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December 04 2009

(SPOILER) Discuss the fifth and sixth episodes of Dollhouse season 2. It's the beginning of the end. And if you missed the two episodes, they are now available to watch for free at the Fox site and Hulu and can be purchased individually on iTunes (SD version only, HD versions are "season only").

Conflicting info on who wrote and directed "The Public Eye" and "The Left Hand" so you'll just watch the credits to find out.

I want to be the first to post that I have nothing to say yet because it isn't on yet.
eta: Success!

[ edited by Lioness on 2009-12-05 01:10 ]
Andrew Chambliss wrote "The Public Eye" and Tracy Bellomo wrote "The Left Hand".
Agh, living on the West Coast sucks! I still have nearly 4 hours to wait!
Welcome back Dollhouse : )
Complaining about the West Coast? I live in IRELAND!!! I got a month til it comes here...and about 6 hours before i can stream it!!
Have fun Eastern and Central!
My first Whedonesque episode discussion!
I'm so glad DH is finally back.
My first Whedonesque episode discussion!

Me too! =)
I just wanna go ahead and have a fangrrrl moment: I heart Fran Kranz more than any one person should.

That is all.
>>>Complaining about the West Coast? I live in IRELAND!!!

Oh. Yeah. You win. :)

I have to go away now, no spoilers!
This show just gets better and better!
The dialogue is so very Whedony tonight.
On the nose.

I love the fact Fran takes a great line - and somehow makes it greater.
Alyson is a damned lucky girl. I knew that already, but now I see stuff I didn't know about. ;)
Yowza-it has definitely been too long since I've seen Alexis on my screen! Love these scenes between him & Eliza.
You know, last time she tied him up it didn't go very well...
OK, definitely DID NOT expect THAT with Perrin!!!
OMG. Just... OMG.
Did what I think just happened actually happen?!?! God, I love this show!
OMG, Weve been tricked! It was Alexis all along!!!

Go Joss!
Um that was awesome.
(Hi, all. First post, long long time lurker.)
Holy Freaking Crap! Did NOT see that coming!
I did -- about three seconds before, 'cause they didn't show him reacting to Echo. So yay, I called a plot twists three seconds before reveal! Go me!
WOW! I did not see that coming, at all. So who is his wife actually? And I am so confused and intrigued and freakin' out. Awesome!
WHOA. That totally caught me offguard. Great twist.
FOX is stupid. That is all. (for now)
I'm really loving the look of this episode.

I've missed this show.
I've long thought it'd be too easy if the Mrs. was the doll. Anybody catch the joke about GWB being a doll?
Awesome job by Alexis!
Didn't see it coming but the acting, after the 'reveal', was pretty hammy on all counts (Alexis most of all!)
Maggie, that's exactly what I thought! I was like, "hey that sounds like Bush!"
Holy crap... I never saw any of this coming... I was up on all of the spoilers. WOW. This is AMAZING.
Thank you, baxter. I love this episode so far, but Alexis does not seem at the top of his game in "Dollhouse". He was much much better in Angel.
Really baxter? I think it reflects the divide within himself quite well--we always want to reassert who we think we are over we we discover ourselves to be.
LOL!! Nice one, Echo!!!
I'm loving the way this fight is edited. So great.
What a fantastic sequence, bringing back all her previous engagements. That was great.
I LOVE that line "You just woke up a whole lot of people and they all think you're a bitch!"
Awesome Mellie-Ballard exchange! "Am I free?"
Sorry, discordia, nothing about his acting is selling any of his 'bits' to me. He always seemed incredibly genuine on Buffy and Angel - no matter what incarnation between dorky and grim. Whereas here, I only see 'actoring' in a way that really takes me completely out of the story.
A lot of LA love in this episode.

Also, Madeline's questioning of if she's really free to Paul is a really good argument.

Also, I love Miracle's acting outside LAX. Seriously.
Eliza is rocking some amazing lines tonight! Torn between "You just woke up a whole lot of people and they all think you're a bitch" & "I think her bad guys are badder than my bad guys". Major lols!
Yeah, the acting in this episode with Alexis aren't that great... Eliza is amazing though. I guess it's bizarro world?
Summer! I love this cast!
DC dolls are named after gods and goddesses? Awesome.
This is late, but seeing Maurissa was awesome too!
So... they name their dolls after Greek gods. AWESOME.
Oh MAN! Joss has ME brainwashed!!!
It's not a question of FAITH..." I may have had a geekgasm :)
This show is just blowing me away!!!
It didn't occur to me till just now that Victor and Sienna weren't in the last ep at all.
Ok is anyone else flashing Princess Bride on the scene between Summer and Eliza
Boy, is she a biatch!!! I hope she gets her ass kicked sooner rather than later!!!
Okay, Summer Glau is perfection. PERFECTION.
Topher in a limo!!
I love the limo dialogue!
There is something worse than pain. It's commercials!
Ok, that was a particularly poorly timed commercial...
Damn commercials. Memory now please!
Weirdest commercial placement ever. Such an awkward cut.
That Dollhouse simplified thing was worse than pain, I'd say.
That was horrible.
Enver is the most amazing person EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
And I thought Enver's Reed Diamond impression was good.
Enver! Always amazes me.
LMAO!!! I LOVE Enver Gjokaj!!!!
Hahaha--I missed you Enver!
Oh, that was worth the whole thing. Give Enver all the Emmys, please.
Enver could totally pull off the one-man stage version of "Dollhouse"!
I have to try Adele's tactic!
FOX really sucks for canceling this show!
I have laughed more in this episodes than I probably have during the entirety of the series. I mean that as a compliment for tonight's episode. Topher talking to the doll version of himself...hilarious.
Topher-Doll Topher convo.=amazing.
When I grow up, I wanna be Adelle Dewitt. She is such a badass!

And, ummmmm, Bennett is made of crazy. And I'm not entirely sure that's a bad thing.
Enver Enver Enver. He is so good!

[ edited by Lioness on 2009-12-05 03:31 ]
I think Bennett is channeling River to a certain (large) degree.
Enver - best Whedon actor discovery since Marsters!
Enver's Topher may be my favorite thing ever. I love him. Also, Topher talking to doll-Topher? HILARIOUS.
Bennett is quickly rising to my favorite characters list, along with Adelle and Topher. And Topher + Topher convo = amazing. And ahh, this is great.
Can Enver and Fran play Topher all the time? It's amazing. And I think Bennett's real name is River.
There is so much greatness just in this episode alone!
Going off the grid. This will be interesting!
Redundant, but oww.
God, I'm going to miss this show.
You have to wonder why he needed to leave his shirt off while he cut the tracker out of her.
I like tonight's 2nd episode much more than the 1st. Especially Enver, Topher, and Adelle.
Wesley finally takes his revenge on Faith.
Do the twists ever stop?
The scenes with the Senator and his wife remind me of Baltar and Six...
That girl has issues. Oh yeah.
The plot so far: Excellent.
Summer as Bennett: Compelling.
Enver as Victor as Topher: Freakin' amazing.

But what does it mean that Bennett was Caroline's best friend? I'm still confused...
You mean... GO PERRIN!!
The plot thickens, even as more and more layers are peeled away.

Gods, I love this show!
Killing Cyndi < Accidentally losing Connor. Either way... poor Alexis' characters. Thank god he's so happy in real life.
discordia, nice BSG connection. I agree.
Fail. Someone had fail flakes for breakfast. Fail.
Oh yeah, I forgot about Paul.
You have to wonder why he needed to leave his shirt off while he cut the tracker out of her.

I wasn't complaining! And I assume it was so that he didn't get blood on his shirt.
Holy Smokes!!! I love this show!!!
Wow... that was unbelievable!
Right there with you on the NOT complaining, Lioness. Please never be offscreen this long ever again, Alexis.
I just fell in love with Joss all over again.
Next week's eps look great! I am loving the show more than ever & am trying to only look forward to the future eps (not dwell on the fact that they're all we have left). Yay for Joss-y goodness!
Dude. Okay, all I'm coherent enough to say right now is that Enver Gjokaj completely floored me with his Topherness. I'll just be off squeeing like mad now.
Is anyone else crying as much as me? Because those were absolutely fantastic episodes and I couldn't have asked for better episodes after such a long break.
Beautiful television. Except for the ads.
Something strange has happened to me. I like Dollhouse now.

Maybe I need a treatment.
Summer and Enver were awesome!
I don't know where to even begin, but my prevailing thought is that Enver is simply amazing. Is there anything he can't do? As for the rest, I have to let it roll around in my head for a while. So many new revelations and twists. Mostly, I'm just glad Dollhouse is back!
Both episodes were awesome, don't even know where to begin with fave parts but the Victor/Topher scenes were freakin hilarious! The previews look great as well.

[ edited by xander fan on 2009-12-05 04:05 ]
Dude. Okay, all I'm coherent enough to say right now is that Enver Gjokaj completely floored me with his Topherness. I'll just be off squeeing like mad now.

Ditto on this. Just when I think I can't possibly be more impressed with Enver, he blows me away even more. SO awesome.
Wow. It's like I felt after the first two episodes of "Angel" Season 5. If "Dollhouse" has finally hit its stride, it's a big damn gallop.
All I can say is AWESOME AWESOME episodes.There just too much for me to even focus on.Alexis was amazing and I didn't see him being a doll coming.Summer was just creepy but also endearing.And her past with Caroline is so intriguing.I hope we get more on that.What we saw didn't put Caroline in a good light. Loved her interaction with Fran.Ray Wise was excellent.I felt so sorry for Madeline at the end of the second episode. Loved Victor as Topher.And man is Rossum going to give Wolfram & Hart a run for it's money in the evil corporation race.

Just a overall big thumbs up for tonight's episodes.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2009-12-05 04:11 ]
And, OK, yes... is Enver like the acting discovery of the decade or what? OM freaking G! That was the *best* duplication of another actor's characterization I have *ever* seen. Just stunning!!!
Dueling Tophers. Fabuloso.
What bugs me, what pisses me off no end, is that thanks to the month-long hiatus and lack of promotion these two eps, possibly the best all season, will probably get the lowest ratings yet.
I would not be at all surprised to know that every member of the cast already does a Topher impersonation...
Oh they will get the lowest ratings yet, C.A. No doubt.

[ edited by guidedby on 2009-12-05 04:14 ]
I'd love to see an interview with Fran and Enver and get their take on the mimicing.
There aren't words for the degree of 1: How much I loved these episodes, especially after such a long break and 2: How amazing Enver is and how much I want to keep him as a pet.

That said, can someone explain the end to me? I got kinda bombarded by people during parts. What was with Perrin's huge switch at the end, saying the house doesn't exist? Did the LA group mention something about Bennet programming a failsafe sort of thing or did I make that up? And if not, what the bloody hell?!
Wow two great hours right there. Enver is so freaking incredible, I had looked away from the screen when he first appeared and just heard him talking and figured it was still Fran as Topher...he is amazing! And Summer still rocks. Bennett and Topher together were very cute :) (of course until he punches her but Joss really doesn't ever let there be a happy relationship does he?).

