Sunday, March 13, 2011

Epitaph March: Week Two (1.07-1.13)

By Frank

"Carrots! Medicinal carrots! Personal-use medicinal carrots that were here when I moved in and I'm holding it for a friend!"

Well it's hard to believe, but we're already halfway through our "Epitaph March" Dollhouse rewatch event, and things are going extremely well! If you've been following along, you should now have watched through the end of season one and the bonus episode 1.13 "Epitaph One."

For me, the most exciting element in the back half of Season 1 is the common thread that is Alpha. His presence is felt in the first half of the season, moving the pieces into place, preparing things for his shocking arrival at the Dollhouse. But in this second half of the season, things really ramp up and we get treated to some really epic stuff. Let's start by taking a look at 1.11 "Briar Rose," shall we?

Not only do we get the brilliant symbolism of Sleeping Beauty throughout this episode, not only do we get to watch Echo work with a young girl to confront her past, but we see Stephen Kepler, the man who designed the Dollhouse. Or at least that's who he claims to be. Alan Tudyk's performance was truly stunning and gave fans an idea of just how versatile an actor he is. Then we get to 1.12 "Omega" and everything goes to Hell! From the paranoid and agoraphobic Kepler to the maniacal and insane Alpha with 43 personalities, Tudyk is completely convincing and in control. He always has command of the audience's emotions, sometimes being nerdy and endearing, and other times acting so evil it's downright scary.

Meanwhile, we continue to explore the implications of externalizing a woman's personality from her body to the point where the Caroline wedge becomes as important as the woman herself. But seriously, Topher. As one nerd to another, you always keep an extra set of backup drives in another location, dude! That's Digital Personality Asset Management 101!

By the time we jump 10 years and see the chaotic "Epitaph One" future, we think nothing can surprise us anymore. And yet, Joss pulls it off. Echo is a distinct person. Whiskey has lost every conceivable one of her marbles. Adele is somehow motherly. And Topher is just plain broken. This episode confuses so many people, it's no wonder it didn't air on TV. But it's the first major hint Joss gives us as to what he really wants to do with the Dollhouse concept. He challenges us viewers to look at humanity in a new way and ask ourselves questions we would normally never think to ask.

Season 1 was admittedly a slow build. It took its time laying the groundwork for an epic last few episodes that finally started to make sense of all the odds and ends we were fed at the beginning. By the end, those of us who stuck around were satisfied and couldn't wait for Season 2. Thinking back on those days just gets me excited again. And apparently you guys had plenty to say! Here are some of the thoughts you listeners (and cast members!) shared as you followed the rewatch with us on Twitter:

What did you think? Did you enjoy experiencing the end of Season 1 again? Sound off in the comments below! In the meantime, get ready because week three starts today! We'll be watching and tweeting episodes 2.01 "Vows" through 2.06 "The Left Hand!" all week! Share your reactions by tweeting us at @echoalert or emailing us at! See you next week!

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