May 02 2009

The Mysterious Alpha Revealed on Dollhouse

Published by at 11:49 am under Reviews,Television

briar-rose.jpg

No, it’s not that little girl. Although that would have been awesome.

Last night Dollhouse kicked it into overdrive, and it’s about time, considering next week is the series season finale. At long last we finally learned the identity of rogue Doll, Alpha, and got to see him cause a little carnage.

I’ve been a fan of Dollhouse for a while now, but one problem with the show I have is how they’ve handled Alpha this whole season. The first few episodes revealed clues as to “the incident” involving Alpha’s composite and subsequent staff massacre and even nearly a peak at his identity (but mostly his naked ass). The suspense was building quite effectively, when suddenly one day:

Gone.

Alpha dropped off the Dollhouse radar for a good what? Six, seven, eight episodes? Once in a blue moon something would go wrong and everyone would say “Oh it could be Alpha,” but then it wouldn’t be and we’d forget about him all over again.

But now we’re at the season’s close, and it’s time to learn about the man of the hour. I’ve saved the spoilers for after the jump.

As soon as Ballard pulled up the file on his computer which showed Alan Tudyk’s goofy mug, I knew he was Alpha. I had heard Tudyk was playing the part after the pilot, but I never had any “official” confirmation. The alternate theories were that Alpha was either Ballard himself or Sean Maher (Simon Tam from Firefly). I really wanted it to be Maher instead of Tudyk, and Ballard would have never made sense at all.

alpha.jpg

Ta-da(-yk)!

But Tudyk is awesome in his own right, and even though he spent 90% of the episode as a sniveling environmental engineer, you can still see the potential he has to make the character awesome. His slicing of Victor’s face was probably the greatest thing that’s happened all season (though I feel bad for actor Enver Gjokaj, who’s going to need a scarred up doll?).

Alpha helped Ballard infiltrate the Dollhouse under the guise of cluelessness, then took control once Ballard was out of the way. I have to wonder how exactly Alpha knew to take on the identity of that engineer, and wait in that house at that specific time for Ballard to show up, and why he needed Ballard at all to infiltrate the place, but hey, Alpha’s a genius, so no questions.

Alpha put Echo in the chair, and turns her into….someone. Presumably a long lost (or dead) love. They escape together and next week  promises “all your questions will be answered,” and seems to be a kind of Alpha origin story. I don’t think these last two episodes have been particularly well laid out, cramming the entire Alpha plot into such a short frame. I think they would have been better off spreading it out a tad more over the season, but whatever, here we are.

It seems that Alpha has invented his own memory chair, which explains how he can take on new identities at will. That makes him all the more terrifying, because not only does have a composite of all the layers that were put into him in the Dollhouse, he can actually go out and get new and even more dangerous ones as well, and presumably can switch between one or all of them at will.

So even though I don’t think Alpha’s reveal was particularly well planned, it was satisfying to watch. I just wish we got to see him to a bit more fighting, as I’m afraid we might not have a season 2 to see him in full-action mode.





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