March 01, 2009

Dollhouse: Episode 3

Spoilerific thoughts on the latest? According to Drew, Eliza Dushku says that Joss Whedon had a much freer hand in producing the show after episode 6. It's been pretty good so far, but I'm hoping for a jump in interesting-ocity then.


MosBen said...

Dollhouse is reminding me a lot of Alias. It's got this great premise right out of the box, but it's a premise that has an inevitable conclusion. The question is how long they can dance around, sidetrack, and delay that conclusion. In Alias, it took them two great seasons and once they unraveled that great concept they got a merely ok third season and a dreadful fourth.

How long will it be to unravel this plot? It seems to be going pretty fast to me, though writers can be pretty clever with the aforementioned delays. My only real hope is that they've got ideas already planned for what happens next because what they have going now doesn't seem to me to be something you can sustain over the full length of a U.S. television series. It'd fit perfectly in the British model, but U.S. seasons demand a lot more episodes and therefore will eventually require a new direction.

Still, it's early. We can enjoy this status quo as long as it lasts.

Unknown said...

Definitely, the status quo is ultimately unsustainable. Something is going to have to break soon, but there's still time. Right now, I'm very much enjoying the format. So far, each episode has featured a pretty good standalone story, with some stuff bubbling up in the background (like the Alpha subplot and the Ballard subplot).

Did anyone guess that Lubov was a Doll? It seems so obvious in retrospect, but I didn't see that coming at all.

By the way, if you're worried about spoilers, stay away from IMDb's cast lists for upcoming episodes. Some recurring characters are suddenly listed under new names which just so happen to fit the Dollhouse naming conventions.

MosBen said...

Ok, here's the list of the NATO phonetic alphabet:

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee, Zulu.

I think it's safe to say that the following aren't going to be characters: Delta, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, Kilo, Lima, November, Papa, Quebec, Tango, Uniform, Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee, and Zulu. This leaves us with: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Echo, India, Juliet, Mike, Oscar, Romeo, Sierra, and Victor. Bravo's pretty iffy, but no more iffy than Alpha, so I'm leaving it in for now.

We already know of: Alpha, Echo, Sierra, and Victor.

If you look at the second and third episodes (particularly near the end of the second), you can see several people walking around the Dollhouse in similar clothing to Echo. By my count there are at least three men and four women in addition to Echo, Victor, and Sierra currently active (as it were). Plus there's Alpha, which I'm assuming they haven't replaced since they don't seem to need to differentiate between Alphas in conversation.

That means that there's one remaining name (Bravo, Charlie, India, Juliet, Mike, Oscar, Romeo) for every miscellaneous person walking around the Dollhouse. Of course, it's possible that either my count is off or there's some bizarre explanation of why there would be people in the Dollhouse dressed as dolls but who are not actually dolls. There's also the possibility that any dolls we have yet to uncover are not part of the NATO naming scheme. Perhaps that's reserved for actives and the remaining dolls are, I don't know, deep cover or something. These dolls would remain in their fake personalities either permanently or for much greater periods of time than your standard active.

Here are the possibilities for other dolls:

Ms. DeWitt: She's the boss. It makes a kind of sense for her to be a long term doll. She has referred to having bosses, and having a doll with no real background run your operation who you could mind wipe if you had to makes a certain amount of sense. On the other hand, Biz in episode 3 seemed to know her from way back, so maybe not.

Lawrence Dominic (the head security guy): This makes a ton of sense, but mostly because he doesn't have much personality yet. All we know is that he takes his job very seriously, is pretty good at it, and is always working. If we got some more background on him he might stop looking so suspicious.

Boyd Langton: Dominic makes a degree of sense, but this makes even more. For one, we've got what seems like plenty of back story but isn't actually a lot of information. Episode 2 was all about him overcoming his skepticism of Echo and her humanity; about the "real" person bonding with the "fake" person. While Dominic seems likely because we know nothing about him, Langton seems likely because they could be waiving us off.

Paul Ballard: Almost certainly not. Not only would it not make sense for a doll to be investigating the Dollhouse, but they used a doll to throw him off the scent. But it would be a shocking twist.

Topher Brink: Also not likely. He is literally the only person in the office who seems to have any connection with the science side of things. I think it's much more likely that he's the only non doll of the bunch than that he's a doll himself.

Dr. Saunders: A little iffy, but I don't think it's very likely. She's so damaged from Alpha's attack that it seems like the dollhouse would be better off fixing her in some way than having her remain as she is in the facility. But again, as far as "out of left field" twists go, that would would be pretty big and it would give Amy Acker both a bigger role (yay Buffyverse alums!) and a chance to completely change her acting, which she's shown she can do.

Oh shit, Drew. I figured checking upcoming episodes was a bad idea, but that the main imdb page would be fine. Well, I just got the spoiler that you warned me about. I must say, it makes sense.

Dan said...

If I recall, November is actually one they planned on using.

MosBen said...

You're right Dan. The spoiler I saw was a character who goes by the name of November.

Unknown said...

Further reading, MosBen, suggests that it may not be a spoiler. It may instead just be some out of date information. But it would make a lot of sense.