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Dollhouse: Season 2 Post-Mortem

The first season of "Dollhouse" never seemed to live up to its full potential. Part of that was the network interference that has been discussed on several occasions, but part of it was also the decision to spend much of the first season setting up the notion of Echo as something special. Joss Whedon had some very interesting ideas for what to do with "Dollhouse". There were several layers at work in the conceptual basis of the show, and it was mostly a meditation on identity and free will. The Dolls were a metaphor for those willingly handing over their lives to the corporate programming that tries to tell us who we want to be. On a fundamental level, the clients were the rich and entitled, and the Dolls were molded into whatever kind of plaything the clients wanted them to be. And of course, there was little or no concern for the individual that the Doll had been before the process began. I've said before that this could be seen, very loosely, as a commentary on the entertainment industry. Considering that the genesis of the series was a conversation between Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku in the days leading up to the writers' strike of 2008, during a period when the actors' guild was also in the midst of contentious talks, it's not surprising that this undercurrent was there from the very beginning. After all, the Dolls are like actors. Actors are individuals that play the roles they are paid to play. But very often, the individual wants and desires of the actors are dismissed by those who want the actors to be defined and stereotyped by their roles. Eliza in particular had been branded the sexual bad girl, for example, and even many of her fans had little desire to see her portray anything else. In terms of the analogy, Eliza is Echo, trying to break out of the mold of expectation and display her individuality on her own terms. These themes ultimately play out in an ever more complicated fashion, as questions of the truth of consciousness meld with the questions of identity. How connected is the human mind to the human body, and what happens to the value of a human life when the mind can be preserved, nearly intact, independent of the flesh? And when the ability to overwrite the control over a person's body becomes available, how long would it take for that to lead to anarchy? All great fodder for a science fiction series, and sure enough, the foundation for many of the elements that appeared in the unaired finale for the first season, "Epitaph One". It was the promise of those concepts that made fans so eager to see the second season. But there were also some fundamental issues that lingered. The show itself was often promoted based on Eliza's sexuality, and as other characters entered the fold, there were huge questions of consent. Apparently Whedon had originally intended to explore these sexual aspects in more depth, but the network balked. Whether or not that would have mitigated some of the seemingly discordant examples of fan service in the first season is hard to say; I personally suspect that the audience would have been confronted with a more overt debate over consent if Whedon would have had his way. Also, the first season was weakened by the fact that the only persistent characters in the story, the Dollhouse administrative personnel, were portrayed in a somewhat positive light. The audience was being told that we were supposed to like people that were prostituting the Dolls to dangerous and even psychotic clients. While it would eventually become clear that this particular Dollhouse was run by characters capable of redemption, the spin placed on those characters convinced many that Whedon was trying to justify or even advocate the treatment of the Dolls. The second season tried to address these issues, and for the most part, it was successful. In the first season, Echo was mostly under the firm control of the Dollhouse; in the second season, Echo began to develop a composite personality, based on the unexpected residual effect of each and every imprint. Even better, Echo's core personality was more and more similar to her original Caroline personality, exploring the notion that identity can be overwritten by societal programming, but never completely lost. Echo's struggle for control over her own destiny throughout the second season was in perfect counterpoint to the fans' knowledge, from "Epitaph One", that her campaign to bring down Rossum (the corporation behind the Dollhouse technology) was going to end in the downfall of modern civilization. Echo even became aware, in the brilliant episode "The Attic", that this future apocalypse was all but certain. So one of the beautiful ironies of the second season was that interplay between Echo's growing sense of free will and the destined downfall of the modern world. Because it was very clear from the start of the second season that the renewal was a gift, and that the season was a chance to tell the "Dollhouse" story in a much condensed format, little time was wasted. The plot unfolded at a blistering pace, and while some plot and character elements simply couldn't be resolved, the majority of the main arcs were handled with unusual deftness. It was, until the last few episodes, a thrilling example of just what a Whedon writing staff is capable of producing. That is, until the writers introduced one plot twist that, in the balance, dramatically hurt both the season and the series as a whole. Close to the end, it was revealed that Boyd, Echo's longtime handler and one of her closest allies, was in fact the secret mastermind behind Rossum. His reason for fostering Echo's development of a self-directed composite personality? To prove that Caroline's body, with some super-special immunity to the mind-wipe technology, would be able to provide Rossum and selected individuals with a means to survive the impending societal collapse. Fans immediately recognized what the writers later admitted: that the Boyd reveal was never part of the original concept for the series, and so of course it didn't track with his choices and actions in the first season. But even more frustrating, the reason for Caroline's importance in the story (and therefore Echo's importance) made no sense when the character arcs for Victor and Sierra were taken into account. For most of the series, it was slowly hinted that the mind-wipe technology was flawed, and that the original personality was still resident underneath the imprinted personalities. The net effect was the eventual development of a composite personality that took the fundamentals of the original person, the imprinted abilities and knowledge, and combined them. Echo was the most developed, since she was being helped along by various means, but Victor and Sierra were also showing the same kind of development. Because they loved each other, there were connections made that the imprinting could not overcome. By the logic of "The Hollow Men", that never should have happened. Only Caroline/Echo should have had the innate ability to overcome the programming and develop an immunity to the mind-wipe technology. And while that was ultimately the way the other characters were treated in the series finale, "Epitaph Two", it just wasn't a satisfying way to resolve the development of Echo, Victor, and Sierra over the course of the series. The second season of "Dollhouse" earned a Critical Myth rating of 7.8, well above average and a solid improvement over the first season (7.3). "Dollhouse" was also one of only two shows to improve over the previous season. This reflects how well the writers managed to condense the mythology of the series into essentially twelve episodes. Barring a few last-minute reveals that didn't quite add up, thus damaging the cohesive whole, the season successfully placed the focus on the larger philosophical concepts that Whedon originally wanted to explore.