And did anyone else find it funny when Bennett was talking about messing with Perrin's brain to make him better? Seemed a bit like Alliance talk to me ;)

Oh Fox, why do you have to do this to us??????
I'm speechless about how ridiculously good Enver was in these eps. I *liked* Dollhouse before, but was never passionate about it. Now that it gets cancelled?-the final episodes of the show are blowing me away. Damn you Whedon for making me love again!!
My two cents:

The first episode kinda sucked... Perrin as the doll was way obvious when they kept having the wife initiate that whole white knight crap. I was definitely bored.

But the second episode TOTALLY made up for it... it's probably my favorite episode thus far. Victor and Topher are the best things this show has (had?) going for it, so all the fun stuff with them together was a treat to watch. And River Tam!!! Too awesome! I don't really understand what happened at the end, but hopefully they'll flesh it out next week.

Man... I'm really starting to like this show :(
From @frankranz on Twitter: "We just got a bunch of cakes from the fans to keep us full and warm during our night shoot. That's awesome. Thanks guys"

Yay, cake people!

[ edited by C. A. Bridges on 2009-12-05 04:33 ]
After stellar performances by all in these eps, there will be a big, gaping hole in my heart when the final episode is aired.

Dollhouse had it's faults, but tonight was not one of them. It's a phrase much overused these days, but I say THIS was awesome, episodic drama at its best.

[ edited by Riverine on 2009-12-05 04:28 ]
So I think we all enjoyed Victopher.

I wish there had only been one set of credits because the episodes went together like a mini-movie.

[ edited by Riker on 2009-12-05 04:30 ]

That was heavenly.

Trying to remember all the twists and turns...

First of all, loved seeing Mo! What a great surprise. It was so much better since I didn't know it was going to happen.

Summer is terrific. I didn't think it was possible to hate her (character). But I did. Any bad thoughts anyone had about Topher...multiply those by about a hundred. What a creepy, dangerous sadist. You can try to explain her 'treatment' of Echo because of what Caroline did to her, but that was Caroline! Not Echo. Wow. Although I realize later she said they were the same, so we know she thinks that.

So I was thinking, while it was happening, that the conversation between Bennett and Topher was going to be the highlight. Great chemistry between them, and Summer showed me something I hadn't seen before. I see some people were seeing River, and I guess there was a moment or two where that might have been a good comparison, but overall I thought that was a wholly original character. Impressively done by Summer.

Then Topher called...VictorTopher, and an even greater scene occurred. Enver is easily the happiest result of this series. We can hate FOX all we want (and I do), but I thank them for Mr. Enver Gjokaj.

Also, great to see Echo verbalizing our fears. Is returning Caroline to her body the right thing? Cause that's killing Echo. Nice.

Two hours of twisty bliss tonight. With two more hours next Friday. So happy.

For now.
From @frankranz: "Truly great fans. Dollhouse references on each cake. My favorite is three flowers in a vase... Wish my phone could take worthy photos"
Two Tophers for the price of one! Enver was perfect! Such a great episode. :)
Thanks, C.A. Bridges! Don't have twitter, so nice to hear.
Miracle Laurie just posted a pic of the cakes. "We got em' and we love u!"

[ edited by C. A. Bridges on 2009-12-05 04:35 ]
@elizadushku just retweeted Fran's tweet about the cakes and the fans and added "Yes!"
Alana just posted a thanks and a pic as well.
I can't say much more that haven't already been said. I think that whether you like Dollhouse or not. (and I LOVE it) There simply isn't anything like it on TV today. I appreciate the creative risks and I will miss it terribly. I keep having these crazy thoughts that these final episodes will reverse the cancellation. (A man can dream can't he. lol) I thought tonight was simply amazing from everyone!! Enver was brilliant, you know I closed my eyes and I couldn't tell which one was the real Topher! lol

Question: Did you heart break when Madeline was back in the DC Dollhouse being imprinted by Bennett? I knew the dolls never truly leave, I hope that they truly leave in the finale, especially for Echo/Caroline.
That was absolutely amazing. I haven't been knocked this far off balance by a couple of episodes of anything since the BSG time warp. I really wasn't expecting the Senator to resume his original programming at the hearing.

Enver should win all of the Emmys that don't go to FNL's Zach Gilford. That was even more top-notch than his star turn as Kiki.

On the downswing, I kinda wish Summer had been a little less River-y. It diminishes her as an actress slightly when TSCC showed us she can do much more. But that's a minor complaint, and she and Fran played off each other beautifully.
I watched the episodes with my husband, who had never been interested in watching before. It was the presence of a certain Summer.

He found it too complicated to follow, but I think he enjoyed much of it. He also thought the part with sleeper awakened Perrin was very Terminatory.

I was blown away by double dollhouse december. I totally forgot I had other TV shows to watch on Sci-Fi afterwards.
Another group shot with the cakes. For those interested.

As for the episodes themselves, I'm still kind of in awe of them. December's Dollhouse double headers are off to a great start.
There is now a separate thread with all the cast/ crew twitter thanks for the cake, cards, etc.
Oh man, I loved this so much! It was so cool seeing Maurissa on screen as a little tiny active (Kilo? lol), beyond cool to see Enver as Topher! I want dueling Tophers every week! And I thought that Summer was brilliant and creepy (not at all River creepy IMO, River was always sweet vulnerable sad creepy, THIS was Dr. Strangelove creepy!). Did I mention how much I loved this?
I'm just so happy we got this second season of episodes, this is really very special, and kinda scary.
Goodness gracious, what an evening. Loved these episodes.
And next week, return of ALPHA! I think I love Alan Tudyk even more when he plays creepy! Two hours of terrific TV tonight, also hoping later for more about Caroline/Bennett back story.
These were both great, but the second was definitely the better of the two. Loved seeing them back to back -- Dollhouse movie night is fun!

Plus, it just can't be said enough how awesome the dueling Tophers were.

And next week looks friggin' incredible.
Maddie!!! What are they doing with you!!??

Oh man, that was a roller coaster. Enver is even more extraordinary than I thought -- and I already thought he was pretty damn extraordinary. I loved all the Eliza/Alexis scenes.

I think anyone who has seen Twin Peaks can understand my nearly hysterical joy at seeing Adelle have such a position of power over Ray Wise.

And I really want to know more about the history of Caroline/Benett. Am I the only one who got a kind of "lover scorned" vibe?

Alpha next week, eep!
Pretty much have to echo everyone else's thoughts. Some great episodes.

The only thing niggling at me is why don't they try their plan again to knock out Echo? Or send her an imprint saying, "Come home!" ?
I wish the title of this thread was 'discuss the 5th and 6th episodes of Dollhouse...and the previews for next week'

Just so I would know not to read it. Guess I'll wait a week to read these threads from now on. Great.
Oh man, I can't say enough. I'm going to need a day to gather my thoughts. *sigh*
I was going to apologize, guidedby then I realized I only said "next week looks friggin' incredible." Phew! You were talking about someone else.
Episode made me wonder if Caroline isn't some kind of raging manipulative bitch. I wonder if I will hate her and wish for Echo if Caroline ever comes totally back. Of course, that would be wrong. Or would it?
Sorry, guidedby. I usually wait to scroll down through this thread as the show's on (I'm on west coast) so I don't get spoiled mid-show.

Not really. I completely agree with you in regards to Caroline. She's not really a good person. Her boyfriend because of her irresponsibility, and now we find out that Caroline left her best trapped under a boulder while she ran. They obviously did something really bad, and she left Bennett to suffer the consequences alone.

As we can see, Echo is a much better person than Caroline.
Enver is an absolute treasure. I'm going to miss him most when this goes. I swear he even looked like Topher. That was just amazing.


Poor November. Who is she going to be now? Demeter?
Everything leading up to Adele taking the situation by the... um, handling the... erm, never mind. That was just a masterpiece of hubris on Ray Wise character's part. Assuming he held the upper hand, the poker references revisited (guess he had a good hand, badly played. VERY badly played.). And Olivia perfectly playing the seemingly cowed, subservient employee. We knew something was coming, but ye gods that was great honking delicious fun.

And the biggest laughs of the series so far, for me, go to Victor/Topher. Freaking uncanny. Oh to have been a fly on the wall the day they filmed THOSE scenes.
Thanks for the sentiment, bonzob.

hopitopia, I watched the whole show first, I just don't watch the previews. I prefer to know absolutely nothing.

I realize talking about the previews isn't forbidden, I just thought people here knew some people don't watch them. Don't worry about it.
TamaraC, I totally agree. I don't like Caroline. At all. I've known this since "Echoes" and "Epitaph One" only cemented it. I do, on the other hand, like Echo, and I will be very saddened when she is gutted to make room for Caroline once more. Maybe that is part of the plan though -- to make us grieve for Echo. It seems like classic Joss.
I really think focusing on what we "hate" about Caroline isn't really the point though. After all, Joss & Co. have taken great pains to essentially shout that Caroline is who is bleeding through in Echo. The same way Carl William Kraft bleeds through into Alpha. She takes unwise risks, Bennett stating that she has the same magnetism, etc. There are more examples, but I'm not remembering them off the top of my head at the moment.

If you focus on hating her, I think that you're opening up a whole world of disappointment. After all, we know "Caroline" is fully alive in Epitaph One.

I think speculatively speaking, Echo is rebuilding a "better" Caroline in the same way that Perrin was "rebuilt". The only difference is, she's doing it herself whereas Perrin was carefully crafted.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-12-05 08:24 ]
Very well said, azzers.

I was thinking along the same lines but couldn't put it into words just yet.
The only thing niggling at me is why don't they try their plan again to knock out Echo? Or send her an imprint saying, "Come home!" ?

ilion, it was unclear to me whether Bennett changed the pulse to not affect Echo (possibly wanting her conscious and suffering when she died?), or perhaps Echo were simply immune - due, perhaps, to her awakening selfhood, or all the head trauma, or the fact that her implants are from a different Dollhouse. If she is immune, then trying to re-send the pulse might be ineffective.

A great pair of episodes from the newer writers - I think they're the storytelling equivalents of Dichen and Enver in terms of raw talent and recent induction into the Whedonverse. Enver, Summer, and Alexis were all awesome in these episodes (though mostly Enver, in my opinion). Still, didn't Joss say he was giving Summer a non-crazy character this time? Maybe I'll understand how Bennett qualifies in later episodes, but I'm just not noticing an absence of craziness.

Also, azzers, great analysis. I previewed this and caught your comment with the refresh.
Amazing, freakin' episode! Felt a bit sad afterwards because it's canceled, but I need to stay positive and grateful for what we are getting. I agree that Enver totally rocked the show. That dude is an acting god or something. Regarding Echo vs. Caroline, we really haven't gotten to know Caroline. Yes, we've seen flashbacks, the finale of season 1, and Epitaph One, but we have also really seen Echo grow. I have this amazing amount of maternal pride for her, if that makes sense. The way she is evolving and learning about the world. I think that is why many of us (me included) are so drawn to her and not so much with Caroline. Regarding having to choose in the end who it will get to live....I'm hoping that something will happen similar to what they did with Perrin (with both of their blessings of course). Perhaps there will be some mutual agreement (I forgot the technical term Bennett used) between Caroline and Echo.
Ah, I see azzers has a similar point...great minds :)
Hate is a strong word. I'm prone to hyperbole. I just suspect that I am being set up and manipulated (willingly for entertainment value) to mourn the loss of Echo and generally dislike the woman Paul Ballard has been on a mission to save.

