Once again we have Victor/Topher and it's brilliant although how we get it, this seems a little bit contrived. Couldn't Topher just leave a note with the Topher-wedge saying "Victor/Sierra, I think one of us is a traitor, please follow us to Tuscon and try to find out who it is". The rest is a thrilling ride but frankly Miller's Crossing was easier to understand first time around (but worth it).
The machine that can be blown up to make everything ok seems a little contrite (think They Live) but they didn't have much time to work with (3 eps of Dollhouse after cancellation compared with 10 for Angel). Although we know that Topher is a genius it seems awfully convenient that he can be lured to Rossum headquarters and solve a problem that has perplexed their experts in about 10 minutes. Truth be told there's WAAAYYYYYY too much Duex et Machina in this ep, I've watched it several times and in honesty still cannot figure out Boyd's motivations, the whole thing makes exactly zero sense. More redundant cocking of pistols.
Mellie; (declining Ballard's offer of a rifle)"I don't think so, I'm afraid"
Ballard; (placing it in her hand) "So am I, that's why we have guns" (Words to cheer the heart of Sarah Palin/The National Rifle Association)
Ballard; (as Boyd turns on him) "What did I miss?" Frankly Paul you're only as lost as the rest of us.
Packing heat; Sierra and Victor pick up the Sig and MP5 from the dead hitmen at the Dollhouse, Adele also packing an M4, everyone swaps guns at some point. By the end of the ep Ballard has traded up to some serious firepower with the M249 SAW (Squad Automactic Weapon) beltfed machinegun. Also see best line.
Echo kissage; 4
Victor/Anthony gives Sierra/Priya permission to shoot him if he turns evil but tells her to 'avoid the junk'. When Sierra tells Adele that Victor has had some 'enhancements' she says 'Really?' in a very suggestive manner.
When someone questions whether Bennett fixed the wedge Topher immediately springs to her defence. Adele comforts Topher over his loss of Bennett, pets Echo in a very maternal manner and Whiskey does the same to her in a far from maternal manner. Topher refers to Boyd as his 'best man friend'. Boyd jealous of Ballard, perhaps seeing him as taking over his role in the group? He also disapproves of Adele pimping Echo out in a very paternal manner.
Notches on the Dollhouse bedpost;
Echo; 6 definite, 2 possible
Topher; 1 possible
How'd they get away with that?
I'm really going to be happy when there's no more needles (shudder), the scene where they drain her spinal fluid especially wince inducing. Also someone showered with brains from their beloved who's just been shot in the head for the second time in 2 eps.
Total number personalitites; note that it's Mellie in this ep, Paul's next door neighbour and not Madeline, the girl we saw testifying in The Public Eye.
Total LA dolls;
9-Echo, Sierra, November, Victor, Mike, Tango, Alpha, Whiskey, Kilo
Addy is a bit British;
She remarks "Look lively".
Topher is a bit geeky;
He thinks that gun-toting Sierra is super sexy in a 'Ripley' sort of way (Joss of course having written Alien 4).
Bondage; Echo tied to the surgery table
Sierra tied up; 2
Knocked out; doped Echox2
Kills; Victor kills at least 2 of Rossum's hitmen and Echo sends active Boyd to his death.
Sierra; 3 kills
Boyd refers to Echo bedding 'half of LA'. It's a very dominating concept, Caroline who was the righteous crusader against Rossum surrendering to them and becoming their willing slave whom they pimp out as they please.
Know the face?
17-Whedon alumni-Mark Shepherd-2 (Dollhouse/Firefly), Amy Acker-2 (Dollhouse/Angel), walking action figure-2 (Buffy/Dollhouse), Eliza Dushku-3 (Buffy/Angel/Dollhouse), Jim Piddock-2 (Angel/Dollhouse), Gregg Henry-2 (Dollhouse/Firefly), Alan Tudyk-2 (Dollhouse/Firefly), Felicia Day-2(Dollhouse/Buffy), Alexis Denisoff-3 (Buffy, Angel and Dollhouse), Kristoffer Pohala-2 (Dollhouse/Angel), Stacey Scowley-2 (Buffy/Dollhouse) Clyde Katulas-2 (Buffy/Dollhouse), Maurissa Tanchon-2(Dollhouse/Dr Horrible), Summer Glau-3(Angel/Firefly/Dollhouse) Glenn Morshower-2(Buffy/Dollhouse). Greg Collins-2(Angel/Dollhouse) Mike Massa-3(Buffy/Angel/Dollhouse)
This time it's Ballard who says they can't wait (because Topher removed his love for Echo?)but Adele who insists on staying for the others.
Reminds me of;
Besuited Whiskey is reminiscent of Demi Moore's famous cover shoot from the 80s. The Wizard of Oz again, something much quoted in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, another series with Summer Glau.
Whedon cliches; again we see that with it's cutting edge medical Rossum is actually quite benevolent in many ways (like the Alliance in Firefly). As was the point made in Buffy/Angel, humans rule because they evolve and demons don't, Boyd making the same argument here. It's not necessarily those who are stronger and smarter who survive but those who adapt and evolve best, fire, TV and opposable thumbs. Boyd refers to the Dollhouse crew as a family, much like the Scoobs, AI and the Serenity crew. We're told that Echo is 'The Key', like Dawn and River Tam. Another big girly fight that isn't girly at all.
Maimed characters. Rich and powerful famillies who cover up the evil deeds of their wayward sons. Top security installations which aren't secure at all. Loving self-sacrificing mothers who risk all for their children. Corporate politics literally played with deadly seriousness. Monty Python quoting villains. Offices full of zombies. Strawberries. Sleeper agents.
Breaking the programming;
All the Dolls can now break their imprinting to a greater and lesser degree, Sierra and Victor feel their love for one another whatever they're imprinted and Mellie now kills herself rather than hurt Paul.
Questions and observations;
So, they always had the idea of Caroline being special, it was clear to them from the start. Her physiology holds the secret to being able to resist being forcibly imprinted. Who killed the Rossum hitmen at the Dollhouse? One could see the dangers of the Dollhouse tech as an analogy for nuclear proliferation, that even if every nuke were destroyed it wouldn't matter because once the knowledge of how to create them exists it can never be de-invented. Adele refers to Nero fiddling whilst Rome burnt. Actually he didn't, his actions during the fire were quite heroic but that story was spread afterwards by his enemies when he tried to raise taxes. Victor quotes the Ranger creed 'Leave no man behind'.
Marks out of 10; 8/10, enjoyable despite the bafflement