Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dollhouse: Season 2, Episode 10 – The Attic (2009)

The Attic is an episode about facing one’s fears, overcoming them and taking control. This is shown in a very literally manner, as Echo, Victor and Sierra are trapped in the Attic, which is described as being a recurring loop of each character’s worst nightmare. Echo and company must survive their nightmares and somehow escape, and in the process they discover the true nature of the Attic and a weakness of the Rossum Corp. Like Stop-Loss, the episode does a good job of bringing Echo, Victor and Sierra together and really establishing their bond, while solidifying the LA Dollhouse into a cohesive unit, much like what is shown in parts of Epitaph One. First time director John Cassaday (known for being a graphic novel artist, working with Joss Whedon on Astonishing X-Men) does a great job visualizing the dream world (I especially like the shot of the snow falling on the tree in the middle of the Dollhouse). It both feels real, but there is always a sense that something is off. The visual look of the Attic itself was interesting and creepy. The image of Echo being Saran-wrapped in and container filling with blue mush liquid and then prodded with probes in her head was almost too much (reminded me of the Earth outside the Matrix). Rossum just gets more and more evil with each episode. The purpose of the Attic was also quite interesting (if not Sarah Conner Chroniclesesk), using human minds working on overload fighting nightmares to process information and problem solve. The show throughout has had a theme involving identity and the notion of soul. Using humans merely as computers, and before with the group-think soldiers, Dollhouse continues to invite the argument that average humans are also dolls (if not willingly) possibly void of a soul, yet there is a soul lurking below, if only they were aware. The show would suggest that people take control of their own lives and not buy into the mundane elements of society that would dictate their lives. The Attic is stunning visually at times, which it should be given the director, and like the episodes before, it seems to set up the impending struggle between the LA Dollhouse (now bonded together to fight) and Rossum. 9/10
Dollhouse airs Fridays on Fox or can be seen on

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