Friday, September 25, 2009

Return to the Dollhouse

The second season of Dollhouse, "television's next big science fiction epic," premiers tonight on Fox. I encourage you to check it out.


  1. SPOILERS!!!

    Perhaps I should have rewatched last season before jumping into S2E01, since I seem to have lost the thread on some of the plotlines. Was the Doctor playing practical jokes on Topher last season? I don't remember so much explicit emnity between them, just the Doctor's general chilliness toward the amoral folk who pull the strings around there. The whole thing felt like a season's worth of B-plot development shoved into a single episode.

    The episode as a whole just felt disjointed to me. Season premieres are not Whedon's strong suit, though, so I expect that it will return to form shortly.

    On the utterly trivial side, I love Adelle's new haircut; it's both more flattering and more character-appropriate than what she wore last year


    You're correct that Doctor Sanders was not so focused on Topher last season. She was generally unenthusiastic, shall we say, about the Dollhouse's mission, and she seemed particularly unhappy with Topher's rather central role, but she wasn't actively harassing him. I think her decision to focus her anger/frustration/confusion resulting from her discovery that she's a doll on him is fairly reasonable. She's upset with the Dollhouse as a whole, and Topher is, in her mind, the personification of the D'house.

    I believe your assessment of "a season's worth of B-plot development shoved into a single episode" is exactly what happened. Well, a third of a season, anyway. Since the lovely and talented Ms Acker is only going to be in 3 eps this season, I think Whedon et Co wanted to advance her storyline as much as possible in this first ep. That way, when we see her next---mid-season, I would guess---her actions then will make sense. I'm hoping her next ep will be Whiskey-centric. Perhaps there will be a flashback or two to her days as the number-one active---something more substantial and less gratuitous than the almost-kiss with Echo that we saw in Vows---as well as some present-day action that will, I hope, result in some permanent change to Saunders/Whiskey, or the Dollhouse.

    I agree that the ep felt a little unfocused. Perhaps all that B-story material was a bit too much. I did like seeing how Echo is developing after the big download inflicted on her by Alpha. Based on what we saw in Omega and Epitaph One, I'm Echo's nature to evolve considerably during this season. (Have you seen Epitaph One, BTW? If not, you need to, and I'd be glad to loan you my discs.)

    In general, you and I have very similar tastes in TV women, bu I'm not sure I agree with you about DeWitt's hair. I'm a big fan of short hair and bobs on women, but I'm not sure that particular style suits her face, or perhaps vice versa. I think that 'do would look very cute on someone else; I'm just not so sure about Adelle. Maybe I need to look at some Season-One photos of her. I AM glad we've gotten to see Amy Acker in a more attractive hairstyle than the one Dr Saunders wears. Between the hair, clothing, make-up, and her acting, they've managed to make her look almost schlumpy as the good doctor.

  3. Heh, I had kind of wondered if I was being literally correct in my assessment of the Doctor/Topher plot. It's a shame that can't give it more time to develop, since I think it's a more intellectualy meaty storyline than Echo's.

    I own the discs, and I have seen "Epitaph One." I think it was a fascinating artistic choice for Whedon to, in essence, paint himself into a corner like that. I'm not sure that I think it was a great move, mind you, since it essentially makes the rest of the series a "prequel" and removes any suspense about the final outcome of things. On the other hand, it shifts the show from being a traditional TV show, where the writers are just making shit up as they go, into something more akin to a Shakespearean tragedy. The whole body-transfer angle was nigh inevitable based on the premise; it takes some willing suspension of disbelief to accept that it wasn't the angle from the get-go. The telephonic reprogramming thing was more interesting, though, even if it all but defines "technically implausible." (I suppose I've already drunk the Kool-Aid by accepting that an entire, coherent personality could be constructed by an amoral Asperger's case in a matter of days and stored in less than a terabyte, so maybe I don't have grounds to complain here.) It will be interesting to watch Topher's fall from grace, and Adelle's eventual move to the dark(er) side. (That was her riding the kid's body, right?)

  4. Hmm....maybe I need to re-see that episode, but I did not pick up that it was Adelle riding the little girl.

    I agree, it makes the trajectory/tone of the show interesting to have glimpsed the future.

  5. Like Alison, I never even suspected the little girl could have been DeWitt. That twist certainly makes her more interesting, but I'm not sure it was intended.

    As for the wisdom of Whedon's making Epitaph One a sort of epilogue for the series, I'm guessing he wanted to give himself and the fans some sort of peek at the future of a series that was just about to be canceled.

  6. I thought that it was Adelle in that girl because she delivered one critical line (I don't remember which one, of course) in a totally different accent and intonation than she had been using, one that sounded to me like a really good imitation of Adelle's. Maybe I'm totally mistaken, and it's someone else in there entirely. I'll see what I think when I inevitably watch it again at some point.

    I wonder if we'll get an "Epitaph Two" at the end of this season to either extend or fill in around the plotline we saw in "Epitaph One."