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"Silly, silly British man."
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December 11 2009

(SPOILER) Discuss the seventh and eighth episodes of Dollhouse season 2. Tonight's two episodes are "Meet Jane Doe" and "A Love Supreme". And if you missed the episodes, you can watch them for free at the Fox site and Hulu and purchase them at iTunes.

Still 3 hours to go for me, but at least I'm first here. Hoping the streak of good eps continues. Anyone know who the writers are tonight?
3 for me as well. :( The first ep is Jed/Mo and Chambliss, and the second is Jenny DeArmitt, I think.
Ooooh, didn't know we had a Jed/Mo episode on tap tonight. Now I'm even more excited =D
Topher's Cylon reference makes my brain hurt.
Argh, I won't get to watch until Sunday! That's far too long a wait.
Heh,Echo actually made me chuckle with the tree line
What a prick!!! JMO
Oh HOLY CRAP! I totally didn't expect Adelle!
Three months later?
Wait, I thought she was a Doll. Never mind.
So lost right now.
Missed the first few minutes...very confused.
Isn't this a huge waste of resources having Victor and Sierra in the lab?
Am I the only one who can't stop smiling a big Joss-induced smile?
The guy in charge doesn't seem to care about waste
I don't know if I'm just brain dead tonight or if this epi is actually semi-confusing... Perhaps a bit of both. I enjoyed seeing Tahmoh, though :)
Glad to see I'm not the only one who's a little lost :-/
So Echo has 36 personalities... Did we know this?
LOL'd at Tahmoh's line. "36 personalities and none of them can cook?"
and now, for an episode from season four.
So... my broadcast just went to hell and I can't make anything out. SD or HD.
How handy is that? I think Echo rocks.
Just have to say, this episode is asking and discussing and playing with all those questions of "what makes us us?" For the first time, I'm finding Echo NOT boring and I'm not thinking, "give me more Adelle, Topher, Sierra, and Victor, please!"
Echo's been gay 7 times and there's no video proof?
I agree, CaptainB, I've been loving Eliza as Echo so far this episode.
Boy, Hardings a real prick. I can't stand him.

So he's doing a good job, I guess.
Wow, the sheer amount of skills she must have... This show has taken off the past few weeks.
Anyone care to sum up the Ballard/Echo and Adelle/Harding scenes? Still can't make anything out.
My signal is bad as well... I can't believe this... D:
I can't help feeling sad for Adelle.
What CaptainB said, Echo has been really great this episode!
Did FOX know what was contained in these season two episodes when they cancelled? Holy crap!
Echo draws a bunch of stuff with both hands while not looking, Ballard wishes he'd taken her up on her offer, they fight and look at each other with longing. And there's sweat. And fake IDs.
An amazingly long glitch in the broadcast. I hope they get it fixed before the second hour is over.
Does Adelle know about Boyd? Broadcast just fixed. I have no idea what's going on.
Mine's not fixed. I'm starting to think I won't get to see this until tomorrow.
Hard to know what anyone knows. If she knows, I don't think we know she knows.
Mine's just fixed as well.
I think we're supposed to think Boyd and Adelle are up to something else than the something Echo thinks her and Ballard are up to.
Mine is working fine, but it's still not making any sense...I think maybe I'm just too tired right now. Might give up and watch my brand new Firefly DVDs...
...I want Senator Perrin back. Or at least an explaination for the huge gap between "Trust me" and "I'm their puppet". But in other news: YAY ECHO SANS CAVEMAN SPEAK!!! KUDOS ON HUGE ECHO PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT!!!
Mo's using her bedroom voice!

ETA: Also, oh Topher, if only you knew what you've done...

[ edited by jamesthegill on 2009-12-12 02:43 ]
I love Mo! Kilo might be my new fave Doll!
LOL at Mo's gangster-ness.
Yay Mo and yay Victor and Sierra!!!
And....helloooo 2019.
Topher clearly DOES know what he's done.
Here we go... I'm so excited to see the trip to 2019
Wait, why would Adelle give up the plans? I really hope she changed them up or something, I would hate her if she betrayed Topher.

As soon as it glitched, I gave up. I refuse to watch when an entire scene was mutilated. Hey Fox, I'll be watching Hulu tomorrow. And I don't plan on watching live any longer. Lata!
Maybe explains how responsible she feels for Topher later
Oh, Adelle, what have you done???!!!
I am a little upset with Adelle. I've never been upset with Adelle before :(
Adelle... NO!!! Topher was supposed to be the amoral one!

Uh-oh. Here comes trouble.
Okay, what the hell is going on with Adelle?
Wow. That episode went by really fast. I really hope we get some answers about Adelle.
Ha, not Simon at all. Hilarious.
I''ll bet you a dollar that Adelle ends up whacking Harding. This is a setup. It has to be believable. I say "Go Adelle."
YEEEEESSSSS!!!!! Do you think that was some random guy, or was he Alpha in another body? The talk about programming kinda made me wonder...
Oh my god... this last episode have been incredible. Whedon takes relationships and just screws with them. We all loved Adelle. This is why Echo was so upset at her in the future.
OMG YAY. ALPHA!!! Nothing else matters. Just Alan's presence. Does that seem right to you?
Patton Oswalt?????
i believe in adelle! keep the faith!
Topher's never gonna tell Adelle anything again.
Heck, I'd have told her; Adelle's always cared a lot about the dolls. I'm very confused and angry.
And Blockbuster!
These episodes are so quotable. "I'm obsolete"
So I guess these four are gonna be our leads now? Nice to finally have a group to cheer on.
They are dealing with all of the issues that we all knew about in the beginning that we were all hinting at. Eliza Dushku is really proving what Whedon saw in her: she is a really good actress.
Knew it as soon as I saw the rose petals.
Want. Echo's. Shoes. But not as much as I *still* want Sierra's heels from "ASITHOL".
Very "Passion."
Yeah, I figured it was Alpha. What the heck did he do to that guy's face, though? That was gross!
Well, the Simplified dollhouse was a *little* better than the last one... Still pretty stupid.
Haha, 20's Sierra is kind of hilarious.
Love flapper Sierra :) That dress is killer! And I'm so intrigued that Alpha is going after all of Echo's regulars.
Who doesn't love a pun? :)
Well, who doesn't love a pun?
Aww, somebody beat me to it
Hey...My last post military time...Very Initiative. Fun with meta.
Oh my gods!!! It shouldn't surprise me that Alpha blew him up, but it still did!
Never thought I would see so much awesomeness!!!!!!!!!
I don't think Matt liked the pun :/
Yikes! I was surprised AND grossed-out. Alan is excellent, as usual.
You know, I don't see Topher being a big fan of anyone, least of all an internet mogul...
These are... great. Wow. I'm amazed.
Heh, I love Alpha's weird little obsession with clothes all of a sudden.
Hello, loverboy...
Bait and switch. Ha!
So wait though, apparently I've completely missed JdA's character, who should I have been looking for?
Crap, my sound just went out, I missed alpha's whole sentence after what is love. Anyone else's spotty?
Are you gay? No. Then it's love.

Yes, the sound has been spotty all night. I am hard of hearing though so I have the captions on. He said that it was different, what Echo feels for Ballard, vs what she "feels" for the people she was sent to for engagements.
Now I'm having a few issues with my reception. But I think mine is strictly local.
"...Too soon?"
Always have your captions on. Solves problems like ringing phones, screaming children, or sound glitches.
Wait, what just happened???
Anyone think Ballard's really dead?
I think he might be dead but not permanently. That's my theory. The birthday cake snaps indicate that Tahmoh is still involved with filming, so he can't be GONE gone...although the Ballard we have KNOWN might be gone.
I have had issues with my reception. The sound, mostly.
Bad sound here in Western PA. Closed captions always on to avoid "what did they say?", so that helps. Sorry, but can't recall the quoteage.
Oh thanks for the clarifications etoile
First big change from Epitaph One?
"He's 10 times the man you are, and you're like 40 guys."
Did he just call her "Faith"? ;)
I'd be willing to bet that Alpha's in Ballard's head. Anyone remember if he was actually called Ballard in Epitaph One?
And yeah, I think he did call her Faith. Nice touch.
Who called her Faith? Alpha, or Ballard-in-Alpha?
He didn't call her Faith, though I heard it too.. the captions said "Face it"
Thanks kioria, that was confusing me since I knew I hadn't read Faith in the captions!
Oh, I totally heard Faith. Must be my Whedon conditioning kicking in.
See there, Ballard isn't dead! I think that's why Alpha clarified that he was BRAIN dead too.
So Ballard can be imprinted with Ballard. We haven't lost him yet.
I have that conditioning as well, wouldn't have been able to tell you that if I hadn't heard it too.. Heard it then immediately checked the captions to double-check.
Eliza kicked ass in more ways than one! lol Can't help but feel if the showed had ramped up earlier Eliza would have been appreciated more in some of the critical reviews.
AMAZING Episodes tonight both.We are now truly on the road to Epitaph One.Meet Jane Doe really started setting things up for it.And Alpha's return in A Love Supreme was perfect.

Ballard isn't dead and based on Epitaph One,he should come through.

And Adelle,all I can say is the bitch is in the house.

Eliza stole the show though.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2009-12-12 04:06 ]
IMO the problem is that shows just aren't given a chance anymore. Look at Drive, which was canceled after two EPISODES. Of course DH is getting better now, shows do that after they've been around a while. Look at ST:TNG - the first two seasons are abysmal, but seasons 3-7 were some fine television. You have to give shows a chance. Unfortunately, Fox doesn't do that.
So, I think I definitely preferred the second episode to the first tonight (seems to be the trend). I did like Echo actually being a hero out in the world, but the prison stuff seemed kind of choppy to me. I really liked the Alpha stuff though, especially the rooftop and his fight with Echo (Alan did great!). I don't like Adelle's turn towards self preservation, and I'm really hoping that Hardings got killed by one of Alpha's "clowns." I do like that were seeing a team of sorts come together, though. Of course, it wouldn't be Joss if he didn't kill one of them off early:) All in all, while theses episodes didn't quite hit the high point of last week, I really enjoyed them and can't wait for next week!
Man, things are really getting insane... These double episode nights are overloading my brain. Much more and I'll be walking around in doll state.
excel52, re: the guy's face, it was starting decomposition.

Intrepid Reporter, me too! I don't like it!

But I totally love where Echo is going (this is what I wanted, Echo to be her own person) and when Alpha showed up I could not stop a huge grin from taking over my face. I just love the suit!
OK.. Um, wow.
Two things:
1) Kind of enjoying the wierd Whedon wheel. Wash gets taken from us in a shocking manner.. and now he gets to be the one to do the killing. Hell, he's practically a reaver! But with better fashion sense and better grammar.

2) I might have missed something that says otherwise, but did Echo get that girl arrested on purpose just to have a challenge? Seems a bit like it to me. And on that note... did it seem like something was missing? She was in DC last week. This week somewhere south. Texas? And still homeless and helpless. I can't recall... And then she's a nurse working with Ballard. Where did he come from? Did I miss something? Him finding her & then maybe a plan?
So do those wedges only work once, or something? Why the heck can't they just put Ballard back in Ballard? Or did Alpha smash it and we didn't see? But either way, not necessarily a bad thing, since it presumably means we have to have Alan back at least one more time. Loved the episodes. That road paved with good intentions is getting extremely steep, isn't it?
NYPinTA, I think you missed that "three months later" tag early in the first episode.
Never saw that. Did that come up after she stole the bread?
Best Dushku work yet. My wife sez: 'I always believed in her.' She says it with that look that says subtextually 'You are an ape with an Internet connection, Banks. You are my biggest mistake.' This must be love (if anything is).
Incidentally, did Alan really do Paul's voice, or was it a dub in? If not, I am very impressed.
I felt betrayed when Adelle stole the plans. Then I felt like a goddamn idiot for forgetting that she's the most dangerous person on the show. Poor Topher. And then I remember how much he annoyed me and I hated him for the first, er, few episodes. And Whedon has been playing me like a harp since day one, I realize (yet again).

Best run of four eps since, um, 'A Hole in the World.'
Were VicTopher and Victor/Dominic dubbed also?
Oh my God...they blew up Kyle from One Life to Live! :-(
Regarding putting Ballard back in Ballard, I suspect they will, but the preview for next week indicated that he's still in critical condition - makes sense that you can't imprint somebody if they're unconscious.

I don't think Victopher was dubbed. Enver is a master mimic IMO.

I do question the dubbing of Ballard-in-Alpha though. We've never heard that kind of dub before, have we? A different voice coming to the surface? I think it would have been stronger if Alan spoke the lines.
I bet Enver did the Topher-talk, for sure.
I think it may signify that Alpha got a bit more of Ballard than he bargained for, which is, in my opinion, awesome.
Just to add a conspiracy to the whole sound going out during the episode issue so many of us had. Does anyone think fox might have intentionally botched the sound in parts so that we could not make perfect copies and would be more inclined to buy the dvds when they come out?

I have noticed it in a lot of primetime shows lately on a couple networks. My bandwidth is great so it is a problem at the source or somewhere in between.

Did anyones's sound not go out sporadically this evening?
Love the show like I do every week, even though the compression is really obvious in these two episodes--Echo being in love with Paul would have played better for me if more time were dedicated to developing the relationship, but I know we don't have that time so I'm willing to just go along with it.

I love that Topher was able to figure out what Harding and Rossum were really up to and what the implications were, but he STILL went ahead and made the tech, because he's curious. And he kept it around instead of destroying it once he figured it out for some ungodly reason.

And Adelle just ended all of civilization. Congratulations.

Maybe Ballard's body is useless, but he fights Alpha from WITHIN Alpha...
Hello, end of the world.

I'm hoping Adelle sabotaged those plans somehow. Because I understand her wanting her House back but, oh Adelle, selling out doesn't suit you. At all. :( I mean, Rossum obviously figures it out eventually anyway, but I'm hoping it's because of the gathering all the pieces from their various Dollhouses thing and not from what she did.

Amazing episodes this week though, whoa. Mind blowing. Almost too much at once, as surprised as I am to hear myself say that. I wish they were more spread out when they aren't written to be two-parters like last week was (that worked, this not as much).

I'm super glad Joel lived. He's my favorite client ever. For some reason, his episode-ending scenes with Echo always make me tear up... it did last time; this time yielded the same results.
Agreed, Joel is adorable. I wish Alpha could go after the guy from "The Target" - nobody deserves it more.
I found it strange in MotS and once again tonight...Joel and Rebecca never kissed. She just kissed him on the forehead and cheek.

Didn't Echo kill the guy from The Target?

[ edited by edcsLover9 on 2009-12-12 05:06 ]
I like Joel, too. I was so glad he wasn't killed. I think he's the only sleazy client I've liked in the series.
She did kill him, but I wish Alpha could go after him! Of all Echo's past clients, I've always held a grudge against that guy.

