Dollhouse Discussion

And tonight we have the season ender that wasn't supposed to be the season ender:


I predict it's awesome. Build your case for or against in the comments after. 

17 thoughts on “Dollhouse Discussion”

  1. I don’t think I could call it awesome. And I was a bit surprised at the non-ending. It seemed like they were building to this tense stand-off and then it just fizzled out. I don’t know – I was enjoying the show after halfway point, but I don’t know that I would miss it if it doesn’t come back. I’d frankly rather see something else come back, and if I campaign for anything it would be for the far superior Life.

  2. I’ll see your hmmm and raise you a meh.
    It’s really too bad, because on some levels the show has improved quite a lot. But I find myself engaged on the level of storytelling mechanics and not much else–the acting is better, the writing is better, the twists are plottier, but I don’t care all that much because I have little to no emotional connection with these characters. As well done as most of this episode was, parts of it (particularly the Boyd/Ballard parts) felt very mechanical to me.
    They could have taken the premise somewhere really interesting in this episode, but they didn’t. Integrating Caroline with the imprints, destroying Caroline’s wedge, something other than putting the genie back in the bottle, which strikes me as a very un-Joss-like thing to do. Contrast this finale with pretty much any Buffy finale, where the characters’ world changed in a big way every time, and this comes off pretty weak.
    I’m disappointed. Perhaps my expectations were too high for a new Joss show, or perhaps it was just that Fox forced them to spend so many episodes beating us over the head with the premise before the story actually started. Either way, if the show doesn’t come back, I don’t think I’ll miss it.

  3. The plot and the whole explanation for Alpha’s motivation were just ridiculous. I stopped paying attention at the 45 minute mark. Just way over the top.
    Joss, baby, we had a good run, but I *can* quit you now.

  4. I’m not writing off Joss, just this show. Everybody tanks once in awhile and
    it was an interesting experiment with some real high points… and a
    shocking amount of not-good acting from Dushku.

  5. Watching Wash do the bad guy last week was so much better than this week. When will writers learn that explicating a sociopath’s psyche is usually BORING.

  6. I actually am going to vote for bowl full of awesome with whipped awesome and awesomesauce on top. With a cherry.
    I don’t love it as a season/series finale, it came across to me like a mid-season hiatus episode, but at least there was some closure.
    Overall I was not so much interested in the Alpha character as what this episode revealed about the Dollhouse. We found out a lot of things and yet interesting questions remain:
    – Claire is actually a doll, which there was some slight suggestion of for a while now, and like Echo, not someone particularly damaged by knowing she’s a doll.
    – Alpha had some kind of underlying psycho personality as evidenced by the face cutting of his first victim and it was only an emergence of that where their system really broke down. The “composite event” was in fact a lab error/misprint.
    – Caroline is retaining some of her imprints and as evidenced by how easily she handled a multi-print, maybe she IS something different. Even so, we now understand why Adelle was not as worried as Dominic about Echo’s irregularities. I’m sure they are NEVER going to load up multiple imprints again.
    – Paul Ballard has been on some kind of Destiny Track this whole time. His entire subplot has in fact existed to bring him into the Dollhouse. And, we know he’s really NOT a doll. So, I guess he really is intended as something of an audience surrogate. Paying off Mellie’s contract sort of redeems him in my eyes for his recent dickery. So you could say that in the end, he really did rescue someone (two, if you also count the hard drive he caught).
    On the other hand, some interesting questions now arise:
    – If Claire’s a Doll, who else is? Topher remembers being in the same room as Alpha but not being killed by him even though that’s where the doctor was. That’s a bit suspicious! Isn’t that how Claire’s memory was set up? Also, he’s definitely got some weird baggage which even Claire mentions. (My money is on him not being a Doll; I think his hangup is that he’s gay and really repressed about it. I could go on for paragraphs on this theory.)
    – Who was the mole inside the Dollhouse who sent Ballard clues? I don’t think it was Mr. Dominic or Alpha. I think it was Ivy or some other unseen agent.
    – What is the real purpose of the Dollhouses? Mass mind control? Evolution? Espionage? An investigation into the nature of the human soul ala Dark City?
    – Will Ballard and Echo team up to hunt down Alpha? Will anyone but Miss “change me so I can help” Echo be able to cope with him?
    – Will Victor really be scarred for ever or will he get better? And is Claire now thinking that there’s someone broken enough just for her or was that last look something else?
    – Who is Boyd and why the hell is he in the Dollhouse? He’s such a white hat that it doesn’t make a lot of sense. So he’s probably got a really interesting backstory.
    – What is the Attic actually like and how many people have been sent to it? And does anyone ever get let out?
    Basically I think if you cut away the early “wasted” episodes and this was about episode 8, the series would still be getting better and better. Pity this is probably the end of it other than the direct to DVD coda episode.

  7. I liked the episode more than a “Hmmm” though not without reservations. I did feel like the show as a whole went somewhere splendid and science-fiction-y the past couple episodes — with the implant of Dominic into Victor and then the scenes of Echo looking out at “herself.”
    But I still don’t feel fully engaged with the series — and I’m not sure why. The characters who most intrigue me are Adelle and Victor, which I think has to do with the quality of the actors, and Topher and Claire grew more interesting in last night’s episode as well. But otherwise …? Something’s not taking yet; although *I do hope* they bring back the series.
    Gwenda, I agree with you about Alpha/Wash being more fun in the previous episode. I found him a little cliched & bug-eyed this episode …

  8. I really felt like Alpha didn’t NEED a motivation. He was a killer in his pre-doll life who was accidentally imprinted with the personalities of 48 integrated people (one of whom was also a psychopathic killer). Once that event occurred he just went back to his killer way, only now armed with loads more skills….and a desire for a playmate who was on equal footing.
    I think if you ignore the over-the-top-Wash stuff, and just listen to his rant about they hollow people out and dump other people in, there’s some really amazing questions about what makes us us. Alpha thought that it was the composite event that made him what he was, but Echo/Caroline showed him (us) that even with all those personalities in her head, there was still a core, a “Caroline” that overrode everything else.
    This show has asked far deeper questions than any show he’s ever done.

  9. I liked the episode, but it did just sort of fizzle out. I liked that they didn’t try to keep the “secret” of Dr. Saunders being a doll past the cold open. But Alpha’s motivation seemed a little pat, his original escape seemed to contradict some things we’d been told in earlier episodes, and Dusku again reverted to playing Faith.
    Maybe it was network pressure, or the realization that this was probably it for them, but it did feel like they were rushing to tie up plot threads in not very neat bows. I’d still really like to see what Whedon could do with a second season, but I don’t think I’d be heartbroken anymore if he didn’t get it. In just 12 episodes, I’ve gone from frankly disappointed, to interested, to gung-ho excited, to meh.

  10. Dushku sort of got to do that in the Buffy season 4 episodes “This Year’s Girl”/”Who Are You”. Although I think Gellar did a even better job of nailing Dushku’s mannerisms.

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