Canceled?????

Is it really true that the show had been canceled? I hope not, would be very disappointing if it's true...I just love this show!

Well, I loved it.

I can see so many negative reviews here (even if some are regretfully negative), but I thought this ending was utterly amazing. It struck just the right balance between an almost-cheesy happy ending and something dark and bitter, and between tying up loose ends and leaving a lot of questions. Let's go character by character: 1. Boyd. Okay, so technically the previous episode, I know. Clearly, that was an immensely shocking revelation. And one that was always going to annoy a lot of people. I feel I can overlook the issues with that, though, because it was handled quite well and I liked his whole insane "we are family" thing. That worked as an explanation for me, but then, I'm also trying not to think too hard about it, because I don't want to ruin Dollhouse for myself. 2. Paul and Echo. Oh, was I glad when he got shot. I already did some rejoicing when Alpha got him earlier in the season, though I knew it couldn't last... And then, I don't know why, I just never thought about deaths in the finale. Clearly an oversight, given that this is Joss Whedon, after all. In fact, just as Paul was felled I was beginning to debate with myself about whether it would Anthony or Priya who went. (Obviously, I was very wrong there.) A classic Whedon death, anyway, going down in the style of my dear beloveds, Anya and Wash. Except this time I only cared for a shocked millesecond, because I hate Paul. (That would be italicised if I knew how to italicise in a review.) Anyway, I found his death fitting, and perfect for Echo. I did not see that end coming, with her being imprinted with him, but I think I kind of like it. It's weird, sure. Maybe if I cared more about either of them, I'd have more issues with it... As it is, I think it made a good ending for them. (A sidenote: Anyone read The Wind on Fire trilogy? Bowman and Kestrel was the first thing that came to mind when this happened. I found that awfully hard to accept reading those books, so I guess my mind has already adjusted to this type of thing as a resolution.) What else was there for Echo in this episode, now? I can't remember. She's always been rather unimportant to me... So she got Caroline back, and she got to keep her new self, and she missed out on the real happy ever after, but in the end the world was saved. Though in the end it wasn't her who did it. 3. Anthony/Victor and Priya/Sierra. Aww. Well, that was always coming, I suppose. Though I did have my moment when I thought Joss would do his cruel thing and kill one of them off. I love Sierra almost entirely because Dichen Lachman was in Neighbours. And I love Victor because, wow, Enver Gokaj is a genius! His Topher in "The Hollow Men" was the most outstanding thing I've ever seen! (Even better than his previous Topher.) And mention just has to be made here of his performance as pscho-serial-killer and Kiki-the-slutty-student. Anyway. The addition of a kid was interesting, and I liked Anthony's tech-addiction. I bet somewhere in there, given the change, there would have been something of Priya blaming herself, for allowing Topher to give him ninja skills in the previous episode. I think their story mostly covers the whole happy ending aspect. It could have been cheesy and too soppy, but I think it and its screen time stopped just short of that. 4. Mag, Zone and Caroline II. I'm glad they got resolutions as well. And though maybe all that went on with them was a bit predictable, it was still perfect and what had to happen, and I'm glad it did. Clearly another Joss Whedon touch with the lesbian aspect, but still, the message that gave was a good one. Along with them revealing their past occupations. To have been together, I'm assuming, for at least year, and not to know anything about each others' befores, that's almost as though even though they were never wiped, they still lost who they were. Zone going off with Caroline II was sweet. And I love Adair Tishler. 