Wow, just saw on Wikipedia ("List of Dollhouse episodes") that the number of viewers continues to drop. Sigh.
Glad we weren't the only ones with the sound issues - thought something was wrong with my tv!! Anyway, great episodes. Too bad they've obviously had to speed up the story to finish off the series but even with the three months later they've done a nice job progressing the story even though it was a bit confusing at first.

Eliza really shined these last episodes and it's nice not having to see her be in the "doll/childlike persona" anymore.

Was really surprised with the Adelle twist but it does fit with how Echo/Caroline feels towards her in the future. I'm thinking Adele did it because she wanted to protect her dolls and she saw that as a way of getting her house back. Yes it was wrong (because we see what it leads to in the future) but she doesn't know things will be that bad.

I'm also one who hated Topher so much in the beginning and can't believe he's one of my favorite characters.
I loved loved these two episodes, I'm so blown away by them it is hard to write about it... Plus I missed big sections of the first episode because Fox's feed was really falling apart (I'm glad they got it fixed before Alan 'Alpha' Tudyk showed up!!).

So great! Yay Mo! Yay Topher! Yikes Adelle!!!
I'm not happy with Adelle, but I'm still hoping she has a card up her sleeve, and she's holding out until the right moment. Even if she fails, it would make me feel better that she was at least trying.

As a side note, I hope the string of card analogies continues with Adelle.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-12-12 05:33 ]
Great episodes. And Eliza has really raised her game.

(And my sound was screwed up, too. Definitely a problem at the source.)
But wasn't the guy from The Target working for Alpha? His profile turned up fake, he had the "He was right - you are special." line... that was always the impression I got.

As a Topher fan from the beginning, his arc is breaking my heart right now. Especially when Adelle hit him.

Also, there were no problems with my broadcast at all, but this is Canada and I'm sure that makes a difference.
as alpha walked around paul in the chair before showing him the pictures, in dc, the entire sound went dead. i was most pissed.

@the person who was curious about being in dc one moment and texas the next, i've done the drive to the panhandle and it's maybe a 3 day trip, so could easily be done in a few weeks.

was i the only one who noticed the rose petals leading to the dead lover and thought "oh hay, angelus!"?

as for the topher and dominic debate, having watched the episode where dominic is mimiced, it's either the best ADR dub i've ever heard, or it was actually enver. and when he did topher, it seemed to me to be clearly enver.

great eps all around. i know im in the minority, but i didn't care for summer's character or performance last week, and felt like her parts were the weak link, i thought that particularly alexis and enver made the eps amazing. i thought this week's were even better.
Broadcast is out here in SF.

I have to say I didn't really enjoy episode 7 as much as I thought I would. I would have liked to have seen Echo evolve and learn to survive on her own, SANS Paul Ballard.
I can't imagine this would be even logistically possible after so much time, but did anyone else notice how the apartment that Echo and Ballard are in is very similar in furnishings to Angel's basement apartment from the first season? I thought that was an interesting connection, even though it might be rather specious.
Oh, Joss, you devil. OMG, what non-stop action,heart-pounding plot twists and shocks galore! These are raw comments, I'm going to have to watch this at least 3 more times to totally absorb all I've seen tonight

I was totally shocked at Paul Ballard's "wipe", even though I'd read some minor spoilers earlier, I totally did not expect it was going to be him. Say what you will about the Ballard character, you really feel the pain when a character you've come to enjoy has an violent ending. Though I know Paul is not physically dead, I felt as devastated about that as I did with Buffy's death in Season 5 and Tara's murder by Warren in Season 6.

And the "who's in the conspiracy and who isn't?" scenario. I'm thinking Adelle is devious enough to fake out Harding with her "I'm a team player" smokescreen. She showed total repugnance in the past with Sierra's rape, and disgust in Harding's plan to ship her actives to Dubai. Not to mention her nut-grabbing episode with the LA Kommandant proves she won't put up with a troll like Harding. I believe the time will be ripe for her to rebel against his imperious, patronizing and degrading manner and rip him a new arse.

"They're grouping, aren't they?....Don't worry, it happens all the time." Obviously Sierra and Victor are not unique, but the Dollhouse solves it own problems. Topher was really playing suck-up with Harding, but his shock at Harding's remark about splitting up Sierra and Victor and sending her to Dubai was shattering. I don't think he will be a team player, and the conflicts inside him may lead to his future insanity. This episode did a bang-up job of setting up the nightmare future scenario and Topher's doubts are beginning to affect his mental state.

Kicking myself now for not making the connection about Echo and Alpha both being in Texas. Obviously he has been stalking her since his first getaway.

The show ended two hours ago and I'm still hyper. Great job, Joss, Eliza and the entire cast and writing staff. Ya got me!

(Apparently, the sound trouble was nation-wide, I too experienced sound glitches throughout both episodes which I thought were local problems)

[ edited by Riverine on 2009-12-12 06:16 ]

[ edited by Riverine on 2009-12-12 06:21 ]
I haven't watched ep 8 yet, but 7 really wasn't all that great. I realise Dollhouse is supposed to be much improved now and the following is sort of blasphemous, but meh.

3 months later : Seriously? Cheap and confusing.

Perrin : Where's he? What the hell has happened these past three months?

Migrants : Does anyone really care about Echo saves illegal migrant from police who may or may not be abusive? Seems like it was forced in to fill time. A waste, considering there's not much time left to tell the story.

Victor and Sierra : Was it really necessary making them lab geeks? Why bother with Ivy?

Dollhouse has really had it's highs but I'm convinced it's just too ambitious for tv, certainly network tv anyway.
At what point of the episode did the "three months later" graphic show up? I waited until after the director credits to appear, and all I saw the Texas graphic.

ETA: Zoinks! I just got it. The second episode explains more about the first.

[ edited by crazygolfa on 2009-12-12 06:23 ]
I find these episodes very confusing. I would have loved to see the repercussions of last week's episodes.

I'll save total judgment until I've watched them again...but so far, kinda meh.

[ edited by ShanshuBugaboo on 2009-12-12 06:24 ]
I absolutely love that Patton Oswalt got another sendoff with a Greg Laswell song ("Your Ghost"). A nice touch—and a great song.

As soon as that episode was over, I popped in "Epitaph One" to check out the Ballard scenes. There's certainly some ambiguity there, isn't there...

Also, the shows were glitchy here too. That was rather annoying. I had just assumed it was a problem with the cable or the local FOX station or something, until I got on here.
Ok, so a lot of thoughts.
1- "Who doesn't love a pun" is my favorite line ever. End of story.
2-Topher going ahead making the plans despite knowing what they were for: "If I think I can figure things out, is that curiosity or arrogance?" Well, now that line's been solidified.
3- Adelle's shift. Really hated seeing her submissive to Harding. It felt so wrong but to see her get her power back the way she did really makes me hate her. She was one of my favorites before this so I'm trying to give her the benefit of the doubt as best I can. I kind of read it as this: She sold out the world to protect her own dolls (family).
4- Definitely throw me in as one of the ones who went "Oh crap, it's Passion all over again!" when Echo walked in to find all the rose petals. What, no opera music this time?
5- Regarding Ballard: At first I was thinking he can't possibly be dead...but he could.
Joss has said, in regards to Epitaph One, that memories aren't perfect, they're open to perspective. Then in the first episode when discussing Bennet's implanted memory, Ballard puts this same thought into the show directly by saying that it was only Bennet's perspective of the situation.
So roll with me here, Alpha imprinted himself with Ballard presumably. What if the real Ballard DOES in fact die and the one we see in Epitaph is actually Alpha/Ballard from Echo/Caroline's p.o.v.? That is, the only reason we saw Tahmoh rather than Alan was because he was, at least in Caroline's eyes, Ballard for all intents and purposes.
I can't imagine I'm right about this, especially given that we see Tahmoh in that pic with the cakes but that doesn't kill this theory in itself (Could be for the sake of similar flashback memories). It'd be kind of a nifty way to get around killing someone off though.
It looks like there has been some kind of cockup at FOX where the episodes have gone out East and West Coast without working sound and/or picture in many cases. Not sure how it has happened. It won't be deliberate as FOX don't benefit from DVD sales directly - they're making their money on ad sales here, which is driven by viewer numbers. Airing episodes without sound drives down viewing figures. Except in the deaf community.
Ok, now it's getting good.
No one has died yet; thus, Ballard really is dead. End of that story. We know most others will not be, from teasers we have seen.
Hmm. If Ballard's body does end up having Alpha/Ballard dumped into it later on (perhaps now that Ballard is mixed in with all of Alpha's imprints, he can't be separated out by any known Dollhouse tech, so that's the best they can do), wouldn't that remove the underlying serial killer-ness of Alpha that was presumably caused by the soul residing in Karl William Kraft's body and stack all of the neutral imprints (and Ballard) on top of Ballard's soul instead, thereby making him simply Ballard with a freakish amount of bonus personas at his disposal, as opposed to being Alpha in a different body?
Well I like him. And Joss is 3 for 3 in favorite charecters. Anya, Wes, and Wash.

Note to self: hate everyone.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-12-12 06:57 ]
Taaroko I think you're absolutely right, at least in the mythology of the show. The show has been based around the premise that the "soul" is somehow higher than the imprints in the brain. Thus one could infer that Ballard would become Ballard again after sorting out "who" he is.
There were some great twists and turns, but it really looks to me like Joss has fallen into the same trap that he did with BtVS season seven in that they're (Joss and the writers) sacrificing solid storytelling to focus mainly on the end game. "3 months later" was confusing and came across a bit cheap. So we go from one episode where Echo is starting to fully realize what she is to immediately switch to her having a fully developed individual personality? How did she find Ballard, or he find her? Also, There's virtually no explanation of how Adelle got ousted from her position in the Dollhouse. I guess we're to assume its because of the events in DC. I didn't like the lack of explanation of how Alpha turned all the actives into an agressive mob. (I did see Epitaph One, but I think its unfair to network viewers to reference an episode that never actually aired.)I hope the rest of the series isn't this fractured.

On the plus side, I loved Eliza's performance tonight. I think it was her best on the show so far.
So we go from one episode where Echo is starting to fully realize what she is to immediately switch to her having a fully developed individual personality?


Apparently it was also the only way to explain the "epic love" between Ballard and Echo.
Well to be fair, I don't think Joss wanted it to be this fast. If he was going to "go there" with Ballard and Echo, he'd want it developed in a better fashion, you just can't do it and tell the rest of the story in 5 or so episodes. Ditto becoming fully self aware. Self aware was supposed to be this entire season.

If I were going to "guess", Echo/Ballard probably wouldn't have happened to Season 3 because I get the distinct impression they've been trying to make him more likable this season. But people still dislike him, just not as much as last season it seems.

Exception: he's more liked by a few more people. Some people flat-out hate him.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-12-12 07:14 ]
I forgot to breathe during both of those episodes! That's usually a good sign. And how demented is it to be laughing along with serial killer Alpha's clever quips? Makes me feel implicit and icky. Well done Joss and company! And yes, Eliza is GREAT.
Felt a lot like the premiere and the finale of season three.
I'm sensing after a quick skim down the posts others experienced pretty much what I felt (actually, how could you miss it). I'm very perplexed about how the beginning of the first new episode started, ostensibly picking up from last week in Washington, D.C. and then leapt to a nurse in a hospital. That's quite a gap for an audience to follow. In fact, the whole episode was filled with character changes as though we'd already had several more in-between Washington, D.C. and now (wash, rinse, repeat for the 2nd new episode).

However, or whatever the reason for this shift into character overdrive, and despite the disjointedness which actually made me start to feel a little light-headed, thought the episodes brilliant. Yes, I liked the suit Alpha, but you need to go to the attic now. Tonya is pissed off.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2009-12-12 07:15 ]
I definitely agree B!x.
IT WASN'T TOPHER AFTER ALL. (Adele did it.) TOPHER DIDN'T END THE WORLD. (Adele gave the tech to Rossum, and that's what did it.) TOPHER ONLY FIGURED OUT EVERY NUANCE AND STEP NECESSARY TO END THE WORLD, THEN HID IT BUT CONFIDED IN ADELE. (And Adele stole it, which completely and utterly gets Topher off the hook, so he should be, like, totally relieved.)

This show is so fucked up (in the best sense of the word). Knowing the ending sacrifices absolutely nothing. If anything, it makes it even more suspenseful.
No kidding, B!x...

Dude! Dude. So much awesome... Whoa. I can't! Whoa.
Okay- first, I think we can all issue a blanket "you're forgiven" for the pacing... They weren't officially cancelled at this point in production, but the ratings were abysmal and I am ultimately willing to forgive anything as long as it results in our ability to see more of where all this should have gone.

And I am loving all of the Adelle and Topher revelations. I'll be defending my perspective on IMDb all night and then come back tomorrow to do the same, but with a better formed argument. :)
I think the rose petals were a nice meta nod to "Passion." Any long-time Whedon fan would see those and immediately go "NOTHING GOOD LIES AT THE END OF THE ROSE-PETAL TRAIL."

Both episodes were awesome, though I literally (ask my dad, i kid you not) fell out of my chair when Paul and Echo kissed. I'm at least glad he took the high road and didn't sleep with her, but what does he think is going to happen when Echo gets Caroline back in her noggin? It's just going to be Caroline? I think what Echo's got is permanent, and the Eliza we see in the future is really Echo 2.0, now with more Caroline.

This night was so great. Sooooooo much of what we know happens in Epitaph One happened tonight, guys. GAH. So much awesome. Must rewatch several times to appreciate.
I didn't like the lack of explanation of how Alpha turned all the actives into an agressive mob. (I did see Epitaph One, but I think its unfair to network viewers to reference an episode that never actually aired.)

This WAS explained though and it had nothing to do with Epitaph.
Alpha contracted out Sierra and loaded her with a virus basically so that when she was wiped she would infect the system. He knew protocol for the house was to rewipe all the actives in case he had engaged any of them (kinda missed this part), thus they all got the infection that was activated by his remote-wipe-remote thingy
Also, I'm a BIG fan of the fact that Echo is gaining some control over her imprints. I know it's costing her greatly; but wow, even though I liked Echo before , I am *fascinated* with the possibilities now. I like the idea of seeing her shift personalities (as long as we don't see the cool-brain-warp-graphics everytime she does it from now on) and then getting to be like..."Oh Hey! It's Taffy!" Selecting which person you are while still retaining a semblence of self-awareness; very wicked concept.

[ edited by CarpeNoctem on 2009-12-12 07:56 ]

[ edited by CarpeNoctem on 2009-12-12 07:56 ]
This WAS explained though and it had nothing to do with Epitaph.

