After a dear old friend of Adelle's suddenly passes away, she imprints her memories and personality into Echo as a way for her to communicate one last time. But her friend wants to solve her own murder, thinking that perhaps knowing the truth would set herself free, however the complications of life-after-death can have an impact on how friends and family actually thought of you, and the truth is harder to accept than not. She discovers that it was her son that murdered her through a tranquilizer drug used for horses, and as he finds out about the imprint he attempts to kill her again but is stopped just in time.
Meanwhile, Paul is conflicted between his continuing relationship with Mellie knowing that she is an unwilling participant from the Dollhouse, and gets closer to the truth regarding his search for the organization. Also, Topher takes a day off to secretly imprint Sierra for a personal task of his own, a bff to celebrate with for his birthday.
Life After Death: Imprinting Taken To Another Level
While Echo's personality of the week wasn't as engaging as the others have been, the episode did present the fascinating concept of having imprints from those deceased, or at least those who are willing to allow themselves to have their memories and personalities copied before death so they could live on. This raises some interesting questions regarding the technological advancement of such devices to make this possible, and the ethical reasoning for doing so.
The entire concept of the Dollhouse, erasing and imprinting personalities, is very science fiction indeed, so understanding the actual process is beyond our scope of knowledge unless one is highly intuitive with how such technology works. This is like downloading on a Battlestar Galactica scale, transferring memories and personalities from body to body if necessary to live on and, knowing Joss as a huge BSG geek himself, he probably did this deliberate because in the world of science fiction that is closer to our own technological evolution in today's current world, this is not far from being possible in that near future. Knowing that such advancement within this is absolutely possible, who knows if the Dollhouse has actually considered this, which brings us to the morally conflicted part of the equation.
Adelle clearly frowned upon the idea of being usage aside from this personal engagement, as a special duty to a friend, but how ethically right was it even in that case? If handed into the wrong hands how many other clients would want their loved ones to be imprinted into Dolls? Even though we're seeing a softer side of Adelle there are other directors of other Dollhouses that might not see it as such and actually might take into account the eternal life stances, if only to gain more clientele. Moral ethical codes don't usually apply when concerning the Dollhouse, since they bend those rules and justify them to their own means however and whenever they feel like it.
Nevertheless, the idea was placed out there and Lord knows what might happen if such technology does get handed to the wrong people. Boyd was right, it would be the end of human civilization because people would be wanting to have eternal, everlasting life.
Loneliness Within The Dollhouse
We've seen many characters try to deal with loneliness, sometimes in a productive manner that otherwise may seem destructive and morally wrong from an outside perspective, but nonetheless these characters have human needs just as anyone else. Before we saw Adelle dealing with the stresses of her job position as she becomes a secret client herself, using one of their Dolls for emotional release. In this episode we see Topher using the same method by imprinting a Doll, any Doll he wasn't exactly specific, just a Doll that hadn't been on an assignment for some time, with a friend-like personality where he could just hang and goof around with.
The saddest thing though is understanding why this needed to be done, it was Topher's birthday. While he's being all science guy within the Dollhouse he has limited time for friendship, at least stable friendships outside of work, and with his confidentiality contract it can be hard to maintain those bonds. So when Adelle mentions that he only gets this chance once a year, it was like the saddest thing ever. Of course she understands this need, and the loneliness and attachment can become dangerous in the business they run, but seriously, once a year? Jeez.
No wonder Topher seems kind of off-putting though kinda adorable seeking out "man-friends" in the workplace, a.k.a. Boyd for example. He's still slightly trying to fill that void of friendship without really doing so.
Another example given in this episode is, surprisingly, Paul's downward spiral into giving into what the Dollhouse is selling only to perserve his chances of survival and without getting caught in the process. This turn of events for him was dark and disturbing, even though he and "Mellie" are a consentual kind of couple, she's programmed. After learning of the identit(ies?) of the true woman being held captive underneath it all he still went for the bait of hiding that suspicions from the Dollhouse by sleeping with her. Again. This time however it was rough sex, and it was after the fact that Mellie had announced that it didn't haved to "mean anything" which was repeated, either by herself or in his head, and he knew this was true. Dolls were meant to be without consequence, and with that and having the warning in his brain he needed something to stop the madness. So he ended up rough sexing/raping the woman he swore he never would do because it would be advocating what he was trying to prevent. We see Paul absolutely disgusted with himself afterwards, hating himself for what he'd done. Even though Mellie is very happy, Paul isn't. He knows it's all a fake, all a lie, and it's breaking him.