5. Alpha. What?! I'll admit, I've never entirely managed to understand the Alpha storyline. So pre-anything to do with the Dollhouse, he was a killer? I'd forgotten that. And he was afraid of reverting to this personality, so... he went outside? What? How does that work? And then, the bigger issue, Alpha-turned-good?! A shock, and maybe too neat of a tying-up, but... this is becoming a theme... I liked it. Of course, it would have been nice to know more about how he 'evolved' to this (I'm thinking Paul's personality was a part of it?), but I'm happy just knowing that he did. 6. I'm saving the best till last, of course. Adelle and Topher. Oh, my dear Topher... How I adore him. Whether morally ambiguous or saving humanity, he is utterly genius, and so hilarious. I love the guy, and I love Fran Kranz. I intend to track down more of his stuff, although it just won't be the same. So. I've been longing all season to know how he reached total mental breakdown (though, clearly, Epitaph One was nothing). So when Bennett was killed... Man, I loved that episode. Perfect. There needed to be some sort of a catalyst and there it was. I loved in "The Hollow Men" that he still had that excitement, even then, on seeing all that tech. The glee and small smile, there for a moment before he fought it back and knew the implications. And oh, that hand hold, when Adelle reached out to him when he realised Boyd was behind Bennett's death. I love them. I've been rooting for their mother-sonish relationship since the drug episode. My mum reckons it's a romantic relationship. No. Way. And "Epitaph Two" gave them such an ending. Oh, my heart still breaks. Maybe Topher sacrificing himself is too much, too much of a perfect tying-up... but, no, I have to love it. "I don't want to cause any more pain." Okay, I could go on about these two for hours. But I won't. This is a review, after all, and I realise that I'm entirely unable to be critical about their part of the series and finale. And then there are all the other characters whose stories we don't know: Mr Dominic, Ivy, Whiskey. Where did he go, when Adelle let him out? Is he fighting his own part of the war, somewhere else? Did Ivy become Topher or did she break free? I wonder if perhaps the pull of science was too much for her and she ended up aiding Rossum. But ultimately, no, I hope she did what Topher, in that moment of clarity, wanted. I imagine her holed up somewhere else, using her science to try and repel the tech - fighting her own part of the war too. (But, of course, just not the genius that Topher is, able to find a cure.) Or maybe that's too neat, and she just got wiped or imprinted or killed. And Whiskey, clearly she's a big question mark. I have to just mention Bennett here. I won't go on about the character, though I really could, but just her death. Everyone on the show seems to believe that she was a sleeper active, imprinted by Boyd to stop Bennett resurrecting Caroline. But I disagree - I thought from the moment she walked into that room, hands so conveniently behind her back, that it was just Clare Saunders, of her own volition, killing Bennett to hurt Topher; her final revenge on him. The story itself is of much less importance than the characters to me. There are flaws... but I overlook them because I think the show is character driven, and this finale wrapped that up perfectly. And it is, of course, driven by its themes as well, and they were perfectly showcased too. And there's that question: did they cause the 'apocalypse' by attempting to end it? Rossum was crazed and evil, yes, but it was an organisation, led by a strong head, and without it there was no control. As was said, once something is invented it can't be forgotten. They tried to save the world in a 'perfect' finale in "The Hollow Men", and the show (any other show) could have been left at that. But that's the genius of the future episodes - that could never be a perfect ending, there's never any perfect happy ending (a constant Joss Whedon message). It's almost like the Angel message of the fight never ends. I'm glad it wasn't all wrapped up simply by exploding Rossum. I've heard it said a few times that there are too many gaps, that they tried to tell too much and ended up not telling us enough. I disagree, because I like that I can fill those gaps myself. Like how Alpha evolved, Anthony's tech-addiction, Adelle and Caroline mostly overcoming their intense dislike, Topher's breakdown. Obviously, if the show had been allowed to run its course, we could have seen all this. But no. And I am, of course, bittter about that. But, it is as it is, and I think they've done an incredble job of wrapping it up but still leaving us with so much story to explore ourselves. It's good, because I don't feel cheated out of this wonderful story, taken from us too early. So. Here ends my review. Epitaph Two, my heart wants to give you 10 out of 10. But thinking about it, it has to be maybe a 9, because there were issues that I'm willing to overlook. And it's the same with the series as a whole. But it's okay to overlook these flaws, because they're not the be all and end all, and they don't change the fact that Dollhouse was an amazing, dark, gripping, thought-provoking, funny, different, and utterly genius show.