It was, and very well. I was so happy with the way that came out, actually. In an ideal world it would have had maybe one more sentence to set up the Alpha situation, but it was worth it. I'd much rather be surprised than have something spelled out, circled, and pinned to my coat sleeves.
Hmmm. I didn't find things all that confusing. As for Ballard and Echo being together, she remembered his cell number and called him, almost certainly after getting the immigrant girl imprisoned. They worked on getting her out, because Echo doesn't abandon people. They used Rebeccah Minor's nurse training as the most logical way to get into the prison - all the while working on integrating her personalities, and training her to go back to the dollhouse to take it down. I'm with Azzers on this compression being forced on Joss a bit by the need to tie things up. But I don't see the compression as forcing them to sacrifice solid storytelling to focus on the end game, as crippledlion said.

As for Echo being in love, I'm fine with it. It didn't feel jarring to me at all. Nor did Adelle losing control of the Dollhouse to Harding for that matter. Of course he would be gunning for her after all that had happened. Why not just cut to the aftereffects, since there's not that much time left?

Good to see Ivy back. I missed her.
So angry that this show was canceled. Yeah, we got two brief seasons... but it's so brilliant now, I'm going to miss the regular dose of WhedonTV. Again.
First off, so glad Mo got a little more to do. She's a funny gal.

Biggest laugh out loud moment? Victor and Sierra kissing, then immediately getting wiped by a resigned Topher. Perfectly played.

Alan? Flat out amazing. This show is like an acting clinic. And the rest of primetime should be paying attention (for a few more weeks anyway).

Speaking of acting, can all Eliza haters leave the building now? Thank you very much.
Awesome eps, and I didn't find them at all confusing. Last week's, a little, but after 15 minutes on message boards it was all clear. These ones I thought were pretty self-explanatory.

Anyway, fantastic eps, I loved them. Not too much to say except Echo is the coolest ever, and I loved the scene when Adelle says no one will challenge her again or something to that effect and then in walks Echo. I thought it was great.

LOVED Eliza's performance tonight.
I am a little upset with Adelle. I've never been upset with Adelle before :(
Intrepid Reporter | December 12, 02:57 CET

Adelle... NO!!! Topher was supposed to be the amoral one!
nuccbko | December 12, 02:58 CET

Haven't read any farther in the comments yet, but I have to say this .... This is how I've had Adelle and Topher pegged from the beginning.
Can't remember in which ep, but all the way back when Adelle was so adament about making certain that Topher took his share of responsibility for how things were beginning to fall apart, when she told him that everyone in the Dollhouse had been chosen because they had compromised morals, but he'd been chosen because he had no morals, I thought 'she's shifting blame and projecting - she's the one with no morals'.
And far less excuse than Topher, for being caught up in the whole DH nightmare, being something like nearly twice his age.

My transmission was totally wonky too, during the first ep - I got the first six minutes and about the last 12-15 min. But it straightened itself out for the second ep, except for a 3-4 minute loss, about ten minutes in.

Since it happened to so many others, I hope we don't crash Hulu tomorrow.

EF: typo

[ edited by Shey on 2009-12-12 09:39 ]
While I agree that Eliza's Echo has become much more likable and Eliza's doing a great job with her - now that she's got something to work with - I don't see her doing that well when Echo switches between imprints. There's still not the clear definition between characters that Enver brings, for example. But I do love Echo now.

I'm trying to figure out who the person would be who is paying for a girl to be a thirties movie character. An eighty-year-old film buff with a crush on early Barbara Stanwyk or something?
I'm trying to figure out who the person would be who is paying for a girl to be a thirties movie character. An eighty-year-old film buff with a crush on early Barbara Stanwyk or something?

I presumed no one, in that said engagement would have been a ruse just for Alpha to implant a virus in an active.
So the last two Fridays after I watch Dollhouse I give a big sigh and I feel sad because this show is just SO good.

Adelle! No! Say it ain't so. I'm sorry to say that no, I don't think she has any tricks up her sleeves. She just wanted her Dollhouse back, and sadly ended the world in the process. And ya, it *kind of* lets Topher off the hook, but not really because he did in fact create the tech.

Was it rushed, of course...was it awesome? Hellz yes. At this point I think Joss and company don't care about getting new viewers since they are already canceled...might as well pack on the details and get to 2020.

Loved Sierra's 20's Doll. Nice touch.

Alpha rocks. Someone mentioned above that Paul maybe a mixture of Alpha and Paul in Epitaph One...that really makes sense to me. I remember Caroline saying something like "We have Alpha to thank for that" in E1....perhaps it was one of Alpha's personalities in Paul...hmmm. And perhaps without the essence of Alpha's original personality (crazy serial killer dude), Paul may be able to cope like Echo is now, or even better since I don't remember him having horrible headaches in E1.

I do think Echo will eventually go crazy with all these personalities. The headaches will get worse...that is why we will get Caroline back. Echo will have to choose, and she will choose to die. I love Echo, so that makes me incredibly sad. Eliza knocked it out of the park tonight.

[ edited by Harmalicious on 2009-12-12 09:14 ]
Echo will have to choose, and she will choose to die.

No! If Joss kills Echo I'll be so upset. :(
Yeah, Bix, I'd forgotten it was Alpha, but it still stands as a question. Alpha was pretending to be a client, wasn't he? (Or did he get someone rich to do it and then kill them? I'll have to re-watch tomorrow on Hulu. Damn.) So why would that pretend client order something that off-the-wall? Alpha brings the crazy, but that kind of whimsy can get your engagement noticed and Alpha's not stupid.

[ edited by shambleau on 2009-12-12 09:24 ]
The episodes are now online at the Fox site (for those who had sound issues).
What did Echo say about Bennett? It was kind of like "Ever since Bennett did something to me, I've been able to control the personalities". Am I making this up?
No, you aren't. It was something like that, but I don't remember the specifics.
The episodes are now online at the Fox site (for those who had sound issues).

It was more than sound issues. Many markets had two entire minutes of frozen signal near the start of the second episode. The stream, however, definitely does not have this problem.
Harm and sham: Echo said that ever since Bennett showed her Caroline (via Bennett's memories), things have been different.

I'm not convinced that's the whole of it. Bennett is the one who told Topher that she had a theory the human brain could handle more than one imprint, and not in an Alpha composite way. The idea that Bennett used that Caroline memory to implant some sort of new architecture into Echo to test that theory seems more plausible to me.
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this (or if they did, I didn't see it), but Eliza has reported on twitter that she broke her arm tonight while filming the series finale. She's in a cast, which they'll have to hide under wardrobe in her remaining scenes.

I wish her a quick recovery.

Really enjoyed the episodes tonight. The first one was a little slow in the first few acts, but then picked up steam nicely. The second one rocked.
Okay, first of all, I don't think that was 20's Sierra, that was 40's Sierra. Yeah.

And Echo said something about Bennet's memory, which is the only memory Echo has of Caroline. And it is not flattering.

Adelle and her morals- she absolutely has them, that's why it's so painful. She's not a sociopath, she knows she sold Topher out in favor of a power play. In the short term, it can be justified, but obviously the ends didn't quite justify the means.
I love Harding's off-handed explanation that "grouping" happens all the time. With one casual remark, they explain away part of the "how could this Dollhouse have so many problems and no one cares" criticism. In essence: All the houses probably have similar problems, but it's so compartmentalized, none of them know this.
"...the ends didn't quite justify the means."

No they didn't. But from her point of view, she's rescued some of her Actives from being sent to Dubai, ended her humiiation by Harding and gotten her power back. She did it by giving Rossum something earlier than they would have gotten on their own, but that they were working on seperately and were probably inevitably going to figure out.

Added to that, the long-term implications haven't sunk in for her, I don't think.
It was more than sound issues. Many markets had two entire minutes of frozen signal near the start of the second episode. The One True b!X | December 12, 09:35 CET

I lost a lot more than that - more than half of the entire first ep. First both sound and video for almost ten minutes, then .... and this is just too weird .... when reception came back, what aired was about fifteen minutes of ep, 2! Then another brief blackout, after which I got about the last 10-15 minutes of ep 1.
Then ep 2 aired in it's proper sequence, a good chunk of which I'd already seen, in the middle of ep 1! Was I confused? Oh yeah, but also riveted enough to stick with it.

I seriously hope there is no one left who doubts Ballards's total heroism and dedication to doing the right thing, which I've seen in him all along.
For all of being a bit of a fuck-up early on, and allowing himself to be seduced by Mellie, he's been on the right track, from the beginning.
So he probably is really dead, and the "Ballard" we see in E1 is something salvaged from whatever Alpha imprinted himself with, in order to get close to Echo. And maybe some other stuff salvaged from the wipe disc, since it wasn't clear what Alpha did with that disc (unless I missed it during one of the mini- transmission glitches in the second ep)

My love for Fran Kranz continues to grow. I loved seeing him get to show his acting range, in the parts where Topher gets shocked out of his usual arrogant, flippant, genius/geek persona.

My favorite line from either ep: "You are the coldest bitch on the planet" - delivered to perfection.
I'm trying to smother my devastation over losing this show, until it's actually over.
While rewatching Meet Jane Doe: I've come to the conclusion that this episode does a fantastic job of illustrating a specific kind of compromising situation; how a person can feel absolutely justified in making a sacrifice in favor of a small term win that does not necessarily guarantee a redeeming future. Imagine what we'd be saying about Adelle right now if Epitaph One had never been released. Not to mention all of the crap Harding pulled. Man, that would have made a stellar 3-episode arc. Anyway, we'd probably still pissed about the betrayal, but without knowing the ultimate consequences... Who knows? A battle won can be a war lost. It's an uncommon choice for television, I think, but I like it very much.

Edit: Added the Harding reference.

[ edited by GoldDust12 on 2009-12-12 10:17 ]
The sense of inevitable, impending doom (based mostly on remembering Epitaph One) is just overwhelming, especially during the second one. I spent a good chunk of it with my hand over my mouth in horror. Also, blowing up Matt: awesome in a horrible kind of way. And really, who doesn't love puns?

mchan: I agree, it looked very similar to Angel's kitchen to me too. The fridge is in a different place but the shelves and table are practically identical.
I'm extremely happy to be watching the awesomest TV series of the last few years.

I also think that all these actors are hugely talented and amazing women and men.


I really hate asking for even more, but...

Can we please get Amy Acker back?

Pretty please?
I think I read that Amy would be in three episodes this season. I'm thinking that the finale will probably be one of them, which leaves me to wonder which other episode she'll return in.
If this season had been last season, I wouldn't have been complaining about the show. For the first time, I actually look forward to watching on Friday night instead of turning it on with a sense of obligation.
I'm semi-disgusted that the outlets reporting on Eliza's broken arm/elbow have a picture showing what it is.

sorry that was off topic.
Having just watched Meet Jane Doe, it's confirmed what I thought when I read about the cancellation aka Joss will do a Serenity on Dollhouse. In 45 minutes we had about 20 episodes condensed into one. Very well done but one does wonder what how this episode would have turned out had Fox not cancelled the show.

And I'm trying to imagine how an equivalent episode of Deep Space Nine or Babylon 5 (or even Buffy) would have looked had those shows been cancelled early on in their run.
Thinking about Echo's headaches and keep coming back to Buffy/Earshot. Giles noted that the voices in Buffy's head would eventually make her crazy (paraphrasing). So, what about the voices in Echo's head? If she can control them and draw on her personas at will (I'm visualizing like using a library card catalog), then Echo won't go crazy?
These episodes were waaaaay too fast and confusing for my head. It really shows that they have tried to compress 4 seasons worth of plot into 13 episodes. There's so much character development that is undone 10 minutes later as the plot rushes along. You never get to linger and take in what's going on with the characters, and that makes it hard to really care about them.

For example Adele goes from in-control (well sort of) boss to meek servling to badass destroyer of the world in the space of half an episode. Yes, there is that three month gap, but after that kind of a jump in time I need a moment to catch up with what's going on with everybody before I jump headlong into the next plot-twist. The way it happened just felt like "We don't have time to show you these three months, so we'll just skip them."

It's still entertaining TV though and I might get a better grasp of the episodes once I've watched them again. So a tentative thumbs up. :)
Bah. Just tried to watch the recording & I see I have the severe audio/video troubles that others have reported.
I'm about to go rewatch this on hulu, as we missed everything before the opening credits while trying to find a tv that had FOX, only to have the sound issues like everyone else :( Did other people have really crappy image as well? I thought that was just the tv, but it could have been part of the larger issue too.

I just wanted to point out that when Alpha shows up in his gray suit with the Hawaiian-esque shirt underneath it, I both squeed and cried a little. Did a client ask for Alpha to be imprinted with Wash at some point?

Also, the only thing that really jarred me in the first ep was the fact that Galena seemed to learn English VERY quickly, like in a day. When Echo sees her as a nurse the first time, she doesn't speak any English, but she's speaking really good English the next day? I might have missed a translated line the first time Echo sees her in jail though, since I could definitely see her being able to learn a decent amount of English with 3 months in prison.
Note this comment talks about the end of Angel. If you haven't seen the full show (though on this site, I'm pretty sure you have) and don't want it ruined, don't read this. None of the Dollhouse stuff is spoily, though - just me conjecturing.

I think Adelle is pulling a season-5 Angel. He figured out that he had to commit some sins to ingratiate himself into the Circle of Black Thorn, which in turn he needed to do to kill them. Likewise, Adelle needs Rossum to trust her so she can get the breathing room to break them from the inside. A couple parallels:

- Just like Angel, this shift happened really quickly and with little immediate explanation. Last we saw Adelle, she was plotting with Boyd, infuriated at what Rossum had done. Next scene, she's playing buddy-buddy with Harding. This is similar when Angel seems like normal Angel up until the end of Time Bomb, when he turns on Gunn (after having a conversation with Illyria about leadership).

- Just like Angel, Adelle doesn't explain herself to her subordinates, and they feel like they need to plot against her. I wouldn't be surprised if we get a scene similar to the one in Power Play where Adelle explains to the crew what she's been doing.

- Finally, like Angel, a integral team member has just been rendered functionally dead. I wouldn't be surprised if Adelle uses a supposed lack of caring to get further into Rossum's good graces.

In short, I think we might be in for something similar to the end of Angel. The shows share at least one general theme - can we do good inside an evil organization? - and I think it's been proven to make for a good ending.
Can anyone remind me of the upcoming schedule? Is it 9 and 10 next week and then the last three in Jan?
That's a very good parallel to make, goingtowork, I can see it, but Angel made a difference trying to ameliorate his horrible past. I think Adelle is more of an unknown quantity in the "good" department; i.e. the good she has done, for example trying to shield Sierra from more rape and torture, was to maintain the order of her House, not because she's a crusader for humanity. It will be interesting to see what happens with this scenario, though. Thanks for the thought food.
For those of you who are confused, I strongly recommend a re-watch; I think it's all there. Condensed, of course, but there.

