Dollhouse: Final Thoughts

3 02 2010

So the show is over now, but was it a happy ending.  It did seem to end on a happy point.  Priya/Sierra and Tony/Victor are still together and have a family now.  The population has been restored to their pre-wiped/imprinted state and Adelle is going to help rebuild the world.  Topher gave up his life to redeem himself because of his creation, who honestly saw him becoming the Messiah figure of the show?

But the tech still exists, just waiting for someone to get their hands on it.  Caroline is going to be busy when she can finally leave the Dollhouse.  But at least she’ll have something to do when she leaves.  But one person cannot possibly get rid of all the tech responsible, even if she has a lot of people in her head.  Thankfully Rossum is probably long gone, their people in charge are most likely dead (at least their bodies are long gone) and their minds sitting on shelves.  If anyone is still around who was in charge, we didn’t hear about them.  Maybe people have learned their lesson and won’t use the tech.  But if we have learned anything about human nature, this is probably not the case.  While they might not destroy the future again, they probably won’t be ditching the tech itself.  The show has repeatedly made the point that once the tech exists, you can never get rid of it.  The genie will not go back in the bottle.  I can see a future full of brain hacking and other enhancements.  We saw a glimpse of this with the hand held imprinters with USB drive enhancements used by Tony/Victor’s badass crew.  Want to draw or learn to dance?  We have an imprint for that.


You Too Can Be Your Best (Also A Ninja!)

Then we get to Paul, who was killed.  Although an imprint of him was later uploaded into Caroline’s head.  You could see this as Alpha’s redemption.  He took Paul away from her once, now he gave him back.  You’ll remember that Alpha completely wiped Paul’s mind.  He only only saved by becoming a Doll and having an imprint of himself uploaded.  Although it wasn’t fully him, because his love for Echo was missing.  He did eventually seem to love her again, although she never told him how she felt.  Something that she truly regretted after he died.  Now they are together for as long as she lives, thanks to his imprint being part of her now.  But in my reading on forums, some people found this creepy, weird, and not really happy.  I guess it really depends on how you feel about the imprint process.

The last thing Rossum execs see.

(Not Pictured: Paul's Imprint doing nasty things)

Is an imprint of a person the same as the original person?  If you go with the human mind being information that is copyable, then is there a difference at all.  Take any random file on your computer, make a copy of it, now how are they different?  Other than you knowing which is which, of course.  Even if you do disagree with an imprint being a person, by that logic Paul died when he was wiped.  The same goes for the Dolls, their original personalities are imprints of who they were. Personally I considered the imprints to be just as human as you or I.  They simply lacked an actual past, even if they did have memories of one.  But even then, does it really make a difference.  If you remember something, it is real to you, even if didn’t really happen.  We know that memories can be created, mainly by hypnosis.  Unless you can bring up proof of it, a false memory is the same as a real memory.

A Little Something For The Ladies

Is one more real than the other?

A Little Something For The Ladies

Or are both equally Paul?

If you believe in the soul, there may be some issues to discuss.  Does the soul go onto the hard drive, can it be copied?  There is some argument to what was it allowing Victor and Sierra to remember being in love or what was it that allowed Echo to remember her goal of saving everyone.  You can call it the soul or whatever it is that truly makes us human, but something is surviving the wipes and imprints.

So, is the Paul in Caroline’s head the same as Paul when the imprint was made?  That’s the real question.  Now in the copied file analogy if you sent the copy to another computer, is it the same file?  I don’t think anyone will say that it isn’t or at least all the information is the same.  This text exists as a file on my netbook, I copied the information into the textbox on my blog.  The information is exactly the same.  So if we could copy the human mind in every detail, isn’t the Paul in Caroline’s head just as much Paul as the one who was imprinted into his own body?  It is if we go by that logic.  So Paul lives on, despite not having a body of his own anymore.  It isn’t ideal, but I can certainly think of worse places to be.  Like totally dead for one without a back up.  Whedon could have killed Paul and left Caroline alone like so many of his other characters.  I’m amazed that the couples on the show are largely intact, the only total lose was Topher/Bennett.  Although he did tease us with it, because even insane Topher still loved her.  (Aww, Curse You WHEDON!)

