posted here. At least they've been watching.

As far as the 'black president' line - it was in relation to a remark about slavery, which in the US is directly tied to race. So that the country could swing so far in less than five years to the point where a black person could be elected would give a slave of the Dollhouse hope.
I think it's a definite possibility that Topher didn't program the new Dr. Saunders to hate him

It's funny, I actually assumed that Topher didn't program her to hate him, that the idea was that those feelings had developed over time. She's been living as Dr. Saunders for so long that that's who she is now--Topher didn't "create" everything about her. This is also connected to why she didn't want to know about her old personality. I've been surprised to read here that everyone thought she was programmed to hate him. Guess I have to watch it again!

ET: attempt to clarify my muddled thoughts

[ edited by jcs on 2009-05-09 17:01 ]
OK, a little more time. A few more random thoughts:

My hope re: the cut scenes is that there's an extended version of the episode offered on the DVD--something akin to the Ron Moore cut of "Unfinished Business" on the BSG S3 DVD. Deleted scenes would be nice as well, but I'd really like to have an intuitive understanding of how the Sierra/November material fits into the episode pacing-wise. Frankly, it might have just been better to cut the scene entirely, although perhaps it help set up Paul's "rescuing" November at the end.

Probably the thing I liked most about the episode, incidentally, is the way it put the dolls' original identities as being the primary "villain," in a way, through Alpha's perspective. I mean, if the dolls really are slaves and victims, it's easy to blame the Dollhouse and Adelle and Topher, and then complicit people like Boyd and Dr. Saunders. But who made the original call to abandon Echo to be a perpetual victim? Caroline. Having a chance for Caroline herself (well--sort of) to be confronted with her responsibility for what was left of her when "she" was hollowed out is kinda wonderful.

I like the idea too the Natural Born Killers Mallory-type inprint (Whisky 1-1 I think) was just a convenience for Alpha to get Echo to go along with him, but ultimately a red herring, while perhaps simultaneously satisfying the one of Alpha's composite personalities.

The fairly explicit Natural Born Killers reference with the Alpha/Whisky (later Alpha/Echo) also ties in with the media obsession that's been going on throughout the season, most explicitly in the singer ep but in other ones. "The Target" was pretty clearly based on The Most Dangerous Game, and it's implied that Alpha programmed that guy as well. Alpha, and the dolls, not only represent generic fantasies come to life but very specific fantasies (and horrors) from pop culture, which ties in with the producer/writer/actor/audience (Adelle/Topher/dolls/clients) subtext. (Also: Whisky playing the Natural Born Killers-type girl: so very hot. I feel kinda horrible; I'm not supposed to find serial killers attractive, right? But man does she sell it.)

I have to wonder if the Obama line was meant to be semi-satirical. The line is part of Echo and Caroline's sappy resolution that is immediately undercut by Alpha, and of course Echo goes back to being a slave, willingly, immediately thereafter. Maybe it's mocking the attitude that the mere existence of a black president (remarkable though it is) implies that all the world's problems go away, which some people have tended to have. (I immediately thought about how Minear is Republican when I heard the line too; somehow if Whedon had written it, which perhaps he had in a pass at the script, I might not have been as surprised by the line. Not that Republicans can't be happy that there's a black president.)

I think that Ballard knew that telling Mark Shepherd (don't remember the agent's name) that the Dollhouse was underground would be the easiest way to get rid of him; his smile at the camera suggested that his plan was not to have the agent storm the castle.

I'm not sure how I feel about all the Ballard material. His saving Caroline was a bit of a disappointment in a way--is the message that his obsession with her turned out to be good and healthy?--but I guess it was mostly Echo that saved her, with a little help from him at an appropriate moment. I was surprised at first that Ballard decided to stay as a contractor--why isn't he still trying to save Caroline?--but presumably he figures that Caroline/Echo is safer in the Dollhouse where he can protect her than out in the world where Alpha can find and kill her.
I absolutely loved Briar Rose but found this one too dark for too long for my liking. If the show is cancelled, the bad taste that this finale left in my mouth will make this news slightly more paletable.
By now, of course, every comment from my head has been made by y'all, but just to add to the tally, my random thoughts.

Tim Minear - as always, delivered a dark, thought provoking episode. I love this man's writing. His driection was awesome as well, and I wonder if the "out of Gas" episode of Firefly informed the construction of the flashback structure. Plus Angel & Firefly shoutouts all in one line, and he got to kill a few people!

Alan Tudyk - loved him getting dark. Not to mention the personality shifts.

Topher's guilt - I think Whiskey was someone he knew/loved in LBD (life before Dollhouse). He got her into the mess and wants her to make him feel guily for it.

Paul and Mellie - When it happened I was completly surprised, but on reflection, not so much. I like the idea that Mellie is quite a bit like Madeline. I also don't think that we've seen the last of her. I wasn't at all convinced that she was really going to be let go that easily. As for Paul working for DH - well the keeping enemies close here applies I think, or at least that's what he thinks. I have a feeling that what he thinks he's doing and what his subconcious wants might be totally different.

The Obama line was a clunker because it took us out of the moment even though I totally get the shorthand employed by using it. We enter an alternate reality here, and the Obama line was too real - if that makes any sense.

I know there are many more thoughts to think, and I have to tell you that I envy those of you who can watch and immediately comment. I require mulling time, and always seem to come to the party late.

Zeitgeist - that comment about Tim writing an episode of Mad Men rocked my world. In fact just writing to tell you this gave me the shivers.
Oh, I had forgotten about Dominic. I'm going to rewatch this season and try to figure out whether Dominic or Alpha makes more sense as the one sending Ballard messages. I assume it's one or the other, because otherwise the plotline is kind of dead, since Ballard's now working for the 'house.

A Tim episode of Mad Men would be amazing. Y'all know that Marti wrote one right? Great stuff. And I'd love to see Jane E do an episode of MM. She has a knack for social comedy, and has written a lot of episodes revolving around class issues and latent mysoginy (and somewhat repressive high-class folk, c.f. "Shindig"), so I think she'd be killer.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2009-05-09 17:07 ]
Just... pure love.

And I need my Dollhouse-renewed dreams to come true, stat. I had 3 in the one night! Seriously. Must. Happen.
*pleads with the cosmos*
Just finished watching on Hulu and unfortuntely the episode didn't include the Sierra/November scenes.

Am still processing the whole amazing ep. Think it was great (and possibly wise) to wrap up that many threads. If the unmentionable does occur, then I for one will be satisfied that there is a kind of finality to this telling of the Dollhouse story.

Loved Tim Minear's direction and so many great, hilarious and soon-to-be-classic lines. Fran Kranz's and Amy Acker's nuanced performances were standouts, and the Whiskey reveal was brilliant.

Thank you to all in Whedonia who contributed to the creation of this season's thought-provoking and beautifully crafted stories. Fingers and toes crossed there are more to come!
The Obama line was a clunker because it took us out of the moment

Exactly! It was such an out-of-the-blue, earnestly stated remark. In the middle of a deep exchange between three characters about morality and philosophy. It was a clunker for the character. Hence the comic relief.

IMO, of course. If it made so many people go "huh" rather than laugh, I guess it's still not wonderful writing.
She didn't say Obama, she said a black president. It could have been a 24 crossover. ;)
Or a Final Crisis crossover.
I have never had the slightest interest in finding blogs/message boards and commenting on Dancing with the Stars. Not for a second. Nor do I subject myself to it in order to bash it publicly. Takes all kinds.