Point 1: in "The Left Hand," Echo is in doll-state but she does have some memories and some comprehension about what's going on. She doesn't have the details -- like an ATM -- but she is somewhat coherent; with a little kindness from strangers (apparently not a common trait in Texas!) she could get pretty far, and clearly did. Then she starts to pull things together and gets in touch with Paul.

Point 2: I'm not convinced Echo's in love with Ballard. Desires him and is drawn to him, of course, but she also says she was programmed with a strong sex drive. She spends three months with Paul as the only person she can trust and talk to. Also, the only person who says "love" about those two is Alpha, who's obviously jealous -- is he really well-qualified to judge? Finally Echo/Caroline doesn't feel all that great about Paul in Epitaph One, or at least it's much more complicated.

Point 3: As mentioned above, Alpha's plan with the dolls -- which probably gives Topher the robo-army idea -- is spelled out.

Point 4: Adelle was always deluding herself before. In these two, she's lost her illusions. Indeed, Harding's attitude is almost that it's her illusions that deprived her of her job -- now that she's suitably ruthless, she's welcomed back into the fold. That may be grating on her.

ETA Point 5: Galena almost certainly learned some English while in jail. The only people who tell us after the three-month jump that she doesn't speak English are the sheriffs, who probably don't care or pay attention to how much she has. She has a hard time keeping up with Echo's English but that's because Echo is talking fast and quiet and using rather strange vocabulary.

[ edited by ManEnoughToAdmitIt on 2009-12-12 18:38 ]
I just remembered that while watching the first ep last night, when Echo gets on the motorcycle and says she will know how to ride it, it reminded me of people getting skills downloaded into them in The Matrix. I found that interesting, knowing how much Joss loves that movie :)

I don't like how hulu labeled last night's episodes as Meet Jane Doe Part 1 and A Love Supreme Part 2. I have enough friends right now who are confused that a) Dollhouse is still on the air and b) that they're airing two episodes a night in December. And most of them only watch it on hulu, and might think that they're missing MJD Part 2 and LS Part 1. Any way we can get them to fix this?

ETA to say how much I loved Dr. Freudenstein! Much Enver love!

[ edited by fuffybaby18 on 2009-12-12 19:24 ]
Joss sure is doing his best to have us miss this show... This season... I mean, it might be the best season of Jossverse yet... Might change once I've gotten some perceptive to it, but it's still up there among Buffy 5 & 6, Angel 3 and Firefly on my personal top list.
Ashley, you're correct.

For me, the compression is working great. I feel like I'm being rushed along by the irresistable gale of history toward a shipwreck. This is one benefit of the cancellation, a BBC-style short series that tells a story without endlessly stringing it out.

All the individual choices being made to bring the apocalypse about are morally appalling on one level or another. But for me, they're overshadowed by this feeling that it was all inevitable once the tech was dreamed up. If not Topher, then Bennett. If not Rossum, then another company. The scientist in MOTS who said we're doomed and maybe shoud be, Lubov saying people are mostly crap - those statements are looking more and more like the POV of the show itself. I'm sure Joss will fashion a coda with a measure of hope in it, but after all the damage done, it's going to be pretty forlorn.

[ edited by shambleau on 2009-12-12 19:22 ]
It does feel like we are getting five seasons condensed into five weeks.

Anger to Fox, not to Joss.

Dollhouse crew - I will miss these Friday Night Mindflaying Events. Thanks for them. =)
This WAS explained though and it had nothing to do with Epitaph.
Alpha contracted out Sierra and loaded her with a virus basically so that when she was wiped she would infect the system. He knew protocol for the house was to rewipe all the actives in case he had engaged any of them (kinda missed this part), thus they all got the infection that was activated by his remote-wipe-remote thingy

trunkstheslayer | December 12, 07:50 CET

Thanks. My audio must have glitched when that was explained. I didn't catch it at all.
Everyone here has such amazing insight (shambleau, gettowork, fuffYbaby, azzers, and ManEnoughToAdmitIt to name some), and I'm so honored to be part of such an intelligent, thoughtful fandom :) Love the comparisons with season 5 Angel and Adelle...And ya, totally getting some Matrixy comparisons, indeed!

I just keep thinking of Echo. I never figured I would fall hard, but I LOVE her. I tear up when I think that she will probably die when Caroline comes back (or at least a part of her inevitably will). I'm so sad this show is going away. In just 4 short episodes I went from loving this show to a mega-deep fanatic love that I thought I only had for Buffy.....sigh. OK, back to the episode(s) conversation....
Wow. Paul has way more chutzpah than I gave him credit for. Adelle too but in the worse connotation.

"Get over it babies. Love the ones you're with." :D
Part of my confusion may stem from the fact I haven't seen Epitaph 1, therefore not in the know of useful information. I don't read every single thing about DH, so therefore the compression of events was difficult - I understood intellectually it was happening but it took awhile to get where they were going with it. Ballard was a shock, but Boyd would have been devastating. However, I get that wouldn't have served the Alpha storyline.
What was with Adelle saying to Echo: "It's good to have you back, Love."

That creeped me out a bit.
Saw the rest of A Love Supreme that I'd missed because of the feed glitches. Very nice scene with Enver's psychiatrist making a spot-on feminist and personal analysis of Adelle. Add to that a hilarious line about Sierra that shows once again you can't keep those two crazy kids apart.
Can anyone remind me of the upcoming schedule? Is it 9 and 10 next week and then the last three in Jan?

12/18: "Stop-Loss" / "The Attic"
12/25: off
01/01: off
01/08: "Getting Closer"
01/15: "The Hollow Men"
01/22: "Epitaph Two: Return"
Thanks B!X, it is confusing (to me anyway... I can follow the show but the schedule confuses me). And now I should go to hulu and rewatch the first episode since Fox's feed was so bad we missed at least 10 minutes (maybe 15).
Thanks for the schedule information :)

(and completely random, a lot of shows are doing sequel episodes this year. How I Met Your Mother, Gossip Girl and this.)
hahahaha jamesthegill "she was using her bedroom voice." : )

also noticing Joss's love for the "bait and switch" idea (or is this other influences...

I personally loved the Adelle switch.. it was hard and tough but now we know why Caroline hates her so much. Adelle does become the villain, out of"self-preservation." If we have learned anything, it is that only thinking of yourself leads to the fall of the world. Adelle brings us to the abyss.

Now what I am waiting for is the development of Adelle back into the mother figure. I am waiting for that moment when she realizes what she has done (after she's done even more horrible things) and has to figure out how to atone for her sins.

Also loved:
- absolutely loved echo,
- can't wait for the Alpha as Ballard thing to play out (Will the gentleman good guy beat out all of Alpha's demented personalities or become deranged himself?)
- and finally:

"She, however is very naughty and completely aware of it."
Wow. Just watched both. Another great double-header.

Quotable quote in addition to those mentioned above - Topher to Adelle: "I told you: brain science is all about hardware and software. There's no mystical in between." Kinda goes to the heart of the show. (Also great in that scene is Topher smirking while Victor-the-doctor analyzes Adelle.)
But the Kristin Hersh version is better!
But the Kristin Hersh version is better!

Radically so.
I think I shall now call them the Jossua Trees since he seems to like to add them to his work so much.
The next few titles sound epic. Especially the 2nd to last.
Not much constructive to add, other than this was another wild rollercoaster ride, just like last week. The combination of the show getting so good and us getting two episodes a week is just mindblowing. It's exhausting how much awesome they manage to pack in.

Dollhouse has, to me, gone from "okay" to "good" to "pretty great" to "the best thing on television." The last one, of course, only happened after it was canceled and no one was watching. Sigh.
Well I appreciate the compliment. Usually I feel like a a bit of a temperamental loudmouth. :)

Watching this again and after reading the comments, I was struck by a few things.

First, regarding the "Does Echo love Paul" question: yes she does. If we regard our "first crush" as love, whether or not it's as fully formed as later relationships, there is definitely an element of attraction and attachment that goes beyond friendship for Echo. Is it love born of a healthy relationship? Not at all. But it's definitely there.

I know some people like to differentiate between a "crush" and love, but as an anecdote, I had a first love and a first crush. They were the same emotion at the core. The only difference was that in one case the other person wasn't interested and in the second the other person felt the same way. I guess I never treat the two as different because I feel the impulse is the same. To me, they're two identical flowers. One is watered and thrives, the other survives as long as it can before wilting.

Second, does Paul love Echo? I feel like only after his conversation with Alpha would Paul ever allow himself to actively think that way. Alpha could have broken through to Ballard because his statements (unlike Boyd or Adelle) were not framed as accusations of suspicion which are easily dismissed for their Machiavellian construction, rather an acknowledgment of simple behavior that either meant he felt nothing, or was holding himself to an impossibly high moral standard. Luckily, Paul was abruptly killed right after that, so everyone's happy I guess. Actually I wasn't very enthused about that.

I don't think it was an accident that the writers chose to show us a scene between Echo and Ballard in the kitchen talking about food one scene before he spurns her advances. I have always thought that Mellie broke through Ballard's defenses and he did love her and THAT is how he got so ice cold right after Man on the Street. He's still dealing with the fact that he "lost" Madeline, and in that sense he was hurt twice. Once because he didn't know, and once because he couldn't save her when he did despite his best efforts. He might have active feelings for Echo, but I still think those were buried under morality, guilt, and loss.

In his mind, Echo has always been his charge since season 1. He couldn't save her, so he became as good a protector as he could. In Instinct, a lot of people read his conversation with Echo at the end as though he "wanted to kill her and save Caroline." I always read that conversation as "Echo was in pain and he just didn't know how to help her." He was talking it out with her. Just my two cents on the entirety of their relationship up until this point.

Other note: Boyd telling Paul to "Man up" made me cheer.

Regarding Adelle and the Angel similarity - maybe. The only thing that would worry me about that being true is I'd be shocked that Whedon would rip himself off.

What Boyd said to Adelle in the elevator (possibly paraphrased) "The Adelle DeWitt I knew, would never ask that question" tells me that this is who she's always been. As an audience, we have always been privy to the Adelle that cares about her charges.

It is as if she acquired her position by kissing puppies and hurting bad men. But that's not the Adelle that Boyd nor Mr. Dominic knew. What has always been true in this series though, is that her goals have generally never been in conflict with the viewing audience. That is, we love her because she wants what we want. This is the first time where to get what she wants, she has to do things we don't like.

Could there be a master plan involved? She's certainly smart enough. But it could also be that she's making a mistake, because that has also been a major part of her character. She is prone to them.

Wow... that was rather talky of me. And now I'm hanging lanterns. Weird mood. And my string of having to edit comments 1 minute after posting continues unabated.

And I just remembered Man on the Street wasn't where he found out... I'm very off my game. Insert A Spy In the House of Love. The mistake never happened. Forget... Forget...

[ edited by azzers on 2009-12-13 02:15 ]
So do those wedges only work once, or something? Why the heck can't they just put Ballard back in Ballard? Or did Alpha smash it and we didn't see? But either way, not necessarily a bad thing, since it presumably means we have to have Alan back at least one more time. Loved the episodes. That road paved with good intentions is getting extremely steep, isn't it?

I got the impression that "brain dead" meant there was no electrical spark to get the brain going. Ballard's personality is still there (like a chicken in the oven), but there's no gas to cook the chicken into a meal- it just sits there.

About 152 comments ago, someone mentioned a possible twist- that Ballard is indeed gone and the images we saw in E1 are Caroline's memories of Ballard... in Alpha's body. How horribly insightful- he lives in another's body because his own does not function.

Can you imagine the ways that tech could be used? Have a loved one who's been a vegetable for quite some time? Have a convict that up for the death toll? Instead of frying him, just wipe his mind and have you loved one live in his body instead. Just think how many potential Alpha's we have- Alpha in serial-soul-killer, not 40-something personalities. Well, maybe two. But wow. And, knowing the lure of tech, they would probably implement that before fully understanding that the tech has its limitations on the killer souls.

That makes me wonder- why hasn't Whiskey shown others? She's a permanent doll, who's aware that she was many people, but doesn't seem to draw upon them like Echo. Why?

Does anyone else get the impression that the tech is like the ring in LOTR? Preciousssss....
Whiskey's aware she's a doll, but didn't have her personalities downloaded into her by Alpha like Echo. Echo may also have been tampered with by Bennett. Plus, Echo was more resistant to begin with.

As far as Echo being in first crush mode with Ballard, it seems to fit. Except that she's got access to the memories of a number of imprints who were in love. So in that sense, along with the physical love-making skills, this is the love of a woman with massive experience in the matter.
Time line question here....are we to assume that the scene in E1 where Paul and Echo are in the elevator after she is imprinted with the Russian girl was before this? Because for one thing, she used the chair. Also, Topher didn't treat her like she is now, just treated her like he has always done, as a doll. Perhaps that scene was somewhere in between Belonging and Public Eye?? Paul and Echo were still on the down low about her evolving/remembering.
I think you're right Harmalicious. It doesn't fit any other way. At least going with the info we currently have.
I understand the show has been canceled and that Joss and Co. have to condense a LOT into the episodes that remain. But the last four have been so packed and disjointed. It feels like a rush job and I don't like the way it's going. Adelle turning into mega-bitch bothers me.

And I'm completely disgusted and disturbed at the hints of a relationship between Echo and Ballard. The issues of consent and handler imprinting just made it almost unbearable to watch. And the whole OMFG LOVE LOVE LOVE theme was also too much.

What's going on here? How does this all lead up ti Epitaph One?
That's probably the best interpretation Harmalicious. If we remember, she's also going after the Russian Mob which would fit with the early series. The only difference, she is getting headaches.

At the same time, they are cramming a lot of information into a short time. The thing is, we don't know where the final episode ends. If it's a massive reset, we could be at a point where the Dollhouse still exists, all the principals know, but they aren't going to "betray" the illusion that they're working for it in case it's being picked up by bugs throughout the house. Maybe the elevator doesn't have them and maybe everyone's just doing the best they can without being totally free. In which case, the scene still works because Topher's pretending to be oblivious.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-12-13 02:24 ]
I agree with Harmalicious and guidedby - presumably the time period in Vows, where Ballard has Echo helping to bring down criminals that he couldn't get when in the FBI.

In rewatching E1, a couple of random thoughts:

1. When Victor's body is taken over by a Rossum higher-up, Adelle says that the body "belongs to another soul." Didn't pick up on the import of that the first time I watched it. Is she using the word soul more generically, or is she specifically thinking of a mind vs. body vs. soul differentiation (with the strength of Echo's soul potentially being Echo's defense?)

2. Boyd promises he will come back for Claire. Is this why Whiskey keeps saying she "has to wait"? Or is she waiting to give Caroline's imprint to each group of survivors that might show up?
At the time of Vows, Echo didn't have control over her imprints. It's more likely a continuity glitch they're either unaware of, or hope no one notices, but maybe they'll integrate it later. Doesn't bother me much, though, even if they don't.

