Saturday, October 10, 2009

Good Gracious

Dollhouse: Belle Chose
Season 2, Episode 3

"Topher has ethical problems......... Topher." - Boyd

I have ethical problems myself. Since this show's ratings are.. um.. corpse-like (and THAT is being kind), the show has apparently spent nearly a year of my life getting to the point I wanted to be reach only a month or two in, only to have the plug pulled when we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I think a lot of people have a reasonable excuse for having given up on this show back in season one. After all, there's only so many times you can talk about a show's potential and little else positive before giving up completely. Sounds logical right? But then someone needs to explain Heroes fans to my Earth logic.

Entering this year, a second chance I gave the show, I mostly just wanted to move things towards the reality of "Epitaph One." That's all I'm asking for here. Just a little apocalypse, people. Work with me. And while I've complained about things moving too slow, Echo retaining her imprint information has been a significant step towards making Caroline a character again. We need the technology and plot to catch up just a wee bit more. We are SO close. But I worried. They don't call it the Friday Night Death Slot because people are dying to watch some television.

And wow, I've never heard Michael Hogan when he wasn't being Saul Tigh. Good to know he can be creepy when not pounding off the last whiskey in the Twelve Colonies. His role this week as the uncle of a raging sociopath is yet another one of our fun ethical dilemmas of the Dollhouse. The sociopath, Terry, coincidentally likes to make girls dress up to set up his imaginary still-life fantasies - drugging them into a mannequin-like state. So it's funny because he's like a one-man Dollhouse.

Since Terry is hit by a car and off in Coma-land, Terry's Uncle Brad wants the Dollhouse to save him. Barring that he wants to try and find the women Terry has kidnapped to buy them off (since you can't buy off a corpse as he mentions) - nice guy. Ballard's investigative skills make him a bit of a star this week. And what do we think happens when we put a sociopath incapable of empathy into the body of highly trained soldier? A good piece of advice might have been to dump him into someone a little less threatening.

One of the worst scenes is the girls Terry left behind waking up in a cage. Normally, I have nothing but good things to say about Tim Minear (or as I like to call him, The Man - Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Wonderfalls, The Inside, Drive - Jimmy like). But in this scene he lays it on too thick. We know Terry's game is a metaphor for the Dollhouse itself, but we don't need lines like, "We're human beings. Remember that."

Uncle Brad breaks Terry/Victor out... which I love, this is what happens when he doesn't have Adama making decisions for him. And I don't love it for the letting a killer out on the streets alone (of course he escapes Uncle Brad), but because we're finally introducing some of the larger concepts of the future that I want to see more of.

First, we have Brad who views an imprinted Victor as Terry because of the wipe this IS TERRY. What if he got away for five years? When is he not Victor? When is he Terry?

And then we have the idea of the remote wipe, which Alpha pulled off back in season one and Adelle wants Topher to use to stop Terry. And since we know the idea of remotely wiping effectively causes the world of "Epitaph One" - Jimmy like. Watching Topher actually pull it off is genuinely exciting. Then the lights go out... so it's kind of funny.

And where's Echo in all this? Being a hooker, of course. As party girl Kiki Turner, she's helping a college professor live out... well, I don't really need to go further, do I? But when the remote wipe somehow dumps Terry over into Echo and Kiki into Victor. One is creepy and the other is... creepy in another way. Enver Gjokaj slips into a crazy rave girl really easily.

And then there's:

"Paul, why did you ever leave me?" - Victor/Kiki
"You got a problem?" - Paul to the rest of the club

Watching Terry/Echo terrorize the escaping girls is of course, substantively less funny. Being aware of imprints makes Echo an inconvenient place for a killer to jump in, so we get a fight for control. Echo wants the girls to kill him/her and Terry wants to kill them. Paul and a Dollhouse swat crew show up just before Echo can talk them into it. And while the Paul-Echo dynamic isn't the Paul-Caroline one we're looking for, its nice to see the recognition between them. A little glimpse at the end is Echo saying Terry's catchphrase, "Good gracious." And it is curious how this imprint will change her. Is she really just a mix of all her imprints? Could she be evil if enough monsters were imprinted? Or is there some Caroline-esque core holding her together? There are some interesting questions. I just hope we get answers before the end of it all.

1 comment:

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