A few have commented on how they couldn't develop an attachment to Echo, something I was able to do from day one, I predict (really truly "seeing it coming") that Echo will turn out to be the character I mourn at the end of this show and the real Caroline will be the character that kills her in some way.

I could be wrong, but I see Echo as the best person that Caroline could possibly be and I will miss her most of all. She is more aspirational than anyone has given her credit for and Eliza is/had been doing a fantastic job in setting it all up.

Thanks, ED. You have taken far too much crap and you are leading us all down the rabbit hole brilliantly.
Topher + Bennet + I guess... Victopher? = An extraordinary two hours of television
TamaraC - Love Echo to pieces too...from the start. Just so interesting and smart. Rooting for her (not necessarily the Dollhouse) has been extremely easy as well as rewarding :) Kudos to ED!
Am I the only one who wants a bit more Paul Ballard development? I may get my wish, as he now seems to be MIA...Plus, Tahmoh is pretty. :)
Agreed TamaraC. They have definitely dropped enough "bad" Caroline in there for it to smell like a set up.

As Adelle has said in paraphrase, Caroline's reach has always exceeded her grasp. To Ballard, she is actually very similar. Morally set, without the ability (either in intelligence or other resources ) to "close." As a result, she tends to be involved debacles that result in extremely shaky moral situations.

The Bennett thing was bad, but looking back on it, I'm not sure if Caroline could have moved that rock even if she'd stayed behind. I'm hoping we'll get a bigger reveal on that situation. Because honestly other than going "well that explains Bennett's anger", it didn't seem extremely cut and dry what was going on.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-12-05 08:45 ]
Totally echo the sentiments on the Echo love! ED was fantastic tonight, as well.
Okay, this is not going to be as insightful as some of the things you guys have said, but did anyone notice a little of Felicia Day (particularly in The Guild) in Summer's performance? Bennett's mannerisms and way of speaking, especially with Topher, reminded me of Felicia Day.

The reason I think this may be relevant is that it seems like before the incident with Caroline that caused her to lose control of her arm (and possibly caused the migrains) Bennett was probably someone much happier, but Bennett allowed herself to become as sadistic and amoral as she is now.
I'm not sure if Caroline could have moved that rock even if she'd stayed behind.

It wasn't about moving anything, I don't think, but simply the fact that Caroline abandoned her.
I was puzzled to see that at the end of the last episode when Echo was wandering in her doll state- she no longer exhibited the 'dead arm' affectation.

I kindof got the impression that that was going to stick until they wiped her again and told those nerves that they could work once more. (although I'm sure that limitation would complicate the story action a lot.)
Thanks, ED. You have taken far too much crap and you are leading us all down the rabbit hole brilliantly.

THIS. I am so tired of the Eliza bashing. She has the most challenging role on the show, and I think she's done a great job.
TamaraC, I totally agree. I don't like Caroline. At all. I've known this since "Echoes" and "Epitaph One" only cemented it. I do, on the other hand, like Echo, and I will be very saddened when she is gutted to make room for Caroline once more. Maybe that is part of the plan though -- to make us grieve for Echo. It seems like classic Joss.
ShanshuBugaboo | December 05, 07:57 CET

I can't say I disliked Caroline that much - before tonight - I just liked Echo better. It seems to me that Echo has absorbed all Caroline's brash courage and idealism, and picked up (from I assume, a combination of other imprints and an emerging, autonomous sense of self), a more mature sense of the consequences of your actions.
I'd love to know what happened to Caroline between the incident in the Rossum lab that started her journey, and the callous leaving Bennett behind. Because I don't believe that Caroline was that hard and jaded in the beginning, just arrogant and naive, but well meaning.

Now I have to watch E1 again, because I'm confused all over again about the Echo/Caroline split.

I don't understand the criticism, way up-thread, of Alexis's acting - I thought he was perfect. He's not Wesley - which is how I tend to see these criticisms about actors who have played strong, well loved characters in previous Joss shows.
The only thing that took me out of the character at first, is the fact that I'm still not used to his American accent. But that's me, not any fault with the acting.

Same goes for the early comments about Summer playing Bernnett too much like River. WTF?? I really don't get that. Summer has a distinctive voice, which was flattened out to play Cameron in T:TSCC but is noticeable again as Bennett. I can't imagine where else the comparison is coming from.
Her mental .... umm, quirks, came off as more like Alpha than River, IMO.


[ edited by Shey on 2009-12-05 09:06 ]
As I said Bix, I'd like more of the story than what we got. Whether or not she stayed behind would make more sense if it was in context. It tells me why Bennett would be angry, but not whether or not Caroline's actions were justified. The line about moving the rock is just meant to highlight the question, "what would have been the correct decision?" To me, it would go like this...

1) Free Bennett
2) If not possible, try to get her help
3) If not possible, stay until help arrives
4) If not possible because of imminent (unavoidable) danger or other justifiable priorities leave.

She takes option 4, but we're not given enough information to evaluate whether or not it was a bad decision. I was just stating that from the evidence that we did have, option 1 doesn't seem possible.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-12-05 09:12 ]
I could be wrong I suppose, but I was thinking that when Echo goes back to being Caroline, she would be a better person, having had (and presumably remembering) Echo a part of her.
Same goes for the early comments about Summer playing Bernnett too much like River. WTF?? I really don't get that. Summer has a distinctive voice, which was flattened out to play Cameron in T:TSCC but is noticeable again as Bennett. I can't imagine where else the comparison is coming from.
Her mental .... umm, quirks, came off as more like Alpha than River, IMO.

When I saw the initial preview clips for these episodes I was a bit let down as far as Summer goes. But when I saw the episodes in full I really liked her character, and all her peculiar mannerisms. Is it a far stretch from her usual roles? No. But it was still awesome.
I was actually pretty "meh" with Bennett until the Topher/Bennett pairing. That was simply priceless and I forgave just about everything that irked me at that point. Well, irk is a strong word. It's just nothing struck an emotional chord with me about the portrayal up until that point.
I don't get the River comparisons. Bennett was much more in control of her environment, or at least was very deliberate about the need to be. She has issues, clearly, but she was acutely aware that everything had a place and a time, and there was an order that must be maintained or imposed upon the world.

Are there really people who see that performance as being the same as River?
Other things I loved: it's redundant at this point, but Victor/Topher and the dialog between the Tophers - it doesn't get any better than this.
Yes, Enver is a genius, but I think Franz deserves a lot of credit in these eps, as well. Not just for the exchanges with his Victor-self, but also for his scenes with Summer. He played the smitten geek so perfectly, while playing his own hand so close that I didn't see it coming that his smitten-ness hadn't caused him to forget his own role in this Machiavellian power play.

So much to love here. The first really clear view of the road that leads to E1, which is creepy and freaky in the extreme.

I love you Joss, your best is better than anyone's. ;).
What was interesting to me re: Victor was he seemed to be imprinted with the season one Topher, not the season two Topher.
There is now a separate thread with all the cast/ crew twitter thanks for the cake, cards, etc.
Lioness | December 05, 05:29 CET

I can't find it! Is it over on .org?? Off to look again.
She has issues, clearly, but she was acutely aware that everything had a place and a time, and there was an order that must be maintained or imposed upon the world.

b!x, you could apply that to River as well, even in her most delirious moments. The difference here is that Bennett's "madness" is driven by revenge -- which might have played off more effectively if we'd gotten a more complete view of her past with Caroline. It worked, but it could have worked "better" if that makes sense.

I totally agree with you about Victor being imprinted as season one Topher though. Season one Topher is more of a caricature, whereas the present Topher has these underlying moral issues.

I really love where they are taking Topher's character in the second season.
River wasn't aware that everything had a place and a time, and while she might have some vague sense of "order", she certainly didn't generally appear to know what it was.

Bennett was damaged, to be sure, but deliberate. She exerted a very specific and methodical control over the order her world was supposed to be in. River never exerted anything like a real sort of deliberate, fully-aware control (until, ultimately, the movie). Bennett clearly knows who she is, and how her world is supposed to be.

River, I think, knew somewhere inside that the world did have some sort of way it was supposed to be, but had lost all rational idea of what it could possibly be.

Anyway, I just didn't see any River in Bennett. But then I don't see any Faith in Echo either.
RE: Enver's Topher, I thought it was interesting (albeit necessary) that he knew he was the "clone" Topher. Hence the hemming and hawing in the chair about sticking around. Brilliantly done. And the only "River" I saw in Bennett was the repeating words tic she had.
I've definitely seen some Faith in Echo. But she's not all I've seen. The same with River in Bennett. There were moments where I felt echos (pardon the pun) of her, but it didn't take over. What I'm trying to say, I guess, is that while I think that there are similar aspects to the characters, once I saw the full episodes I more fully appreciated Bennett as her own character (though I would still like more back story on the whole Caroline thing).
Why are the two episodes marked as "season only" on iTunes?

ETA that the HD versions say that but the SD don't.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-12-05 10:01 ]
I can't find it! Is it over on .org?? Off to look again.
Shey | December 05, 09:30 CET

Found it! b!X posted a link in the comments under Miracle Laurie says thanks to our thanks thread, and it does take you to .org.

Also on that thread, there is now a long, detailed and totally awesome post from bobw1o. :)
Which is just a re-post of what he originally posted here, in tonight's thank you thread.
"Your problems are all external"

Welcome back River, welcome back!!!!

Going to bed happy tonight.
I think my computer is in an alternate universe tonight (yes, it's still "tonight", Hawaii Time - for about twenty more minutes.
I would agree with the folks who see River in Bennet and Faith in Echo, but see it on a purely external level. I really only see Faith when Echo fights, and the only reason it's considered a Faith trademark is because I saw it on her first. Same with any small Bennet affectations that parallel River.
I was puzzled to see that at the end of the last episode when Echo was wandering in her doll state- she no longer exhibited the 'dead arm' affectation.

I kindof got the impression that that was going to stick until they wiped her again and told those nerves that they could work once more. (although I'm sure that limitation would complicate the story action a lot.)

MikeTMC, this is explained, though I had to watch it a second time to catch it. When Perrin gets activated or whatever by Bennett to kill Echo, Echo is on the ground, and she is not able to use her hand -- she is trying to fight off Perrin with her other hand, but then she says "You don't have to be what they make you." And then she regains the use of her left hand and grabs a weapon of some kind and uses it on him.
That little idea is pretty cool, I must say. That Bennet would give Echo a memory, no persona, a memory. Just like Eptitaph One. Very cool.
I think the people (myself included) comparing Summer's Bennett to River is more of a knee jerk reaction to, well, some very whedonesque lines. The characters, and Summer's portrayal, are obviously very different. But there definately were multiple one liners today from Bennett that would not have looked out of place at all coming from River.

Also, I think many people have expressed the sentiment before about how much TV they would trade for another season of firefly. Well, we got at least a good 15 seconds more of firefly tonight, so in my book that AT LEAST cancels out the admittedly mediocre stretches of dollhouse.

