Sunday, December 20, 2009

"Dollhouse" at the Christmas hiatus

Season 2 episodes 9 and 10 aired last Friday night. Here are some thoughts about them.
  • Episode 9 proved once again that in the Whedon-verse, the only unstoppable, universal warriors are mousy, 100-pound white chicks. Victor, aka Anthony Ceccoli, might be a professional soldier and Iraq war veteran, but he's only flesh and blood. Echo, on the other hand, can routinely knock-out 200-pound soldiers with a single punch, take out multiple combatants in hand-to-hand combat at once, and defeat an entire army of mind-linked drone soldiers by hacking into their mental network.

  • Aside from the omnicompetent Echo, "Dollhouse" is driven by the bait-and-switch dynamic. For most of episode 9, the bait is that Adelle DeWitt is incapacitated by a drunken stupor which gives Boyd and Topher a chance to download Echo with massive levels of hard-core military training. This sets up the switch, which is Adelle magically switching from pathetic stupor to decisive action by having everyone involved arrested at the end of the episode. In episode 10, the bait is that Adelle DeWitt is openly threatening her subordinates with execution on an daily if not hourly basis to keep them in line. Then there is the switch: Adelle was only pretending to be super evil until she had enough dirt on Rossum, so now she's everybody's loyal and caring leader once again.

  • Episode 10 did finally reveal to the audience what the infamous "attic" was. It was slightly macabre but, ultimately, rather highly television-derivative.

  • Going into the Christmas hiatus for the show, it's easy to see that we haven't really gotten much from Joss Whedon to justify keeping the show alive. We've discovered that the evil corporation is even more evil than we had been led to believe (big shocker there), we received two episodes that revolve around a satirical pun (aka Senator Perrin aka George W. Bush), and we watched the season 1 "Echo has sex with a weirdo" engagement of the week format turn into the season 2 "Echo kicks some weirdo's ass" engagement of the week format. The only really breakthrough episode this season was "Belonging", and that's pretty much it.


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