Finally Letting You In

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So the final episode of Dollhouse finally aired last night, Epitaph 2 (son of Epitaph). This show really grew on me after a very shaky beginning. There was only one episode in the second season that I found irredeemable– “Instinct,” you can slink off in shame any time now. As TWOP put it:

If we wanted to watch a Lifetime movie of the week, we’d look up what channel Lifetime is and watch one. (Just kidding — we know what channel Lifetime is. They have Runway now!) So when we realized that Echo had been glandularly altered to breast-feed a baby, grow jealous of the dead wife she had replaced and flee because she thought her baby was in danger, we sat back and waited for the dramatic standoff with a knife.

But mostly the season was intriguing and well-plotted and genuinely surprising. Personally, I was very pleased that after all the “Caroline is special!” business, which was a seriously egregious offense of telling and not showing, it was gratifying that the only special thing about her turned out to be her DNA. (Although in E2 one of the tech heads gets beaten up and is all “She’s soooooo cool.” Whatever, show, you can keep selling, it doesn’t mean I have to buy.)

I got most of what I wanted. Our crew saved the world after (some of them) ruined it, but the ones that lived were too damaged to enjoy it. That seemed right to me, kind of a counter-point to the forced cheer of the final episode of Buffy when the Scoobies ignored the deaths of Anya and Spike and chirped that it was time to go to the mall, as if seven seasons of growth had never happened.

How could any of these people make it in the new world, knowing what they’ve done? Being the only ones who remember? Topher blew himself up restoring everyone to their original personalities. Paul died in battle, which was fine with me, since I never liked his smug, arrogant ass anyway. But in a genuinely affecting turn that I didn’t see coming, Alpha gave Echo Paul’s imprint, and she incorporated him, finally letting him in, and assuring him they’d have time to get to know each other.

I’m not made of stone, people, I found that to be just ridiculously romantic. Still though, you get the impression that Echo is really not made for this post-Dollhouse world, so this is the only part of her future that isn’t bleak. (Also, what’s with the grey streak in Echo’s hair? In 2020 she should be maximum 35. I guess she’s had a hard life.)

Priya and Tony ended up together, reconciled, with the most adorable child in the history of children. I feel very Adam and Eve about them, and their child is the product of a technophile and a technophobe, which seems fitting for the future of the human race, as it moves beyond the age of dolls and imprints.

So who’s the biggest loser? Caroline, I guess. She never got her body back (god, that phrase is so tainted by tabloids that I feel like I’m talking about Kardashian after giving birth or Jennifer Aniston’s “revenge body,” because after all, if you’ve been with Brad Pitt, everything you do afterward is about him.) so she essentially died making room for Echo. Potentially Alpha, who had been rehabilitated, but who might, on the reset, turn back into a killer.

I’ll miss this show, and I hope Joss Whedon gets a new one soon. Although maybe he could leave Summer Glau, every nerd’s favorite manic pixie dream girl out of it this time, yeah?

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One Response to “Finally Letting You In”

  1. Erika Says:

    Topher’s death totally destroyed me. His whole arc is really tragic; he’s manipulated the most just as he grows a conscience, goes insane, and then dies fixing the mess. So damned sad I can totally ignore how deus-ex-machinatastic his device is. (Like, wouldn’t it need access to the copies of people’s originals to restore them? No? And now that everyone can be wiped, presumably the device affects people without “active architecture”, so why does it do absolutely nothing to Adelle and Zone? But who cares. Love Topher.)

    I loved all the deaths. November. Topher. Ballard. I love the lack of sexuality in Ballard and Echo’s romance—I guess that’s fitting since this was really a show about what happens in the mind, not what happens in the body. They were so understated and sweet in a show that made me think, at the start, that they were going to be getting it on a LOT. I like the message that the one thing you can’t fuck with is love, that some things ARE transcendent. (Ballard did after all fall back in love with Echo even though Topher supposedly took that away, and of course, Priya and Tony.)

    I love that Joss Whedon’s finally figured out how to end a show really elegantly. I cried a lot a lot a lot.

    P.S. Thank you for the RUR post! Very enlightening.

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