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Author Topic: 'Dollhouse' Whedon's newest, strangest work
Sala
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Hmmm. Looks like I'm in the minority here for thinking it was a good episode. I loved the Priya/Anthony scenes. I also thought that there should have been much, much more in the Echo/Caroline assimilation. I was sure that Boyd had realized that what he had done with the dolls was all bad and that he had become Caroline's handler and that she was the savior because she was going to prevent the apocalypse so he was helping her to stop it all. I was very disappointed that that was the opposite. I guess I just like lots of action. But I'll agree, lots of you have made some excellent points on why it was a poor episode.
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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
It also needed a better premise and better episodes and better acting and better everything.
I think it's more that you were just not the target audience. (I mean, the entire show is a feminist allegory, which you've shown a certain disdain for in the past)

I think Eliza could have been a much better actress, but became much more tolerable when she became an actual character as opposed to an empty shell. The show could have accomplished more if it had given her more time to grow AS a character instead of grow into a character in the first place.

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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by Clive Candy:
quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
It really needed 5 seasons [Frown]

It also needed a better premise and better episodes and better acting and better everything.
You do realize your in the minority right and that the majority of people here really enjoy the show?
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Lisa
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Like the Somalian cares. He hates everyone and everything.
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Clive Candy
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I enjoyed aspects of the show, but the thing was a mess from the start. It didn't appear that Whedon and Dushku thought long and hard about the premise -- I remember when they announced the show and Whedon pretty much said the idea occurred to him when out on a lunch with Dushku and the show was greenlit right after that. Then we heard about there being production trouble and episodes having to be rewritten. It seemed that Whedon and his writers just came to realize how rotten the premise was.

The way every character in this show was morally compromised, the way episodes would tend to hinge on Topher's techno babble (there's nothing involving Doll technology that he couldn't do), the "hooker of the week" eps, the "evil" of the faceless, omnipresent "Rossum" corporation being painfully cartoony, and so on...it just all added up to meh.


Tim Minear wrote this last episode. He's a good writer. But he couldn't do much with this messy material.

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Raymond Arnold
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Except the rest of us loved the morally compromised characters, loved the premise, the loved most of this season.

There were certain episodes that did hinge on pretty silly technobabble, no argument there, but those were individual pieces of individual episodes. "Evil faceless Rossum" didn't really bother me until it was pointed out to me, and I'm pretty sure would have been better addressed if the show had had more time to explore it.

The only flaw with the premise was that Eliza wasn't a good enough actress to pull it off. Which to be fair was a pretty big flaw, but it wasn't the premise's fault for not being interesting to you in particular.

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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It's funny. They have three really watchable actors in Victor, DeWitt, and Amy Acker's character. Four, the old chief of security makes sense, also. And I don't mind Ballard so much. But I don't think they write for the actress who plays DeWitt very well. I feel like her great presence is wasted. The dialog feels campy in a way I don't like. Whedon could pull it off with aplomb with space cowboys in Firefly, but I'd expect something set in the modern day to be less cartoony. I like the show fine. But there is a ham-fisted artlessness to the dialog that I don't like.

The idea has grown on me, even the story arc has grown on me, but I think that either the actors are over acting or the writers are over writing because every time someone opens their mouth, melodrama comes out instead of drama. I wish they would have continued Terminator 2 instead. And what ever happened to 4400? Oops, wrong network.

[ January 18, 2010, 02:43 PM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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Clive Candy
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
Except the rest of us loved the morally compromised characters, loved the premise, the loved most of this season.

As far as Whedon's shows are concerned, "Dollhouse" has been the most troubled and the most divisive. That surely must mean something is wrong with it.
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Clive Candy
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Remember when Caroline sent Boyd to his death (what an evil thing to do) and, after the evacuation of the building, Caroline ran from an explosion and was very awkwardly revealed to have survived (the rest of the crew were waiting for her to make it in time and, all of a sudden, she's there?). The direction/editing there was just ghastly.

These things add up.

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Dobbie
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As far as Whedon's shows are concerned, "Dollhouse" was one of them. That surely must mean something is wrong with it.
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Lisa
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So did this ep take place after Epitaph One?
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kojabu
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
So did this ep take place after Epitaph One?

This past Friday's ep? No, though the very last scene takes place at the same time as Epitaph One - 10 years later. Epitaph Two is taking place one year after Epitaph One, according to plot summaries for the final episode.
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Geraine
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I loved the episode. Boyd made sense to me. Echo had something in her that made her immune to complete wipes, and he wanted it. The two years that she had been at Adelle's house was just an experiment.

During the experiment I truly believe that Boyd came to love Adelle, Topher, and the rest of them as his own family. It would make sense to save them if he loved them that way.

It did have its flaws however.

I didn't understand what Boyd meant by "This technology can't be undone."

