“Ghost” Has No Soul..

by admin on February 20, 2009 · 4 comments

1.01 GHOST

…but it had some heart.

That’s my conclusion from watching the Pilot episode. Looking back on that first episode it’s clear to me that it lacks soul..identity.

Things are not what they seem..you’re only seeing part of it

I hope that’s the case, because “Ghost” didn’t seem to know who it wanted to be, or what it wanted to do. Like an actual ghost, it seemed to be trapped somewhere, between states. Was this the result of being passed through too many hands, causing each creators ‘vision’ to be imprinted on to it’s own blank slate?

You ever try and clean an actual slate? You always see what was on it before

As much as I disliked that line, it would perhaps be best if Dollhouse wiped away the imprints that have caused it to lose some of it’s early identity.

1.01 GHOSTIn my opinion, episode 1.01 ‘excelled’ when it got down to the basics – when the characters interacted, when moral met amoral, when Active spoke to Active. This is why I think a lot of people have responded so positively to Sierra – she was like a breath of fresh air, she gave the whole “Active” concept balance, whilst giving us a glimpse into the dynamics of how the Dollhouse operates when things get hairy.

It’s going to difficult for me to become invested in Echo without the help of the other characters. Sometimes the way we see others shapes us more than the way in which we see ourselves – it’s what gives us compassion, humanity, or otherwise. So think that it’s vital that we see the continued interaction between Echo, the Actives and the management – how will Echo shape Boyd, for example? It’s easy to assume that this is all about Echo – in my opinion, it was far more interesting seeing Boyd’s reaction to Echo’s (Miss Penn) condition. He disagrees with the ethics of the dollhouse, but he was the one fighting for Echo to be sent back in. He saw it as being for the greater good – through the damaged Echo, the life of a little girl could be saved. Echo may be lost, but at least Davina was salvaged. I think that Boyd’s perspective throughout this episode was the thing that gives me hope for the series. Now we need to let the others come out to play – Adelle, Claire, Sierra, Victor, Topher, Paul and yes, even Echo (I jest. Of course Echo).

The show will be far more interesting if the focus is spread around a little more. Being an Active isn’t quite like being a ‘super hero’ (super heroes have egos which we can measure them by), and it’s not half as interesting as being human. So, give us the human/Active interaction, let us see the light and shade, allow Echo to grow, but also give Sierra and Victor the chance to grow with her (or against her). Basically, the show should look to draw us in on the relationships – like the one we see between the unwitting Echo and her ‘protector’ out on the field. Boyd had faith (heh) that Echo could get the job done, that she could extract Davina safely – he believes in Echo more than Adelle seems to. He let her do her thing whilst others were looking to hold her back.

And this is what I mean by “Ghost” having some ‘heart’. This didn’t make it a classic episode, or even a ‘good’ hour of television (I would have turned off during the bike scene had I not known about the premise, seriously!), but I was at least pleased to see some interesting themes bubbling under the surface.

Trouble is, the themes that they forced down our throats – “You can’t kill a ghost” (or whatever), were too cliched and surely not becoming of the premise behind the show.

That said, if Dollhouse can show improvement throughout the 13 episodes, then I’d take that as being a positive.

Matej ( Dollhouse Spoilers ) February 20, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Here’s interesting Dollhouse review I stumbled today and i must say I agree.


You know, it’s almost funny, in a sad way, to watch the review sites and the blogosphere trying to find a way to review this show that won’t kill it. It’s a bit like watching everyone at a party trying desperately to avoid telling a sweet-natured guy, beloved by all, some sort of horrible ugly truth about himself. Even though everyone but the sweet guy already knows, no one wants to be the the one to break his heart. …..

I heard that Jose said he’s done with television, what does it mean – that he’s not planing to make Dollhouse with more than season or two? hmm… Anyway I’ll continue to watch it, more because I have already build a website not because I like it …

wiesengrund February 20, 2009 at 5:33 pm

He has recently said that he won’t turn his back on TV.

I actually thought “You can’t fight a Ghost” actually made a perfect mission statement for the show. The Firefly-pilot had this amazing dialog at the end, that served as a mission statement, but it was not one line, one small bit of gutpunch.

The show deals with these people who are, as Paul puts it, “dead” and therefore some sorts of ghosts. And there a the imprints which are based on real people (some of them obviously already dead), and therefore also can be compared to ghosts. And then we know that Echo will slowly start to become self-aware. What’s more fitting to sum up her journey than have her say “You can’t fight a ghost”? That is what this show is about. I thought it was a perfect statement, one on of Joss’ best lines, and it works on so many levels, I can’t actually wait to find out how it all comes together.

bekki February 20, 2009 at 6:39 pm

i just hope it doesn’t remain as heavy-handed as ghost in its imagery. the whole boxing thing made me want to bash my head against a wall. it seemed so film-school-student-trying-to-be-deep. i mean, i can forgive almost anything about the pilot but that.

sorry for the tangent.

as for the lack of soul on the show, the only thing i can hope is that that was intentional. you’re dealing with a very cold, calculating place with very cold, (literally) soulless people. maybe as caroline gains the spark that is her, the show will begin to warm up. yes, its asking a lot of the viewers to sit through the time it takes for that awakening, but this has never been sold as an ‘easy’ show. time will tell.

LeParisianFrog February 20, 2009 at 6:45 pm

I totally agree with you wiesengrund. If this v.2 of the pilot was all about pleasing the Fox authorities then yes, it’s all about fighting ghosts! And this is the most impossible task in the world so i really hope episode 2 will raise the bar a little and be less Foxy and more Wheddish (gosh! the bike scene and the rope scene and the necklace scene, give me a cookie i am stuffed!)

Matej> You really cracked me up with your metaphor! For some dumb reasons i started picturing an extravagant hollywood private party with ED surrounded by super super flattering guests who had been imprinted to behave this way. Alternate reality is what this show is also about… damn i should go re-read Bergson!

Roco> nice critic (i’m enclined to say “as always” ;)). This episode did feel like a zombie (a ghost with heart). It went through the motions but didn’t deliver totally its venom (i do keep my toxic metaphor… hehe). I think you are right about Boyd, he is the one i got ‘attached’ to immediately. Something darkly secretive about him and yet, he is looking for some kind of redemption that doesn’t seem to have been offered to the Actives. Now my question is, does Boyd knows about the past live of Echo and the whole radio alphabet people? Is Echo’s name a terribly heavy hint at what she is going to go through (echo of the past, echo of the present and echo of the future… damn, where is Ebenezer Scrooge?)

To be honest though, when i first saw Buffy in Paris i thought only my little 7 y.o cousin could watch such a crappy-crappo show. I was wrong. DollHouse gives me the same kinda feeling. Of course one cannot presume of the future (gosh! move away Scrooge!) but hopefully history will repeat itself.

I’ll end up by pointing that, so far, all the critics and comments on this blog have been ten times more clever than what i saw on Ghost. So let’s hope DH becomes as witty and deep as the WatchingDollhouse actives 😉

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