20090427

Doll House Episode 10: Rich Folks Are Also Petty and Dull

Last week Dollhouse was preempted though I have no idea why because I don’t watch this show on TV as it does nothing to help the show’s standing with it’s network.

Previously on Dollhouse: Ballard (BSG's Helo) got more information, and the guy from Homicide was tortured essentially to death. That scene is really unpleasant and I wish they’d stop showing it. In much the same way as I’ll never get tired of seeing rapists get pummeled and curb-stomped, and I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable watching torture imagery.

On with the show!

We start out in a very stately garden where four guys are pretending like they just got done with a round of tennis. A stately lady, who answers to Margaret, in full riding gear takes a horse out for a quick trot after waving to these tennis posers.

A few seconds pass, and then the horse show’s up with no rider.

We cut over to the Doll House Puzzle Palace Head Quarters, and Eliza Dushku has just been uploaded or downloaded. Olivia Williams is there and she tells Dushku that she is in fact the lady who apparently died in the previous scene.

And roll the depressing opening credits! This time it only took them two minutes or so to get us here, and it gives the episode more urgency.

The newly promoted Harry J. Lennix is wandering around with nothing to do except feel guilty about how/why he was promoted. Topher the Tech is futzing around in the lab. He tells Lennix he was no fun as Dushku’s handler before and even twice as less fun as the head of security.

Then he makes a remark about Dushku being uploaded with the dead lady, who was special friends with Olivia Williams and makes some comments hoping for lesbianism after too much wine and oh, isn’t that witty? Yeah, I get that Topher’s an immature douche. Nobody actually talks about their co-workers that way with someone as dour as Lennix’s character.

Meanwhile, Dushku-imprinted with the dead lady- is having a light lunch with Williams with wine poured from one those really unwieldy looking carafes. They talk about how they made the imprint, and Dushku remarks about how great the new body is. Apparently, this client paid to be imprinted so she could attend her own funeral or solve her own murder. It’s very odd.

Dushku/Margaret is crafty as Hell, as she has written new identity into her own will, as she explains in the pew of what appears to be the estates’ chapel. Sad to say, this episode is already starting to bore me. The concept is exceedingly intriguing, but as usual the execution has something to be desired.

The dynamic between Williams and Dushku is odd, as they are thought to be old friends but it doesn’t quite feel that way, it feels more like Williams is indulging a fanciful teenager who is playing at being this person, rather than actually that person. Magaret’s young husband is in attendance, and he’s very young. That's really al he's got going on.

Back at the Puzzle Palace, the Torture Lights are blinking like rave as Topher runs his test on the Sierra, the Human Gazelle. Turns out he’s uploaded a gamer girl (or grrrl if that’s your preference).

I think the theme of this episode is the laziness of the Dollhouse. Topher could, you know, find a nerdy girl who plays video games and such, but the lazy way just uploads one into an already attractive body. There’s this weird pathetic vibe so far in this episode. They power up the Xbox (and how much easier is it to film people playing video games with no more cords?) and get ready to take turns “pwning” each other.

And we check in with Helo, who is brooding at the dinner table, possibly over the fact that the only people that matter in his life have been programmed to do so.

The scene is very sad, because Chef Doll doesn’t know she’s a doll, Helo does and can’t tell her and if you haven’t been watching the show, Helo acts like one of those boyfriends who hates sharing his feelings.

Helo swears he’s fine, and Chef doll is adorable. And here’s some really great lighting in this scene. He takes her wine glass, pours it out, and puts it in plastic, probably for a DNA sample. Helo’s character is probably supposed to be of Polish decent; a people who are historically incapable of quitting.

Meanwhile, at the post funeral drinking party (where nothing ever goes well) Dushku is trying to convince everyone that she is the identity that Margaret made up and it’s just not working. In fact, this scene is very well acted, because it’s really awkward to watch family’s fight, as it should be. Dushku realized everyone in the room is a suspect as they lay into the dead woman for all of her flaws and complain how hard their lives are.

Margaret, in Dushku’s body, learns that no matter how good your intentions were; people will see whatever they want and people’s perspective will be completely different than your thought.

Margaret’s son comes outside to talk a little bit more, and Dushku/Margaret tells him essentially what she couldn’t when he was growing up so he decides to kiss her and she nearly vomits. Really creepy.

Dushku/Margaret also talks to the young widower; Jack, who doesn’t really seem like a killer, but he inherited the horses, so he is also unhappy.

