In the eleventh episode of the second season of Dollhouse, I can’t. I can’t do this. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Dollhouse.
HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DEAL WITH THIS? How do you drop multiple series-changing plot twists in my lap, including the revelation that BOYD IS ACTUALLY THE SERIES’S ANTAGONIST, and expect me to be anything but an incoherent mess?
Truthfully, I am a mess because I do not think it was easy to figure out that Boyd was the other original Rossum founder, and I’m struggling to find a way to let myself off the hook here. But I can’t! I fell for his entire schtick like I’d jumped off a cliff. Oh my god, doesn’t this change the meaning of every scene he has in Dollhouse? Is that why he got close to Echo in those initial episodes? Did he develop a relationship with Whiskey just to use her? Did he just go from being one of the more moral and caring characters to a horrifyingly creepy dude who manipulates the people around him to get what he wants?
I really need answers, and this next episode better provide them. I know that the story of Dollhouse is crammed into two seasons, and it’s why this all feels so terribly dense. I get that. I enjoy that. But I am worried about the Boyd reveal so late in the game. First of all, how are you going to explain this? There are so many things Boyd has done that don’t mesh with the idea that he is a backstabbing asshole bent on world domination. Why did he risk sending Echo into the Attic? Why did he give up being Echo’s handler and move to being head of security? How am I supposed to deal with this?
God, there’s just so much going on here. On top of this reveal, we also get a chance to find out that Caroline is not all that much different from Boyd. When you think about it, Caroline is an ambitious idealist who, when the time came, did what was in her own self-interest at the expense of a close friend. Hello, that is exactly what happened between Clyde and Boyd!
Goddamn it, I am so upset.
“Getting Closer” does provide a whole lot of energetic joy until that moment happens, and it’s a fascinating exploration of how all these morally ambiguous characters attempt to revolt against Rossum. That starts years ago with Caroline, who we finally get to see in a more revealing light. Her one-track mind is what made her so good at infiltrating Rossum, but now we understand why Bennet hates her so ferociously. Caroline embedded herself in Bennet’s life in order to get close to Rossum, and, surprisingly, this didn’t even phase Bennet. What truly infuriated her and broke her heart was the fact that Bennet wanted a partner. There’s that scene in the bathroom of their dorm where Caroline helps dye Bennet’s hair. Bennet says that no one had ever done anything like this for her, and she reveals that no one has ever really paid an interest in her. And I think that is a monumentally important scene to help understand Bennet’s characterization. When we met Bennet during the sequence where she tried to confront those girls hogging the tables, she’s mistaken as a waitress. Here’s a girl whose intellect has consistently gotten in the way of people seeing her as anything other than her brain, and she’s constantly ignored by those she wishes to be noticed by.
Then, Caroline swoops out of nowhere, befriends her, pays attention to her, and gets to know her, and Bennet has never experienced attention like this. It’s why she isn’t mad that Caroline used her. For the first time in her life, Bennet feels wanted. And it’s precisely that which crushes her (physically and metaphorically) when Caroline leaves her behind. She has been relegated to being the person she once was again. She was forgotten.
H E L P
Everything that’s happening in real time gives “Getting Closer” the feel that we really are approaching the end. The Actives are all sent out of the Dollhouse, their contracts finished, so that they’re not around when hell breaks loose. Echo orders Victor and Sierra to spend a night away just for the sake of each other. WHISKEY COMES BACK AND OH MY GOD, SHE WAS AT BOYD’S HOUSE THE WHOLE TIME. Which I was initially very excited about, but now I just feel extremely icky and gross, and I don’t know what to do with my feelings. We also find out why Ivy isn’t around in “Epitaph One,” too. I’m happy that the show began to use her more and more in this season, and her character growth was clearly heading towards a point where she’d end up more like Topher, at least in terms of his ambitious amorality. It’s nice, then, that Topher recognized what he’d become and what he’d done, and he refused to let that happen to her.
So what the hell are these people going to do? It was only a matter of time before Rossum figured out that Bennet and November were kidnapped and that Boyd killed Ambrose and his bodyguards. (HOW IS THIS SOMETHING BOYD WOULD DO IF HE RUNS ROSSUM I AM SO FUCKING CONFUSED.) Dominic escapes the Attic using Echo’s method or resurrection to let the team know that Rossum is coming, and HOW ARE THESE FEW PEOPLE GOING TO GET OUT OF HERE?
I also should have seen it coming. People aren’t allowed to be together or be happy in a show run by Joss Whedon or in an episode written by Tim Minear. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. And yet, I’m still fucked up by Bennet’s death, and what is WITH Whedon and having people spray blood on the people they love when they die??? IT’S SO CRUEL. How is Whiskey going to deal with this??? Is this why she chooses to stay behind and die in “Epitaph One”? Is she consumed with guilt for what she did to Bennet?
Honestly, I’m at a loss. I don’t know how to anticipate another plot twist on the show. I’m upset. Engaged, yes, and I certainly want to know more, but my god, this show better start explaining itself. HOW. HOW IS BOYD THE ANTAGONIST????
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