Category: Whedonesque

Buffy: “Lessons”

I may be a little late to this party, but while re-watching the episode “Lessons,” I wondered about the significance of The First taking on the appearance of each season’s Big Bads in reverse order at the end of the episode, and ending with Buffy. That is, it starts out looking like Warren, then Glory, Adam, The Mayor, Dru, The Master, and finally Buffy. So why end with Buffy? She was never the Big Bad, was she? But I have two theories:

  • Buffy is the first Big Bad because she’s a Slayer, and the Slayers were given demon power to fight the demons, so she is a Big Bad, in a way.
  • Buffy being a Big Bad could also foreshadow the events of Season 8, which saw the Slayers being seen by the general population as evil due to their power. I mean, this is also how people saw them in the past, owing to their demonic infusion.

Also, I think the final shot of Buffy in the season 7 credits is actually The First. I can’t place the shot, but if it is, why close on The First and not Buffy herself, the way the previous seasons’ credits did? If y’all have any thoughts, I’m interested in hearing them!

[Edit:] Thank you, the internet. You have provided Buffy fans with a way to collaborate and put together the entire list of clips used in all of the title sequences ever (like seriously there’s a separate one for “Superstar”). And I was right! The closing shot in season 7 is The First. So, why close on The First instead of Buffy? It doesn’t seem correct that it means that evil is now the star of the show, or that it’s taking over, or something. Hmm, but apparently the Buffy wiki page says that the closing shot of season 6 isn’t Buffy either, and it’s the Buffybot. Maybe Joss is just messing with us. That would be his way, wouldn’t it.

Castle: “The Last Frontier”

The opening sequence is quite cheesy, as desired. Definitely reminiscent of Galaxy Quest.

Did I miss that Castle’s stuff was coming out in comics now? What did Castle mean by mumbling “how far they fall…”? And I’m entertained by Beckett’s “chests” plural, but I assume the trailing “s” was just because Castle had the best look of shocked surprise on his face. And yes, it is hilarious that Castle looked up.

He said “shiny”! Whoo Firefly!

I must assume that Alexis’ Princess Leia outfit was the white one from A New Hope, given that Alexis was little, and also what happens later in the episode….

Doc Ock and Spiderman! The Borg! Cylons! And yes, of course Castle would want it to be Number Six.

Here’s the best part: “I’m sorry — how is Nebula-9 worthy of all this? I mean, they were cancelled over a decade ago. After 12 episodes, which was 12 episodes too many [...] I’m a fan of good scifi: Star Trek, Battlestar, that Joss Whedon show [...]” — let’s see now: Firefly had 9 main characters, was a spaceship show, had 12 episodes (okay, not 14, but sort of close enough, according to the rest of the internet), aired over a decade ago (they had their 10-year anniversary panel a few months ago at Comic-Con), and totally counts as good scifi from “that Joss Whedon guy.” Also, “Max Rennard”? Can you say “Mal Reynolds”?

Oh, Perlmutter. Though I’m confused why he pointed out the lack of blood splatter, since the body could’ve been moved?

Aww, Beckett tries to cover up her fangirlyness about the fansite, but then totally gives it away when she sees Gabriel Winters. Max Rennard ~= Mal Reynolds. Eh? Eh? She is such a total fangirl as she walks up to him, and trying to hide her smile as he’s telling them about how the show was unjustly cancelled, modifies the show’s phrase “may fortune guide your journey,” and so forth. Though, she does seem a little off-put by his “Dismissed” comment at the end, and has a grumpy look.

Oh man, if only someone had been able to get the rights to the show after Fox was done with them. But I think it’s true that if someone had done webisodes of Firefly, I wouldn’t have wanted to watch them.

Aw, Beckett — and her multiple Nebula-9 outfits — got outed. Also, “frakkin’ awesome” — BSG reference?

Perlmutter: I love his “non-detective Castle” greeting in contrast to “detective Beckett.” And Castle’s clearly having some sort of orgasmic reaction to the appropriateness of the style of killing to the situation.

Commercial break! Aaand we’re back.

Why does Castle have a life-sized Boba Fett in his bathroom?? Hehe, Castle’s trying to avoid insulting Beckett, and Beckett’s trying to keep her professionalism and not use the word “blaster.”