Wouldn't he have power to undo it? Or is Boyd as we know him just one version of the real Boyd and the others do not feel the same as this one?

Something else that puzzled me is why they used Doll Boyd to blow Rossum up. His memory was wiped, he had no idea who he was, he was essentially a child. I know they needed some way to blow the place up, but come on. Watching Boyd look at Echo and say "I try and be my best" right before going in and blowing himself up really made me question Echo's morality.

When Echo was running out of the building and then teleported outside next to everyone else I almost laughed. I also though it was bad writing when the rest of the gang ran out and Topher said "I got Saunders!" almost in passing. If they had that much time to get Saunders out, grab a bunch of dynamite, and evacuate the building, you would think they had time to rig the place without killing Doll Boyd.

The next episode looks like it will be pretty awesome, if not predictable. As soon as Topher said "I can fix everything" in the preview I knew what was going to happen.

The biggest reason I'm looking forward to the episode? More Felicia Day! =D

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Lisa
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Boyd said it couldn't be undone because once something has been invented by one person, it'll be invented by another person. Finding out that the tech was possible meant it needed to be defended against.

Boyd betrayed Echo worse than anyone. Her entire conscious life, the one constant she had was that she could trust Boyd. Then he turned out to be a traitor who sold her into slavery and tortured her. Imagine how she felt when he said that he wanted to keep her alive, but he could manage without. If you think it's immoral to take revenge on someone in that situation, fine, then she's immoral. I would be, too.

And the "I got Saunders" was even dumber, since Claire no longer exists. Just her body does.

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Mucus
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I dunno though, in the morality framework that the show is pushing, it seems to distinguish between Caroline the person and Echo the person, with it being possible for one to be moral and the other not. For example, the show did seem to lead toward the conclusion that it was bad for Bennett to torture Echo instead of Caroline (at least more bad).

In that context, it does seem at least controversial to blow up Doll-Boyd for something that Boyd-Actual did.

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Lisa
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Doll-Boyd didn't have his own soul. But this was a guaranteed way to dispose of Boyd forever. Maybe Echo or Caroline or someone in there reads comics or watches TV shows and knows that if you don't make absolutely sure the villain is disintegrated, they'll be back.
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kmbboots
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Unless Boyd has a spare Boyd someplace.
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Mucus
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Soul? Does not compute.

Anyways, given that both Clyde and Ambrose have backups, it is almost certain that Boyd will have backups as well, so it is far from guaranteed.

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The White Whale
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Along the same lines, Mucus, I see no reason why Rossum wouldn't also have kept all of its tech eggs in one basket, and almost certainly has another HQ somewhere.

But, knowing about the Epitaphs, I guess this is sort of implied.

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kojabu
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quote:
But, knowing about the Epitaphs, I guess this is sort of implied.
Yeah, otherwise how else could the world have gotten to that state? They destroyed one of Rossum's buildings, but they must have had others around the world doing the same thing in case something like that happened.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
Soul? Does not compute.

Anyways, given that both Clyde and Ambrose have backups, it is almost certain that Boyd will have backups as well, so it is far from guaranteed.

You know what I mean by soul in this case. Echo is a person. Doll-Boyd was not.

And would it have occurred to Echo that Boyd would have a backup?

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Jon Boy
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It should have occurred to her.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
You know what I mean by soul in this case.
I don't.
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by Clive Candy:
I enjoyed aspects of the show, but the thing was a mess from the start. It didn't appear that Whedon and Dushku thought long and hard about the premise -- I remember when they announced the show and Whedon pretty much said the idea occurred to him when out on a lunch with Dushku and the show was greenlit right after that. Then we heard about there being production trouble and episodes having to be rewritten. It seemed that Whedon and his writers just came to realize how rotten the premise was.

The way every character in this show was morally compromised, the way episodes would tend to hinge on Topher's techno babble (there's nothing involving Doll technology that he couldn't do), the "hooker of the week" eps, the "evil" of the faceless, omnipresent "Rossum" corporation being painfully cartoony, and so on...it just all added up to meh.


Tim Minear wrote this last episode. He's a good writer. But he couldn't do much with this messy material.

This is more or less crap, why didn't they think long on the premise? What is your reasoning to think so? Whats wrong with it being thought of during lunch? Many epithanies occur when on the john.

Production trouble and episodes being rewriting somehow make it a bad show? Whats wrong with you? They just can't win, to me rewriting episodes shows dedication and the willingness not to settle for crappy episodes followed by you jumping to your most obvious predetermined conclusion.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
You know what I mean by soul in this case.
I don't.
I explained it in the two short sentences following the one you quoted. You know, the ones you snipped?
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
You know what I mean by soul in this case.

Not really.