The same could be discussed with Mini Caroline, the imprint in the body of the 10 year old girl.  Despite being in another body, she was still Caroline.  I wish they had shown more interactions between her and Caroline.  The dynamics of two personalities in different bodies would have been interesting to see, especially after being teased by it with Topher and Topher 2.0 in Victor.

But in the end, she seemed happy about the whole thing.  Paul seemed pretty happy to be there too (although it could be part of the imprint if you want to be Debby Downer).  So I guess if they’re both happy, then it is happy and I can live with that.  It will certainly be an interesting relationship.  Paul in the head of his would-be kick ass girlfriend, along with a bunch of other women and a serial killer.  Has any of us ever been anywhere that interesting?  I certainly haven’t.  If I had an imprint chair, I wouldn’t mind being there myself.

For your convenience, here are my other Dollhouse articles in order.
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part Ten
Part Eleven
Part Twelve
Part Thirteen




6 responses

10 04 2010

Excellent article! Very insightful thoughts about Dollhouse’s Epitaph Two.

11 04 2010

Thanks for reading it.

11 04 2010

I think if you look at it not from the Paul perspective but from Echo’s perspective, then it becomes more clear. *The* Paul is gone. Shot and dead. She loved *the* Paul. She wished she had a way to telling him she loved him. What Alpha gave her was *a* Paul, just like mini-Caroline was *a* Caroline. Maybe not *the* Caroline. But from Echo’s perspective, Alpha gave her a way of talking to *a* Paul which may not be *the* Paul but is Paul in many ways so that eventually she can love him like she did *the* Paul and tell him that, rectify what she had missed the first time. In that way it is a happy ending.

11 04 2010

True. But the copy of Paul is still Paul. Although he now only exists in Echo/Caroline’s head. He still thinks and behaves like Paul and is everything that made Paul be Paul. We aren’t used to thinking of the human mind in that way, but the show did seem to hint at it like that. Still it may not be the perfect situation, but it works for her.

12 04 2010

I think I have to agree with Brit on this one. The Paul that was given to Caroline/Echo was a Paul that was living in Alpha’s head for the past couple of years. It is in essence a different Paul than the original because it went off and had different experiences from the original because he was a part of Alpha. So in the end, it’s a kind of trade off. She lost the Paul that has always been with her, by her side, day in day out for the past couple of years, but it was a Paul that had his love removed. The Paul she got in return was a Paul who technically never stopped loving her because he didn’t go through the process of being rewired, but at the same time he did not get to spend the last few years with her. There for it is a different file. If you and I were given the same story on a word doc and were then asked that we write up an ending for the story, we will invariably write different endings. While the story that was given to us was the same we changed the story, maybe even the whole tone of the story, by the separate endings we gave it. So she has a Paul in her mind, a different Paul than when we first started. Is this the same Paul? You could argue yes, but when you look at it, the answer is really no. They are fundamentally different because of the different experiences they had. That’s my thought. At this point I’d point out that I don’t see the copies or uploads as actually people because they lack souls. The person they are in does have a soul, but that soul does not validate the existence of the upload. It’s like asking me if I think androids can be considered people, they have the tech to imamate human expressions and reason but they are merely a created facsimile, often a composite, of experiences programmed. It doesn’t make them human, they lack the human soul. And I don’t think you can recreate that.

12 04 2010

You make an excellent point. Although I disagree a little on the issue of souls. Every time that they had an imprint that was a real person, such as Margaret, they truly acted like that person. The built imprints, did seem to have some qualities of the original personalities of the Dolls. There is a little something different about the imprints that were real people. Now if the head Paul is a copy of the original Paul, then he would be in a similar situation. The one that was with Echo/Caroline for 10 years was an imprint of Paul. But where does the soul of the person go during the wiping and imprinting process. At least with Sierra and Victor, there is some evidence that it stays in the body given their love for each other through the different imprints. Now with Paul, he was brain dead for a while before the imprint was put in. Was his soul inside him or now in Alpha’s head? I kind of feel that his love for Echo and desire to help her was a major part of him, this did transfer over to Alpha. In fact, this may be why he became a good guy by Epitaph Two.

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