Friday, January 8, 2010

Meet the men who are pulling the Dolls' strings

Dollhouse – “Getting Closer”


And we are indeed “getting closer” – two more episodes and this baby is over. But what a non-stop thrill ride it’s been getting there.

Tim Minear (Mutant Enemy vet who wrote/directed for Firefly and Angel, and also for the super-quirky Wonderfalls) wrote and directed this jam-packed episode. Through flashbacks, we see how Caroline (Eliza Dushku) and the D.C. Dollhouse’s resident genius Bennett Halverson (Summer Glau) met and what went down to make Bennett give the stabby eyes whenever she sees Caroline. Meanwhile the L.A. Dollhouse prepares for war as the Rossum Corporation tries to get them under control one way or another. All this and we get to meet the big-wigs behind Rossum (and you thought Wolfram and Hart were evil).

A very well done episode, with a lot of heart, the trademark Whedon funny, and a twist at the end I seriously did NOT see coming. As they get closer to the end each episode is packing so much into it it’s a bit hard to absorb (it’s like watching the Harry Potter movies without reading the books). I think they should call it “Whedon Whiplash.” But it’s the best kind of whiplash (and probably the only kind that makes you smile instead of wince).

We see more of Caroline before she became Echo and she's not just a goofy "save the animals" college student, but more like a guerilla terrorist (but in a good way as she's set her sights on the evil Rossum). She befriends Bennett to use her to get to Rossum. And in one of a hundred twists, Bennett doesn't mind! We get to see the accident where Bennett lost the use of her left arm and where and how her relationship with Caroline went sour.

There is a lot of great stuff between Bennett and Topher in this episode. Bennett is more focused and less "spacey" than the last time we saw her. Bennett and Topher even get to share a nice/funny moment before things get very, very bad.

Boyd (Harry Lennix) brings Dr. Saunders/Whiskey (Amy Acker) back to the Dollhouse and everyone is surprised that they have a "relationship." And Paul begins to live his new life knowing that he is now a "Doll" - he's the same, but he's different. Topher had to "sacrifice something" in remapping his neural architecture. All his memories are still there, but his feelings, his love for Echo is now gone. It's heartbreaking.

It’s a shame this series really only found its footing just as its being cancelled. But at least they are going out with their heads held high, telling the kinds of stories that challenge the actors and crew, and the viewers.

I have no idea how it will all end, but I can guarantee there will be tears (at least on my end).

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