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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Monday (12/7/09) 12:36pm - ... wherein Peter posts a Weekly Media Update.

Movies:  <none>
TV:  Dollhouse [1x10-1x12] [spoilers]
Books:  <none>



Dollhouse [1x10-1x12] [spoilers]
First, let's get "Haunted" out of the way.  This was another of the standard-issue "engagement-of-the-week" episodes that harked back to the start of the season, in a not-good way.

I think I've figured out what bugs me about the 'engagement' storylines:  there's no sense of glee.

Mind you, I mean 'glee' the emotion, not 'glee' the FOX TV musical.[1]  When you watch Dollhouse veer into a hostage negotiation, or a cult showdown, or -- as in this case -- a country-house mystery... you get no sense that the writers really *want* to do it.  You watch "Haunted", and you never feel like there was a writers' room full of dyed-in-the-wool Margery Allingham fans who finally -- FINALLY -- get to indulge their inveterate love of Golden-Age sleuthing on the small screen.

Oddly, I'd cite The Middleman as one of the best examples going of how to do genre-skipping with a sense of glee.  When The Middleman did a ghost story, they knew the conventions well enough to tweak them in surprising ways, they delivered all the by-the-numbers ghost-story scenes with giddy élan, and they packed the show with Ghostbusters references.  You could tell that they were *dying* to show us a haunted house.

But give Dollhouse a country-house murder, and they  clunk along with a deep and abiding sense of obligation.  No, let's not draw on the character archetypes we associate with such mysteries.  No, let's not create a setting that evokes the Great Old Detective Novels.  Let's... *sigh*... let's just keep everything vague and blandly realistic, and we'll get busy setting up just enough plot mechanics so that we can have a false accusation at the end of each act break.[2]  Okay, do we have the bare minimum set of red herrings that we need to ramble through a plot of the appropriate genre?  Okay, good.  Done.  And good riddance.

That's always how it feels when Dollhouse goes to visit another genre.

Fortunately, right after that, everything gloriously hits the fan and we get back to the techno-thriller that these writers are so obviously dying to write.

The last two episodes -- "Briar Rose" and "Omega" -- got me thinking about how shows act when they're facing imminent cancellation.  Yes, Dollhouse would get a last-minute renewal, but as I understand it, Joss Whedon had every reason to think Dollhouse wasn't coming back -- and regardless, the man has a penchant for treating every season as if it's his last.

I've talked before about how different shows respond differently to imminent death.  Freaks and Geeks reacted by burning through every arc they could think of at a breakneck pace.  Arrested Development reacted by turning its meta-humor up to eleven.  Sports Night reacted by taking sneering, thinly-veiled potshots at its network.  So what does Dollhouse do under the Sword of Damocles?

It burns through its story capital.

What do I mean by 'story capital?'  Basically, I mean 'elements that the audience would like to see resolved.'  Story capital can take lots of different forms.  It can be a central mystery:  say, the "Where are we?" question from the LOST pilot.  It can be an unresolved relationship:  we see Dave and Maddie sparring in the Moonlighting pilot, and we want to know if they'll get together or they'll split up for good.  It can be a conflict:  at the start of The Wire, we know that the Baltimore police are trying to take down Avon Barksdale -- will they succeed or won't they?

Once the pilot sets up all this capital, the show will spend its time burning it off.  We'll answer the mysterious questions.  We'll definitively decide if the will-they-or-won't-they couple will or won't.  Somebody will win the conflict; somebody else will lose.  It satisfies the audience to get this kind of closure, but then if you run *out* of capital, the audience might have no reason to stick around until the next episode.

In some cases, the story capital will last the duration of the series.  For example, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have gone on record that we won't provide a definitive answer to "Where are we?" until the very last episode of LOST.  In other cases, the show burns off capital early on, and generates more capital as it goes.  A show like Pushing Daisies thrived on this kind of forward motion:  it burned through a lot of the pilot's capital fairly quickly, but it contually set up new arcs to replace the old ones.  (As a result, the end of the second season contended with very different issues from the start of the first.)  Shows like Buffy and The Wire (hey, there's a phrase I thought I'd never use) are 'seasonal':  each season premiere sets up capital (a 'big bad' for Buffy; a big case for The Wire), and they burn it all off by the end of that season.

