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September 23, 2014

Review: Dollhouse - The Attic

by Brad Trechak, posted Dec 19th 2009 2:20AM
Dollhouse(S02E10) I KNEW IT! I knew Adelle was faking it. It's classic Whedon. If anyone is operating on an apparent motive, then their true motives tend to be the opposite. How will she reconcile with Topher? Even if she was faking it, it would have been easy to not give Rossum the keys to the Kingdom. Did she figure that Rossum would eventually discover the technology anyway? Was she betting on Echo?

When Echo first appeared in the snow with the tree in the background, it seemed like she was trapped in Narnia. I was half-expecting Aslan to walk up and start talking to her.

Please note that since we've learned that Rossum is the evil sort of corporation that permeates science fiction, this make Laurence Dominic a good guy now. It's a good thing November killed Sierra's rapist of a handler rather than Adelle putting him in the Attic. Adelle must be feeling at least a little guilty regarding putting Dominic there.

At first, I couldn't tell if the shadowy figure was named Arcade or Arcane (it's the latter). This is before he became Clyde.

There were a lot of twists in this episode, but one of them didn't quite jibe with me. What did Adelle say to Topher's assistant that got her so pissed off? If she said that she was replacing Topher, wouldn't her reaction have been more one of pity than anger? And suddenly things were all right between them at the end? There are too many leaps of logic there.

The computer imagery when Victor fought himself was terrific. For a little while, I actually thought Enver Gjokaj had a twin. There was also a nice little cameo there by the asshat doctor who put Priya in the Dollhouse in the first place. I hope that son-of-a-bitch character rots in Hell. The man behind him is a really good actor, though. Favorite line: "Rigor Mortis. The new Viagra."

Tonight's episode involved cannibalism, necrophilia and brain bits being manhandled by a lobotomized Topher. Was Eli Roth the guest director or something? There were some gruesome images that were practically cinematic.

Clyde is obviously pretty smart. He figured out exactly what was going to happen in Epitaph One. You'd think with this information, Rossum might have a change of heart. If only they just wanted to make money rather than conquer the world, they'd be Microsoft or Apple or any one of a thousand corporations that exist today.

Granted, the whole "people trapped in a giant computer that is actually a network of human brains" concept has been done to death in sci-fi, but it was done pretty well here in a way that fit into the context of the series. So all is forgiven.

With Dominic and Clyde trapped back in The Matrix, we have the Scooby Gang assembled for war against Rossum. Three episodes remain for wrapping up (technically two since Epitaph Two is a sequel to Epitaph One), which include the return of Amy Acker and hopefully Summer Glau and Ray Wise (although I'm not sure about the latter two). This is it for 2009. I hope they have a decent ending planned for January 2010. The pressure is on, Joss.

[Watch clips and episodes of Dollhouse at SlashControl.]

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Jake

I don't think Adele's turn was a surprise as an unresolvable inconsistency.

How do we account for the fact that we watched her say something different to Echo about "what's in the attic" right before Topher pushed the button and fried her? She said it was a place of unending torture, not "where Rossum keeps its darkest secrets." How are they going to explain the re-write? And why would Adele talk to Ivy about replacing Topher and get Ivy all pissed? Even if she told Ivy about the rapist, that makes no sense. But then she tells Topher to be a good company man? And he freaks out. And then she tells Boyd to be a good company man or he'll be dead. But then suddenly she reverses on being a "company man" herself?

Is this the old "Joss didn't show you the whole conversation"? Except he did show us the whole conversation with Echo, and it was different.

The whole thing smacks of rushed re-write of the last 2 minutes because we found out the series got canceled -- just like the last few episodes of Angel. Which maybe Joss was shooting for. The last 30 seconds of the episode, with everyone in Adele's office as they reveal the plot to take down Rossum once and for all, was basically a re-shoot of the last minute or so of "Power Play," with the nouns changed from "Circle of the Black Thorn," "apocalypse," and "Wolfram & Hart" to "Rossum." Hell, we even have to recruit Lindsey (Caroline, the apparent once-insider who learned too much and is now an outsider) before we're ready.