I would assume that the people who don't like Dollhouse (and I'm not totally entralled with it - it's my least favourite Whedon show) are fans of Joss' other works, and that's why they're in this community. I should think any member should feel free to voice an opinion about Dollhouse that is contrary to the largely positive ones posted here. At least they've been watching.

As far as the 'black president' line - it was in relation to a remark about slavery, which in the US is directly tied to race. So that the country could swing so far in less than five years to the point where a black person could be elected would give a slave of the Dollhouse hope.


redeem147, you took the words right out of my mouth on both points. :)

The reason why I found the Obama line jarring was, quite frankly, due to the way Eliza delivered it. She was far too emphatic. Totally took me out of the moment.
I was totally blown away by this episode. Prior episodes had been amazing, but somehow every episode managed to improve more than the last. There were still plenty of amazing reveals in this episode, so much needed to happen, yet at the same time it did not feel rushed at all. It was just brilliant storytelling. Now I really really REALLY want a season two.

If anyone thought Dollhouse wasn't feminist before now, well they need to see Echo's big speech to Alpha. I think that makes Dollhouse perhaps the most feminist show Joss has done yet.

Also, Alan Tudyk is a far more incredible actor than I ever gave him credit for (And I loved him as Wash). I never thought he could be so genuinely scary. Alpha is amazing, and I hope that we get to see more of Alan as Alpha.

Please, Fox, see the potential in this show and keep it going. Already Joss has accomplished so much in just 12 episodes (with 5 of those before the show even hits it's stride). I can't wait to see where it can go from here. I am also very much looking forward to rewatching it again and again on dvd. Truly another worthy entry in Joss Whedon's television catalog.
I would assume that the people who don't like Dollhouse (and I'm not totally entralled with it - it's my least favourite Whedon show) are fans of Joss' other works, and that's why they're in this community. I should think any member should feel free to voice an opinion about Dollhouse that is contrary to the largely positive ones posted here. At least they've been watching.


Within reason. If all they do is come onto Dollhouse threads and criticise the show and not post elsewhere then I would wonder why they are here. However if they take an active interest in Joss' other work, then that's fine with me.
Zeitgeist - that comment about Tim writing an episode of Mad Men rocked my world. In fact just writing to tell you this gave me the shivers


Wouldn't it be spectacular?
Words fail me now, but take how much you love this show, triple it, then add more, and that's how much I love this show.

Amy Acker is a goddess, btw.
I enjoyed the episode a lot and came away with an unexpected sense of closure.

The whole Alpha being mad at the original self for abandoning the body to the Dollhouse took me by surprise. The premise of the show is hard to get enthusiastic about, but I get it now. I get why Joss was enthusiastic.

Eliza was so good in Who Are You but she hasn’t had that kind of moment yet, even while the show has been full of those kind of performances. I‘m rooting for her to be her best if there is another season.

But right now I’m okay with the idea of there being only one season. The first season got just good enough that an imaginary second season will just get better over time.
I cried.

I didn't go into a Dollhouse, but there was an emotionally traumatic moment in my life, and I once ran mentally quite far from it. The Alpha/Omega/Caroline discussion was gold.

Thank you, Dollhouse team. All of you were perfect.

[ edited by Andrea 2s1 on 2009-05-09 18:23 ]
Just came to me who the Whiskey/Saunders situation reminded me of.
Dawn. Finding out she wasn't real but created by someone. That her memories only really went back a few months, that everything before that was made up and that everyone around her, who she worked with every day, had lied to her.


And as for the deleted scenes, I seem to remember Joss saying that he wasn't a fan of putting them back into shows. It would be so easy for Hulu to run the original edit, no schedule to keep there, but it didn't happen. I can't even remember any deleted scenes on any Buffy DVD.
I love that it turns out that back in "Stage Fright" when Saunders said "Echo wasn't always the best" she was referring to herself, not Alpha, even if she didn't know it.

Awesome.

The reason why I found the Obama line jarring was, quite frankly, due to the way Eliza delivered it. She was far too emphatic. Totally took me out of the moment.

I thought the response clunked more. But I wasn't really feeling Ashley Johnson much of the episode.
It sort of tied together the conversation in Needs when Saunders tells Caroline that she's *not her friend in here* but I'm still not sure if they know each other from somewhere else.
So many people have written stuff while I have been writing, but I am going to post and then go back and find out how redundant my post is. Otherwise I will never get this post done.

redeem147 expressed my thoughts perfectly about the whole, why are people who don't like Dollhouse bothering to watch it and make comments here, they should stop watching the show and leave us alone, thing. Like others who have at times had the timerity to express unhappiness with Dollhouse or other Whedon projects, I have been a Whedon fan for some years and a member of this site for some years as well. I hope that gives me, and others like me, the right to follow Joss's work and express our unpopular opinions when we feel moved to do so as long as we follow the rules of the site.

That said, like the last 6 episodes, I liked this one. It hit me again that to me the genre of this show is horror, which I have a hard time enjoying. The people are generally horrible and are doing horrible things. Even so, the writng and the layering on the show is now giving it so much more dimension that I now find it interesting.

Some episodes ago I thought that Adelle was actually the one sending Ballard the messages through the dolls in order to set him up to become a handler. (I mentioned it on one of the prior threads, somewhere.) Although I do not think Alpha was part of her plan, I still think that she was behind the messages and that she was setting him up to work for the Dollhouse. Her look at Topher after his comment about being the smartest person in the room as well as her certainty of Ballard getting rid of the FBI, added to my feeling that I could be right.

Various thoughts on things brought up in the thread:

I still don't like Ballard and him working for the Dollhouse at the price of getting November out, just reinforces so many things I don't like about him. For the record, I still don't like any of the characters who work for the dollhouse or who we know much of anything about,including Boyd.

My immediate feeling about Topher making Dr. Saunders hate him was that he didn't, and that that was the reason for Topher's look. It also works with the retained personality theme.

I'm kind of surprised they went with the word "soul" again. Maybe they figured that would be a word that the most people could respond to. It is a much more emotionally charged word than "personality" or "core being" or something else like that that I personally would consider more accurate to what is being talked about.

I thought the black president line was clunky too. This from a person who teared up in my classrom, in front of my kids on inaugeration day.

I thought the comment about cutting up women was made within the context of what the character knew. She could not know that he was a equal opportunity killer from what she had seen and heard.

I can finally say that I hope this gets a 2nd season. I still would only recommend it to friends who like horror stories, however.

(Edited for clarity.)

[ edited by newcj on 2009-05-09 18:36 ]
So, I just want to preface this by saying I LOVE 'Dollhouse'. Passionately. And I've really enjoyed the whole ride, including last night's episode. But thinking about it more, I've been getting more and more frustrated by what I think are dropped plot threads/continuity gaffes. Apologies for any redundancies.

Ok, serial killer Craft is kind of cool, but what happened to killing machine, disassemble a body in 4.5 seconds Alpha? Much cooler than eye-gouging. His homemade chair was cool, but what about his remote wiping capabilities (the subject of 'Gray Hour')? I thought his project was 'waking up' Echo--that's what we were led to believe in 'The Target' with the hallucinogenic canteen water. Why didn't he have multiple personalities in 'Briar Rose'?

Who the heck was sending the doll messages to Ballard? Dominic makes no sense.

