Okay Gasmi, we’ve made it through the holiday season, and you’ve probably been bombarded with spiritual messages, what with little spindly Christmas trees teaching the meaning of Christmas to cartoon characters, birth defects allowing small children to be bombarded with toys, and angels getting their wings, but you know what? Screw that noise. We need to talk about a TV show where somebody kicks people in the head, and returns from the dead to save mankind. So what are you waiting for? Make the jump and let’s talk about the newest Dollhouse.
See, the critics love this one
Our episode starts right where the last one left off. Echo is in The Attic, and things are getting creepier by the second. Not only has Echo been dressed in a quasi-mummy outfit and had plastic shrink wrapped over her face, but these tech types come in to up the creepiness factor off of the scale by sticking pointy things in her noggin and running tubes down her throat.
Worst. Spa. Ever.
After the techs leave, Echo immediately starts throwing a fit. Oh and that’s not a “what do you mean I need a reservation, I have a network TV series for three more episodes” fit; I mean Echo starts going into convulsions. This is quickly followed by all of Echo’s vitals flat lining on the handy-dandy computer screen by her Petri dish.
The creepy techs come back in, and are wondering how Echo could have died so quickly. Good news creepy techs, Echo isn’t dead, yay! Too bad for the creepy techs, Echo immediately offs them both in a fairly badass fashion. Awww, we’ll miss you creepy techs, not really but rest assured the viewers loved you getting your throats crushed and stabbed with those pointy things that were in Echo’s melon, buh bye.
Four years of drama club in High School, a theater degree from Northwestern, and a MFA from Julliard. The payoff? A screen credit for getting jabbed in the head.
Echo finds another creepy tech and asks him where Victor and Sierra are at, and when the tech tells her they use people’s real names her, she cracks his tater against the wall and puts him down for the count. Man is it just me or is it rapidly shaping up to be the crap day of crap days for creepy tech types?
Anyway, Echo finds Sierra and Victor, and a fresh set of clothes for herself, because the creepy techs were keeping an outfit on hand in case Echo ever wanted to go walkies. With the gang all back together, they hot foot it out of the scene stage right.
Out little attic break doesn’t make it through the next scene before some goons show up to try to put the kibosh on it. Too bad for the goons, all this does is allow Echo to unleash a little girl power kung fu on their stuntman butts and double too bad for the goons because Victor and Sierra pick up their guns and off them. Buh bye, stuntmen, when you get to extra heaven, say hi to the creepy techs.
Okay, after that little break, the escape attempt seems to be making real progress, Echo even finds a sign that says exit and goes back to tell Victor and Sierra the good news. Uh oh, it turns out there is now like an invisible wall in the middle of the corridor which is blocking Victor and Sierra from being able to come with Echo. It gets worse, because it turns out when Victor tries to shoot the wall, that it is bulletproof. Hey, but do you know what isn’t bulletproof? Victor and Sierra, which is why they get shot a squidjillion times by a fresh set of goons, and while this mess is going on it gives Echo the perfect chance to make a sad face and go “Noooooooo!”
And then the scene shifts and Echo is back in her shrink wrapped Petri dish right where we first saw her. We then cut to the fastest opening credits in the history of television.
When we come back, which is like two seconds later, DeWitt is with Topher and he is filling her in on the Pucker Face situation. That is to say that Alpha completely fried out Pucker Face’s brain, and the only way Topher can bring him back from the Land of the Veggie Buddies is to turn him into a doll. DeWitt doesn’t have a problem with this because they need a new Victor in the dollhouse. Oh man, I just pictured Tahmoh Penkett doing a Cary Grant impersonation, the horror, the horror.
After his meeting with All Evil, All the time DeWitt, Topher retreats into his office where Boyd is crashed on his couch. Yeah, it turns out Boyd’s work ethic has made a run south of the border since Echo left and seeing as he says he isn’t sleeping much at home he’s napping on Topher’s couch. Well that or he just needs a place to crash until his new single drops on I-tunes, please let it be reason number one in this case.
