As regular readers will know, I’m attempting to catch up with the episodes of Dollhouse that I have missed, or not yet reviewed, by posting mini reviews before the series finale, bumped to Jan 29 (where I plan to post a full review, thus bringing closure to my WD journey). Below the jump I post my ‘quick and dirty’ but always honest thoughts on episode 2.10, “The Attic”.
- I thought the episode was visually interesting and heavily stylised, giving it an edge over previous episodes – although I would say that it did also come across as ‘trying too hard’ at times, but credit for the effort, because without it, this episode would have flunked.
- More slick and greater tension, conflict, drive and mythology.
- The revelation that all of the Dollhouse Attics around the world are linked was an interesting concept to add to the mix.
- Making Dominic a ‘good guy’ was a bit of a stretch. Not because a person can’t evolve, but because it was too forced without much context to underpin his “journey”. So he’s been in the Attic, somehow surviving for months on end, but what was it about the Attic that caused him to change to the point of almost dropping a tear when Echo ‘died’? I just feel that character actions and motivations are becoming too flaky, rather than feeling natural (or even plausible).
- Arcane. Bad on so many levels.
- Portraying Adelle as one of the ‘good guys’ has never sat well with me – mostly because they’ve done very little to give her any humanity in the entire 2 year span of the show. I’m all for having a central bad guy figure gradually change, but Adelle’s about turn has been nothing of the sort – it’s been a sudden and contrived plot device to play on viewer emotions in our natural inclination to support the oppressed characters (the dolls). But here’s the thing – Adelle is the person who enslaved them in the first place! She’s been the long-term problem, how can she be the sudden solution? I’m mot happy with where this is going. One way of making this work would have been to play Adelle with far more ambiguity than they have done. Instead, she’s been outright evil with very little shading, so how can she now be a good guy?
- I cringed at almost every word Echo said throughout this episode. She delivers lines like a cheesy action heroine from the 80’s. It’s like she’s playing for the camera (which she shouldn’t be aware of) and it totally ruins credibility of the overarching fight. Like I said before, I just can’t take her seriously.
- Unless Rossum have billions of people in the attic, wouldn’t Arcane have killed everyone in there by now? He went through several people in the time before they discovered he was Clyde, one of Rossum’s founders. Also, I don’t buy the idea that he was ‘trying to put people out of their misery by killing them’ – why be so maniacal about it if that was the case, lol!
- Did we really have to bring Ballard back? I knew it was going to happen (it was obvious), but I’m struggling to deal with the ridiculous Adelle situation as it is, now I have Ballard back on the agenda. *groan*.
- Dollhouse loves itself a montage. As montages go the one near the end was pretty good. I had a few problems with it though because it’s becoming too easy to tell when a montage is about to kick in. The powers that be are also using it as an easy out – a way to compensate for the lack of genuine emotion that the script/acting. It’s not a criticism as such, and Dollhouse isn’t alone in doing this. I just feel that a booming montage should be used once, maybe twice a season – not every fricken’ episode (Okay, they don’t use it every episode, but it sure feels like it!).
I’m a bit conflicted over this episode. In many respects the show gained a greater sense identity, it looked better, had better pacing and tapped into a more surreal and interesting part of the story. But at the same time there were some moments that made me want to never watch this show again – the contrivances were rife, and character motivations were unrealistic in light of what has gone before. I also didn’t appreciate the ‘trickery’ with turning Adelle into a “good guy” – the entire episode falls down on that premise. Indeed, much of the show loses credibility and the previous 20+ episodes almost seem like a waste of time, because if they can make Adelle out to be so evil and inhumane for so long, then all of a sudden erase it like it never happened, what does anything that happens in the next few episodes matter? They could just do it again and explain it away by not explaining it.
This, I believe, was the episode that most people have championed as a ‘great’ piece of television. I wanted to believe and I stayed open-minded. But for me this was well short of greatness.
That doesn’t make it a bad episode. Indeed, it’s one of Dollhouse‘s best episodes, if not the best, simply because it was entertaining and propelled the overarching story. From my point of view I just feel as though the show has failed to really build on its themes in a truly satisfying way. I guess you could say my expectations have not been met. But with three episodes to go, I continue to wait..patiently.
Best Character: Topher (meh..who else?)
Episode Rating: 7.5/10