[ edited by shambleau on 2009-12-13 02:42 ]

[ edited by shambleau on 2009-12-13 03:41 ]
Harmalicious, I think you're probably right, but Echo still does need the chair (at least, she does without Topher's new tech, and it's not clear that tech is going to be used in the Houses themselves). The only reason she didn't need the chair for that particular imprint is that it was a repeat engagement and so she already had the necessary imprint in her mind.
I disagree, I think it would have been after this for the reason sab cited. She would still need the chair if it was a new imprint. I would guess that memory took place shortly after what we saw last night.
EOTW - I always interpreted Whiskey waiting for Boyd. Although that might be what they want us to think, who's to say Boyd doesn't come back? Perhaps she was waiting on someone to imprint Caroline....who knows? I hope we'll find out.

What I'm hoping gets resolved is are we ever going to really know who was sending those messages to Paul? Was it REALLY Dominic? It just seems too easy. Speaking of Dominic, I'm hoping we see him in the Attic episode. I love that asshole.

Alpha was the one who set Paul on Caroline's trail. he reiterates it in A Love Supreme when he says he "introduced the two of them so he could get into the dollhouse"
sab, you're right....forgot that she still needs the chair for new imprints. But Topher was still acting all oblivious (but he does live in that oblivious world, doesn't he?).
What was with Adelle saying to Echo: "It's good to have you back, Love."

Believe this is just a British-ism on her part, much like Spike calling everyone Love all the time. Not less creepy in the delivery though.
Am I the only one who had ethical problems with these episodes?
medea I think you're absolutely write as far as who was writing Paul.

However I think it ALSO may have been LD speaking through the actives. I base this mainly on the fact that if Alpha had been able to directly change parameters on the Dolls, he would have had no need for Ballard at all. He could have simply activated 20 or so imprints to get everything he needed and Caroline at the same time by Man on the Street.

It would also make sense if Dominic's purpose was to keep the tech from getting out of hand. He could not investigate Rossum's purpose although that may still have been part of his goal.

Re: Ethical Problems.

You're probably not the only one. Apparently Paul had your exact same problem because he seemed slightly creeped out at the prospect.

A LOT of people didn't want to see that storyline. At the same time, if we are to believe Echo is a person, then the flights of her fancy are her own. So it's not like they both "hooked up" and lived happily ever after.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-12-13 02:51 ]
Am I the only one who had ethical problems with these episodes?

Just these episodes?

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-12-13 02:50 ]
"Am I the only one who had ethical problems with these episodes?"

Anyone here who didn't?

I have no doubt LD imprinted the actives when they spoke directly to Paul. I thought the above commenter was asking about the original mailed messages from Alpha to Ballard.

The One True b!x,

previous episodes have been from an audience perspective. with us as the "white hats". Basically, we've seen things we're morally comfortable with. Which is to say we've viewed characters as on "our" side for the most part

Topher's apparent betrayal was abhorrent to us, as is Adelle's survival instinct at maximum. I meant, though, that after the Joel Miner episode of season 1 and everything that transpired, that the idea of him being with Echo (or any doll, for that matter) would seem unbelievably screwed up. I see that he didn't take Echo up on her offer, but still. I'm also torn between wondering who Caroline is and what her role is in all this and Echo very forcefully saying "she's not HER"

It's one person's body and another controlling it? The issues of consent (on TOP of the ones that already exist withinin the whole doll/imprinting THING) are just really disturbing.

[ edited by medea culpa on 2009-12-13 02:57 ]
I guess I just didn't see these episodes as out of line with the moral and ethical problems this world has been offering up since the beginning.
Saw the rest of A Love Supreme that I'd missed because of the feed glitches. Very nice scene with Enver's psychiatrist making a spot-on feminist and personal analysis of Adelle.

Loved that scene, and was incredibly pissed because it's when my TV froze. I only lost about two minutes, and I watched them like 8 hours later on But possibly my favorite line of the night was, "She gets to be the virgin and the whore, and for both she's celebrated." So great. And true. And even amidst those truths, Adelle's instincts about Ballard and Boyd were right. So... everybody loses?
I guess, to quote a friend, "shit just got real!" whereas it's always been in the realm of entertainment...the 'verse suddenly became very real and very unheimlich.
Well, last week I was happy with the show and this week I'm icked out again. I never liked Adelle or Topher, and my dislike has solidified. Dichen and Enver were great in the minuscule parts they had.

Joel Mynor, whom I fould ghoulish and creepy, still is; but he's gone now. The medical parts are just stupid.

Alan as Alpha is fantastic.
Actually at Comic Con Joss said that Dominic might or might not have sent those messages to Paul. He was being very "Joss" with his answer, so I guess it could go either way.
Boyd made an intriguing comment to Adelle. He said he couldn't tell whether she was upset about losing control of her Actives to Harding and Rossum or whether she was just upset about losing control. It's a central point that was emphasized again by Enver's psychiatrist saying how tightly controlled she is. To me, it's how ME is justifying her about-face, and I pretty much completely buy it.

At least some feel it's either out of character for her to join the black hats or too abrupt a change for them to emotionally handle in a few minutes of episode time, the three months of humiliation for Adelle notwithstanding. But we've had several examples of Adelle willing to discard people she cares about before when her control was threatened. Both Victor and Dominic come to mind as well as Echo, whom Adelle liked , and still almost consigned to the attic.

But, discarding people she cares about for a fantasy of control or not, she DOES care about them. There's a heart in there, somewhere. I think maybe that's part of what people are upset about - losing the Adelle they thought they knew.

I think they'll get her back. The caring Adelle of Epitaph One is a result of being stripped of all illusions of power and finding her heart in that powerlessness. I'd bet that's where we're heading. After more boatloads of angst, of course.
I think the "shit just got real" sentiment that medea expresses is largely because in this episode we, as viewers, go through the same transformation that Adelle does. No more illusions of this just being a slightly "morally compromised" but generally harmless sort of endeavor that, after all, does help people. The show has always skirted around the moral grey areas that it involves, apparently due to Fox being squeamish about putting them right up in your face where they need to be. In the freedom that comes with cancellation, the veil comes off and the audience is forced to actually confront what's been there all along, no more sugar coating or rationalizations.

It's supposed to be painful.
Totally agree, shambleau, and I think that would have been even more effective if we'd had a two or three ep arc just for the Harding stuff. I think these episodes were about her complete loss of self respect, a direction in which she (and a lot of dollhouse staffers, I imagine) have been heading for quite some time.

[ edited by GoldDust12 on 2009-12-13 13:22 ]
shambleau - totally agree regarding Adelle.

I hope we get to see the aftermath of the Adelle/Dominic argument in The Attic. I love him!!!
Agreed. I seriously don't care if they want to un-attic Dominic and just have him read a phone book in a contemptuous manner. I'd still be riveted.
2. Boyd promises he will come back for Claire. Is this why Whiskey keeps saying she "has to wait"? Or is she waiting to give Caroline's imprint to each group of survivors that might show up?

eyes of the world | December 13, 02:25 CET

I definitely think it's to give Caroline's imprint as many times as is needed.

Although knowing Boyd is supposed to come back gives it a double meaning for me. Maybe, if the (bad) tech is ever destroyed, Boyd will come back for her, assuming he's still alive. And it'll solidify that double meaning.
azzers, Dominic is my all time favorite character....well, until Echo crazy evolved, now I heart her most :) And I would be fine with watching him reading the phone book, yes I would! Or eating soup. Or watching TV. I don't care...just bring on the Reed Diamond, please.

A little off topic - I had this whole idea for a fan fic of a day in the life of Dominic. It was awesome, but alas I can't write worth a shit. So whoever out there can write, write me a Dominic fan fic please.
I admire how much gumption the series has. The fact we already know what's going to happen but they still throw these random curveballs ala Ballard being taken out or Topher's self-awareness...

However, I'm still torn by them blowing a man up on screen. It really drives in how much more okay Fox is with violence than it is sexuality (and come on, those were some pretty sensual fight scenes going on with Ballard and Echo...). Like while the moron nearly deserved it for saying the punchline even when he was wearing a bomb vest...

I dunno, that just seemed unusually grotesque. While I thought the guy was kind of skeezy the last two times he was on screen I really figured it was going to be the show making a point about how people can't make choices in others' lives and who lives/dies so that they'd end up killing the slightly more liable Joel Mynor instead by the end. Plus he looked so much less like a jerk this time around so I felt weirdly bad for him.
Actually I didn't pick up on the "point" aspect of it, but you may be entirely right. It is unbelievable that I can watch a human being explode on prime-time but if it's sex related, I need to be protected. I do wonder if that point was pushed for that very reason because it was unnecessary to actually see it.
kioria said
Believe this is just a British-ism on her part, much like Spike calling everyone Love all the time.

That's what Spike was meant to sound like? I never realised. I don't know whether it's the intonation or placement in the script, but it doesn't sound like that to a native at all. "Love" should be said as "Luv", and be a thowaway and vaguely patronising end to a sentence (see also duck, dear, sweetie and darlin). Spike is suddenly so much less creepy.

Oh and the episodes were great. Love the suit.
I'm worried for Ballard. He looks so sad as a vegetable. And I'm worried for all of our Dollhouse pals. I get this horrible feeling that those memories we saw in E1 could be how someone wanted to remember them, and they were actually cotton-candy-coated to mask the brutal truth... like Boyd leaves (and never really says "he'll be back"), but Whiskey chooses to believe he will. Probably won't happen, but it's a concern I have.
Meanwhile, was the observation room outside where Victor was talking to the straight-jacketed Echo a set redress of Bennett's lab?
Adele (to Topher): "I rule the house. I won't let anyone challenge that, ever again." As Echo, Ballard, and Boyd come rolling back into the fray in epic slo-mo.

Day-um. Moments like this. Sweet.
I don't think the *show* is getting morally grayer; I think the characters may be lying to themselves a little less about the choices they're making. I fully believe Adelle wanted to buy back her position in the house, which doesn't seem out of character to me. The only thing that made me wonder if she was engaging in subterfuge was her speech to Harding that if Rossum had this kind of power, she didn't want to be on the other side. It made so much sense that it seemed like it might be a lie. Or, you know, not. But I didn't think anything in the episodes was out of sync with all that we've seen before.
Topher states in this episode that Echo has five imprints (post-Alpha): so that's Mrs. Roma Klar, mommy from "Instinct," Kiki, Terry, and the prostitute in "The Public Eye." No room for any Russian double agents to take down the Borodins, which means that memory either takes place after the current string of episodes (Ballard gets better, Echo goes back on engagements with everyone unaware?) or it's a false memory--I'm betting the latter, maybe culled together from bits and pieces of what actually happened (Paul as her handler, her having headaches and trying to hide, him using her to take down an old FBI enemy--all the specifics are just wrong).

I love the possibility suggested here (and one which occurred to me too) that the Paul & Caroline "save the day" moment in Epitaph One is actually Alpha-Paul, although I find it difficult to envision a scenario whereby Ballard actually overwhelms 40 other personalities completely. And I'd also find it hard to believe the show dropping Tahmoh as such--but then, all bets are off this season, all things considered.

These episodes were pretty great. I felt a little uncomfortable with the Dubai branch material as presented; there was a small hint of "It's scary BECAUSE IT'S DUBAI" in the presentation (especially Harding's suggestion that Sierra would be perfect for there), which is...not very good, race-wise. Of course, it is genuinely scary to send Sierra to anoter branch, period, because it's another DOLLHOUSE and one in which she doesn't even have the small comforts that she is granted in L.A.

Of course, this (and the didactic presentation of the racist sheriff and deputy) was made up for by the perfectly uncomfortable moment in which Kilo seemed to be imprinted with an angry black woman who was promptly silenced to the thunderous applause of a room full of white men and women--hilarious and sad and insightful.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2009-12-13 10:08 ]
I think the whole Harding takeover is fascinating, and I wish we could have seen more. All of those changes- everything from Harding being an outright pimp, to simply looking out over the little pond where the actives normally practice tai chi and seeing them do jumping jacks. All of the awful implications we saw have such resonance; we know that Harding can't remain in control and we understand that Rossum wouldn't blink at anything, unimaginable horror aside. But it still doesn't quite justify much of anything Adelle has done, or even the part Topher played.
One thing worth noting - this episode filmed in September I believe, and looking back through the Dollverse history I didn't say it was in trouble until October 4th.
Did anyone think that the "you didn't sleep with her - that's love" bit rested heavily on the once-again-the-Dollhouse-makes-paternalistic-decisions trope?

Part of me loved that part, and the other part was like, oh great, once again we have a woman being told she doesn't know what she wants, or needs to be protected from what she wants, and that 'protection' amplifies the male character's moral standing.

I guess I'll reconcile it by saying one of my personalities is feminist, and the other one is fully bathed in our culture's gender norms...

I'd go with your opinion there. It's a very paternalistic viewpoint, but also an utterly flawed demonstration of love as Paul gets his kicks by being the uber-noble good guy.

It also seemed to treat Echo as "damaged goods" as she'd had so many experiences and been so many people, totally ignoring her ability to deal with this and make a decision as herself.
Well, qui_ca, I think that the whole 'you didn't sleep with her -- that's love' was predicated on Echo wanting to sleep with Paul, and his refusing because he knew he loved her enough so it couldn't be the just once that she was talking about. It couldn't be casual, not for him. I don't think he was making decisions for her own good necessarily (at least that isn't how I took it). Poor Echo is so far beyond having anything being 'for her own good' there is hardly any 'good' left in the card for any of them!

I love this show!

edited to add: Oh and I don't think of Echo as damaged goods at all, she has risen above her circumstances, and she seems to be able to use the best of it and not be brought down by the worst of it. But it doesn't mean she has a bright happy future in front of her. I think Paul and everyone is beginning to suspect there are no bright happy futures.

[ edited by embers on 2009-12-13 16:42 ]
gossi, do you bring that up just as a for-the-record kind of reminder, or because some folks are wondering and/or concerned about whether things are feeling compressed (rushed, in some minds) because of the cancelation ?

Regardless of when the official cancelation started to have an effect on Season 2 (if any), Joss has mentioned in at least a couple interviews that he felt this would probably be it for the show, so a kind of closure and not "saving anything for the ride back" was planned for this season regardless. Be interested to hear from the writers and actors, once Season 2's finished, what changes to plot/arc there might've been in the face of a certain end though.

Is Rossum basically in an arms race, of sorts, against other as-yet-unnamed corporations, with this secret war for absolute control of humanity's minds (they wish--"Epitaph 1" seems to show that they failed) ? I didn't think much of it in "The Public Eye" and "The Left Hand" because I figured it was part of the lie Senator Perrin told at the end, about Rossum's enemies setting him up. I suppose Rossum might be racing to get there first even if they don't know that another company is hot on the trail of the tech that Topher just developed/Dollhouse technology in general, simply because they predict it will inevitably be developed and expoited, so they need to get there first ? (and 'cause it's highly profitable) For purposes of staying in control/staying on top (business concern), but also because the men at the top are thinking ahead to bettering their chances of self-preservation (though they're probably arrogant enough to believe they're ensuring their self-preservation) if things get bad ?