Dollhouse let all the capital sit there for ten episodes, and then Joss & Co. set it all ablaze in the finale.  Nearly every mystery they set up in the first two episodes:  "Who is Dr. Saunders[3], and what happened to her?" "Who is Alpha?" "What's a 'composite event?'" "Will Paul find the Dollhouse?" and on and on and on -- all of that got resolved right here.

That timing is... odd.  Even the 'seasonal' shows pick at their capital a little more slowly and evenly over the course of each season.  Veronica Mars slowly explored one major crime in each of its first two seasons, with each new episode providing another piece of the puzzle.  Each season of The Wire plays out like a 12-hour movie, with each episode filling in more of the latest criminal enterprise.  Murder One, I hear, explored a single murder case over each season, slowly working its way through all the corners of the criminal justice system. 

Nobody does this "wait around for the whole season and power through everything at the end" strategy.

On the one hand, this season's end-heavy pacing made for a hell of an exhilirating finale.  On the other, it made some stretches of the first season feel logy and disjointed.  I assume this is the result of FOX meddling.  Perhaps the FOX executives cut the first season short.  In any case, it seems like the network types kept changing their minds about whether they wanted a serial or an anthology series.  (And then, once they had a really kickass serial, they cancelled it.  Nice job, guys.)

And where does this bonfire of capital leave us for season two?

Well, Whedon & Co. have done a brilliant job of rearranging the pieces on the table.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

One of the major differences between movies and television is how characters change over the course of time.  In a movie, your protagonist should have some major 'character arc' over the 90-odd-minute running time.  If the lead is exactly the same person at the end of act III that s/he was at the start of act I, you might have a dull movie on your hands.

On the one hand, this makes movies exciting.  Also, it's a hopeful message:  you come away from such a film thinking that a significant event really could change your outlook on everything.  On the other hand, it strains credibility -- the psychological evidence out there says that, come what may, people pretty much stay the same.

Television works differently.  On television, you most often have a cast of characters with very different outlooks, and those outlooks stay constant.  You create characters that work, and you tend to leave those characters alone.  Then, with each episode that comes along, you can count on those disparate characters responding to the latest events in conflicting ways.

Even shows that are (justly) lauded for their character arcs use arcs that work very slowly.  For example, on Buffy, Willow changes from a tentative geek to a powerful witch over the course of five seasons -- so, five *years*.

So then the question is, how do you keep television from being static and boring?  If Paul Ballard is going to be the same "dogged agent who cuts corners and knocks heads to save the downtrodden" no matter what, how do you keep season two from feeling exactly like season one?

One strategy that often works is to, like I said above, 'move the pieces around the table.'  You keep the characters the same, but you put them in different positions.  GOB is still the same buffoonish egotist he always was, but now he's in charge of the Bluth Company.  Geoffrey Tennant is still possibly-insane, only now he's a lauded theater-festival director going into a performance of Lear.  And don't even get me started on the shifting alliances in a hyperactive show like Heroes.

So it looks like Dollhouse has moved the pieces around the table for season two.  Paul Ballard is now working for the Dollhouse, tracking down Alpha.  Boyd Langton is now the chief of security.  Madeline Costly has now returned to her life in L. A.

And so on.

Of course, it could be that I have this all wrong.  Sometimes shows will institute major changes, only to 'snap back' to the status quo in the first few episodes of the following season.  Unfortunately, the only examples I can think of are all spoilers for other shows -- if you feel like risking spoilers on television from a few years back, click here.  Maybe Dollhouse will take that approach instead.


Changing gears, it was wonderful to see Alan Tudyk show up in this series.  I wish beyond anything I hadn't found out ahead of time that he was playing Alpha.  I trust that the reveal in the doctor's office would have floored me the way the "three flowers in a vase" answering-machine message did back in episode nine.[4]

I was amused to see that Alpha, once we finally met him, continued to be a wonderful screenwriter crutch.  What skills does he have?  He has whatever skills the writers need him to have.  Sure, he can break into the Dollhouse facility!  Sure, he can build a homebrew replica of the Dollhouse chair!  And so on.

Not only that, but Alpha is crazy!  Crazy how?  Well, it turns out Alpha suffers from a tragic affliction where he does whatever the screenwriters need him to do, even if it makes no sense from a character-motivation standpoint.  If Alpha could have broken into the Dollhouse at any time, why did he hatch an elaborate plot involving the murder of an environmental engineer, the rewriting of certain government databases, the transport and hobofication of said engineer, the shipment of an encrypted USB drive to Dominic, and a whole elaborate stage play for Paul's benefit?

