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.”

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