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Monthly Archives: August 2009

If you haven’t seen Dollhouse yet then bust out your Hulu Desktop or pick up the season 1 DVDs and catch up quick. I don’t know anyone who has seen Serenity and/or Firefly who wasn’t upset at the show’s abrupt, untimely end or the terrible mismanagement of the show perpetrated by Fox (read: out of order episodes, dropped episodes, lack of marketing, et al.). The story was excellent, the acting great, the concept unique. This is when Whedon really started to show his genius. A lot of the current Firefly fans (myself included) were unaware of the Serenity universe until after it had met it’s demise at the hands of Rupert Murdoch and his gang of hard-line number buffs, and I think I speak for all such fans when I say it’s a deep regret.¬†Whedon continues to refine his skill in his latest show “Dollhouse”, and though it is different from Serenity in almost every way, it is very much one of the best new shows on television.

I’ve been a fan of the show since about half way through the first season, and had I known the utter mind fuck I was in for, I would’ve jumped on the bandwagon from the pilot. The only reason I didn’t is because of my preconceptions of Eliza Dushku and my lack of understanding of the premise.

So to do my part in educating the masses on the question, “What is Dollhouse about?”, I will tell you. Dollhouse is about a secret organization which develops technology which can replace someone’s persona with a different one. They figure out how to store personas, modify them, combine them, and load them back into people. They deploy this technology at several top-secret “Dollhouses” around the world. Each dollhouse has a number of “actives”, who are people who volunteered (and I use the word loosely) to loan their bodies to the organization in exchange for forgiveness of a crime, reduced prison sentences, or just plain money. The motives of the organization are suspect, though they claim the overall goal of this is to “help improve people’s lives”. The actives (dolls) go on engagements (read: missions), where they are prepared by imprinting them with an appropriate persona which can achieve the desired goal. Sometimes the actives might be ninjas. Sometimes they become negotiators. Sometimes they are lovers.

A good portion of the engagements see the actives work as courtesans for the client in an elaborate fantasy, though the series doesn’t focus too heavily on this. This is just how the Dollhouse pays the bills. It’s clear that the organization behind them has ulterior motives.

When the actives are not engaged with a client, they are wiped clear of persona, and they become innocent and child-like. The hook is that one active (played by Eliza Dushku) starts to become resistant to this process, and begins to remember things she was supposed to have forgotten.

Omega

After watching the finale episode “Omega” a few months ago I anxiously awaited the second season, ready to find out how Echo’s new “state of mind” would influence the direction the show moved in. However, as many people know, the 12th episode finale is not really the last episode. Fox commissioned 13 episodes for Dollhouse’s first run. Whedon scrapped the original Dollhouse pilot and¬†cannibalized it for the rest of the season, meaning to fulfill contracts and such, they needed another episode. Whedon’s solution was to write a new episode with a smaller budget to include on the DVDs.

When I heard that there was more Dollhouse to be had before the second season airs, I was ecstatic. Unfortunately, the DVD release wouldn’t be until the 2009 Comic-con, so I had a wait. But that time has come, and I have watched the episode, and I must say that it is a mind fuck on *top* of a mind fuck.

Epitaph One

Epitaph One breaks from the current story line to reveal some of the future repercussions of the technology developed by the Rossum corporation. Given the fact that this episode had a smaller budget then the others, I think it’s odd that Whedon decided to go with the futuristic apocalypse plot, but it worked perfectly. Much of the episode takes place in 2019, after the Dollhouse technology has gone mainstream and landed into the hands of China’s military (probably other nations too, but China is specifically mentioned). That being said, to the Dollhouse fans who haven’t seen it yet: it will be a little confusing at first. Hell, I wasn’t sure I was actually watching Dollhouse at first. But it does make sense. You just might have to watch it a couple times- as a lot of the plot is by inference.

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