Dushku/Margaret calls Williams, says she loves these people, but doesn’t like them, which is the definition of family, really. She’s also apparently being watched, dun-dun-dun!

Back at the Puzzle Palace, Lennix has serious concerns about loading dead people into the dolls, and calls eternal life “The Beginning of the End.” He contends that morality is based on the fear of death, which I don’t exactly agree with.

Lennix also makes a point that when this little jaunt is over, she has to essentially die again. Williams pretty much says he’s there to handle it, and that’s why he makes the big bucks. Lennix almost dismisses himself before Williams essentially says “What else have you got?”

At which point Lennix pretty much says he’s on top of it like a hot air balloon, (“and what?”) and has already had Victor Troika Doll uploaded with a horse breeder program and sent to the estate to see about the horse named King’s Ransom. Damn.

Then Dushku/Margaret talks with her daughter, who complains about the Young Tropical Cookie she married.

Helo needs those prints from the wine glass run, and the technician at the FBI. Her prints match 9 files, then suddenly all the files delete themselves and no matches return. Helo’s friend at the FBI says “I just started to believe you.”

Topher the Tech is playing with the Gazelle, and they’re talking about classic sci-fi errors.

Dushku/Margaret figures out some more stuff. Like the most likely suspects no longer are. . . and snoooooooooore. . . . so boring.

Topher and Gazelle play some laser-tag, and it’s pretty cute, but also dull.

Helo! Tell me something’s going to get interesting! Chef Doll is pretty bubbly and happy, and is very nervous. She’s very much in love with it’s very sad because she’s been programmed. And their dynamic is ruined; then they decide to have angry sneery sex, because if Helo solves the case, no body loves him. I’d be kinda grouchy, too.

At the Estate, Dushku/Margaret is going for a little night riding (some funky combination of western and post, for you equestrians) when the son shows up and says, Hey, you’re totally my mom in someone else’s body!

Apparently he is also a client. Ha! She gets upset because he uses prostitutes, and he points out that she’s cheating death. I’m not sure why the conversation even goes that way. “Paying for sex, bad!” somehow brings us immediately to. . weather or not your screwing god over by getting extra time?

Then they talk about the son’s gambling problem.

Troika figured out that the horse has been juiced, and says he won’t buy it and tells the Tropical Cookie where to stick it as Dushku/Margaret and the son hide. The tropical cookie goes off into a rage and bangs on some bars with a shovel, spooks some horses, one of whom bursts out and knocks him down.

Dushku and the Son run some more before the Tropical Cookie catches up. Margaret’s son puts an iron hook in between his ribs, but clearly does it wrong because his lung doesn’t collapse and he’s still able to give chase.

Lennix has it all figured out; except who the killer is. He even knows about Topher’s “diagnostics.” That’s why he makes the big bucks.

Those of you who had being paying attention during this episode, not watching other movies on Hulu like I was, now know the following: there’s no way that the Tropical Cookie knew anything about drugging horses, while her son has been her son all his life, which means he’d know a thing or two. Got it? That’s murder she wrote stuff. Dushku/Margaret realizes this about ten minutes after we have. Angela Landsbury she ain’t.

And it’s time for the closing fight sequence! In this corner we have the Young Tropical Cookie! In this corner we have Nick the Matricidal Gambling Addict! Cookies blows through the door with a shotgun, then it’s a buttstock to the face for Nick, who comes back with a shot to the stomach, throws him against the wall and an a left right body combo. Cookie gets Nick in a headlock, Nick tries to choke Cookie, Dushku bashes him in the head with the shotgun, and Cookie brains him with a mirror.

Yay!

Dushku/Margaret re-writes the will to leave the son out, and then we check in with Helo and the Chef Doll, who is telling Helo she can’t handle that sort of nastiness on a regular basis. Well, that’s fine, neither can we. Helo being all sneering and nasty is kind of like Evil Superman in Superman III. It just feels unwholesome.

“Are you going to keep searching for Dollhouse clients?” she asks.

Helo, darkly, growls “I found one.”

20090411

Dollhouse Episode 9: “I’m keeping my sexy business woman shoes.”

The episode recap once again treats us to the Chef Doll beating the hell out of a known rapist. I honestly can’t get enough of that scene, because it you watch it closely, you realize she curb stomps this dude on the edge of a coffee table. Damn.

Then we get a flashing lights and shadow POV shot of someone being strapped down to something by some people, one of whom is Topher the Tech, actually being useful for once.