And whose personality was on the wedge at the end? I thought it was Wendy, but if her body's dead, what's the point? So I guess it's Caroline?

That's enough for now. I feel better. And I hope some of these are broached in Season 2!
[ edited by mangydog on 2009-05-09 14:37 ]
mangydog | May 09, 14:36 CET
Why do Bad Guys have to be so dumb? Caroline's 'wedge' magically landing on the ledge, rather than falling all the way to the gound and its destruction. Basically, that whole end sequence with Alpha running away and everyone chase him...too much with the lame, over-used tropes and cheesy melodrama.


Hmmm, but we know Alpha isn't dumb. But then some criminals want to get caught and do things that actually cause that.

We do know Alpha is crazy down to his body/soul.

Alpha was the best. Like River. He gave Omega a graze. He wanted Omega to chase him. He shot Wendy exactly how he wanted.

He threw the wedge exactly where he wanted it so Omega would have the possibility of being responsible for Caroline's death...still hoping she will become his Omega...

But Alpha didn't count on Ballad being there and catching it.

We don't know who the mole is in the Dollhouse. Ballard wants to find that person. He joined the Dollhouse to get Alpha and destroy the Dollhouses. Adelle knows exactly what Ballard wants.
As for my comment about deaths, I was more or less thinking about regulars and recurring characters, I was surprised it wasn't someone we've invested in.
Something I've been assuming for most of the show but not having much real evidence for I now think we have explicit evidence for:

Part of the contract for being a high level employee at the Dollhouse seems to be having to have a scan of yourself made. The obvious evidence is Dr. Saunders, who, having been carved up by Alpha, was in no shape to have his brain dumped for use on Whiskey.

This interests me because (a) just as the idea of the dolls resonates with "real life" ways we/society uses people or programs them, the idea of scanning your upper management resonates with a whole host of ideas about how corporations worry about trade secrets, intellectual property, non-compete clauses, etc. and (b) it sorta suggests that even the upper level employees we've met (Topher, Adelle, Saunders) are, in at least one sense, also "owned" by the company, which might have interesting implications in another season: what happens if someone like Adelle or Topher decides they've had enough and want to leave, even if not threatening to blow the whistle or anything? Are they in danger? Do they get to even keep what they've learned/skills they've naturally built while working there?

I was initially thinking about this back when Topher was trying to figure out who remote wiped Echo -- it seemed that one possibility behind his assumption that Alpha could do it was that Alpha had been imprinted with Topher's own skill set at one point. Others have commented on possible similarities between Topher and Alpha in mannerisms at times, and, of course, we've been teased with the question of just who might have been used as the basis for Topher's playmate in "Haunted."

That Alpha has Topher's skillset (or someone comparable's) is now definite, given that we've seen him build his own chair from scrap tech. The question is how did he get that persona? The episode suggests that the accident led to Alpha getting all of the 40 some past identities Topher was about to run him through, not that Alpha got imprinted with any extra random identities. So either Topher's was one of these, or significant parts of Topher's identity were used as ingredients in the mix for one of these. As Topher seems to have emphasized since "call me Ms." Eleanor Penn, he mostly works as a collage "artist" building hybrids for use as imprints, with straightforward single identity imprints like we see in "Haunted" being the exception.

So what sort of engagement would require an active programmed with large amounts of Topher sauce? The easy and obvious one: Alpha once served as Topher's birthday playmate, as Sierra did in "Haunted." (by the way, I assume that Topher created this playmate as a hybrid, not as a simple imprint of his own personality because, well, when you tried to imagine who might be your perfect roommate when you went to college or your new best friend when you went to a new school, I'll bet you imagined someone who was into most of the same things as you and "got" you, but you didn't imagine your literal twin. Topher, who sees himself as an artist of identity creation, probably applied this same thinking to coming up with the playmate imprint.)
Gotta love the black president line. :D
Is it just me, or does Adelle seem totally smitten over Ballard?
Excellent episode. I loved the Whiskey stuff, Ballard and Boyd, Alpha was awesome. I really liked when Topher was making fun of Boyd for the whole soul thing. I'm happy that Ballard is working with the Dollhouse now, no other way I could have seen them doin it. Loved that he freed November (though I hope we see her again!).

I did have a few issues though. While this could be excusable because it is one of her personalities speaking, Omega/Echo was definitely wrong when she said someone couldn't sign a contract to sell themselves into slavery, as numerous people have done so throughout history, many of who were quite happy to do so, as it gave prestige, power and money far greater than a 'free' person. I also really didn't like the black president line at all. To imply that slavery happened to only black people is unfair and ignorant of world history (not to mention the fact that Obama is not a descendant from slaves).

I tried to attribute the above issue to the fact that Echo was never put with nearly as intelligent or knowledgeable personalities that Alpha was (he obviously knows history), but that may be wishful thinking.

Finally, I just hope that this is not the last episode we get to see (well obviously there is the 13th one, you know what I mean). So many unanswered questions, and stuff. Sadly I know the ratings went down. Sigh.

edit: Also, it was obvious to me that Ballard did not call the FBI, Alpha did. Ballard used Tanaka's hatred of him to get rid of him.

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-05-09 22:04 ]
I'm going to break my own rule about not commenting in threads I haven't read (as if anyone cares about my not-part-of-a-discussion opinion) because this thread is long and my time is short! I'll come back later this week to see what lively discussions have started up.

I felt like this episode got cut a lot and maybe suffered a little for it, but it was definitely a satisfying conclusion. And while it wasn't my favorite episode of the season, it's the first that almost made me cry, twice. Wonderful moments at the end, with a great choice of song playing - when Adelle tells Ballard "the young lady has her freedom" and you think, wow, that easy, Echo's out, and then it's November. That entirely surprised me and really moved me. Also, smug smart-ass Topher in the last two episodes but especially this one, being so profoundly shaken by everything that happens. The actor really nailed it.

(ha ha - my honey is lying down to take a nap and I thought he was asleep but he just whispered "Caroline" - either he's a funny funny man, or I should be worried ;))

Alan Tudyk was great, even though I didn't absolutely love the explanation of how Alpha came to be. I did love, if I understood this correctly, that Topher programmed Dr. Saunders to hate him.

Lots of yay. Oh, and the actress who played "Caroline" was great, I thought!
I did have a few issues though. While this could be excusable because it is one of her personalities speaking, Omega/Echo was definitely wrong when she said someone couldn't sign a contract to sell themselves into slavery, as numerous people have done so throughout history, many of who were quite happy to do so, as it gave prestige, power and money far greater than a 'free' person.

Examples please?

You can not morally justify selling yourself or someone else into slavery, which is what she was alluding to. Ever.

I also really didn't like the black president line at all. To imply that slavery happened to only black people is unfair and ignorant of world history (not to mention the fact that Obama is not a descendant from slaves).

The shows writers know their primary audience come from the United States, where the concept of slavery is primarily associated with racism towards dark-skinned (black) people.
Slavery is not an evil thing all of the time. Ghulams, Mamluks and Janissaries (Islamic slave soldiers) were highly paid, highly respected soldiers. Many people wanted to be part of the corps, so they had to restrict it. Even so, Muslims would lie to be a part of them (only non Muslims were allowed to be enslaved, and you were only supposed to enslave people from outside of your realm, which was not the case of the Janissaries). Families would compete to have their sons be part of the Janissary corps, even though that meant they were 'slaves', would convert to Islam, and not see their family for a very long time. It gave great status, wealth and a good future. They had to outlaw the sons of the slave soldiers from becoming slave soldiers as well because they all wanted to do so. When they relented and allowed it, it caused the slave soldier ranks to swell, and lessen in quality.

