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!

1 comment:

k8nyc said...

I heard tell that this show was up for being axed. Not to rain on your parade or anything...