Dollhouse: "Epitaph Two" Review Season 2, Episode 13

Dollhouse is over, and I can't say I'm exactly in anguish over its loss. After several strong episodes as Season 2 progressed, the show really dropped the ball in its penultimate episode, with a messy, unsatisfying story that failed to sell me on a huge plot twist (Boyd being behind Rossum), while also conveniently overlooking would be monumental events, such as what would happen when Caroline and Echo were integrated. It all served as a reminder of how inconsistent this show has been and some of the key issues it never was able to overcome. "Epitaph Two" was certainly better than "The Hollow Men." It was easy to look at it as a completely different story a sequel of sorts, since "The Hollow Men" in many ways wrapped up the show's storylines, as far as the building threads this season. With that disappointment out of the way, "Epitaph Two" saw a return to the future of the unaired "Epitaph One," which was, in fact, a very cool, intriguing installment of the show. Felicia Day, Zack Ward and Adair Tishler all reprised their roles from "Epitaph One" here, and it was fun seeing them work alongside the regular cast. To Read More Click Here If You Missed This Episode Watch It Here Online Now

Review: Dollhouse - Epitaph Two (series finale) Season 2, Episode 13

What words can be used to describe Joss Whedon's latest complete series on television? "Weird" is one. "Rushed" is another. Granted, the show only had slightly more than a full season's worth of episodes to establish itself (26 in all), but Dollhouse never really felt like something Joss really cogitated on and imagined from the bottom of his soul and thought through every detail. The series felt more like a favor he was doing for Eliza Dushku to prevent her from being typecast as a tough chick, with some clever bits thrown in. Overall, the series wasn't as good as his previous attempts, but still much better than 99% of the other crap on television. Major spoilers follow after the jump. To Read More Click here . If You Missed This Episode Watch It Here Online Now

Dollhouse 2.13: "Epitaph Two: Return"

