Sunday, May 10, 2009

Whiskey On The Rocks

"Of course it doesn't tell YOU anything! It doesn't tell ME anything! And I'm smarter than everyone in this room! ...but less scary." - Topher

The season finale for FOX's television series "Dollhouse" starring Eliza Dushku, Amy Acker, Miracle Laurie, and a bunch of other talented people (produced by Joss Whedon Somebody) has come and gone. If you haven't seen it yet, go to now and watch it. I may reveal spoilage down below for "Omega" and consider this your warning disclaimer thingy. I'm not the sort of person to coddle spoil-haters, being a spoilage whore my own self.

The hope for renewal to a sophomore season appears as of this writing to be slim at best. The ratings for Dollhouse have been sour. Criticism has been erratic. Marketing has been awkward. How do you sell a show that's basically an amoral romp through the Human Condition? Illegal servitude using modern technology. With recent scientific advances like cloning, remote sensing, stem cell research and unlocking the genetic code, just how speculative is this scifi? Was Dollhouse unsuccessful because the audience found it too far-fetched? Or did it cut too close to the bone to be comfortable for a Friday night's viewing? Whether you'll be able to brainwash your next door neighbor next millenium or next week, a cursory examination of the history of science indicates this is inevitable, and when it happens we may either be witnessing the end of humanity, or simply an end to assumptions currently made about humanity. However, all of that's no fun to contemplate unless you're a physics professor or a seminary student.

What I want to know is what's up with Alpha? Is he just a psychopath or what? And now that Victor looks like The Joker, does this mean he and Sierra are never gonna be an item? Or can Sierra be programmed to find scarred up men sexy? And what the hell??? Adele DeWhitt was Miss Lonely Hearts?? Whoodathunkit? I didn't see THAT one coming! Why is Boyd even in the picture? He looks like a freakin' NARC? Who would he narc to? Ballard called Boyd out on his background as an ex-cop - that's pretty much a given just by observing his demeanor and behavior patterns. However, why is he stuck working for the Dollhouse when it's obvious that like Ballard, he'd turn them in in a heartbeat if given half a chance?

And who is NOT an Active on this show? Based on the episode where a strange drug caused non-Actives to go all Woodstock Loopy, I'm under the impression that Boyd, Topher, and Adele are pretty much not gonna turn out to be ex-Actives. However, I could be wrong. I remember thinking back when that episode ran that the whole time, Dr. Saunders was curiously not anywhere to be seen.

But now we know Dr. Claire Saunders is actually Whiskey, but we don't know who Whiskey was before she became Whiskey. After Alpha treated her like a bonsai tree, Whiskey was assigned the job of replacing Dr. Saunders. However, before that, she had been the most popular Active on the floor. That mantle fell to Echo after Alpha's slicing put Whiskey out of the picture. Surely Actives aren't programmed to hold a grudge..?

Now since there may not be a second season, we may never know the truth, but I have one possible scenario regarding Whiskey's true identity that involves Topher. A few episodes ago, Topher secretly programmed Sierra to be his friend, and they spent the episode playing laser tag and video games and eating very bad junk food together. Totally platonic. I don't know about you, but if I had a chance to program Sierra to do anything? video games and laser tag wouldn't be top on the list of activities, but then I'm a dirty old man at heart. I'm thinking more strip poker with a stacked deck. ...with November! But I digress.

Speculation: Perhaps Whiskey's original personality was Topher's childhood friend, and they drifted apart with different interests. Then she fell into a difficult situation resulting in being forced to 'volunteer' for the Dollhouse. Topher had meanwhile forgotten about her, focused on his studies, and got the job at the Dollhouse just in time to witness his old childhood friend escorted into the dollhouse and put in the chair. She recognized him. They had a moment. She begged him to do something about this. To save her from five years of servitude and a fate that, while not necessarily worse than death is kinda bad just the same.

He just got this job and figured only strangers would ever show up. He didn't think he'd ever actually know anybody who he'd have to wedge. She thought he was in a position to stop the process. He could have said no, grabbed her, and the two of them would have run out of the building. That's what she wanted him to do. She thought surely their years together as children would mean he'd save her from this fate now. However, he just got this job, and knew enough to know if they tried to escape together, they'd both just be dead. The Dollhouse isn't the kinda place you just run away from and live happily ever after. Besides. SHE left HIM. She got bored with comic books and laser tag and cherry bombs in public toilets. She started liking boys. Other boys. Not him. She left him.

Why should he play prince charming now, if he wasn't her prince charming before all this? So instead of saving his childhood friend, he pushed the button to wedge her, and Whiskey was born, but Topher's childhood friend was "dead." After this, he invented that personality he pulls out every year (on the date of Whiskey's wedging) as the person he thinks Whiskey should have become. The person he would have fallen in love with, if she'd never really grown up. This may also explain why Topher can't wrap his mind around the idea of "soul" or that there's residual effects for all the Actives, because that would mean every time he's put Whiskey/Dr. Saunders in the chair, he's been hurting his best friend.

Hopefully I'll find out if I'm right, provided we get a second season (hint hint).

Even if it doesn't get picked up for another season, imagine a full length motion picture where "EchoMega" is unleashed on the world as the only one who can stop Alpha from a madman scheme to reprogram large numbers of people simultaneously - Topher programs her to have forty-two characters in her brain simultaneously (including Caroline) and she can shift them in her head like video game cartridges as she needs them, but for purposes of stability there's one personality that's dominant and the others work as support, surfacing only occasionally for effect.

Meanwhile Alpha escalates his malice and violence; "evolving" as Ballard puts it, but because his Composite Event was an accident, his psychosis is increasing, making him even more unstable and dangerous. This means we get more brilliant moments where Alan Tudyk talks to himself cuz he is MAD AWESOME at that! Meanwhile it's uncovered that when November was turned back into Madelyne, some of the deep layered programming (there are 3 flowers in a vase) is still embedded, making her a sleeper assassin that Alpha uses to great effect.

If the series is canceled, there's still fodder here for a full length motion picture. There's still meat on this bone.

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