Uh... crazy!  Crazified!  Doing crazy things!

And why did he kidnap a store employee so that he could reprogram her as Caroline, so that in turn "Omega" could kill her?

Wizards.

So yes, there's a lot of fridge logic going on here.  It's a testament to Mr. Tudyk's skill that, while he's on screen, we absolutely buy what he's selling us.  In fact it was a little depressing to see Mr. Tudyk in full-on 'multiple personality' mode, because you suddenly realized that *that* is the level of versatility that Ms. Dushku was supposed to have through the whole series.  Oh, yeah.  *That's* what it's like to play distinct characters.  Wish we'd seen more of that from the lead.

Generally, though, the Alpha storyline was very satisfying.  Thematically, it wound up being another reassurance that there's something to us that goes deeper than the sort of brain reprogramming that Topher manages.  I suppose that's more reassuring than the notion that every one of us is only a fragile, ephemeral flicker of weak electrochemical signals.  Granted, it was another piece of fridge logic:  "let's use an incipient serial killer for our first doll" is up there with "let's build the housing development over the old Indian burial ground" or "let's construct massive, sentient killbots" in the what-could-possibly-go-wrong derby.  But still, it paid off a theme that had run throughout the season.

For next time:  "Epitaph One", and whatever other extras they have on that last DVD.

Side note:  while watching scenes involving Topher, I have a habit of sporadically shouting at the screen, "Stop being Martin!" as the fellow spookily resembles my roommate from college (now a successful scientist).

Additional side note:  It's always satisfying to see this sequence:  (1) the two good guys get in a giant fight; (2) the two good guys realize they're on the same side; (3) the two good guys triumphantly team up.  Hooray for team Ballard-Langton.

Add'l add'l side note:  it's odd, how rarely anybody in this story asks, "Wait, am *I* a doll?"  It seems like a natural question to ask, and it seems like there would be evidence that your past didn't really exist.

It suddenly occurs to me that there are almost no photos of me from before my mid-twenties.

Hmm.


For next time:  I'll continue reading David Copperfield, continue watching Dollhouse, listen to a new audiobook, and watch Michael Clayton and The Mighty Boosh

_____________
[1] Yes, I'll catch up to that show eventually.  But seriously:  that show is on FOX, right?  So if it were any good, wouldn't it have been cancelled by now?

[2] Side note:  I think TV mysteries are really hurt by the crazy six-act structure television has drifted into.  Instead of slowly piecing together the picture of whodunnit, you have to have a big! dramatic! accusation! every five minutes.  It almost forces you to write something fast and dumb.

[3] Side note:  I find it odd that I found Ms. Acker much, much more attractive as Dr. Saunders than I did as any of her other roles in the finale.  Maybe seeing her play a doctor makes me assume that she's smart, sensible, and helpful.  (Why I would assume those attributes, when I actually know doctors?)  Unfortunately, I bet it's just that she's playing low-status in that role, and I find that unthreatening.  Yuck.

[4] Side note:  hey, wait a minute.  If they could remotely turn November into a killing machine in episode nine, why was it so freaky-impossible to do a remote wipe on Echo in the bank heist?  And didn't they pick the most inconvenient possible way to kill their horrible handler?

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From:puppybane
Date:Monday (12/7/09) 2:33pm
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In regards to point #4, November was preprogrammed to be a killing machine, but only triggered by a codephrase. Very different from reprogramming her. However, I don't have any good rationalization for *why* Dewitt chose to kill the handler that way. Seems like it would just reinforce Ballard's mission. Mind you, I was totally convinced they were going to kill Mellie, which was sneaky of them, as I totally assumed she was a doll at the beginning, and then changed my mind.
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From:hujhax
Date:Monday (12/7/09) 5:00pm
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More discussion of that point here.
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From:jefpeanutbutter
Date:Monday (12/7/09) 3:59pm
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Very enjoyable commentary! Also, I have a strong suspicion that if Dushku had in fact thrown down with Tudyk-par acting chops from the beginning, the series never would have been walking on such thin ice with FOX. I think people would have shown up to watch in much greater droves.
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From:hujhax
Date:Monday (12/7/09) 5:01pm
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Thanks!  Yeah, I was wondering about your actor-perspective on the two different multiple-personality portrayals there....
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From:innocentsmith
Date:Monday (12/7/09) 4:24pm
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I think I've figured out what bugs me about the 'engagement' storylines: there's no sense of glee.