Also, I think it hasn't been mentioned yet what a good job I think Stacey Scowley did as Sen. Perrin's handler. Creepy and innocent at the same time.

Anyway, this promoted me to look up her imdb page and THAT led to an excuse to rewatch one of the best episodes of buffy.

Who is this offering Spike a smoke?

Dollhouse's guest stars have been amazing.
Thanks, ryy. I would have never connected the dots on Scowley.

I think speculatively speaking, Echo is rebuilding a "better" Caroline in the same way that Perrin was "rebuilt". The only difference is, she's doing it herself whereas Perrin was carefully crafted.

Wonderfully said.

I didn't see River at all in Bennett. But I had hoped Bennett would be a little more "normal," following what Joss had said. I had mentally pictured her as sort of a geeky version of Adelle, with a little more subtle reveal of the evil behind that cherub's face, somehow. But I did enjoy the chemistry between Bennett and Topher.

I am one of those who much preferred the second episode to the first, and, as with all of you above, so much of the credit for that is Enver's Victopher. OMG, the man's acting hits the heights every episode he's in. He is the true "find" for this series (much like Chiwetel Ejiofor was for Serenity), and I hope Hollywood takes notice.
They're up on Hulu and the Fox site so I've added those links to the entry.
Wow! Incredible shows. "Victopher": I guess I hadn't realized just how very distinctive Fran-as-Topher is, but Enver-as-Fran-as-Topher brought it home. Enver was amazing and the scenes with the two of them were great. Enver deserves to have an inbox stuffed full of offers after this. Does anyone know if he has something else lined up?
My gosh I was just blown away with Enver/Topher, that was so good. This man can do anything. Best Whedon actor since James Marsters. Why couldn't Dollhouse have been this awesome last season instead of waiting until it has been canceled. I am so sad, this season has just been excellent TV. To bad the first 5 eps last year turned off so many people. Loved these eps from start to finish and I did not see the Senator being a doll..great twist.
Bennett seemed to me who River could have been if Simon hadn't rescued her.

Loved the Enver/Topher tag team.

My favourite line, and one I think says much about the basis of the show, was (and I paraphrase because I can't remember it exactly) that Echo's bad guys weren't as bad as their bad guys.

[ edited by redeem147 on 2009-12-05 14:07 ]
Enver Gjokaj = Best Impression of Topher. Ever.
What is it about Summer Glau that Joss wants to keep her all crazified? Also where was Dichen (Sierra)? And notice how Echo isn't in control of her story? That's why the show isn't more popular than it is, the main character doesn't control the action.
What an awesome piece of TV, definitely, the writers and the cast going all-in for the reminder of the episodes are gonna give us something strong to remember about
The story, some of it anyway, is about the main character taking control of the action. And there have been popular shows where the main character is not in control. The Fugitive, for instance.
Just finished watching em back to back.Two much awesomeness, too much excellence.

ok, I am about to make the most unpopular statement of all unpopular statements so don't condemn me or egg my house or something: Am I the only one who doesn't like Enver or just the only one unafraid of Whedonites to admit it?
So far, Sierra has been MIA for three episode this season, Victor has been MIA for two episodes, while both Ballard and Boyd have been MIA for one episode. It sort of bothers me when people from the regular cast don't appear in every single episode, especially when it comes to characters like Victor, Sierra and Boyd who get so little to do already. Are people missing because of the budget or is it only because the writers didn't come up with anything to do with them? But then again, Maurissa's part could have easily been played by Dichen...

Having said that, Enver was great as Topher, but I can only handle one Topher, so it was a bit too much for me. I thought both episodes were a bit underwhelming, but they probably grow on me on second viewing like most of the other Dollhouse episodes did. I simply seemed to expect too much.

I feel really sad for Madeline/November, but it's an interesting way to keep her on the show. While I like her (oh pretty), I must admit though that I think she's one of the worst actors on the show. Her Madeline feels not all that different from Mellie.
Have everyone forgotten that we've quite recently met Caroline. In Omega, when she was put into poor Wendy's body... She didn't seem like an unsympathetic character at all. Besides, that was a huge block, there's pretty much no chance in hell that Caroline could have budged that even if she tried. I mean, she could have stayed, I'm sure many of us would have, but there was nothing she could have done. I can't judge her for leaving. Sure, there may be circumstances to it we don't know about, but given what we know now, there's nothing that's telling me that Caroline is "bad guy". Overly idealistic, radical and bottomliney perhaps, but not a "bad guy".
Enver is amazing. Also, I thought Miracle really sold Madeline.

Dichen is in all of the remaining episodes.

Caroline is an idealist. Given the Dollhouse isn't an ideal place, that's kinda... Not great.
Holy crap wow!

Amazing. Amazingly Amazing!

Love Summer (Bennet was incredibly River-ey). Love Fran. LOVE ENVER!
Enver was hilarious as Topher. You'd think it was Fran talking if you weren't looking at him. The Topher/Topherdoll conversations cracked me up!

Really liked Echo in these episodes. I think Alexis was best as murderous-Perrin: reminded me of murderous-Wes in the Angel episode 'Billy'.

Fox are gits for cancelling this show.
I love how they can put half-of-a-season into just two episodes. I mean, there was so much going on. the whole Perrin-arc, the tech Topher developed (which says hello to Epitaph 1!), Echos fear of dying, the Dollhouse-vs-Dollhouse-part, Rossum against other corporations, the modelling of a doll-person, the deep black hole that is Ballards soul,...

It's a twisted show indeed and I love every minute of it.
I don't understand why all the talk about Bennett "torturing" Echo/Caroline. My understand was that she was doing a brain scan (which we know from previous episodes is extremely painful) and reveling sadistically in the pain it was causing Echo/Caroline. I think it's relevant that it wasn't simply torture, but instead a perverse enjoyment in her job in playing God - similar to that we've seen from Topher. Except whereas Topher enjoyment is based on a childlike curiosity and fascination, Bennett's is a matured, cynical and cruel enjoyment. Moreover, her clearly calculated cruelty and manipulation is one of the main reasons I don't identify her at all with River. Bennett seems to be completely in control of her crazy; I think it's part of her power over people and a very effective way to scare both underlings and bosses.
The problem wasn't that Caroline left Bennett, it was that Caroline didn't seem too worked up over having to leave Bennett (at least, according to Bennett's memory of it). Would it have been different if she had at least tried to help Bennett before reluctantly leaving? Maybe, but here she just shrugged a "them's the breaks" look and bolted.
Is Caroline really an idealist? Knowing how Joss loves to play on our assumptions and then pull the rug out from under, I'm not sure of ANYTHING at this point -- except that he is a master storyteller.

Caroline leaving Bennet trapped in the wreckage seems wholly consistent with Echo. The purity and intensity of her will to survive, which leads to what at first seems rather easy to judge as a reprehensible action, is also a big part of what has been driving her to transcend the imprinting process. What all that adds up to -- I don't know -- other than that we are going to be thinking about and unpacking this "short lived" series for years and years and years.
@Donnie and others noting the absence of some of the other stars: I first apologize for not having the link to point you to, but what you said first, Donnie, is the reason people are missing. It's part of the deal that Joss had to pitch in order to get a second season using a reduced budget: he can't use every actor in every episode. I wish I had the thread or three in which this was mentioned, but I don't think it was actually the main point of the thread, so I'm not sure what to suggest for finding the discussion. Sad to see some left out, but at the same time, I think the writers are rotating them around fairly well so most of the characters get balanced, even if not optimal, screen time. =\ Plus, it helped make season 2 a reality, so I guess I won't complain too much.

[ edited by CellarDoor on 2009-12-05 17:50 ]
@ CellarDoor (great nickname btw.)

Thanks for the information. It still bothers me (it always bothers me when regular characters are not in every single episode, even though they are in the credits), but at least there is a reason behind it. It's just sad that Sierra and Victor, characters who get so little to do as it is, are always the ones having to take a break.

@ Gossi
Thanks for the information. I am relieved now. Now tell me that we get a backstory for Boyd in the remaining episodes and I'll be happy until I die.
I loved Enver, wow, he is a chameleon :). As far as Bennet, astute viewers will note that that wasn't craziness, that was a slightly variable autism spectrum disorder like Asperger Syndrome. Or at least that's my guess :).


[ edited by zeitgeist on 2009-12-05 18:25 ]
Agreed, Zeitgeist. And I didn't see too much River/Cameron in Bennet, but maybe because I'm prone to loving everything Summer touches. It's interesting to me that a shrink in T:TSCC diagnosed Cameron with Aspergers. It just kinda shows that even though I don't see it, other people might have a point in saying all her characters are similar.
And I really want to know more about the history of Caroline/Benett. Am I the only one who got a kind of "lover scorned" vibe?

ShanshuBugaboo: I totally got the same vibe from Bennett towards Caroline, I have to rewatch both episodes (any excuse will do,hee) but to me it seemed like there was a lot more going on than Bennett being left behind by her "best friend"; I saw a mutual genius-geek crush between Bennett and Topher (love!) but the delightful intensity she showed as she amped up the pain level way past 11, her finger as she wiped away tears from Echo/Caroline's face, to me it reeked more of "lover scorned" than just being left behind by a "best friend".
I don't see Aspergers in Bennet at all, myself.She takes far too much pleasure in torturing Echo, for instance. But I'll go watch it again with that in mind.
I have to wonder if the character of Caroline is being retconned a little. The whole "Sorry, if I stay they'll get me too" line she says to Bennet...really makes me wonder now about the authenticity of Caroline, animal lover and activist. Was she doing some sort of eco-terrorist act when that explosion happened? Was Bennet in on it with her? I just wonder if it's to sort of shake up everyone's general "meh"feeling over who we've already seen as Caroline.

And I'm totally more interested in Echo as herself. This really clarified that it's not entirely Caroline rising to the surface and resisting the imprints, so much as it's an entirely other personality in her brain/body doing so.

Miracle Laurie is a TERRIBLE actress, but she is lovely. And Alexis definitely seemed to be doing some "actoring" here. I so wish this show hadn't been cancelled.
It's a good thing they went through all that trouble of removing their GPS tracking devices so that they couldn't be followed! Oh, wait...

So the scene with Echo and Perrin removing the devices comes across as gratuitous and overly sexual as a result (What was up with that?). Other than that plot hole, good eps overall. Entertaining.

I think when some people become accustomed to seeing an actor in a specific role over time, they tend to see that character in everything the actor does afterwards. Particularly when it's a role in a show the viewer has probably watched and rewatched countless times. I didn't see any of River in Bennett. There were bits of craziness, but they were unlike any of River's little quirks to me.

And major props to Enver. That was an amazing piece of mimicry. It could have been Fran reading those lines.
Donnie - there's more Boyd. In fact there's a lot more of every character as all the remaining episodes are arcy arc arc about the characters - and this season (in contrast to last season) every character finishes in a different emotional place to where they started.
Miracle is not a terrible actress. At all.

