Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Reaper" season finale recap: "The Devil and Sam Oliver"

I'm finally getting caught up on all the stuff I missed while I was away on vacation. Yesterday, I watched the last two "Reaper" episodes of the season. These also might be the last two episodes ever, as the CW hasn't picked "Reaper" up for a third season. The show's production company is still shopping the show around, possibly for syndication (see details here), but I think it's unlikely. Even if the show does return, it will be without creators Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, which means it could have a totally different feel.
With all that in mind, I had mixed feelings watching the season two finale "The Devil and Sam Oliver." On the one hand, it did set up some good questions for a possible season three, mainly just what is God's plan for poor Sam (and now Andi, who also lost her soul to the devil)? On the other hand, the episode was strong enough, both from an entertainment perspective and from a mythology perspective, that I'm OK if it doesn't come back.
The finale was kind of a greatest hits of all the things I love about this show. We had Sam dancing like a monkey at the devil's behest; Sock turning back into the season one Sock we loved; Andi showing some spine and, best of all, the returns of both Steve and Gladys. Good stuff.
Here are a few more of my thoughts on the finale:
* In his blog recap, The Star Ledger's Alan Sepinwall took issue with the fact that we suddenly learned that Sam is good at quarters -- something we'd never seen evidence of before. It's a good point, but that twist worked for me, as it was totally in character. It's not like we suddenly found out he had a secret gift for organic chemistry.
* Sam's monkey dance was a highlight, as was the Devil's delighted reaction to it. But, for me, the best moment was Sock describing his trip after accidentally ingesting chemicals given off by Ben's hallucinogenic toad: "I tasted music. And it tasted like garbage."
* I really like the character of Nina. Her relationship with Ben was both sweet and funny, and gave a little more depth to a show that was sometimes lacking it. It was surprisingly touching when she volunteered to go through with the exorcism, even though it might send her back to hell, just to restore Ben's relationship with his grandma.
* How come we didn't get to see Andi actually offer up her soul to the Devil? Hearing about it secondhand seemed like a cop-out and robbed that plot turn of some of its power.
* If this show is gone for good, the thing I'll miss most is Ray Wise's brilliantly naughty and hilarious turn as the Devil. All of his moments in this episode were gold, from his deadpan sadness over the loss of his favorite monkey, to his malicious glee at defeating Sam in competition. Please find him a new show.
* I'll also miss Rick Gonzalez's clever work as Ben and Bret Harrison's solid, everyman charm as Sam. "Reaper" was a show that didn't always work, but was always worth watching, if only for its charming slacker vibe and the likable performances by most of its cast. Like everyone, I'm still on the fence about Tyler Labine's performance as Sock, but, truth be told, I liked it more often than I didn't like it, so I'll miss him, too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Ok, all -- I'm back from my journey to the Indianapolis 500 and, aside from camping alongside the racetrack and sharing a set of port-a-potties with a bunch of drunken hooligans, it was pretty good.
But, of course, I missed the blog. And, really, could I have left at a worse possible time? I've barely gotten to write anything about the new fall lineups, about which I have some strong feelings. So, even though all my fellow TV writers have moved on to arguably more important things (like the steaming train wreck that is "Jon & Kate Plus 8), I'm going to write a few quick thoughts on some of the broadcast networks' recent announcements.
* Does anybody else get the idea that Fox was only allowed to renew one of its low-rated, acclaimed cult sci-fi series. How else to explain why the network renewed "Dollhouse" and not the equally worthy "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles?" I really would have liked to see them both come back, especially since "TSCC" was just hitting its stride with a great finale. But I'm glad that at least one of them will return. "Dollhouse" just got better as it went on, and I'm interested to see what Joss Whedon and co. will do with a second season.
* NBC renewed the cult series "Chuck," but canceled "Medium" and "My Name is Earl." CBS has announced it will pick up "Medium" and another network might pick up "Earl," but I'm thinking the latter is unlikely. Where would "Earl" go? The show, which I loved in its first two seasons, is running out of steam. And where would it go? ABC picked up "Scrubs" when NBC dropped it, but that show still had some creative juice left (at least, that's what I've been told. I don't actually watch it.) "Earl's" returns are diminishing, and I'm not sure anyone else wants to jump on board.
* OK, for me, this was the saddest announcement: The CW canceled "Reaper." Well, maybe. ABC studios is still trying to sell the show, and syndication is a real possibility. Check out all the details here at the ReaperDMV fan site. They encourage writing to your local CW affiliate, and I second that.
I know "Reaper" never really lived up to the promise of its pilot, but I was really fond of it. I loved Ray Wise's cheeky performance as the Devil, and Bret Harrison had a nice Everyman charm as reluctant soul-hunter Sam Oliver. I still held out hope that it would gel a little better as it went on, but I always enjoyed it. I'm not surprised it's gone, but I'm still really sad.
In fact, I was so distracted by "Reaper's" cancellation, I barely noticed that The CW didn't pick up the "Gossip Girl" spin-off with Brittany Snow. That was a little surprising, as the show's had a lot of buzz. But, judging from the back door pilot that aired as a "Gossip Girl" episode, I can't say not picking it up was a great loss.
Well, that's it for now. I'll have more on the new shows once I get a chance to see some. I also plan to start watching the summer shows soon, so I'll have reviews on those in the near future as well.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Going on vacation...

Yes, I know this is a terrible time for a vacation, what with the networks announcing their new schedules, and many shows wrapping up their seasons. Alas, my race fan husband and I are traveling to Indy this weekend for the Indianapolis 500, so I'll be away from my blog for several days.
However, I will be back by mid-next week, at which time I will post thoughts on the coming fall season (yay! to the return of "Dollhouse"; boo! to the cancellation of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles") and other pressing TV issues.
Till then, please enjoy this video of Jim Nabors singing at last year's Indy 500. It's not technically TV-related, but it's still damn entertaining.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Gossip Girl" finale recap: "The Goodbye Gossip Girl"

