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Archive for April, 2009

Dollhouse – Needs

Posted by pocochina on April 5, 2009

  • I’m a woman!  I have needs!  Some of which involve not cracking open the outlining just yet.
  • first shot blondie and DeWitt, then Sierra and Victor, then Ninja Mellie.  Will this be another Echo less than necesary story?
  • Echo and Paul!  Ooooh, is this the personality coming through?  is she yet again a sex worker?  Ohmygod they sent her after him.  No, this must be a dream.  Yawn! No way dreams mean anything in a JW show. Maybe Ballard will walk around naked all the time now that he has no job. I’d be okay with that. “I have a thing she needs” is pretty hilarious; awkward enough to be Mal-worthy, even. Is “how did they know what we shared” Paul working out that the hit man might not necessarily have been after him? Neat look at the inside of Paul’s head – the sexual aspects of the DH are really what freak him out and fascinate him, and Mellie standing there reminds us that he’s unwittingly been a part of that part of it he loathes so much.
  • Good morning, Angels! Good morning, Adele!
  • Aw, I like that little smile between Echo and November.
  • Neat reminder right there at the beginning of Topher’s constant insistence that he’s not responsible; it’s not his fault, he has a Perfectly Good Explanation – maybe he has more of a conscience than he thinks. What’s creepy about Reed is that he’s totally right. Morally, he’s wrong. But they genuinely don’t know if Echo’s about to Alpha out (and, if we get the full five seasons, I suspect she will someday). And they’re now admitting Alpha is alive. Oh lord.  Fucking with the DH software?  HOW COULD THIS GO WRONG. Topher has them all on the same dose of sedatives and antipsychotics? This is not good. This I really, really know. Why is Topher even doing the medications and not Saunders? The DH has an interesting division of labor for an organization that has a doctor and a geeky tech boy. Saunders, I love you right now. That delicious, nasty “to our pets” is perfect. I’m surprised at the amount of dissent Boyd and Saunders feel okay expressing. Ivy continues to be mysteriously not there – so if Paul’s mysterious contact knows about the meeting, it’s not Ivy.
  • This is the first time we’ve seen female handlers. In general, a cool little look at the “behind the scenes” for the DH, especially giving us the perspective that really, it’s been at most a couple of months since Alpha. We assume the strangeness is restricted to the star and her nearest circle, but really, DeWitt is right, the whole house is out of balance. Sierra (and, hence, Victor) wouldn’t be out of joint if Alpha hadn’t killed the previous handler; November wouldn’t even be back there if Alpha hadn’t given Paul the lead on Caroline’s identity. So how much does Echo’s situation owe to Alpha?
  • Hi, Caroline!  Yes, you really are as totally fucked as you think you are.  Whose voice is telling Caroline to wake up? Doesn’t sound like Caroline, DeWitt or Saunders – necessary for the ep to retain its suspense, but a mystery nonetheless. Then again, that doesn’t even need to be Caroline.  Or whoever the others were. It turns out that it was, but it’s a plot choice, not an assumption we need to make. Funny that her first thought was “lab rats” – the idea of experimenting on people freaks her out even when she has no reason to think it’s happening to anyone, let alone to her.
  • So at least one of them might be paranoid or crazy, and thus unable to consent. Sierra wants to run, and her desire to run and theory of a “deranged millionaire serial killer” makes sense by the end of the episode, even if they’re nonsequiturs at the beginning. Victor takes charge. Mellie assumes the best, and both feels as if she should, and knows how to, explain her behavior. She’s emotionally pretty in tune – “I think they like it here.”  In fact, it’s not just Caroline that gets personalities which line up with her own in a handful of ways (adventurous, spunky, hotheaded)  we’ve seen Secret Agent Victor, and Mellie isn’t all that different from November – sensual, confident, emotionally intelligent.  Is this coming from the actors, or is it easier to put certain personalities in certain brains, because the original owners never really leave?
  • Does the bug in Paul’s apartment do anything besides throw him off the trail that Mellie may actually be a Doll?  I suspect that thought has never sunk in on a conscious level.
  • My first thought on the doctor’s appointment was “Saunders catches on mighty quick to Echo’s new state of affairs” and her first reaction is to hide from the DH, not to do anything. She really does seem to be trying to help Echo get out – gives her the hint about the cameras.
  • “Men.  They had guns.  They took me away.”  So some of them might have chosen, but not Sierra. How fucked would it be if a wiped Victor personality had been in charge of getting Sierra?
  • Anyone else notice how we cut from Victor and Sierra being all romantic to Echo and November all huddled together?  Actually, there are a few parallels between Echo-November and Victor/Sierra.  Not just the hiding in the clothes, but the way Echo and November look at each other in the morning, and Victor and Sierra look for each other at night.  Maybe Mellie is right and Paul does have a sexual fascination with Caroline, and this is reminding us of Paul’s inner conflict within the Dollhouse?
  • Lord, they just put Mellie in the dowdiest dress. The normal sized actress dresses ugly and had a kid – no way anyone young and cute would dare to be less than lithe and sexay. Though, I do like that she’s the one who’s comfortable with the coed shower.
  • Who did Dominic call if the handlers don’t know she tried to escape? And really, no way laps and tai chi for six months prep anyone to beat the hell out of a handler. It feels weird to say this…but I want Echo to…..not kick ass sometimes. Again, it’s ass-kicking for the sake of ass-kicking, not because it’s consistent with the character or confounding our expectations.  No reason she couldn’t have slipped through an empty room and grabbed a gun.
  • I love that Topher can geek out with a gun pointed at his head. But what the hell possesses him to be honest with her? “It’s like hypnosis.” Or, he could have just told her (possibly truthfully) that he was the only one who could restore her memories and set everyone free instead of giving her the satisfaction of knowing she’d scared him. He’s not good at being challenged, even if the challenge is coming from his overactive imagination (like two episodes ago when he insisted someone else was trying to steal his position).