Also, Caroline - go back to '1x07 Echoes'. Adelle says to her they've been doing the dance with her for two years. That's a lotta backstory.
My assessment (for what it's worth) on acting abilities on this show; this is not meant to pertain to the actors in any other roles in which they may have appeared. Miracle is... OK. Eliza is... OK. Tahmoh is... kinda unwatchable, as is poor Alexis. Fran and Olivia and Dichen are... quite good. Enver is... clearly the best thing on this show and had the show been built around him we would likely be looking at a Season 3 because he can clearly 'bring it'.
ecdslover I don't think you're the only one who doesn't like Enver, but you are probably the only one who will say anything. I can't say I'd blame them.

I personally think Enver is good, but I stop far short of the accolades he's getting. To me, he's the anti-Dushku of the show. People go in with the assumption he's a "chameleon" and so when he gets things mostly right with a few flaws, people don't notice. When ED does the same thing, people (not everyone mind you) tend fixate on the flaws.

Regarding the last episode, I thought Victopher was loud. It was like watching Fran if he dialed every mannerism up to 10. Was it funny? Absolutely. But I actually didn't find it enjoyable after the first few laughs. But that's just my opinion. If other people love it, kudos. I'm glad people have found something they love in the show.
I was a bit thrown by Perrin's reversion to programming, but I guess since Bennett was putting it all together she just did her job. She just also took a little vengeance on Caroline en route, programming Perrin to kill her. But Echo is a bit sturdier than that now, o Perrin is back in the DC Dollhouse's fold while Echo escaped.

My guess? Caroline got so swept up in the fight against Rossum that she started abandoning her friends/followers as we see from Bennett's POV, and then realized she was turning into the thing she hated. In that moment of realization and vulnerability Rossum/DeWitt got to her.

For a second it bugged me that Rossum was trying to take power by such devious means; they've got money, why don't they buy their way into power like everyone else? But then it hit me: it's actually more the other way around. The rich and powerful people who matter are already part of Rossum -- it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest to learn that the Perrin family owns Rossum stock, for instance. This isn't Rossum attempting a coup, this is the elite doing what it's always done, just with a few more gadgets and tech attached.

As for the acting: I'm easily pleased. Makes things a heck of a lot more fun for me, apparently...
Donnie - there's more Boyd. In fact there's a lot more of every character as all the remaining episodes are arcy arc arc about the characters - and this season (in contrast to last season) every character finishes in a different emotional place to where they started.

That sounds delicious. Man, what am I going to do, once there is no Joss show on television anymore? His shows are like crack, but the good kind of crack. Boyd is actually my favorite character of the show (together with Amy's Whiskey) and I have a strong need to discover his backstory. One of the most intriguing secrets the show has left.
Bennett having Aspergers? She wouldn't have been able to do the subtle working of Topher.

On the subject, I love having two Tophers. It makes me morally questionable.
I think, and this is only MY opinion, but people only see what they WANT to see in the actors on this show. I think they were very good, and some people say River this, and Faith that.......

I think they have made this show their own. I applaud them for it. And the people that disect this show down to the very facial expression, and CRITICIZE it, I ignore them.

You see, I ALSO only see what I want to see. I love to be entertained! JMO
This came to me as I was shaving...

At first I wondered why Rossum allowed Perrin to say the word "Dollhouse" so much, but with his reveal at the end, it now makes sense: now all the urban legends get attributed to anti-Rossum propaganda.

Also, anyone catch that the only one Topher trusts to watch the LA house is himself? So as he starts to lose his trust in himself and his own judgment, he'll lose his trust in everyone.
Caroline leaving Bennet trapped in the wreckage seems wholly consistent with Echo.

I don't see that at all. Echo would never have left a friend behind that coldly. In this very set of episodes, it was Echo who flatly stated that they had to go help November, which is basically making an ethical and moral decision to walk into danger. Caroline, on the other hand, for some reason, just up and walked out on Bennett. Those are diametrically opposed behaviors.
Poor Ivy. Seriously though, I think you're partially right, but I think it also came down to not only trust, but ability. He may not believe Ivy has the ability to hack a different programmer's system, at least not enough to bet his life on it.
I think it is entirely possible that Bennett's memory of Caroline abandoning her might have been in some way planted or distorted by Rossum Corp. Bennett is obviously not a doll, but she is also obviously not hitting on all cylinders (and I still think she is like a young hot 'Dr. Strangelove').
Funny how everyone is saying Aspergers for Bennett and nobody is saying OCD. I thought OCD was clearly what they were going for... Dunno enough about the real symptoms of OCD to know how well they succeeded, though.
AS and OCD have some commonalities, especially in regards to repetitive behavior. The confusing aspect about Bennett as AS would be her expectation of some form of empathy from Caroline, while simultaneously not having any of her own. I don't know if this would be a trait compatible with AS. If Bennett actually posessed AS, it would actually be odd for her to be bonded with Caroline at all, unless Caroline knew she had it and was fighting through the behavior. However, her single minded purpose would definitely fit.

OCD does describe aspects of her behavior as well. Perhaps slightly better in that she keeps her compulsive need for things the way she wants them, and still allows for the rage that would come from a sense of betrayal that would most likely come from a true friend doing what Caroline did. The truth is, I really don't know but I can see parts of both.

Unless there are any psychiatrists in the house that have actually dealt with both types before who can set us straight, I think we're all just trying to best "fit" what is going on with her though.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-12-05 21:53 ]
I think anyone who has seen Twin Peaks can understand my nearly hysterical joy at seeing Adelle have such a position of power over Ray Wise.

And I really want to know more about the history of Caroline/Benett. Am I the only one who got a kind of "lover scorned" vibe?

Right there with you, ShanshuBugaboo. In a way, Dollhouse reminds me of Twin Peaks- it can get a bit rocky, but whoa, hold on to your seats when they hit it out of the ball park.

And Adelle doing THAT to Leland? I clapped. ;)

Totally with you on the "lover vibe" as well. I don't see mutual love; more like Bennet loved her, worshiped her, and Caroline abandoned her sort of thing.

I think, and this is only MY opinion, but people only see what they WANT to see in the actors on this show. I think they were very good, and some people say River this, and Faith that.......

I think they have made this show their own. I applaud them for it. And the people that disect this show down to the very facial expression, and CRITICIZE it, I ignore them.

I couldn't agree with you more, whedon is GOD. That's why I think there are a few of us who could instantly love this show, even during the first five, because we could see how the show interpreted us interpreting the show. As far as dissecting, well, I can't help it (it's in my fingertips). But that is why I don't see Bennet as River- River never had the half-smile frowns the was that Bennet does. And, as others have mentioned, Bennet uses her tics to exert power over her co-workers. River didn't really have tics. When she'd go "nuts", it was the things the Alliance did to her exerting power over her (opposite to Bennet). And how awesome was Bennet's room? Very neat, tidy- truly Dr. Strangelove mastermind. :)

This episode not only brought up the tech to wipe people successfully at a distance, but modified it can create the Butchers ('a la Perrinator). And, who could forget the story telling through memories (Bennet's in Echo's head). And, as Joss said, memories are flimsy things; only one-sided and usually not remembered well (extreme paraphrasing). ;)

And I feel horrible that Madeline is back in the Dollhouse. DC- even worse. "Am I free?"- nope, not anymore. Some mistakes you can't come back from. :(
That was an incredible 2 hours of television - what a way to come back after a break with active pods blazing! Just for myself, since I'm sure everything has been covered, highlights for me were seeing so MUCH of Alexis over the 2 hours. He has been so missed on television and he hit it out of the ballpark.

Ray Wise bringing lovely Twin Peak-ish vibes into the fold.

Summer acing Bennett. Seeing a young woman so sweet and vibrant turning herself into such an interesting evil human being confirms the power of good acting for me, once again.

Dueling Tophers - brilliant idea - need I say more? Well yes. Enver Gjokaj, you have greatness in you. Will be following your career with huge interest.

Ballard "freeing" Madeline. Unfortunately, having the freedom to make her own mistakes landed her in deep doo-doo.

Twisty, turny, wonderful goodness. And more to come.
First time poster, long-time lurker(not a Lurk of the "Fray" kind though). My whole take on the Caroline/Echo sitch is that the Echo personality is Caroline, only in her wiped state. Echo just doesn't fully understand this yet. From the beginning of the show the tag line is, "You can wipe away a memory, but can you wipe away a soul?" Which basically is saying "no, you can't". So I think the Caroline of Epitaph 1 is Caroline(Echo) after she understands this & takes back her original Self. She doesn't kill or destroy Echo because Echo is Caroline. Maybe it's like her(Caroline) waking up from a dream(Did I fall asleep?), in which all the time she identified herself as Echo, a name given to her, she was still asleep. That's my take on it anyway, if it makes any sense.

Enver is the best mimic (impersonator) since Rich Little, only betterer. Wonder what his Nathan Fillion's Captain Hammer would be like? He could be his brother, Captain Ball-Peen in the sequel: Dr. Horrible: The Hammers Strike Back!

I want Adelle's back-story, because one can never have enough Olivia.
I guess it would be safe to say Madeleine has been put in the attic?

Also I know Joss wanted to give Summer a role outside her typecast, but Bennett was like a cross between River Tam and Cameron--a whole lot of crazy with unstable emotions, socially inept and a little bit sociopathic. If she wasn't nuts, she'd be the perfect girl-version of Topher... which is the entire point of her character, I suppose.

Anyone else find it a little squicky that Topher was turned on by her dead arm?
I think it's squicky only in that Topher is such an uber geek, not very in touch with real human emotion, he tends to turn people off anyway. It's almost as though he were intellectually turned on by the arm, not really physically, because only he could be so excited by recognizing the similarity to John Cassavettes' dead arm in The Fury. The arm thing was only ameliorated by his referring to her having the quiet, librarian thing going on. With glasses. That I can live with as a sexual preference.
I'm breaking off from watching the second episode to ask "how tall is Olivia Williams?". Cause my goodness, she towers over Ray Wise.
There is a joke in there somewhere, Simon, but I'll back away slowly from it.
Also the GPS removal as sex metaphor is just odd to say the least.
I wondered about that. At first it felt sexy to me, but then I thought: no, this isn't appealing at all. And then I wondered if the show was saying, "This isn't sexy. Why do you think this is sexy?" But if that's what Joss & Co. were trying to say, with no context or interpretation to back it up, it seems a poorly placed message.

Yet if they were playing it straight... why?

I have no answers yet.
It was the one odd glitchy moment in another wise perfect episode.
The GPS scene didn't seem odd to me. The only thing that really bugged me was the transition between "do you trust me?" and the Senate hearing. It felt like an important moment if not an entire scene was missing there.
River and Cameron never got to flirt.
Cameron never got to flirt? What show were you watching?

Granted it was Cameron deliberately manipulating someone, but she certainly flirted a few times.
This is one of the reasons I'm glad they didn't cast James Marsters as Topher. Then everybody would be looking for Spike.

I don't have a clue what the intention of the GPS was. Good question, dat.

I did wonder if Perrin did what he did in the end because he wanted to be prez.
I thought the GPS scene was smoking hot, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. It was about trust. Plus it was Eliza and Alexis.

I just took it as a nod to the Wesley/Faith shippers :)

[ edited by ShanshuBugaboo on 2009-12-06 00:43 ]
Just weighing in with my thoughts.

