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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After having discovered, during her trip to the Attic, that Caroline has seen the face of Rossum's #1 man (or woman), Echo decides that it's the right time to bring her back into her brain mix; however, her imprint has been stolen, and the back-up kept by Topher was almost completely destroyed by Alpha; the only person who can repair it is the Washington Dollhouse chief programmer, Bennett, so Adelle arranges for her abduction! Bennett's hate for Caroline is explained through flashbacks of their shared backstories. Meanwhile, Rossum has detected that people have escaped from the Attic and is closing in on the L.A Dollhouse; get ready for war! This is, arguably, the best episode of the whole series up to this point (only other serious contenders, IMO: "Epitaph One" and "Spy In The House Of Love"). It's an ensemble episode with brilliant teamwork between the entire cast, with perhaps a special nod to Fran Kranz, and Summer Glau, who somehow manages to make Bennett impossibly charming, despite what she may have done in the past. This episode was already very good until the last 5 minutes, and then there is a brutal shock similar to the one in "Epitaph One", and then there is a final twist so chilling and unexpected that, depending on how they justify it in the next episode, may even put "The Usual Suspects" to shame! I haven't been left so speechless at the end of a TV episode since "The Economist" from the 4th season of "LOST". Apart from the twist itself, the final dialogue exchange gives me shivers even now, just thinking about it. ***1/2 out of 4.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The good; Wait a second, Boyd's the bad guy! Wow, didn't see THAT
coming! Not to mention Dr Saunders(?) blowing Bennett's head off! Talk
about 2 jawdropping moments in the same episode. That's off course if
Caroline's memories are to be trusted and she's not just putting Boyd's
face onto the person in her memory (as Dana did with Spike in the Angel
The bad; If Caroline wants to destroy the labs beneath her why does she put the bombs on the roof of the service shaft? Why doesn't she put them on the bottom? Dominic and Adele just send terrorist Caroline up to meet the Rossum head honchos and don't even frisk her, what if she'd pulled out a gun and blown them both away? When Adele, Ballard and Echo play pass-the-pistol they each cock it, emptying the magazine of rounds.
Best line; Ballard; (hearing the explosions of Rossum's force entering the Dollhouse) "We're breached" Echo; "That's one word for it"
Packing heat; Adele/Ballard/Echo trade the same pistol Echo;13 Boyd; 10 Dominic; 10 Sierra; 7 Victor; 7 Ballard; 12 November; 1 Adele; 2
Echo kissage; 4
Kinky dinky; Caroline uses her feminine wiles to get access to Adele's office. Topher remarks to Bennett 'You show me yours, I'll show you mine'. At least they have the chance to get kissy with one another before you know what happens.
Capt subtext; Caroline's relationship with Bennett is akin to seduction but Bennett is happy to be 'used'. Bennet remarks that Caroline is the first person to 'Take an interest' in her whilst Caroline asks her to 'Buy me dinner first'. Does Paul rescue Mellie because Topher removes his obsession with Echo? Boyd and Echo finally hug. Topher confesses he had a crush on Bennett even when he thought she was a guy. Adele refers to Echo as 'darling'. Topher makes sure that Ivy escapes. Because he LOVES her.....
Notches on the Dollhouse bedpost; Echo; 6 definite, 2 possible November; 1 Ballard; 1 Victor; 1 Adele; 1 Sierra 1 Topher; 1 possible
How'd they get away with that? Bennett's brain matter splattered all over the lab AND Topher!
Total number personalities; Echo; 41 Sierra; 13 Victor; 11 November; 3
Total LA dolls; we meet Apollo and Cassandra, Dolls in the DC house (Cassandra foretells disaster?)
9-Echo, Sierra, November, Victor, Mike, Tango, Alpha, Whiskey, Kilo
Addy is a bit British; She loathes Arizona (too dry for her?). When a bullet shatters the window in front of her she comments 'Damn, I just had that replaced' in true Churchillian style. By contrast Caroline hates tea, she's obviously evil, let's keep Echo instead.
Bondage; Caroline cuffs the security guard. Echo is tied down by Ballard Sierra tied up; 2 Ballard; 2 Echo; 5 Victor; 2
Knocked out; Topher by Rossum goon Echo; 7 November; 1 Sierra; 2 Victor; 3 Topher; 4 Ballard; 1
Kills; Boyd kills the Rossum head honcho and 3 of his goons Sierra; 3 kills Echo; 3 November;1 Boyd; 4
Happy hookers; Echo comments that people still look at her as though she's 'Doing tricks'
Know the face? Mike Massa was of course David Boreanaz's stunt double in both Angel and Buffy 17-Whedon
Guantanamo; Dominic tortures the poor security guard. Adele shows her ruthlessness, wanting to return Dominic to the Attic to save his life.
Reminds me of; Carrie at the prom is referenced as is The Wizard of Oz. Bennett is very Willow and her meeting with Caroline akin to Buffy's historic first conversation with Willow in the Sunnydale High courtyard. Tron and The Matrix also mentioned. The lab is very similar to the Angel ep 'Dead End'. Rossum's office is very Blade Runner. The scene where Boyd(?) strokes Carolines face is reminiscent of the Shadowmen in the Buffy ep 'Get it done', doing the same even after transforming Buffy into their slave girl and having her knocked up by their pet demon and Faith doing to the same to Buffy in their Graduation Day dream sequence.
Whedon clichés; Sleeper agents.
Breaking the programming; Bennett speculates that Echo has merged her personalities into a 'superego', made up of all her collective minds but not dominated by any of them.
Questions and observations; Interesting that Bennett and Caroline can have a different memory of the same event (although it may just be that they're both deaf from the explosions and can't hear what one another are saying). Adele says that the Rossum bigwig will undoubtedly have downloaded himself into several different bodies. That may be true but he's still dying when they kill him, his consciousness ends there, the others are just his clones. We discover Clyde is dead but we now meet Clyde 2.0 (or one of them)
Apparently in the scene at the end of the The Attic the cast and crew get the word that the series had been cancelled. This means that Joss has 3 eps to finish off the entire storyline AND address all the issues raised in Epitaph One. For that reason they obviously have to cram an awful lot into 120 minutes of airtime and it sends your brain pretty much into overload.
Marks out of 10; 8/10, certainly zips along at a fair pace
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