Last night's second season finale of the CW teen soap "Gossip Girl" really felt more like a series finale, didn't it? I mean, I know the show is coming back, but there were certain moments that felt final or, at least, like the passing of a torch. Jenny and Blair had a detente, and Blair forced Jenny in as the new queen bee. Chuck finally declared his love for Blair. The kids went off to college. Lily and Rufus finally decided to get engaged. All felt like something was ending.
Were it not for a couple of dangling plot threads (the arrival of Dan/Serena's half brother; the discovery of Serena's dad; Georgina's resurgence), I would wonder just what the heck was going on.
Anyway, here are some more thoughts on the season two finale of "Gossip Girl," titled "The Goodbye Gossip Girl."
* Gotta say, this episode's overlying plot was ridiculous. Really, Serena? You and your boobs are going to bring down Gossip Girl. No. It wouldn't happen. Not even with Blair and Chuck helping you. Look Serena, I know you mean well but you're on a show called "Gossip Girl." You can't get rid of the title character. No.
* Can I just say how much I loved that, instead of wearing a cap to graduation, Serena just attached her tassle to her long, blond extensions? Perfect. I just can't decide whether Serena did this because her fashion sense is so bad, or because she simply didn't realize that the tassle goes on the hat, not the head.
* Also loved that Jenny's "crown" as queen is a diamond studded headband. Because of course that's Blair's idea of a crown. Perfect that Jenny's first rule as queen is "No more headbands. Except for this one.
* Here are a few more things I loved about the episode: that when Lily announces that she found pot in Chuck's room, Rufus's only reaction is "Then I bet it's good"; that when Blair makes the outgoing mean girls scoot over to make room for her, she employs a Cyrus-ism, "Not enough;" that stupid Nate thinks that everyone who comes into the bar is Gossip Girl; that Dan's name was spelled wrong in the program, and that it was eventually corrected as "Don"; and yes, loved the Chuck/Blair love pronouncement, even if it can only end badly.
*Here are some things I didn't love about the episode. First, why was the whole Poppy/Georgina story pushed into the background? We got almost nothing on it. Plus, Michelle Trachtenberg is on a new show for NBC next year, so I don't know how much we'll even see of her in season three. We better get more on this story, though. I feel shortchanged. I also didn't love that we saw little to no Dorota. Please! Like she wouldn't be buzzing around Miss Blair like a bee throughout the whole graduation event. Also, I thought it was totally unrealistic that Blair had a heart-to-heart with Chuck after Gossip Girl's reveals about them. Blair is a teenage girl. When she hears that her true love slept with her mortal enemy, she doesn't step back and wonder what she's really angry about. She just kicks said mortal enemy's ass.
* Overall, an OK episode, though it really did shortchange that whole Poppy/Georgina plot. What did you think?

"24" season finale recap: "6:00 a.m. to 7 a.m."/"7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m."

You know what was the most ridiculous moment in last night's season finale of the Fox action drama "24"? No, it wasn't when Tony got all mad scientist and theorized that his madcap band of terrorists could recreate the bioweapon by harvesting Jack's infected organs, though that was pretty insane. Nor was it when we learned that Tony wasn't really a turncoat, but the world's most vengeful widower, murdering an innocent FBI agent and plotting the deaths of a bunch of innocent people, all to avenge the murder of his wife and unborn child (though I did adore Carlos Bernand's over-the-top delivery of the line "THEY KILLED! MY! SON!!!!" Fabulous.)
No, the most ridiculous moment of last night's "24" finale was when Renee told Chloe that Kim Bauer was in danger and...Chloe looked surprised. Really? I mean, I could understand Renee or Janis being shocked that Kim Bauer was under terrorist watch, but Chloe? Chloe, who's known Kim for years? Chloe, who is well aware that trouble follows Kim Bauer like dust clouds follow Pigpen from the Peanut comics? Chloe would not be surprised. Not only that, but Chloe, upon hearing of Kim's latest setback, would roll her eyes, puff out her cheeks and say something snide like "Oh great. Now we have to save Blondie again."
But that character inconsistency aside, last night's "24" finale wasn't bad. There was a decent amount of action, and we finally learned the reason for Tony's crazed behavior. It was all about getting close to Alan Wilson, leader of the terrorist syndicate and the man responsible for the assassination of David Palmer and, of course, Michelle Dessler. I liked that Jack just wounded Tony, instead of killing him. It would have been really ridiculous for the show to bring Tony back just so it could kill him. Still not sure how I feel about them bringing Tony back only to make him an evil mastermind, though.
I also kind of liked the way it ended, with Renee deciding whether to torture Alan Wilson for information. I liked that the show didn't show the answer. I believe she didn't do it, especially since she knew how ashamed her late buddy Larry would be if she did, but we won't know until season eight, I guess. And yes, the 11th hour decision by Kim to save her poor daddy was cheesy, but believable, and totally consistent with Kim Bauer's inability to do anything her father tells her to.
Overall, this season wasn't on a par with the show's best (season five remains its high water mark), but it was a vast improvement over season six.
Some more thoughts on the finale:
* Maybe the best moment of last night's two-part finale was when a dying Jack miraculously busted through his restraints in the terrorist operating room and proceeded to kill everyone in it with his bare hands. Fantastic, old-school "24" stuff. Yes, Jack Bauer's body might be slowly failing him and yes, he's convulsing with seizures, but the man can still bring it when needed. Because he's Jack.
* Also loved when Kim's cell phone died during her conversation with Renee and she emitted a solid, Jack-style "Dammit!" in response to the setback. Like father, like daughter, I guess.
* OK, does anybody else get a homoerotic vibe from the Jack-Tony relationship? All those longing glances; all the touching; all the wounded rage when one of them betrays the other? Last night's episode contained one of the season's more eyebrow-raising moments, when Jack, on his hands and knees, tried to chase down the flare that he threw, and Tony followed him -- not walking beside or behind Jack, but straddling him! Does anybody else get the feeling that all of the nation's problems would be over if Tony and Jack could just resolve all this sexual tension?
* Could have done without the whole President's daughter plot, though it did provide a few more glimpses of my beloved Aaron Pierce, perhaps the most honorable, competent and intelligent character in the "24" universe. Can we get a spinoff for him? Preferably one in which we learn what happened to poor Martha Logan?
* One last note: though I think this show has one more season left in it, I'm hoping that's it. Season seven was decent enough that I'd like to see what they'd do with a season eight, but after that, I'm probably done.
What do you think?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Juliet's cleavage: A farewell