Fans!! Where do I begin? There’s an albino Wookie who has a face that more resembles a Tusken Raider and only speaks Mersatonain, a fan who’s “not that fluent” in Mersatonian, a woman with mysteriously adhesive leaves (oh, poor Javi looks like he’s going to pass out when she walks away with fewer leaves on her boob and his pen), and a girl who’s supposed to be speaking lingo from something else, I assume, but she doesn’t pull off the lingo the same way that Fray does; that is, when Fray speaks, it’s understandable with context and you can really believe that the English language has evolved over time, but with this fan, there’s only a few words that are different and the writers seemed like they were having a hard time figuring out what they could change while still making her comprehensible.

Yes, Beckett, I’m sure you have to interview Lt. Chloe and aren’t looking forward to it. Though, I feel bad for her when the actress totally slams the show, and she looks all queasy, and then rolls her eyes at the actress’ new cardboard cutoff figure with that stereotypical Hollywood pose of showing her backside and holding a gun.

Poor Castle! Alexis looks awesome, though (although I think her hair looks more messy than messy-glamorous). So while mention of “Princess Leia costume” in the context of a scifi con tends to evoke images of the slave Leia outfit from Return of the Jedi, this is why I assumed, earlier, that this was not the kind of Leia outfit Alexis wore when she was little.

“As you wish” — Princess Bride reference!

Poor Beckett, with Gabriel Winters calling the fans “lunatics.” And that he had “a burning desire to see his doctor.” Eww.

Yes, Ryan totally seems like the kind of guy who’d do tabletop.

Creavers! “Evil alien race from Nebula-9. Nasty creatures. They’ll eat your face off while you’re still alive, and then, serve your organs to their young.” Sound like reavers, anyone?

Armin Shimerman! Quark (and also Principal Snyder from Buffy)! And he’s wearing a “han shot first” T-shirt, hehe. “So what can I interest you in? A Klingon bat’leff, perhaps? Cylon laser pistol? A double-bladed lightsaber?” Castle is so excited about the double-bladed lightsaber, as am I. And Shimerman’s character says that Beckett has good taste for wanting a Thorian blaster.

Uh-oh, Castle wasn’t wearing protection when he fired the laser… oh noes, what about radiation? Poor Castle is all worried and “tingly.” Mentions of the Hulk, the Thing, the Leader, and Dr. Manhattan.

Anabelle made the show popular again, and so “they” were talking about rebooting the series, maybe even making a movie… well, I’m glad Joss got to make Serenity, and that some of the other stories (like Book’s) got told in comic form.

Aw, Castle is adorable, trying to imitate Patrick Stewart. And of course he would want to know if Beckett’s dreams of being in the Nebula-9 were sexy ones.

Beckett’s explanation of what the show meant to her is lovely and heartwarming.

Audrey is so short; how could she have stashed the body in the Oracle pod?

Given Winters’ calm and sarcastic reaction, he must know something about the blaster. And he does!

“Mark of Claderesh,” “Andorian empath,” “May fortune guide your journey.” But of course his “it’s a lot easier when the stunt guys do it” is hilarious. And Castle seems to have come around to Nebula-9, or at least appreciates rubbing in the cheesiness of of the show to the actress.

Beckett’s bait-and-switch is awesome. That is all.

Thoughts About The Buffyverse, Installation 1

This series will consist of random thoughts that occur to me about the Buffyverse, that it’s likely I thought of before, but haven’t written down before now. So here goes.

In “All The Way” (which I rewatched because I hadn’t realized that Amber Tamblyn, currently starring as Martha Masters on House, M.D., played a noticeable role in — and whoa, midriff! o_O), Giles responds to Justin’s “It’ll only hurt for a second” with “I bet you tell that to all the girls.” The last time I watched this, I hadn’t caught how dirty these lines were… GILES! And this only two episodes before we find out his reason for cleaning his glasses all the time, heh.

I find Buffy’s lyrics in “Give Me Something To Sing About” interesting (beginning of the song is below — but not the ending, of course, because that’d be a spoiler!).

Life’s a show
And we all play our parts
And when the music starts
We open up our hearts

It’s all right
If some things come out wrong
We’ll sing a happy song
And you can sing along

Where’s there’s life, there’s hope
Everyday’s a gift
Wishes can come true
Whistle while you work
So hard All day…

To be like other girls
To fit in in this glittering world
Don’t give me songs…
Don’t give me songs…

See, “The Glittering World” is the title of a comic, collected in the “Tales Of The Slayers” series, wherein the story of a Navajo slayer is told to Richard Wilkins (later known as Mayor Richard Wilkins III). Considering that the episode came before the comic, perhaps these lyrics served as some sort of inspiration for the comic?

