Friday, 5 April 2013
“Why is there a tall, morally judgemental man in MY adjustment room?”
The episode starts out simple- Alpha and Echo go all Bonnie and Clyde. But it ends up far from that, with some big, big revelations about Doctor Saunders and some deep and fascinating philosophical meanderings on the very premise of the show. Basically, this episode is just as good as the last one and therefore right up there with the very best telly ever. What I’m saying is that this is a bit good.
This time we get to know Alpha. He believes himself to have transcended not only his former status as an active but also his original personality. He sees himself, Nietzsche- like, as a kind of superman. He has forty-eight different imprints while maintaining a sense of ‘self’. He is not, however, sane. We come to see, however, that Echo, in similar circumstances, maintains a sanity that he cannot. It’s not Alpha’s situation that makes him mad. It’s him.
It is Ballard who gets to the philosophical core of all this. What makes Alpha behave as he does, and what makes him different from Echo, is that he was a budding serial killer before he was found by the Dollhouse. Ballard’s point, opposed by everyone in the Dollhouse, is that Alpha’s original personality is the key. This seems very close to an argument over whether or not people have souls. This is some deep shit.
The other big thing about this episode is a certain bombshell about Doctor Saunders- she’s actually and active! And she knows it. BANG! We learn so much about her. As Whiskey, she was the number one active before Echo, until Alpha ruined it all for her by scarring her face and killing the original Doctor Saunders (an old bloke with grey hair) along with a shit ton of other people!
The ending of the episode is both dramatic and existential. Alpha resents his original personality for volunteering to go into the Dollhouse, and has erased it. Chillingly, he threatens Echo with the destruction of her original personality, which, depending on your philosophical view point, could be seen as the murder of Caroline. Echo is changed by her experience, revealing to Ballard that she has a new self-awareness and the ego, if not the memories, of Caroline.
The season seems to have ended, but there’s an episode still to go. What on earth is going to happen?