What is an “Active” and Why is it The “Truest Soul Among Us”?

by admin on May 22, 2008 · 3 comments

Echo Activate!In the recent trailers we see head honcho of the Dollhouse facility, Adelle DeWitt, make the direct comparison between “robots” and an “active”. Whilst many of us would consider ‘programmed dolls’ to be closer to robots than ‘humans’, she tells it straight: “An active is the truest soul among us”.

So what does this mean exactly? Are we looking at science so evolved that it transcends humanity, freewill, choice..memory? In theory an active appears to me to be a puppet on a string – told what to do, where to go, who to be. How is this a ‘true soul’? Do we really live in an age were being able to purge memories and become someone different each day, represents a true soul?

If I’m asking these questions, imagine the kind of questions Echo will begin to ask when she starts to remember fragments of who she was last time around!?

Of course the head honcho is biased in all of this – it’s her programme, of course she’s going to promote it in a good light. We, the viewer, can be more objective as to whether or not the ‘dolls’ are in safe hands.

As I’ve mentioned before, I just LOVE this premise – I can’t help but be fascinated by intelligent and ‘fun’ ideas like this one Joss Whedon cooked up over lunch with Eliza Dushku.

We’ve got 8 long months to wait until we’re fully immersed into the ‘Dollhouse’, but why wait til then?..I’m beginning my speculating and theorising now!

What are your thoughts on the Dollhouse Premise?

RMA May 25, 2008 at 9:59 am

Interesting. It may be too early for speculation, but here goes:

An ‘Active’ is not a puppet on a string. They are given implanted personalities, memories, and skills; but I think they have free will after that. Maybe this new personality only lasts so long before it degrades and an Active is complelled to go home.

When Echo is made into an assasin with the reqisite personality and skill, I think it is still Echo that gets the job done however she wants. In other words, Echo may have a little bit of free will. All within accepted paraneters of course.

Wasn’t it Joss who said Echo had a brave heart? How can you be brave if you don’t have free will? Wouldn’t it be wild if Echo refused to do a job as she begins to become more self aware? Why won’t they kill her as soon as they relaize she is different. After all a self aware active is “spectacularly unaaceptable”.

Can’t wait for Jan.

Roco May 25, 2008 at 8:18 pm

Great thoughts RMA – and it’s never too early to speculate!:D

The notion of an “active” having ‘freewill’ is an interesting point, because in what form does this ‘freewill’ exist in relation to the mind-wiping that they receive? Is it something instinctive..is it part of the Dolls (and primarily Echo’s) ‘soul’, perhaps?

I like that idea – that Echo is able to choose ‘how’ to get a job/assignment done within the parameters ‘given’ to her. So as you said, this could be where the ‘freewill’ comes into play? Interestingly Joss Whedon said something about the Dolls not acting out their new identities, but actually becoming the person who they are told to be – how does this reconcile with the freewill angle I wonder? Because if Echo, for example, is not acting or portraying a heightened version of herself in these assignments..who is she? Surely she’s not making a choice here? Hmm, it’s very interesting that’s for sure!

Good point – bravery comes from knowledge and fear..from knowingly facing adversity – if Echo didn’t have some remnant of freewill or memory then how would she be ‘brave’? I guess it comes down to whats in her heart – perhaps something inside her is fighting to become ‘free’ again? I love that idea – seeing Echo refuse a job based upon her own principles or morals would be a crucial part in her journey – as you said, it would show us that she is truly becoming self-aware..and once that happens, is there any going back?

Me neither..it should be a great show!

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