In the sixth episode of the second season of Dollhouse, Adelle and Topher travel to D.C. to retrieve Echo, and Bennet sets into motion a complicated and disturbing plan. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Dollhouse.
This is stunning, and I am continually impressed with how this show is unfolding. More and more, the writers are exploring the unbelievable power that corporations can hold and how that affects public policy. Granted, this is a fictional show, and it’s not like someone is programming senators for their own gain. (I still want to know which President was a Doll. My god.) But that doesn’t mean we can’t take away our own meaning from it, and it’s clear that we’re finally bridging the gap between what we saw in “Epitaph One” and the present reality on the show. I made a comment during my predictions post that I was confused about how to “predict” a show that had given me the future, and it’s clear that “Epitaph One” needed to happen. It is so fascinating to see the pieces fall into place, and it’s also obvious that the writers can still pack a shocking plot twist (OR A THOUSAND) into the story, too.
I really, really like this show, y’all.
- So one of the primary mysteries introduced at the end of “The Public Eye” was the fact that Bennet knew who Caroline was. It’s important to note that she doesn’t recognize Echo, and, in fact, never really refers to the character as anyone but Caroline throughout this episode. That was a clue as to the past between these two characters. It was Caroline who betrayed Bennet, and now Bennet enacts her revenge on Echo because she cannot separate the two. The details are fuzzy, but it appears Caroline and Bennet did something together, perhaps against Rossum, and Caroline left her behind. It also explains how the nerves were severed in Bennet’s left hand. I don’t think this is the last we’ve seen of Bennet’s flashback, either, and I’m curious to know the full story behind these two.
- I think it’s significant that Bennet routinely refuses to separate Echo and Caroline because that’s the whole point of Perrin and Echo’s conversation in the backyard of his house. Both characters come to the realization that they can resist their programming in some ways by remembering their experiences. (Obviously, Echo can do this to a greater extent.) Because they have these experiences, that means they believe their Doll personality is an identity in itself, and they don’t want to lose that. Again, I really want to see how this is dealt with in the future. Will Echo allow Caroline to take her over? How will she navigate this?
- There’s no doubt in my mind that Dollhouse is the one show of Whedon’s that is the most uncomfortable. Nothing is this consistently unsettling in either of his shows. That whole scene where Perrin’s handler tells him she is disgusted by him? My god.
- You can see in this episode how Adelle’s moral certainty is coming back. We’ve seen bits and pieces of it before, but here, you can tell that she’s extremely uncomfortable with what Rossum is doing, so she begins her rebellion. This involves her brilliant threat to the head of the D.C. Dollhouse. Yes, it’s entertaining, but knowing what we’ve seen in “Epitaph One,” Adelle has to reach a point where she’s willing to risk her own personal safety and well-being to fully oppose Rossum.
- Topher and Bennet’s flirting was too good to be true. I mean, it was nice to see two socially awkward people bond over their mutual respect and attraction to one another, but at the same time, we also knew that both characters were secretly betraying one another, doing what they could to push their own agenda. Bennet was determined to destroy Echo, and Topher was trying to steal Perrin’s brain map. It couldn’t have worked, no matter how cute they were.
- There really is a lot going on here, and this is one of the more dense episodes of the show, but I think the pacing and storytelling was handled brilliantly. I cared about everything going on – the exploration of the identity of the Dolls, the attraction between Topher and Bennet, the double crossing, and the looming threat of the Senate hearings – and that’s really important for something this complicated. Not one plot, whether it was the main story or a subplot, was boring. I was engaged by all of them, and that’s a gorgeous feat.
- This deserves its own bullet point: Enver Gjokaj is unreal and I am pretty sure he is a real-life Doll. I just don’t understand how he’s not on every show ever. Where did he come from? Why have I never seen him outside this show? Wait, I did see him on that one episode of Community, but it’s only after starting Dollhouse that I realized he was on something I’d seen. For real, his transformation to Topher is just fucked up because it’s so perfect. How does this man do this? I am scared. He made a deal with Satan or something, didn’t he?
- WHERE THE HELL IS PAUL BALLARD, EVERYONE? Where is he hiding???
- So, it became apparent that this episode would have to lead to that Senate hearing, and I was increasingly worried about how this would end. Either possible ending meant utter chaos. If Perrin exposed Rossum, then that meant he and others would be at risk for death. Or worse. I don’t doubt that Rossum would retaliate in terrifying ways. If Perrin supported Rossum, then this would still be a disaster. I guess I misjudged Perrin’s resistance to his imprinting. I shouldn’t have, though, because only Echo has shown to be able to do this on a grand scale. That Senate hearing scene was so heartbreaking because Perrin has no idea he killed his wife. He has no idea what he’s just set into motion, and he has no idea what hell he just unleashed upon Madeline. Honestly, out of everyone here, I feel the worst for her. It’s clear that the D.C. Dollhouse took her to put her back to work, and it just crushes my heart. Now we know what happened to November. Well… at least partially, that is. I still have no idea if this is what Priya was referring to in “Epitaph One.” I’M SCARED.
- So where do we go from here? Echo is missing, Ballard is nowhere to be found, Rossum wants to make Perrin the fucking President, Madeline is back as a Doll, and Topher, Boyd, and Adelle are all aware of the terrifying reach of the Rossum Corporation. Are they going to fight back, and how?
I love this show. SO MUCH!
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