No, no Kato, please, don’t get up.
After Boyd wakey wakies, he asks Topher about The Attic, and we find out it’s a bad, bad place. All right, we already knew that, but we do find out that they jack your brain up by making experience horrific situations over and over again. Okay, we knew that already too, but Topher also tells us that nobody knows why they do this at The Attic. Okay, we don’t learn jack squat in this scene, but it’s always nice to check in with Boyd; good luck with the new album buddy.
We go back to The Attic, and speaking of relieving horrific situations over and over again, Echo is making another attic break with Victor and Sierra. However, for some reason Echo remembers that she’s already been through this before and tells herself not to be afraid. This advice doesn’t help Victor and Sierra who get shot a squidjillion times again, but she doesn’t get kicked back to the beginning of her nightmare and starts following those exit signs she found earlier. Echo finds her way to a ladder and climbs up it, not noticing the menacing shadow lurking in the background. The ladder leads up to the surface where Echo finds herself standing next to a tree covered in ice in a little patch of snow. Okay, so now Echo has escaped a secret evil scientific facility, only to find herself in a snow globe.
If somebody will turn it upside down and shake it, it will totally make up for me getting stiffed on a pony for Christmas for the the 43rd year in a row.
Things are getting pretty interesting with Echo, so we cut back to the Dollhouse where Topher is bitching about Pucker Face’s brain being completely f-ed up for about the 50th time. The only difference this time is he is doing it to Ivy. Topher makes some crack about how trying to put a personality into Pucker Face’s brain is like coming up with great new plays for a football team and having the quarterback get arrested for dog fighting. Ivy then proves yet again, that she has an actual life outside of work for saying it’s not like the can just run the wildcat. Topher is confused by this metaphor, because lets face it, Topher isn’t a sports guy. (Although, to be fair, if Topher were a sports guy he would totally be a stats nerd flaming people on message boards for their poor understanding of WIP.)
Ivy starts to explain how in the wildcat the running back takes a direct snap from the center without the ball going to the quarterback, and Topher gets gas. No, wait, it’s an idea, he got an idea; sorry they look really similar. Anyway, Topher gets really excited, but DeWitt calls and wants to speak with Ivy, alone. Ivy kind of freaks out, because DeWitt has been on a “send them to The Attic” kick lately, but Topher tells her not to worry because Darth Vader doesn’t kill storm troopers, only lieutenants. Wow, his pep talks just suck, huh? Anyway, Ivy gulps and heads off for a little girls’ time with DeWitt.
We go back to Echo, and I’m going to tell you straight up, things get freaky. Echo sees memories, hers and from her implanted personalities. Sometimes she’s a little girl and sometimes she’s grown up. Oh and then there is the freaky parts. She thinks she sees Whiskey Sour but Whiskey’s face is extra screwed up. Boyd tells her she has no friends and laughs about it, and Pucker Face has like Marilyn Manson eyes and tells her he’s a ghost.
Oh and you remember that menacing dark shadow right? Good, because it turns into a big guy in a black body stocking who starts wailing on Echo. At first Echo thinks it’s all in her head, which in a way, it is, but that doesn’t change the fact that it still hurts. The big guy in the black body stocking is messing her up pretty good when this other guy shows up and starts mixing it up with TBGITBBS. The Big Guy In The Black Body Stocking, no likee and he legs it out of the scene and we find out the other guy is Dominic, the former head of Dollhouse security who tried to kill Echo and got sent to The Attic for being an NSA agent.
Dominic is pissed when he sees Echo, because, well he tried to kill her, remember? She’s not high up on his Christmas card list. Anyway he starts moaning about how bad his nightmare is, chasing TGITBBBS, but never catching him, and then having to deal with Echo on top of that. Oh, the best part is Dominic calls The Guy In The Big Black Body Stocking, Arcane, which tells us a new fun fact about Dominic we didn’t know before.