It’s interesting to note that many fans also felt that the writers went a step too far with the Boyd reveal in “Getting Closer”, and that it hobbled the ability to bring the resolution of the season/series to a fitting and satisfactory end. It’s true that many writers manage to provide a near-perfect setup, only to struggle with the payoff. Joss Whedon has been more successful than others over the course of his career, but his writing teams are hardly immune. Some have wondered if the existence of “Epitaph One” was the problem. Having set that future in stone, the writers were locked onto a path with a known destination. And with only twelve episodes to get from the first season finale to the basis for that apocalyptic future, the writers were facing down quite a challenge. In that respect, it’s amazing that they managed to make it fit together as well as they did. Yet I think that “Epitaph One” gave them a goal to achieve, which served to tighten the focus for most of the season. The only problem came when they tried to get too cute with the twists and turns. The Boyd/Whiskey reveal did explain why Rossum lost control of the tech, but it also made it impossible for some of the dots to be connected. Many of the “flashbacks” in “Epitaph One” are left with only the slightest hint of context, and the presence of Whiskey in 2019 doesn’t fit at all. Having now seen the series’ conclusion, set after “Epitaph One” and bringing the story to a close, I’m even less enamored of the Boyd reveal. The time that was spent making that work could have been used to make better sense of Caroline’s importance, Alpha’s role in the grand plan, and the preparations made in the wake of Rossum’s corporate beheading. Ironically, while Caroline/Echo’s unique nature was touted in “The Hollow Men” (however inconsistent with the earlier hints that Victor and Sierra had similar developing immunity), it had almost nothing to do with the final solution to the wiping problem. It just explained, more or less, why Echo was able to lead the resistance. But was a specific explanation necessary? After all, her immunity to the wiping process was already evident, and left alone, it also would have made more sense. Consider that the implication for most of the second season was that a certain percentage of Dolls would, over time, develop composite personalities that were, in essence, reflections or “echoes” of their original selves. The more a Doll was wiped and reprogrammed, the more likely the compositing would take place. Left alone, this would have explained why so many of the Dolls survived to make it to Safe Haven, and why they would be able to resist the tech. It also could have formed the basis for the restoration of civilization: that there were some pockets still out there surviving, having developed composite immunity over time. Topher’s final solution might have still been the same, but at least it would have connected better than the ultra-specific explanation given for Echo’s development. As it is, this series finale was merely functional. It didn’t have the stunning gravitas of “Epitaph One”. There wasn’t the same crushing sense of hopelessness. Part of that was the recognition that the only resolution, once Topher came on the scene, would be a successful mission to save what was left of the world. Topher’s final act of genius would, in one instant, wipe out the remnants of Rossum’s middle-management, kill the tech, and give humanity a chance to rebuild. Even with tragedy along the way, it had to end on that semi-optimistic note. I just couldn’t see Joss taking it the other, far more crushing direction. The presence of two Caroline’s never seemed to pay off, despite early hints that there would be a purpose to it. The tension between Anthony and Priya was a bit unexpected, but it was a natural enough extension of Anthony’s appreciation of his tech-based mojo in “The Hollow Men” for it to make sense. Thankfully, the writers chose to allow Anthony and Priya to find happiness with their son; that’s a rare commodity in a Joss production. The showdown with Harding and Ambrose simply did not work, largely because the actors were annoying and there wasn’t enough time to give the audience a reason to care. It was one of those moments that had to be there to ensure that the audience understood the link between “The Hollow Men” and this episode, but it just felt rushed. And Neuropolis was the sort of thing that sounds clever in the writing room, but is just corny on-screen. I already mentioned the issue with Whiskey. Fans that never saw “Epitaph One” will never think to ask the question, but how did Whiskey go from being a meat-suit for Clyde 2.0 to the bizarre servitor of the Dollhouse in “Epitaph One”? There wasn’t even a hint of how that happened. And since the copy of Caroline only served to bring Zone and Mag to Safe Haven via Neuropolis, it just wasn’t a great payoff to Whiskey’s apparent importance in that prior episode. Also, there was never a payoff to Dominic’s presence in the Attic, beyond triggering some of what happened in “Getting Closer”. I was hoping that “Epitaph Two” would tie up that particular loose thread, even in passing, and it never happened. It seems as though the trip to the Attic was to provide some necessary exposition and give the characters something of an early warning sign, and nothing else. Considering some of the implications from “The Attic”, that was a letdown. While a lot of the problems were a lack of follow-through on previous plot and character threads, there was also a problem with execution. This series finale may have been too ambitious for its own good. Many of the action set pieces were terribly staged, and poorly directed. The writers tried to mitigate the issue within the dialogue, but it’s clear that the budget and shooting schedule issues got in the way of meeting the original intentions. While I thought a lot of things didn’t quite work, and that the writers failed to live up to the promise of “Epitaph One”, there were things I did like. First and foremost, Topher’s final moments were an amazing turn for the character. Topher’s character arc was one of the best aspects of the series. As central as Echo was to the entire progression of the plot, Topher became one of the reasons to keep watching. I also loved how well the writers handled the Echo/Alpha/Paul subplot. It was never overtly explained, but Alpha was clearly changed by the inclusion of Paul’s mind into his composite personality. And when Paul died, Alpha understood that there was nothing to be gained by having Paul erased from his brain like the rest of his mental menagerie. His final gift to Echo, a copy of Paul to upload into her mind for the rest of her life, was a beautiful payoff to “A Love Supreme”. It’s unlikely that the writers could have given the series a sense of full resolution with this episode. At best, the plot and character arcs would have been given some degree of closure, and for the most part, that’s what was accomplished. The rough nature of the resolution is largely a symptom of circumstance; the writers did what they thought was best with the time they had left. It’s probably no surprise that some of the choices wouldn’t quite work, and it’s unfortunate that many of those questionable choices were concentrated at the end of the run. On the other hand, I’m still left with a desire to see where the story would go from here. I understand that Joss has said that he considers “Dollhouse” to have come to its end with this finale, and that there are no plans for a “Dollhouse: Season 3” comic book treatment. And this does work well enough as a firm ending. For my own part, I’d love to see how the world would recover from a long-term disaster on this scale. Whatever the case, “Dollhouse” has come to its end, and Joss Whedon managed to tell a relatively complete story despite poor ratings, network intervention, and a flawed premise. I personally feel that the story as a whole mitigates much of the early criticism of the premise, though there are aspects that will always be put to understandable question. So perhaps it makes sense that “Epitaph Two” is a flawed but ambitious finale to a flawed but ambitious series.