There’s also the comparison of our world to Hell in both Buffy and Angel: in Buffy, this happens in OMWF, and in Angel, it happens in “Reprise,” the episode where Angel steals the ring that allows him to travel to the Home Office of the Senior Partners, which is reputed to be synonymous with Hell (though, in the buffyverse there are frequently said to be many different kinds of hell dimensions), and after the trip, he ends up exactly where he started: Earth.

Also interesting is the fact that Rack says that Willow smells like strawberries, which now mostly reminds me of Kaylee and how she finds strawberries so full of amazing. That I like both Willow and Kaylee doesn’t hurt my connecting the references to strawberries, either ^_^

So canonically everyone says that Buffy died twice, but didn’t she die three times? Warren shot her, after all, and I think she died momentarily before Willow removed the bullet and healed her.

The story arcs also seem to run away with the writers of the two TV shows. The season 6 finale of Buffy totally starts in “Seeing Red,” which is the fourth episode from the end. And seasons 3 and 4 of Angel totally blended together in my mind. I mean, the Connor storyline obviously ties in with the apocalypse, since he’s the one who started it (well, with help from the evil that’s been planning things since episode 9 of season 1 of Angel), but his origins definitely start in season 3. Basically, it felt like a storyline that was too long for one season so they found a remotely plausible cut-off point and ended season 3 there.

Youtube Fanvids, Part 1

So Piper brought to my attention two well-done Buffy fanvids, by N0ReturnPr0ductions. The cuts between shots are a little faster than what I’d prefer, but the shots are so well-timed and well-chosen that I deem the videos to be well-done. And since I can’t come up with anything else to write about just now, I thought I’d pick out some of the well-chosen shots and perhaps say a little about where they’re from, their backstory, and what makes them good picks. So yes, there will be spoilers.

The first video is one set to “You Found Me” by The Fray. Interestingly, it’s in a different key and there are some differences in phrasing from the more common version that the official music video is set to, which I also like. So here goes:

I found God: Buffy and Spike, in a church, where Buffy first realizes that Spike, who had disappeared for some amount of time, has returned with a soul (”Beneath You”, season 7). It’s a church, has imagery of a cross, and Spike has found…well, perhaps he hasn’t found God, but he has found something spiritually deep, for a demon, and it’s going to save him.

On the corner of First and Amistad: Buffy and Angel’s first meeting (”Welcome To The Hellmouth”, series premiere), when Angel gives her a silver cross as her welcome to the Sunnydale Hellmouth. They’re in a dark alley, which kind of fits how I envision this line of the song — a dark night, mostly alone — and the cross, of course, fits the “I found God” part of the line.

Where the West was all but won: these are different shots of the desert, which are associated with the First Slayer and the beginnings of the Slayer line. The latter shots in this set are from “Get It Done” in season 7, when the first watchers, who were just men, picked a girl to infuse with demon powers to fight vampires and demons. They had set something big in motion, to fight their war, but they haven’t won it yet.

All alone, smoking his last cigarette: The first three shots are just shots of some of the main characters alone (perhaps the shot of Angel is from season 3, when he first gets back from the hell dimension?), and the later shots in the set are of Spike, smoking one last cigarette before he drives off to fight for his soul to be returned to him (end of season 6).

I said, where you been? He said, ask anything: Oz and Willow (”A New Moon Rising”, season 4). What more can I say? Oz left for a while in the middle of season 4, and the shots during “ask anything” are of when Oz reveals to Willow what he’s been up to; namely, learning to control his wolf-side.

Where were you when everything was falling apart?: Joyce’s death, when she leaves Buffy to fend for herself and Dawn (”The Body”, season 5), followed by Buffy’s stint as a mind-reader (”Earshot”, season 3) when she started to lose her mind because she couldn’t control her power and started to hear everything, which was slowly driving her mad and was going to kill her. The last shot is of Anya, immediately after she wreaks havoc on a fraternity house as a vengeance demon (”Selfless”, season 7). The only problem is, she spent several years as a human, learning compassion and love, and the weight of the destruction she’s caused at the frat house is numbing.

