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Black hole sun, won’t you come and wash away the rain?

October 23, 2011

Okay, so.  As of my writing this, I’m still in the process of watching Dollhouse (I’m up to Episode 11, “Briar Rose,” so I haven’t finished it yet), I haven’t read the comics nor have I done the other readings.  I apologize for that since…well…I blame Batman, EVE Online and also SMTown (thank you, South Korea, for all the pop music).  But!  I do want to give some thoughts regarding what I’ve watched in Dollhouse so far.  Also, this title comes from the Soundgarden song entitled “Black Hole Sun,” just so you know.

Anyway, so here I go about Dollhouse.  I tweeted not all that long ago that Dollhouse really reminded me of the anime “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.”  In one respect, Dollhouse also reminds me of EVE Online, but I’ll get to that.  The way I’m reminded of GitS is because of the fact that the dolls are essentially prosthetic bodies, just like the cyborgs in GitS.  Granted, the cyborgs in GitS have their own souls, or “ghosts,” implanted within them (basically, their souls taken from their previous bodies), but the principle is basically the same: the dolls are implanted with a certain set of characteristics that constitute their soul and can be implanted with other souls as necessary to fit the situation.

In a way, Dollhouse also reminds me somewhat of the Geth from the game series “Mass Effect.”  I think I’ve explained before that the Geth were originally robotic servants with no autonomy, but were eventually given some autonomy until they became sentient and rebelled against their Quarian masters.  The connection I made with Dollhouse is that we see Echo, who’s supposed to have no autonomy, gradually gaining autonomy through her recollection of past memories.  In a sense, I’m also reminded somewhat of the game “Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots” where almost all of the soldiers implanted with nanomachines (excluding Snake, of course) have all their memories suppressed, but once the nanomachines go offline (or if they’re messed with by Liquid), all those memories (and associated emotions) come flooding back.  It’s pretty heavy stuff, thinking about it.

Of course, before Echo, there was Alpha, who gained his autonomy and, like the soldiers in MGS4 once the nanomachines are gone, went berserk, killing and injuring numerous people in the dollhouse before escaping.  I’d be interested to see what happens with Echo later on in the series (I plan on finishing it after I post this entry).

So, how does this relate to EVE Online a.k.a Internet Spaceships?  Well…the game is set about 20,000 years in the future where human cloning is possible, and to add to that, widespread and commonplace.  Should the player’s ship and capsule (which contains the player’s “body”) be destroyed, a clone is activated that has the same personality & skills as the previous clone.  There’s a skill that allows the transferring of the player’s consciousness to another clone (called a jump clone), which is what really reminded me of Dollhouse.  Being able to transplant one’s consciousness to another body is fascinating.  I think it was Episode 9 or 10 that really explored this, as well as part of Episode 11 with Dominic’s consciousness being implanted in Victor’s body.

For now, that’s about all I’ve got.  And for those curious, the names of the dolls are after the NATO alphabet.  Here’s what I remember of it: A = Alpha, B = Beta, C = Charlie, D = Delta, E = Echo, F = Foxtrot, G = Gulf, H = Hotel, I = Igloo, J = ?, K = Kilo, L = Lima, M = Mike, N = November, O = October, P = ?, Q = Quebec, R = Romeo, S = Sierra, T = Tango, U = Uniform, V = Victor, W = Whiskey, X = X-ray (or Xavier), Y = Yankee, Z = Zulu.  I only forgot 2…not too bad.


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  1. I do not think your GitS idea works because all the cyborgs in that still had defined personalities and individuality. Even the Tachikoma’s, which are closer to the Actives in being all basic build robots gain individuality over the course of the series. If anything, I think it works better to say that GitS is the anti-Dollhouse, that where the primary story element of Dollhouse is the gaining of individuality after it has been suppressed, GitS is more about the suppression of individuality after cyberization.

  2. I think it is important to point out that when Alpha gained his autonomy, it was his original persona that came through and twisted him, but it was the mix of that and the “composite event” that led to not only his “insanity” (well, I’d argue his original persona was pretty insane), but his killing prowess.

    Interesting connection to Mass Effect, but I think it might be a little bit thin. The actives aren’t machines going insane; they’re humans who’ve had their original memories wiped (well maybe only supressed) and who are acting out based on latent features of their original personalities. (For example, Echo is lashing out against the Dollhouse and the Rossum corporation, but she is doing so based on latent bits–her hatred of corporate animal testing, for example–combined with the removal of the memory where she signed her life away.)

    That was a wall of inarticulate rambling. Sorry!

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