Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Dollhouse: Man on the Street

Episode 1.06

This episode takes to the street with a documentary asking what the people of Los Angeles think of the Dollhouse. Many believe the Dollhouse to be a myth but we see a range of opinions about what people think about the idea of such an organisation existing with some ready to sign up, no questions asked and others who perceive it as an aberration and abuse of power.

As a backdrop, the 'documentary' is interesting, and I'll come back to it at the end since this episode really packs in a lot of other, very important scenes.

Let's start with Sierra. It's no secret that Echo, Sierra and Victor are 'grouping' like the bison Topher lovingly referred to them as. They might not know how to think for themselves, but they seem to know friendship. So when, one day, Sierra sits on her own for lunch, Victor - naturally, as a friend would - goes up to see what's wrong, only to have Sierra scream and scramble away from him. That was a lot of commas. Anyway. It appears that Sierra has had sex whilst in the Dollhouse and, considering Victor's 'man-reactions' revealed in the previous episode, he is the most likely culprit.

Paul seems to be closing in on the Dollhouse. He manages to track payments made to a charity on the same day, every year by Joel Mynor, Internet billionaire. Paul manages to track Mynor down on his yearly transaction with the Dollhouse, only to be confronted with Caroline. Mynor's security guards step in and Paul (once again) manages to fight off four guys all at once, while still injured. Mynor spills his guts about Echo's role in his yearly fantasy and accuses Paul of having his own fantasy of playing the White Knight with Caroline.

Paul sleeps with Mellie (yay!) and then the Dollhouse sends someone in to eliminate Paul and Mellie as they both now know too much information. Mellie, I'll come back to on another episode, so we'll focus on Paul for now.

Echo has been sent to eliminate Paul only someone managed to override her imprint whilst Topher was distracted. They fight lots in a very awesome scene and they stop long enough for Echo (under the direction of this other imprint) to pass over some very important information to Paul. Paul subsequently gets suspended for something else.

Even though the show is only fiction (so we hope) the notion of the Dollhouse and what it seeks to do is abhorrent, how ever many altruistic engagements that Dr Saunders insists upon. Boyd seems to be the only one who really questions the morality of what the Dollhouse does to these supposedly willing people, though Dr Saunders does seem to truly care about the well-being of all the dolls. Which brings me to DeWitt. I think that I've mentioned before that I love her for her British-ness alone. She oozes the persona of a cold-hearted bitch and seems only driven by a need to follow orders and satisfy clients, but I think we're seeing a softer side sometimes peek out at us at several points during this episode (not necessarily in chronological order):
(1) Adelle's concern for Echo right at the end of the episode. This could just be dismissed as Adelle trying to look out for her own best interests seeing as Echo is her best active, but I think that Adelle really does care a little. Mr Dominic has on several occasions expressed his dislike for Echo and Adelle has jumped up to defend Echo's resourcefulness, but I think it goes deeper than this and back to the reasons why Echo is really in the Dollhouse which we glimpsed at before and I think we'll be uncovering more in the next episode.
(2) Adelle's order to Mr Dominic to warn the other Dollhouses of the Sierra issue. This was a shocker, even though I had seen the episode before: there are over twenty other Dollhouses, all across the globe. What happened to Sierra was disgusting, made worse by the fact that Sierra didn't know how wrong it really was. Even though the incident will reflect badly on Adelle, I think that her willingness to share the 'experience' with the other Dollhouses shows a pragmatic approach and a true desire to prevent such an occurence happening elsewhere.
(3) Adelle's grant of a bonus to Boyd. Boyd tells Adelle he doesn't need a bonus (for answering the Sierra issue) and that's really sweet since I'd like to think that anyone in a similar position wouldn't just be motivated by some prospect of further gain. Adelle responds by telling Boyd that she needs to give it (the bonus) to him, reflecting some hidden guilt that such a thing happened in her house. Again, it could be said that she's only looking out for herself, but I want to think that she cares for her dolls.

So that's my shout-out to Adelle. I've just reminded myself of her dramatic hair-change in season 2 which I'm not particularly looking forward to ...

I think that's everything of importance (plus probably some other things thrown in) so back to the men and women on the street - at least, that's how I interpreted the title of the episode. To be honest, I don't really dig that deep under the surface of what I see (if you want some really deep analysis, head over to Fragments Of My Imagination for some amazing Buffy analysis) so feel free to correct me.

I like how the whole episode has lots of these street segments cut into it. Some are funny, some are very human-rights centric and righteous and others get to the root of what most ordinary citizens would use the Dollhouse for, should they possess the extraordinary wealth required to do so: to fulfil their evey desire. I really like the last 'interview' so I'll end with what this guy had to say:

"If that technology exists, it'll be used
It'll be abused
It'll be global
And we will be over
As a species, we will cease to matter
I don't know, maybe we should"

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