Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ridiculous Dollhouse: Instinct

Just watched this episode on Hulu and it's just wrong in so many ways.

The entire premise is wrong: Nate's wife died giving birth to Jack. Now Nate can't love Jack, so Nate hires Echo to be Emily, the mother. Sierra's also engaged to be Kelly, apparently Emily's only friend and acquaintance. Jack's an infant still. I don't know how old and not a judge of baby ages, but didn't anyone notice that Nate's first wife died, Jack is born, and now Echo's around acting like she's the one who was pregnant? What the hell?

Emily finds pictures of Nate and first wife and asks who she is. Nate spills the beans about hiring Echo to be Emily the replacement mother. Nate calls the Dollhouse to have Echo taken back and will put up Jack for adoption. Emily overhears and tries to run away, with Kelly's help, but the Dollhouse intervenes and takes Sierra back. Emily freaks out, runs to the police.

One thing I did like was that police did take Emily's concerns seriously and the policewoman was counseling her about domestic violence. But then Paul and Nate show up, the Dollhouse pulls rank, and physically take Jack from Emily and take Emily back to the Dollhouse, Emily protesting and screaming all the way.

Did Ballard totally forget the words "Do you want a treatment?" Those are the magic words to calm even the psycho Alpha and Paul forgets to use that on Emily/Echo? I know he's new but did none of the goons with him remind him of the magic words?

I like the B story with Madeline (Mellie/November). She's dressed so well, sexy and confident. It's great to see a full figured woman looking good. And her outcome shows why people would want to become Dolls. Madeline lost a baby, went into the Dollhouse, came out feeling better. Not happy, but "not sad." And richer.

Madeline sees Emily, still screaming and struggling, being brought into the Dollhouse. And then sedated. Madeline comments to Paul that she met him before, on her last day there, and wondered if her engagements as an Active were that intense. Madeline seems really calm. I wonder if the "diagnostic" Topher gave her was some kind of sedative. If I saw a woman screaming and kicking about losing her baby, and I had lost a child too, I'd be much more freaked out than Madeline was.

And now I come to my biggest complaint about this episode. Nate hired the Dollhouse to provide a mother who would love Jack like her own and make sure that Jack would grow up healthy. This implies that only the biological mother would be fit to raise a child. This flies in the face of the human history of adoption and heck, even the use of nannies and extended family and friends to raise children. What kind of stupid premise is that?

And Topher's tickering with the mind affects the body at a glandular level so Echo can breast feed. Okay I don't know the medicine and science about all that, but was that necessary? Again, human history shows that there are acceptable substitutes for breast milk that still result in healthy children.

I suppose that shows the danger and reach of the Dollhouse technology, thouggh Topher spins it as possibly making the brain cure cancer. So why not try that first instead of this ridiculous maternal instinct imprint?

Echo, even wiped, still retains that maternal instinct imprint and goes back to get Jack. Nate apparently has snapped out of it and is now more affectionate towards Jack. He explains the whole engagement to Echo and asks that she do the right thing and let him raise his son. Apparently that's enough and Echo gives Jack back to Nate. Paul shows up with goons, and none of them say "Do you want a treatment."

Instead the episode ends with Echo talking about retaining all the feelings but not memories of her engagements. Paul asks for her help to bring down the Dollhouse. Last shot, the 2 of them on a bench at night.

What the hell was all that? My knitting (a multidirectional scarf, in garter stitch -- possibly the most mindless knitting of all) held more interest. Well it is Noro and the color changes are pretty cool.

Oh, I forgot that there was like a 5 minute segment with Sen. Perrin and his wife digging for dirt about the Dollhouse. Perrin is played by Alexis Denisof who played Wesley the fired Watcher from Buffy and Angel. Wesley was a buffoon, at least in the first season of Angel. To see him as a more serious character was interesting. And lends gravitas to an episode with more logic problems than the GRE.

The Dollhouse is supposed to raise questions like nature vs nurture but this episode didn't seem to think things through. Like the whole continuity issue with Emily showing up all of a sudden. Didn't anyone ever notice? I know the Dollhouse fills the clients' requests, regardless of the lack of logic in the clients' requests, but come on, this stretches belief to the breaking point.

I'm going to keep watching, but mostly on Hulu. I want to see where Perrin's digging gets them. I want to see Sierra's backstory, which will be coming soon. And Victor's, Topher's, Boyd's, and Adelle's. And what happened to Whiskey/Dr. Saunders? An Active runs off and there's no mention in this episode about what they're doing to track her down?

I had high hopes for Dollhouse, but if it doesn't improve soon, I'm just gonna let it go, and watch "FlashForward" instead.

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