Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Review of Dollhouse's 2x10: "The Attic"

Written by Maurissa Tanchereon And Jed Whedon
Directed by John Cassaday

Dominic: “I guess I’m glad I never did kill you.”
Echo: “Don’t get sappy.”

Adelle told us last week that the Attic was the worst hell imaginable but I don’t think there’s going to be a viewer remotely shocked by the things that were seen inside the minds of Echo, Victor/Tony or Sierra/Priya in this episode. Then again, that was not a bad thing.

For Echo, her mind just kept jumping from one disaster to another as she found herself unable to escape the Dollhouse’s clutches and barely stay alive. Some of the imagery for her stuff was brilliant, though a lot of it dream wise confused the hell out of me.

Was her running through the snow something that Echo herself was thinking of or something from one of the 40 imprints running through her head? A part of me had difficulty keeping up because far too many of the scenes just didn’t make that much sense.

Sure there was some excellent moments where both Paul and Boyd got to taunt Echo. Paul naturally wittered on about being a ghost and Boyd was pretty happy to remind Echo that she didn’t have any friends in the Dollhouse when he wasn’t reiterating about her bringing a storm down on herself.

The best thing about Echo’s dreams however was the return of Dominic. Yes, I’ve long gotten over my initial dislike of the guy and it’s great that dream wise, he was more interested in keeping Echo alive than doing her any damage. In fact Dominic’s whole mission seemed dedicated to saving people.

Except for the fact that Dominic’s mission wasn’t going to be straightforward. This being the Attic, there was going to be some killer inside trying to bump everyone off one by one with Echo next on his list. When Echo was trying to warn that guy who was focused on enjoying himself, I did assume that he would be Arcane.

That theory got put to rest when Arcane killed the guy and decided to go after Tony and Priya as well. I knew that neither of them would be killed but it was a decent tease nonetheless. Having Echo and Dominic then band with Priya and Tony in order to take down Arcane was wonderful.

The strongest part of this episode was the switching around. As soon as Arcane was captured, we got the information dump to end all of them. Instead of being stealthy and suited up, Arcane was little more than a bumbling wreck of a man named Clyde – one of the original founders of the Dollhouse and his motives were better than expected. Also dumped into the Attic and betrayed by his unknown partner in crime.

Killing to free the Actives they’re bound into because of the Attic does almost seem reasonable but the shocking part of all this was learning more of the Attic’s purposes – humans as mainframes for example might be a little Matrix-ish but we are talking about a show created by a man who’s been obsessed with that movie for a decade now.

The other stuff with Caroline knowing the identity of the other founder should’ve been expected. Echo might like being her own person but she’s certainly going to have to access her body’s original inhabitant if she really wants to obliterate Rossum once and for all, though she seemed too enthused about doing it.

Making herself flat line in order to try and escape the Attic along with Priya and Tony did make me wonder why others haven’t tried it before but it was nowhere near as pleasant as the reveal of Adelle’s true motives after all.

Of course Adelle would be on the side of taking Rossum out. Even without “Epitaph One” that should’ve been obvious but she’s certainly had us going in the last few episodes. I just hope that after the hoops she’s put Echo through that they do manage to achieve some victories because there’s one hell of a battle ahead for them.

In other stuff, it almost seemed that setting Ivy and Topher against each other was a little pointless and this might sound cold-hearted but I wasn’t exactly all that bothered when Paul was made into a Doll in order to aid Echo. Even his standoff scene with Adelle lacked a certain something.

Also in “The Attic”

Anyone who didn’t realise that the opening scene would play out as the start of Echo’s experience in the Attic should hold their head in shame – it was too obvious.

Guard: “We don’t use Active code names here, we use real names.”
Echo: “My name’s Echo.”

Priya’s nightmare involved her sleeping with Victor only for Nolan to constantly try and terrorise her over and over again.

Topher (re Adelle): “Darth Vader kills lieutenants not storm troopers.”
Ivy: “Thanks, I’ll be right back.”

What exactly other than being the new Topher did Adelle say to make Ivy react so coldly with Topher?

Echo: “And how are you doing after Alpha?”
Paul: “I’m a ghost. You can’t fight a ghost.”

Adelle (to Topher): “If you try to keep secrets from the corporation, you may have every expectation of being chopped to pieces.”

Adelle knew about Topher’s involvement in Nolan’s death, though she spent more time taunting Boyd over his fatherly love to Echo.

Nolan (to Priya): “You know this is a scenario I never tried. Rigor mortis, the new Viagra.”

Clyde (to Echo): “This isn’t a nightmare. This is the shape of things to come.”

Tony was constantly at war with himself, literally battling himself as well. He also killed Priya to get her to flat line.

Echo: “How do you even know this is true?”
Clyde: “Because it was my idea.”

Adelle: “I don’t want to die.”
Paul: “Then one of us is going to be disappointed. Any last words?”

Clyde seemed to have founded the Dollhouse technology back in 1993 and Echo mentioned that it was currently 2010. A lot has happened for the worst his technology.

“The Attic” definitely shows that cancellation can work wonders with some shows. If this show hadn’t been axed, we’d have had to wait maybe another season or two for all this information. Here’s hoping the final three put it to good use.

Rating: 9 out of 10.


Anonymous said...

"Making herself flat line in order to try and escape the Attic along with Priya and Tony did make me wonder why others haven’t tried it before"

Well, first they'd have to realize where they were, which takes outside intervention. Then they'd have to think of the flatlining as a means of escape and be brave enough to try it. Then they'd have to not actually die (Echo could revive herself, Priya and Tony needed her help). Then they'd have to be able to take out the staff.

Nat said...

Thought it was a great episode, , especially the last 15/20 minutes or so.

The reveal at the end was a great and made the episode for me. Its nice to now that Adelle was on the side of the others.

Not sure what she said to Ivy but I think either that was a ruse by Ivy to get Topher to Adelle or something else which we'll have explained in the next episode. I find it hard to believe it was a just a goof.

I didn't catch the bit about Caroline being the only one who knows the true identity of the founder, but it makes the cheesy last lines of the episode a bit less cheesy.

Also did you see that the last 3 episodes are being burned off next week in a triple bill??! Will be good to see all the final episodes but it seems rushed.

shawnlunn2002 said...

I didn't know about the triple bill but typical given that Sci-Fi were speeding through Legend Of The Seeker as well and are airing the godawful Eastwick.

Nat said...

I nearly missed it myself, but I had to rewind the last couple of minutes of the episode to watch again as I got distracted. It was only then did I see the little message saying triple bill.

Have set my sky+ for that job. I don't watch it 'live' anyway, but even if I did, 3 in a night would be a little too much!!