My feeling is Bennet's memory is subjective. I suspect her claim of best friends is dubious too. Unlike Topher's gleeful abandon, Bennet seems to use her intelligence to rationalise everything, including her emotions and desires. Caroline made her feel physically powerless before. Now Echo's mental evolution threatens her equilibrium.

If you're the cleverest one in the room then you're the one that gets to survive, right? And she did make the Senator a better person so she's good, right? (Loved the Bush refs btw).

Politically I found the two episodes very astute. The clout that big money has on Capitol Hill is undeniable and anyone looking for further evidence of conspiracy would do no worse than investigate stories in the British press regarding Dr David Kelly.

And that was why I loved these two episodes so much tonight. The fantasy/sci fi element was upped but the truth of what was being discussed; Big Business grooming Politicians, Medical Research providing brilliant solutions, and simultaneously wasting resources, gave it a sweaty paranoia and made things seem more urgent. Time flew watching these little babies.

Re the arm connundrum - It drew parallels for me to Dr Saunders. Both have visible scars and core emotional ones too. And there is a great taboo regarding discussing sex and disabilty. Particularly in a society that has us worshipping airbrushed perfection.

I saw the GPS scene as more tense as I kept thinking "Alpha".

The whole two episodes played like one big chase scene. Breathless excitement. And then, at the end, as Echo wandered off down the street I couldn't help hearing the old "Incredible Hulk" theme tune. From the Bill Bixby series. And that's not me being rude it's high praise indeed. It conveyed that same sense of heading out on a journey that would not be easy, the same underlying sadness, and the same struggle with the beast within, the isolation and pain.

Aw bless.
Not just Bush references - I think there was a clear undertone of Teddy Kennedy as well.
Good to see Alexis again, the non-British accent threw me off at first but I adjusted. Enver is way beyond fantastic. Summer seemed somewhat weirdly fey, clear echoes of River pre-epiphany. I think this show is so much better now than when it started.

Interesting to see where Perrin goes.
Anyone else catch Perrin's aide reacting to the senator's description of Rossum? I think he's in on it.

Echo's getting extremely good at reading people at a glance.

"You can never tell what monsters people are hiding inside," says the woman nicknamed "Cin."

Echo doesn't react well to Boyd telling her it's treatment time, especially compared to Kilo a few moments before; definitely a bit of rebellion in her turn. He's interrupting her book!

"Cindy knows the top neurologists in the country." I bet she does.

"Inform her temporary handler he needn't return." Hah. I missed the significance of that the first time through. Interesting firing method Adelle's got...

Boyd's team got jumped by Cin's people, maybe? Intercepted somehow?

Madeline may be making a mistake -- but Ballard sure got told.

"...they'll start wondering about you." Bennett has been wondered about by Rossum, I do believe. Maybe she was Caroline's tech girl before she was theirs, and was drawn in by her wonder. Or by her "urges" for Caroline, if the jilted-lover angle is true? And she slips up a tiny bit, "I need this," before covering. Also tellingly: "Caroline. You always promised you'd come back to me." Not "for me," "to me."

"Who's to say?" Bennett is disenchanted with criticism of Rossum.

I like Bennett's mouth-quirk as she works.

Rossum needed a Senator and picked someone with "a pedigree." This tells you a lot about how they think and how they work. They could have taken anyone off the street and turned them into someone driven, but instead they went with someone from the "right kind of family."

"You know!" Bennett says, surprised. "That's good, it helps." Helps her with the torturing, that is...

"What else would you call it?" At first I thought that was just Bennett slipping -- but I think she actually hasn't been told the name, she really did come up with that on her own!

Evidence of a cut scene: there's an unexplained UPS van in the driveway of Perrin's place. No doubt borrowed. What can brown do for you?

Some of the senators in the hearing don't look at all surprised by Perrin's revelations.
@sab39 - Agreed. It's not just Dubya. And sadly it don't stop at Ted either.
Just to be clear: I saw Bennett channeling River in speech mannerism and certain turns of phrase only. Things like speaking quickly lines that other people have no clue about, going on about order and things needing to be how they should be. Another good example is the need she has for things she says to be translated by an interpreter.
Thanks ShanshuBugaboo - I re-watched the eps tonight and you're right. Perrin steps on Echo's "good" arm and menaces her with the pitchfork and then she conciously wills herself to re-activate the dead arm and fight back.

One other thing that I completely misread on the first watching of the last episode: When Perrin testifies before the committe, an agent shows up with an ominous cardboard box, sets it on the floor and then pats his gun before Perrin speaks. I originally interpreted this as a bomb that they would use if Perrin went off script with his Rossum testimony. As it turns out, that box was filled with the 'evidence' of the supposed conspiracy against Rossum. After the conference, he carries the box to podium (or would that be a *rostrum* ) for the reporters to see.
Okay, I've read about half these comments, if I try to go through all of them I'll miss NEXT week's episodes.
My current Facebook status:

"you're very pale. white. pinkish-white... your skin is like a pig... because it's pink... people assume that pigs are bad but I.. I love them....... I like them."

Absolutely adorable. I enjoyed the fact that Bennett was obviously quite dislikable, but at the same time I'm sure we were all squeeing at her and Topher together. It was so cute.

Enver's voice sounded pretty much exactly like Reed Diamond's before, and in this ep it sounded like Fran's. He's a STUPIDLY good actor. He can't actually exist.

It's like this show is just somewhere for him to give an acting masterclass.

p.s. DC Thingy had Adelle's hand down his pants. Minus the scrotum attack, I'm sure that's an enviable position to be in.
People with AS don't avoid social interaction and aren't all bereft of friendships, they just aren't necessarily demonstrative when it comes to empathy though that doesn't mean though don't understand or expect it from others (though many have trouble adjusting to it in real time, so I understand the "hmm" there). It also doesn't mean that she would be incapable of manipulatig Topher. There are degrees to everything, and OCD does have a fair amount of crossover as mentioned. In any case I don't read it as crazy :).
Rossum needed a Senator and picked someone with "a pedigree." This tells you a lot about how they think and how they work. They could have taken anyone off the street and turned them into someone driven, but instead they went with someone from the "right kind of family."

Not quite sure what you mean here, ManEnoughtoAdmitIt. It almost sounds as though you're saying Rossum is elitist, and pursuing a class-based strategy -- gotta have "one of us," as opposed to "one of them," etc. However, as Perrin himself said, the voters have the final say on who gets into office. I don't think Rossum's choice of Perrin was based on elitism, but on a simple pragmatic judgment. They needed a Senator, and they needed him as fast as possible. Who is it going to be easier to convince the voters to elect...a driven, well-spoken man who is a virtual unknown -- or a driven, well-spoken man from a political family who already has all the connections and fundraising ability? I know who I would go with if I were programming a senator and wanted my guy in office as fast as possible.

As for all the people who think Perrin is a reference to Bush and/or Kennedy, I did pick up on some of that. I am astonished, however, that the bit about "a junior senator with the ambition to be president," crusading for health care, transparency, and the exposure of various corporate secrets/misdeeds for the purpose of enforcing accountability, did not start ringing another set of Obama-shaped bells for seemingly anyone here. (Please note: I do not wish this to turn into a political discussion, so I will refrain from airing my own personal views on the three above-listed men. However, I couldn't help wondering if Perrin's about-face at the end of the episode, turning from principled crusader to a by-choice cooperator, doesn't reflect some disillusionment on the part of the writing staff toward Pres. Obama's tenure thus far.)

[Edited to change an awkward phrase]

[ edited by BAFfler on 2009-12-06 04:22 ]
Of course, to be fair, elitism and pragmatism are not mutually exclusive.
BAFfler I would totally say that Rossum corporation is elitist! They prey on poor/desperate/young people and exploit them to benefit the rich and powerful. Frankly I think they would definitely feel that the pedigree was important, and it is: it is why Jeb Bush is talked about as a future Republican Presidential candidate, and why many people thought that Caroline Kennedy could go straight from private citizen to US Senator. We like to think we are a classless society without a ruling class, but the rich and famous have a leg up, and the Rossum corporation is designed to give even more power to the already powerful.

I get your point about Barack Obama's rapid rise to power, but the fact is that it is a lot easier for a member of a powerful family to do so.
embers, I think you missed my point. I am not arguing that Rossum is not elitist (your points about creating a servant-class are well taken). As I said earlier, "I don't think Rossum's choice of Perrin was based on elitism, but on a simple pragmatic judgment." As you noted, and as I did too, it is easier for people with names and connections to reach the higher levels of our society. So if you're Rossum, and you want a tool in power fast to let you do whatever the hell it is that you want to do, then it makes more sense to start with someone who already has 90% of what you need -- the name, the connections, the look, etc. That doesn't smack of elitism (though their overall program is elitist); it smacks of a business decision. Had they thought they could make a President out of a so-called "nobody" more easily than out of Perrin, I imagine they would's about the bottom line, getting the job done, not the "purity" of the tools in your toolchest.

I don't know of anyone who seriously makes the claim that we are a classless society. We do like to think, however, that our classes are fluid -- it allows us a sort of Horatio Alger-esque optimism that people can move up and better their lot, and it also allows us to shake our heads sadly at the Silas Laphams and Magnificent Ambersons of our society, who start at the top and work their way down. That is what Rossum threatens with their actions -- the great American Dream that you too can work your way into a better life -- with their class ossification.

Also, I think you misread my points about Obama. I said nothing about his rapid rise to power specifically. My point was that Perrin can be read as a partial analogue of Obama (with his concern for health care and transparency, his position as a crusading junior senator), in much the same way that he can be read as a partial analogue of Bush or Kennedy (checkered past and reformed present, comes from powerful moneyed family). I would imagine that you can find bits of all three men in him, and others as well. I did also note that there may be an analogy to be drawn between Perrin's turn away from principle and Obama's decisions in his first year. As Echo said (and then demonstrated to Perrin), your actions are ultimately a result of your own choice. But I'd rather not pursue that as a discussion was just something I noted in passing with a raised eyebrow while watching the episodes.

[ edited by BAFfler on 2009-12-06 05:04 ]
I assumed they picked a screwup with a pedigree just so that when he started changing laws any scrutiny of him would be focused on his real background and not on figuring out who this Joe Schmo no one had heard of until he ran for the Senate really is. It's a clever kind of deception.
Re-watched this morning. As usual, they got better. They had that pleasurable density the best ME episodes have, where they practically demand a second viewing to fully absorb all the twisty, yummy goodness. After the first time, I'd been with those who felt The Public Eye was weaker, and that AD's acting wasn't up to his previous work. It all flowed better for me the second time though.

Loved the Topher two-fer, like most. All hail Enver, who was even funnier the second time around. But, my favorite LOL moment hasn't been mentioned, I think - Topher's reaction to the anonymous doll tumbling down the stairs after he activates the disruptor. That was great!

Also, Bennet saying what else could the disruptor be called wasn't a cover story for her already knowing its name, IMO. It was just another sign of how sympatico they were.

I wish they'd shown a waiter actually bringing in the drugged drink that Perrin swallowed. It would have made things clearer and wouldn't have taken any longer to show.

I don't think making the two runaways unconscious would be all that much help in finding them. I suppose maybe they'd be sent to a hospital or something by passers-by, assuming they were unconscious for a long time, so maybe that was the thinking. But it was just as likely to get them killed, as Topher noted.