An entire slave soldier ruling class ruled Egypt for a while, the Mamluk Sultanate.

Similarly families strove to get their daughters into the Sultan's harem, due to the incredible power and respect it gave (some of the harem women were slaves, some not, but all were very very well treated and incredibly powerful).

An example of the Islamic style of slavery is that when an Arab bought a Turk and struck him multiple times, the Turk hit him back. When questioned, the Turk replied that he had only sold himself into slavery for a certain amount of time to make money, and his contract stated he was only allowed to be hit twice in a row. ibn Buttata also had an issue with his Turkish slave, who told one of his wives that Buttata was planning on acquiring another wife. Buttata confronted him, and the slave lectured him about how lying was bad.

Islamic slaves were still humans, and had rights. Many signed contracts specifying time, and many were paid. The mamluks for example ranked above freemen in Egyptian society, despite being slaves.

In addition, well educated people would sell themselves into slavery as tutors or government officials. This was particularly common for Greeks during the Roman Empire.

And just because the majority of Americans are ignorant about history doesn't mean the intelligent fellows at Joss and Co. should promote it. It should be noted that almost all the Islamic slave soldiers were either Turkic (not from Turkey, but Turco-Mongol), some Iranians, Caucasian (from the Caucasus), or non-Muslims under the Ottoman rule, like Greeks. None of which are black. Of course there were black slaves, but to pretend that only they were slaves is simply ignorant, or promoting ignorance.

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-05-09 22:25 ]
In North America, where the Dollhouse we have seen is located, legal slavery was restricted to people of colour of African descent.

Of course there have been other forms of slavery (including in the Bible) that is not racially based. Human trafficing exists in North America and is a form of slavery.

But I don't think relating American slavery to colour in an American television series shows an ignorance of history. I also don't think you can put a positive spin on its existence.
I liked the finale a lot but by god they made it more complicated that they should have. The techniques they used to designate flashbacks needed to emphasised a lot better. And the Alpha good bye was incredibly lightweight. Apart from those little nitpicks, it was fine. Out of all the characters I'm intrigued to see where they will go with Amy's character next. She's a self aware bitter doll and that just makes for excellent drama.
Ahem. I've read Amy's pilot will probably get picked up.

I do think it's the best episode they've done, all said. But yeah, it's kinda confused in places.
redeem147, I would far rather be a high ranking, highly paid military slave than a poor farmer. Those were often the choices presented to people, and certain forms of Islamic slavery was positive in that it gave people upward mobility, that was certainly not found in contemporary Europe.

And why would Echo have been talking about 'American slavery'? Before Alpha was babbling about Minoans, and Echo/Omega said that a person can't sign a contract to sell themselves into slavery. Which is demonstrably false in numerous historical instances.
SteppeMerc, you are about to step into an exact repeat of a debate from several of the early episode threads. Maybe go back and read those and see if they will satisfy you.
I'd just have to "add" (because I'm sure it's been mentioned before), that one form of what is arguably consensual slavery takes place to this day in several European and Asian "developed" countries.

And as far as I'm aware, this practice is also merely "on hold" in the U.S., never abandoned.

Conscription?

I'll be the first to say that conscription may hold great value for some individuals and -- to some extent -- society. And I'm quite sure a large percentage of the population of the countries mentioned (and the U.S. for that matter) don't find anything morally problematic about it (I know most people in Denmark don't).

Nevertheless, it is mandatory servitude. You sign a contract, and the military controls your life and makes you work for whatever amount of time the state has dictated. Often with the alternative of prison or other kind of mandatory servitude (forced labor). In some cases you're paid, in some cases you aren't.

Where's the difference to slavery that makes this accepted practice morally sound?
I was surprised that Alpha didn't reference Mark 5/Luke 8. There were a couple of perfect opportunities for him to say something to the effect of "I am Legion."
doubtful guest, I'm not going to not bring up historical facts that contradict what someone says. I cannot tolerate historical inaccuracy regarding the subjects that I know and care for(trust me, I've tried. I literally can't). I pointed out Echo was wrong, someone asked me for proof, I gave it. Its not my fault they didn't read the earlier threads.
Is it just me, or does Adelle seem totally smitten over Ballard?

She's got a slightly different tone dealing with him toward the end there. I took it to mean he's just the first person we've seen her deal with who's just as smart, determined, and capable of dealing with very slippery situations as she is. Boyd and Dominic are/were good, but Paul's better in some respects. And driven to a degree those other two are not. I think she has a certain respect for him, despite the scorn she shows for him at times. His insistence that she release November as part of the deal is the kind of thing she respects, even though she disagrees with him about the morality of what the Dollhouse does.

A second season watching them deal with one another would be wonderful. And yeah it could be attraction too, who knows at this point.
Well, SteppeMerc, I for one am glad that Echo didn't bust out with a lecture on Ghulams, Mamluks and Janissaries. Anyway, when she said "can't", I don't think she meant "can't" in the physically impossible sense. I think she meant in the moral sense. And if you're going to try to argue that families would compete to get their kids into the Dollhouse if they only knew about the five-star cuisine and the spa treatments, I don't think you'll get very far.
Personally I took the 'can't' to mean that in the United States, in the present day, the law does not recognize a contract where one places themselves into slavery or indentured servitude. You can get pretty close to it, particularly with the way the military is using 'stop loss', but generally speaking a company/industry would have trouble defending a slavery contract in court.
Sunfire, I would very much like to see more interaction between them also!

I just noticed little things like when he was calling off the FBI squad he turned back to the camera and Adelle smiled. Also when Topher was complaining about him being in his office she gave him yet another smile. I just LOVE Adelle's expressions (scorn and all). Olivia Williams really shines out in Dollhouse.
In North America, where the Dollhouse we have seen is located, legal slavery was restricted to people of colour of African descent.

In North America, the very earliest slaves were native Americans. When that didn't work out so well, mainly because the slaves would run away and rejoin their tribes, the Spaniards started importing African slaves. There was also indentured servitude, a form of temporary slavery, where an individual would sell a contract of their services and income to an individual for a set period of time for an upfront fee. This allowed many of the lower classes in Europe to fund their way to North America in the 17th and 18th centuries since it was very expensive to book passage on a ship. The slavery portrayed on Dollhouse is much more like indentured servitude (also outlawed in the Constitution) since the dolls labor exclusively for the dollhouse for a set period of time and for a specific fee.
redeem147, I would far rather be a high ranking, highly paid military slave than a poor farmer. Those were often the choices presented to people, and certain forms of Islamic slavery was positive in that it gave people upward mobility, that was certainly not found in contemporary Europe.


SteppeMerc, you make an excellent point and have more than a few well thought out examples... of what is known in contemporary culture as indentured servitude.

The key difference between what is contemporarily defined as indentured servitude and what is known as slavery is that the indentured servant has the free will to direct their own thoughts and actions at all times; they are compelled morally (via their usually written agreement) to do as they are directed for the time alotted, but are physically capable of disobeying their masters if they so choose (penalties not withstanding).
Slaves, on the other hand, are treated as having no such right to freely direct how they think or act, and can be compelled through any means necessary by their masters to think or act as directed.