There's been a little bit of controversy over what happened to Elizabeth Mitchell's character, Juliet, in the season finale of "Lost." The day after the finale, several blogs and web sites printed stories stating that the character had been killed off. Other sites refrained from pronouncing the good Dr. Burke dead just yet, pointing out that, if detonating the hydrogen bomb did indeed work the way it was supposed to, then all of the events following the plane crash -- including Juliet's tumble down the swan hatch and subsequent obliteration by hydrogen bomb -- didn't happen. That would mean she's alive and well.
I'm hoping that's the case, as I've always liked the character of Juliet, and admired Mitchell's tough but tender performance in the role. But, if she is indeed dead, there's one thing I won't miss: all those gratuitous shots of Juliet's cleavage. Don't tell me you didn't notice. More than any other character on this show, Juliet was all about putting the girls on display.
She didn't wear a single top that didn't show three-quarters of her rack. And she was ALWAYS bending over. Like always. Sometimes for no reason. I never really noticed it until the season four episode "The Other Woman" when Ben takes Juliet out to view the body of her dead lover, Goodman. She crouches over the corpse crying, and wails to Ben "Why did you bring me here?"
My husband shouted back at the TV "To look at your cleavage!"
Indeed, you could see nearly everything. And, if I recall correctly, she was crouched over that body even more than necessary.
Yes, I know Elizabeth Mitchell is beautiful, and yes, she has a lovely figure. But enough is enough. If the character does come back to life, I hope she covers up a little.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Prison Break" series finale recap: "Rate of Exchange/Killing Your Number"

The Fox action drama "Prison Break" came to a close last night after four seasons and, I must say, the ending was a fitting one for this often-overlooked series.
Unlike other recently concluded shows, such as "The Shield," "The Wire," or "ER," "Prison Break" has never been called iconic or groundbreaking. In fact, most critics eschew the series as fast-paced, brain-dead trash. Point well-taken.
But I've always had a soft spot for the show, and not just because of the stunning good looks of series star Wentworth Miller. "Prison Break," which focused on a gang of lovable criminals on the run from both the law and a nefarious agency called "The Company," was just plain entertaining.
With its crazy plots, pulpy dialogue, and ridiculously macho characters the show was often hilarious. Unintentionally, perhaps, but entertainment is entertainment. Besides, I can't believe the series' creators didn't have their tongues just a little in cheek. I mean, come on -- the show had a character named T-Bag! Clearly, no show with a character named T-Bag is meant to be taken with complete seriousness.
However, the show also had moments of genuine quality, mainly centering around the character of disgraced ex-FBI agent Alex Mahone (William Fichtner). Fichtner was by far the best actor on the show, and is one of the best character actors around, able to convey the huge reserves of pain under Mahone's often-stoic exterior. Miller also brought a lot of grace to the character of the highly intelligent and overly empathetic Michael Scofield, the ultimate crook with a heart of gold. And a lot of the action sequences on the show were well-shot, quick-moving and thrilling (in many ways, I think it's actually a better action series than "24," but I might be alone in that).
Anyway, the show came to a poignant, and appropriate, end last night. Escaped con Michael Scofield and his friends finally were exonerated, and escaped the grasp of The Company (and of Michael's evil ex-Company agent mom, Christina). It looked like everyone (with the exception of my beloved T-Bag) would get to stop running and live a life of freedom. Even T-Bag, who went back to prison, got a sort of happy ending, finally finding the respectability that had escaped him in the outside world.
It also looked like Michael and his lady love Sarah would finally get to settle down and be parents to their unborn child. But, just as they're gushing over that fact, Michael's nose bleeds. Yes, in spite of the surgery he had earlier this season to fix his rare brain ailment, Michael was still sick. Yet he and Sarah decide not to focus on that. They embrace (though Sarah is noticeably upset) and vow to start their new life together. We skip ahead four years and see T-Bag in prison, the General on death row and our beloved ex-cons off to some mysterious engagement. Turns out they're -- gasp! -- visiting Michael's grave.
Sigh. Poor Michael. He died not long after freeing his brother, lover and friends (I'm hoping he at least got to see his son, also named Michael, before he died). It was sad, but it made sense. Michael was so concerned about others, it's no shock that he would drive himself to an early grave. After all, the whole show started with Michael purposely getting arrested so he could break his lunkhead brother Lincoln out of jail.
But it was sad nonetheless, and it's a testament to the show that I actually cried a little when I saw Michael's headstone. I hadn't realized that I'd gotten that attached to him.
Anyway, here are some more of my thought on the two-hour series finale of "Prison Break," titled "Rate of Exchange/Killing Your Number."
* Though he said good-bye to his buddies in the middle of the season, I was pretty sure we'd see Fernando Sucre again before the show ended. However, though I dreamed we might get to see C-Note again, I didn't think it would actually happen. But it did! I almost squealed when it was revealed that the big C was the mysterious person following Sucre through the streets of Chicago.
All right. I did squeal. Loudly. I'm only human!
* Refresh my memory -- was C-Note always such a badass? I remember him being tough in the first two seasons, but not necessarily kill-happy. Yet here he was, dispatching company men left and right. Maybe he was always that way, but I remember him being a bit more sensitive. After all, the whole reason he went into witness protection was to help his sick little girl. It's hard to believe he all of a sudden became a cold-blooded killer. Oh well. I guess someone had to be the heavy, and with T-Bag working for the general and Lincoln bleeding to death, C-Note was the toughest of the remaining Prison Break-ers.
* So, not only did we get to see C-Note and Sucre again, but Kellerman popped up. Woo-hoo! I loved Kellerman, and the show hasn't been the same since he was killed off. Wait. That's right. He was killed. did he come back to life? Michael does ask that, but doesn't get much of an explanation. Oh well. I loved that he came back, and that he was the one to give the gang their walking papers. After all, he was turning on The Company right before he "died."
* Though C-Note, Kellerman and Sucre all returned, there was no sign of Gretchen. Not that I'm complaining, really. I was never a big fan of Jodi Lynn O'Keefe's character. But I was pretty sure we never saw her die after she got shot in that parking lot. It would have been nice to have some closure on that story.
* Aside from the return of some beloved characters, there were few other nice callbacks to the show's early seasons. For instance, T-Bag asks a captive Sarah to take his pocket, just as he did with the boys he dominated at Fox River (and just as he would do again upon his return to prison). Also, it was nice touch that the widow of Kellerman's old partner -- the one Kellerman killed -- showed up to spit on him at the end. Nice reminder that, though Kellerman has changed, he still did some pretty terrible things once upon a time, including trying to kill Sarah.
* Quick note to Christina: when starting a day that you know could possibly end in bloodshed and explosions, maybe a white suit isn't the best wardrobe choice.
*Glad that Mahone hooked up with his ex-partner, Lainie. She always had his back and my Mahone deserves to be taken care of.
* So, are Michael and Lincoln really brothers or was Christina telling the truth about Linc's adoption? I think it's the latter, but Michael doesn't seem to care. He's devoted to his brother no matter what, which gave a nice weight to this sometimes silly show.
* Loved Sucre asking Kellerman if he could keep the pen after signing his exoneration deal.
* Also loved that our first glimpse of Michael Jr. is of him getting a fake tattoo. Like father, like son.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"30 Rock" season finale: "Kidney Now!"