All my days were spent by the telephone: Faith entering the jail’s courtyard, alone, repenting (season 4 of Angel, I’m guessing), followed by a set of shots, not all of which I can place, but, containing the notable shots of Xander drinking in his apartment, alone, after he left Anya at the altar (”Normal Again”, season 6).

That never rang when all I needed was a call: A series of shots of various characters crouched in pain and/or tears, beginning with Angel in misery in the alternate timeline where Cordy never received the visions from the Powers That Be (PTB) and Angel inherited them instead, which drove him mad with grief and resulted in Wesley and Gunn fighting the demons on their own and Wesley losing an arm (”Happy Birthday,” season 3 of Angel). Next, Spike crouched in the basement at the beginning of season 7, wallowing in the guilt that he feels as a result of just having regained his soul. The next few shots are too quick to identify with any sort of real meaning, since they’re more generic shots of characters being sad, but the last shot is from “Selfless” again, and Anya is looking at the carnage she caused at the frat house.

That never came to the corner of First and Amistad: Wow, the changes start going fast towards the end of this line, so I’ll point out the notable shots. Cordy in the hospital after she fell on a piece of rebar, having just discovered that Xander was cheating on her with Willow and consequently feeling heartbroken (”Lover’s Walk”, season 3). Dawn cuddling up to the Buffybot (probably at the beginning of season 6, before they bring Buffy back?) and the closing shot of season 5, of Buffy’s tombstone. The beige jacket Buffy’s wearing seems likely to have appeared in season 7 when she was voted out of her leadership position and is wandering the streets, but I’m not entirely certain. The distinctive shot of Faith wearing the red sweater that she took from the girl she beat up, though, is definitely from “This Year’s Girl” (season 4) when she first recovers from her coma and breaks out of the hospital. The shots of Anya and Xander are post-breakup, though it’s hard to say when (sometime in the latter third of season 6, obviously, but season 6 kind of meshes together in my mind).

Well, that’s nearly the first minute, and I should post this before the 6AM deadline. To be continued…

Big Bads in Buffy and Why We Love Them

One of the amazing things about Joss Whedon is the three-dimensionality of all of his characters. They are fairly consistent, multi-faceted, and most all of them can be related to by some subset of viewers. In particular, the Big Bads have certainly been more interesting than most Big Bads on other shows, in my experience. First off, then, a list of the Big Bads (as seen at the end of the season seven premiere):
Season 1: The Master
Season 2: Drusilla (Angelus/Spike)
Season 3: The Mayor (Faith)
Season 4: Adam (The Initiative)
Season 5: Glory
Season 6: Warren Mears (The Trio)
Season 7: The First (Caleb)

The Master, I will admit, doesn’t seem to have much going for him in terms of relateability. He’s gross-looking (fruit-punch mouth!), evil, and generally unlikeable. But let’s keep in mind that season one was a very straightforward period of Buffy, when there was little-to-no story arc that continued between episodes, and many issues were black-and-white. Joss hadn’t yet really started to explore all of the gray issues that don’t have clear good-vs-evil or right-or-wrong dichotomies.

Drusilla, Spike, and Angelus, on the other hand, are definitely much more interesting. The relationship that Drusilla and Angel have makes them just like any other couple, which obviously makes them accessible to fans. They’re crazy in love (and a little crazy, to boot), and their story is just like any other love story, similar to Bonnie and Clyde. Angelus/Angel, of course, are sympathetic characters, because we’ve gotten to know Angel and we know how much Angel cares for Buffy, while Angelus’ instinct to destroy that which was most dear to Angel is also a very common reaction; people try to hide their weaknesses from the world, and what better way to do that than by wiping all traces of those weaknesses from existence? After all, destroying one’s perceived weaknesses makes one stronger, right?

The Mayor and Faith also had a close relationship. Sure, the Mayor’s evil, no question, but he cared for Faith like no one else did. He left the magic gizmo for her, gave her an apartment, interrupted his all-important dark ritual because she was in trouble, etc. She was the only one he lost his temper over. She trusted him, and he was her father figure. The father-daughter relationship, or more generally, parent-child relationship, is one that people can definitely relate to.