Put even more simply, slaves, like those those dark-skinned inhabitants of the southern US who were deemed 4/5ths of their white counterparts or the dolls in Dollhouse, are people whose own free will is controlled by their masters.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2009-05-10 03:14 ]
Doubtful guest - LOVE your theories! I hope you're right on!
in the United States, in the present day, the law does not recognize a contract where one places themselves into slavery or indentured servitude. You can get pretty close to it, particularly with the way the military is using 'stop loss'

I would argue that ordinary, voluntary, military service in the US today is very similar to what Dolls sign up for.

If you sign up to the US army you are signing up for a period of several years where you have no say where in the world you will be sent or what you will be asked to do. You are not free to just leave at any time and have to obey lots of orders. But in a set number of years time you are free, if you're still alive...

You literally do sign away many of your rights. Legally.
Re: Fireflies in a jar...
There's a painting out there somewhere, in a private collection, of Joss holding a jar of fireflies, standing in front of a bunch of corporate-suited executives. It seems to me to represent the soulfulness of the creation and the soullessness of the profiteering from the creativity. It spoke volumes to me, and I hope that it is in Joss' possession, because it belongs to him.

I thought of that painting when I heard Topher say that. It 'binged' rather than 'clicked' in my brain because that painting was done by Alan Tudyk's sister back in the day.
zz9 - But you may, if necessary, refuse an order. You may be penalized and have to bear the responsibility for your actions, but your free will is still present at all times.
the dolls in Dollhouse, are people whose own free will is considered the property of their masters.

The dolls are unconscious, their actual "mind" is not being subjugated, it is frozen on a hard drive. They are not aware of being slaves, or of being ordered about.
In this respect they are actually treated better that slaves, since slaves are constantly aware they are slaves.

And for another, wild, analogy, how about people who undergo surgery? It may be five hours rather than five years but people undergoing a complicated procedure consent to be knocked out. They know that during that time they will be helpless and in the hands of someone else. They will have discussed beforehand what their wishes are in the case of anticipated complications and will trust the surgeon to act on their behalf.
They will wake up in a few hours with no memory of what the surgeon did to them, and to their body, while they were under.

So the difference comes down to a matter of length and the reason for undergoing the procedure in the first place.

In the case of November, devastated over the loss of a child this "treatment" may be as valid as any other major procedure.
The dolls are unconscious, their actual "mind" is not being subjugated, it is frozen on a hard drive. They are not aware of being slaves, or of being ordered about.
In this respect they are actually treated better that slaves, since slaves are constantly aware they are slaves.


The ultimate, most abhorrent, most perfect [evil chuckle] form of slavery is when the slave themself doesn't even know they are one.

And for another, wild, analogy, how about people who undergo surgery? It may be five hours rather than five years but people undergoing a complicated procedure consent to be knocked out. They know that during that time they will be helpless and in the hands of someone else. They will have discussed beforehand what their wishes are in the case of anticipated complications and will trust the surgeon to act on their behalf.


This is why I would argue against unnecessary medical procedures. Also, during this time they are incapable, neither in mind or body, of exercising anything in the least resembling an act of free will. The doctor has been entrusted with their personal safety, not their free will.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2009-05-10 03:30 ]
C.A.B., now that's a whole other grey area!

You not only have the right to refuse to obey an order, you actually have an obligation to refuse an illegal order, because you are an individual responsible for your actions. Saying "I was only obeying orders!" is not a valid excuse, morally or legally.
But dolls are not in charge of their body. They are not even in their body!
Therefore they are not in a position to be able to, or be expected to, object to an order.

So while soldiers are "Free" to refuse an order they also have a moral and legal obligation to refuse an illegal order.
The dolls own, original minds, are not free to refuse an order, but they are also excused the obligation to refuse an order.

A soldier can be prosecuted for carrying out an illegal act he was ordered to do, but a Doll (if it ever came to trial and the nature of the Dollhouse were made public) could not be tried because they were, in the most literal sense, not responsible for their actions.

So Dolls can't refuse an order, but they can't be blamed for carrying out an order either.

Maybe that balances out?
The ultimate, most abhorrent, most perfect [evil chuckle] form of slavery is when the slave themself doesn't even know they are one.

Even when they volunteer for it in the first place?
Yes, because they can't un-volunteer.
Also, I can kill you with my brain.



I couldn't resist ;)
Okay, on a much more superficial level, Alpha took the wedges for every imprint Echo has ever had, plus the backups?
When?
He wasn't carrying anything when they got into the elevator.
Echo's been at the Dollhouse some time, must have done maybe fifty missions at least. That's a hundred hard drives. That's a large suitcase.
Okay, on a much more superficial level, Alpha took the wedges for every imprint Echo has ever had, plus the backups?
When?
He wasn't carrying anything when they got into the elevator.
Echo's been at the Dollhouse some time, must have done maybe fifty missions at least. That's a hundred hard drives. That's a large suitcase.


That actually occurred to me too.
Maybe they're in the back of the stolen car under all the stolen clothes. Except he doesn't walk out with a big bag during the elevator make-outs, does he?
Did anyone catch all the Frankenstein references in this one? It seemed pretty pointed, with the creepy chair in Alpha's "lair," sparks flying, repeated references to playing God. Clearly they are human-made monsters.

I think Topher could be a young Frankenstein. When they mentioned Alpha had been a criminal, the first thing that popped into my head was, "Hey, it's Abby Normal!"
I agree with those who'd love to see where the relationship between Adelle and Paul is going. I feel like she has a huge story that I need to know. Her apparent affection for? amusement with? desire to control? Paul reminded me of her reaction to Caroline. I think she's got a thing for crusader-types.
True, she's surrounded herself with Caroline/Echo, Boyd, and now Paul.
Steppemerc, you seem to have a compulsion to show off your knowledge of Islamic slavery. This is not at all relevant to the discussion of THIS contemporary TV show set in the United States of America, where being Muslim had nothing to do with slavery, whether as an owner or slave. It was about skin color and social power.

So, your knowledge of Islamic slavery highlights your ignorance of pre-Civil War slavery in the United States.

Neither of which is directly applicable to the DollHouse situation, although I haven't noticed many, if any, black people acting as dolls.

People voluntarily give up some of their rights when joining the military, true, but they keep their memories of their families, friends, childhood experiences, etc. There are ways out, too, if the individual is willing to do what they need to, whether going through channels, shooting off a body part or fragging their lieutenant - I see that as different from becoming the blank slate whore or assassin Boyd described.

While I liked the last episode, it was untimately unsatisfying to me. What changed?? Caroline is still a doll, Paul is apparently on staff - no longer obsessed (?), Saunders has been revealed as Whiskey, so what??

Although I found Topher less of a total ass than he has been. And Alan Tudyk was excellent.

[ edited by falina on 2009-05-10 04:41 ]
fleem: "Did anyone catch all the Frankenstein references in this one? It seemed pretty pointed, with the creepy chair in Alpha's "lair," sparks flying, repeated references to playing God."

I have to admit that when Alpha first put Caroline/Wendy in his Lair Chair, both my partner and I turned to each other and hollered, "It's alive! It's alive!!"

I'm in the party that thinks it would/will (gods willing and the creek don't rise) be interesting to see where the Paul/Adelle relationship goes. I also need to know more about both their backstories, and to better understand Paul's rescue compulsion, if that's what it is, as well as Adelle's control issues.