I know I hardly ever write about NBC's sitcom "30 Rock," but I thought I'd jot down some quick notes about last night's episode as a) this is one of my favorite shows and b)last night's ep was the season finale.
Overall, it was a decent episode. The stuff with Jack arranging the kidney benefit for Milton Green was great, and I didn't even mind all the musician cameos (though can we all agree once and for all that Mary J. Blige is a TERRIBLE actress?). Also, I love Alan Alda as Milton, Jack's new dad. They're a perfect father-son fit, as both are tall, have great comic timing and, weirdly, have only gotten better with age.
However, the rest of the episode was hit or miss. Tracy going back to his old high school was weak, though it is funny that his school is named after Frank Lucas, notorious gangster and subject of the film "American Gangster" (also, this episode featured a little more Grizz than usual. I liked that. I fear the Dot Com overshadows him too often).
And the Liz-Jenna stuff was pretty much a retread of last week's plot.
But that music video at the end was pretty great, and forgave a multitude of sins. So, on balance, a pretty good episode.
Here are a few more thoughts on "Kidney Now!"
* Milton's biography of Jimmy Carter is called "From Peanut to President."
* Seriously, that was the most passive-aggressive game of catch ever. Fantastic.
* Though I didn't like the Liz-Jenna plot, I did like Liz Lemon as a relationship expert. I've never heard of "fruit blindness" before, but it makes total sense.
* The montage of Tracy crying was moderately funny, but suffered from including a clip from this scene, which, let's face it, was funnier than this entire episode. Shut up, Mrs. Rodriguez!
* I see this written in my notes on the episode: "Clay Aiken is Kenneth's cousin. :( Elvia Costello as international art thief. :)" The smiley face is underlined.
* How many musicians did you recognize in the final scene? I, for one, was delighted to see Steve Earle, Waylon on "The Wire." TV rule: including any cast member from "The Wire" on your show immediately ups its watchability factor.
What did you all think?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Lost" season finale recap: Why I hate the emergency broadcast system

Before I get into my recap of the "Lost" two-hour season finale, let me tell you a quick story. Last night, I came home from my monthly book club meeting (yes, I read. Don't act so surprised) and settled in with my hubby to watch the "Lost" finale on our DVR. Everything was going along swimmingly, until about 20 minutes from the end. It was the scene where Locke and his crew were at the Four-toed Foot and Richard comes over to talk to Locke. Only, I never heard what he said, because, at that moment, our cable system had apparently chosen to run a test of the emergency broadcast system. That's right -- the entire audio of that scene was replaced with the boops and squawks of an emergency test. ARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!
Luckily, the sound came back in time for the episode's final scenes. But I missed that whole moment. I hope it wasn't too important.
Anyone want to fill me in?
Anyway, let's down to the nitty gritty of recapping last night's finale. It sure was a doozy. We met Jacob; got a look of some of our Losties as kids; learned a little more about the Shadow-of-the-Statue crew and, of course, might have suffered the loss of two beloved Lost characters (oh Juliet and Sayid -- I'm hoping against hope that you'll both survive) and definitely saw the gruesome demise of a less-than-lovable character (Good-bye Phil! Hope all those metal spikes plunging into your body didn't hurt too badly!).
Below are some of my thoughts on the finale. This will be a bit quick, as my computer has crashed twice already, and I'm pretty sure I'm typing on borrowed time. But feel free to post your own questions, ideas, musings below.
* So, after I boldly predicted to everyone I knew that Jacob would turn out to be Jack Shepherd, it turned out I was wrong. Like, really wrong. Like, "Jacob is not only not Jack, he's some random dude we've never seen before" wrong. Growl. Jacob was played by Mark Pellegrino, probably best known for playing Rita's horrible ex-husband Paul on "Dexter." In the opening scene, some skeevy looking dude (whom I finally recognize as Silas from "Deadwood" after reading it in Nikki Stafford's blog), approaches Jacob. They talk about new people coming to the island. Silas (the show hasn't given him a name yet, so I might as well stick to that one) tells Jacob that all the island visitors ever do is "come, fight, destroy, corrupt." Jacob seems unmoved, stating that "it only happens once. And everything that happens before is just progress." OooooKaaay. Have no idea what this means. And, honestly, if I were trapped on an island with a dude who talked in riddles, I'd want to kill him, just as Silas wants to kill Jacob. But he can't, for some reason. Why? We know there are certain people who can't be killed. Ben, for instance, can't kill Charles. So, are Jacob and Silas the original Ben and Charles? Who knows? But look -- they're sitting under the statue through this whole conversation. And it's the whole statue. Not just the foot! Cool.
* During that conversation, Silas swears he'll find some "loophole" allowing him to kill Jacob. Which he does. It turns out, Locke isn't really Locke after all. We learn, after a painfully long time, that the box the Shadow-of-the-Statue crew is carting around contains Locke's corpse. So who is the beatific guy wandering around leading the mission to kill Jacob? Why it's Silas! This is the loophole. He takes Ben to Jacob, after talking Ben into killing Jacob. Doesn't take much, as Ben has a festering bitterness about never having seen Jacob. Still, I wonder why Ben didn't pick up on something off about the exchange between Jacob and Silas/Locke inside the foot statue. Ben is usually so perceptive, and there was definitely an odd dynamic going on here. Well, maybe Ben was just really stoked to kill Jacob at this point and didn't care what other issues were at play.
* Just want to take a brief moment to talk about the scene where Silas/Locke talks Ben into killing Jacob. He makes mention of all of Ben's sacrifices and all of the service he's given to Jacob, a man he's never seen. During this speech, Silas/Locke really makes Jacob sound like God. But what is Jacob? Is he a God? He, apparently, had the power to make Richard ageless. We saw in the flashbacks that he was all-knowing. He knows about Hugo's visions (more on that later). He knew, obviously, that Nadia was going to die. It seems he knows everything. How? Who or what is he? And what will happen now that he's gone?
* Quick question here -- we know that Bram and most of the Shadow of the Statue crew were together off the island. But how did Ilana join their ranks? Was she always with them, or was she working separately for Jacob until she got to the island? And what happened to her? Why is her face all covered in bandages when Jacob comes to see her?
* Also, let's reflect quickly on Jacob's other visits. He pays for Kate's shoplifting; gives Sawyer a pen to write his death threat to Anthony Cooper; apparently revives John from the dead (or near dead) following his push from the window; distracts Sayid while Nadia is killed; witnesses Sun and Jin's wedding; talks Hurley into getting on the plane and hands Jack a snack. Why? What was the point of all this? And, did I miss something, or was Jacob not in Juliet's flashback at all? If he wasn't there, why did we get a flashback of her? Was it to show us how disillusioned she is about love? To demonstrate that she wasn't always so tough, and was, in fact, much more sensitive than her sister Rachel? It didn't fit. What was up with it?
* During their visit, Jacob tells Hurley that he isn't crazy. So, are Hurley's visions of the dead really messages from the island? What did Jacob mean? And why did he give Hurley the guitar case? What it Charlie's? Why did Hurley have to carry it? Was it the whole "proxy" thing? That meeting was by far the most intriguing of the bunch.
* OK, let's take a time out from all the Jacob talk to point out something very, very important that we learned in this episode: Rose, Bernard and Vincent are all still alive. YAAAAAAY!!!!!!! I'm so happy. It's been so long since we've seen them, I'd thought the worst. But there they were. Happily living in the jungle, and wisely disconnecting themselves from all this hydrogen-bomb-detonating-Ben-Linus-shooting-incident-preventing nonsense. Good for them.
*Another moment a long time in coming: the knock-down, drag-out brawl between Jack and Sawyer. Grueling. Horrifying. Awesome. Enough said.
*If no one else has said it before, let me be the first. Dharma minibus = Hurley's Batmobile. That is all.
* Running out of time, so let me get through the rest of this quickly. Miles is the first to point out that, maybe, Jack trying to prevent The Incident actually causes The Incident -- something many fans have guessed about. However, the episode took an unusual turn when Jack dropped the bomb down the hatch...and it didn't explode! And then, The Incident went full boar. Metal was everywhere -- including in Phil's belly. R.I.P., you sniveling son of a bitch! But, tragically, Juliet gets tangled in some chains and the magnetic forces pulls her down the hatch. Sawyer tries to save her, but can't and she falls to the bottom. Where, of course, she detonates the bomb. And the episode ends. No! Unfair! Unfair! What happened with the bomb? What happened after Ben stabbed Jacob? What happened to Sayid, last seen bleeding to death alongside the minibus? Must I wait until next year to learn the answers?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