With all these combined the Dollhouse is essentially about needs. Other than the clientele they have, Adelle using a Doll to unleash her frustrations and just being herself, Topher to have a best friend even for a single day, Paul to mask his knowledge of certain things by using Mellie despite feeling disgusted about the whole thing, and even with Adelle's friend who only wanted to solve her own murder and see how others thought of her. Every case has a specific need, but not every need is necessarily good or ends well, because in our minds we have these "what if" scenarios, but to these characters those scenarios are realities to can be hard to accept at times.
Memorable Moments from the Episode:
++ Eliza Dushku was absolutely amazing in this episode. I admit I wasn't as captiviated by the murder mystery Agatha Cristine kind of puzzle, even though those do appeal to me quite a bit. It was slightly predictable, but nevertheless Eliza did a superb job with becoming this woman by means of personality. Her speechifying, the way she carried herself and those amazing outfits which gave off a sense of elegance and respect, I thought she did wonderfully. ♥
++ And Eliza with horses = ♥ Just saying.
++ Also, I liked how Adelle chose Echo amongst all the other Actives to become this woman. Perhaps it was because Adelle favors Echo above the others, but I really liked the dynamic between the two and they played off each other nicely. Makes me want more Adelle/Echo kind of interactions, with or without imprints.
++ Awww, Topher is kinda adorable, y/y?? Imprinting Sierra as just a budding friend to play video games and throwing footballs and then lazer tag? Awwww. Even though it's still sad, I thought it was cute to see him actually being his geeky/nerdy self with another geeky/nerdy personality.
++ "Can we play with the sleepies?" LOL I loved this line because of the irony, but also how Sierra said it. And I liked her suggestions, it would be kind of what someone like Topher would think about. It's totally the geek fantasy of having that battle going on of seeing how gets more hits on YouTube. XDDD I WANNA PLAY WITH TOPHER AND SIERRA! They made it seem so fun and awesome, just being able to goof off without consequence or whatever. Sad because it was only for one day, but still. How awesome would that be?
++ LOL Joss, adding the incest without really making it so. LOL.
++ Paul is getting sneakier but also freaking me out here, at first I thought that whole scene with him and Mellie before the rough sexing was going to be a dream, a nightmare because he's been holding out for so long ever since discovering that Mellie is a Doll. But no, it was real, and they actually crossed that line with him. And y'know what? I kinda liked that they did. It's totally dark and twisted and immoral, and shows like this need to exist to bring such material and content. Srsly.
++ So, it appears that Mellie's true identity might've been either someone who dealt with identity theft or used different alliases for whatever reason. Not exactly the neighborly Mellie he once knew, which makes things interesting regarding her past.
++ Eternal life after death via imprinting, massive scifi notions of the dangerously fascinated degree. And Joss totes was doing this deliberate because of BSG, like totes ppl.
Overall: I enjoyed this episode. It was more of a stand-alone but it still had major points regarding morals of the Dollhouse and Paul stepping a bit closer to understanding that yes, the Dollhouse is real and he actually gained someone onto his side (which I cheered when he appeared into her office and she actually helped him out!) We get the inside scoop about other possibilities from these imprints going into the direction of everlasting life after death, the loneliness aspect in different cases, and how even with the notion of seeing yourself post-death it would've been better to remain unknown of those cold truths. I did like that Adelle's friend managed to see what others thought of her, hard as it was to accept, and make certain changes after figuring out who had killed her. So now she'll be able to rest in peace knowing that. But again, just a one time thing and it's sad nonetheless.
NEXT WEEK: OMG WE MEET ALPHA! PAUL GETTING INSIDE THE DOLLHOUSE! AJSDLF;JA;SLDKFJ
This also concludes that there are only two episodes left, three if they keep with the thirteen aired episodes, but with the speculated rumors of going back and forth I do think we do have only two left. Bummer. FOX PLZ RENEW THIS SHOW OTHERWISE THERE WILL BE BLOOD! I AM SRS HERE.