I won’t lie; I wasn’t completely sold at first. Certainly, I was intrigued. But it wasn’t quite clicking, the leap of faith was too great. Still I will always, always give Joss the benefit of the doubt when it comes to good TV. So then in the middle – exact middle, episode 6 to be precise – I felt like at last it all came together. That’s when the pathos became palpable and I started to care about what happened to Echo and the Dollhouse. It’s also when that old Joss magic returned and we finally got the blend of poignancy, hilarity and ass-kickery.
So, now, the finale. [Spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t watched the episode yet – damn, what are you waiting for?] Not too many shows can surprise me, but I was genuinely shocked several times this season. And the Dr. Claire Saunders/Whiskey Tango Foxtrot situation was the biggest. Holy mind fuck, Batman. So the good doctor was first an active named Whiskey who used to be the Dollhouse’s No. 1 until Alpha took a pair of scissors to her face so that his obsessive crush Echo could be No. 1 instead and after the attack gets imprinted with the memories of the house’s real Dr. Saunders, who just happened to be one of Alpha’s other victims during that same murderous spree, and now she has become aware of the fact that she is not really who she thought she was but a doll, like the people she considers her charges. Whew, say that sentence all in one breath, I dare you.
And, while we’re on the topic, can we get a “Hell, yeah!” for Amy Acker? While meek and adorable were her calling cards as Fred on “Angel,” she has brought a beautiful melancholy and seething disgust to her portrayal of the damaged (and now we realize totally unreal) Dr. Saunders. One of my great disappointments (and there will be many) if “Dollhouse” isn’t given a second season is that we’ll never get to see how Claire handles her new, totally fucked-up self awareness. Also, it would mean we’d never get to see Amy Acker in leather pants on the show again. That would be wrong, Fox, very wrong.
Really, all of the supporting cast has been excellent. Olivia Williams as DeWitt showed vulnerability under the steel. Dichen Lachman as Sierra has given Eliza a run for her money in the kicking ass and taking names department. And Miracle Laurie as Mellie/November kept breaking my heart. As happy and (once again) shocked as I was to see that Agent Ballard bartered her freedom from the Dollhouse, I’m also sad because it means the no more Miracle if the show continues. It also means the last person who isn’t a size 0 has left the series.
And on a somewhat similar note, while some have grumbled about the skimpiness of the outfits (particularly Eliza’s) in promos and throughout the season, it’s still as feminist a show as you’ll find out there filled with strong, complex, interesting and essential female characters. And it’s a show that delivers lines like, “To ascend to anything, at minimum, you don’t cut up women,” with unparalleled conviction.
Seriously, Fox, save Dollhouse. Don’t make me do the equivalent of a Save Chuck campaign because a chair that wipes away all of your memories and implants you with entirely new ones is a lot harder to buy than a Subway sandwich. So, thoughts ladies and discerning gentlemen? Did you feel welcomed to this Dollhouse?