29 December 2010
By Rachael Nisenkier // TV
I was going to wait until the end of the series to post again. Mainly, I wanted to do that to save some of my street cred. Undoubtedly, most people reading this have already watched the whole series. Therefore, my half-baked theories formed on half-evidence are going to seem laughable to those of you who already know the whole truth and nothing but the truth about Rossum, Echo, Caroline, and the rest. But holy god in heaven do I need to talk about the most recent episode of Dollhouse.
~SPOILERS (if you can really call it spoilers when it’s been out on DVD for a year)~
So where are we now? Well, since I last left you, Viktor/Anthony and Sierra/ Prya have been re-imprinted with their original personalities, and set loose to bump uglies (sorry) until the apocalypse begins. It was a touching and sweet antidote to what happened to…
Ballard. After Alpha let himself loose to torture, shoot, and kill any and all of Echo’s “romantic engagements” and ultimately decided that it was far more interesting to torture and kill the man she chose to love (Ballard, for those of you having a hard time keeping up), Ballard ended up strapped to a ventilator with most of his brain a mass of useless scar tissue. After a season and a half (which, yes, was the length of one regular season) of these two working towards each other, Ballard ultimately ended up having to sacrifice (Thanks to Topher) a major chunk of the part of his brain that contained his feelings in order to be brought back from the dead. Thus leaving him and Caroline a muddled mass of memories without feelings that would probably be a lot more tragic if the show wasn’t trying desperately to push us towards the plot’s conclusion, if not necessarily the emotional conclusion of every arc.
Meanwhile, in other brought-back-from-the-dead news, the gang has to work to resurrect Caroline’s imprint, because, as it turns out, she’s the only one who knows who the nefarious Clyde 2 and Rossum 1 are. See, back when Caroline was an annoying college-student-turned-terrorist, she broke into Rossum headquarters and was allowed up to see the man in charge (which we find out from Clyde 1.0 in the attic, in what was a fantastic head trip action movie of an episode that I wish I had more space to write about). “It’s Getting Closer”, the episode I just finished, centered around the crumbling of the Dollhouse as we know it as the gang attempts to put together the Caroline imprint, thus filling in the major blanks in the Rossum puzzle.
First, we have the twist that Saunders is living with Boyd. Then, just when we’ve bought into their tragically doomed love story, Saunders shoots and kills the increasingly-adorable-if-occasionally-psychotic-super-genius-turned-Topher-love-interest Bennet (Summer Glau). And then, and you had to know this was coming, we get the revelation of our series-wide Big Bad. And it’s…
Boyd?! I have to admit, I did not see that coming. But, god, does it work for me. Turning the protector into the architect, twisting every moment of the first and second season and wrenching the barely palpitating moral heart of the show from its center just at the moment that the ambiguously evil characters of DeWitt and Topher start to resurrect the fallen pieces of their own morality? That’s a genius move, thematically. Where this will either fail or fly in the long run, however, is in whether or not the show makes me believe it as more than just a thematic move. I hope the show convinces me that Boyd truly was this character all along, and that his actions and motivations along the way still make sense.
God I love this show. It’s a damn good thing I chose to watch it a season late and a dollar short, because if I’d had to lose this it would have been physically painful. Over the past five episodes, pretty much since “Echo” started becoming a true person (and not just a collection of ticks and glitches) and the show found its stylistic groove, I’ve just enjoyed the show more than anything on the planet. Before that, it was always heady and trippy, but what I’ve found it lately is fun. Dark, depressing, and still heady and trippy, but with lines like Topher’s (“You showed me yours. I’ll show you mine…” awkward face) and battles like Echo’s perpetual and Buffy-esque one against her captors in the Attic, the show has finally become the fully realized piece I’d like to think they always meant it to be.
Please, please, please. Don’t let me down as I go into these final three episodes. (“The Hollow Men”, “Epitaph 1” and “Epitaph 2”). I probably won’t post again until I can reflect on the series as a whole.