Ok, so Part 8 of the Epitaph One Flashbacks series is a biggie! This one is clearly set in the Dollhouse, post wireless, possibly years in the future. Both Topher and DeWitt have joined up with the Actuals by this point. There are no signs of Boyd, Echo or Ballard.
Whiskey is there, still imprinted with the personality of Dr. Saunders, however now her face is no longer scarred, which seems odd… when did she find the time in the middle of an apocalypse to get some cosmetic surgery done?
Anyway, she is now the primary carer for Topher, who has gone insane with guilt. He is currently living in one of the Doll Pods and scribbling on the walls in chalk.
Topher proposes a theory, a somewhat rambling, slightly deranged theory, but a sound theory in the mythology of the Dollhouse. He suggests that a government could use the wireless technology to imprint an entire city using the phone network. Those that answer the phone would be imprinted with a single order, kill anyone who isn’t imprinted to do so.
“Then the war has two sides.” Topher explains, “Those that answered the phone and those that didn’t” then he immediately demands that Adelle not answer the phone. However I wonder if he is fixating on something that has already happened. I wonder if somebody already used his idea to start a war. Also Topher’s words suggest that the war only has one side.
“That’s all it would take, then we win, then we win boom!” he rambles, suggesting that he and Adelle have finally allied themselves with “The Good Guys”. “So which is worse, pick up the phone or don’t pick up the phone, I can’t tell.” Topher has clearly lost it. “An entire army in a single instant, that’s all it takes, that’s brilliant, that’s so brilliant!” Then he pauses for a second, his look changing to one of confusion. “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Of course the answer is that he did. However Topher’s mind cannot hope to comprehend the massive responsibility on his shoulders, so instead he tries to convince himself that he isn’t to blame. “Did I think of that?” He asks, Adelle says nothing but looks upon him with the kind eyes of a lover. “Oh my God,” he cries over and over as the rush of guilt pours over him like a waterfall.
“If I think I can figure things out is that curiosity or arrogance?” Adelle cannot bare to watch and she cradles Topher to her as he repeats over and over “I know what I know”. Nothing we have seen so far in Dollhouse comes even close to being as touching and as distressing and disturbing as this single moment is. It is pure poetry, a defining moment for the series as a whole.
Outside in the main body of the house a banging starts as someone tries to break down the cinderblock wall that is barricading in the entrance. Victor (with no Sierra) takes up arms with a few other Actuals, then the wall comes down and standing there is none other than Echo and Ballard. “Home sweet home.”
There is little point now speculating on when and where and in which season this flashback takes place, but I would suggest that it would be at least season 3 or 4 had FOX had the balls to keep this show on the air.
Although, in terms or story events, the flashback tells only a little and hints at a little more, what it does excellently is express the emotions involved. Fran and Olivia are absolutely superb in this, as they are in all episode of the show, I simply cannot get enough of them. While that single line from Eliza expresses how Caroline/Echo feels about the Dollhouse and those she left behind.
Join me next time for the final part of the Epitaph One Series and look out in December for the My Two Cents new feature “Dollhouse Doubles” Tomorrow we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming with a full length post on this week’s Flash Forward “Playing Cards with Coyote”