Friday, January 15, 2010

Review - Dollhouse Season 2 Episode 12 The Hollow Men

Sadly the insane twists last week turned out to be no more than J.J. Abrams-esque twists with little explanation, and a lackluster resolution. The string of strong episodes was cut short by this overly ambitious one, which was just short of a mess. There was potential in where the twists could have gone, but with two episodes left and one dedicated to the post-apocalyptic future, the elaboration was cut dramatically short, leaving us with plothole on top of plothole.

Anthony and Priya come back to find dead bodies all over the Dollhouse, wiped tapes, and a note on the chair. Anthony imprints himself, and becomes Topher allowing us to see Enver Gjokaj's amazing talent one more time. Topher has a hidden camera, and they discover that Boyd had drugged Echo.

Boyd, Adelle, Paul, Mellie, and a crazy Echo take a road trip to the Rossum headquarters in Tuscon where they are met by Claire/Whiskey. Their genius plan was to walk through the front door during the day, and demand to see the person in charge, because they "have something Rossum wants."You'd think they would come up with a better plan after driving for hours, especially since Claire who has been imprinted with Clyde the co-founder decides to Adelle on her own,  toss the rest of the them in a locked room, and take Echo somewhere else.

Boyd the mastermind has a key card, so he takes Topher to a room with the remote mindwiping tech, and convinces Topher to make the devices usable, so they can get out. Echo who just woke up in an unguarded room (I thought these people were smart.), knows Boyd is the bad guy, so she comes in attacking Boyd, but then Claire/Clyde comes in and stops her.

Here's where everything goes wrong. Boyd starts explaining everything. He goes into typical villain psycho talk about how they're family and how he's saving the world. First, he's made them into better people. Topher has morals now, and Adelle has a cause. Wow! So the genius who fooled everyone for two years is now completely insane. His justification for fixating on Echo/Caroline was just as far-fetched, but in the world of Dollhouse, science solves everything (this isn't Fringe is it?). Whenever her nervous system blocks an imprint, it leaves a neurochemical tracers in her spinal fluid that can be used to create a vaccine against imprinting. That way, when he starts going crazy with the tech, he and a select few will be safe. Oh yeah, and his justification for making the tech in the first place? Since the tech will be made eventually, he'll make it first to harness its uses.

Meanwhile, Paul and Mellie are off destroying the supercomputer. Boyd forces Adelle to activate November's killer imprint and before killing Paul, she kills herself. There hasn't been much of Paul the past few episodes, and Mellie was supposed to be off on her own, so their storyline felt very disconnected.

Echo is about to get her spinal fluid drawn when Tony and Priya save her. They also save Adelle and Topher, but they don't affect anything after this. She goes to slug it out with Claire, and we get what will probably be the last major throwdown of the series. Echo comes out the victor, and Claire isn't seen for the rest of the episode. It was very abrupt how the fight ended with Claire just lying there unconscious. I thought there would be more, but apparently not.

Boyd and Paul meet up and before they can do anything, Echo shows up, they fight, and Topher wipes Boyd. The role of active and handler is then reversed. Echo straps on dynamite onto Boyd, and tells him to detonate a grenade. Echo escapes just before the fire consumes her (obviously she was going to live). The final scene brought in the Epitaph One world for those who haven't watched the DVD.

There we have it. The last episode of the Dollhouse saga and the end of Rossum. But there's also the other Dollhouses, and probably the plans for the remote wipe tech floating around out there. Did they really think the imprinting would end with the destruction of one building? I love Joss Whedon's work, but I can safely say "The Hollow Men" wasn't one of them.

Score: 8.7/10

Amy Acker is awesome in the pantsuit.

Note for the next episode: The series finale has been pushed back to January 29 due to the multi-network Haiti telethon.

I wonder how good the show could have been if there were more seasons.

Harry Lennix did a terrific job.


Anonymous said...

Please save Dollhouse.

Send emails & sign petitions.

The PR Guy said...

Man, I was sooo let down by this horrific episode. It's like Joss completely gave up even attempting to do anything with the show anymore. I mean, I can't say I blame him after the way Fox has treated him. (Not enough fan love to get a Dollhouse movie, fo sho.)

I was so confused during the whole thing, and in the end it all was resolved so...easily. I think Joss ran out of time, money, and enthusiasm to give his most intelligent project to-date the intelligent send-off it deserved. I don't even care about watching Epitaph Two.

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