Monday, February 23, 2009

I Bitch Because I Love

And I also want to be fair (impartial's too much to ask for, sorry), so when I ream a show or three for crapulence, I want to make sure I laud them when they're good.

Such was the case with last week's episodes of Battlestar and Dollhouse. I'm not calling either episode the pinnacle of the show's run (okay, actually for Dollhouse it IS the pinnacle of the show's run, but then there's only the fake-pilot to compare it with), but both were marked improvements over what we've been given recently.

In Battlestar they actually managed to tie the mythology into the dramatic action of the episode! I was also perhaps a little too gleeful watching Ellen fall off her pedestal and start acting like (for lack of a better comparison) a catty, petty human again. Perhaps even better: Baltar is back, baby! His plotline last night was an overdue reminder of how much the show misses his levity and questionable moral compass when he fades into the background for any length of time. Yes, there were annoying plot contrivances (why exactly does Tyrol vote to leave after volunteering to fix the Galactica last episode? oh, right, because Ellen needed to be the tie-breaking vote) and a bit of dead-horse-beating with the whole repetition of the Cylon-babies-are-only-made-from-love/baby-as-proof-of-love thing, but overall I liked much more than I disliked about this episode.

Which is a good starting point for talking about Dollhouse. Liking more than I disliked. Yes, the plot was just one of a thousand riffs on "The Most Dangerous Game." Yes, I still think there are inherent problems with the premise that have yet to be resolved. Yes, I wants me some more Whedon-y funny that I don't think I'm going to get. But... Explain to me why this wasn't the pilot again? And yes, I know I'm the millionth person to say that, but please just put my free giftbag by my desk and I'll grab it later. So much better than last week's "pilot." Starting with: I now feel like I have someone to root for. Actually, more than that -- two people. Showing how Boyd started to work at the Dollhouse and his evolving view of Echo made me care about both him and her. Almost amusing that in an episode featuring quite a bit of Echo remembering "herselves" (which would seemingly allow for connection with the character because you can see there's someone lurking beneath the program), the thing that made me feel most like she's a person worth caring about is something programmed: her connection to Boyd that transcends the imprints. What a great idea. It was there before, but never really explained, and for a show where the ostensible lead (I'm not convinced it shouldn't be Harry Lennix's Boyd) becomes someone new every episode, someone we don't know and may or may not care about, having this connection that resonates and continues regardless of who she becomes... Suffice it to say I liked it.

Ron has four episodes left to make the last four-ish years worth my while. Fingers crossed.

Joss has... hopefully more than four episodes left.

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