Monday, September 28, 2009

Watcher's Council - Dollhouse 2x01 "Vows"

Tara's take - I actually thought Vows was both incredible/Jossy and odd/confusing still. But even the confusing was in a much better way. Basically, I think they are just going to focus on the "souls can be erased, new souls can be created in empty bodies but now who are they?" god complex thing. Which I think is cool b/c it goes back to our endless discussions about vamps and their original owners souls and Angel's newer manufactured soul. Really, an active is very much like Angel.

As long as they don't get too much into the controversy of human trafficking and the prostitution metaphor, it really works. Shame is, you really can't ignore those 2 things. Herein, has always lied the problem. But really I want to stay focused on the soul/personality thing and be able to ignore the hard questions about that other stuff. It's a pickle. Since you can't ignore that stuff, the many atrocities going on at once makes it very heavy and actually way too deep in a bad way.

Another thing, Eliza's acting was still clunky (she's gorgeous in a bridal gown but clomping down the aisle like a horse wearing 2 size too big Uggs) but there was one scene where she was fantastic! The reason I know this was bc I was engaged in the scene and not realizing she, Eliza Dushku the actress, was in it at all...gratuitous bra showing for no reason and everything. Weird times.

Bits, what did you think?

Bitsy's take - I won't deny that the show seems a lot more focused at the start of this season but I do still think it suffers from a number of the same issues. I find it very hard to believe that DeWitt would genuinely want Ballard in the Dollhouse and it's equally unlikely that he'd reciprocate. Also, how exactly does Echo convince Jamie Bamber's character to marry her so quickly? There are just so many things that don't make sense.

On the plus category, however, I am thrilled to see Jamie Bamber and Alexis Denisof appear on the show. They're both very talented and it doesn't hurt that they're so easy on the eyes. The best bits from this episode by far though have to be the ones between Topher and Dr. Saunders. Amy Acker is absolutely stealing the show right now and Fran Kranz did a fine job of keeping pace with her which is no mean feat. Claire's questions about her own existence and fear of death really touch on the more compelling philosophical elements this show can delve into.

I agree, Tara, that it's best to let sleeping dogs lie when it comes to the question of informed consent. We all know there's no way anyone can truly understand what it means to become a Doll so it's best just to accept that it's screwed up and move on or else the show can never be enjoyable. I think that's what they're going to do and that's a relief.

All in all, it's one of the best episodes of Dollhouse so far. Next week's episode looks kind of ridiculous though. What did you think, Michelle?

Michelle's take - I didn't watch it.

Oh, right. Well then. What did everybody else think?


Cool Hip [InyRules] said...

To answer Bitsy's question about the quickness of the marriage, they kept stating that it was a long-term engagement. I watched an interview where Joss state's it's been about 3 months, but that's still a very short time to decide to marry someone. Unless they imprinted her with some awesome skills between the sheets, which the probably did.

This episode was fantastic. They went back to what made the second half of the season interesting and compelling. Even though the engagement was constructed to further the plot, I found myself very interested in Jamie Bamber's character. He seemed to be genuinely hurt that this wife turned out to be his enemy.

Paul Ballard's character has reached a new level of creepiness in this episode. Wanting to save Echo is one thing, but listening in on her having sex is really damn obsessive. I'm also confused as to what his role in the Dollhouse was before his new role at the end of the episode. Was the Dollhouse offering it's services for free to keep him quite? That to me seems unlikely, as no one in the FBI believed him anyway. Did Paul really believe he can right wrongs using the Dollhouse? Hasn't he become what he wanted to destroy? My favorite scene with him has to be when he's speaking with DeWitt in her office, and she's just hitting him where it hurts with her words.

I must applaud Eliza Dushku's acting during the scene with Bamber in his office. It's no surprise that I'm a big fan of hers, however, I'm not blind to when she does a not so great job. This scene was very refreshing, and it seems she's upped her game, which I' very happy about.

