Saturday, June 20, 2009

Overdue (aka No Longer Relevant)

Alright. I have a few posts in the queue that are long overdue. And I refuse to go the usual route of letting them die alone. So, a solid month after the airing, here are my thoughts on the Dollhouse finale. I'll break it down into things I liked, and things that disappointed.

What I liked:
- I liked that Alpha's obsession with Echo was not actually based on his recognizing her brilliance, or her capacity to be like him, or anything that justified his treating her like an experiment and plaything. I liked the reveal, be it contradictory to all that was built up, that Alpha just became obsessed with an unhealthy crush.
- Amy Acker. Though I'm sold on Eliza Dushku as Echo, sometimes during assignments I find myself thinking about Faith (during her fight in the restaurant with Ballard, I actually said aloud "This is the Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Battlestar Galactica crossover episode." Though I've never actually watched BSG. This is my distaste for Watchmen [the comic, not the movie, which I haven't seen] make me a bad nerd. Among other things). But Amy Acker, not surprisingly, is amazing in every new role. I completely forget her character in the last scene and totally buy into whatever she's playing that minute. I wonder why few if any fans saw the Dr. Saunders being a doll thing coming - what a perfect way for Joss to utilize her versatility. I mean, to my understanding the last time they worked together, he killed off her character just to create a chance for her to play something else.
- Topher's facade cracking. Please, please, please, let this continue to develop in season two. Topher, the goofy asshat, taking a introspective and serious turn could have major positive implications for the direction of the show.
- Ballard feeling discomfort and conflict around November. His reactions to her in Briar Rose were infuriatingly simplified. The ending would indicate that she's being phased out, which is really frustrating. I feel unsatisfied. Speaking of...

What I Didn't Like:
- The playing up of Alpha's violent past and the playing down of the Dollhouse's recklessness with him. This was a huge problem for me. If this was the case, why was it even significant that Echo retained memories? I'm a little interested in Ballard's talk of souls, since the intersection of science and spirituality is always a rich and worthy topic, but, I feel like, they're undermining their own point. Society controls us - except you can't change people! I'm deeply disappointed by this 'evil people are just evil' mixed message.
- The instantaneous of Echo's enlightenment (conveyed so user-friendly-y via monologue) followed by the erasure of that enlightenment. No struggle in either direction.

Well, at this point the show has been picked up for a second season, and I'm glad. I still believe in the basic concept, and despite the missteps, I want to see where it goes. Oh, and if I get my hands on the unaired actual finale, maybe I'll write something up on that. The shots I've seen from it have been most titillating.

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