Yes, this. Exactly. Generally, while watching "Haunted" I fast-forward the A-plot, as the other bits of the episode are, I think, very good. OTOH, it does set up something that's going to be rather important to the overall arc of the show, though you haven't seen that yet. Not that you'd notice, in amidst the dorky mystery plot. (Is it just me, or do Joss Whedon shows always fall down a bit in being convincing when portraying the superrich in their natural environment? What is that?)

If they could remotely turn November into a killing machine in episode nine, why was it so freaky-impossible to do a remote wipe on Echo in the bank heist?

No. See, November was a sleeper agent, meaning her imprint was designed with a switch to "mindless assassin" to be flipped when she heard a verbal cue - the "there are three flowers in a vase" bit. And then she got shifted back to her normal persona another cue. But it was all part of the Mellie-imprint's design.

With Echo in the bank heist, someone (presumably Alpha) did a remote wipe, totally erasing the imprint from her mind. He did this with, as I recall, a kind of old-school modem screech? So that set her back to her doll state. The problem was that the Dollhouse folks didn't have the technology to be able to imprint someone without having them in the chair, so they had no way to reverse it, so they had to send in a new version of the lost imprint, in Sierra, to get the robbers and doll-Echo out.

And didn't they pick the most inconvenient possible way to kill their horrible handler?

I think that was actually a stroke of brilliance on Adelle's part, because it used a resource she currently had in play - Mellie's ability to flip out like a ninja - to accomplish two goals: (a) scare the beejezus out of Paul and strengthen his attachment to Mellie, and (b) get rid of Hearn in a way that means she doesn't even have to dispose of the body or inform his loved ones - the police will mark it down as an attempted break-in and rape.

It was also, IMHO, a stroke of brilliance on Joss's part. Because it IS so emotionally satisfying, instead of seeing a sweet love interest character get fridged, to see a rapist get killed. But. What we are in fact seeing is one of the powerful people using one of the powerless people in a way she would find horrific, in order to serve her own ends.

Madeleine is, as we get hints in "Needs," one of the people who signed on to a term in the Dollhouse in good faith, out of a desire to escape her grief and in the belief that she'd be helping people. Obviously Adelle pitches her recruitment speech differently to different prospective dolls, but I'm guessing there wasn't a lot of emphasis placed on "and we can use your body to kill people who get in our way!"

So when you're feeling that satisfaction of evil rapist got killed good!, you're feeling the same smugness as Adelle feeling as she puts down the phone. But it's an inherently exploitative satisfaction, kind of riffing off the whole Girl Takes Vengeance on Rapists trope: this isn't a choice Mellie/November has made: she's having her will overridden.

Everything in "Man on the Street" after that pitches towards "and now we're all happy again" is deceptive. Joel Mynor's happy reunion was always pretty damn sketchy on a number of levels; even stuff like Topher putting a fond arm around Ivy is hypocritical when he's not, presumably, stopped ordering her to fetch him sandwiches. The people in power are still in power, getting their gratification from using the powerless while feeling that they've done good.

Tangent: Adelle's problem, in terms of what makes her evil, is that she can't see past the superficial level here: she's bought the Dollhouse's propaganda. She doesn't see her use of Victor as rape or dub-con at best; she's in the business of using people, and she doesn't see the inherent problems with that as long as she's not too far down the slippery slope. She sees her Dollhouse as a good, almost magical place - note her rebuke to Paul in re: Alpha: "You brought this thing back to my House to defile it a second time!"
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From:innocentsmith
Date:Monday (12/7/09) 4:24pm
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If Alpha could have broken into the Dollhouse at any time

But I don't think he could have...or, at least, we're not supposed to think he could have. (Security at the Dollhouse not always being perfect if the writers don't want us to think it's perfect.) If there's anything or anyone the LA Dollhouse is on constant alert for, it's Alpha. Everyone there knows what he looks like. So Paul was being used as a big complicated distraction, because he's probably the only person they'd be expecting to try to break in and get to Echo.

And why did he kidnap a store employee so that he could reprogram her as Caroline, so that in turn "Omega" could kill her?

