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Dollhouse: The Attic

Clyde: "This isn't a nightmare. This is the shape of things to come."

Wow. And it bears repeating. Wow.

This episode was like The Matrix, crossed with a physical and literal demonstration of Roosevelt's most famous line about all we have to fear is fear itself. Seeing Echo, Tony and Priya achieve their full potential as freedom fighters, facing their worst fears and defeating them -- in a way, it was like symbolically defeating and overcoming what the Dollhouse initially did to them. The reveal of what Rossum was actually doing in the Attic was satisfyingly mind-blowing, so to speak. And that final scene in Adelle's office was a wonderful emotional payoff for sticking with these characters for twenty-some episodes.

Can I say how pleased and thrilled I was that Adelle never turned back to the dark side? I didn't see it coming; I actually shrieked. (Quietly, but it was a shriek.) Adelle never changed; she sent Echo to the Attic undercover, and she was always one of the good guys. What a fabulous twist.

Fascinating situation with Clyde/Arcane, too, imprisoned by his own invention and trying to help newcomers by making them face their fears. Who is Clyde's partner, and who is Clyde 2.0? Is Harding one of them? If the Attic brain computer is predicting that there's only a 3% chance of avoiding the Apocalyptic future, why isn't Rossum destroying the technology? Does Rossum want the world to end? How can they make money raping minds if the world ends?

As Echo was trapped in her own nightmare, Paul faced his worst, but for real: stumbling around like Frankenstein's monster, imprinted with an altered version of himself. Paul is a doll, now. This feels worse than what Priya and Tony experienced, though, because Paul will never truly be himself again, and will never know what he's missing. (When Topher said that Paul was going to become the new Victor, I actually shuddered.)

So many plot threads were tied up. The deliciously evil Dominic was back, and his terrible fate seems to have finally made him a good person. We found out why Boyd, who hates everything about the Dollhouse, was still working there: the only alternatives were death or the Attic. We even got an explanation for why Caroline ended up in the Dollhouse: she saw something critical, and had to be silenced.

These last few episodes have been outstanding. If the show had been a hit, would this be happening? I doubt it; they'd still be stringing us along. But I'm so pleased that they're clearly going out on a huge creative high, though. If it has to end, let it end well.

Bits and pieces:

-- Priya's nightmare was zombie rapist Nolan (ick). Victor got the war, where he was fighting himself. That poor Asian guy got a never ending meal of his own sushi. Eating himself. Bleah.

-- Loved the imagery of the twisted tree covered with snow. What a visual. Twisted reality. Tree of knowledge. Pick your metaphor.

-- I have to give credit to our doll actors. Lying in a plastic autopsy table full of goo with sheet of plastic over your face has to be extremely unpleasant and claustrophobic.

-- For a moment, I thought Tony and Priya were really dead. I also thought for a moment that Adelle would sacrifice Topher, after all.

-- The Victor-fighting-himself scene featured an actor named Demir Gjokaj. Enver has a twin brother! Shades of Nick Brendon, huh?


Topher: "It's like his brain is a football team and I've got this whole new set of brilliant plays, but it doesn't matter because the quarterback's in jail for dog fighting."
Ivy: "Yeah. And it's not like his brain can run the wildcat formation. Ha ha."
Topher: "That joke went under my head."

Topher: "Hey. Darth Vader kills lieutenants, not storm troopers."

Echo: "I think that we can all safely say that this isn't real."

Topher: "We just have to decide what to sacrifice... sarcasm, already doesn't have that... memories of high school... fear of dancing..."

Nolan: "Rigor mortis. The new Viagra."

Absolutely excellent. Four stars,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. John Cassaday is one of my favourite comic book artists and I've been looking forward to seeing his episode of Dollhouse since it was announced at Comic-Con. Glad to see he was able to pull of swapping mediums with ease and style. It was great of Joss to let his Astonishing X-Men collaborator direct an episode, just a shame he wouldn’t get to do any more.

    This was just a bloody amazing episode. Surreal, creepy, dense with mythology but still accessible, contained some meaty twists and top notch performances from the entire cast. On the visual side of things everything, from the design of the sets and costumes to the shot compositions, felt like a Cassaday comic. Arcane especially felt like a monster straight out of Planetary.

    Despite one or two letdowns these last few episodes have been outstanding. Hopefully they can maintain this momentum for the final three episodes.

  2. I've really been enjoying these last few episodes of Dollhouse as well.

    A thought just occurred to me: we might get a happy ending from Whedon yet, in spite of Epitath One. What if that storyline isn't from our future per se but from a theoretical one as we follow some of the remaining souls trapped in the Attic? I would love it if Adele's unexpected collaboration with Echo lead to that 3% chance of everything turning out all right.

  3. I loved the little "meta" reference - what year is it? "2010, I think". I don't know how long we've been off the air... LOL!

  4. This is my next favorite episode to Epitaph One. Absolutely amazing and brillant. Toatlly did not see the twist at the end. So glad Adelle is a good guy. Looking forward to seeing what Caroline "saw".

  5. Echo's comment about what year it is. "2010, I think, I don't know how long we have been off the air".

    After the cancelation of the show, it sounds to me that the Whedon-crew weren't even sure if these last episodes would be shelved or broadcasted.

  6. Wow, wow and wow.
    It was a bit like The Matrix and a splash of Restless. Wow.

  7. The entire ep was very Restless-y. And the end scene in Adelle's office? Where have we seen that before? (Cough, Angel season 5, cough cough)


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