Dushku and the Human Gazelle are outside the room where all these flicker bulbs have been installed. Dushku creepily asserts “She made a mistake, now she’s sad.” Next a gunshot and raspberry jam gets on the window.

Then cut to “12 hours earlier,” in the Dollhouse Scooby Van speeding down , where Dushku is describing BDSM in studded leather armor, and quite frankly pulls off an appropriate attitude making it pretty believable.

Harry J. Lennix is sitting across from Dushku as she speaks, completely bemused, trying hard not to laugh because 1. BDSM gear looks rather silly in normal light, no matter how fit you may be or your attitude 2. Dushku is talking all tough, and she is three apples high. 3. She says “I think you need a session in my dungeon so I can show you otherwise.”

Lennix says “Think I’ll pass.” Dushku says “Don’t be so vanilla,” and the spell is broken.

We get back to the Dollhouse Headquarters Puzzle Palace parking garage, where we see Troika doll and his handler getting ready for an engagement with Ms. Lonely Hearts. Troika, with a smooth English accent no less, says his handler has a “secret stash of Bodice Rippers in the van,” and further more wants to be kidnapped by a pirate (and who doesn’t every now and again.)

Dushku says “I know a guy. . .”

Troika’s handler calls Dushku S&M Barbie and says she take her over Smooth English Troika any day. She then makes a crack about Troika’s geriatric princess, and Dushku cracks a whip on her calf and says “It’s love, show some respect.”

Well alrighty then. We’re off to weird start.

Dushku gets wiped, and Topher tries to train his intern to do the post wipe greeting. The Head of Security bursts in and is no mood for Topher’s post-emo banter; and he’s the only character I like less than Topher at this point. The HoS, Mr. Dominic, meets up with Olivia Williams, and she puts him in charge. My land, this will get interesting.

Doc Sexy Scars gives Dushku an exam after a particularly the rough engagement of being a dominatrix, and she and Lennix exchange pleasantries about the weather before getting down to brass tacks and spelling out that the Dollhouse’s primary clientele have sexual desires. And Doc Scars goes on to say that they have a lot of same sex engagements (I mean, duh, what have been saying since episode 1; but it’s nice they finally acknowledge it).

Lennix also asks what happens if the client wants to hold the whip, and Doc Scars says “We don’t send the actives to be submissive,” which makes sense. The actives are investment; the more down time they require for healing, the less time they are making money. Like any other prostitute.

Topher, probably for the first time, actually figures something out and lets Lennix know that he thinks Lennix is a spy. Topher found a chip that allows his imprints to be altered, and tells Lennix he thinks he’s a spy. Lennix says maybe Topher should 1. Not have talked to him before calling Olivia Williams 2. don’t tell a spy you think they should leave.

Mr. Dominic freaks out at the news, and all the while Dushku is watching. I personally think the chip altered her Tabula Rasa imprint to be an intelligence gathering system. How the spy acquires that intelligence is anyone’s guess, but I do know Topher would describe it as involving proteins and acids and how we’re all unpredictable.

Topher tells Dominic he supposed to making sure everyone that works there is on their side; so he looks really jacked up.

Dushku wanders into the imprinting room and says “Everyone’s unhappy today,” scaring the bejesus out of Topher who is already more spooked than a horse on the Fourth of July. Topher actually has a great rant about middle management jackassery and what an idiot Dominic is for being upset that Topher caught the breach rather than prevented the breach.

Dushku says that Topher can make her different so she can help, and then primly sits in the chair.

Roll the depressing opening credits!

Cut to November being imprinted by the intern. Chef Doll is brought back to her apartment and Helo has read Catcher in the Rye several hundred times and has one of those charts that really driven men make with papers and strings. This is actually sort of sad to me to see a man of action be consumed with the theory. Helo really needs a task force.

Chef Doll listens as Helo lays out everything he knows; and he gives her an out. She instead says that one cannot have justice without snuggles, and they’re back together! Yay! Then she goes into a trance and tells Helo that her name is November and she has message from the Dollhouse. Whoa.

Someone has broken their security open pretty wide if they know when and where dolls are going to be.

Great exchange:

HELO: They did this to you?

CHEFDOLL: They did this long before you met me.

Nice little conversation that could be about all kinds of unsavory things.

Helo is pretty much devastated by this news, and hell, who wouldn’t be? If your favorite girl or boy turned out to be a brainwashed automaton sent to spy on you, you’d feel like hell about it.

