Sunday, January 31, 2010

Foreclosure on the Dollhouse

    Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) and Eliza Dushku's (Tru Calling) Dollhouse went off the air for good this past Friday night, proving once again what a jerk Fox can be, especially to Whedon.  After a rocky start to the first season, where the show was mostly serial, with a different mission each week, it found it's footing midway through the spring and delivered some brilliant twists.  The show had already been pegged as canceled, but a last minute miracle save earned them a second thirteen episode season this fall.  In the second round, Joss didn't attempt to tone down his plot, and went full blown into a conspiracy and technology war.  Friday night's finale was a fairly appropriate closer, that left fans somewhat satisfied.

     The final episode was called "Epitaph Two: Return", a follow up to the first season, unaired, lost episode called "Epitaph One".  Set ten years after the majority of the series, and starring Felicia Day (The Guild, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog), it showed a post-apocalyptic world.  This was a logical step, considering that the plot of the two seasons was fairly well tied up in the penultimate episode, when the Dollhouse staff discovered the man behind the curtain was their friend Boyd (Harry Lennix, 24, Commander in Chief).  It was a fantastic episode, and Boyd's comeupance was wonderfully done.  However, fans who bought the first season DVD last summer would have felt a little cheated had they not followed up "Epitaph" and Day's character.

     Rewatching "Epitaph One", there were a couple of possible plot holes with the way season two played out, however, those could have been explained away had the show been given a third season.  Instead, there is much missing that viewers would have liked to see.  For instance, how did Alpha (Alan Tudyk, Serenity, V) end up a good guy, working with the resistance?  And why was Whiskey (Amy Acker, Angel, Alias) in the abandoned house in "One", but had disappeared by "Two"?  A television movie should be made to fill in the gap.  If a feature film is eventually commissioned, a la Serenity's begot from the canceled Firefly, it would likely go to the world after the end, but could reveal some of those things through flashbacks.  Honestly, there probably just wasn't time for Alpha's story in the one hour closer, and it was unlikely Acker was available, as she now stars in a new show.  "Two" combined the main cast with the characters we had met in "One", and did it's best to wrap it all up.  There was even a surprise cameo by Summer Glau, (Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) whose character had previously been killed.

     The series was, overall, a work of genius, and a credit to each of the principal and recurring cast members, as well as the storytellers.  It was innovative and dealt with real issues of our day.  It was canceled well before it's time, and yet it presents almost a complete story, with a nifty ending.  Most characters had a cap.  Echo / Caroline (Dushku) got to (briefly) deal with pain of losing Paul (Tahmoh Penikett, Battlestar Galactica).  Victor / Tony (Enver Gjokaj) and Sierra / Priya (Dichen Lachman, Neighbours) were together with their son.  Adelle (Olivia Williams) was playing mother hen to a whole new flock.  And Topher (Fran Kranz) gave himself up in a self-sacrificial move, guilted by the knowledge he had caused the whole mess.

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