I also want to see more of the house operations as a whole - the practical, logistical stuff - and focus in, at least once, on some of the lesser characters - the red shirt kindof folks. (At least I got my wish to see the Dollhouse wardrobe room, in "Needs.")

(And look! The obvious aside, lookit Paul's books! Very good photo bookshelfness...)
I think when we start calling others out by name, it's a sign that discussion has moved too far away from the show, and too close to other members. In which case, you're better off taking a step away from the computer. Thanks.
I don't think I ever mentioned that Topher listing cleaners among people who have access to the lab reminded me of our very early "wait who cleans this secret underground illegal facility?!!" conversation here.

I want to know how the attendants who say "Good morning!" and "We're having pancakes today!" to the grown child-like zombies deal with that day after day. And what the handlers really think about what they do.
Wank to the rescue: Alpha grabbed the wedges, threw them into a bag, tossed them into the elevator... then imprinted Echo with Crystal, opened the elevator again, and left. (It's wank enough for me, anyway.)
Yeah, when Topher said that about cleaners I thought that it would make more sense to just have actives function as the cleaners
lookit Paul's books!

Very nice books, indeed.
lookit Paul's books!

Very nice books, indeed.


It's just too bad those books couldn't have been turned so that we could see more of the ...ahem...covers.
Those books are desktop wallpaper worthy!
Yeah, because that picture is all about Paul's... books. Mm-hmm. Thanks QuoterGal...!
Shanshu Bugaboo:
That first scene with Alpha and Whiskey torturing the guy while In Dreams plays in the background -- TOTALLY an homage to a scene in Blue Velvet (even the same song).

doubtful guest:
...noticed the Blue Velvet reference, too, but haven't been able to suss out why it is there as easily as the "Eternal Sunshine" shoutout


I read this as story text, rather than as literary allusion - that the client probably referred to the film when he specified his fantasy, so the song became an element in the engagement imprints.

(Next time he'll presumably spend longer specifying his requirements re there being a stop word.)
I once cut a bitch for messin with my Tasty Couture.
I read this as story text, rather than as literary allusion - that the client probably referred to the film when he specified his fantasy, so the song became an element in the engagement imprints.

Interesting! And totally makes sense. But yeah, safe word! In need of.
How much of a nitpick would it be to ask where the hell Echo's little pencil mustache wearing new handler was?
Did anyone catch all the Frankenstein references in this one? It seemed pretty pointed, with the creepy chair in Alpha's "lair," sparks flying, repeated references to playing God. Clearly they are human-made monsters.


Yup - in fact most of the episode seemed to slide into that B-movie genre.

[ edited by Ruadh on 2009-05-10 15:11 ]
How much of a nitpick would it be to ask where the hell Echo's little pencil mustache wearing new handler was?

She wasn't sent on a mission, so maybe he had a day off.

That is assuming that anyone who works at the Dollhouse ever gets a day off!
Finally got to watch it. Loved it, unsurprisingly.

Great use of Whiskey.

I will probably comment eventually on some of the debates above, but I wanted to add two things right now.

First, Paul is not now an employee of the Dollhouse. He is, I think,more like a somewhat reluctant independent contractor. He's there to help get Alpha and (maybe) to protect Echo/Caroline. It's possible that Boyd ended up there the same way ("there's always a girl.").

Second, November's real name, Madeleine, is a reference, I think, to Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, as well as to Vertigo (really tying up the whole Vertigo-y feel of the Paul/Mellie storyline), which was of course referencing Proust, too. And, since Mellie is a nickname for Madeleine, the question of how much of Madeleine's real identity was in Mellie (or, alternately, of whether "Madeleine" is really her real identity or if the Dollhosue is lying to Paul once again), is still very much up in the air.
Also, did anyone else think that Victor with the wounds looked like Puppet Angel after getting mauled?
I just read the script to this episode. There was quite a bit about Mellie and Sierra, too bad it was cut. It would be a great DVD extra, though.
Actually, I think Mellie's name Madeline is a reference to La Femme Nikita, the show Dollhouse has been imprinted with. Paul and Madeline.

[ edited by NuVanessa on 2009-05-10 20:08 ]
Finally got round to watching this episode as well. I loved it as far as the thematics and philosophical work went. The things that went on between Alpha, Echo/Omega and Caroline should fuel the debates on identity and soul here for quite some time to come. It also sets up next season quite nicely and left me really really hoping for a second season.

It did have some things that bugged me, though (apart from some things already mentioned upthread):

- Why doesn't the Dollhouse protect its original identities better. Alpha smashing his original identity and Caroline being reduced to that one harddisc, just seemed silly. You'd think a wealthy, super-secret criminal organisation, would have more than, say, two back-ups lying around in someone's office.

- What was up with just simply releasing November/Madeleine? We saw her dealing with her dead child previously and I always assumed she came to the Dollhouse to avoid her grief. Did they take those memories from her, when releasing her? If not: she seemed extremely happy with the Dollhouse, thankfull to Adelle and content all around. That seemed weird to me. Also: how does one easily reconnect to the Dollhouse after leaving it, again become part of the rest of the world, etcetera. It's like waking up from a coma, missing time and one would suspect that they don't have any remaining links to the outside world. The whole thing seemed to easy and happy to me.

Other than that: loved it. Loved Alan, loved Amy, loved the implications that the original personality has some measure of guilt for basically selling the remaining hull - Echo, Alpha - into slavery. That's an interesting viewpoint and something I haven't even seen pop up here before (but then again, I might've missed that). Loved Topher feeling guilt, loved everything involving Whiskey/Saunders, loved the Buffy, Firefly, Blue Velvet and Eternal Sunshine shout-outs.

Keeping fingers firmly crossed for renewal from now on.
Why doesn't the Dollhouse protect its original identities better. Alpha smashing his original identity and Caroline being reduced to that one harddisc, just seemed silly. You'd think a wealthy, super-secret criminal organisation, would have more than, say, two back-ups lying around in someone's office.

They've also promised to keep that stuff confidential and therefore extremely restricted, I assume. Adelle seems rather strict on protecting original identities. Storing it in multiple locations off-site seems like it would really jeopardize her ability to keep that promise. Someone like Alpha breaking into one Dollhouse and taking disks is the kind of anomaly not even the best data storage plan can really accommodate. I think they need better security, not more backups.
Just be glad they're using hard drives and not floppy discs.

"Insert Disc 724 of 1822 and press any key"

By the time Topher got them programmed the client would have forgotten what they wanted!
No matter how much security (which they do seem to lack:), offsite backups sound like a cheap way to improve the identity protection. Any system / place can be infiltrated given enough resources, but a simple bank-stored backup would already help. Or a safe inside the dollhouse... Or locks. And the trivial hacking of Tophers comp, when Alpha couldn't do it just the previous episode. Argh, and I thought the tech suspension of belief would not hit this show!

Anyways, good episode, unfortunately it did not match the intensity and excellence of the lead in. A bit too much happening, did they already fear cancellation when making this, trying to fit everybody in? Alpha was great, but what they ended up doing, kind of rushed. I liked Amy Acker though, seeing this episode I start to get why everybody was all over Fred, who I never really liked that much (Illyria was great though).

Also, I really like Tophers character. Extremely tech-smart, overconfident and generally a great nerd ending up in a gray place. Smart, but on limited scope, and too flawed to realize the stupidness in himself. Great char, good writing/acting.
It's just too bad those books couldn't have been turned so that we could see more of the ...ahem...covers.