Chef Doll, in November mode, tells Helo that if tells her anything about the investigation it will get back to the Dollhouse and that if Dollhouse figures out that Helo knows all this, they’ll kill him and they’ll have Chef Doll do it. Ow.

Then I get another Outback Steakhouse commercial, which apparently consists of “Our deals with make our happier than a [Australian person/mammal] (doing) [Australian thing] It’s a bonzer!” If they did this with any other kind of restaurant, I think it’d be really weird. “Paul Chen’s, deals so good you’ll be happier than Wong Fei Hung was when he became master of the Hung Fist!”

Back to the show; Mr. Dominic is being his usual self and Dewitt’s GPS isn’t working. Gazelle has apparently been imprinted with a Bad-ass. Gazelle’s mission involves some nifty spy things that’s actually much better written than the last “caper” episode. She replaces an employee on the train with a nifty syringe pen. (MARC riders, take note!)

The Gazelle shows up the room where they store the computer from Chuck. She swipes a tiny clear piece of plastic and rolls out. Security alarms go off as she exits, and the guard wands her. Wait for it. . . wait for it. . . she stands perfectly still until he puts the wand under her shoulder and then she takes out with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it speed. Nice.

Time to go!

She runs around the building a lot; and you know what? Kudos to who ever thought to actually show the high heels hitting the linoleum. We just don’t see that. Security staff catches up to her and fires their submachine guns because whatever she’s got, it is so important they’ll risk loosing another high clearance employee to stray bullets. She’s got a chopper on the way. . . but commercial!

And back, we’re on Victor’s mission for the day. He gives some roses to a very matronly lady and then goes out back and gets in a very nice English sports car and drives to a very nice house on the coast to meet with . . . Olivia Williams.

Haw damn.

Victor, implanted with Patrick McNee and little bit of James Bond, does a scene that’s filmed like an old movie where they can’t kiss for more than three seconds, and Williams says she used to work in a lab that made spare organs from stem cells, and says could talk about that in good conscience. (What the hell’s that supposed to mean, Dollhouse writers?). She seems moody and depressed so Smooth Troika suggested they take it elsewhere.

That where is, in fact a nice indoor fencing gym/lounge, where they proceed to duel. That just really damned hot, in what appears to be snake skinned fencing vests no less. Williams then cuts Smooth Troika; who decides to take the kid gloves right the hell off, and they wreck furniture and he disarms her and then they kiss. It’s actually a very well done scene as analogue to sex.

Then they actually have sex, because we just can’t be subtle these days. They have a very weird conversation where Smooth Troika, not knowing he is a doll but implanted with a personality that knows a decent amount about it, talks about why he wouldn’t want a doll.

Williams also has one of the darkest lines in the show: “Everyone has their first date, and the object is about hiding your flaws, and then you’re in a relationship and it’s about hiding your disappointments then once your married it’s about hiding your sins.”

Smooth Troika suggest they run away together, Williams says they wouldn’t own clocks or computers or sexy business woman shoes. It’s really sad because we know it can’t happen, and Williams realizes this a second after we do.

They fall asleep, then Troika wakes up alone; and Williams comes in and starts crying.

Commerical: Cisco apparently has technology that allows people all over the country to make fools of themselves at the same time.

Cut back to Dushku’s implanting. She is now a super lie detector (which means she’s implanted with Tim Roths’ character from Lie to Me*) who actually wants to interrogate Topher. Topher insists he found the spy, and therefore can’t be the spy.

Dushku says he’s either dangerously incompetent or trying to cover his tracks. I vote for the second one. And now it’s time for an interview montage!

Topher’s intern is pretty bitter.

Lennix says “We’re pimps and killers, but in a philanthropic way.” Dushku trusts Lennix implicitly, so the entire thing is worthless.

Doc Scars apparently doesn’t leave the office much.

Topher’s intern is supposedly the spy; and Mr. Dominic is damn sure of it. Dushku is damned sure Dominic works for the NSA and makes a fairly convincing or totally circumstantial, case of it until she says he apparently called the NSA. Dominic goes on and says calls shenanigans. Dushku says, yeah, it’s all not quite right except for one last thing: “20 seconds ago your unsnapped your holster.”

READY! FIGHT! Dushku owns Dominic, who let’s face it, is a gunman first and more of a brawler than an artist. Whilst fighting they discuss Dominic’s plan to maintain his cover in the Dollhouse, which means . . he’s been feeding Helo?