Could 'Dollhouse' Have Been Saved?

The one thing I'm certain most Dollhouse fans were thinking after the series came to a close last Friday: it's a shame it couldn't have gone longer. The first season of Dollhouse took so long to establish itself, perhaps too long for people to stick with it. From the DVD-exclusive episode "Epitaph One" and then continuing into the second season, the series picked up speed considerably. Its slow-moving season one was composed mostly of stand-alone episodes which raised big questions about the dangers of the Dollhouse, but rarely answered them. Season two raised the stakes, presenting the possibilities of the technology--all the bad, and sometimes the good, things that can happen with the ability to put different personalities in a person's head--and showing its apocalyptic effects (on the world, and on the brain). And then it was over. To Read More Click Here .

Epitaph Two: A Few Thoughts

"Epitaph Two" was certainly a finale. I mean that in the sense that it really ended the story. So, in that way, it was highly successful. I's dotted, T's crossed, arcs completed, et cetera et cetera. That said, I gotta say, it was not my favorite Whedon finale. Mostly because it was just too neat and tidy and, frankly, kind of lame. I've said "it hurts me to say this" before. But seriously this time. Criticizing the sadly premature Dollhouse finale brings me real emotional pain. Because if I put on my Critical Analysis Hat, it really was lacking. Let me break my reasoning down into characters. 1. Alpha. I'm sorry, but WHAT THE HELL. I'm sure this is a development that would have been expanded and explained had the series continued long enough. But given the information we had at the time of the finale, this was just gross. Making Alpha one of the good guys? Having him be the engineer of Echo's happiness at the end of it all? I love Alan Tudyk, but I don't love him so much that I want him to come in and throw the narrative stream halfway to hell. 2. Sierra and Victor. Actually, I had the least complaint about this one. Oddly, their relationship is possibly the most complicated and most developed in the entire show. Yeah, the tied-up ending with them happy with the kid was pretty cheesy. But sweet. And it more or less made sense. 3. Topher. As with Alpha, this is just something that really needed more series to make sense. We could see the seeds of this personality transition in him. But where we left off right before "Epitaph Two" was a far reach from self-sacrifice in the interest of all humanity. One thing I will say: Fran Kranz is freaking genius in the finale, and in the series as a whole and he really should get more recognition for it. 4. Paul Ballard. He unfortunately fell victim to the golden rule of Whedon series: the faithful male lover of the strong female heroine must always die. So that was a predictable, but solid choice. Not so kosher: putting him in Echo's head. I'm sorry, but when did the Whedon team decide that happy endings were necessary? CORNY EW. Do not approve. I feel like "Epitaph Two" was mostly an exercise in showing everyone exactly how much Dollhouse needed to go on longer. The hints we saw of the things that would happen - character transitions in Topher and Adelle, the tech-heads, the Priya/Tony relationship, the Echo/Paul relationship, Mag and Zone - were just enough to prove that having them not occur is a tragic thing. There is no doubt in my mind that Dollhouse would have grown into a mindblowingly amazing show had it run its full course. But, sadly, that was not the case due to network politics and a slow start. As for how it all ended, my final verdict is that this finale was just not up to standard for Whedon series finales. Even Firefly's "Objects In Space," which was not planned as a finale, was more effective, I feel, in terms of summarizing themes but leaving the right amount of openended-ness (if you consider Serenity to be the finale of Firefly, I'd say the success is even greater). The main problem with "Epitaph Two" was that it was name-appropriate. It really doesn't feel like there's that much story left. I just don't care about the aftermath. It feels closed. Self-contained. Done. Maybe that works for some people. But I feel like it took a different stance from the series. The end was too much of a fairytale. (This review also posted on my blog at //meltedbrain.wordpress.com .)