I would love to see what Paul Ballard reads. One of my favorite avatars that I use on forums is Sawyer reading one of his various books on Lost, using the cobbled together glasses Jack made for him. Of course, the books Sawyer read weren't obscured so we couldn't see the titles and were part of the narrative of whatever was going on at that particular time.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2009-05-10 22:34 ]
Yeah, because that picture is all about Paul's... books.

I've always liked men who can read.
I think that the people arguing about race and legalities of what can be called "slavery" are missing the point of Omega's comment about having a black President. The point is that it is something that Caroline could have said. It's another indicator that idealistic, liberal Caroline is the core of Omega, just as psychotic killer guy is the core of Alpha.
Something else that's just occurred to me.
What are they going to do when Whiskey's five year contract is up?
Dr Saunders has apparently decided she is comfortable staying where she is and does not want to know who she was. But her original self will clearly want her body back at some point.
What then?
Will the Dollhouse effectively "kill" Claire Saunders, a self aware personality, to give her body to someone else? Or let Claire stay and let her original self sit on the shelf?
zz9, one option full of narrative possibility, would be for Topher to make a composite personality that gave Claire access to her "real" history/memories/skills, but let her keep her MD skills and the -- for lack of a better word -- wisdom (of the sadder but wiser type) she seems to feel she has gained. I realize there is a huge question of who ('classic claire' or 'new claire') gets to decide this is what they want, which, of course, is why we get sci fi stories to meditate about this sort of identity question. I can certainly imagine it as at least plausible that the hybrid, with access to their old self, might actually choose to hold onto the "sadder but wiser" stuff as a way of taking ownership of what was otherwise a lost period of their life.
And the trivial hacking of Tophers comp, when Alpha couldn't do it just the previous episode.

Why did he give her so much computer skills? I thought Whiskey might be the one passing messages to Ballard. But that doesn't answer my question.
Why did he give her so much computer skills? I thought Whiskey might be the one passing messages to Ballard. But that doesn't answer my question.

We can assume that Alpha had at least some knowledge of the imprinting technology when he first had the composite event, he destroyed his own wedge for example.
What if he predicted that since he had killed Dr Saunders the Dollhouse would programme someone else, possibly Whiskey who he had just attacked, as the doctor.
Would he have had the time and the ability to tamper with the Original Saunders imprint to give it the hacking skill and the hidden agenda to be his inside man?

Topher would have taken the original Dr Saunders, made a few small changes (Old guy to young woman, add the attack by Alpha and the fear of ever going outside) and programmed Whiskey as the new Doc, never spotting the sleeper agent stuff hidden in there.
I don't really trust much of the information we have been given. Alpha may have just wanted an excuse to get to a different computer or different place in the building. Was November's backstory true, or manufactured? Has she really been freed as herself or made into someone else? I do not think we can know. It really is a shame that the first 5 episodes were wasted the way they were.
I just rewatched the end. Although I'm still not completely satisfied, I feel less annoyed.

I agree with newcj about the veracity of much of what we've seen. Getting back to Whiskey/Saunders - it seems the original deal was made with the goal of original body being reunited with original mind after 5 years. Whiskey's face was severely damaged, although the scars never looked that bad on my computer screen. What compensation was promised???

If they were entering into actual contracts I would think the legal guys would be aware of possible adverse events and propose compensation. (Alpha's insanity an unforseeable Act of God??) And then Whiskey was given the doc's brains without knowledge of herself. Like an extended engagement??? Something smelly here.
Enforced offlineness has brought me beyond late to this party, the comment below is as far as I've gotten but it expresses my feelings perfectly ....

That was beautiful and sad and amazing and...Season 2, please.

pat32082 | May 09, 03:00 CET


Plus uber-dark. Which coming from me is the ultimate compliment, because I like my Joss liki I like my .... well never mind, my penchant for the really deep, dark stuff isn't exactly a secret around here.

Must be renewed, I can't entertain any other possibility. So for season2, here's my theory (again, I haven't read any other comments.)
Topher is the inside man. Ballard freed Mellie because he and Topher agreed that Topher wouldn't totally wipe Echo, who has the tried and true strength to help bring the Dollhouse down (she handled Alpha's multiple imprints and still held on to her basic identity and the strength to do what had to be done, she's hands down the best Active to have in an inside position).

Evidence that it's Topher: When "wiped" Echo walked out of the room, she paused, looked at Topher and placed her hand on his heart. In the sleeping cubicle, she whispered "Caroline" befor falling asleep, so obviously she 1> wasn't totally wiped or 2> has retained enough of her original identity so that not even a total wipe can completely tke it away from her.
I'm going with option one, Topher didn't totally wipe her. Partly because I really want it to be Topher, I've been unable to hate him from the beginning, even when I should have.

And Alan Tudyk? how amazing is this guy? My favorite line, off the top of my head "It's not as if I have multiple personalities. Well, one on me does ....." :)

Going back to read some other comments . Bring on a renewal announcement.
I don't think Paul is volunteering to be a doll, but I think he's going to be the lead in capturing Alpha. Or at least that's what I got from that scene. And the only way he's doing that is if Madeline is free from her contract.


Exactly. This is the only scenario that even occurred to me. But I also think that in season 2 :), he'll be working on the inside to bring the Dollhouse down, as well. And that the "team" working from the inside to do this will be Ballard, Topher (yes, I'm thoroughly convinced), Echo/Caroline, and possibly (probably) Boyd.
Getting Alpha off the streets (and in the attic, at the very least) is obviously the first priority for Ballard's good-guy persona.
But a close second would still be, totally bringing the Dollhouse down. But it has to be from th inside, now. Shades of Wolfram and Hart?

Whiskey/Dr. Saunders wasn't even a mild surprise to me (except that the original Dr. Saunders was a man, which opens some interesting possibilities).

More, pleaasseee!!!
.It is hard to even discuss this... but I did love that psycho/sociopathic Alpha couldn't handle his download but Echo had the basic building blocks of a strong ego and a desire to help people, and she did find the strength to hold on to and access whatever she needed.


My feelings exactly, embers. From the beginning, I've had a hard time understanding the "I just can't get invested in any of the characters" sentiments. Echo/Caroline, in all "their" various persona's, have been awesome. I saw the potential hero here from the get-go.

Even if it's still unclear how much of Caroline is "left" and the extent to which Echo is becoming a separate (if composite) entity, there have been some constants in this persona: strength, kick-ass skills to make the best of a bad situation, empathy and a deeply embedded sense of integrity.
Eliza/Caroline/Echo, = triple awesome. ;)
Why doesn't the Dollhouse protect its original identities better. Alpha smashing his original identity and Caroline being reduced to that one harddisc, just seemed silly. You'd think a wealthy, super-secret criminal organisation, would have more than, say, two back-ups lying around in someone's office.

Well, it's not like they're expecting someone to come along and smash them. They're kept safely stored and they've made two copies. Seems safe enough to me
Really, Let Down? :) My old university used to back up research data more safely and extensively than the Dollhouse backs up personalities ;).

I get that this was easier from a story standpoint (Alpha destroying his original personality is a powerfull thing to imply and sets up his later scenes with Omega) and there might not've been a better way to throw that out there easily and keep the rest of the episode exciting (put Caroline in actual danger, etcetera). But it's still a weak plot point.