They scuffle some more, he puts her through a coffee table, and then picks her up by her hair (which always this thing that proves a male character in anything is incurably misogynistic to me). Dushku puts Dominic almost out a window and says “I’m not broken.”

She then brings Dominic before Williams; who is very quite British in her anger. Dominic says he was assigned to help sustain the Dollhouse, making Ballards earlier theory spot on. Dominic also says that if Rossum lets Dollhouse technology get out of control, it would be extremely bad.

Dominic gets sent up the Attic, but before he tells Dushku “One day you’ll be erasing them, and they won’t even see it coming.”

Then they tape a foam rubber block in his mouth and we’re back at the opening sequence, which looks even more like torture because now he can hear muted screaming. Just in case you start to sympathize with these philanthropic pimps, remember they torture people effectively to death.

Dominic pulls a gun from somewhere and shoots Olivia Williams, who doesn’t really care all that much. Doc Sexy Scars patches her up, with no anesthetic.

Lennix gets promoted and Dushku gets a new hanlder. Roll Credits!

SUMMARY:

-So if Dominic was the mole; but not who was feeding Ballard information, it’s possibly Topher’s intern is a spy, but not the one they were looking for.

-The narrative flow of this episode was completely great.

-Running in high healed shoes. Usually the way this is done is the show the shoes being put on and then they’ll only show the shoes again when the person in them is standing still. Then they’ll show the person moving from the waist up, but this little bit extra really added some intensity to the action.

-Lots of nice twists this episode; smoother than last week. It was a very insular episode, and I liked that. Scumbag of the week really isn’t a good direction for this show; a stance which I’m not going to budge on.

-No anesthetic getting sewn up, rockin' ab muscles, cool under pressure and can handle a sword. The only possible way Olivia Williams character is single is she's a work-a-holic.

20090406

Dollhouse Episode 8: Closure is How We Manipulate You

Starting like we do on this show, Dushku shows up at Helo's apartment, after The Doll Chef decided to leave last episode because she needed some time away.

Helo was probably watching Silk Stalkings or something while collecting unemployment when Dushku came a callin’. She tells him she has a message from who ever is inside at the Dollhouse Puzzle Palace.

“I have something you need,” said Dushku, and then kissed Helo and Helo’s response, true to form is “Dude, I’m like a seaker of truth and justice so I don’t need to get laid.”

Dushku does’t believe this is true, and she’s right, it’s not so she convinces Helo to get busy on the couch that only a few days a go, his girlfriend was tossed over and killed a man in front of. If couches could talk.

Then the Doll Chef shows up, and Helo actually says “We’re all a bit confused right now.” And then continues the bow-chica-wow-wow and The Chef is completely aghast and says she’s not even real.

Helo then says “I’m sorry, I have a thing she needs!” Ho-ho! Clearly this is a dream a sequence. Then Doll Chef says “Caroline doesn’t need anything anymore, she’s dead!” and sure enough Dushku stops moving, and gets really pale and ewwwwww. Then Doll Chef starts seeping blood from her hairline. Helo is clearly suffering masculine depression stemming from the fact that he is not Batman then he wakes up.

Back at the Dollhouse Puzzle Palace Slumber Party room, those creepy doors slide of the beds and out come the Chef, the Gazelle and Dushku wander around.

Olivia Williams is holding meeting, to which Topher the Tech is late, where they are discussing everything that you already figured out last episode. Then the Dollhouse head of security gives a little speech proving he is the most monstrous sociopath any of us has ever seen by suggesting the handlers treat their dolls like pets. If they talk or start to learn, you need to be concerned. This guy apparently never owned German Shepard, because those dogs can do long division.

Oh, hey, Doc Sexy Scars, where have you been? Healing up rather nice, we see.

Topher throws out some bullshit technical words about chemicals and proteins, and everyone’s told to keep a close watch on their dolls, in case they become intelligent. Topher then says they’re going to test some new drugs on the dolls during their sleep cycles.

Later that night, everyone in that particular chamber wakes up with their original personalities with some pieces missing. Topher is so f**king fired.

One guy says it’s aliens, Troika drops back into Army mode, but they all decide to more or less go with the flow and they all wander around the compound until they get to the main hall. Some girl says “I like pancakes.” And Troika responds with “We’re all gonna die.”

Which is totally what I’d say in their situation.

So this fresh out of the oven Scooby Gang looses one of their number to a reprogram, and they all decide it’s time get the hell out of dodge.