That Dominic has apparently seen X-Men at least 62 times
Echo rains on his parade by pointing out they are in her mind, because she is the star of the show. I mean, because all the memories are hers. Well hers and the however many personalities that are crammed in her tater now. She tells Dominic that he saved her from TBGITBBBS, so he must somehow be able to travel from mind in The Attic.
Okay, I just like this picture
This works out for the best of the plot, because they need to go find Victor and Sierra before The Big Guy In The Black Body Stocking kills them, because that is kind of his gig. Echo and Dominic then leave the snow globe scene and look for a way into other minds.
They end up in Toper’s office, only it’s nightmare Topher and he is literally putting brains into a tube by the chair to put into people’s minds. Echo is freaked by the chair, but Dominic explains that the way you travel from mind to mind is by facing the fear in that mind, and in Echo’s case, she’s scared poopless of the chair.
Dominic then tells Echo they need to stay together, because it’s really easy to get lost in people’s minds, but Echo doesn’t hear this because she’s already hopped in the chair and gone off to god knows where. Dominic then gets to realize that the first real person he has met since coming to The Attic annoys him like nails being dragged on a chalkboard. Sucks to be a guest star, huh?
Echo zaps into another mind, too bad it isn’t Victor’s or Sierra’s. Instead she meets this happy Japanese guy who is eating a very elaborate meal in a tatami restaurant. Echo is pretty sure she’s lost, but the happy Japanese guy is like sit a spell and put those chopsticks to work hotstuff. Oh, and the menacing black shadows? Yep, they’re totally back.
So, are you up for splitting a blooming onion?
Back at the Dollhouse, Topher and Ivy are working on Pucker Face, and Topher is finally making nice with Ivy, but she is super way standoffish and doesn’t want to make eye contact let alone be touched by him. What the? Did these two hook up in the supply closet at an off camera office Christmas party?
We go from this to Topher having a meeting with DeWitt and asking what she and Ivy talked about. DeWitt says they talked about Ivy taking over Topher’s job. Oh crap. Which is exactly the face Topher makes when he hears this news.
Dewitt doesn’t stop there and tells Topher that even though he came up with the evil turn everybody into a doll thingamajig, if he isn’t willing to accept radical change, the odds of him being around are pretty much nil. Oh and DeWitt tells him she knows all about him dismembering bodies and if he tries to keep any more secrets from her, well Ivy’s going to get a raise and all the juice boxes she can drink. Then DeWitt chases Topher out of her office so she can get back to training to break the world record for most babies eaten in one sitting.
Man, Hannibal Lecter’s sister is showing a lot of leg in this scene
We then cut away from this to see what Sierra and Victor are up to. Sierra is making the sweet, sweet love with Victor, but Victor turns into her dead creep-o rapist and she has to crawl out from under his body. Feel that? The skin crawling on the back of your neck? Yep, a textbook case of the willies. Meanwhile, Victor is back in the war and in a pretty serious firefight. Victor goes into this building and ends up fighting with a bad guy, who is also himself. Look, I’m sure both nightmares are traumatic in their own way, but I can’t help but think that Victor is getting off kind of easy here.
Back at hell’s Japanese restaurant, we find out the happy Japanese guy is actually pretty important to the plot. It turns out he worked for Rossum and figured out that their mainframe computer is vulnerable to attack. It’s too bad the Happy Japanese Guy figured this out, because it meant the best way for Rossum to protect the computer was to send him to The Attic. Of course he doesn’t think he’s in The Attic, because who has nightmares about eating beef sukiyaki?
Well, once Echo gets this important plot point she decides to leg it out of the scene and tells Happy Japanese Guy to come with her. There is just one tiny problem; somebody hacked off Happy Japanese Guy’s legs at the thighs. This freaks out Echo, and to a lesser extent me, and she exits stage left.
Wow, looks like that no shorts policy has been relaxed
Things get worse, because she ends up in the kitchen, and all the cooks are made up like kabuki demons. Jesus, this place is losing Zagat points left and right.