Some want a kind of immortality, as we saw with Mr. Ambrose. Speaking of Mr. Ambrose, it was cool they included him again in the scene in Adelle's office with Harding and the Dubai Dollhouse guy. Wish I could better remember his Season 1 appearance--in "Echoes", right?--aside from Enver's portrayal of him in Victor's body in "Epitaph 1".

I'm still a little confused about Rossum too. Do they only manage the U.S. Dollhouses and are simply affiliated/in partnerships with the other Dollhouses ? Or do they control all 22 of 'em ?

shambleau said:
"At least some feel it's either out of character for [Adelle] to join the black hats or too abrupt a change for them to emotionally handle in a few minutes of episode time, the three months of humiliation for Adelle notwithstanding. But we've had several examples of Adelle willing to discard people she cares about before when her control was threatened...discarding people she cares about for a fantasy of control or not, she DOES care about them. There's a heart in there, somewhere. I think maybe that's part of what people are upset about - losing the Adelle they thought they knew."

You hit at the heart of some of the reactions we're seeing to Adelle's turn. And that's that it wasn't a turn. It was completely in-character. Lotta fans projecting what they wanted her to be, or holding onto her redeeming qualities. To be fair, the show has lulled us into a safe place with her this season, since trapping Paul in "Omega", where we almost feel able to trust her (or at least trust that she cares enough about her co-workers and her Actives to protect them from other people exploiting them--only she gets to do that). It's a long, long road to the Adelle we saw comforting Topher in "Epitaph", would be my guess. She won't stop caring about control until it's rendered irrelevant worldwide. And maybe not even then. Just because she's kind to Topher in the future doesn't mean she can't fall back into old ways if opportunies arise. She might still have her eyes on the prize.

I love the character, she's fascinating and extremely well-acted. I hope she remains adversarial toward most of the rest of the main characters until the last episode or two. It's boring if they're all white or grey. I also hope this isn't like Angel's Circle of the Black Thorn deception in Season 5, that Adelle doesn't have a card up her sleeve. Dollhouse seems a little less prone to TV drama convenience. I want her to have fucked up and been the definitive cause of "Epitaph 1" happening earlier than it would've without the LA Dollhouse's help (okay, Topher's to blame too, but at least he got all worried about it when he realized what it might be used for--I don't understand why though, after confiding in Adelle that he had figured out Rossum's plans, he didn't burn his plans/delete all trace of them).

Topher, shitty hiding spot, man.

Wouldn't Paul have been backed up on a wedge the same way every other employee might be (seems like it'd be prudent) ? Like with Dominic for instance, did they only take a recording of him in "Spy in the House of Love" after he was found out, or is it standard for all new Dollhouse recruits (whether Active, Handler, or Security) to have the peace of mind of getting themselves backed up right after they're hired ? Company perk ?

[ edited by Kris on 2009-12-13 17:05 ]
orangewaxlion wrote:

However, I'm still torn by them blowing a man up on screen. It really drives in how much more okay Fox is with violence than it is sexuality...

Yeah, and Fox blew a man up on screen the very night before this one, on Bones. So it's cool. Wonder how many 7-year-olds 'got' to see that...
Re: curlymynci and qui_co - regarding that scene specifically, IF Joss & Co. had written the scene so that Ballard had slept with Echo, can you imagine how much of this board would have been dedicated to bashing Ballard's behavior or Joss for portraying it positively?

I'm not sure why a woman can choose not to sleep with a man for any reason, but a man isn't allowed to refuse sex from a willing female participant the same way without it becoming paternalism. I don't believe denying someone the opportunity to have sex with you because you're uncomfortable with the situation is the same thing as attempting to control who the other person is having sex with for their own good. It's only an exercise of your own autonomy.

I flash back to Topher telling Wiskey, "that is the minority vote." TV often portrays a man's groin area the alpha and omega of his actions. The fact that Joss has shown images counter to the norm twice, I almost wonder if this isn't a subtle intentional slam at pop culture where a man is expected to either succumb or have a long, overwrought internal debate about the matter before ultimately saying no.

Now if he'd only show a little nuance with my peeps from Texas...
I'd be more concerned about 7 year olds watching Paul than seeing a man being blown up. They probably aren't going to blow a man up in their lives, but they are going to relate to women in their lives. Paul is a particular kind of Nice Guy. I'm not a fan of Nice Guys.

Kris, I mention it because I think there's an assumption that TV is shot in real time, and that because the show was cancelled now the story is taking off. Not the case. As far as I'm aware the only things which have changed since the cancellation is some of the stuff in 2x13.
I didn't see paternalism at all in Ballard's refusal to sleep with Echo. Along with what azzers said about a human being simply exercising their own autonomy, Ballard, from Episode 1 of the series, has been all about Prince Charming saving Cinderella (Caroline) from the Evil Queen in Snow White (the DH). Mix in all the issues of dealing with someone not Caroline, who has a bunch of different people living inside her, I think he's grappling with, 1) the probable loss of his fantasy of saving Caroline (who says men can't harbor the same fantasies a woman does about Mr. Right); 2) his growing attraction to Echo; and 3) carrying out the mission of training Echo before they return to the Dollhouse and deal with Rossum.

That's a lot. And I give the character every benefit of the doubt over labeling his mindset simply paternalistic. Also more interesting in terms of dramatic narrative. Men may deal with issues differently than women, but they can be as multi-faceted and conflicted.
I think Adelle is pulling a season-5 Angel. He figured out that he had to commit some sins to ingratiate himself into the Circle of Black Thorn, which in turn he needed to do to kill them.

Yep, this is how I see it at the moment. Adelle's playing a long con. As she said, Rossum is watching them very closely i.e. I think she's figured out that they're under surveillance 24/7 and so is toeing the party line while plotting against them. And I don't think it's projecting either - she was clearly disgusted by Hearn, she was clearly aghast at Mr Ambrose's plan in "Epitaph One" (not after the apocalypse but straight away, as soon as she hears it) - we've seen plenty to indicate that she's not some immoral monster who'd condemn the entire world just so long as she got hers.

As I say though, that may change depending on what we see (Adelle's been written and played as morally ambiguous up to now, every morally dubious choice she's made could be seen as for the greater good of her actives but maybe that's changed and now she's totally going along with Rossum, thrown her lot in with the black-hats). It doesn't feel like her to me (not because what she did is arguably selfish and morally grey - that's very Adelle - more because it's shortsighted, kowtowing and frankly kind of stupid) but I guess we'll find out soon enough.

I don't know whether it's the intonation or placement in the script, but it doesn't sound like that to a native at all.

No it really doesn't. James Marsters wouldn't necessarily know how it should sound but Olivia Williams clearly would and her delivery of 'love' when Echo goes back is far from throwaway, she put a bit of an edge on it IMO, deliberately turning a simple term of familiarity and affection into something more loaded.


- "That's what I am, a people person" - just thrown away like all good lines should be.
- Dichen Lachman's flapper/hard-boiled broad
- "Dr Freudenstein" (i.e. the quip)
- Dr Freudenstein (i.e. the character, what did Adelle call him, Goalsen ? Not only can Enver channel Topher/Kiki/Terry, he can also channel Alan Alda/Woody Allen/Oliver Sacks ;).
- As others have mentioned, "I'm obsolete. This must be what old people feel like. And Blockbuster" ;)
- the motorcyclist from "Ghost" getting a call-back
- that the ordinarily cheap "3 Months Later" device was in such capable hands
- return of active Mo ! ;)
- another great example of one of the "standard" lines/catch-phrases being delivered in a brand new way ("I try to be my best")

Didn't love so much:

- the imprint transitions (that kind of "Oooh, we're in Echo's head, weeiiirrrrrdddd" montage felt amateurish and overused to me - once or twice maybe, after that just stick to the brief blurry head effect used later. She's swapping between imprints, we get it)

And I didn't find any of it confusing but then it has to help that I saw and heard all of it ;).

ETA: Some more loves. What can I say ? Good episodes ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2009-12-13 22:46 ]
Agreed, Azzers and Tonya J, absolutely men have autonomy and internal conflict and multifaceted natures! But Ballard doesn't refuse to sleep with Echo because he doesn't want to sleep with her - he refuses for her own good. His conflict stems from a desire to protect her, or to do what is right for her, which he gets to decide. He doesn't seem to be thinking about what is right for him, which is where I would expect to see the focus if it were really about his autonomy. Instead of saying 'I know you feel this way, but I don't (or I'm not ready)" he rejects the validity of her reasoning and questions her ability to know herself. That's where I see the paternalism. (Of course it's not exactly unexpected coming from this character.)

Or maybe that was just my first take on the scene, and a rewatch would make it appear differently? Perhaps that'd be a good project for taking a break from holiday preparations and parties... :)
Sure, there's lots of ways to read the multiple scenes between them while they were living together. But I think people say all sorts of things, rationalize, in order to spare themselves more hurt. As someone sagely said above someplace, he got stung badly with Madeline, a woman he cared for but was duped by.
I don't see the problem with Ballard making the decision to not sleep with Echo. If I meet a girl at a party and she's drunk and makes it clear she wants me I think it is perfectly right for me to decide that she is not in a right state to make that decision. Indeed the law here demands that I make that decision and can, and has, prosecuted men for rape for having sex with drunken consent.
It is very close to the situation Echo is in. She has multiple personas in her head, many of them programmed to want sex. How can anyone be certain that the one wanting to sleep with Paul is actually an independent autonomous Echo?

Ballard agrees to sex: "Typical man! Taking advantage of Echo and her programming/confused state!"
Ballard refuses sex: "Typical man! Not letting Echo decide for herself!"
Re: Ballard, it seems to me that he wants Caroline, not Echo. He's conflicted because part of what he wants is Caroline's body (which Echo is offering him) and part is Caroline's "soul" (which Echo can't give him). And then he's probably conflicted about that because he doesn't even know Caroline and because he saw himself as her protector (as finding her for entirely pure, abstract motives like "justice" and "the right thing" rather than it being entwined with his desires and urges). And added in to that, he's still not sure who or what Echo is (of all of those that know her, Ballard seems slowest to accept that she's a person, actual and whole). To me his character more than any other is about the struggle between our urges and what we know we should want/do.

You can't blame him too much though, Echo's conflicted herself (when she says "There is a me" it's not an unequivocal statement, Eliza plays it as unsure IMO and in addition she takes his hand and puts it on her face, her physical body i.e. Caroline's body). I reckon part of why she's so keen to "consummate" the relationship is, it'd be a human to human connection i.e. it'd be acknowledging/affirming to her that she is human, not "a freak or a child". She's starting to believe she's as worthy as Caroline but she's not quite there yet.
Wouldn't it be interesting when/if Paul finally does meet Caroline that she turns out to be a total bitch (or there is absolutely zero chemistry). Not saying that is going to happen, but he has been trying to save Caroline for so long...would just be an interesting twist. But on the flip side, perhaps Echo's feelings will go away when/if Paul is revived with some of Alpha's personalities. Hmmmmm...
I agree with all of you. Ballard would get criticism whatever. It's making a decision for Echo. Nice Guys are inherently creepy and dubious. Topher, shitty hiding spot.

You are all unique and totally valid snowflakes.

Although if you really don't want to have sex then half naked advanced crotch fighting is possibly unhelpful...
LOL. Completely agreed.
Ha Ha....word. But they WERE quite pretty during the said crotch fighting.
Hahaha curlymynci, nice. I suppose he is only human.
I dunno, that looked more like intermediate crotch fighting to me.

Wouldn't it be interesting when/if Paul finally does meet Caroline that she turns out to be a total bitch (or there is absolutely zero chemistry). Not saying that is going to happen, but he has been trying to save Caroline for so long...would just be an interesting twist.

I'm not sure it'd be a twist so much as just where it's actually heading, i've thought for a while now that we're possibly not meant to like Caroline as much as Echo and even if we are, it's natural to prefer the goodie character you see more of over the goodie character you've seen only in snippets. It makes the question of Caroline vs Echo's right to exist starker if Caroline is actually not a very nice person because of course, in theory anyway, that shouldn't matter (we don't condemn/condone murder based on how nice or nasty the victim was).

But yeah, it'll be interesting to see Paul (and Echo) deal with it if that's how they go.
Twist is probably the wrong word...I mean it is Joss who INVENTED the plot twist (ha ha). The writers tend to through us lots of stuff that isn't necessarily predicted. And ya, we haven't seen a whole lot of Caroline, that is why I think a lot (may even most people) favor Echo since we have pretty much seen her grow up before our eyes. I for one have mentioned one time that I feel a very maternal love towards her. But we don't really know Caroline yet, at least compared to Echo. And yep, I agree that the murder of either one of them would not be moral even though Echo was born through something that is for sure not moral.....woah.....deep thoughts., the masculine Virgin/Whore complex is Nice Guy/Complete Jerk?
qui_ca - you might be onto something there.

(Of course the dysfunctionality of our society with regard to gender is there in a nutshell too - the female version is all about sex while the male parallel includes sex but covers everything else too...)
So, not to diminish all the great stuff that was in the episode, but was I the only one reduced to screaming at the tv when it didn't occur to anyone to simply shoot Alpha? Boyd had a gun, but he sent Echo after Alpha without one. Where's the sense in that? It really took me out of the whole thing for the rest of the ep.
Got it in one qui_ca.

Saje - it would be interesting, but I do wonder if we'll get to see it since they'd have to resolve that pesky brain-dead part.

mnspnr - now that you've said it, I feel the need to scream too. It didn't take me out of the episode, but in retrospect it's rather silly. I also don't get how the House doesn't realize that Paul is going to be a target as well. Instead they have him trying to collect Joel Myner. Could you make it ANY easier for Alpha?

Still, I choose not to nitpick Whedon because he's freely admitted he'll throw out reality to tell a good story. Like the suddenly very killable uber-vampires in Chosen. I'll bet when you get right down to it, these can be incredibly difficult stories to break.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-12-14 01:41 ]
Do we know why Joss didn't write any of the upcoming episodes? J-Mo seem to have taken over the job of doing the "big" episodes. At least according to imdb none of the remaining episodes are his. (Although obviously I'm sure he played a major hand in crafting them.)
This is a riot. Worth the few minutes of your time! Don't know the person who did it, but they did a great job. Wonder what episodes Whiskey will reappear in?

Edit: Can't figure out how to link. Following the "how-to's" but apparently doing something wrong.

