Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

Dollhouse 1.02 "The Target" [watched 2009-02-21 on hulu.com]

I was telling my mom this afternoon that I'd seen the first episode of Dollhouse and I would keep watching because it was a Joss show and I wanted to be able to comment on the actual text, but that otherwise I wouldn't keep watching.  (Honestly, I wouldn't have even watched the first episode if it weren't for that.)

likeadeuce said, "Anyone who hasn't watched 'Dollhouse' yet and thinks they might want to -- I heartily endorse skipping the series premiere and starting with episode 2, which aired last night. The first episode felt like it was written by the network; this feels like it was written by Joss. I'm still not sure I'm going to love the show but it was much much easier to see the potential."

3 months ago...
I forgot to mention in talking about last week's episode that I noticed in the shower scene that one of the Actives is a (black) man -- so they're not all female (though given the history of black bodies being used by white people, this does not necessarily improve matters any).
There are five (three white female, one black male, one white male) Actives who get into the bed pods, so apparently there are multiple sets?  Since we haven't seen Echo.

One of the female Actives says in distress, "We haven't had our shower.  We always shower before--"
I wonder if routine is ingrained in them, or if they each have slightly different personalities and she's just particularly attached to routine.

Topher: Guns, can I have one?

Topher: It happened.  That's the thing, happened, he...  Doc Saunders looks like a jigsaw puzzle, and what he did to Samuelson...
Dominic: WHO?
DeWitt: Alpha.  It appears we've had a composite event.
Dominic: He gets wiped after every engagement.  How could he composite?
Topher: Can't. Shouldn't. Did.

It's a little weird to have Topher be so crazyspeaking, given his usual attitude.  Though obviously it's a traumatic event.  And thinking on it after (particularly after the scene with Boyd's concern about Echo's adrenaline levels and Topher saying he's been doing this scientist thing for ages), he might be particularly discombobulated by it given that he's so used to everything going just as he designs it.

Echo, sitting on the floor of the shower(?) says, "They won't wake up" -- which sounds all River!prescient when I write it out, but which in the scene is really just her innocent almost-confused statement of her experience.

Topher: You're in the middle of why-would-anyone-wanna-be-there -- what'd you expect, HBO?
Boyd: Can't you retask one of the auxiliary satellites?

Topher: What's the magic word?
Boyd [sighs]: Please.
Topher: I was actually looking for abracadabra, but that'll do.

Topher: Anything for you.  'Cause I love you.  Deep deep man love.

That was one of my rare moments of thinking, "Yeah, that's Joss."  (Most of this show hasn't really felt particularly Joss-like.)

DeWitt says that after the Alpha thing, it was decided that they should get handlers "with a more, shall we say, intensive background," which makes me curious as to what Boyd's background is.  (Though on reflection, do we ever see the handlers in the complex?)

Boyd: What happened to her previous handler?
Dr. Saunders: You're standing in him.

DeWitt: He'll be replacing Samuelson.
Dr. Saunders: Good.  Does that mean I can get his body out of my office?

I wasn't quite sure from the previous episode whether Dr. Saunders did have a scar that Echo was reacting to, or if she was just (a) doing that child thing of, "this happens to me; does it happen to you, too?," or (b) sensing that Dr. Saunders was in some kind of emotional pain.  But yeah, clearly she is literally scarred.

Dominic: We'll take care of it.
Dr. Saunders [resigned sarcasm]: Of course.  Everything's under control.  It's nice to have you on the team.  Watch your step.

Boyd: I wanna see Samuelson's body.
DeWitt: You really don't.
Boyd: Show me.

Dominic [on Samuelson]: He was a good man.
Boyd: Not good enough.

In the scene with Samuelson's body, I thought of Reavers.

Boyd: Tendons in the extremities were severed first, to disable him.  Then the real work began.  He knew exactly where to cut to cause the maximum amount of damage, and pain.  Whoever did this took their time.
Dominic: 8 seconds.  That's the timeline we've been able to piece together.

Boyd: We couldn't be more savory.
!Ranger [shoots Boyd's partner]: Good to know.
Me [after a beat]: Ew!

Topher introduces himself as "The man behind the grey matter curtain," all full of himself.
Boyd cuts right to the chase: So Alpha's one of your achievements.
Topher: Yeah.  Yeah.  That, uh, was an anomaly.  It was unpredictable...  We're still working out the kinkies.
Boyd: Like the blood, the screaming, the dying.

Boyd: Did the ones Alpha slaughtered even put up a fight?
Topher: They wouldn't know how.  Not without an imprint.

I was a little thrown by this, because self-defense is instinct.

Boyd: So why not default them with ninja skills or something?
Topher: We tried that once.
Boyd: And?
Topher: Blood, screaming, dying.

Part of me thinks this is just a throwaway line, but the idea that they have done this before, reminds me of the Miranda Project.

Topher: So what do you think of your new girl?
Boyd: She's not a girl.  Not even a person.  Just an empty hat.  Until you stuff a rabbit in it.
Topher: Abracadabra.

Boyd: Everything's fine.  Except the gun pointed at my head.

Dominic: Neutralize the risk.  Before it becomes untenable.
DeWitt: Authorize a kill order?  On a federal agent?