Back at the Dollhouse DeWitt has Boyd in for a little face to face. Apparently since Echo got sent off to The Attic, Boyd has had a severe case of the mopes. That is when he was at work at all, because he tells DeWitt too about him spending time at home doing “personal” stuff. DeWitt isn’t happy, and when Boyd starts in with his boo-hoo about Echo getting sent to The Attic, he cuts him off at the knees. Apparently whatever Boyd did before he got to the Dollhouse was so bad, that he has nowhere else to go. This means he’s go three choices with how things are going to work in the future. He can do as he’s told, get sent to The Attic, or get killed.
Yep, DeWitt just threatened Boyd’s life. Wow I know she’s evil and all now, but she is really over the top today. Somebody needs to go to Mickey D’s for the chocolate shake and large fries with extra salt, STAT.
And one more thing, there will be no more pooping in desk drawers!
Oh and I mentioned things getting worse, right? Good because while Echo is getting freaked out in the kitchen, TBGITBBS shows up and kills Happy Japanese Guy. Dang, this is a tough night for extras.
Dominic shows up so he can explain to Echo why everything is getting black. When somebody gets killed in their nightmare, their brain starts to shut down, oh and if you are wandering around inside their noggin at the time, and don’t get out, you’re dead too.
Dominic and Echo head back into the kitchen and have to face Happy Japanese Guy’s biggest fear, which was apparently eating his own legs. Man that’s weird; my darkest fear is having to watch Al Roker eat pudding. Yeah it doesn’t sound that bad, but he’s naked while he’s doing it. Feel that? Another case of the willies.
We cut back to Victor who is still fighting with himself when The Big Guy In The Black Body Stocking shows up. Things get a little touch and go and it looks for a second like Victor is a goner, but Echo and Dominic show up, and where did they get machine guns? Never mind, it doesn’t matter, because TBGITBBS gets away for what feels like the 43rd time tonight.
..They laugh alike, they walk alike, At times they even talk alike –You can lose your mind…
Dominic and Echo fill the Victors in on the situation, well until the bad guy Victor disappears and then they just talk to regular Victor. Victor tells them they need to take out Arcane. Dominic says he keeps chasing the guy but he can never catch him, and Victor points out their best bet is to be where they know Arcane is going to go and ambush him when he shows up. Well, it sounds like a plan to me, but just where do you think Arcane is going to go next?
Did you guess Sierra’s nightmare? Cool, you’re smart; I’m so cheating off of you on the next big math test. Anyway things get extra creepy for Sierra because her dead creep-o rapist suddenly comes to life and he’s in the mood for love. Sierra is able to get rid of Zombie Creep-o Rapist by reminding herself he isn’t real, but then Arcane shows up.
Hey, no problemo, because it turns out the good guys are waiting for him and loop some ropes around him so he can’t take off. Arcane still makes a pretty good effort and they all go crashing through this wall.
When everybody stands up, they are in Arcane’s mind. The most important part of this is we find out Arcane really isn’t a great big guy in a black body stocking. He’s actually kind of short with curly hair, oh and shocker of shockers, his name isn’t Arcane, it’s Clyde. When Dominic wants to know why he called himself Arcane, Clyde confesses it sounded badass.
Well I can’t argue with that logic. Too bad Echo and company think Clyde is being a wiseass and get set to off him, and this is when Clyde says if he dies there will be no one to bring down Rossum.
Echo wants to know just what Clyde is talking about, because as the star of the show, she’s the one who is going to take down Rossum. This is where we find out that the reason Clyde was going around killing people in a black body stocking is because The Attic is actually a giant computer network that uses human brains as CPU’s. Clyde says Rossum does this because the human mind is like 20 times more powerful then the biggest super computer, so with the hundreds of minds Rossum has hooked up in Attics all over the world; they have the most powerful computer system in the world. Yeah, I know it sounds nutty, but Clyde is pretty convincing so we are all going to go with it.