OMG -- Like, gag me with a fanny pack

OK, despite the title of this blog posting I didn't think last night's "Gossip Girl" flashback episode -- actually a backdoor pilot for a spinoff about the teen years of Serena's mom, Lily -- was all that bad. I mean, it did allow us a chance to see Dick Casablancas from "Veronica Mars" busting it up to "The Safety Dance." No episode that includes that is a total waste.
But it was, at least, a partial waste. I wanted more present-day conflict. I wanted to see more about the Georgina vs. Poppy smackdown that was set up in last week's episode. And I definitely wanted more of prom. I mean, the prom show is one of the highlights of any series set in a high school. All we got were a few stray scenes of Chuck helping Blair realize her prom fantasy -- it was sweet, but I wanted more of it.
Anyway, the 80's flashback stuff was OK, but I think I detected a few anachronisms. It's been a while, but I'm pretty sure "as if" was an early 90s thing, not an early 80s thing. And I hated all the ridiculous wink-wink references (Lily's sister invested in the development of the fannypack! Har-de-har-har!).
Plus, is it just me or does Brittany Snow, who plays young Lily, have a TOTALLY different eye color than Kelly Rutherford, who portrays adult Lily?
Despite all that, there was some good stuff, namely Krysten Ritter -- last seen giving Jesse the runaround on "Breaking Bad" -- as Lily's sister and 80's icon Andrew McCarthy as Lily's dad. And, incidentally, I'm pretty sure we met Serena and Eric's dad, finally. The sleazy video director Lily accosted at the party was named Van Der Woodsen, in case you didn't catch it. So that's exciting.
Due to an unusually strong development slate for next year's season, there's been some talk that the CW actually won't make the Lily-in-the-80's show. Gotta say, I'm good either way. I guess it could be kind of fun if they toned back all the silly references (and showed us a LOT more of Cynthia Watros as Lily's icy mom), but I'm not itching to see it.
What do you think?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Don't forget to vote!

By the way, have you noticed the poll on the right hand side of the page? It's poll, to gauge which on-the-bubble show you want to see saved: "Dollhouse," "Terminator: The Sarah Conno Chronicle," "Chuck" or "Reaper." You favorite bubble show not on the list? Then email me using the link on the right (right below the poll...which you should vote in) to let me know your choice.
If I get enough responses, I might write a little something on it.
So vote now!
I said now!
Why are you reading?
Go vote!

"Dollhouse" finale recap: "We're not Gods"

