Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dollhouse: Man on the Street

The most Whedonesque episode yet. It's a shame it took so long to get to this point but it is what it is.

One of the problems that Whedon has to solve is to explain why someone would bother paying big money for an active when they could just go out and get the real thing - you can buy sex, you can hire a midwife, you can hire a high powered negotiator. The combination of the man-on-the-street interviews and the software mogul's fantasy was a good attempt to work through this problem, although I don't think it is really solved. But it was effective that the first women interviewed compared the dolls to slaves and the last man interviewed talked about the effect of the technology on the human race, Whedon attacking it from the point of view of the human race and the individual human. I agreed with the woman who said it was human trafficking.

The same idea came out in the conversation between the software mogul, Joel Mynor, and Ballard when Joel points out that Ballard's discovery of Caroline makes it personal to him - he now has an individual to focus on rather than one big conspiracy. And the question as to whether Ballard has his own fantasy.

No big surprise that weird girl across the hall (I can't remember her name) is an Active but I found her interactions with Ballard completely unbelievable. As I always do. I don't know if it is her acting (I've never been sure if she's a bad actress or if she's doing a good job with a character I don't like -- a stepford wife sort of character) or if it is Penmikett who is the problem. I continue to think he is completely miscast. I think it in every scene but especially the scenes with her. The bedroom dialog was so Whedon and they just ... didn't do it. It didn't sound natural. I didn't even like him in the Buffy-esque fight scene toward the end ( I wonder if they use the same stunt double for Eliza.)

The guy who played Mynor, though, was great, a natural with the Whedon dialog (was he ever on another Whedon show? He looked or sounded familiar) and I predict that he will be back in another episode if this show lasts.

The subplot with Sierra was also agood because it addressed the exploitation factor directly. Hearne was set up to be the bad guy a few episodes ago so it wasn't a surprise that he ended up the villain. I was kind of disappointed that he didn't kill weirdo girl across the hall, and that disappointment was only mitigated slightly by the confirmation that she was an Active. But even Hearne points out the exploitation factor of the whole enterprise - why is it worse for him to sexually exploit an active than for the paid client.

I'd like to see Victor out in another assignment. One moment I really liked was the moment when Victor told Echo he had done something bad and when she asked what he had done he said "no one will tell me."

And who is the mole inside? The Asian-American assistant of Topher? Topher himself? DeWitt? (Does DeWitt have the necessary knowledge to do it?) The doctor?

So, all in all, a good week. Lots of Whedon. Moral spankitude. lol.

As an aside, when I went to check it out on hulu I discovered that Stargate SG-1, season 1, is now up. Yet another series that I came in on in the middle, only occasionally watched but really liked. I remember describing it to someone as the most creative laughably low-budget show on television. So now I have something to watch when I'm bored.