Renée (rogueslayer452) wrote,

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Dollhouse: "Briar Rose" Episode Review + Meta

Dollhouse 1.11 "Briar Rose"

The second to (supposedly) last episode of the season intertwines the analogy of the tale of Sleeping Beauty to Paul Ballard's discovery of the Dollhouse, believing he this is his chance for the valiant rescue of Caroline, the girl trapped and held captive against her will. As he finds a lead that supposedly had designed the Dollhouse, Paul drags him along to help break inside and find her. However the story takes a turn when this "designer" is actually Alpha, and nearing the end we have startling revelations, more questions, and only one more episode to go.

Who Are The White Knights And Evil Serpants Of This Tale?

It's nothing new that this show has presented itself using moral ambiguity and corruptedness; every character enters that morally gray area, no one situation is as easy as it seems. Everything has a certain complexity that even if we think we figured it out, we get Jossed and it's completely something else entirely, adding more to the mystery. But the question still lingers in our heads, who are the supposed good guys or bad guys? We know that the Dollhouse uses human trafficking but, they have had good intentions even if sometimes the ends don't justify the means. The NSA and probably other federal organizations are keeping watch of the Dollhouse, watching and waiting for something to happen so they can either take it down or hault their business for investigation. Then there are others, like Paul and Caroline, who want to right the wrongs that society has done. Where is that line drawn between sides?

The answer is, there is no clear definition of which side is good or bad, right or wrong. Moral ambiguity, even Paul our supposed hero of this story, wanting to take down and expose the Dollhouse, has entered that gray area when his obsession with his project got out of hand and him being thrown into the mix of having to pretend with Mellie after realizing the truth. Heroes are imperfect, and even though some people deemed him unlikeable in this episode it's understandable how his goal of rescuing Caroline got out of hand. He turned into what he despised, he became obsessed with her -- but rather than objectifying her, he was fantasizing about saving her along with others inside the Dollhouse. His justification is that he wants to help them all, which I have no doubts he does, but he gets carried away based on his knowledge of Caroline and wanting to save her specifically as his first goal. Does this make him any different than another client for a Doll? If so, what does this say about us as human beings as the subject of our affections start becoming our obsessions that we lose rationalizing and just acting on impulse?

Of course he has idealistic views about going about this, much like Caroline had with taking down Rossum. Their intentions are good, but their unrealistic plans is what gets them stuck in these impossible situations. He and Caroline have the same mindset that saving everyone would be great, which it's a nice notion to consider, but only in theory. Because in reality these people don't have their own personalities -- they are saved on a harddrive and if you just take everyone and let them escape, where are they escaping to? They have no idea, no knowledge of the outside world other than the safety of the Dollhouse. It is just impossible to stop a very powerful organization from their business and save everyone at the same time. Just downright impossible and, in Paul's case, implausible with how he was managing to go about it. Heart in the right place, but his mind was focused on one thing to really think his plan thoroughly.

Paul wanted to be the Hero of the story, to get the girl. But the tables turned when he was just the victim of a cleverly designed con planned by Alpha, who apparently has orchestrated the entire thing. And in the end it isn't Paul that is the knight in shining armor, it is Alpha. Or so we're meant to believe.

This goes for all the characters. Nobody is absolutely right or wrong, nobody is purely evil or good. Everyone who works at the Dollhouse believes that they are doing something right, even if they don't agree with the methods used in such a business. Everyone believes they are the hero of their own story, and that is what is blatantly demonstrated on this show (ex. Boyd and Paul, both fighting each other even though their goals and mindsets are the same). Why is it like this, why can't there be a simple Good and Evil side of things? Because Dollhouse reflects our own world and society, and this represents us as human beings. We are flawed, we make mistakes, and sometimes we don't always get to win in the end.

"I am the Alpha and Omega, I am the first and last"

From what has been given to us, Alpha still remains an enigma. With his identity finally revealed in this episode, this adds more to the complexity that is his character and what he's all about, such as his motives and what he wants with Echo and the Dollhouse, and for what purpose.

Originally I had theorized that Alpha had been wanting to team up with Paul to get Echo out together, possibly restore her normal personality so they could work in taking down the Dollhouse. Of course this was before we knew anything about him and really, the idea sounds kinda awesome, amirite? However it appears that Alpha has been orchestrating all these events -- from sending Paul Caroline's picture to sending a psychopath after Echo and remote wiping her, right down to impersonating someone else so he could get inside the Dollhouse undetected. From being a Doll to becoming the ultimate puppetmaster of everything, he truly is a dangerous yet fascinating mystery.