[ edited by eyes of the world on 2009-12-14 02:04 ]

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-12-14 03:26 ]
Good video. Hope we'll see Whiskey and Topher resolve their relationshop, even if we know how it's going to end up in ten years time.
Read through all these comments and now I find I don't have much more to add (apparently, after having finished this comment and returning to this sentence, that was a lie ;)). These were two great episodes, and taken from 'Belonging' onwards, this is certainly the strongest run the show has had. Love :).

I like how Dollhouse is playing with its characters now. The Adelle switch is something a show with confidence in its characters does. The fact it worked, means we've all grown more emotionally attached to the characters in this show that I'd have thought possible during the first season.

As for the reason's for Adelle's apparent switch to the darkside: I'm still on the fence. On the one hand, it'd almost be naive to think that Adelle - one of the most dangerous characters on the show - isn't capable of brutal self-preservation. We've seen her ready to sacrifice people she cared about before (there was a reason that Topher and Boyd tried to save Sierra in 'Belonging' without her express knowledge), but we've also seen her genuinely care, beyond what was needed for her to feel in control.

But then I guess that's people for you. Nobody is ever completely, truly evil (or good) and if Adelle has in fact turned black hat for now, there's no reason she can't regret that decision when it ends up leading to the apocalypse (because, as far as facing the consequences of ones actions go, that one's kinda major ;)).

As for Ballard and Echo/Caroline, I agree with what Saje is saying in his posts up there.

All in all, I really enjoyed this. I disagree that it was rushed and/or confusing. Dollhouse has moved quite quickly from day one (or, actually, only from 1x06 onwards) and the 'speed' of story on display here isn't much different from unaired pilot 'Echo' or the previous more arc-heavy episodes. So I don't think there has been much actual rushing (although the 'three months later' device may have been an easy way to rush forward a bit given the current constraints). Anyway: in the end, I guess there's no way to know without someone on the writing staff telling us either way :).

As for Echo suddenly being fully aware - that did go by a bit fast, when compared to the painstakingly slow progress on that front we've had so far, but that's also on par with her previous 'sudden' pushes forward. To me, this is one of the least successful aspects of the show so far. They've been trying to slowly develop 'Echo' into a three dimensional, rounded out person from day one (because it's thematic gold, pointing at all kinds of interesting questions of identity etcetera and because it'll lead to some great future angst when 'Echo' has to sacrifice herself to 'save' Caroline). But unfortunately, the development hasn't been smooth. It's been frustratingly slow most of the time - which would have been fair, if it had led naturally to actual progress. But the 'jumps' forward in development - at least the ones that matter - have mostly been snap-of-the-fingers quick and/or external (Alpha downloading stuff into Echo; Echo seeing herself as Caroline from someone else's perspective, etcetera). This is also fine with me, as it's still believable from an in-universe viewpoint, but from an external viewpoint, it does make the slooow pace at which 'Echo' manifested herself a bit grating in hindsight (there's no clear reason that the 'development' here couldn't have happened sooner). Plus: I'm finding I really like composited/self-aware!Echo quite a bit, and this hugely improves the scenes where Echo is the main character, for me. Like someone mentioned earlier, these were the first episodes where I wasn't longing for Topher, Adelle, Boyd, Victor or Sierra to show up and carry the episode. This Echo makes for a perfectly suitable, likeable, relatable and interesting main character. So I'd liked to have had some more time with her as the lead, and not have had to wait so freakishly long for her to pop-up, thankyouverymuch ;).

Anyway: that's a minor issue now that this Echo has arrived on scene. I'm now officially looking forward a lot to the rest of this season. I find I'm growing to love this show more and more every week this season. Which, of course, makes it suck just that much more that it's already been canceled. But I'm determined to enjoy every last bit we are getting. And if Dollhouse stays this strong, that won't be an issue at all :).
Have a convict that up for the death toll? Instead of frying him, just wipe his mind and have you loved one live in his body instead.

Add an Initiativy twist, and you've just described the plot for an early Joss screenplay. :-)

"Advanced crotch fighting" made me laugh.

Anyhow, I thought both episodes were excellent, and not at all confusing. I actually liked the dizzying pace of the action (reminded me a bit of the fast-forward in BSG: disorienting, but highly effective storytelling).

And I agree with Shey's take on Adelle and Topher. Adelle has never been more moral than he is; she's just better at self-deception. (I'd actually argue she's the most conflicted, deluded person on the show.)
gossi wrote:

I'd be more concerned about 7 year olds watching Paul than seeing a man being blown up. They probably aren't going to blow a man up in their lives, but they are going to relate to women in their lives. Paul is a particular kind of Nice Guy. I'm not a fan of Nice Guys.

Okay. I'll respectfully disagree. Just because a 7-year-old 'probably' isn't going to commit genocide doesn't mean I'm going to show them Schindler's List.

But hyperbole aside, I just have a real problem with our country's love, lust, adoration, etc. of violence and complete and utter fear of sex. It's primitive, and it's pathetic.

On-topic: I love Dollhouse. :)
Adelle has never been more moral than he is; she's just better at self-deception. (I'd actually argue she's the most conflicted, deluded person on the show.)

I agree that all of this is within the realm of who Adelle has always been. But I think at that point, Topher really was amoral. It's not like he saw anything terrible in what he was doing and ignored it. He just couldn't it see at all. Adelle has always had a sense of right and wrong, but she's managed to snake around in both. That seemed like a big part of why she was so pissed at Topher's sudden righteousness in Belonging.

I also don't get how the House doesn't realize that Paul is going to be a target as well. Instead they have him trying to collect Joel Myner. Could you make it ANY easier for Alpha?

A part of me kind of thinks Adelle knew Alpha was targeting Ballard, or suspected it, anyway.

She obviously knew Alpha was going for Echo's romantic engagements, and then he showed her the photos of Ballard and Echo living together for those three months, which she had already been suspicious of and lied to about. She had to see that Ballard was another romantic connection for Echo. And later when Alpha does have Ballard in the chair he says,

Are you gay?
Then it's love. DeWitt thought so too.

And when he takes Adelle down into the house, they see Boyd and Ballard coming out of the security office and Alpha tells her to "Go to [her] man", which I just took to mean run away (He had just said "Get your purse", which was a throwaway as well), but I guess he could have meant Boyd, which would leave Ballard free to head for the imprint room. That part kind of bugs me because Alpha's whole plan is hinged on Ballard coming into the imprint room, which seems hard to maneuver, harder than just saying "send Ballard to the imprint room or I'll blow everybody up" or whatever. I know when you're watching a bad guy execute his evil plan, the last thing to do is think about the semantics because it doesn't really matter on TV and the entertainment factor will always take precedence, but I do wonder about this. I guess "Send Ballard to the imprint room or I'll kill Victor" could have been Plan B if Boyd had walked in.

So anyway, the main kink in the idea that Adelle could have known seems to be that after Alpha shows Adelle the photos, she offers to have Mynor "sent up" to the office so he can avoid security intervening. I suppose she could have been implying that Ballard could do the sending, but if the writers were trying to be ambiguous about it they could have just said "I could have him sent up" and not mentioned a name.

I do wonder why exactly Alpha would show DeWitt those photos. Just for funsies, I suppose, but it would be kind of interesting if she had known what was in store for Ballard.

[ edited by GoldDust12 on 2009-12-14 05:22 ]
. . . I think at that point, Topher really was amoral. It's not like he saw anything terrible in what he was doing and ignored it. He just couldn't it see at all. Adelle has always had a sense of right and wrong . . .

Except Adelle used a Doll for sex. Topher chose not to cross that line. (And it was a choice: when he's talking to Saunders/Whiskey, he tells her that he could have created the perfect lover for himself at any time.) But, as far as we know, he never did. Ergo, he's always had some sense of right and wrong.
(I'm not saying Topher's better than Adelle . . . they're both very morally compromised. But I don't think he's worse, either--certainly not to the extent she'd like to believe.)
I don't think that's what he wanted (needed? Ugh, that line's getting a little stale). He didn't create a sex bunny for himself, but he had a yearly nerd date with an active, which I would consider the Topher version of Adelle's tryst with Victor/Roger. Sort of a childlike affair. Plus, he had no problem sending the dolls off on romantic engagements with clients. I'm not saying he was a total sociopath, but nothing about his job really tripped a moral trigger for him until Sierra/Nolan.

Edit: Just read your addition- I'm not saying one is better than the other either, they're just very different. And I don't think Adelle thought of Topher as worse than her at all, in fact she was probably pretty jealous that he could work there and not feel like a terrible person. He was the only one without moral tethers, and the only one who didn't qualify for the job by proving that he's corruptable. Topher was the innocent, Adelle and the rest of the staff were tainted.

[ edited by GoldDust12 on 2009-12-14 06:07 ]
I don't judge Topher using Sierra once a year as nerd date. That was geeks hanging out.
Tophers an adult GoldDust, you can't say that's "the Topher version" of Roger. Maybe he's less interested in sex, maybe it was a tiny bit romantic to him, but it's uncomparable.
I wasn't trying to compare the actual relationships- and of course hanging out with a fellow nerd is nothing to judge, I'm saying that his interests lie elsewhere. Adelle wanted one thing and went to a doll to get it. The same goes for Topher, they just wanted different things. That's what I meant by calling it Topher's version of Roger. Not the greatest metaphor, as I'm realizing how convoluted it is as I type...

People often cite the "You have no morals" scene as if Adelle was saying up until that point Topher had been revelling in the wrongness of his job or something. I'm saying not having an appreciation for the wrongness is a different beast. The moral education of Dr. Brink is one of the most interesting things to come of this series, and I think the start of it is that when he was hired, he just didn't see the dolls as anything but test subjects.

[ edited by GoldDust12 on 2009-12-14 08:07 ]
Yep, I agree. Saying he's always been "sort of good" denies one of the better character arcs we've seen on the show.

Except Adelle used a Doll for sex. Topher chose not to cross that line... But, as far as we know, he never did. Ergo, he's always had some sense of right and wrong.

Isn't this the flip side of the violence OK/sex bad issue people have with US TV ? Why is he not amoral because he doesn't have sex with an active when he's totally fine with the whole idea of murder and of sending them out to be (if you see it that way) raped and of "killing" Dominick and so on ? Basically, if he's not amoral then he must be immoral (Adelle's only moral defence is the "greater good" argument, Topher doesn't even have that IMO since he's depicted for most of season 1 as not even thinking about that sort of thing).

I don't see the problem really, Topher started off an amoral prick and has developed into someone else (a better man). This isn't exactly new for a Joss Whedon show. Are we now going to claim (for instance) that Buffy season 3 Wesley wasn't an ineffectual buffoon but was instead a cynical badass all along only we just didn't see it until Angel seasons 4 & 5 ? Likewise, Adelle was morally grey all along until she (possibly) throws her lot in with Rossum. She changed too (if she has that is - I doubt it but we'll see).

Do people change like that in real life ? Not particularly IMO. But they do it a lot in Joss Whedon's TV shows.

ETA: I do wonder why exactly Alpha would show DeWitt those photos. Just for funsies, I suppose, but it would be kind of interesting if she had known what was in store for Ballard.

Oh I think she knew. If not specifics then at least that it would be bad for him. She's not stupid but she is (and always has been up to now) a physical coward - she'd have sold her Granny to get Alpha to let her live.

[ edited by Saje on 2009-12-14 08:11 ]
My sad epiphany for the day: Dollhouse, in spite of a slow start, may be my favorite of Joss's shows. But I've always liked the darkest stuff best.

I'm not dealing with Ballard really being dead. I adore the character, and have from the beginning - all flawed and conflicted and always trying to do the right thing, while being thrown into one untenable situation after another.

But Topher is my favorite character, make of that what you will. I'm not sure what I make of it myself, although I'm certain that it has something to do with the adorableness of Fran Kranz, along with his seemingly underrated acting skills - no one ever mentions how really incredible he is, every time he gets to slip out of standard Topher mode, for a little while. And as expressive faces go (one of an actor's best assets), I'm leaning toward putting him in James Marsters territory.

Adelle is evil, IMO, although deliciously so. Her caring and maternal feelings get turned off like a faucet, the minute her power and control are challenged. Someone up-thread mentioned that it took a full-on apocalypse to bring out some genuine humanity in her, and I agree.
Olivia Williams is a devastatingly awesome actor.

Echo's ongoing development as an autonomous entity is heartbreaking and mind blowing. A lot has been said about the emerging Echo being more likable than Caroline. I think that's because of the vulnerability built into emerging Echo, as opposed to the arrogance of young, idealistic, "I'm gonna change the world before dinner" Caroline.
But they share a core trait, and that is a genuine desire to do good and right wrongs (I'm reserving judgment on Bennett's "memory", shown to Echo).

Just some random observations. I can't remember the "stages of grief" thing, but my initial anger has morphed into a deep sadness. I truly love this show.
Oh, Shey - Fran is an amazing actor. Reading from script to screen is a joy with him - he takes every single line, pretty much, and makes it better. People might think he's overacting with the wacky hand movements, but he isn't - he's built his own little child-like character there, and totally brings it out in every scene.

All the cast members are amazing - Olivia is somebody who can absolutely terrify you whilst making you empathise, Dichen is somebody who has a gentle soul which is just waiting to punch you in the face (or shoot you through a wall) - she's got a screen presence which stands out (in the best possible way), Enver's the most incredible talent I've ever seen, Harry has a dark charm which makes anything he says the most interesting thing you've heard all day, Eliza's completely able to play the vulnerable roles and in no way gets enough credit, Tahmoh's great (but doesn't quite get the material here), and then there's Miracle, who has big black and white movie star eyes if ever I saw them.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-12-14 13:52 ]

[ edited by gossi on 2009-12-14 14:33 ]
Thanks for fixing the link Sunfire! Agree with comments above re Fran Kranz's expressiveness too - it's sort of the look in his eyes, which seems so genuine. He definitely makes you believe Topher loved (but maybe not romatically) whoever Whiskey used to be, and you see the hurt and betrayal with Adelle. On the other hand, I didn't really see in Ballard's face that he really loved Mellie or that he loves Echo. (Maybe that's because Ballard is supposed to be more in control of himself.) Enver and Olivia are amazing too. All in all, Joss found some incredible talent for this show.
S'kinda what he does, guy has an eye for acting ability like few others.

And he can also pick writers that then give that talent an opportunity to shine.
S'kinda what he does, guy has an eye for acting ability like few others.

I wonder about that. I think 20th Century Fox's casting department plays a far bigger role than Joss in casting for characters (or so I've heard any way).
All I know is from the comments Joss has made (eg. on how he chose Boreanaz and Amber Benson because Marti liked them) but it sounds like he has control

By the way, does anyone know if Joss is writing or directing any more Dollhouse episodes?
As far as I know, no. They wrap the series finale on Wednesday.
Topher, more and more, looks to me like the analogy of a vampire who got his soul in Buffy; specifically, Spike, because you can tell it's very uncomfortable for him, these feelings of guilt and probably soon, torment. He's the poster boy for everything that's wrong about making technology your God. Going from a man who was chosen for a job because he had no morals at all, to someone who realizes that his love of making dangerous toys is a horrible threat to everyone, and that betrayal is the sourest drink of all, it's really quite something to watch happen.
They wrap the series finale on Wednesday.

