Sunday, 29 September 2013

Dollhouse: Belle Chose

“Lovely. So you're saying that we've imprinted an active as a serial killer and blindly let him loose upon the streets.”

Yes, the Dollhouse reviews resume. So, without further ado… on one level this is a story of the week about a misogynistic serial killer called Terry, his creepy doings and habits, and the fact that his influential father is able to use the Dollhouse to deal with his wayward son rather than leave things to the justice system as lesser mortals do. On another level, this advances the themes of the season and begins the acceleration of the plot threads towards the season finale. From this point, things are liable to move just a little too quickly, courtesy of Fox not being very nice to Joss Whedon, again.

This is also the point where Topher begins to have ethical issues with what the Dollhouse is doing, which at this point is so at odds with his character to date that Adelle reacts with mock amusement at his sudden development of a conscience. This is linked to the fact that this episode sees the Dollhouse, and active technology, being used in new ways. After Terry’s capture, which results in severe injuries towards him, his mind is put into Victors’ body. This is an acting tour de force from Enver Gjokaj, but we’re left a little uneasy at what the Dollhouse is doing. And this is before Victor escapes into the streets with the mind of a serial killer.

Linked to this is the fact that Terry himself acts as a sort of metaphor for the Dollhouse’s clients (remember, this includes Adelle) and their attitudes to the dolls/people. The character makes us, and them, think uncomfortable thoughts.

Things get even murkier when Adelle convinces Topher to salvage the situation by means of a remote wipe. The fact that only Alpha has previously attempted this hints at it not being a good idea in the long run; this is our first inkling that Active technology will eventually go too far.

Interesting things happen to Echo, too. She ends the episode with Terry still inside her head, unwiped and accessible to her. It is also bizarre to see Echo suddenly reverting to doll form in public, asking if she fell asleep.

For all of its thematic unity, this episode very much points the way forward towards the finale. This is where the pace picks up. Hold tight.

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