Adam is literally a conglomerate constructed from many different sources. His naivete appeals to our sense of curiosity, and part of us wishes that we could go around taking part interesting things just to learn about them, like he does. However amoral he is, we remember that he is, in a way, a product of the Initiative, and a representation of all of their victims (the demons and people sacrificed to create him). He is only doing what he was programmed to do, as a lost child of sorts; he considered Maggie to be his mother, and when she died and he didn’t have anyone to guide him, he turned the wrong way. He was supposed to be a prodigy, and with the right guidance, he could’ve been that. I guess, in the end, he’s fairly monstrous and not so sympathetic, but he does have the naivete of a lost child, and his unfortunate circumstances are something to pity him for. And for Frankenstein fans, Adam is awesome, of course.

Glory had the girly thing going for her, and who doesn’t love a little bit of crazy? More seriously, though, all she wants is to go home (never mind if she unleashes hell on Earth in the process). She also has her counterpart, Ben, who is irrefutably human. They have some sort of odd relationship that I might call parent-child-like, because he is, in a sense, her guardian. And she is, of course, the childish bitch who absolutely needs to get her way lest she throw a fit and eat some brains.

Warren, Jonathan, and Tucker’s brother (er, I mean, Andrew ^_~): they definitely call out to the geeky, nerdy misfits in us. Jonathan had his earlier spotlights in “Earshot” and “Superstar,” while Warren had a spotlight in “I Was Made To Love You,” and we got to know Andrew throughout season seven. Seeing their paths to or from wrongdoing really allowed us to empathize with them. All they wanted, after all, was some recognition of their awesomeness as geeks/nerds. We always knew, though, that they were out of their depth as bad guys, which made them all the more pitiful. Warren was the power-hungry one, Jonathan was the one who just wanted to fit in, and Andrew was the poor kid who went along with whomever he thought was cool (in this case, Warren). Warren’s (near-)death and his terror leading up to that moment almost make you feel sorry for him (although not quite, perhaps), Jonathan’s continued abuse that he puts up with definitely causes “aww” moments, and Andrew’s story in season seven, especially in “Storyteller,”  shows what a scared little kid he really is on the inside, which is something he shares with so many of us.

(A short mention of Dark Willow: she just lost her love. Heartbreak, rage, desperation, non-understanding of why, sense of being lost…and honestly, who can resist yellow-crayon-breaky Willow?)

Finally, we’ve arrived at The First. The First is, first of all, awesome. Literally. How can anyone imagine such a primordial source of evil? Seeing The First take Buffy’s form, though, really brings out the similarities between the two, which gives The First some qualities that resonate with viewers. And Caleb…he’s the crazy, but the kind that we’re familiar with: a super-conservative radical.

In the end, though, I’m not sure that I can do the Big Bads justice with this post. Partly because I feel like more thought could be put into it, but more because you have to watch the episodes to understand the little quirks that make them special to us. Unfortunately, I would never actively push people to watch Buffy/Angel, because the time consumed is simply too great of a commitment to make. I will merely continue to passively comment on this-or-that aspect of buffyverse, and leave the decision to you….

Dollhouse: “Epitaph Two: Return”

My thoughts as I watched the episode, just because. Yes, this is pretty much just a dump of thoughts, all jumbled together.

The speculation in the jeep is interesting. Maybe they got hit with a blanket signal, maybe they were on a corporate retreat; who knows how they got here? The point is, a lot has changed, and there’s a lot that’s been made plausible by the huge time jump. It’s also reasonable exposition to remind viewers of the current state of things.

Hmm, are those guys possibly Echo’s crew? Ah, no, alas. They’re from Neuropolis. And haha, the term “Death Star” survived.

Wow, that guy is a disgusting pig. That shot could have been cut better, because Ambrose is clearly about to open his mouth and continue speaking, and he looks like he should’ve gotten more out of his mouth before Harding says “Watch it.” Also, it figures that the higher-ups would be trading in bodies and just using and disposing them, which is just terrible. I mean, you know he’s not going to keep his word on the elliptical.

I think that shot of Eliza Dushku getting ready to throw that punch from the POV of the guy she’s about to punch is such a great one ^_^

That kid is so definitely Sierra and Victor’s. Hmm, except they split up, in that flashback from “Epitaph One.” Well, we’ll see. And, “awww, there goes Joss and his strawberries, just like with Kaylee in Firefly, again.”