Cindy and her goons showing up at Perrin's ancestral home just in time to save Echo is fan-wankable enough, since Cindy presumably knows her husband well. Still, a bit too convenient for me.

Cindy tells Madeline she didn't kill anybody, the Dollhouse did, which is the same thing Echo tells Perrin after he kills Cindy. Nice ironic symmetry there.

But telling a decent person they're not to blame? Doesn't help. At all. Madeline is partly crushed by what she's learned and Sierra took refuge in the Dollhouse again rather than live with the knowledge of what "she"'d done. Perrin, if he's not playing a double game, is in the same boat.Once the Dollhouse is in you, you're in the Dollhouse, forever. As Madeline can attest. Shiver.

If Perrin IS just playing along though, at Echo's behest, their double game got Madeline atticked (sp?), or at least made into a doll again. Shades of Caroline's crusade getting her boyfriend killed and Bennett hurt mentally and physically. It makes Bennett's "I know how you feel" to Madeline at the end of the episode even more resonant.

Personally, based on the cold indifference Perrin showed to Madeline's fate, I don't think he's just pretending - he's actually given in. But either way, she's screwed.

For Bennett, Caroline and Echo are fundamentally the same. A belief which, in another irony, all the broken returnees to the Dollhouse share in regards to themselves. I don't buy it any more than I did when Angel blamed himself for Angelus's deeds, but I understand the psychological underpinnings for thinking that way.
BAFler, I'm afraid you're really not getting what I was saying, indeed.

My reading -- and I admit this is mostly based off of the interviews in "Man on the Street," not the most recent two -- is that Rossum is, in fact, not the prime mover but a useful tool of the money, that it is the latest method the rich elites are using to run the show. I think they already have several senators on the payroll, so to speak; the fastest way to get a senator, after all, is not to make one but to buy one, and there are plenty to be bought. But they wanted to make one of their own powerful, just like always.

Again, Rossum's a new element in an old, old game: that's my take. Rossum isn't trying to take over. It's just the company being used by the people who are already in charge and want to stay that way permanently.

The telling point? Perrin doesn't say that the voters get to decide; he facetiously asks if they get any input, and Rossum's agent replies, "They'll say yes!" Their minds will be made for them -- by methods far, far older than remote wipes. I'll misquote "Man on the Street" here: "Just sit back, relax, and wait for them to tell you who to vote for."

Then again, I'm convinced the show is a critique of all capitalism, so I may be seeing everything through that lens.
Okay, I know I'm late to the party- I'm watching it on tape- but can we all just take a moment to revel in the sheer brilliance of Enver Gjokaj? Just... Victor-Topher!

I had to pause the tape to laugh. Really hard.
OK, wow.

Caveats: Not impressed by "Mrs. Perrin" just leaving Ballard alone with the goons; bewildered by Adelle picking Echo for the "smear Perrin" mission. And I my opinion on the second episode may vary a bit depending on how well future episodes deal with the fallout from these revelations especially as it concerns Adelle defying a pretty direct "suggestion" and trying to sabotage Rossum plans; and hopefully a little explanation--why it was necessary to use Madeline for Dollhouse D.C.'s plan, whether the L.A. branch was a target or just collateral damage. And some of the Echo/Perrin dialogue didn't quite resonate with me.

But really, wow. Those are smallish qualms. Yesterday night gave a double-dose of mythology, a great, complex new chararacter, huge revelations everywhere, the best acting showcase for Enver yet, and, oh yeah, Topher/Topher (and Topher/Bennet) are wickedly funny too!
>>>I wish they'd shown a waiter actually bringing in the drugged drink that Perrin swallowed. It would have made things clearer and wouldn't have taken any longer to show.

I disagree, I think seeing a waiter delivering food/drink in a scene like that is usually a major visual cue that something is about to go wrong. It's a little more mysterious to simply see him pass out. You're right, it would have clarified things straight away, but could have easily tipped the viewers off.

William- As far as Echo being sent out to Perrin, I'm pretty much with you in that any objective, rational person would have benched Echo to low-risk gigs ages ago. But I think the idea is that Adelle values Echo's ability to work outside parameters. She's had the opportunity to send her to the attic loads of times, but she keeps insisting that Echo can protect the house and use her skills to work a mission better than a regular active. So I can kind of see where she's coming from, and it nearly stands up to the fact that Eliza just gets more screen time than miscellaneous doll x.
The One True b!X said:
"What was interesting to me re: Victor was he seemed to be imprinted with the season one Topher, not the season two Topher."

Which might make good Doll-verse sense if the employees only back up their memories on wedges once in a while (twice a year, every few months, who knows). Although given how paranoid Topher is, you'd think he'd back himself up all the time (assuming it's not too time-consuming a process and wedges aren't ridiculously expensive). Actually, even if he does have a more recent imprint of himself, he probably would use an older version from before "Vows", so as to not risk his dealings with Claire/Whiskey and Sierra/Priya getting in the way of Victor-Topher doing his job as distraction-free as possible.

hopitopia said:
"RE: Enver's Topher, I thought it was interesting (albeit necessary) that he knew he was the "clone" Topher. Hence the hemming and hawing in the chair about sticking around. Brilliantly done."

If Topher had wanted, in theory he could have imprinted the new Topher to think that he always looked and felt like Victor, but then he wouldn't have been as compliant in getting wiped after his job was done (and even then, Topher still kinda had to surprise-wipe Vic-Topher). Even knowing he was the clone and knowing the original version of himself would still be alive and well, that'd be weird to basically suicide for the company (we saw the weirdness with this situation in "Haunted" as well with Adelle's friend--and there it almost seemed like the imprint would've been more eager to stay in the Active's body because her actual self was dead, but I guess she had a different idea of death, was just more accepting of it, didn't want to steal someone else's body, or something). Victor-Topher was a copy, but he still felt to himself like he was real.

Not to mention how hard it'd be to give up that body, doubt Topher takes the time/has the time to work out to get to that point. Then again, he might not care about that level of improvement for himself (we do know he cares about the looks/the superficialty of others though). It's interesting that, not episode-wise but chronology-wise, we get more messed up versions of personality/copy-in-body-considering-the-dilemma-of-keeping-body-versus-getting-wiped as we go. "Haunted", then "The Left Hand", and then Mr. Ambrose's chilling smackdown of Adelle and Topher in "Epitaph 1" over his ownership of Victor's body.

Far as Caroline/Echo go, who has more of a right to the body at this point and all that...If Caroline, the original Caroline, has already essentially been irreversably killed by that first wipe (because re-imprinting a personality back into its original body might not accomplish the same thing as, say, resurrecting Buffy, in terms of bringing back the same personality that was there in the first place), then re-imprinting the wedge-copy of Caroline onto what is now Echo's body might result in another murder (of Echo). It depends on how the brain accepts that re-imprinting, if there's seamless continuity-of-character.

Is it just like when a coma patient, one who's had relatively low brain activity, recovers/wakes up and is fine ? Does the brain just pick up where it left off and, since the body continued to live without its proper mind, it's still truly Caroline ? If not, then the damage has already been done, Caroline was murdered, and Echo has now inherited what used to be Caroline's body and has more of a right to it than a potential re-imprint of Caroline does.

And then of course, when they re-imprint Caroline onto that body, Echo's been killed and Caroline 2.0 should not be murdered.

Depending on how it works, a whole lotta murders-of-the-mind could happen to that body. Echo retains fragments of memories and has continuity of herself between engagements somehow, but if a permanent, full personality that sticks, such as Caroline's, is put over her/replaces her again, she's essentially dead/gone. Unless the two personalities can somehow co-exist together without compromising eachother.
Regarding Victopher, he was definitely imprinted with a current scan of Topher. For one thing, he would already know Topher's plans, the fact that he was going to DC, and he would understand why he was in Victor's body, so there are practical benefits. But more than that, Victopher references the Priya/Nolan situation in the first scene while talking to Boyd, so he obviously had that memory.

Okay, the mind-murder thing... Whether or not I'd consider it murder depends on, well, I guess I'm thinking it's more of a body/soul issue, and about determining the connection between mind and soul (or the physicality of one's essence, if the soul doesn't exist). I more or less equate these false personalities or the absence of personality, in the case of dolls, to a dream or hallucination. Fractured consciousness exists in our world, and when someone cures a schizophrenic or a case of dissociative identity disorder it is certainly a loss of consciousness, but I would never consider it murder because it wasn't real in the first place. Now, the actives losing memories of things that really happened along with fabricated personae draws a lot of parallels to Alzheimer's. And the fear Echo and doll Perrin feel is relatable, it ties into what we think is going to happen after death. This is where it gets fuzzy for me, and very interesting, because the actives lose experiences that truly occurred. So a consciousness was created with the ability to remember, and the loss of memory is a kind of death, hmmm… Bottom line, it seems most like dissociative identity. Another person exists up there and has actual experiences, but can be wiped away to allow the real person to function normally.

With Echo, it seems she won’t have to worry about any of that because she has a weird spongy brain, so I guess she can quit complaining, haha.
Victopher definitely had the memories of current Topher, but his persona seemed more a season one version to me. There's no inherent reason why he'd have to imprint current versions of both memory and persona.

Mainly, I think Victopher just seemed less burdened than Topher, which reminded me more of the character in season one than in season two. Then again, that could have just been the relatively safe and familiar confines of his lab not prompting any need in the imprint to go to the burdened place, rather than any deliberate imprinting of current memories but earlier persona.

But I'd definitely find it more fascinating for Topher to have mixed and matched rather than simply doing a complete current dump. Maybe memories are easier to copy and backup than is persona, so he makes regular memory dumps but less frequent persona dumps.
Definitely loving the name 'Victopher'.
And after this episode, my dislike for Caroline becomes more pronounced. Plus, she signed her body away (regardless of what pressure she was put under - which hopefully we'll see in a flashback soon), whilst Echo wants to keep it, and is a genuinely selfless person (I'm gonna use that word, as in season 2 I'm seeing Echo as a person in her own right, not a blank slate), who ASKS to be imprinted if it can help a friend.

"I'm scared of Caroline. If she comes back, where will I go?"

^ probably paraphrased. But still, it really resonated with me.
Is anyone else suspecting that Bennet might be the one Caroline was referring to back in the beginning of "Ghost", when she tells Adelle "I was just trying to [...] take my place in the world, like she always said" ?
If Echo gets reprinted back to Caroline, whose to say Echo won't still start to emerge? She has with many other imprints. Maybe Echo is the soul, and Caroline is the programming by society, friends and family which formed the 'imprint'.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-12-06 13:20 ]
Wonderful episodes.

Was that piece of dialogue in the greenhouse the most complex in the history of television?

"They killed her. If you let them make you forget then you killed her. Can you live with that?"