  • Oh my God Sierra.  And ew, he’s been hiring her. This is exactly what I mean about people who hire the Dolls specifically to get around consent – in Nolan’s case the lack of consent is a turn-on (“this’ll make it better”).
  • Caroline is dumb! You can’t make a difference just throwing yourself onto a sword. ‘Course, killing or wiping Topher would be the worst thing she could do – but getting in the chair for her memories alone is just as dumb. So really, finding Topher alone was a no-win situation, even more than breaking into Rossum. So she’s been prone to this for a while. As far as she knows he’s the only one who can fix her brain. Shooting the chair? Even dumber.
  • “We give them what they need.” Oh, Saunders. Oooh, and she’s the one to stem the awareness. And am I wrong, or did Saunders say she timed the sedative properly? Again. She seems to know more than Topher about psychology and psychiatry, so why is he handling the personalities and prescriptions? Saunders seems to think that she’s really saving them – and she probably is.
  • And Caroline is just as selfish as I thought she was. She knew who Paul was – that means she knew she had help, and had plenty of reason to know she’d need it, but she had to be the one to save everyone. She didn’t need everyone else to be free, she needed to be the one who did it. Not that Paul actually could have helped against an army of handlers and Blondie’s security guys, but she must know she can’t, either. And she sets up the worst possible outcome for the other Actives – out there without their memories or personalities, or the protection of the DH.
  • This episode does even more to blur the line between the Actives and their real personalities. The most pressing need can belong to the Active construct (Victor), the person before the construct (November and Sierra), or some combination thereof (who knows what Echo’s need would have been if she didn’t try to free everyone? The mountain house – maybe it’s her boyfriend’s place?). And it doesn’t look like Mike is a priority case, he just happened to be sharing a pod with them. That, combined with his odd paranoia, makes it seem like he was just healthy, attractive, and not putting up much of a fight, so they nabbed him.
  • Odd, too, Victor’s need isn’t just to get the girl. It’s to help Sierra as much as – no more – than just to get with her. He doesn’t just need closure, he needs her to have closure. Funny, usually the pretty girl is the one doing everything for lurve. In fact, the whole group is a gender inversion – how often do you see three women with vague and intense emotional desires, from revenge to justice to grief, with one man in love? And Sierra doesn’t just find closure when she confronts Nolan, she needs to choose to trust again, though her love is subsumed (to Saunders and Boyd) under her need for vengeance. How sad is it that we see them go to bed without Victor and Sierra looking at each other?
  • Funny that DeWitt didn’t even tell Topher what she was doing – he sounds surprised. I get not sharing with the handlers, but all DeWitt was doing here as putting Topher in danger (it’s not like he’d have put up a significant barrier to their escape in any place). It’s like DeWitt wanted to tell Caroline what she was doing. DeWitt seems to love challenging the Actives in any capacity – her face looks almost exactly like it does when she watched Mellie kill Hearn. Experimentation Topher and Saunders don’t know about?  She also seems to be a little bit of a thrill-seeker, to set up this particular test when they’re playing with the electricity.  Dominic hates the uncertainty, but DeWitt seems to need a little bit of it.
  • Boyd just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t seem to understand that doing the right thing (or what he conceives of the right thing) himself won’t, now or ever, make the Dollhouse a good, safe place. This starts with ep 3 when he won’t hear of someone else taking Echo out, but it really shows up during Man on the Street when he takes action against Hearn without telling DeWitt – he knows she wants the situation dealt with, since she takes action so quickly against Victor and his handler, he knows she’s duplicitious and would’ve gone along with his plan, but he had to be the only one doing the saving, regardless of if it was going to actually make things work out for the people he’s supposed to be helping (sound like anyone else we know?). Now we see him ragging on Saunders for the plan that probably saved Echo (along with Sierra, Victor, and November) from the Attic. He seems to be thinking he’s pissed that she was manipulative (more manipulative than exposing Sierra to another traumatic attempted rape and getting an innocent and confused Victor accused of rape? Questionable) but actually pissed that someone besides him protected Echo and made her happy. Boyd does not come off in a good light here. At least Saunders knows she’s making ethical compromises.
  • I liked this ep a lot – I was consistently guessing and surprised. I enjoyed the setup of finding out what’s going on in reverse. Nicely set up by The Target (and wasn’t that originally supposed to come later?) Potentially neat parallel between Connell/Alpha and DeWitt/Rossum.
  • We know more about DeWitt this time too – she’s seriously not fooling herself that she’s protecting people who wanted a break from their lives, or she never would have taken Sierra (unless, of course, Dominic was in charge of getting Sierra in, but I doubt he’s ever gone off on his own until the Echo situation). And we also know Caroline herself didn’t come to the Dollhouse to get away from any particular memories – though some of them, November specifically, may well have. It’s an especially needed jolt for us from last week, when we saw the staff, especially DeWitt and Dominic, being a bit softer and introspective. We know they know they’re wrong, and they’re the coldest bastards they’ve been yet. Dark. I like it. Also a really necessary episode – these actives couldn’t get much more aware without breaking out and ending the storyline. But it leaves us with Echo’s pressing need, whatever it was, unfulfilled.

Deep Thoughts

  • “I like pancakes.” “We’re all gonna die.” Heh. I’m liking real Victor.
  • Does Echo think Saunders is a friend and a prisoner because of the scars, because of what she says, or because of some instinct that says Saunders is good?
  • Who loves that we just heard her talk about her “right to choose”? Love it.
  • DeWitt and Caroline are totally right about each other – they make shitty decisions for other people.

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