I’m not sure I think that’s the correct delivery of the line “Aren’t you?” from mini-Echo. She puts the emphasis on “you,” but I feel like the emphasis should be on the “aren’t.” Anyway.

Oh look, Firefly similarities again: “You will keep a civil tongue in {this house,that mouth},” or something like that. But the little-teapot-short-and-stout thing? So cute. <3 Topher.

“World still needs heroes, kid.” That sounds so much like something I’d hear from Firefly. The tone, at least. And I think it’s wonderful how everyone just bursts out laughing, like they really are family, like they really are who their characters are, the way that the Firefly cast was so comfortable around each other, the way that sometimes a scene would just cut to the laughing Buffy cast in the middle of an episode.

“She loves it when you’re corny.” *giggles* That’s so adorable. And true; that is, corny/dorky can be very cute.

So here’s what I don’t get: why do they all storm outside, without cover, when the thing that’s rolling into their yard is so heavily armored? Hmm, what an interesting language. And what interesting tech.

“Tech heads,” eh? Definitely believable from the episode when Victor went all hive-mind on them, and also because he took the extra fighting skills that Topher offered him in the last episode. And awww, Mag likes Kilo! Speaking of which: I’m glad Maurissa’s back. She’s all cute and tough, which is adorable. I don’t know how I feel about this scene with Kilo and Zone, though. He makes a snide comment about how apparently everyone likes girls, referencing his recent realization that Mag does, and there’s this exchange about the thumb drives. Sure, it explains how the tech heads work, but…the humor just doesn’t quite catch me, here, about taking out “mercy” to make room for the “weapons expert.”

It’s evident, though, that Tony loves Priya, despite that he decided to be a tech head against her wishes. Makes you wish you could help her to see, to understand, that.

What an interesting conversation between Paul and Echo, showing how their relationship has developed over the past ten years. I am somewhat amused at the line about how Echo’s got a bunch of people in her head but she’s the loneliest person Paul knows, because it reminds me of the conversation between Buffy and Faith, about how Faith thinks that Buffy is the one surrounded by family and friends, when really, she’s all alone because she’s the Slayer.

Faith: So, here’s the laugh riot. My whole life, I’ve been a loner.
Buffy: That’s the funny part? Did I miss something?
Faith: I’m trying to–
Buffy: Sorry. Sorry, go.
Faith: No ties. No buddies. No relationships that lasted longer than…well, Robin lasted pretty long. Boy’s got stamina.
Buffy: Principal Wood? And you? And in my…
Faith: Don’t tell me you two got wriggly?
Buffy: No, no, no no. We’re just…good friends. Or, mortal enemies, depending on which day of the– was that the funny part?
Faith: Okay, the point: me, by myself all the time. And looking at you, everything you have, and, I don’t know, jealous. Then there I am. Everybody’s looking to me, trusting me to lead them, and I’ve never felt so alone in my entire life.
Buffy: Yeah.
Faith: And that’s you, every day, isn’t it.
Buffy: I love my friends. I’m very grateful for them. But that’s the price. Being a Slayer.
Faith: There’s only supposed to be one. Maybe that’s why you and I can never get along. We’re not supposed to exist together.
Buffy: Also you went evil and were killing people.
Faith: Good point. Also a factor.
Buffy: But you’re right. I mean, I…I guess everyone’s alone. But, being a Slayer. There’s a burden we can’t share.
Faith: And no one else can feel it. Thank God we’re hot chicks with super powers.
Buffy: Takes the edge off.
Faith: Comforting.
Buffy: Mm-hmm.

(Last part is just there for the laughs. Yay Joss ^_^)

Oh, evolution at work, eh? Super-butchers! And that icky cannibalism thing again.

Ohh…Mag. Ohhhh…Paul. Crap. Also, that gunshot…didn’t it exit through his forehead? Aren’t exit wounds normally largish? Anyway, the way Echo tells Victor, “That’s all of us,” it is so much like the ending of Serenity, when Zoe tells the others that Wash isn’t coming. >_<

The way Alpha looks at Echo, off-screen, after she says “we lost him,” you can tell that he still wants her. I was thinking, “Damnit Alpha, he just died.”