He picked Echo for a reason, it seems that they knew each other and, while not entirely clear why just yet, I have my suspicions that whatever personality he imprinted into her means that Echo had been someone else, someone that Alpha had a relationship with before. Either from an engagement or within the Dollhouse. We're not entirely sure, it's still very vague at this point. But Echo seemed to have remembered him before he did that imprint so, who knows? I still want to maintain that Alpha knows that Echo has something special within her that allows her to think more outside of the norm from the other Dolls, her ability to assess situations and the fact that Echo is gaining a personality of her own from this evolving process, it might mean something to Alpha that she might be his only hope in getting back at the people who had hurt him.

Nevertheless, Alpha is an intriguing and fascinating character. With only one episode left to air, hopefully we'll get at least some answers to these burning questions about him.

Memorable Moments of the Episode:

++ ALAN TUDYK BITCHES! Okay, so I was spoiled that Alan would be Alpha obviously, but I squeed when he appeared on the screen anyway. I loved how he played these characters, the fact that Alpha can impersonate someone and just imitate that life of that person, implicating that Alpha still has his engagement memories (as I think they've also stated this in the show, which is why they cannot catch him), and then him teaming up with Paul? LOLARIOUS SHIT RIGHT THAR! XDD

++ I loved the Paul/Alpha team, even if it was all a ploy. Still, badass!Helo and a very stoned!Wash = AWESOMEST TEAM EVAH, Y/Y???


++ The parallels and analogies with Sleeping Beauty and the Dollhouse throughout this episode, with Paul hoping to be the hero but it is Alpha that takes that credit? Another amazing thing that I love about this show. Paralleling and interweaving these kinds of things.

++ Echo being imprinted with the grown-up version of the little girl who is troubled, I thought that was very sweet and ultimately very clever way of intervention and healing. This is another example that while it is human trafficking, sometimes the deeds they do are for the good even if morally corrupted.

++ Alan had so many fantastic lines in this episode! With the carrot plantation to the random babbling from paranoia, to the "feng shui up the yin yang!" XDDDD


++ Paul. Oh Paul, you break my heart sometimes y'know? His coldness to Mellie was just mean, although he knew she would get over it because being a Doll and all, but still. Harshness. But yeah, I do admit them being together wouldn't have worked out because of how wrong and sick and twisted it is and he didn't want to go through with it anymore, plus it was another clever ploy of following her to see who was to pick her up and take her back to the Dollhouse. Nicely played, Paul. But still. My heart breaks for you.

++ Paul's obsessiveness with saving Caroline has blinded his main objectives, which is exploiting the Dollhouse. Has good intentions which I love and wants to do the right thing, but he's becoming too reckless with his actions and naive. Oh Paul bb, I still love you though.

++ Okay, the actor playing Victor is A-FRAKKING-MAZING. If that were real I would totes believe that was Dominic's personality uploaded into Victor. Just, damn. Great acting right thar.

++ BUT OMG NO VICTOR! HE GOT ALPHA SLASHED IN THE FACE! D: He's now a defected Doll, because no client wants a doll with scars, right? How will they deal with this idek. Oh Victor, it just wasn't your day was it? Being imprinted with an angry!Dominic and getting drugged, getting fallen on by a huge fight in the pod room and then slashed up in the face? Oh dear, my poor Victor. :((((


++ I kinda wanted Echo to remember Paul from either the phone message she left or the fact that what he said to her was repeated from before, which should've clicked in her head immediately. But she's still evolving and all those memories are jumbled together, and seeing his face probably triggered that one engagement where they were fighting and she had to defend herself. Still, I kinda wanted her to remember the secret imprint -- but no luck. Woe. :(

++ Sierra should do these kind of engagements more often. She looks damn fine in those outfits, fo'shizzles yo.




Overall: The fact that while the episodes are getting better and the fanbase is really picking up the pace of absolutely getting attached to the show, but the ratings are dropping every week, puzzles me. I mean, srsly now? The rating system is flawed. I considered this episode perhaps the most epic out of all the previous epic ones during this last half of the season; we meet Alpha, Paul gets inside the Dollhouse, sees that his entire life has been a lie, fights, slashings, Echo and Paul and then Echo and Alpha and then REVELATIONS OMG. See, I know that the show didn't start off strong but it's gonna be ending on a strong note that if it gets canceled...I think I'll scream. Or punch someone, fuck I'll just cut a fucking bitch up Alpha-style because DAMN IT THIS SHOW IS AMAZING AND IT NEEDS AT LEAST ANOTHER SEASON. PLZ FOX, PLZ.

I was impressed with how it all came together, the startling reveals and the acting and how it was shot and just, ugh. Yes. This show = love. Lovelovelove. ♥

People need to start watching this show. Either start watching in real time or to or Hulu or whatever, don't just download elsewhere because I think that's the main problem. Many people think that it's just their fan reactions but it's not, FOX is big on statistics and if the ratings aren't up to par with those expectations they will pull the plug regardless of a growing fanbase and positive critic responses. But the ratings systems fails in general, so heh.

I am now off to finish up some schoolwork that I need to get done with.
Tags: meta: dollhouse, show reviews: dollhouse
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