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.
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.
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.
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.