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Dollhouse – The Target

Posted by pocochina on February 22, 2009

  • I like that they’re going with the “previously, on Dollhouse‘ rather than trying to contain the whole world in a short synopsis at the beginning, simply because we don’t have that kind of mission statement (yet?); that said, it’s too long, there’s a lot we don’t need in there.
  • JESUS CHRIST!  Oh, it’s a flashback.  Three months, that’s not long at all.  Turns out Alpha’s a composite who malfunctioned.  Though it doesn’t confirm my “prototype”  theory.  It’s hard seeing the dolls scared.  Like sad puppies.  And “they won’t wake up.”  Jesus Christ alive, Eliza D is thin, remember when she was hot because she looked so strong and healthy?  The nudity in that shot is gratuitous – she’s vulnerable, dude, we get it, but the blood and those huge trusting eyes convey that just fine.  Odd that among ll the bodies I was still thinking ALPHA SLICED UP DR. FRED!  You suck, Alpha, I hate you!  In seriousness, I really thought that was going to be a mystery for a while. But, if they want to make Alpha really unsympathetic, IT WORKED.
  • “Guns.  Can I have one.”  Heh.  I still don’t like you, Topher, but heh.  He’s an amoral nerd, but not a wimpy or panicky one.
  • This episode feels more pilot-y, except for the total lack of Sierra, who I kind of like.  And it’s kind of heavy-handed, but I like the repetition of the ‘did I fall asleep’ convo.  Well, i did the first time, now enough’s enough, and it’s t the point where it’s goging to be weird if she stops saying it, and annoying if she keeps saying it.  Maybe we’ll stop needing to see every programming and wipe soon.
  • “What we offer is truth.”  Interesting.  I mean, I suppose they are, but by stripping away complexity, rather than through honesty.  Also kind of heavy-handed.  This show is starting to feel like a big experiment into “how much philosphy can we pound into their heads in 45 minutes?”
  • the idea of a security deposit sounds creepy, like htey’re just putting a price on safety – which in a sense they are – but it also seems like the best and only way to control their clientele, too; it’s not like they could sue or report  the person.
  • Are we always going to start out with sex work or sex work parallels?  See, the first time it makes sense.  The second time, it’s, again,  gratuitous, and it feels a little like they’re out of ideas already, which I surely HOPE AND BELIEVE is not the case.
  • “My brother’s gonna kill you!”  Confident and trusting.  The rented-for-sex personalities aren’t that different from the mind-wiped Dolls.  They’re the dolls with added skills.
  • Hi, Helo!  I mean, Robert.  Hey, why don’t we menacingly threaten each other in gravelly voices?  Oh, and they’re at last week’s crime scene.  Nifty use of the first ep, and it really gives us the sense that he’s right behind them with no clues, and it’s been like this for a while.  How would they have a profile on Dollhouse clients?  Oh, and they’re assuming it’s just a service for johns.  And who the hell is the Russian guy?  I was thinking he would’ve been an Active, who of course woudln’t know anything when questioned, but why would a Doll have a cell phone?
  • I keep saying “sex work” but I should really be saying sommething  lot harsher.  “Rape” doesn’t feel right since it is hat the personality wants, but at the sme time, it’s not te personlity, it’s Echo, who will be having the non-consensual sex.  I wonder if there are mandatory blood tests for their clients, or do they just keep the Actives on antibiotics and ARVs?
  • “pretty lady” prints – hey, there’s a thought, have they wiped out the Doll’s prints?  Then there’s  permanent change, which could be an interesting contrast with Madam DeWitt’s contention that actions don’t have consequences for the Actives.
  • OHMIGOD he’s hunting her.  so he really did just buy her life.  I wonder if he let the madam in on that?  And he’s a serial killer – he’s brought other girls out there.
  • Oh, and Langdon was hired because of Alpha.  Was he a forensic expert at some point?  Because his analysis is pretty good, and really fast.  I know they’re trying to get stuff out there quickly, but Dr. Fred is on hand for that.  And was he imprinted with some Navy Seal shit?  Because he’s pretty hardcore in the van there.
  • Why didn’t he kill Echo?  Good question, yo.  Maybe he recognized her from before?  Couldn’t kill a fellow Doll?  Come to think of it, why didn’t he kill Dr. Fred?  Maybe he has special plans for her like he does for Echo? He’s weirdly more hostile towards innocents than people responsible – he slaughtered Actives and protectors, but he left the doctor, programmer (who actually is resopnsible for him), and the one with flashes of consciousness.  Was he trying to keep them alive to toy with them more?  He’s not just a fighter, he’s a total sadist.
  • ‘Echo will always trust you.’  Wow.  So we’re into what is identity, what is truth, and what is trust.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen something so explicit about what it’s asking us to consider.  I don’t know that we even needed the trust scenes, even when we see it break later.
  • She hallucinates herself, that’s a nice touch.  Overall, this is a decent format for the show.  We get a clientof the week and the story is about establishing the overarching plot in the dollhouse.  Echo is almost the least important person here for the first forty minutes.
  • Boyd is good at dealing with a confused doll, unlike the staff that have been around longer (Dr. Fred and Topher).  “We met a while back.”  It’s a good answer.  He’s used to real people, so he’s better, or he’s just different and more caring.  He does make the same conflation between deservingness and morality (“he was a good man”/”not good enough”) that Connell does, which is really disquieting.
  • Good thing she happened to get perfect markswomanship!  Though, that is a skill that would go well with the other skills, it’s not totally nonsensical.
  • I don’t like when people hesitate when they should shoot.  You should kill him nowish.  I would rather have four more minutes of character-building than Dramatic Tension.  If the story’s exciting enough – and overall, this was – it’s not necessary.
  • This asshole is the creepiest villain they’ve ever come up with.  Holy shit.  And of course his motivation is….dun dun DUHN….DADDY ISSUES!
  • It’s kind of a relief their background checks failed – they didn’t just send her out all que sera, sera – but at the same time, it means we can never trust their screening process.  Would it’ve been more fun for that revelation to wait?
  • CONNELL WAS ALPHA?!  No, an Alpha henchman.  I thought about it, and then I said, no, that’s too farfetched and they would recognize him!  No, that’d be too easy, as he’s dead.  the fixation just doesn’t make sense, though.
  • Who is Blondie?  Last episode he was some boardroom type and now he’s a bloodthirsty (he hints at wanting two specific kill orders within twenty minutes) badass with command of a bunch of guys with assault weapons?  Speaking of.  Are they all Dolls, too?  Seems weird that people unscrupulous enough to kill for an immoral corporate venture are suddenly the types to be trusted with big, juicy secrets like said corporate ventures – makes more sense they’re all wiped and prorammed to follow instructions.  Then, though, we get two classes of Dolls – the cannnon fodder, who live somewhere else, and the pretty ones, who get to sleep in the shiny bed-holes.

Other thoughts:

  • Of course what makes First Date guy unappealing is that he’s a FATTIE!
  • What makes Echo so much more frequently requested?  Because she’s pretty?  Because theoretically, it shouldn’t matter.  There’s an actual spark of personality there?
  • Kinda problematic that they program male assassins and female prostitutes.

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