Monday, October 12, 2009

Basking in Whedon-y Goodness

I'm not going to lie, I wasn't looking forward to watching this week's Dollhouse. The season premiere was a little dry, and I actually fell asleep during the second episode. However, Eliza Dushku herself (okay, via Twitter) implored me to keep watching, so I fired up the internets and watched.

Holy shitballs, that was awesome.

First of all, I enjoy when a show takes a really out-there concept, and shows the dry details behind it. Science schmience and technobabble are nice, but how do you make the donuts? Ballard takes Echo (as "Kiki") to the top secret Dollhouse Libby Lu to get all tarted up for an English professor's (the great and underused Arye Gross) fairly tame "dumb as a post co-ed fucks him for an A" fantasy. Just the visual of Ballard and the other handler hanging out with magazines, waiting for their Actives to get their glamour on is perfect.

Meanwhile, the practical applications of Dollhouse technology are on display, as Topher imprints the brain scan of a comatose serial killer onto Victor so that Ballard can use his profiler mojo on him. The actual serial killer (doing his best Crispin Glover) has been kidnapping and drugging women so he can pose them and call them the names of his female relatives. Victor escapes and goes off to find another victim, pursued by Ballard. Topher tries to steal a page from Alpha's playbook and perform a remote wipe on Victor. However, like it always does, the equipment goes kablooey and Data becomes Moriarty...I mean, Victor and Echo swap imprints. This leads to one of my favorite visuals EVER, Kiki bumping and grinding in a club while trapped inside Victor's body.

By the way, I know Kiki is supposed to be a moron (oh, and for that matter, has a student ever shown up in the middle of a semester in a college course and not attracted questions?), but did the idea of "Oh man, this song is so great, it's giving me a boner...hey, wait a minute?" ever enter his/her mind? Eh, still worth the visual.

So this drops McCreepy's brain inside of Echo's already crowded noggin, and she goes back to the Secret Lair of Evil. The abducted women have mostly escapes, but McCreepy clobbers one with a croquet mallet (and I can only assume takes the red scrunchie for herself), and is ready to keep whomping away, but Echo manages to take control long enough to offer herself as a sacrifice. Ballard and the jackbooted cavalry manage to storm the place before that has to happen (although Echo still gets the bad end of some mallet-fu), and all is well. Oh yeah, except the obligatory "Echo is back at the Dollhouse and remembers something from her engagement". Sigh, it can't all be gold. This is the episode I needed to hold my interest, so Dollhouse has earned a stay of execution. Well, from me. As for FOX, who knows?

FlashForward was good/bad this week. They looked like they were trying to pull a LOST by using Kaballah nonsense to explain why the blackout was 137 seconds long, then it turns out to just be a lot of dead crows and a Nazi. Yes, they've already Godwin'd the show. We finally meet Dimitri's hot fiancee, after a nice scene on a mostly deserted plane, and she claims to have seen him in her flashforward. He lies to her about his flashforward, then has a nice little scene with a stoner/future customs agent about the ability to change ones future. Pretty handy, now that he knows the date he's supposed to be murdered and all.

One of the big themes tonight was "How do you put full faith in a prediction of the future?". Mr. Beardy goes as far as to dig up his dead daughter, only to find that her remains are a DNA match to the sample the Army had on file...and you know there's NO WAY that could be faked. Oh no. The greatness of Gina Torres comes aboard and has a nice flashforward about adopting a child, and Dr. Dharma lies about her supposed affair in her flashforward. The episode ends with a Somalian child (with a verrrrrry recognizable scar, of course), a lot of goats, a lot of dead crows, and a smaller blackout (I'm assuming the 1991 blackout). Interesting stuff, but I hope FlashForward isn't going the LOST route of throwing a million questions out there and just assuming we'll stick around for the answers.

The show still has some nice touches though: The airport that still hasn't been able to clear out all the wreckage from the blackout day, the ruined buildings in the skylines, the memorial service at the end and the realization of how many other memorials are going on for people killed on blackout day...really keeps the show grounded, despite the central concept. They've built a decent ensemble while still tying everything to Agent Scruffy, since he's the only one who remembers his evidence wall.

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