Oh boy, rebels. But their logic makes sense. They’ve adapted to thrive in this new world, so of course they “like” it in their own twisted way, since they’re the ones who’re going to come out on top, eventually. Kilo calling Echo “sister” is so interesting — the dolls still recognize each other as some form of equals. And oh, Topher, he looks like a little chipmunk or groundhog or something, perched up like that.

Hehe, Alpha is always so verbose and hilarious. “Because we’re not freakshows. Well, okay, maybe I am. And, Echo. Topher’s a little off, but, Adelle: she’s a class act all the way.” And he can always tell when he’s about to lose his audience, and gets straight back to the point. Very good.

It’s interesting, what Victor says: “I know how good it feels. Skip learning the hard way. Skip the long hours, the sweat, the training. Just to feel the thrill of perfection. But if we’re going to rebuild the world, I wanna do it myself.” Let’s ask ourselves, then, if we had the choice of being able to acquire a skill without having to work for it, would we want it? Would we actually want it? Does achieving some level of perfection at a skill only bring that sense of satisfaction, of accomplishment, if you have to work for it, if you know that you struggled to get there?

Aww, Kilo’s line: “Oh God, she’s so cool.” So adorable. Maurissa is totally awesome in my book. She’s a groupie, just like she was in Dr. Horrible!

And Topher, again: so adorable, in his almost-childlike state. He’s so free, and bounces around, and is just…so innocent. Alpha, also, offers his personalized funny: “Eh, it spoke to the schizophrenic in me. Well, both of them, actually.”

This scene is wonderfully done. It’s wonderfully set up, because they forced us to ignore his death earlier, or, at least, didn’t give us enough time to process it. And the dialogue segues nicely, so long as you’re not metagaming. What she says is so true, for both her and Sierra, until she gets to the point where she says that he’s dead. And this is where Priya’s chance to rebuild her family also really hits: she’s got to see it, now. She’s got to take advantage of it. The monologue is wonderfully done because it sets you up, emotionally, to start thinking, “that’s right, stop moping and take advantage of the time you have left,” and then it hits you that there is no time left, because we’re not talking about Priya and Victor anymore, and instead we’re talking about Echo and Paul. There are a few parts where I dislike the delivery of the lines, because her intonation is slightly different from what I feel like it ought to be, but on the whole, the scene is still nicely designed and executed.

Topher’s feelings for Bennett, Adelle and Topher’s relationship…it’s all evolved the way one might expect, over the time that has elapsed since we last saw them. And when Adelle realizes that Topher’s not coming back, and Topher says that he didn’t want to cause any more pain…you kind of realize that Topher has realized just what he’s done with his tech, and he wants it to be buried with him.

Mm, good for Priya, that she’s come to understand Tony’s motivations, and that they can all be together again. They’ll make things work, I know they will. It’s like Echo said: they erased Tony’s brain time and time again, and he still loved her. It occurs to me, then: is this a commentary that there are certain connections between people that just can’t be explained, that simply are, and that there are people, or maybe a single person, out there, who completes you the way that Priya and Tony so obviously complete each other and belong with each other?

Mag and Zone have a hilarious relationship. “And you, stumpy, aren’t going anywhere. Except maybe down…” (referring, of course, to Mag’s liking Kilo). And then she rebuts, “Try not to have any influence on her of any kind.” Huh, a landscape architect? People really do change and adapt in unpredictable and amazing ways in the face of adversity, don’t they.

Hmm, Alpha’s planning to revert? Is he really going to be wiped back as cleanly as everyone else is, back to the killer that he was (after all, the Dollhouse recruited him from a prison), or will he retain some of his Alpha personality, and have evolved? That would be an interesting story to watch unfold, or speculate on.

Here’s a terrifying thought: what if they timed their emergence into the world too early, so that the butchers slaughtered them before Topher could set up and set off the explosive? Anyway, that shockwave from the building reminds me of the watchers being slaughtered.

I wish Zone had smiled a little more. It felt a little insincere, the way he said it. A little…cynical? As if Boyd were saying it, but he had some hidden agenda, or didn’t mean it, or something. Maybe even sinister, in the case of Boyd.

And now, we finally get to see what’s underneath all of the memories in Echo’s head, behind the scenes that pop out of the screen and leave behind… Echo and Paul. So here’s my question: what version of Paul did Echo get, exactly? Did she get the Paul that loved her before Alpha damaged his brain so that Topher had to rewire him without the fond memories of Echo? If so, was he told that ten years had passed, the way the Victor was apparently expecting to awaken with extra fighting skills in the last episode? Or maybe she got some version of Paul that had evolved inside Alpha over the last ten years, and the favor he’d wanted was from Topher, to help him dump that Paul onto a drive for Echo?