Just got done watching the first season finale of "Dollhouse," titled "Omega," and I've gotta say that I'll be pretty upset if Fox doesn't end up ordering a second season.
Though the show was a bit underwhelming in its early episodes, it's shaped up into a mighty promising series. Not only does it raise thought provoking questions about the nature of identity, the role of technology in our lives and the horrors of exploitation, it's also incredibly entertaining.
This last episode in particular was a fast-paced, action-packed hour, as Alpha (Alan Tudyk) fled the Dollhouse with a newly altered Echo (Eliza Dushku). The attempt to retrieve Echo made for strange bedfellows, as Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) joined forces with the Dollhouse staff. Meanwhile, we got a lot of Alpha background, a brief reunion between Echo and Caroline and the answer to a major question raised last week.
In fact, in recapping this episode, I'd like to start with that answer to that big question, raised in many "Dollhouse" fans' heads after last week's episode: Is Dr. Saunders (Amy Acker) really a doll? The answer was yes. She was a doll named Whiskey, and was the house's No. 1 active, until Alpha took a shine to Echo. The flashback scene in which we learned why and how Alpha slashed up poor Whiskey was absolutely heartbreaking, as was the scene where we met the original Dr. Saunders -- a man! In an interesting twist, Dollhouse tech Topher (Fran Kranz) made the Whiskey version of Saunders a little too smart. After her encounter with Alpha, Saunders slowly starts to realize that she's really a doll. Eventually, she hacks Topher's system and finds proof of her past as Whiskey. She confronts Topher, and he, surprisingly, doesn't have some snarky comeback. He's quiet. Until she asks him an important question: If he's responsible for building her personality, why did he make her hate him so much? Topher responds by asking her why she didn't read her original history. "Don't you want to know who you are?" he asks. "I know who I am," she responds.
But who is she, really? Why did Topher make her hate him so much? And, more important, why did he imprint her with excellent computer skills -- skills, as Saunders pointed out, beyond those that a doctor would typically have? Do Topher and Whiskey/Saunders have a past? Were they related? Was he in love with her? Did her want her to eventually learn her real identity? Is that why he made her so tech savvy?
In the final scene with Echo, Topher is noticeably shaken from his encounter with Whiskey. Why? I don't know, but it does help lend a little depth to Topher -- a character I'd previously found pretty unlikable.
Incidentally, the episode was a real showcase for Acker, who nailed every second of Saunders' awakening to the realization that her whole life was a lie. Perhaps the saddest moment was her vicious verbal attack on poor Victor (Enver Gjokaj), Alpha's most recent victim. When she berated him, saying that he'd never again be his best, that all he could hope for was to inspire pity, it was devastating. And, once again, great work by Gjokaj, a real find who continues to lend soul to this blank slate of a character. His wide-eyed, wounded puppy expression in this scene broke my heart.
But, while the "Whiskey" reveal was a great twist, the heart of this episode was the Alpha/Echo confrontation. Through flashbacks, we learn that Alpha, even in his doll state, was obsessed with Echo. The obsession leads him to kiss her in the hallway, risking the wrath of DeWitt (Olivia Williams). It leads to the assault on Whiskey, and, of course, to Alpha's eventually psychotic break. Here's my question -- when Alpha has that break, what was Topher trying to do? I get that the machine malfunctioned, but it did look that Topher was intending to download a bunch of Alpha's imprints. Why? What was he trying to accomplish? I don't get it.At any rate, we saw the start of Alpha's killing spree, which included destroying his original identity, Carl William Craft, an attempted murderer.
We also learned which personality Alpha downloaded into Echo. It was a previous Whiskey imprint, that of a trashy criminal. He chose the imprint because she was familiar with San Pedro, where Alpha's original persona, Carl William Craft, had a hideout. After their escape, Alpha and Echo kidnap a girl named Wendy (yes, that was Ashley Johnson, who played young Chrissie on "Growing Pains), and Alpha imprints her with Caroline. He then downloads all of Echo's imprints into her brain. Surprisingly, she doesn't snap. And she doesn't kill "Carolyn," as Alpha instructs her to. She turns on Alpha, and chastises him for his arrogance. "We're not Gods," she tells him.
She attempts to reunite her body with Caroline's personality, but Alpha shoots Wendy before that can happen. Alpha then decides that he's going to download Caroline into Echo, then shoot her. Then he's going to do it again and again, using different girls all over the country.
Anyway, Echo escapes and Alpha chases her outside, holding the Caroline imprint. Eventually, he tosses it onto a beam. Echo tries to retrieve it, but it falls...into Ballard's waiting hands below. Huh. Cool.
Anyway, here are a few more thoughts on "Omega."
* Loved the scene where Echo is trying to convince Caroline to "come home" to her body. Caroline says she signed a contract with the Dollhouse. Echo poo poos that reasoning, saying that not one of the many personalities in her brain believes that someone can sign a contract to be a slave "especially now that we have a black president." Tee hee.
* Once again, great work by Tudyk as Alpha. He's great at balancing Alpha's scary, violent moments with comical, goofy crazy-guy moments, as when Alpha's handler tells him to watch his step. Alpha immediately looks down at his feet. Hilarious, yet unsettling given what we know about this guy and who he's going to become.
* Fascinating twist at the end, when Ballard agrees to work with the Dollhouse if they agree to free one of the actives...November. Why? Why her and not Caroline/Echo? Did Ballard feel so guilty about sleeping with her when she was Mellie that he decided he had to do something to make it right? And what about Caroline? Why did he return her? Was he using her as leverage so he could get inside the Dollhouse, bring it down and free Caroline at a later date?
Well, at any rate, we learned November's real name. It's Madeleine. I can only assume that her "real" home is an old house in Paris covered in vines.
* By the way, can I say how much I loved the crime-fighting team of Ballard and Langton (Harry Lennix)? I loved how their cynical yet decent personalities fit together like a lock and key. More of them together, please!
* OK, one last time -- PLEAAAAASE bring back "Dollhouse," Fox! Please!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