The head of security tells Williams some of the dolls are going to escape, and she says “Right on schedule.” Oh, how evil! So Topher's not fired. Boo!

Troika Doll and the Human Gazelle decide it’s time to roll. Dushku and The Chef soon follow, and they find where they keep all the doll’s clothes. Troika finds the buttless chaps and is a little startled.

They make it to the parking garage and try to steal a vehicle.

One of the Dolls comes out of a returning vehicle in full battle rattle army gear, with no patches on the shoulders and a ton of magazines; as I’d guessed the dollhouse supplements special military operations.

Another doll comes out of the garage elevator dressed like Cabaret and speaking French.

Echo decides this is some balderdash, and she’s going back in there to “make a difference.” Bearing in mind, we know that making a difference is what got Echo in this trouble in the first place.

We next see her trying to break open a lock to a gun cabinet with a fire extinguisher when one of the of the other handlers finds her and a knock down fight ensues in which Dushku wails on this lady, grabs her keys and opens the gun cabinet.

Helo brings some hardware he found in apartment to Hoban Washburn’s Great great great great grand father, who identifies it as “non-existent,” and tells Helo he is nailed to the wall. Not much new there.

Dushku in Caroline mode begins to throw the Dollhouse into chaos; much to everyone’s surprise she first causes a power outage. Funny, when she’s not distracted by puppies that she can actually kick some ass.

Topher is freaking out because he is scared of the dark, and Dushku emerges from the shadows ready to blow a hole in him. After the commercial break she asks him what they do to people in the dollhouse, and Topher, being scared out of his mind says it’s “complicated.” Topher has been taking lessons from Ron McMahon.

We also get to find out the exact year; it’s 2009.

Meantime, we also get to find out Sierra was actually kidnapped and brought into the dollhouse because she wouldn’t sleep with some dude; who’s apparently a regular client.

That’s like pure evil. It’s okay though, ‘cause Crusty Old Staff Sgt. Troika is on the case, and he is not happy. There is something really tragic about what this guy is done; and it’s really terrible, but it’s well known this show has nothing but venom for the wealthy. I’m not going to say gimme something new because that’s a primary theme, but present it in a better more interesting way than “Rich people want to have sex/murder/be unpleasant to the disenfranchised masses with no messy consequences.”

Dushku is giving Topher the third degree about the dollhouse, and once again compares what they do with people memories with murder. I agree and I don’t. Depends if you believe we are merely the summary of our memories; but as this episode speculates; we have innate traits that aren’t actually attached to our memories, therefore they haven't actually been murdered, at least not permanently.

So she tries to put Topher through the memory wipe chair before Olivia Williams shows up and stops here. She explains that she eased Dushku’s suffered and self-justifies for a while at gun point. Dushku puts a few bullets into the equipment just to make herself clear.

Meantime, Troika and The Gazzelle hug as they hide from security, and The Chef finds her daughter’s grave.

Then Dushku insists that all the dolls be set free. . with no programs. . which is a mistake if you ask me. This why Dushku Caroline failed the first time: she does not plan. She sees that she wants something, like change or free puppies or something and she does it without even thinking about it. Honestly, had it not been for the Dollhouse it's entirely possible her tunnel-visioned idealism may have got her killed by now. Then they all shut down and get picked up by handlers. So this was the most intense training exercise anyone’s ever devised.

Then we flashback to Doc Sexy Scars telling Olivia Williams that they need to “let the tide come in” so that each one feels closure. Except Dushku, whose closure didn’t make a whole ton of sense, really.

Doc Scars tells Lennix he should be grateful for the whole fiasco, and he says, cool as can be “I’ll work on that.”

And then we have the most depressing ending of this show to date, depressing music, blank expressions, back in the sleeping chambers.

Finally, back to Helo! He get a call from Dushku, who tells him what’s going on and pretty much assures him the game is still on without actually giving him any new leads.

Roll Credits!

SUMMARY:

The rich people are evil theme is getting old. I know rich people are the new Nazis these days or something, but this really getting absurd and more importantly, it’s getting boring. I know not every character can have the depth and sympathy of Patton Oswald’s character, but really this endless cavalcade of very similar sleaze bags who almost all appear to be men in bespoke suits has got to stop.

I’m fairly pleased with the overall thinking behind this episode, and it’s a good stop gap measure to keep the dolls in line for a little while that also sets Echo apart from the other dolls. Overall the plotting is much, much smoother over these past few episodes, which is nice.