Lastly, this is kind of silly, but watching Echo take a jump-step into her pod, I am vaguely reminded of when Felicia Day “stepped” off the stage in Dr. Horrible, but in reality, it was a six-foot drop or something.

All in all, a reasonable wrap-up to the show, I think. Rather hurried, sure (I’d have liked to see them spend more time on Boyd’s history instead of just blowing him up last episode, and I’d have liked to see more a lot of the other development as well, although that’s more easily extrapolated), but on the whole, it really did wrap things up nicely, and gave some amount of closure to many of the story lines that I think a lot of fans were hoping for.

Dollhouse S2E12: The Hollow Men

Mistah Kurtz- he dead.

The Hollow Men

A penny for the Old Guy

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us – if at all – not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.
Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer -
Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river
Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long
Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

All right, so for those of you who haven’t figured it out yet, this post is about the latest (and penultimate) episode of Dollhouse, so: SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED. (There are also other Buffyverse spoilers, obviously.)

I watched the episode for the first time with Ian on Sunday night (Monday early morning, I guess), and I couldn’t help but notice similarities to what has happened in Joss Whedon’s other works (as well as other random things), so I thought I’d note them and also ask if other people saw other references or were reminded of other things. Here goes then:

“Caroline, you are definitely interesting. At least on a microscopic level.” This line reminds me of Dark Angel, when they try to pull some bullcrap about how Max’s DNA is special because “there is no junk DNA.” Uh, what? What the heck is considered “junk DNA”? What about telomeres? We don’t even understand the regulatory role that many segments of what was once thought to be “junk DNA” — it’s possible that none of us have any “junk DNA” (which, for this argument, I’m interpreting as “superfluous DNA that does not affect the phenotype”) for all we know. But going back to Dollhouse: I was thinking, there’s not going to be something just amazingly special about Caroline, is there? That would be … special. A stupid plot device. You get the idea.

(I’m sorry, but I need to take a moment to comment that Adelle looks totally badass with that automatic rifle.)

“But if I turn evil, shoot me.” Angelus, anyone? When they remove his soul, he tells them that Connor (if I remember correctly? It’s possible that he says this to multiple people) is in charge of killing him if he gets loose and/or something else goes wrong. And Cordy tells Angel something similar during one of their training sessions as well. I think the dialogue is along the lines of, “So what do I do after [disabling move]?” “Oh, you don’t need to know that. That move will hold the attacker long enough for me to get to you and save you.” “What if you’re the one I’m fighting?”

“What did you do with her?” “I guess I just sort of evicted her.” TOTAL SPOILER FOR ANGEL. This is just like what happened to Fred; Illyria pushed her out of her body.

(I have to take another moment here and say that Ripley (of the Alien series) is awesome. Also, I have a question: did Topher really take the time to reprogram Anthony’s personality with both new fighting skills and new memories so that he knew that he was supposed to come out the other end enhanced with those fighting skills?)

“You’re here ’cause you’re my family. I love you guys.” Barney, I think. “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family….” Yeah, um…this was totally cheesy and Boyd’s line felt so fake.

“Look at you, Topher. Risking your life for the cause, choosing morality over self-preservation.” This vaguely reminds me of Anya, because she ran away at the end of season three, but stayed for the apocalypse at the end of season five, as well as season seven.

(Taking another moment: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. It makes no sense that Mellie is able to override her sleeper protocol.)

“The entire process is designed to extract your spinal fluid without killing you.” That extraction device is definitely similar in design to the device that was used to extract blood from humans in the alternate reality that was in “The Wish” (and “Doppelgangland”).

(Last aside, maybe: Why the heck is there more blood on Ballard’s face when he runs into Boyd than there was immediately after he got splattered with Mellie?)

Overall: This episode was less good than the last few, and I’m really not sure how I feel about the explosive ending (in that I don’t buy it, not that I’m not sure whether it was the “right” thing to do or anything). I am still excited to see what happens in the final episode; I’m hoping that it will connect some of the flashbacks from “Epitaph One” and show us what happens when Echo and Ballard return to the dollhouse to save everyone.

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