Clyde would be more then happy to keep spitting out exposition for us, but things start getting pretty dicey in Clyde’s mind. It turns out that Clyde’s nightmare scenario is a world where civilization has completely collapsed. It’s pretty bad, okay, it’s a lot of bad. Everyone is stuck in a city that’s been gutted by riots or worse, and everyone else in this place are like zombie killing machines. Only not slow George Romero zombies, but super fast 28 Days Later zombies (which weren’t really zombies, but neither are these guys, so once again, please just go with it.)
What the? Did the Redwings win the cup again and nobody told me?
The locals are starting to come out of the woodwork, so all our heroes decide maybe an alley isn’t this best place to have this little conference. They end up legging it to this building and barricading themselves in an office. Oh and Victor loses the machine gun he was carrying, that doesn’t mean anything right now, but it will become very important to the plot sooner then you think.
They plop Clyde down in a chair so we can get the rest of this week’s exposition. It turns out Clyde invented the tech that makes Dolls possible, and he is one of the founders of Rossum. So how did he end up in The Attic? Well it just so happens he started the company with his best friend from college, and they decided to use Clyde’s personality as the first one they would put into an active. The only thing was they didn’t want to risk having the doll get out of control, so “Clyde 2.0″ was made with zero ambition and would do whatever he was told.
When you consider that Rossum is the evilest corporation ever, it comes as no surprise that Clyde’s old buddy had Clyde 2.0 turn the original Clyde into The Attic’s first guest. It gets even worse, because Clyde’s brain’s job in The Attic has been to run statistical probability scenarios as to where his technology will lead. In all but three percent of them, civilization collapses.
After pissing in the wedding punch, Clyde does have some good news. If someone were to take out Clyde’s no good college buddy, and Clyde 2.0 then they can stop this civilization collapsing before it ever starts. Well that sounds simple.
Eh, not so much. It turns out Evil College buddy wiped Clyde’s mind so he can’t remember any names, and they’ve probably put Clyde 2.0 in another body, oh and there is the fact they are all stuck in The Attic and can’t get out. So it looks like we’re completely humped.
Not with three more episodes to go. It turns out that Clyde has heard some security types talking about someone getting in and seeing their whole set up, but that person got scooped up, so they are back to being screwed.
Only no they aren’t, because that somebody just happens to be Caroline, who was Echo before Echo was Echo. The only problem is that even though Echo can remember all sorts of stuff from the 40 plus personalities bunking in her cerebellum, she doesn’t have any of Caroline’s memories. So humanity is still screwed. Oh and they still can’t get out, so we’re value mealed screwed.
Only we aren’t thanks to the two things that have made this country great, zombies and guns. One of the not zombie zombies picks up Victor’s machine gun, and after a little trial and error is able to start blazing into that little room our heroes are holed up in. Everyone else takes cover, but not our Echo she goes over and gets shot, and then tells everyone she knows a way out.
Are you interested in finding out if and how they get out of Clyde’s melon? Yeah well too bad, because we are going back to the Dollhouse first, they’ve fired up the chair and un-coma-ed Pucker Face. It’s a little rough at first, Pucker Face staggers around crashing into the walls and spouting complete gibberish. (A fun fact, this is also the same result of approximately 39% of all New Year’s Eve celebrations in America). Finally he is able to talk again, and is not happy to hear he’s been turned into a doll, even though it was the only way to drag him out of his spot on impersonation of a turnip. Oh he gets doubly unhappy when he finds out Echo, Sierra, and Victor got sent to The Attic. As a matter of fact, Pucker Face gets so unhappy he grabs Boyd’s gun and exits stage right. After he leaves Boyd says it’s only a matter of time before Pucker Facer figures out what they took out of his brain to make it fit back in, and then everyone looks super guilty.
Pucker Face makes a beeline for DeWitt’s office, and she’s got a gun too. Man everyone has booze and guns at this place? Birthday parties in the break room must be awesome. Anyway, Pucker Face says he isn’t afraid to die, and DeWitt responds by saying she’d rather avoid that option. Pucker Face asks DeWitt if she has any last words, and then we go back to Clyde’s mind.