And WHO IN THE HELL PROGRAMED ECHO TO COMMUNICATE WITH HELO TWO EPISODES AGO?! No hints on that? Nothing? C'mon!

Doll House Episode 7: After Action Report

-The big scary, potentially Zaibatsu style corporation is named Rossum. Apparently Dushku, when her name was Caroline, sought out the corporation, or they found her as a result of something shady.

-At a research lab, three people go crazy. That lab is owned by Rossum. It’s related to a Doom Drug that breaks down inhibition and opens up repressed memory. In our world that’s called “booze.” In the doll house universe it comes in a vile that looks like Gatorade.

-So they need the Actives to get things straight, because they don’t have memories outside of what Topher the Tech gives them. Olivia Williams uses the term "boots on the ground" which I sure is supposed to sound tough, but really sounds like a bureaucrat appropriating war terminology to sound like they know what they're doing.

-Dushku is wearing those white yarn stocking things from opening credits; and she’s going to learn how to ride a motorbike.

-And we drop in on Helo and The Doll Chef, and they have yet another well written, well acted conversation which includes great little lines like “We don’t need to fast forward to the honey moon just because I had a bad day.” And she asks him to drop the case. What is a Helo to do? Snuggles or Justice? Snuggles! Justice! So torn!

-Olivia Williams sends a ton of actives to Rossum to find this missing vile of super Gatorade. Topher programs the Troika Doll to be an NSA agent, outranking Olivia Williams right hand man by a few pay grades. Sierra, the Human Gazelle, has been uploaded with the personality of a CDC doctor. This seems extremely convoluted; but then again if Rossum has a super drug that turns people crazy, they’d want to keep it under wraps.

-Dushku has tied a dude to a bed, and is filming it. It’s a little weird. She tunes in the news by accident, sees it and has a flashback to her old life. She rolls out leaving dude tied to the bed. He’d better get a refund.

-Horribly depressing opening credits.

-Flashbak to Caroline’s old life. She’s loves this dude and it’s rather dull.

-Olivia Williams tell Topher that the CEO of Rossum is a barely competent douche nozzle. No one’s really shocked by such an insinuation in this day and age.

-Dushku rolls up on Troika and his other Doll Boy troopers, and then Harry J. Lennix shows up and this college campus where people are roaming around like they’re on drugs. Duskhu apparently was some sort of activist for some sort of cause that gives her the righteous indignation enough. . . remember it despite having her memory erased. Rossum, was apparently Dushku/Caroline’s primary target before she was even a doll. Now, I know that this stuff is supposed make us think “wow, she’s all, conscientious,” but really if the reason she’s in the dollhouse is because she attempted and failed at an act of anti-corporate terrorism, I find it hysterically funny that’s she’s now a cog in the evil corporation she was trying to shame.

-Dushku was uploaded with a silly girl personality, and Harry J. Lennix also got the silly virus from the Gatorade, which is now apparently contracted through touch.

-The drug kicks in in the office. “What part was believable before?” asks Topher. Williams: “Sarcastic? Unfeeling? British?” and “I find lentils completely incomprehensible.” Topher: “You haven’t seen my drawer of inappropriate starches?!” Who actually appears to be less affected, despite roaming around in his underwear. This episode’s gimmick is austere people acting silly, and it’s actually sort of amusing, but after the previous episode’s momentum, and after they’d more or less wasted so much time before that, these wacky hijinks aren’t really welcome.

-On the college campus, someone recognizes Dushku as Caroline

-Things go down the tubes fast; as it turns out, everyone is affected, because Topher is an idiot and doesn’t know what's he's doing (which should as a surprise to no one at this stage) that they don’t actually erase people’s memories, they just repress them really well. Sierra has a flashback to her ugly recent trauma, and Troika doll has a flashback to an suicide bombing in Nonspecificistan. Olivia Williams’ Head of Security is freaking out as well, while Dushku and a new righteous college student are trying to find something in Rossum’s basement, then the college student in the world turns out to be a corporate spy.

-I really hate the outfit Dushku got saddled with for this episode, I’m not sure why. It’s just seems. . . creepy. It covers enough as to be prim and proper, but whenever she moves is threatens to be revealing, so it's more like a stripper outfit. Coupled with that "I'm a girl tee-hee" personality she has this episode, and we have recipe for creepy. And of course she's got heels on, and she goes tearing around in them like it's the Olympics.