"Lost" recap: We're off to see the Jacob

Last night's episode of "Lost" was perhaps the most head-throbbingest (no, that probably isn't a word) of the whole season. About three quarters of the way in, my husband turned to me, sighed and said lamented that the show always gets super complicated right before the season finale. Too true.
Yet, even with all the complicated time travel stuff, it was still a pretty solid episode, featuring the return of Sayid (everybody together now: Woooooo-hooooo!), the ever-increasing confidence of John Locke, the ever-increasing anxiety of Ben Linus, the growing complexity of the Jack-Kate-Juliet-Sawyer love quadrangle and not one, but two Richard Alperts. Oh -- and it looks like we might get to see Jacob sometime soon. Yay! With all this going on, it probably doesn't matter that all the time travel gobblety-gook gave me a migraine. Here are some more of my thoughts on this week's episode of "Lost," titled "Follow the Leader."
* We pick up where we left off, with Eloise shooting Daniel, only to realize that he very well could be her son. Turns out, Daniel is absolutely dead (for now. Sigh. You just never know on this show, which is getting to be a problem). Kate and Jack are found peepin' in the bushes, and the Others aren't pleased. But Ellie has some sense of what's going on. She remembers Daniel from when he told her to bury Jughead back when she was a teenager. Here's a question -- if she remembered Daniel, why was she so quick to shoot him? Well, regardless, she regrets her actions now, particularly after seeing that Daniel was carrying a journal inscribed with her handwriting. Desperate for answers, Eloise looks to Jack and Kate for help. Jack tells her of Daniel's plan to undo everything -- including his murder by his own mother -- and Eloise seems to be on board. Kate, not so much.
* About that. As much as I dislike Jack and Kate, I have no beef with the performances of Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly. Fox in particular does an excellent job of conveying Jack's desperation and arrogance. A perfect example is the scene between Jack and Kate in the Others' tent. Jack explains that, if Daniel's plan works, all their misery will be undone. Kate points out that, if it's all undone, she and Jack never will have met. He seems OK with that, and she's hurt. He points out that, ever since the crash, their lives have been full of misery. It's then that they have this crucial exchange.
Kate: It wasn't all misery.
Jack: Enough of it was.
Heartbreaking, and it poses an interesting question: would you be willing to forgo meeting the love of your life if it would save lives, and if it would save you a lot of suffering? Usually, I don't give a damn about the Jack-Kate relationship (or about any relationships involving Kate or Jack), but this scene put their on-again-off-again romance in a new light.
* OK, let's talk about what would have happened without the crash. Jack's reasoning, as usual, is flawed. Without the crash, Kate would be in jail. Locke would be in a wheelchair. Charlie would be addicted to drugs (but at least he'd be alive, so who knows what to think about that). Still, Sayid might have been reunited with Nadia sooner without the crash, and maybe, in that version, she wouldn't have been murdered. Ana Lucia would be alive. Also, if I recall correctly, Sawyer had some sort of emotional turning point after killing the man he thought was Sawyer (and quickly figured out wasn't). Without the crash, maybe he makes peace with his past, and gets to know his daughter. Or maybe he goes to jail for killing a guy in Australia.
I could talk about this for a while (I haven't even touched on what it would mean for the freighter folk), but let's move on to the present day islanders.
* Regardless of what the outcome would be, it appears that the Jack/Daniel plan doesn't work, because modern day Richard tells Sun that he watch Jack, Kate, etc. die back in the 70s. Sun is deeply dismayed. She's slightly comforted when Locke tells her he's going to fix everything. But then, there's something off about Locke and Richard, of course, notices.
"You seem different, John," he says. The beatific Locke replies "I have a purpose now." Richard is, quite reasonably, freaked out by this.
* I'm gonna dive into Richard a bit more now. So, as Ben pointed out, Richard is not the leader of The Others but a "sort of adviser." Who appointed him? The Island? Jacob? Was he just born a regular guy, and morphed into this strange, ageless guy? Or was he always special? Who is he? Why is there? And why does he always seem to pick men to lead The Others (I'm assuming Charles is the leader in the 70s, since we know he used to be the leader at some point. And if that's true, I'm a little miffed that it wasn't Eloise. She's just as tough as Charles. Why can't she lead? You know what -- let's form an Others female empowerment movement right now! Ok. End of rant).
*Quick discussion of Locke in the jungle with Richard and Ben. How did he know that he would be coming out of the jungle? And why did he tell Richard to tell that Locke that he had to die? I know the Island told Locke to do it, but why? Because it had always happened? And how does a freakin' island talk? What is UP with that?
* Great moment -- Richard offering Locke the bullet that was in his leg. Hee-hee.
* Richard and Ben both are dismayed that Locke wants to see Jacob -- and that he rallies the Others around this cause. Apparently, this is not behavior befitting a leader, and Richard is flummoxed, which he expresses to Ben. Ben smugly states that this is why he tried to kill Locke. That smug smile is quickly wiped off Ben's face when he realizes that Locke's pilgrimage to Jacob isn't about saving the 1970's crew, but about killing Jacob. What? Why? Locke, you don't even know Jacob! How could he have possibly pissed you off to the point where you'd want to kill him?
* Let me mention that I loved the scenes with Locke and Ben this week. For the first time, Ben has no control over a situation and the panic and horror on Michael Emerson's face was priceless. That last moment, when Locke reveals his "I'm gonna kill Jacob" plan, Ben's face is a mask of complete shock, and Emerson does that whole "Good heaven, I just released my bowels" look better than anyone.
* Quick shout out for the shot of Locke's army traveling to Jacob. It was absolutely beautiful and creepy at the same time. Good work, folks.
* Ok, back to the 1970s. Jack, Kate, and Eloise continue their mission, and Kate, dependably, starts whining and wants to bail. An Other tries to prevent her from leaving but is quickly shot by...SAYID! Yay! He's back, and he still, unfortunately, thinks Ben is dead. Kate reveals that she saved Ben and Sayid asks why. Kate is understandably taken aback and utters one of the night's best lines: "Since when did killing kids and detonating hydrogen bombs become OK?" As much as I dislike Kate, I'm with her on this one. Anyway, she leaves and gets caught. More on that in a second.
* I'm running out of time, so I'm going to skip the Others water Olympics (oh, and the rediscovery of Jughead), and discuss what happened in the Dharma camp. When Sawyer doesn't reveal Kate's location, even after being pummeled by Radzinsky, Phil hauls off and hits Juliet, hoping this will get Jim to talk. It doesn't. Eventually, Chang, realizing that this group is from the future (and that Miles is HIS Miles), intervenes and tells Rad and co. to load Jim and Juliet onto the sub. This leads to moment of tranquility between Sawyer and Juliet, as they realize they're about to be free. They exchange googly eyes and "I love yous" on the sub...then someone mentions they found another of the turncoats. Yep, it's Kate. D'Oh! Juliet looks absolutely miserable. Great work by Elizabeth Mitchell in that scene. I wanted to hug her.
* Also wanted to hug Miles, as he watches his father cruelly cut ties with his mom, because it's the only way to get her and Miles on the sub, and off to safety. The look on Miles' face as realizes that he father abandoned him to save his life is heartbreaking. Of course, Hurley realizes what seeing this must do to Miles and offers a heartfelt "Sorry, dude." Nice moment.
Well, that's all for this week. I might be late posting the season finale recap next week, due to a personal engagement, but I promise to offer thoughts on the episode as soon as I can.
That's it for me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Mad Men news!

In my mad dash to post my thoughts on the NBC infronts, I forgot to share some happy news: AMC announced yesterday that production has started on the third season of its addictive drama Mad Men. If all goes smoothly, Don Draper and co. will be back on our TV screens by August. In celebration, I'm posting this clip, from the show's second season, of comic Jimmy Barrett sticking it to Don.
I'm sorry, but I could watch this a zillion times and it would never get old. God bless this show!

