Mark Watches ‘Dollhouse’: S02E10 – The Attic

In the tenth episode of the second season of Dollhouse, this is an outstanding show, y’all. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Dollhouse.

I am dead serious. I am so impressed with the scope and execution of this show. I’ll always love and prefer and be attached to Buffy, but of all of Whedon’s shows, this one really knocks it out of the park in terms of consistency, intensity, and ambition. It’s weird that most of the time, it doesn’t even feel Whedon-y, though I think that is to the show’s credit. Even if the dialogue can be witty at times and full of references, it doesn’t ever take me out of the story. It feels natural. It doesn’t feel like Whedon is writing it to be Whedon. To be fair, Jed and Maurissa penned this mammoth episode, so that could easily be the explanation for this. Regardless, LET’S JUST GET TO DISCUSSING THIS COMPLEX AND EMOTIONALLY VOLATILE EPISODE!

  • I fell for the cold open. Just watch the video for this episode, and you will get to witness someone’s heart being broken while his brain is exploding and I actually had to re-watch it myself and I just laughed and I swear to you I really don’t watch my own videos after I make but this time I made an exception.
  • The sheer attention to detail in the Attic is fucked up. The writers take great care not only to create this believable, chaotic, and haunting world, but they tie it into the greater narrative in a flawless way. I CAN’T FIND A PLOT HOLE AND I AM TRYING.
  • The attic loops around a person’s greatest fear and their worst scenario, and the person never comes up with a solution for it. It is an endless cycle of terror, and it’s one of the most fucked up things I’ve ever seen on television.
  • This entire episode features nothing but endless tragedy and suffering, and, like the rest of this show, it’s just so uncomfortable! All the time! Ivy and Topher now have to figure out how to repair Ballard’s damaged brain, and the only way they can foresee a positive end is if they eliminate part of Ballard’s brain. Even worse, when it is shown to be a success, WE STILL DON’T FIND OUT WHAT THEY TOOK OUT OF BALLARD’S HEAD.
  • While I’m talking about this, Tahmoh Penikett’s acting when he wakes up after having Doll architecture installed in his brain is just chilling. This cast is just unfair.
  • The first scene in “The Attic” with Adelle is terrifying. It really is. And yes, I will talk about that reveal when I get to the end of this, but let’s just appreciate what we see here: Adelle has decided that the only way to maintain her power is to completely buy Rossum’s party line. She has no qualms about replacing Topher, despite that she was the one who brought him in to the Dollhouse in the first place. She doesn’t care about anyone in that place except herself. Hell, I was shocked that she even kept Boyd around after the events in the last episode. But if she can continue to use him for her own reasons, then that justifies him staying here. But my god, she is so ruthless.
  • Oh god, I just remembered her entire line about Boyd’s three options once he walked into the Dollhouse, and my brain hurts.
  • Okay, there have now been a few references to Caroline having a “safe” place that’s snowy, so is that the Safe Haven referenced in “Epitaph One”? If so, where the hell is it?
  • THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO BRING BACK DOMINIC. Remember when I hated him and thought he was the villain? That seems like ages ago.
  • WHAT THE FUCK IS THE ARCANE? I initially thought he was designed by Rossum to make the dolls in the Attic suffer. HAHAHA I WILL JUST CRY NOW.
  • Dominic and Echo working together. Again, this show has taken so many turns that I can barely believe how it started.
  • The two of them slip in between “worlds” to find Victor and Sierra and take down Arcane, and even that is fascinating. I like that Topher’s chair essentially provides a portal for them. It’s an intriguing idea because traditionally, that chair represents a different journey to the Dolls and to Dominic, but now it’s their only hope of being able to travel between the different nightmares.
  • Oh. Victor’s nightmare. Oh.
  • Victor/Anthony was fighting himself help.
  • I love how agitated Dominic looked when he discovered he wasn’t talking to the correct version of Victor.
  • It really wasn’t until Echo mistakenly appeared in that Japanese man’s nightmare that I began to think that the Attic served some other purpose. Up until the gory reveal about what the scene really meant, I thought that perhaps the Attic had a positive twist to it. Why else would this man seem so happy? Why would Rossum risk sticking this man inside this alternate reality for eternity? Was the vulnerability he discovered that big of a deal?
  • The man was literally enjoying himself. Fuck. Just fuck this, fuck it forever, this is the worst thing ever what the FUCK!
  • I’m glad Ivy is around more. I’m sad that everything is just so messed up.
  • And then this whole fucking thing just turns my brain to mush. Arcane wasn’t created by Rossum. HE IS ONE OF THE ORIGINAL FOUNDERS OF THE COMPANY. Who was his partner????
  • Clyde’s nightmare? Living out the statistical probabilities of what would happen to the world given what Rossum had done with the mind-wipe technology. 97% of all scenarios end in the apocalypse.
  • I am just stunned at how much “The Attic” bridges the gap between “Epitaph One” and everything in else we’ve seen in season two. Rossum has been using the Attic as human computational power, inducing people into perpetual computing machines by exploiting their fears. We know that in the future, Rossum has enacted wiping on a mass scale, creating a world of Dolls that have no free will. I also think that the Blackwater-esque group we saw in “Stop-Loss” was used to enforce/enact this. IMAGINE HOW DOMINIC FEELS, BY THE WAY, SINCE HE WAS HIRED BY THE NSA TO SPECIFICALLY STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING. So, in the future, do Echo and her team align with some small government force? There are clearly people in the NSA who know what Rossum is and what they’re capable of. Where are they?
  • Even if it’s susceptible to falling apart upon examination, I love the idea that Echo, Victor, and Sierra all agree to become a team to fight Rossum, and they all “die” to make this happen. It is a symbolic sacrifice that overwhelmed me with feelings. At the same time, it’s brilliant that Dominic and Clyde remain behind to free the souls trapped in the Attic. I bet we’ll see both of them again before the end of the show.
  • So we don’t know the identity of Clyde 2.0 or the second partner. Damn it!
  • So. Let’s do it. DeWitt was pulling a long con, one that was INCREDIBLY HARD TO DISCERN, as evidenced by the fact that I totally bought her performance. Now we know for sure how she came to align herself on the side of against Rossum given what we’ve seen in “Epitaph One.” Just… I AM SO RELIEVED. I really like Adelle as a character, and finding out she was a villain (at the time) was so disheartening to me! I COULD NOT DEAL WITH IT. So thank the Whedons this is not the case.
  • “It’s time for me to meet Caroline. It’s time to win her war.”
  • I love this show. I love it so much. I AM SO EXCITED TO WATCH THE NEXT EPISODE. That just leaves the return of Whiskey, right??? PLEASE COME BACK.

Onwards I travel into the unknown and terrifying future of Dollhouse.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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