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Dollhouse — Episode 1.7 ‘Echoes’

Monday, March 30, 2009

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The big question coming into this episode was: could the show capitalize on and the ride the momentum from last week?

Incredibly, no, it couldn’t.  They actually managed to blow it by allowing this episode to be made in the way it was.  Too much important info given in too amateurish and silly of a way, I found this to be quite disappointing, and, unfortunately, based on what’s happening, for the first time I’m starting to do what many others have done already, which is to question the whole premise of the show . . . or at least, part of the premise.

But let’s start with just some basic problems with this episode.  First, the death of the student was on the news, ergo, it’s public knowledge (and wasn’t that such a ‘convenient’ way to get Echo to the school <rollseyes>), ergo, the real cops would have shown up.  They somehow managed to forget about that little part of things, simply sending the Dolls in as NSA agents and doctors; I mean, they didn’t even bother coming up with an excuse for how they managed to keep the real cops away.  Lazy.

Also, equally as lazy and just plain dumb, is that the school wasn’t quarantined and everyone examined.  I mean, c’mon — in any situation like that, there would be an quarantine.  It wouldn’t even be questioned.  But here they expect us to believe that they would carry on an investigation like this on the campus grounds without cancelling classes, or anyone really paying too much attention to all the crazy people, or noticing all the black vans driving around?  And where were the media?  They had reported on the story, so why weren’t they buzzing around asking questions?  This was pure lazy writing — ignoring the obvious, logical consequences of things because they ‘get in the way of the story.’

As for that story, and the stuff we learn about Caroline, well, let’s just say I was hoping for something a little more interesting in terms of her origin; if she’s just an animal rights activist who gets caught for breaking in and so is taken to become a guinea pig (pun intended) in the Dollhouse (because that seems to be what the Dollhouse is really for — a testing ground for the mind control drugs Rossum is developing, and a way for them to make some money out of it on the side), that would be a little dull.  Although, Olivia did say something at the beginning about ‘they’ve been doing this dance for two years,’ so maybe there is more to it; unless she just meant that Caroline had been held there for two years before signing the contract, but I would find that extremely hard to swallow.  So hopefully we get more in that regard.

As for the questioning I’m now doing . . . would they really still keep the Dollhouse operational given all the problems they’re having?  It should be obvious by now that the mind wiping/implanting process isn’t working.  It’s flawed.  It’s defective.  From Alpha’s ‘composite event’ to Echo’s glitches, to now the drug affecting them and making them glitch, the realistic and believable thing to do would be to shut things down for a while and re-tool.  That’s so obvious it shouldn’t even have to be brought up.  It’s so obvious that even if they don’t do this, they need to give a reason for not doing it, like “we should shut down for a while but the higher-ups don’t want to lose the money — idiots.”   Something like that.  And maybe that will happen next episode.  Hope so.

Also, on a technically geeky/nerdy level, it seems like they’re giving out contradictory information.  I thought the whole point of the wipes was that the memories were really ‘wiped’ — as in, destroyed.  But that of course would not allow for composite events and glitches.  But then Topher said something about ‘the drug was breaking down their man-made barriers to the memories in the minds of the Dolls.’  As in, the memories aren’t really wiped — they’re just blocked.  But, again, if this is true, after Alpha they should have realized the while process was flawed, that the barriers don’t work, and they should have done something about it.  But they just seem to be carrying on in the same way.  It just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

I’m hoping the show lasts this season, but then I’m also hoping that during the summer Joss and the whole writing crew sit down and they evaluate this stuff and really get on the same page with everything.  Maybe make a ‘technical manual’ that they can consult for the sci-fi-ish details so that they aren’t just making them up as they go along.

The one saving grace at the moment is that Alpha is still out there somewhere and waiting to make his entrance — I just hope they don’t blow that one too.
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5 Comments leave one →
  1. tgjkennedy permalink
    Monday, March 30, 2009 4:20 pm

    I agree. I was deeply, deeply disappointed by the Caroline back story. Animal rights? Seriously? Like we haven’t seen that a bazillion times by now. I really hope that’s not everything. There’s got to be more to the story right? Oh lord…

    I think your issue with the cops/quarantine thing wasn’t said because I think it was sort of implied that Rossum owns the school, and therefore keeps the cops out and decides what is or is not going to happen. They didn’t want to quarantine because they didn’t want it to turn into a big deal. But if that was the case, then the murder probably shouldn’t have made the news at all. You’re right, it’s too convenient a way to get Echo to the scene.

    When they said Echo was going to sit this one out, I was thinking it would be cool tif they were really doing an episode that isn’t Echo-centric. Then the way she showed up was just poorly done. At first I really liked the episode (there were some awfully funny moments) but all in all it wasn’t that good – especially how good the last one was, this one was a big ol’ let down.

    • James17930 permalink
      Monday, March 30, 2009 7:08 pm

      That’s another thing. Would research like that really be going on at a school? Seems like it would be much too public. I don’t think Rossum owns the school, they just own the building. But still, if they are a giant evil corporation, you’d think they’d have more of a ‘secret evil hideout in the woods’ or something.

  2. James17930 permalink
    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 3:23 am

    And yet another thing . . . why take Mellie away from Ballard now? To drive him into doing something stupid which gets him killed? Then why not just kill him? I don’t get it.

    Also, in one scene, Topher referred to Mellie by her ‘Doll name’ November before they had actually introduced her as November. Don’t know if that’s overly important or not, but it’s also kinda lazy.

  3. tgjkennedy permalink
    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 9:33 am

    I liked the way he threw her name out there like that. I was really wondering what it was… and then it was so nonchalant. I have a huge fascination with the police letters alphabet… And also it means there may someday be dolls called Whiskey, Quebec and Hotel.

  4. SarahP permalink
    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 10:09 am

    When Miracle Laurie was first signed on, it was as November. Then with the rewrite I guess Joss made her doll status covert, and they made a big deal about how the character was taken out, and Miracle’s character was now a girl named Mellie. So, it came as no surprise when she was a doll that her character name was November. I guess they didn’t make a big deal of it ’cause they figured a lot of people were expecting her to turn out to be her original character casting anyway…

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