Dollhouse: Season 2, Episode 13 'Epitaph Two: Return' Review - Featured

Really, why did you hold this one out on us, come on! This is the quality I wanted, probably for the past two seasons. Arggh, this was actually a cool idea for a series and they blew it! I want to have more episodes of this series, I don't know what the previous episodes were about, but this one was clear about the exact quality in producing, action and the acting by Eliza Dushku was unbelievable! This is the Dollhouse we want. Why did you wait until now to give us this one, why! As you probably gathered from the ranting above, I was a bit disappointed by this one, and not in the 'this episode sucked' way, but in the 'this episode flew through the hills and now the series is being canceled' kind of way. Whedon should have started from scratch for Season two, he should have used the same style of this episode and portray possible flashbacks, anything better than what he gave us. This was his plan all along, I knew it, he wanted us to give poor reviews and poor comments and he wanted us to criticize until we begged for a cancellation, his end game would be to shove it to us "You see, this is what you are going to be missing out on, I had good ideas", but that really sucks Whedon, that was a low blow. It would be generous if someone could pick up the same style and change the overall name of the series. I mean really, I always admired the original idea of this series and I expected so much out of it. Instead of focusing on sending actives on engagements, or even during, they should have focused on developing characters like Boyd and the organization he worked for. Look at how beautifully Dushku pulled off that 'grief ridden' scene, the actors and actresses needed more room to bring out their true talents. My only regret on their part is that the chance is probably gone now, when we could have gotten so much more out of it. Terrible, truly terrible. Lexa ___________ Five Stars (...for the Finale) Grade A- ___________

The Dollhouse 2.13 - Series Finale Review - We Hardly Knew You - Featured

The Dollhouse (and hopefully Joss Whedon's working relationship with FOX) came to an end on Friday, and after watching the finale I thought to myself, "Man I wish they would have been allowed to develop this show and get to this ending a little slower." Such a great premise and yet the ending had to be a hurried flashforward type episode to get the plot where they were trying to take it. I would have loved to see the point at which the world turned because of the new tech being introduced, or Topher's mind slowly cracking due to the stress and blame he put on himself; not to mention the development of a relationship between Echo and Paul. I really liked the way they wrapped that plotline up(funny to say you're happy one of the main character's died), but that was really an original and perfect idea for what this show was, nothing cliche about it. However, I just wasn't able to care as much about it because we really didn't get but an episode or two of development in that relationship. As for this stand alone finale episode, I thought the story was very good, but again, we really didn't get to see the character's struggle to get to that point, so it almost gave it a "that was too easy" feel. As I said, I liked the way they ended the Paul/Echo storyline, I thought Topher dying by his tech, because of his tech, to stop his tech was very apropo, albeit a little sad. The things I didn't like about this episode, and maybe about the show in general; the ultimate bad guy was never fully realized, Rosuem sort of sat as a faceless enemy, which I thought all along hurt the drama of the show. I'm sure Boyd was never really supposed to be the bad guy, but as the show drew to an end they needed a twist, and without the time to develop one, just had to throw the bad guy monicure to Boyd's character. I also really did not like the Victor/Sierra storyline in the finale. Throughout the show they were presented as the characters whose love transcended the things being done to their brains and yet this episode had them apart, not getting along, and had Victor having been voluntarily disfigured, I didn't care for that at all. Ultimately I think The Dollhouse will be thought of as a show that was really never allowed to be. I always go back to the fact that FOX made Whedone redo the show's premise a little and had him reshoot the entire pilot episode, I would love to see what he actually had in mind for the show all along, I think it would have been more along the lines of the two Epitaph episodes and less like the "case a week" style episodes that eventually came to be. In the end, The Dollhouse is like the girl you wish you got to know better but still look back on your time together fondly. If I could speak to Mr. Whedon directly for a second...."Joss, hey its me; next time try ABC please. Hell, TBS, BRAVO, and Comedy Central would all be better choices then FOX."