Well. Because he was trying to build a Bride for himself as Frankenstein, so he was making sure Echo had the same things done to her that had been done to him. And then the final step had to be to destroy one's original self, knowingly and on purpose, as he had.

Sure, it would have been simpler to just make "Omega" smash the Caroline-wedge. But then he wouldn't have gotten to watch some random girl get tortured and then killed, which for him was an end in itself, in addition to being a blood sacrifice meant to give birth to the new Uberwench, Omega. Much as I did wince at his ramblings about human sacrifice among the Pre-Hellenic Minoans (leave the damn bulldancers out of it! nobody knows for sure what that was all about!) it does seem like the kind of manifesto-esque nonsense a budding serial killer would come up with to explain why some girl had to be killed.

Alpha probably has additional stuff he's trying to do to/with the Dollhouse, though "fucking with their heads" might also be an end in itself.

(1) the two good guys get in a giant fight; (2) the two good guys realize they're on the same side; (3) the two good guys triumphantly team up. Hooray for team Ballard-Langton.

Yeaaaaaah, although I'd say both their pretensions to being "good guys" are rather shaky. Which I thought was the point. Langton is the bouncer at the whorehouse, the guy who protects the girl while keeping her imprisoned. Ballard is the Comstock-esque lawman/crusader who wants to rescue the girl's purity, and flatly refuses to be bothered with the details of exactly how.

They're both wrong and they're both right, and in another show either of them could be the hero - Ballard certainly does see himself as the hero of the story. But in the end, the actual hero here is Echo.
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From:hujhax
Date:Monday (12/7/09) 4:59pm
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[...] Paul was being used as a big complicated distraction [...]

Really, there could be any number of unexpressed reasons why Alpha chose to break-in that way.  But it was *so* much effort to set up (again:  many many points of failure), and Alpha seemed to be having *such* an easy time with the actual break-in, that... I just wasn't inclined to look for the justifications.  Again, YMMV.

Well. Because he was trying to build a Bride for himself as Frankenstein [...]

Yeah, this is pipe they were laying in the show with Alpha's monologs, no?  I mean, I heard and understood the 'this is my evil plot' speech -- it just seemed like that construct came from the arbitrary-crazyplace.  ("Yes, but *why* do you need a blood sacrifice?"  "There are these Minoan rituals, and -- look, I just *do*, okay?")

Yeaaaaaah, although I'd say both their pretensions to being "good guys" are rather shaky.

Point taken.
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From:innocentsmith
Date:Monday (12/7/09) 6:29pm
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"Yes, but *why* do you need a blood sacrifice?" "There are these Minoan rituals, and -- look, I just *do*, okay?"

I thought what we were meant to take away was that Alpha's real reason was more "-- look, I just really want to kill a girl, okay? I always have."

I think Alpha, in the show's metanarrative, is the embodiment of horrific violence being perpetrated on TV, especially against women, just because. Because it's thrilling, and girls are pretty when they cry, and perhaps there's a complicated plot justification for it, but the real reason is that people get off on it.

Joss Whedon has been vocal against the whole torture-porn genre, but he's also based large swathes of his career on the handbook of the horror genre. You have to kill a bunch of innocents before you get to the place where the Last Girl defeats the monster. People getting brutally killed is the starting point for a lot of media, and I think Alpha is a representation of that force at work, the bloodlust of pop media, as Topher is a representation of Joss's growing ambivalence towards what he does as a show creator.

But yeah. The show's metanarrative is so heavy that it crushes the hell out of the narrative-narrative and its plausibility, sometimes. Which is a problem, definitely, and there are times when I want to just take away the writing team's BSG dvds and library books, and ground them until they come up with some coherent, believable plot. *sigh* Dollhouse: the show that finds new and intriguing ways to fail, every single episode.
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From:hujhax
Date:Monday (12/7/09) 4:52pm
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No. See, November was a sleeper agent, meaning her imprint was designed [...]

Hmm.  Maybe I could explain myself differently, as other people have made similar arguments to me.

Say you set up a world with a magic wand that could turn objects red.  And you see several stories where it's used to turn various things red.

Then, one day, someone discovers a magic wand that turns things *maroon*.  And everyone flips out because, whoa, that's impossible.