Dominic: Even a blind dog can find a bone if it digs enough holes.

Richard: Prove you're not just an echo.

It occurred to me later that he would have no way to know Jenny's Dollhouse name but there's no reason he would use the metaphor "echo" for a blank slate who's been imprinted with a personality so he must be connected to Alpha or something.

Boyd: Then what, me and Special Needs become buddy buddy?

I winced at "Special Needs."  But in the previous episode, I had meant to mention that Boyd seems like the only person who actually seems distressed by the way that Echo has these really fulfilling human connections in her romantic engagements and then gets wiped.  I'm a little surprised that he's only been with her for three months -- though I imagine she's off on engagements most every day, and I can see how that would take its toll real fast (and after all, we the audience have emotional reactions to these characters over only an hour of viewing which condenses only a few days of activity).

Topher: This isn't about friendship; it's about trust.

Topher: Tactile proximity enhances bonding protocol.

Does Echo have a script, too?  Does she just magically know -- or remember from the last time they did this?

Richard says the canteen water will have her "spinning."
She remembers Caroline, and Alpha.  It doesn't actually erase the imprint, which is what at first I thought would happen/was happening.

The neighbor lady (who's heavier than tv actresses usually are -- so of course she won't get to be anyone's romantic interest) and her crush on Ballard makes me kind of uncomfortable at a meta level, but I can't articulate why.

Ballard: I'll keep looking until I find her.
Melie: Lucky girl.

Jenny doesn't know how she knows Boyd, so the water must have erased some of her imprint, right?  'Cause in like the very next scene we get yet another scene of her post-engagement being all in love with a guy and telling Boyd about like they're friends, as if to remind us of how the Boyd-ActiveEcho interaction is supposed to work.

Jenny [on Alpha]: I can't see his face.  I don't think he has one.

I find this intriguing.  Is it that composite!Alpha is wholly different from the unimprinted!Alpha she knows and so her brain had difficulty?

Boyd says, "Everything's going to be all right," and Echo rejects this, takes the active role herself.

Boyd [after she repeats Richard's spiel about 'deserve to live' and 'shoulder to the wheel']: You wanna speak English, hon?  I'm kinda bleeding to death here.

She asks him, "Do you trust me?" and Boyd says, consciously echoing that scene I'm sure, "With my life."

Boyd [giving Jenny his gun]: You know how to use this?
Jenny: 4 brothers.  None of them Democrats.


Jenny: You should keep this.  If Richard finds you...
Boyd: You don't think I'd give you my only gun, did you?

Richard: You can barely stand.  Probably couldn't hit me even if you did pull the trigger.
Jenny: You really wanna find out?
Richard: I admit, I am curious.  Concerned, but curious.

Jenny: How's that arm holding up?  Maybe I'm not the one who's gonna miss.

Richard: No harm no foul.
Jenny: You poisoned me and tried to shoot me with arrows!
Richard: Okay, so maybe a little bit of harm.

Richard: You said you were gonna kill me.  That's good thought-followthrough.
Richard: He was right about you; you really are special.

I really like the image of her curled up with Boyd.

She wakes up and asks, "Did I fall asleep?" (as she always does), and Boyd walks over to her and holds her hand before answering.  I'm a little weirded out by this because I feel like we're supposed to read this as him showing that he really does care about her, doesn't just think of her as a job, but as I said, last week I felt like he was already at that point of caring about her beyond just as a job (la la la The Bodyguard).

DeWitt: The background checks are supposed to prevent this sort of thing.  How is it that you missed the fact that Connell is a psychopath?
Dominic: Because Richard Connell doesn't exist.  Nothing in his jacket was real.  His entire background from birth to college to his referral here, all of it was fabricated.

Dominic: He was dead when we got there.  But not from his run-in with Langton.

Boyd: That's not the way I left him.
Dr. Saunders: The GSW's were non-fatal.  Painful, but not fatal.  You avoided the major arteries.
Boyd: That was the plan.

Boyd says what the audience has already obviously figured out, that Alpha did it.

Dr. Saunders: That's impossible.
Boyd: Isn't that what we do here?  The impossible?

Dr. Saunders says, "Alpha is dead."
Boyd deadpans, "They'd never lie to us about something like this."

Last week ended with (and was repeated in the Previouslies) DeWitt asking (after the debrief about the Cristejo engagement), "Now tell me how we're going to contain this," and handing Dominic the Eyes Only Alpha file.

Boyd: Only thing I really know is, it all leads back to Echo.

I dislike the idea of Echo being all special -- yes you can argue that she acts as a stand-in for how the whole Dollhouse thing is problematic (metonym, or whatever), but it still makes me uncomfortable.  (Yes I know Joss did the same thing with River and the Academy, but River really was special; I haven't seen any reason so far why Echo is any more special than any of the rest of them, other than that Alpha says she is.)

It's bizarre to me how she totally doesn't react to the bizarre stuff Dominic says to her.  And I'm really annoyed with how Dominic and Topher both talk to her (for example, Topher in this episode saying, "This won't pinch like all the other treatments you don't remember").
Tags: tv: dollhouse

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