NBC's infronts: Thoughts, musings and other random stuff

Yesterday, NBC held its network "infronts," an early version of the "upfronts" that other networks will host in a few weeks. The event included a few announcements about which shows would be renewed and which new shows NBC was picking up for the 2009-2010 season.
Below are a few of my thoughts on the announcement.
* NBC announced that it was picking up freshmen series "Parks and Recreation" and "Southland" for second seasons, and renewing the much-debated "Heroes" (which I dumped the second half of this season) for a fourth. This is in addition to the previously announced renewals of "The Office," "Friday Night Lights," "30 Rock" and "Law & Order SVU." NBC will announce whether it will renew other on-the-bubble shows -- including the beloved but low-rated "Chuck" -- in a few weeks. While I agree that both "P&R" and especially "Southland" have promise, I'm slightly worried that NBC is biting off more than it can chew. No time periods have been announced for any of these shows, and I'm wondering where everything will land. Late last year, the network gave away an entire hour of its weeknight schedule to Jay Leno's new show. Thus, none of NBC's new or returning shows can use the hour from 10 to 11 p.m. So where does that leave "Southland"? With its bleeped curse words and fairly gritty depictions of crime, it's really best suited to the 10 p.m. hour. I'm glad it's been renewed, but what will happen to it? Will NBC squeeze it in at 9 p.m. with the same content and hope no one causes a stink? Will the network tone it down (possibly turning it into a less effective show)? I'm a bit worried about it.
* In addition to "Chuck," shows whose fate have yet to be decided include "Medium," "My Name is Earl" and "Law & Order." Reportedly, the acclaimed but low-rated shows "Life" and "Kings" are dead in the water.
* NBC's new shows include a remake of the 1989 Steve Martin movie "Parenthood." The movie, as you may recall, was already adapted for TV once, in 1990 as a short-lived dramedy starring Ed Begley Jr. (and, according to IMDB, a young Leonardo DeCaprio). Gotta say, have mixed feelings about the new version. First, unlike the movie or the previous show, the new "Parenthood" focuses not on the Buckman family, but on the Braverman family. The characters are totally different, so why even call it "Parenthood"? Is this some sort of misguided attempt to capitalize on a recognizable brand? If so, maybe they should have picked a movie that isn't 20 years old. That said, I'm going to give the show a chance, if only because the cast is so great. Stars include Craig T. Nelson, Peter Krause, Maura Tierney, and Bonnie Bedelia. Also, the series is from Jason Katims, a show runner on the excellent "Friday Night Lights." So, fingers are crossed.
* As often happens at NBC, there are two shows with amazingly similar premises. "Trauma," from executive producer Peter Berg (another "FNL" mastermind) is a medical drama seen through the eyes of paramedics. "Mercy" (from a team that includes yet another "FNL" alum, Liz Heldens) is a medical drama seen through the eyes of nurses. Only time will tell if they are different, and watchable, enough to both survive.
* Other new shows include the comedies "100 Questions" -- about a single gal looking for love -- and "Community," starring "The Soup" funnyman Joel McHale and comedy vet Chevy Chase. Of the two, "Community," focusing on life at a community college, sounds more promising, but Chase and McHale are both hit-or-miss presences, so we'll see.
What are your thoughts?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Alpha male: Some meditations on Dollhouse

Note: "Dollhouse" spoilers below

For those tragic few of you who, like me, have been sucked into Fox's fascinating but low-rated Joss Whedon drama "Dollhouse," last night was a big night. We finally saw the mysterious and deadly escaped doll Alpha (Alan Tudyk, who starred as Wash on Whedon's excellent but short-lived drama "Firefly") and Agent Ballard made his way into the Dollhouse for the first time. It was a pretty terrific episode, and it has me psyched big time about next week's season finale. However, I did have a few thoughts/questions during last night's episode. Perhaps you can help me out with them?
THAT'S Alpha???: OK, I know the revelation that Tudyk's character (a wonky environmental engineer) would turn out to be Alpha was all over the Internet. Yet, somehow, I managed to avoid seeing it, and was completely surprised when Tudyk's character, Stephen Kepler, suddenly slashed up Victor's face. Of course, I probably should have guessed that the character was secretly Alpha, even without the benefit of spoilers. Seriously -- Ballard just HAPPENS to find this guy who can lead him to the Dollhouse just as Alpha resurfaces with a message for former security chief Dominic? Big coincidence, no? Yet I didn't really think Kepler could be Alpha, mainly because of Tudyk's appearance. Don't get me wrong. Alan Tudyk is adorable in a "My science teacher is so smart he's sexy"-sort of way, but he's no fantasy object. And fantasy, as we've been told many times, is the Dollhouse's business. He's also, I believe, a bit older than the other dolls (he certainly appears significantly older than Eliza Dushku, who plays Echo) But heck, maybe I'm being silly. Maybe a lot of Dollhouse clients have sexy schoolteacher fantasies, making Tudyk's Alpha a hot commodity.
At any rate, Tudyk was great, as both the phobic, whiny Kepler and the coldly vicious Alpha. Good to see him on screen again.
The Whiskey Made Me Do It: OK, we need to talk about that scene when the Dollhouse staff implant Victor with Dominic's personality. As Saunders goes to sedate him, Victor/Dominic looks at her and says "Whiskey." It's assumed he wants a drink instead of sedation, but I think otherwise. "Whiskey" fits the naming template for the dolls. Perhaps Victor/Dominic wasn't talking about booze but about Saunders. Maybe she's a doll! Think about it: she gets slashed by Alpha, putting her out of commission for any fantasy engagements. But, instead of killing the damaged doll or letting her out of her contract (I'm convinced the five-years-and-out deal is a total sham, aren't you?), they implant her with a doctor's personality, and put her to work. That would explain why she seems so negative about the Dollhouse, yet never openly defies it. It would also explain her creepy encounter with Alpha. He asks her if she's always wanted to be a doctor. She says yes. He calls her a liar, then forces her to describe the first time they met. Though terrifying, there was something a bit off about that moment. If Alpha is really fixated on Echo, why would he care about Saunders' past? But, if Saunders is a doll, then the moment makes perfect sense. Alpha is toying with the doc, mocking her, and she doesn't even know it.
Obviously, this is all speculation at this point, but I think it's a plausible and interesting possibility.
Welcome Back, Dominic: Fun to see Victor taking on Dominic's personality. And am I crazy, or did Enver Gjokaj (Victor) sound exactly like Reed Diamond (Dominic) in this scene? It was uncanny to the point where I wonder if Diamond's voice was actually dubbed in. If not, great work by Gjokaj.
Who is Echo This Time?: Can't wait to see what personality Alpha imprinted Echo with at the end. It's pretty clear that it isn't Caroline. So who is it? And why did he pick Echo? We still haven't learned anything about Alpha's fixation on her.
The Dollhouse Heals the Children: One last quick note. I was struck by the irony of this episode's Mission of the Week. Echo has to help a little girl who has been the victim of sexual abuse. Topher, in a clever move, imprints Echo with a "healthy" version of the girl's personality, and has Echo walk the girl through her recovery. In her mission, Echo and the little girl discuss the lack of female empowerment in the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. Echo's persona tells the little girl that, perhaps the prince didn't save Sleeping Beauty. Perhaps Sleeping Beauty's subconscious conjured the prince up. Perhaps she saved herself. Later, we'll see both Ballard and Alpha attempt to become Echo's prince. But here's what struck me as odd about this story: The Dollhouse helps sexual abuse victims? This is a business that actually CREATES sexual abuse victims by basically forcing the dolls to have sex with strangers. It's hard to believe that Topher and co. actually care about healing the psyches of others, given their line of work. Yet maybe that's the point. Maybe this mission was about Topher and other Dollhouse employees acting on their guilt and trying to offset their evil deeds. Or maybe I've overthinking.