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Dollhouse — Episode 2.13 ‘Epitaph Two: Return’

Saturday, January 30, 2010

And here we go . . . the final episode of Dollhouse!  Did it all come together? Are there gaping plot holes and unanswered questions? Is it possible to conclude a series gracefully after an early cancellation? James17930 and I are going to weigh in on whether or not we’re happy with the Dollhouse series finale.

TGJKENNEDY:

I’m basically going to give my comments as I stream watch the episode. My outlook at this point is semi-doubtful. On the one hand, Epitaph One was brilliant. On the other hand, there’s no way that Epitaph Two can live up to my expectations.

On with the show. It’s 2020, and the Echo-gang has clearly failed to prevent the apocalypse. This was hinted at toward the end of Episode 2.12. So how did it come about? I wasn’t paying so much attention during the last episode, but I think there may have been a big explosion that was supposed to stop all this from happening.

Whoa! Everyone’s in this episode, apparently. Even a bunch of characters that are dead. If there’s a massive dream sequence/drug-fuelled fantasy/memory montage at the end I’m gonna be disappointed.

Quick vocab lesson:

  • Dumb-show = Empty body. Doll. Wiped without an imprint.
  • Actual = Someone who hasn’t been wiped/imprinted and retains their original personality.
  • Butcher = Someone who has somehow been wiped and now just wants to run around/kill/maim. There does not seem to be any brain-eating associated with this behaviour.

Neuropolis? Really? Equal parts futuristic and stupid sounding. Oh, and it’s also nicknamed “The City of Minds”. Cake meet icing.

I love the idea that rich bastards can eat a body fat and then body jump to a skinny person. That is so great, and exactly the way the technology would be used if it were given free rein.

Plot happens, blah, blah, blah, not very interesting really. I’ve really lost my love for this show. Echo’s hair looks amazing, and I think I’ve been inspired to do a blog post on kick-ass women’s wear of the future.

What I’m worried about plot-wise is definitely coming about. Topher invented some tech that could wipe people in mass quantities, and from different electronic sources (radio, tv, helicopter, whathaveyou), and now he’s going to invent tech that can de-wipe them. Lame.

But there is some good in this episode too — the dinner table scene is great in its awkwardness and almost seems like an outtake. Priya with a kid sets you up for some heart-felt Priya and Anthony time, but Anthony is missing until he rolls up Mad Max style later in the scene. Apparently the decision he made to upgrade in The Hollow Men has spiralled out of control — now he’s a “tech-head”. Apparently this comes with the side effect of having to use some awful internet jargon in everyday language. I might start telling people to log-off and power-down just for fun, though.

Vocab lesson update:

  • Super Butcher = Butcher who becomes a cannibal when non-Soylent Green food runs out.

I was totally willing to bet that Anthony/Victor dies, but apparently it’s Paul. Sorry everyone, that sucks. But he’s died before so I’m holding out on him coming back to life before the end of the episode. A girl can dream, right?

I had completely forgotten that the whole Alpha thing was unresolved. The last time we saw him was when? That time he blew that guy up and then ran off screen. Right. Leave it to Joss to throw in an unexpected plot twist. Good work. I’m starting to really like this episode . . . and then WHAMMO another sneaky twist. Tech-heads don’t want the world fixed, they want to stay in the world they’ve created for themselves, which makes no sense if you think about it. Fighting to survive? Killing people who may or may not be cannibals? Okay, maybe that’s kind of fun. Getting to keep facets of your personality on a nifty memory key necklace? Well . . . I guess I’m starting to see the appeal.

Alpha being the bad guy being the good guy is priceless. This is the 3 lost seasons of Dollhouse I’m going to be missing. He could have been an amazing character if he’d had time to be more than evil.

Echo and Priya have an amazing moment together where they both confront their feelings about the men they love. It’s a little heart-breaking. Would it be so bad (assuming he doesn’t miraculously wake up from his gunshot wound) if Echo imprints some random hunky man with Paul’s personality? I’m sure it’s around the Dollhouse somewhere. Technically that might be wrong, but Echo deserves some happy.

Other thoughts — Adele loves Topher like a son, right?

Topher making everything better isn’t as lame as I thought. The fact that it resets everyone to before — that people who want to keep their memories have to make the choice to hide underground — that’s pretty cool. I was glad that there wasn’t one final twist that Adele was a doll all along. That would have been one too many.

By the end of the episode Echo finds a mysterious package on the chair — I’m totally calling it right now! That’s Paul! But instead of putting him in someone, he’s going to join her multiple personalities so she’s never alone again. Aww . . . oh, wait, ewww. Do you really want your boyfriend trapped inside you? Think of the dirty implications . . . and then she goes straight to bed with a dreamy expression on her face!!

Okay, cynicism aside, it’s actually pretty sweet. They will always be together forever. Echo gets her happy.

I did like this episode. It was as good as Epitaph One, which means it exceeded expectations, and I’m happy with where Dollhouse ended.

Discuss?

JAMES17930:

Not much more to add except where I disagree with you (and so by implication anything that you have that I don’t mention, I agree with you on).

Most importantly, I don’t think this was anywhere near as good as Epi-1.  It was fairly Gouda (with a little Havarti thrown in).  The way they set it up, Topher really didn’t have to die . . . like they didn’t have a spare timer lying around so he could’ve gotten out of the room?  I understand him maybe wanting to off himself, ’cause of the guilt and stuff, but c’mon, you’d think Adele, if she loved him so much, would stop him.  I mean, if he had to go up in a helicopter to get a good height for it, then I could see it, but . . . hey, that’s another thing.  This ‘EMP’ is really going to travel around the world, ‘bouncing off the stratosphere,’ from only the height of a twenty-storey office building?  This is one of my sci-fi geek moments where I say ‘sorry kids — I don’t buy that one.’

Glad there was some mention about how it’s sort of Echo’s fault that everything went to shit, but then it was only line and she didn’t seem to care that much anyway.

And you’re right that Alpha was way underused here.  And why would he want to get wiped to become a wannabe-killer again?  That really doesn’t make any sense.

And Tanya, I think your ‘ewww’ reaction to Paul now being in Echo’s head is the correct one.  Ewww and ‘wha?’  All of a sudden it’s like the Mel Brooks version of Sybil, or something.

The whole thing was just way more ‘happy ending’ than I was expecting.  I guess I should’ve been expecting it, but something in me thought that, after Hollow Men, they would throw all convention aside and just go dark and bad for this.  But at least it’s all more-or-less wrapped up.

Bye guys.

In the coming days (or weeks) we’ll be doing a Dollhouse postmortem where we analyze the whole series and try to figure out what went wrong (from a viewership point of view).
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