2.11 Getting Closer
If you’ve not seen the show, then I’m going to reveal a huge plot twist below, so be warned not to continue if you don’t want it spoiled.
For a show with such dramatic highs and lows I was actually looking forward to the return of Dollhouse, as some of the middle order of this second season were really good and quite engaging. And then I saw Getting Closer, and it left me feeling almost the same emptiness that I felt after the horrible pilot show.
This story starts well enough, linking directly to the events portrayed in The Attic. They want to put Caroline back in her body, where Echo has allocated some neurons for her to hang with all the other personalities she has. Except, when they go to do this, they find the imprint of her persona is missing from the data vault.
They conclude that the only way to get Caroline back is to repair the slice that got smashed a while back and to do that they’ll need Summer Glau’s Bennett Halverson character to reconstruct it. They abduct her and this is all used as a hook on which to revisit events three years previously where Caroline and she hooked up originally, and Bennett got injured.
Most of the stuff between them feels distinctly like filling, and it also doesn’t seem to take into account the torture pleasure component in Bennett’s personality. In fact, she is made to be quite likeable, and the centre of affection for Topher. Ah…if only geeks could be in love!
Given what we’d experienced of her already, this seemed odd, but then they avoided any long term implications by having Amy Acker return as Dr. Claire Saunders (aka Whiskey) and promptly blow her brains out before she could finish her work.
But my nervousness about where this was going had already been activated before Dr. Saunders did this, when they revealed that she and Boyd had a previously never even hinted romantic relationship.
It turned out that both incongruous elements were precursors to the shark jumping exercise where the Caroline/Bennett flashbacks ultimately lead, where Caroline gets to meet the leader of Rossum who is the person that the show spent most of season one convincing us was the good guy, Boyd Langton.
If you’re reading this having not seen the show, and are thinking that was a typo, I only wish it was! Because having reviewed the various twists and turns of Dollhouse, that makes almost no sense whatsoever to me. For starters, if Boyd is a Doll why wasn’t he effected by the gizmo that Topher devised earlier in the season? And more to the point, if Caroline was so dangerous, why didn’t he just kill her in the first place instead of skulking around as her handler?
Perhaps this might have all fitted together better if a more natural progression had taken place over three or four seasons that the show’s creators conceived, but it came over as a twist too far and, for me, wrecked some of the nice narrative constructs they’d built this season.
There are two stories left, but I find it hard to imagine how they can remotely fix the hole the Boyd revelation blew below the creative waterline.
Read our review of episode 10 here.