Friday, October 02, 2009

Dollhouse 2.01: Vows/2.02: Instinct

I missed posting on Dollhouse last week, so I figured I'd make up for it by posting on the first two eps this week.

Last season I fell behind in watching, and while I'd tried to do writeups for the first half of the season, I stopped for the second half. And then when I finally caught up in the summer, it was so late I figured everyone would have discussed it. But I'll just say for the record that those final two episodes with Alpha were BRILLIANT and gave me everything I needed to get excited about season 2.

And so far, season 2 is delivering. In the first episode back, not only do we have a fantastic scene between the doctor and Topher (Amy Acker is just amazing in this scene) where she demands to know why he made her the way she was, and he is distraught by what he's done while simultaneously trying to justify it, but we get to see Apollo lay a smackdown on Helo!! Talk about a hell of a scene for BSG fans. :) And if that was enough, Faith jumps in and wallops Apollo. Wicked.

And did I mention Alexis Denisof? Written and directed by Joss Whedon + Alexis Denisof = a squee-a-thon of epic proportions for me.

And then I come to this week's episode. WOW. I found it absolutely heartbreaking. From the scene of her happily breastfeeding Jack in the night to the walks around the park and new mom jokes to the tiredness and paranoia and unwarranted fights, the writers on this one pretty much nailed new motherhood. When Paul came to take Echo away in the police station and she was screaming for her baby, my eyes welled up with tears. I completely believed Dushku 100% (I think she's actually becoming a better actress just being on this show) and I imagined what it would be like for a new mother to suddenly have her baby snatched from her while the people around her treat her like a madwoman. It would be like something out of a horror film.

The theme of maternal instinct being stronger than just about anything certainly warmed my maternal heart, and I think I felt really close to Echo and realized that they'd crossed a line in her "pretend" world. You can prostitute her, put her in a relationship, take away parents and siblings from her at the end of her role-playing, have her marry someone and walk away from him, and wipe it all away, but you cannot take a baby from its mother. There really is something instinctual about motherhood that transcends the thought process. I remember when my babies were still babies and I would be sleeping with them at night, and I could go into a really deep sleep, but if they so much as twitched, my body would suddenly take over, and jump into protective mode, waking instantly and making sure they were OK. A mother can sense when something is wrong with her child even when everyone else is insisting it's in her head, and she is often the only person who can soothe an upset infant after it's first born. What a beautiful and poignant (and heart-wrenching) episode.

Here are a few thoughts and questions for you guys:
• When Topher said to "November" to repeat the words boat, cucumber, and wire, do you think there's any chance those just became her trigger words, and now, just like when she'd pick up the phone and Adelle could say something about a green light turning on, now they call her and say those three words and she suddenly turns into an assassin?
• What is different in Echo's wiring? I just assumed that there was something in her brain that was now resisting the mind-wipes, but then Paul offered to wipe her clean, as if there's something in the chair that's not doing the complete job. Did I miss something there?
• In "Vows," they kept bringing Echo in to the dollhouse and said that in a long-term operation, you have to turn the active off every few days or things go a little buggy. So... how come the doctor isn't ever turned off? Could they be damaging her brain by constantly keeping her as Dr. Saunders?

Overall, season 2 is a brilliant return, and here's looking forward to next week's episode already! What did you think?


Karen W. said...

I agree the first two episodes were very good. I'm know the show was only renewed for half a season, so I have my fingers, toes, and everything else crossed we wind up with a full season!

Anonymous said...

I don't think anything is different with Echo's wiring. As you said, she's just resisting. I understood Paul to indicate that IF he told Topher she's resisting stuff with the wipes, THEN Topher would be able to find a way to make sure it stopped happening.
The episodes are brilliant and having Joss amaze me with new material by the week is just a delight!!

Amanda S. said...

Completely agreed that this season is much improved over the beginning of last season (though the *ending* of last season was amazing! Have you seen Epitaph One?).

That's a really interesting theory about November! I hope they bring her back now and then, and that would be an interesting way to do it.

Unknown said...

Ooh, good point about the three random words there.

Megan said...

Dollhouse is currently on cancellation watch (instinct was lowest ratings so far). So thank you for promoting it :)