Now, I can *accept* this behavior -- hey, it's your magic, set up its rules however you like -- but there's going to be a momentary eyeroll and a muttered, "Okay, whatever," because intuitively the flipping-out just feels 'off' to me.

If the general concept of activating a 'doll mode' remotely is normal, then I still think the concept of resetting a doll remotely shouldn't be as absolutely insane as Topher said it was. *shrug*  YMMV.

(a) scare the beejezus out of Paul and strengthen his attachment to Mellie

Interesting -- I hadn't thought of that.

(b) get rid of Hearn in a way that means she doesn't even have to dispose of the body or inform his loved ones [...]

Except she does have to count on the remote-activation working properly, and she has to somehow have Hearn's prints register as... some kind of Russian enforcer, IIRC?  I had no issue with the dramatic impact of the scene, it was just all these logistics questions that got on my nerves.  Lots of points of failure.

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From:innocentsmith
Date:Monday (12/7/09) 5:49pm
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If the general concept of activating a 'doll mode' remotely is normal, then I still think the concept of resetting a doll remotely shouldn't be as absolutely insane as Topher said it was. *shrug* YMMV.


I guess it really is a YMMV thing, because I thought "sleeper agent" vs. "getting wiped" were fairly well set up as different propositions, both in how they played out onscreen and how they were explained. Though I suppose they didn't so much explain the sleeper agent thing as make use of an extant trope.

Granted, the whole wiping/imprinting process is handwavey to the max, which is one of the show's biggest credibility problems, as you've said in the past.

(This is another one of Joss's frequent weaknesses - did we ever, in Buffy, get an adequate explanation of how magic, souls, etc., actually worked? Granted, it's easier to go "magic!" when it's actual magic you're discussing, rather than supposedly-contemporary neuroscience. But yeah, dodgy world-building.)

Except she does have to count on the remote-activation working properly

Well, but the sleeper agents seem to be a established technology, and probably something she's used - possibly even with November, specifically - in the past. (November's fingerprints have quite an arrest record attached to them in the FBI, especially considering how sweet-faced most of the photographs that flash through look.) That's basically what Mellie was designed to do.

The element of uncertainty would seem to be whether Adelle could get Mellie to hear the trigger phrase. Which is, okay, a little convenient, but she's standing right there watching the attack, via the camera in Paul's apartment.

Except she does have to count on the remote-activation working properly, and she has to somehow have Hearn's prints register as... some kind of Russian enforcer, IIRC?

Weelll, the Dollhouse does seem to have very little trouble hacking into police/FBI computers - see above re: November's fingerprints, which are so quickly erased. And Ballard had previously been established as having trouble with the Russian mob, which was at least in part a set-up by the Dollhouse, with Russian!Victor leading him along. The story the police were being sold - "this rape/murder attempt happened to try to scare the girl's boyfriend off investigating a shadowy organization" - was partly accurate. And probably was an additional reason for Paul to get kicked out of the FBI.

But yes, the show does love its Xanatos Gambits with a somewhat unhealthy fervor.
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From:happywaffle
Date:Tuesday (12/8/09) 8:01pm
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Two comments:

1. Re. "Sometimes shows will institute major changes, only to 'snap back' to the status quo in the first few episodes of the following season." This annoyed the crap out of me with House. I was kinda tired of the House "rhythm" - the episodes seemed repetitive - and I thought getting rid of House's entire supporting cast in the season finale was frickin brilliant. Then what did they do? The three docs just kinda stuck around, hanging in the background, returning to House's side on a semi-regular basis. If you're gonna kill off your characters, kill them off already! (Nothing against the actors, whom I'm sure are glad to still be getting a paycheck)

2. Re. the wasted potential in casting Eliza Dushku: just wait until you get to last week's episode, "The Public Eye." You'll be spittin' mad that Enver Gjokaj (Victor) isn't the lead on this show. He gets more phenomenal with every personality you see him in and this episode is the peak.
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From:hujhax
Date:Wednesday (12/9/09) 9:56am
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2. Re. the wasted potential in casting Eliza Dushku: just wait until you get to last week's episode, "The Public Eye." You'll be spittin' mad that Enver Gjokaj (Victor) isn't the lead on this show. He gets more phenomenal with every personality you see him in and this episode is the peak.

Ha!  Mr. Gjokaj's credible 'southern horse buyer' character was one of the few things I liked about the A-story of "Haunted"....
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