This might be my favourite episode so far. And not just because of Felicia Day.
Although that helps. ;)
I'm a sucker for stories in the future of our shows, teasing us with things to come.
This episode is mostly about the ultimate danger of what the Dollhouse could become. Will become? Only time, and FOX, will tell. I'd love to see these events start to come to pass.
My favourite little tease was seeing that Caroline/Echo still seems to have all her personalities crammed into her head, is still Omega, basically. She's keeping it hidden from the Dollhouse, and only Paul knows, at the time. That's a great way to take everything from the first season she's been through, and not just tossing it away like they might have. It also gives more meaning to the very last scene of "Omega", which always just seemed a little weird to me and flat.
Having the Dollhouse eventually getting into the business of selling their actives to rich clients as body upgrades. I love DeWitt's objections to the practice. She promised to keep the Actives safe, and that after their contracts were up, they'd actually be let go. Making her a woman of her word, and giving her some moral compass, and a line she will NOT cross, makes her a stronger, and more interesting character. Yes, she's still in charge of this pretty reprehensible idea of the Dollhouse, but giving characters multiple levels of grey is always good, even the bad guys. The same goes for Topher objecting to the idea, and his breakdown over what he has caused, the one man responsible for the apocalypse. The breakdown was well-acted by Fran Kranz, and seeing him so broken was quite touching.
The idea of the technology getting out of hand is a classic scifi trope, and Dollhouse uses it well. The idea of a single phonecall creating an army of Actives programmed to take out anyone not imprinted over the phone is scary. You either have an instant army in the heart of the enemy country, or have just completely taken over if the right people take the call. I wonder if Topher was inspired by Alpha's remote wiping of Echo in "Grey Hour"? It's certainly what the creators wanted to call back to.
And the creepiness of Clive Ambrose being imprinted in ten different Actives to deliver the new business model to the various Dollhouses is brilliant. There's a Cylon joke here I want to make, but I'll let it slide. ;)
Amy Acker was great in the episode, both as Whiskey and as Saunders. I'm going to miss her in the next season, as she goes off to another show, and won't be around as much.
Since I've been rewatching the show on DVD, I've been thinking... It's a shame that Eliza is our lead Active. Her Echo is pretty different from her engagement personas, and Caroline is differentish from those, but all her engagement personalities seem too similiar. They're different, but Eliza seems to be unable to develop them sufficiently enough to seem different. All the other actors pull off their different uploaded personalities amazingly, but Eliza's fall flat. Especially Enver, as Victor. His performance as Dominic earlier in the season is so spot on, and perfect.
This is an intriguing look into the Dollhouse's future, and if you're a fan of the show, you should definitely check it out. Get the DVDs, or get the episode from iTunes or Amazon. I hope the series can deliver on some of the promise this episode delivers. I'm hearing good things, that the show will have more arc, less standalones, and build some interesting stuff, so here's hoping.
Definitely worth seeing if you're going to watch the second season, since it does lay some groundwork of things to come. It's silly that FOX has no plans to air this. I almost wonder if the second season could end with "Epitaph Two" and etc with each season, each progressing the apocalyptic future storyline, and teasing what's to come.
My only major complaint is that the video quality is pretty poor at times, but it seems that was the point.
I may still review the original pilot tomorrow, if its worth it.