I mean, to elaborate, I don't have some sort of fundamental objection to souls in fiction. For example Babylon 5 certainly has something like a soul. But I don't see how a soul fits in the Dollhouse universe.

quote:
And would it have occurred to Echo that Boyd would have a backup?
Well, Clyde/Claire seemed to hammer in that message. Almost literally.
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Geraine
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
This is more or less crap, why didn't they think long on the premise? What is your reasoning to think so? Whats wrong with it being thought of during lunch? Many epithanies occur when on the john.

Production trouble and episodes being rewriting somehow make it a bad show? Whats wrong with you? They just can't win, to me rewriting episodes shows dedication and the willingness not to settle for crappy episodes followed by you jumping to your most obvious predetermined conclusion. [/QB]

I agree with you Blayne. Rewriting the episodes was almost required of Wheedon and his group because the show was canned. It is providing closure to the storyline, unlike what happened to Terminator: TSCC.

I think the premise was interesting. I am happy with the direction the writers took the show.

It is "Epiphanies" though, not "epithanies." [Smile]

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
For example Babylon 5 certainly has something like a soul. But I don't see how a soul fits in the Dollhouse universe.
Actually, I don't think it did. Or at least, not explicitly. For a long time it seemed to, but in the end there was nothing in the show, not even the soulcatchers [eta: Soulhunters? I forget.], which depends on the existence of souls.

[ January 18, 2010, 08:06 PM: Message edited by: mr_porteiro_head ]

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
You know what I mean by soul in this case.
I don't.
I explained it in the two short sentences following the one you quoted. You know, the ones you snipped?
Huh. If you say so. I certainly didn't read it that way.
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Mucus
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mph:
Well, I said "something like a soul." The Soul Hunters are the perfect example, they capture something distinct from the body that retains all knowledge and memory of a being, and can even be transferred from body to body IIRC River of Souls. It might not be the Christian conception of a soul which may or may not be your objection.

(IIRC, that was the way JMS kinda intended it. Something like "there is something special going on with death in the B5 universe" paraphrased loosely)

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mr_porteiro_head
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No. That's not my objection. My objection is that there's not really any evidence the memory copying and pasting that the Soul Hunters do isn't done with technology.

(BTW, I'm purposely ignoring everything to do with technomages, for they are lame and quick to break continuity.)

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Mucus
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*shrug* I think the ambiguity was intended. Besides, even in real life we have no evidence that any "soul-like" behaviour (if it even exists) is not technological in nature.

But it was intended that there be the good possibility that events are explained by a soul. e.g. on Soul Hunter
quote:
As far as I'm concerned, the Trek-soul-katra thing treated the soul as
little more than a misplaced pair of sunglasses. Here we tried to get into
the issues *behind* the soul...where does it come from, where does it go, does
it survive the death of the body, or does it go on...to give some mystery and
beauty to the notion

http://www.jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-9460&query=soul
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I think the ambiguity was intended.
Oh, definitely. Time and again, JMS went to great pains to make sure that such religious questions were neither definitively confirmed nor refuted.

Which is why you can't really say that souls (or soul-like things) are real in the B5 'verse. [Smile]

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Mucus
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However, you really can say "something like a soul" is real in the B5 universe, which was all I said in the beginning.

But this is all a tangent, because I only brought up B5 as an upper bound. To whatever degree a "soul-like" entity is required to explain events and morality in the B5 universe, only a lesser degree is required for the Dollhouse universe. Of course 0 <= 0 anyways if you swing that way.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
However, you really can say "something like a soul" is real in the B5 universe, which was all I said in the beginning.
Only the same way that you can say that a photograph captures "something like a soul" from the person photographed. [Razz]

quote:
But this is all a tangent
You say that as though it's a bad thing!
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
Only the same way that you can say that a photograph captures "something like a soul" from the person photographed.

Perhaps, but to a much smaller degree.

Actually, I think we can examine it from a different point of view.

Angel (of Buffy-verse) has a soul. It glows, it can be extracted, captured in a jar, destroyed, and contain a person's "self."

Souls in B5 glow, can be extracted, captured in containers, destroyed, and contain a person's "self" which can even take over people.

Unless you object to Angel having a soul in the first place, the B5 souls sure seem to be pretty dang similar in function and properties, hence soul-like.

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The White Whale
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I tip my hat to you, Mucus, for combining Babylon 5 and Buffy/Angel together into one coherent thought. And bonus points for making a good point while you're at it! [Big Grin]
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mr_porteiro_head
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The big difference between B5 and Buffy souls is that B5 souls never exist in any observable fashion except with the Soul Hunter tech. No tech, no "soul". At least, as far as we can tell.
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Carrie
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The thing that really threw me in this episode was the fact that I never once saw buildings like Rossum's in Tucson.

Ever.