That's very disappointing. I thought last season was a bit light on for Joss episodes but this season we just get the one. I suppose I can't complain with episodes as great as some of the most recent ones
He's the poster boy for everything that's wrong about making technology your God. Going from a man who was chosen for a job because he had no morals at all, to someone who realizes that his love of making dangerous toys is a horrible threat to everyone...

MissKittysMom made a jokey reference a while back to the Trinity tests but it seems spot on to me Tonya J, a pretty close analogue for Topher (and specifically his "armageddon" device). Oppenheimer famously (later) quoted the Bhaghavad Gita with "Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds" and [project leader] Kenneth Bainbridge said "Now we are all sons of bitches". Beforehand though, they'd been joking around, betting whether the atmosphere would ignite, tense about the outcome of the test but not really aware of what they were unleashing on the world. Then they saw it first hand.

The re-ensouled vampire fits quite well too though. Except Topher had a choice all along, more than re-ensouled Spike/Angel can claim.

As far as I know, no. They wrap the series finale on Wednesday.

That surprises me gossi, doesn't he usually write and direct the series finales ? Any gen you can share ? Go on, go on... ;).

I wonder about that. I think 20th Century Fox's casting department plays a far bigger role than Joss in casting for characters (or so I've heard any way).

I assumed they narrowed the list and then the actors came back in for Joss to see ? Isn't that normally how it works with producers/showrunners (although technically, Joss never has been the showrunner on 'Dollhouse' has he - or did he take over when Craft & Fain left) ? Given how "enthusiastic" he is about control I can't really picture the cast just being foist upon him without any say so.

But fair comment, the casting people (person ?) he's worked with over the years must also be pretty amazing at their job.
Haven't got a clue, Saje - but, ya know, joss didn't write or direct Epitaph One, and that was kinda-possibly seen as the end at the time. He's been enormously blessed on Dollhouse, in my mind, with staff writers who have a brilliant grasp on - well - writing, the story and how to make the show work. Jed, Maurissa, Andrew and Tracy consistently turn out great scripts, and I think the overall vision of how to fix things from last season (which came from joss) worked very well. There's very much an attitude of praising everything good in the show on jw, and blaming everything bad on the other writers. I think that does a disservice to the writers.
Oh come on, we blame Fox a lot too ;).

Yep *holds hands up*, i'm very guilty of that (well, not blaming the other writers so much, don't think i've done that, more crediting Joss with everything good ever in the world. Which, clearly he didn't invent beer or computers so totally unfair. I suspect he may be behind curry though).

Plenty of talent across the board on all Whedon shows and TV's a very collaborative medium. It's a big wibbly wobbly pile.
Ok, I haven't read the whole thread yet (I'm working on it), but I thought I'd offer my thoughts while this discussion is still alive.

I agree with many others that it was a bit confusing when they suddenly sped up the story arc, especially the big gap between events, but also the sudden love Echo has for Ballard, which really seems to come out of left field for me. I think season 1 Ballard was botched, I never understood his motivations behind hunting down the Dollhouse, or his obsession with Echo particularly (the original pilot explained this much much better, but since things didn't end up happening that way, it doesn't count). I do think present Ballard works a lot better, however, so I can overlook this, although Joss seems to have glossed past 'character development' and simply given us the end result.

Rushing through development and getting to the end result seems to be the case for everything in the show right now. Development is being summarized while they hurry to wrap everything up. And frankly, I'm much happier that the series is wrapping things up and not leaving us hanging, it's just ashame there was so much wasted time in the first season while the show was finding its way.

As for the episodes, the 7th one was good, but a lot of it had me wondering whether I had accidentally selected the wrong episode to watch first on Hulu, because it really did skip through a lot of interesting developments I would have preferred to have actually seen. I did love the bits that set in motion a lot of what we would see in Epitaph One, specifically the development of the tech to end the world, Topher's guilt, and Adelle's complicity in the events.

The 8th episode was wonderful. I loved seeing Alpha again, Alan Tudyk is mind-bogglingly brilliant in the villain role. It was also nice to see some of Echo's engagements recur, especially seeing Joel Mynor again, and getting some closure on his character at the end. I also agree with others that Eliza's acting has been stellar lately, although I generally feel that a lot of the criticism she gets is a bit unfair.

I can't wait to see where things go. Dollhouse has proven that despite the fact we know how the show (and the world) will end, it still has plenty of twists in store for us.
Saje - I do know that the part of Paul, Joss picked. It was down to Tahmoh and Michael Muhney, and Joss picked Tahmoh.

[ edited by Harmalicious on 2009-12-14 19:03 ]
Even if Joss didn't fully write it, he probably added quite a lot in. Like he wrote that powerful speech in the Buffy episode "Passions" but the episode was written by someone else. He just tends to give credit to others.
What was with Adelle saying to Echo: "It's good to have you back, Love."

Am I the only one that flashed back to Haunted? Perhaps Adelle knows that Echo has access to all her prior imprints, and she is speaking directly to the imprint of her dead friend from that episode. Which could be seen as a veiled threat directed at Echo (basically "I know that you can access any of your imprints, you can't keep a secret from me"), who is the biggest threat to Adelle's recently regained power in the Dollhouse. (Or maybe I'm just reading too deeply into one line, sub-texts of sub-texts.)
Agreed, Emmy, I think even though Joss isn't writing any of the other episodes, he likely gets the final pass at each script as he did on Buffy. Although I bet that the Dollhouse writers are so good, he rarely has to do more than put in a bit of polish, or make sure that everything is heading on the course they have planned out.
AFF: I never thought about her dead friend...hmmm, perhaps she will revisit Adelle when she is being naughty and straighten her friend out. What an interesting scene that would be!
"Conversations with Dead People II" ;).

(didn't realise Michael Muhney came that close to getting Ballard BTW. I could see him in the part though Tahmoh does a great job too IMO)
saje: "But fair comment, the casting people (person ?) he's worked with over the years must also be pretty amazing at their job."

Anya Colloff and Amy McIntyre Britt are the current casting directors (certainly for S1) and they along with Jennifer Fishman Pate (best name ever) have been working on ME productions for years.
Cheers for the info moley75 and kudos to them for a bang up job.

(and I hope that's her married name, otherwise school would have been ... challenging ;)
I'm looking forward to Maureen Ryan's critique on this week's Dollhouse. Nothing yet....her critiques are a staple in this house.
I don't think Adele knows that Echo has access to all her imprints, but I do love the idea of Adele's dead friend coming back to scold her!!

I'm feeling sadder than I expected I would about the show ending. I've enjoyed it, for sure, but hadn't become so enamored that I expected to miss it. But watching them try (very skillfully too) to fit in stuff that really should have been drawn out over a full season is kind of heart-breaking. They're all doing a great job, but I would have loved to see it build up slowly. Echo in love with Ballard isn't doing much for me, because I didn't get to watch it happen, and I love smarter / more aware Echo but am sad not to have had the chance to watch her emerge more slowly. But this is what we get, and it's getting so good! Emotional Topher slays me - I love him. I do still miss Boyd though. I keep saying that, but he was a big highlight of S1 for me and I feel like he's being underused this season.
catherine, I agree that I would have preferred a more drawn out pace of the season, but I admit that it's kind of excited that so much is happening at once. And yep, Emotional Topher slays me too....swoon. I've been smitten with Fran since Comic Con.
Yeah, he made an (IMO) unlikeable character amazing to watch, now he's making a more likable character painful (in the best way) to watch. Mad skillz.

As others have said above, it feels to me like they're having to tell us things they'd have shown us if they had more time, become more explicit with the dialogue about things that have been implicit before. They're doing a good job of it but it's a shame for them that they have to in the first place and a shame for us that we don't get to tease things out as much as we might have.

What excites me about the pace though is Joss (and others) said even pre season 2 that they were saving nothing for the ride back and it totally looks as if they're not. Really think things are going to be tied up, more or less, by the end and though maybe not as satisfying as it could've been over 7 seasons, that's still way more satisfying than everything being left open.
You point still stands, saje, but I believe (from what I recall of early interviews) that the original plan for Dollhouse was to have a 5-season series, optimistically.
Umm... In the scene where Topher shows Adelle the evil blueprints of mass destruction, there's a shirt hanging in the background- is that the shirt he's wearing in the 'I know what I know' scene in Epitaph One? If it is and I'm an idiot for not noticing the first time- that is super cool continuity and I love it. If it isn't and I'm an idiot for bringing it up- just kidding, nevermind, who cares about shirts anyway?
Ooh, that would be cool! (Unless it's not the same shirt, in which case, yeah, I don't care about shirts either ;)).

And yeah, it does look like they are going to wrap things up for realsies, which is great. Just watching a couple of seasons get crammed into two episodes hurt a little. I would have loved a season finale of Adele finally taking back her house (which would have meant so much more if she'd lost control for more than one ep), betraying Topher so ruthlessly and telling him that no one would ever challenge her again, cut to Echo returning to the Dollhouse!! That was a great moment. Of course, not a good ending if it's The End so I'm glad they're zipping through it to get to a real Ending sort of an End.

Also oh how I loved Adele slamming the elevator wall with her hand in a rage. Adele kicks ass.
Why is it that Joss has been so absent from writing/directing this show?

It's incredibly dissapointing considering he used to write/direct 2-4 episodes on the other shows per season. He's such a good director and it sucks we haven't gotten to see his particular style brought out like it has been in the past.
Someone correct me if I'm misremembering, but didn't Joss at one point say that his original plan was to get the ball rolling on Dollhouse but have someone else ultimately take charge, but that during that early period he started to see too many interesting things to step back in that way?

I swear I remember that being said at some point. If so, it might provide some context to the above. If going out of last season and coming into this season his staff was rocking the show, that initial idea of not being such an overt hand might have resurfaced.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-12-16 07:39 ]
I've been thinking about the beginning of A Love Supreme. Since Alpha killed that guy, he was one of Echo's clients, right? And since he blew all of his money on her, he was a repeat client, a male Miss Lonelyhearts. Shouldn't Echo have this in her memory?
Yeah she should, what (if anything) makes you think she doesn't shambleau ?
Shambleau: She did, it was Susan (I think), the client's sister-in-law, with the rose petals, the guy they found. At least that's how I understood it, the dead guy was the one Alpha killed in the teaser.
I don't think that's correct. The dead guy they found in the house was not the dead guy from the teaser. When Boyd is putting dead clients up on the board, he mentions the teaser guy as a separate kill.
He did? Well, I only saw it once and that was the impression I got, but I was apparently wrong.
It was my original impression as well. I'm not sure if I noticed the distinction until re-watch.
Saje, obviously, since the writers came up with this story idea recently, and couldn't stick references to it back into previous episodes, we have to fanwank she has the memories, they just haven't surfaced in the stories we've seen. Normally, I'm fine with that, but this was a major deal. There had to be multiple repeat engagements - the kind Dr. Saunders warned against. A rich man was ruined and went bankrupt because he was in love with Echo. It just rankles a little bit more than usual to have all that glossed over. She should have those memories come up more often, realistically, if for no other reason than that she has more memories of him than of other clients.

But, since no one else ever brought this up, it's not bothering anybody much and the writers were right to gamble that's how it would be received, I guess.

[ edited by shambleau on 2009-12-16 21:59 ]

[ edited by shambleau on 2009-12-16 21:59 ]
Ah right, didn't think of that, you think we should maybe have actually seen that engagement (or at least the imprint) since it was such a big deal ? Yeah, I can see that perspective. I just assumed it was one of the 36 that we haven't seen (even if that 36 includes the little snippets of imprints we sometimes see at the start and end of episodes, we must still have a few "spares". Or maybe not, if anyone wants to add them up feel free ;). It's kind of like a cop show to me - we see one case per week but for the most part we're meant to assume they solve other cases in between times, we don't see their entire lives, we just hop in and out.

And the guy at the start is definitely a different dude (Boyd says something like he was found outside his crappy trailer i.e. not inside a big palatial mansion type setup all corpsified and gross).
Last time I watched season 1 I counted that Eliza played 19 imprints that we saw.
Good work Nocticola. And what, maybe 4 or 5 so far in S2 ? So some spares at the moment anyway.

I spy a fanfic wonderland ;).
Well it didn't seem to be a particularly useful imprint, which is why it doesn't bother me that we haven't seen it before. She recalls the ones with the fighting and safecracking skills a lot, and the motorcycle one came in handy for once. I guess the romantic engagements aren't going to be what takes down the Dollhouse after all.

Does that mean most of the imprints we haven't seen are the "gay" ones? I know we saw that one with Whiskey. Or perhaps some of the ones we've seen actually were.
Yep, no reason that for instance Ellie Penn couldn't be gay (that I recall) or any of the other imprints we don't actually see with a man (and some of those could be bi, depends on what Echo calls gay).

(though in fairness to the ex - in every way - billionaire, we don't know what did it for him. The love of his life might've been a fighter pilot, a world renowned hacker or Krav Maga World Champion for all we know. Useful skills one and all)

[ edited by Saje on 2009-12-16 23:19 ]
You're right. The nurse skills came in handy and that had nothing to do with the original engagement. Props to Topher for making complete people.
We've hardly seen any women as clients, either. Or men on assignments in any depth of story. And the majority of exceptions to both of these trends involve Adelle selecting Victor for an assignment.
A viewer can assume the subtext on Victor being chosen for these assignments is Adelle's lingering affection, so that can explain why we don't see other men's assignments much. Why Sierra keeps getting chosen is a little trickier for us to fanwank, I think.

In some episodes, we've seen that the clients are vetted carefully and have interviews with Adelle when they hire a doll. So how did Alpha hire Sierra without being spotted, I wonder? I know evil geniuses can fake client resumes easily enough, but his mug's gotta be engraved on the memories of all dollhouse workers. They probably have pictures of him that everybody has to look at, and protocols (options 1-10 being run like hell) of what to do if he approaches them.
Yeah, I think that's just a hole. We could've fanwanked that he used an existing, pre-vetted client's identity to place the order (it seems to be mainly new clients that meet with Adelle) - or just held a gun to his head while the real client did it - except they had the cute name-as-anagram mention which blows that out the water.

We've hardly seen any women as clients, either. Or men on assignments in any depth of story.

This is something i've wanted to see from the start. Obviously Eliza's the star and meta-commentary wise, women are exploited in this way far more often than men are but still, it would've been nice to have a bit more balance IMO.
I've been to Medina, Texas and there is no prison there. Not even a supermarket. Just juicy, delicious apples in a tiny Texas midlands town. The prison town should have been called Hondo or Kerrville or Bandera.

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