Echo explains that she got shot because if she flat lines the computer will disengage and then she can wake up and escape, just like she almost kept doing at the beginning of the show. Dominic says “so your plan is to come back from the dead?” By the way, thank you Dominic for pointing that out with the proper level of sarcasm in your voice.
Yep, that’s Echo’s exact plan; she’s going for the full Jesus. But it turns out not alone, because Sierra insists that Echo take her and Victor with her when they break out because they are a team now. Clyde and Dominic stay behind because they are guest stars just for this episode. I mean, because they want to help the people still inside The Attic to become self-aware so they will stop being tortured. That sounds better doesn’t it?
Can we stay for lunch after this scene? Get the hell out or your calling security? Thank you, thank you very much
So then Echo goes ack, and they start up the indie rock for a quick montage. Echo flat lines and then offs those poor extras for the third time tonight. Victor and Sierra hug, and Victor stabs Sierra, and then he lets the not zombie zombies kill him. Echo does her outfit change again, and she is trying to revive Sierra and it doesn’t seem to be going very well; as in Sierra is still dead.
Then the camera cuts and Echo says “we got it. The information we were looking for, your plan worked.”
Then the camera pulls back and she is talking to DeWitt. Yep, DeWitt is totally not evil. We get another flashback to when DeWitt was sending her to The Attic in the last episode and find out that DeWitt wanted Echo to go to find out what secrets Rossum was hiding and for Echo to bring them back so they could finally have an edge. Yay DeWitt, good to have you back sweet thing.
We see now that everyone is in DeWitt’s office, and we find out that when she was having those scary one on one meetings with everyone this episode, what she was doing was showing them what they are going up against with Rossum and everybody is ready to make with the butt kicking.
The only problem is Echo says they can’t start yet, because it has to be about her, her, her. I mean that she needs to “meet Caroline,” and “win her war.” The End.
There you have it, probably one of the most kickass hours of TV in the month of December, and a nice way to finish out the year.
You know, there’s an old saying that bad writers imitate and good writers steal, and I think that this episode really proves it. Almost nothing we saw tonight about The Attic wasn’t something that we hadn’t seen somewhere else before, but the writers did a great job of taking these ideas and fitting them into their universe. For starters, using people as super computers, and people being able to jump from mind to mind. The super computers part was actually the original idea for how people were being used in The Matrix, before the people making it had a severe brain fart and changed everybody into batteries. The mind hopping bit felt a lot to me like the movie The Cell, but both of these ideas really seemed to click here and did a great job advancing the plot for the night, and over all for the series. (Speaking of The Cell, remember when people thought J-Lo could act, tech stocks couldn’t miss, and a tribal armband tattoo would show you were original? Good times my friends, good times. Stupid times, but good times.)
Am I the only one loving that DeWitt is back on Team Good Guys. The twist at the end got me, and I kind of knew in the back of my mind she was one of the good guys. Still I think it’s always better to have DeWitt on your side then against you.
If you really want to get a better understanding about what was going on in Clyde’s mind, and you haven’t seen it already, you really need to check out episode 13 from season one, “Epitaph One”. The only problem with this is this, is the episode never aired on TV in the US, so you are probably going to have to get a hold of the Season 1 DVD. Still it’s another great hour of TV, and you’d get to watch season one again, so I say go for it.
Speaking of Clyde, who do you guys think Clyde 2.0 is? I’ve picked out my choice, but I don’t spoil things for people if I’m right, and I don’t want to spoil it for me if I’m wrong.
Well three more episodes to go in January, but thankfully just one a week, so hopefully I can avoid the long delays on getting these to you guys. Sorry again for this one, and see you all next year.
Oh, that reminds me, here’s wishing that you and those close to you have a very happy new year.
Thanks for stopping by and we’ll talk soon.