Making two back-ups and then keeping them in the same place, is pretty strange to begin with, I'd say. One'd expect them to at least put one copy in a safe or a bank, somewhere off-site (or at the very least in a second location inside the building, but outside'd be preferable). It'd be meaningless to someone picking it up without imprinting skills (i.e. anybody not working for the Dollhouse or not Alpha) anyway (and would also probably be encrypted to begin with) and the chance that someone'd get so far and be able to do something with the data, is probably much smaller than - say - a fire in the one storage space used (which is basically an open office anybody inside the Dollhouse can walk into).

Plus: it'd also protect these people who've signed the contracts from, say: a free-roaming insane former active or any other number of unforseen circumstances ;). Given the enormous importance of this data (it's a person, after all), I'd say taking precautions is wise and putting all one's eggs in one basket isn't.

[ edited by GVH on 2009-05-12 01:39 ]
I'm late because I actually read all these comments. zz9 brings up surgery: When someone goes in for surgery, there's often a family member or friend who has been designated to make decisions in case something arises that was not discussed beforehand. There are checks and balances in hopes of keeping the staff from running amok once the patient is under. And sometimes the doctor chooses to end the surgery so that they can ask the patient what they want.
Yeah, but was your university underground and guarded by highly trained security?

Maybe the backup was in case some technological anomaly happened to the wedge, not so much someone infiltrating the Dollhouse and destroying them.
For those who think modern-day U.S. military service is the same as slavery: Two wrongs don't make a right. Just because soldiers are not allowed out of their contracts doesn't mean that we should condone the DH.

Another difference: Many people hold soldiers in high esteem, believing that they have served their country. But the dolls have done a lot of things that would bring them shame -- if not criminal convictions -- in our society.
Well, obviously not Jes ;). Still, it being underground and guarded does not exclude, say, a fire happening, something accidentally falling on them, etcetera. It's just silly to put these two wedges in one room together. It's taking a big risk. The chance of what actually ended up happening is, obviously, extremely minor. But there's lots of reasons to have an off-site back-up, with fires and the like being a major example.

Now, the only reason I can think of for not having done this, is: the Dollhouse doesn't care and doesn't think these personalities are valuable in the first place.
GVH, I considered that to be pretty obvious before "Omega" -- it's obvious by the fact that Adelle was ready to kill "Echo" in "Gray Hour", by the fact that they have sent people to their Attic.
I hear you GVH.

I hope they care a bit for the originals, Adelle seems to put up a good front that she does!
Yeah KoC, but if they didn't care about honouring the contracts or even if they didn't care about keeping the actives alive in the first place (which I think they do, as they're very valuable and they'd only cut them loose under extreme circumstances), I'd still hope (like Jes) that they'd see at least some value in the original personalities, especially given the pretense a lot of the employees have that, really, they're not such bad guys. I for one am still not ready to think it wasn't simply a case of sloppy writing (it probably happens to everyone, even great writers like Tim or Joss).

ETA: wow, this post contains only two sentences (yes, more now, but still ;)). Talk about run-on writing. Heh.

[ edited by GVH on 2009-05-13 00:23 ]
I think this episode really suffered from the time restraint... should have been two hours. I kept thinking I had missed something, seemed like important scenes were left out. Suddenly it was the end and they just let Alpha get away without explaining anything. Now I've read on here that those scenes got deleted because of limited time... but we needed those! Overall, kind of a disappointment, especially after the previous awesome episode, but it was still pretty good. If the show gets cancelled, I'm satisfied enough, but I hope it doesn't!
I agree Omega should have been at least 2 episodes, but I thought the entire last half of the season was rushed. It was great to get episodes packed with information, but bringing it out more slowly would have been more enjoyable, imo. I've watched the deleted scenes from Serenity, and I wish they'd been left in. They give a more well-rounded feel to the whole production.

Also - the whole question of the 5-year-deal - was that for real or just how Adelle et al sucked in bodies?? I see more evidence of noncompliance than compliance.
I don't get how the person is changed for the better after their contract is up. Madeleine woke up as if she had just arrived yet didn't seem bothered by her dead kid - had she dealt with it or was it erased? Confused.
Yeah, that was another point I wanted to make as well, but forgot due to the distracting discussion here, doublemeat. I was confused by that too. She left happy and thankfull, which seemed 'off'.

What's more: she probably doesn't have anyone left on the outside (if she did, they'd have noticed her being gone, which is something I'm still wondering about: how would the Dollhouse deal with Dolls running into their former friends etcetera?), so how is she going to pick up her life again? Very puzzling.
I assumed that yes, they had wiped her memory of losing the kid or had implanted memories of dealing with the loss and moving on to account for however long she was in the Dollhouse.

We don't know what her life was like before the Dollhouse or how long she was there. Presumably, there was some cover story in place or fabricated afterward to deal with it. (My first thought was that even Madeleine would believe the cover story, but evidently she knows about the Dollhouse and that she spent time there.)
I don't get how the person is changed for the better after their contract is up. Madeleine woke up as if she had just arrived yet didn't seem bothered by her dead kid - had she dealt with it or was it erased? Confused.

What she needed for closure was to mourn her child. We don't know why she became a Doll though. It might've had nothing to do with that, or (more likely I think) only be tangled up in it but not the reason itself. All I took from "Needs" and the ending of "Omega" together was that by entering the Dollhouse, she didn't have an opportunity to mourn. I didn't assume she entered the Dollhouse to deal with the death, or avoid dealing with it. The fact that she needed the closure suggests the opposite to me, actually-- that mourning couldn't happen because of whatever else was going on and then being wiped for the first time.
Has it ever actually been said that dolls would have all of the memories of having agreed to be a doll deleted (and memories added of how they had spent their last 5 years) after they finish their contracts?

I thought that they would just do their time, and then go on living with the knowledge that they had given up 5 years to the dollhouse. I could have missed something though.
I think Adelle makes it clear to Caroline in "Needs" that she "wanted to forget". I interpret this as a deal to delete whatever traumatic memory has gotten the people near the edge in the first place. She actively refuses to tell Caroline why she's there cause that what she promised her. So, I figured Madeleine probably leaves without any knowledge of Katie.
hmmm, well I'm not entirely convinced by that, but maybe you're right..

I thought that maybe removing bad memories "could" be a part of the deal for signing up to be a doll, but doesn't have to be for everybody who signs up... It could be that Madeline made a special deal where she would be spared the memories of her dead daughter.

But, I assumed that, for Caroline at least, she was just deciding to swap time in jail for time in the dollhouse.

we need a 2nd season me thinks.

[ edited by mortimer on 2009-05-15 16:26 ]
Also, there's the story of Joss getting interested in this whole topic via research about memory altering drugs being done on mice and tons of people calling in to be test subjects because they wanted to get rid of traumatic memories. I still think this is one of the emotional cores of this show, the denial (and deletion) of responsibility. That fantasy is the only thing I can think of as the reason why someone like Caroline would sign up for it. There has to be a bigger catch than just "more massages", because the catch on the other side (no free will, prostitution and slavery) is kinda huge.
But not remembering being a doll versus 5 years in jail getting beaten up and raped and remembering it (I assume jail is like on Oz), could be a good enough argument for becoming a doll by itself.
Adelle sold the Dollhouse to Caroline as giving actives the skills to deal with the world once they got out. I suppose the details don't matter, we just know they're happy upon leaving.

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



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