Monday, 23 March 2009

Whedon Throws a Curve Ball…

Only a week after I write a scathing review about the predictability of the Dollhouse, we get this from the master himself Mr. Whedon!

This weeks episode “Man in the Street” is awesome, exposing the full scope of the show for the first time and making us all stop nodding our collective heads and go “Oh, right…”

So, if you haven’t watched this weeks episode yet stop reading now!

Questions and Answers, that’s what we get this week. FBI agent Paul Ballard finally learns the truth, the Dollhouse is real, what was I saying about them dragging it out for a whole season? Bursting in on Echo while she is on an engagement he learns the brutal truth that the ghosts he is chasing are more than real. News he shares with the girl next door, the shy, bashful and beautiful Mellie, poor form really for a seasoned FBI agent, but i guess it’s a novel experience for Paul to have someone who actually wants to hear his crazy theories.

However the transition from neighbours to lovers seems to have happened all too quickly. We all know Mellie loves Paul, but Paul is clearly obsessed with Echo and has barely noticed poor old next door neighbour. Now he beds her and lets her into his life almost completely… Pushing that aside however and filing it under “Minor Problem” Paul goes out to order some kind of oriental food and is subsequently attacked by Echo. While a disgraced handler is sent after poor Mellie because she “Knows too much.”

After kicking ten shades of **** out of poor Paul, Echo reveals she has been reprogrammed by someone within the Dollhouse. Paul immediately responds with “The same person who sent me the photo and the video?” D’oh! If Echo is playing Paul then he just handed over the information that there could be a leak in the Dollhouse! However if Echo really has been reprogrammed that opens up a whole host of questions.

Firstly, how? We have to rule out Topher here, it would be tooooooooo easy for Topher be the culprit. Secondly his devotion to the Dollhouse seems unwavering. However ruling out Topher only really leaves two suspects. The first and least likely is Adelle DeWitt, head of the LA branch of the Dollhouse. The second, the only person with the technical know how, is Topher under appreciated assistant.

Of course we have no proof that Echo was reprogrammed, it could be that what she was telling Ballard was exactly what she was programmed to tell him. Of course, if what she says is true…

Echo tells Paul “This is their first communication, security inside is very tight!” If she is telling the truth then there is an insider as well as the external source we still assume to be Alpha. “There are over 20 Dollhouses.” Interesting, that broadens the scope of the show somewhat. However the first thing that then came to my mind was “Is there an Echo, a Serra and a Victor in each, or do they all have different codenames?” Echo continues to tell Paul that the Dollhouses are spread out around the world and that they are tied into the very fabric of the political system, that there is no way to bring them down. Finally she reveals “The Dollhouse deals in Fantasy, that is their business but not their purpose.”

So what is their purpose? Echo’s final words before she leaves “You have to let the Dollhouse win, you have to trust me.” A comment that seemingly serves the agenda of DeWitt, getting Ballard to back off, but is it all a ploy or is there truth in the fantasy. So the purpose? The first thing that sprung to mind was supersoldiers. Not a new concept, the X-files certainly overplayed the notion and Heroes hinted at the idea during its last chapter and we all know how reprogramming help Neo and Trinity in the Matrix, but is the Dollhouse really that cliché?

The one thing we do know for sure is that there are other Dollhouses, DeWitt tells us as much. Also if the report at the start of the episode is to be believed, the Dollhouse has existed since the 80’s, which reduces, in my eyes, the genius of Topher. He has gone from “mastermind” to “standing on the shoulders of geniuses.” Recognise that line? You should, its from Jurassic Park. Jeff Goldblum leans across the table and tells Richard Attenborough that “You saw what others had done and you took the next step, you didn’t create it so you take no responsibility for it.” And we all know how well that turn out for Mr. Attenborough don’t we?

Ok, so I'm not suggesting that LA is going to be overrun with Dinosaurs, but what i am suggesting is that Topher could easily be working with a flawed set of principles as his building blocks and if he is how can he hope to control anything? I’m going to keep my eye on this analogy, I’m kind of hoping it plays out in my favour.

So… finally, we come to the big twist. The twist that is so big I’d already thought of it and then dismissed it. Mellie, sweet, innocent, pretty little Mellie, is a badass sleeper agent! Why? and what for? are just many of the unanswered questions posed in this weeks episode and it looks like we’ll have to wait another week to find out…

Well, that’s My Two Cents and here’s a big hand to Mr. Whedon for proving me wrong (Yes that’s right, he read last weeks blog and re-wrote the entire show just to prove me wrong.) a great, non-dushku centred episode… Well done Joss!

Dollhouse returns at 9pm on Friday 27th on Fox…

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