ALL HAIL THE GODDESS AMY ACKER. She completely stole the show in this episode. Every scene she was in was pure gold and magic and chocolate. It's a shame they have her for such a small period of time. I give big props to Fran Kranz as well, who made my initial hate for Topher vanish.

And of course, YAY Alexis Denisof!

Tara said...

Those poll choices are cute, Bits. I went with the Acker one. I see that I'm in the majority there.

Oh and I agree with every single thing Iny said. Yeah, pretty much everything. I didn't realize Ballard had the choice to not listen to the Echo sex until just now. I thought he had to listed bc at the time I thought he was her handler (which, I thought, was why he looked so miserable in that scene...having to endure that when he has feelings for her or something.) But that's right, he wasn't her handler yet and later he told DeWitt that there was NO audio so he either just lied (creepy) or changed things so he could hear (creepier.) What a psycho.

You know what? I'm watching that ep again. I already re-watched several scenes. That's how much I liked it which is saying A LOT after last season's, I'm sorry, catastrophe. I'm kind of shocked at myself.

Cool Hip [InyRules] said...

Yes, it's gotten very good toward the end of season one, and so early in season 2. It'll hurt that much more if (when) it gets canceled.

Tara said...

Forgot to add that I dislike the new opening. I thought it was over Echo-ed before....why is it even more "flashes of echo" now? I thought this was turning into more of an ensemble?

CM said...

Eliza walked down the aisle like that on purpose, so the 2 scenes about the stilettos and then Ballard giving her a foot rub would pay off.

Cool Hip [InyRules] said...

CM, it all makes sense now!

Also, I agree with Tara about the new opening. It's cute and all, but it really should have had clips of the whole cast.

elainecleo said...

I have liked DH since ep 6, yes I did watch the first 5, but how much better it could have been with Amy as the lead. I had never seen her before Angel and was not impressed with her as Fred, but WOW when she became Illyria I saw what a wonderful actor she is. She is just awesome in any role she plays and think what she could do with a different doll every week.

Natalia said...

the new opening bugs me - not really because it's over-echoed (love me a cute face, why not), but because it's way less original and creative than the first version. there, at least we had the mind-blowing 2-second sequence with her walking into a room and undressing (you know what i mean), and a few other cool touches. what we have here is "the show in a nutshell", but not in a good way. it's the show FOX made us watch in episodes 1-5 - imprint, adventure, persona erased. Oooh, the excitement. THe first one at least attempted to say more about the core idea of the show.

now. should i even mention - amy acker. she gets her very own round of applause from the whole fanbase in Russia (oh and guys, while i'm on it - Eliza's Russian has a PhD in Horribleness). fran kranz is very good as well, and the scenes with them talking on the phone and - of course - the one in his bed/server room are absolutely brilliantly written and played. i especially loved amy's transition from seducing him to slapping him.

Cool Hip [InyRules] said...

So, her Russian is horribly good, or horribly bad?

Natalia said...

Bad. And not only the pronunciation. It doesn't sound natural either, i mean the way they translated the English phrase. Which makes me wonder about all that Chinese... It's probably bad too. Pity.

CM said...

Didn't Joss say in an interview that he blatantly screws up foreign languages?

Everyone on Buffy trying to speak Latin?

David Boreanaz's Gaelic, Eliza's spanish in the original pilot?

He said he makes it up, and if it sounds foreign when the actor says it, he goes with it.

Cool Hip [InyRules] said...

I once read an interview where Alan Tudyk said that he use to forget his Chinese lines all the time, so the majority of it was stuff that he made up.

Oh, and the Spanish in the original pilot was really bad. I'm Hispanic, and I couldn't understand half of it.

Natalia said...

I feel relieved. At least it's not only the Russian that they screwed up :) I'm over it and moving on :)

Cool Hip [InyRules] said...

Yeah, I forgave her on my end too for the terrible Spanish.