Well, that, and the magic teleporting Echo. [Smile]

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sarcasticmuppet
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In the Dollhouse universe, people (even Dolls) have souls. Ballard says as much while they were trying to track down Alpha at the end of season 1-- you can't delete someone's soul. Alpha, Echo, Victor and Sierra all had transcendent qualities that couldn't be deleted or written over through Doll tech.

Which makes the idea of one phone call creating an army of zombie berzerkers in Epitaph 1 pretty interesting. Maybe, even without intervention, people can eventually manage to shake off the imprint, because their soul is stronger.

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Mucus
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Really? You watched Dollhouse/BSG and you came away with the idea that you should listen to Ballard/Helo? [Razz]

Anyways, we know that in the case of Echo, the mechanism for her resisting imprinting is just her spinal fluid which is both resistant and needs to be trained, however odd it sounds. So we have two explanations, either different people have different strengths of soul which happens to correlate with the spinal fluid in Echo's case or just different people have spinal fluids of differing resistance. I think the latter explanation is simpler.

mph: This is largely true*, I'm not sure that it matters though. There are only a handful of people in Buffy/Angel that are shown on-screen to have soul manipulation powers, Willow, Gypsies, and Jasmine.

* Although I found the depiction of telepaths seeing the soul depart the body as a person died kinda interesting too

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
mph: This is largely true*, I'm not sure that it matters though. There are only a handful of people in Buffy/Angel that are shown on-screen to have soul manipulation powers, Willow, Gypsies, and Jasmine.
We see multiple and persistent effects of these souls. Three different vampires were shown to have souls at different times (Angel, Spike, and Darla (while pregnant)). Each one received their soul in a different way. Many different beings with varied powers are able to detect the souls in Angel and Spike, and all three of them react to their souls in similar ways.

While you can remove the Soul Hunters from B5 (which are only in, what 3 episodes, including the movie?) and completely eliminate the evidence for souls*, you can't do that in the Buffyverse. In Buffy, the evidence of souls is persistent and varied.

*I'm discounting the telepath evidence you mention, because, IIRC, it doesn't give any evidence of any soul-like thing that exists or that can exist separate from the body. Am I misremembering?

Of course, using meta logic, Buffy and Angel never give the viewer any reason to doubt the reality of the souls. B5, on the other hand, does.

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Shanna
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So what did everyone think of the finale?

Aside from a few good moments, I was seriously underwhelmed and even annoyed by some scenes.

I was bored enough to play some solitaire while I watched. I really enjoyed Epitaph One and I'm not sure why this episode fell so flat.

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Brinestone
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Hm. For me, the last few episodes have felt like the writers were going through the motions of giving what they felt like the audience wanted for an ending. You can tell when a writer is excited about what they've written, and they just weren't. It felt false and flat because they didn't care about the direction it was taking. I feel like Joss wanted to explore more of the social and ethical questions of the dollhouse instead of moving into good-guys-save-the-world territory. I kind of wish he had, though I'm not sure we would have liked it any better. At least it would have felt truer.
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Sala
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I'm glad that I saw Epitaph One before seeing this episode. That helped quite a bit in making me feel connected with it. I can easily imagine how I would have felt without having seen it first.

Aside from that, it always amazes me when "fallen societies" still have manufactured clothing, refined fuel for transportation, etc., twenty years into the collapse. And where in the world did that tech come from that Anthony/Victor and his team used? Who invented that?

I have to say, I really did like when Topher turned and saw the wall of remembrances pictures.

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Jon Boy
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It was only ten years into the collapse, but still. And I agree that it felt like they were going through the motions. For whatever reason, there just wasn't a lot of tension throughout the episode. And killing Ballard (for a second time) was pretty cheap, but it did prompt the best acting from Dushku in the entire series.
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Blayne Bradley
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Poor Helo [Frown] But then again now he gets to partake in the standard male fantasy.
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Blayne Bradley
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Man it sucks that they're ending it so soon, the whole missing subplot with Alpha could have been cool.
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Raymond Arnold
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It did kinda feel like going through the motions, but not in a bad way to me and I wouldn't have thought to call it that if it hadn't been mentioned. It gave me everything I wanted, but in a way that felt like a legitimate resolution of most character arcs, not simple fanservice. (Well, "legitimate" resolution is a bit off, since they got to skip ahead and cherry pick scenes, but they can't be blamed for that given the circumstances).

I actually liked the Ballard resolution quite a bit - both events surprised me.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Shanna:
So what did everyone think of the finale?

Aside from a few good moments, I was seriously underwhelmed and even annoyed by some scenes.

I was bored enough to play some solitaire while I watched. I really enjoyed Epitaph One and I'm not sure why this episode fell so flat.

I thought it made up for the penultimate ep. Then again, I also watched the Epitaphs back to back, which I think made a difference.
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