-Harry J. Lennix knocks the corporate spy on his ass, and apparently recovered from the effects of the drug with only the help of some soulful piano playing.

-The end of episodes was like the day after a wild party, where everything is awkward and no one really wants to talk about it.

-The Corporate Spy shows up at Olivia Williams desk, and she says she can offer a monthly stipend so his mother doesn’t loose her house. Apparently the dolls get paid some sort salary.

SUMMARY:

Overall, this episode is better than usual, but not as good as last weeks. What’s really good about last week’s episode is redefined the tone for show, so now we’re seeing these characters in stories in a much better way overall.

A lot of the technical improvements I noticed in "Man on the Street" are now gone, and that's rather a shame, and while this episode felt a lot more briskly paced than the others, the most interesting story arc, Helo and The Chef, got almost no airtime at all.

20090403

iTunes thinks you are a lesbian

On browsing my extensive collection, I found I did not have "Tom's Diner," in any version.

I sought to correct this via itunes. Itunes, dutiful program that it is, did so promptly, bless its digital little heart.

Then it stepped over the line. It suggest a playlist called "Gay Pride: Girls." Now, that's not what was over the line; what was over the line was the playlist itself, transcribed below with commentary (weee!):

Melissa Ethridge - I'm the only one : Alright, explicitly a woman singing about another woman. Fine.

Indigo Girls - Closer to Fine : Yeah, makes sense.

Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just want to have fun : Now, we all know Ms. Lauper is a big supporter of Gayness in general and so on and so forth, but what exactly is gay about this song? I mean, yeah girls want to have fun. How's that gay? Unless "girls" is intended in the homosexual post-Polari slang that men use to refer to other men, then what's gay about girls having fun?

Sophie B Hawkins - Damn I wish I was your lover: Once again, how is this supposed to explicitly gay? This play list has veered dangerously close to appropriation. . .

The Pretenders - I'll stand by you: So . . if a woman sings about supporting someone, it's effectively about being a lesbian?

Shawn Colvin - Sunny Came Home : This song is clearly about repairing past damages, rebuilding your life, and so on. . . so how does that relate to girl on girl? Don't answer that. . . .

Sinead O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U : This song was originally by Prince and The Family and therefore was totally about a girl; so when Ms. O'Connor sings it, yeah, totally gay.

Paula Cole - I don't want to wait : This song is clearly being sung about/to a dude "I don't wanna to what his father, his father, his father did" and is probably her most whiny song. Hetereo-feminine assertive at best, not very gay.

Suzzane Vega - Luka : This song is sung from the perspective of an abused child, and I think it's inferring too much to assume it has anything to with sexuality. Reaching. Really reaching.

Dust Springfield - You don't Own Me : Once again, merely feminine and assertive.

T.A.T.U. - All The Things She Said: The name of the band means "This that", in feminine grammatical gender form, so "She Her." Two adorable Russian pixies who love each other very dearly. Yeah. Gay. Seriously, I'm pretty sure at this point they were engineered by some sort of mad pop scientists to sell billions of albums.

Meredith Brooks - Bitch : Quite apart from the blandness of this little ditty, I'm once again not sure how being assertive is some how supposed to be gay.

Joan Armatrading - The Weakness in Me : Classic. Also, really very neutral, not much else to say, probably not as gay as it could be.

Helen Reddy - I am Woman : Learned, experienced, been through narrative sort of song. . . once again. . not an experience limited to gay or straight women, I mean, you could claim that being gay means a harder life or something, but . . . I'm not going to concede that point under any circumstances.

Alanis Morrisette - You learn : WTF? Seriously? A song about growing up and learning is gay now? WTF?

Janis Joplin - Piece of My Heart: Could be about either gender. Reaching. . . .

k.d. Lang - Barefoot: Alright, so in the initial, "Hey new user, dig these tracks" playlist. . . isn't "Constant Craving" What. The. Hell.

See, my issue, as you may have guessed, is that some how feminine strength or assertiveness is some how gay. I think this is utter balderdash and I'll tell you why: despite everyone (read: frat boys with those white hats at a 14-45 degree angles) professing an undying love for lesbianism, homosexuality is still taboo. So essentially, it appears to me as though this playlist is attempting to enforce the idea that being a woman and assertive is some how taboo.

Now if that's not the case; then this play list is appropriation: IE "This song is actually not about a Mercedes Benz, it's actually about being gay! Oh, you didn't know. . .?" which is also irritating and dumb.