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October 6, 2015

Dollhouse: Briar Rose

by Brad Trechak, posted May 1st 2009 11:36PM
Dollhouse(S01E11) So apparently, Echo/Caroline is Briar Rose. The big twist is that Ballard didn't end up being the Prince. Alpha did.

So now we know Alpha's face (and with that knowledge, my Ballard-as-Alpha theory gets blown to Hell in a handbasket), but we're still missing a lot. We don't know his motivation or his connection with Alpha. We do know that while masquerading as Stephen Kepler, he acts a lot like Topher (whom he may have used as inspiration for his facade) and when he reverts to character he acts a lot like Heath Ledger's Joker (Alan Tudyk is a brilliant actor).

Many law firms take on pro bono work to help those that can't afford legal help. I can only conclude that the Dollhouse has a similar service (or perhaps Topher does a little on the side), which is why a care center for abused children can afford a Doll that has been programmed to act like a grown-up, therapist version of their most abused patient.

That ability to actually create fictional personas based on postulations on how people will emotionally mature would be an interesting concept to explore if the show gets future seasons.

It's amazing how Adelle, Boyd and the rest of the crew treat the Actives like cattle. They had no problem injecting Victor (even if he was imprinted with Dominic) with whatever crap they pumped into him to get him docile.

Dollhouse Headquarters is in Tucson? Brilliant. Nobody goes to Tucson.

Alpha must be a brilliant chess player. He knew exactly where Kepler would be so he could lay in wait (notice that Kepler was looking for recyclables). He knew that Ballard would eventually look for Kepler. Hell, he even planted his own photo at the FBI so he'd be mistaken for Kepler. All this to get back into the Dollhouse. So, why did he need Ballard to do it?

Did you notice how Alpha hid behind Ballard anytime someone in the Dollhouse who would recognize him came around? Perhaps he just needed Ballard to act as a barrier.

Speaking of, it was time for the Friday night main event of Ballard vs. Langton. And quite the smackdown it was. At least now Ballard knows exactly how much the Dollhouse has been trailing him since he learned of Lubov/Victor. Of course, so has Alpha.

Alan Tudyk really was the star of the episode. He even had the best lines, such as using the word "frakked" and saying "I heart my porn, but this is cool."

Given how obsessed either of them are with Echo, I wouldn't be surprised if we learn that Alpha was implanted with Ballard's personality, which made him go nuts. Unlikely, but possible.

There are too many questions remaining and only one more episode to explain them. I'm particularly curious about the relationship between Alpha and Echo. And what's with the Southern accents?

Despite seriously enjoying this week's episode, I suspect the ratings will continue their decline and the odds of a renewal are slim. I remain in hope. Tell your friends to watch it online.

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I don't think the Dollhouse headquarters is in Tucson. Sierra said the body was found in Tucson but died in Los Angeles. Not to mention I've seen that building (and garage) that they use for the exterior of the Dollhouse in a movie ("Next" with Nicholas Cage). That building is in California.
But back to the episode, that was too cool!!! I'm just wondering what is that persona that is inside Echo now. Who is she? It doesn't sound like Caroline (specially when you consider spoiler commercials), so who or how did this persona come to be?

May 04 2009 at 7:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He didn't need Ballard to get into the Dollhouse. He needed the Dollhouse to see Ballard get in, so that stopping the FBI agent would be the Chief of Security's objective.

Also, he was a really big guy to hide behind, so no one could see his face, and divert focus from "stop the FBI agent" to "oh, god, oh god, we're all gonna die!" once inside.

May 04 2009 at 12:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to shinigami's comment


Also Brad, not only is your theory of Ballard as Alpha wrong but I find your new theory that Alpha may have been imprinted with Ballard and then it all went wrong to be .. wrong.

To imprint a specific person's personality the show has established a couple of weeks ago (and you reported on it) that the person needs to undergo painful brain scans. So unless Ballard's been drugged each time so that he can't remember, I doubt that's what's going on.

May 04 2009 at 10:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It would make sense (ignoring the episode with the drug) that all of the employees of the dollhouse are actives. After all, wouldn't dollhouse headquarters want employees that would never betray them regardless of what they were threatened/bribed with? In earlier tvsquad discussions, people seemed to frequently question why you would want a high priced doll, and this seems like one of those times.

As a side note, I loved tonight's episode (especially Adelle always referring to the dollhouse as her house).

May 03 2009 at 1:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As much as I love Alan Tudyk, the show is now cursed w/ a Firefly actor...

No second season for Dollhouse...

May 02 2009 at 8:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah topher said Frakked. Dang two BSG references in 8 days? 30 Rock had a "What the frak?" shirt and now Topher on Dollhouse.

May 02 2009 at 6:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Has anyone wondered what Alpha meant when he asked Dr. Sanders about the first time she examined him. He asked if he was 'intact.' Does this sound like he's maybe not intact now. Could this refer to his mental state or his physical state? Like he was castrated or something on an engagement?

May 02 2009 at 4:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh Steve the Pirate.

May 02 2009 at 3:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great episode!! I figured out that Ballard was tracking November beforehand but the Alpha reveal got me.

Well even if it doesn't get renewed, maybe they can do a feature film ala Serenity.

May 02 2009 at 3:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm pushing a Ballard/Dewitt ship. He's trying to be a hero, but what would he do with a girl that doesn't need saving. I'd love it.

Seriously, I love this show.

May 02 2009 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

its my understanding that topher paid for the job with echo & the little girl. partly to test his work & also to help the girl. topher said the idea of trying to predict how she'd act with the best outcome in the future, as well as the whole engagement, was his idea.

it sucks that i accidentally spoiled myself as to alan being alpha. i saw his name in the credits & imdb'd him to make sure it was wash that i was thinking about & it showed that he was alpha. i do like his complete transformation tho (eliza take note)

cant wait for week

May 02 2009 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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