First aired in 2009 and only staying on for two seasons, "Dollhouse" sprang from the imagination of acclaimed writer-director-producer Joss Whedon. The series focused on a futuristic society in which identity swapping was not just a heady concept but also a profitable business venture. "Getting Closer," an episode from the second season of the series, written and directed by Tim Minear, represents both the intricate complexities and problematic challenges of a show in which characters' identities can be swapped, rearranged and switched.
The series centers around the futuristic technology of imprinting, which allows wealthy customers of so-called Dollhouses transfer their psyches to another person's body through the process of imprinting. The other person to whom the psyche is transferred is called an Active. The main character of the series, Caroline, was once a student activist who opposed the illegal activities of Rossum Corporation, the company that controls the imprinting technology. Caroline and her boyfriend illegally break into Rossum's headquarters, which, along with the boyfriend's subsequent death, sets the series in motion. "Getting Closer" explores how the staff of Rossum's Los Angeles Dollhouse work to find Caroline as she sneaks through their facilities.
The "Getting Closer" episode of "Dollhouse" features Caroline, DeWitt, Echo, Priya, Anthony, Topher, Ivy, Ballard, Bennett, Dominic and Boyd. Caroline, a student activist who eventually becomes the alter-ego of the main character of the series, flees from the staff of the L.A. Dollhouse. DeWitt, the highest official of the L.A. Dollhouse, debates how to capture and imprint Caroline with her employees, Echo, Priya, Anthony, Topher, Ivy, Ballard and Boyd. Echo, the main character of the series, is the Active onto which Caroline is to be imprinted. Boyd acts as Echo's handler and security official. Topher operates the imprinting software at the L.A. Dollhouse, along with his assistant Ivy. Bennett is the operator for the D.C.-based Dollhouse that once conspired with Caroline to destroy Rossum facilities. Dominic provides security for the L.A. Dollhouse. Ballard is the FBI agent assigned to investigate the murder of Caroline's boyfriend. