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Old May 23 2013, 11:01 PM   #31
tighr
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Re: Return to the Dollhouse

DevilEyes wrote: View Post
She's heavily guarded with "real people" and she was only letting herself go and being vulnerable in the fantasy with a "person" who only exists when she allows it.
Which reminds me.

The actor who plays Victor (can't remember his name right now) was fantastic in this episode. As is he in almost every episode of this show. In the first few episodes, when he's introduced as the Russian mob character, we really believe that's his character. Then he's Victor, then he's DeWitt's lover, and in Season 2 there is an episode where he gets:



He's really one of the best actors on the show.
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Old May 24 2013, 12:32 AM   #32
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Re: Return to the Dollhouse

tighr wrote: View Post
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Dollhouse really offers something that is unique because it starts out as largely devoid of Joss' typical storytelling style and slowly becomes more familiar but without losing the things that initially set it apart from Joss' other projects.
You're going to love Season 2, then.

You're already seeing it with these last two episodes, but the central overarching conflict for the series is starting to come to light... the episodes are starting to become less standalone, and more about what the Dollhouse really stands for, especially in the season 1 finale.
I've said this already, but there really hasn't been a single episode so far in the season that I'd call a standalone, which is another thing that makes the series unique among everything Joss has done.

tighr wrote: View Post
The actor who plays Victor (can't remember his name right now) was fantastic in this episode.
His name's Enver Gjokaj, and you're right that he's one of the best actors on the show.
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Old May 24 2013, 01:15 AM   #33
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Re: Return to the Dollhouse

tighr wrote: View Post
The actor who plays Victor (can't remember his name right now) was fantastic in this episode. As is he in almost every episode of this show. In the first few episodes, when he's introduced as the Russian mob character, we really believe that's his character. Then he's Victor, then he's DeWitt's lover, and in Season 2 there is an episode where he gets:



He's really one of the best actors on the show.
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Old May 24 2013, 02:22 AM   #34
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Re: Return to the Dollhouse

Enver Gjokaj is an imressively versatile actor who is just preternaturally great in season two of Dollhouse. He was nearly cast as Rex Matheson in Torchwood, and would IMO be an inspired choice for a pivotal role in its parent show (not that that's ever gonna happen).
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Old May 24 2013, 05:17 AM   #35
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Re: Return to the Dollhouse

Just finished Briar Rose and Omega, and have to say that it's official: Dollhouse is the greatest thing Joss Whedon's done to date. With that out of the way, let's get to the episode reviews.

Briar Rose
The most interesting thing for me about this episode is that it inverts what had become the standard formula for this show ('A' story involving Echo and/or one or more other Dolls, and 'B' story dealing with other story arcs such as Paul's hunt for the Dollhouse), with Paul's hunt being the 'A' story and the story involving the Dolls being the 'B' story. Another interesting thing about the episode is that, for the first time ever, the storyline involving Echo was more or less inconsequential in the long run, and was mainly there to give Eliza something to do. That's not by any means a complaint, though, because what it does is introduce us to one more personality for her character ahead of what happens in the season finale, so although it might be inconsequential to the actual storyline of the episode, it does end up having some merit, albeit in a rather roundabout way.

I first became aware of Alan Tudyk through Firefly, and have to say that I can't think of anyone better suited to playing somebody like Alpha - or his assumed alter-ego Stephen Kepler - than him.

Jane Espenson has written or co-written some of the best episodes of Buffy, Battlestar Galactica, and Once Upon a Time, which is a testament to her talents as a storyteller, and this episode has to rank among the best things she's ever written. One of the things that most stands out about the episode is that it didn't remind me of anything else that she'd written.

I'd thought about awarding a couple of earlier episodes a perfect 10.0 rating, but I'm glad I held off because Briar Rose truly earns that rating due to its inversion of the by-now-standard Dollhouse narrative formula and the ways in which it continues to demonstrate Jane Espenson's massive storytelling talents.

Omega
I've never really been that big a fan of Tim Minear; the man has talent and has written a ton of great episodes for Joss Whedon series over the years, but he tends to get a little bit too cerebral and dark for my tastes. Having said that, though, I have to give him props for writing and directing what is not only the best episode of Dollhouse thus far, but also one of the best episodes I think I've seen in any television series EVER.

There's so much going on in this episode that I'm not entirely sure what to talk about first, so I think I'll focus on three main threads:
1) Paul working with Boyd to find Alpha
2) Alpha using Echo to create an Ubermensch, Omega
3) The revelations concerning the character of Dr. Saunders

Tahmoh Penikett and Harry Lennix are great on their own, but when you throw them together and force their characters to work together - especially after having them beat the tar out of each other in the previous episode - you've really hit paydirt. It was also great to get to see Ballard's reactions to seeing what the Dollhouse does up-close-and-personal.

It was kind of hard at times to wrap my head around exactly what Alpha's whole goal and modus operandi was, both in the present and in the flashbacks where we discovered his fascination with Echo, but Minear ended up making everything work, especially once Alpha initiated the composite event in Echo and unleashed the Omega personality. It was also a trip - and a treat - to get to see Echo interact with her original self, Caroline, although I think I would've chosen a different actress to play Wendy, the girl who becomes Caroline's 'avatar'.

Amy Acker is one of my favorite actresses EVER, and once again proves why with her acting in this episode both as Whiskey and as Dr. Saunders. The reveal of Saunders being Whiskey was perfectly scripted and edited, and, although totally different than what I was expecting based on the brief glimpse of her character in the Alpha flashback in Ghost, the flashbacks telling her story and showing how she came to be scarred were perfectly structured. The scene where she discovers - as Dr. Saunders - that she used to be a Doll was also perfectly written and acted, and led to what I thought was one of the best parts of the episode: her giving the scarred Victor a lollipop just like the original Dr. Saunders used to (which, I might say, was a brilliant little character trait for Minear to slip in).

It's really not possible to give this episode anything other than a 10.0 rating, but even that doesn't really do justice to just how impressed I was by it. As I said at the start of my review, it really is not only the best episode of the series, but also one of the best episodes of any television series I've ever seen.

Now for a review of the season as a whole.

Dollhouse Season 1 Review
I REALLY liked the first season of the series, and didn't think there was a single bad episode in the lot (and yes, this includes Stage Fright, which, if you'll recall, I awarded an 8.8 to).

The prevailing opinion I've seen is that the season starts out somewhat slowly, but I have to vehemently disagree with that sentiment. Yes, the early episodes appear on the surface to be more standalone than the later episodes and can therefore seem to delay the 'true' start of the season's main story arc, but, as I noted earlier (twice), I really don't believe that there's a single truly standalone episode in the entirety of the season, and actually think that the fact that the early episodes seem like standalones but aren't actually standalones is one of the things that makes Dollhouse stand out as something unique in the pantheon of Joss' works and, as noted, his greatest work to date.

What Joss does with Dollhouse is give us a series and story that starts out being very much outside his usual milieu, both in terms of subject matter and stylistic approach, gets a little bit more recognizable, and then finishes up by going back to what it started out as.

***

I'll be back later with reviews of Vows and Belle Chose, the first two episodes of Season 2.
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Old May 24 2013, 10:08 AM   #36
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Re: Return to the Dollhouse

DigificWriter wrote: View Post
Now for a review of the season as a whole.
Uh, you haven't seen the season finale, Epitaph One may not have aired on Fox but it is very much part of season 1, you can't do a review of the season as a whole without it.
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Old May 24 2013, 11:46 AM   #37
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Re: Return to the Dollhouse

Takeru wrote: View Post
DigificWriter wrote: View Post
Now for a review of the season as a whole.
Uh, you haven't seen the season finale, Epitaph One may not have aired on Fox but it is very much part of season 1, you can't do a review of the season as a whole without it.
Actually, I can and did. Omega was aired as the S1 finale and serves as the perfect capper to it. It resolves everything that the season dealt with in terms of its overall narrative arc, and sets the table, as it were, for Vows.

Plus, I already made it clear that I would be watching the show chronologically.
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Old May 24 2013, 11:55 AM   #38
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Re: Return to the Dollhouse

You can watch the series chronologically (doesn't make sense to create an order that wasn't intended by Joss Whedon, but whatever, it's your decision) but you can't do a review of an entire season without watching the entire season, that's just not possible.
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Old May 24 2013, 12:58 PM   #39
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Re: Return to the Dollhouse

^ Ghost to Omega does constitute a full season, but whatever; it's pointless to argue about this.
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Old May 24 2013, 04:10 PM   #40
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Re: Return to the Dollhouse

DigificWriter wrote: View Post
Takeru wrote: View Post
DigificWriter wrote: View Post
Now for a review of the season as a whole.
Uh, you haven't seen the season finale, Epitaph One may not have aired on Fox but it is very much part of season 1, you can't do a review of the season as a whole without it.
Actually, I can and did. Omega was aired as the S1 finale and serves as the perfect capper to it. It resolves everything that the season dealt with in terms of its overall narrative arc, and sets the table, as it were, for Vows.

Plus, I already made it clear that I would be watching the show chronologically.
Chronologically according to what? Air date? In that case, you would have to skip Epitaph One altogether, since Fox in their infinite wisdom, also known as stupidity, chose not to air it at all. But why would you want to do that to yourself? Epitaph One is the season 1 finale, it's an extremely important part of the show, and without it you won't understand the series finale. Plus it's one of the most awesome episodes Joss has ever put his name on.
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Old May 24 2013, 05:02 PM   #41
DigificWriter
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Re: Return to the Dollhouse

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Chronologically according to what?
Story (as per this suggestion).

For reference, here's the order in which I'll be watching and reviewing Season 2:
Vows
Belle Chose
Instinct
Belonging
The Public Eye
The Left Hand
Meet Jane Doe
A Love Supreme
Stop-Loss
The Attic
Getting Closer
The Hollow Men
Epitaph One
Epitaph Two: The Return
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Old May 24 2013, 07:07 PM   #42
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Re: Return to the Dollhouse

Personally I think it adds something in Season 2 to know half the bookend of the series and where things will eventually go.
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Old May 24 2013, 08:35 PM   #43
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Re: Return to the Dollhouse

DigificWriter wrote: View Post
^ Ghost to Omega does constitute a full season, but whatever; it's pointless to argue about this.
Yeah, it's pointless and ultimately not even that important. However, Ghost to Omega is only a broadcast season and personally I don't care so much about that, production is what matters to me and in that case Epitaph One is the season finale. Personally I don't care about forced chronological order, some fans put too much importance on that.

I also agree with SAndrews10 that seeing the events of Epitaph One before season 2 adds something, I can't say more because I don't want to spoil anything but I think it's a very powerful episode and it's perfect at the end of season 1.
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Old May 24 2013, 08:39 PM   #44
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Re: Return to the Dollhouse

Takeru wrote: View Post
DigificWriter wrote: View Post
^ Ghost to Omega does constitute a full season, but whatever; it's pointless to argue about this.
Yeah, it's pointless and ultimately not even that important. However, Ghost to Omega is only a broadcast season and personally I don't care so much about that, production is what matters to me and in that case Epitaph One is the season finale. Personally I don't care about forced chronological order, some fans put too much importance on that.

I also agree with SAndrews10 that seeing the events of Epitaph One before season 2 adds something, I can't say more because I don't want to spoil anything but I think it's a very powerful episode and it's perfect at the end of season 1.
Yea, I've never seen Epitaph One, myself, because I recorded from TV Broadcast onto DVDs. So, when I do rewatch it, my intention is to get the Season 1 DVDs and watch Epitaph One in it's proper slot, and then Watch Epitaph one a second time right before Epitaph Two
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Old May 24 2013, 10:49 PM   #45
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Re: Return to the Dollhouse

I have a little extra money, so I'm thinking of getting Dollhouse. I loved Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. While I wasn't a huge fan of Faith in Buffy, I don't think that having the same actress in Dollhouse will really effect what I think of the show. I did say the premise sounds stupid, but like someone pointed out, so does the premise of a cheerleader killing vampires. But, I also heard someone say this starts out completely different from a Joss Whedon show, and it being a Joss Whedon show is the reason I'm interested. I don't expect it to be another Buffy or anything, I'm just wondering if people would reccomend it to a fan of Whedon's stuff like myself.
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