At least Joss has two episodes to plot out this blaze of glory instead of just one, as with "Not Fade Away." (Don't get me wrong -- NFA was probably the best hour of television in the 2000's).

January 08 2010 at 1:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eric H

Why is the Adelle thing such a surprise, has no one seen Epitaph One?

December 23 2009 at 9:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Elisabeth

Excellent comments. I will second comments already made here by adding:

(1) agree that this series got much much better in season 2. I was blown away by "The Attic" episode.

Which leads to:

(2) a need for more limited episodes series on American television. The Europeans are more comfortable with this (as observed many times by comments on this blog). I have also noticed that French Canadians are also more comfortable with this concept (such as Aveux, Minuit Le Soir.) Sometimes it is better to define, in advance, that a show will last 24 or 30 or even 18 episodes: it allows you to tell the story, beginning to end, the way it should be told.

I wish the American networks could get more comfortable with this idea. Dollhouse is a perfect case in point.

December 21 2009 at 10:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sandee

One thing Joss Whedon knows how to do is end a series. Both Buffy and Angel had awesome final episodes. Will miss Dollhouse when it's gone. By the way, I guess Mellie is not in the attic otherwise we would have seen her to.....no?

December 20 2009 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Orangecrush

So, no one has mentioned that Clyde was put in the attic while his mind was made into a modified imprint. Anyone think Topher is a doll imprinted with Clyde's mind?

December 20 2009 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Orangecrush's comment
ChaoZ

Cool hypothesis, but the past episodes can probably prove that Topher does not have the doll architecture in him (Remember he built that thing which disables dolls? He was immune to it.)

December 20 2009 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
drouyn

I think Topher's assistant was so short with him because DeWitt told her about Topher helping to dispose of the rapist dude's body (by dismembering it).

December 20 2009 at 9:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to drouyn's comment
Jennifer

agreed. this is why she was so mad at him, b/c he got rid of the body.

December 22 2009 at 10:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
frenchy

Before watching The Attic, I was talking to a mate of mine about the Dollhouse and its cancellation.
I think that a limited story format that would force a series to end after two or three seasons, would make more interesting television.
It doesn't need to apply to procedurals like CSI, Law&Order, etc. but I think The Dollhouse or Lost (or even 24) would benefit from such an approach.
Now, if only the networks would agree ;)

December 20 2009 at 6:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to frenchy's comment
joe

I totally agree with you. That's the reason I also watch so much Japanese / Korean TV : their series have a pre- determined total of episodes, 10 to 24. The story is told the ways it's supposed to be, from beginning to end. And you can always make a second story up with the caracteres if you want to.
I 'd rather watch watch a good new "22-episodes-serie" each year, than not watch a so-so serie for years.

December 20 2009 at 9:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rian Lemmer

My theory after this is that Topher and Summer are both Clyde 2.0's, and that Adelle gave Ivy a heads-up (her cryptic comment about replacing Topher=literal?). That would explain a) her weird mood when she returned b)Topher/Summer mutual worship c) Topher/Summer both showing gaps in morals and ambitions beyond their work d) prior Caroline/Summer relationship.

December 20 2009 at 2:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rian Lemmer's comment
Val

I like this hypothesis! This would be cool on so many levels.. The only thing is that Doll scrambler that Bennet and Topher were both immune. I'm thinking that Topher and Bennet have different doll architecture from the ones that are used currently.. The original version ECC I think Clyde called it.. That would explain why the device didn't work on them.

December 21 2009 at 1:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Malfoy Roark

Not a single comment about Echo's answer to "What year is it?"

"2010 I think, who knows how long we've been off the air" I don't think I've ever laughed so hard while watching this show as I did then.

December 19 2009 at 4:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Malfoy Roark's comment
Age-K

Ha, I caught the "2010, I think" part of the line, which made me laugh, but I didn't catch the "off the air" part--that's funny!

December 19 2009 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ac

Whendon really tricked me with DeWitt. She became such an evil bitch I was ready for Paul to put a bullet in her head. And after all that she is a good guy again.

I'm also eagerly awaiting for someone to give Victor his own show. One like Alias maybe so he can go undercover a lot. So we can get the many different personalities he is capable of playing.

December 19 2009 at 3:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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