Hwwwaarr. Head. Hurts. Who's on first?
Okay, this is something that I kind of made up, but it ties in with what you're saying, the idea the a soul can never be fully wiped away by science. I think it would be conceptually interesting if a person's soul was tangled and twined in their mind and body, and would leave an impression in its absence. So maybe when an active is wiped, their soul is ripped from its body, unable to exist by itself, or still too much a part of the mind, or whatever, but there is still physical evidence left behind, like a very complicated metaphysical footprint. A soulprint. So I guess it wouldn't be a soul in the traditional sense, but what we would consider human essence outside any specific religious designation. And it would have a scientific, corporeal influence on the body and mind just as much as a spiritual one.
GoldDust8912, about to post and saw yours. I was approaching it from the opposite direction: not whether or not a soul can be wiped, but what MAKES a soul? Feel that's where we are with Dollhouse: with Echo, with Whiskey, even with Topher, Boyd, and Ballard. What makes an entity a "souled" entity? Was Koko the gorilla a souled entity because she could sign? Paint? To me it's not the removal of something, but the innate-ness in surprising places of what we might perceive as a soul.
Total Recall anyone?
Yep - what Gossi said is how I look at it. They wipe memory and a certain amount of social programming and biological urges but they have to keep something otherwise you'd just stop breathing.

So they strip you down to the minimum and still there's the desire to live and the drive to be oneself. To me Echo is Caroline's DOS system. Or as husbando says "Echo is the ETFS to Caroline's Windows".
There's a gorilla that can sign?
@Gossi. Found this clip of Koko for you as discussed by a World Renowned Expert.
The mind/body/soul/philosophical questions are the most interesting questions on the show to me as well.

Many people have reported "near death" experiences in which they separate from their body, see other things that are going on that they could not possibly otherwise know, and remember these things upon being saved from death. Or, consider stories of ghosts.

If either of these are true, it suggests an essence of a person separate from the body for at least some period of time following the death of the body. Could this essence be extinguished by a brain wipe? Presumably not, if it could exist outside the body as a separately identifiable essence/soul for some period of time before - well, whatever happens to you after death according to your religious beliefs. To GoldDust's point, how that essence is tied to a particular body is another interesting question.

Edit to add: And if the essence/soul can eventually supersede the programmed personality/memories, theoretically this allows for an eventual upbeat ending following Epitaph One, although I don't know that Joss is necessarily one for upbeat endings.

[ edited by eyes of the world on 2009-12-06 16:55 ]
Oh, I don't know, both BtVS and Firefly ended on an uptick.

Here's what I'm noticing: Echo cares. Caroline cares about specific things (animals, bringing down Rossum) and less so about other things (perhaps, if Bennett's memory is accurate, other people).

So I'm thinking gossi's right. Caroline is the more complicated and more programmed (by society), whereas Echo is who Caroline would be if Caroline had been raised in isolation and didn't have the ideas of animals = cute and good, Rossum = automatically evil. I think Caroline's reactions to Rossum's lab in "Echoes" sets us up for this: she films the animal cages, totally ignoring everything else, and her boyfriend has to practically drag her to notice something else.

Hah, maybe this ties in with my big theory, too... perhaps Joss is commenting on society more deeply than I suspected. Perhaps he's saying we're all Dolls, programmed by the people in our lives, and we've all got that Doll-like blindness and naivete to everything else when we get outside our comfort zone.
I also agree that Echo must be the essence of Caroline with everything else removed (experiences, socialization, etc.). Think of a newborn infant. They have none of these things, yet still already have a personality of their own. If the blank slate was truly a blank slate, then all the wiped dolls would be indistinguishable. In contrast, each has their own (albeit simple) personality.
ManEnoughtToAdmitIt, was "Something else" A human fetus? Or was the fetus in present day, not flashback?

[ETA: I think Fetus means technically in the womb, but I don't know what the term would be]

[ edited by DeezyG on 2009-12-06 18:59 ]
Ok, so I have only skimmed through this thread (didn't get to watch the episodes until yesterday), but I just have to say:

"Glasses on a chain!"
"For the win!"

If I wasn't in love with Fran and Enver before, their delivery of that conversation has put them on par with NPH for sheer adorableness.
Is anyone else suspecting that Bennet might be the one Caroline was referring to back in the beginning of "Ghost", when she tells Adelle "I was just trying to [...] take my place in the world, like she always said" ?

I swear there's a second reference to this person at one point that makes it a bit more specific, or at least in a way that rules Bennett out. But I can't remember what it was, where it was said, or whether or not I'm simply misremembering. It might have been in Echoes, but I'd have to skim through and see.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-12-06 21:23 ]
"Echoes" is worth watching sometime over the next few weeks.
"I'd like to take my place in the world, like Mrs. Dundee taught us." I assumed she was a teacher. The Caroline we saw in Bennett's flashback seemed older and more jaded than college age Caroline. Also a bit Taffy-like. I expect she was up to something there that Mrs. Dundee would not have approved of.
I thought the best thing about these two back-to-back episodes was Alexis Denisof. As for people on here complaining about Alexis's would be kind of rusty too if you haven't been working for the past five years. He just needs to get out more so he can practice his craft.
I hope it's not going to be another one - five years before we ever see him on our screens again.
I swear there's a second reference to this person at one point that makes it a bit more specific, or at least in a way that rules Bennett out. But I can't remember what it was, where it was said, or whether or not I'm simply misremembering. It might have been in Echoes, but I'd have to skim through and see.

"I'd like to take my place in the world, like Mrs. Dundee taught us."

Ah, all right. I didn't remember that bit from Echoes (one thing more to do in the next few days, especially if gossi suggests it). "The Left Hand" left me pretty curious to find out what happened between Caroline's escape from the hospital and her "surrender" to Adelle, the consequences she couldn't live with, and that was a part of the show I thought we wouldn't get any new information on- hope I'm proven wrong!
If nobody has any permanent personality, and if we cannot trust that any given person is not a doll, who are we supposed to care about? If we care for Victor or for Sierra, that is not really Victor or Sierra there. If we are supposed to care for Echo, Echo does not exist. But I am not sure Caroline does either, and if she does, what we have seen of her gives us no real reason to care. Since no one is as they seem, why care at all? And fi that is Yopher in Victor, then there is even less reason to care about any given character since the DH would have everyone's personality on tape, and could just continually remake them even after they die. Which they already did, once.

What this is, is Fred/Ilyria all over again. After Fred was destroyed as Ilyria took over and even though Fred's soul was destroyed as well, Fred still leaked into Ilyria, so that the two co-merged and Fred essentially reappeared. So what is new here? Fred had Ilyria played into her, just as Caroline has Echo poured into her. But Caroline is coming out, and Echo is a construct who never existed before Topher wrote her program; ever her memories are just part of the program, never existed by and large, and so yet more reason not to care.
I find the remarks about Alexis' acting being bad, hammy, and rusty, amazing, and have to wonder how much of that is attached to fans expecting Wesley and getting something very close to Alexis himself. He's been doing stage productions since Angel ended so he's not out of practice.
Dana- I don't get why they have to be real, or even well defined for us to care about them. I care about lots of things that aren't real, dozens of TV characters, to name a small few.
Just re-watched and noticed a couple things:

First, what were we seeing when Topher looked out the window of Bennett's office? Was that the D.C. Dollhouse? Cause if so, damn...

Also, one thing I kinda noticed the first time around, but really appreciated the second time, was Bennett's reaction when Topher said she was beautiful. She looked confused, like that was just silly, and completely dismissed the idea.

Later, when Topher said her work on Perrin's brain was beautiful, she smiled, and was totally flattered. I thought that was an adorable contrast.

First time through I thought Alexis was good. No problems, but he didn't really have a big showy part, like Summer, or Enver. But this time I thought he was just excellent. Really noticed Eliza's fine work this time, too. I realized when they were together toward the end of 'Left Hand' that I wasn't seeing Wesley and Faith, at all. I was definitely seeing Perrin and Echo. Nicely done, both of them.

Also, whoever above (sorry, don't remember who it was) pointed out Echo's line, "They killed her. If you let them make you forget, then you killed her. Can you live with that?" Fabulous line, and yeah, quite complicated for a doll. An evolving doll, but still. Thank you for pointing that out.
Dana, if you don't like show, why do you watch?
Loved those two episodes, absolutely fantastic. Don't think that I've laughed and cringed as much for anything on TV in quite a while (that includes Dexter). So many wonderful one/two-liners all night long. My favorite was: "I love her", "Well, I don't have that problem", as well as "I think her bad guys are badder than my bad guys" (mostly because I've always claimed that you can use "badder" in that sense, and now Joss & co proved me right).

The GPS-removal made sense to me. Now the Dollhouses can't find them, so it sets up for future archy (I suppose). The only reason they were found was because they went back to a "known" safe-place, so it would be one of the first places for the handlers to go look. (Pretty stupid on their part, but Perrin didn't have a clue about what to do, and Echo was Echo).

Regarding Perrin's "shift" at the end. I took it to mean that he didn't run away with Echo, and let the "badder" guys bring him in. This resulted in the wipe and re-newed memories. So my question is if Rossum always planned to "kill" Mrs. Perrin?

Loved Summer as Bennett. Yes, there were moments that were River-y, but they were completely in line with her character. What "reminded" me most about River in Summers acting (as compared to Cameron), was her fabulous "face-acting". Summer has an enormous range in expressions which she can seemingly flip on and off at any given moment. (Sort of like what Alan did with Alpha).

Can't wait for next week and the coming episodes.
Gossi- do I have to like the show to watch it? Or is there material in the show worth discussing? C'mon, you know that is an unfair comment. This is still a Joss show, and while I may roll my eyes a lot at the events on screen, I think the questions are interesting. Some troubling, but some interesting. And my questions are both internal to the show and then also external to how people watch the show.

Golddust- I think you miss my point. I am not saying it is not possible to care for a "not real" character- all characters are not real. What I am saying is, it is hard to care for these characters because none of them have any reality- they are all not who they seem to be, and because their characters (as portrayed on the show) are so mutable, who is it in them we are supposed to care for? Look at Echo. Echo is a doll; she is not real. What she is, is Topher's programming. In reality, she is Caroline. But we know little about Caroline, and what we do know does not really give us reason to much care about her. And now she is more than Echo anyway; she is all of the programs that were poured into her. There is no one person in Echo, as a base, that we care what happens to her. Or, to be clear, that I care what happens to her.

PS. I think Victopher was an acting tour de force. Enver Gjokai is amazing.
Well, these two episodes were the most fun I've ever had with dollhouse... and I've been a big fan of the show since season 1 episode 6.

I think with the introduction of the dollhouse upper management, and Glau's dollhouse, Joss has answered the criticisms of many fans, that there is noone to root for and associate possitively with, by making Topher, Adelle, Boyd, etc, more sympathetic, and "less bad" than the truly immoral other house ("I think your bad guys are badder than my bad guys".

I am genuinely rooting for them now(even though I know from E1 they're gonna fail).

With the reintroduction of Alpha next week, this show is really going to kick up to another level.
Look at Echo. Echo is a doll; she is not real. What she is, is Topher's programming. In reality, she is Caroline

Eh? I think one of the most obvious things they're exploring this season is that Echo is real. Just like how Whiskey didn’t want to get her original memories restored because “she doesn’t want to die.” When you create a being with real human emotions (that go beyond what the programmer intended) then they instantly become more than just a "doll." I think it's a mistake to view them like the more unsavoury DH worker bees would.

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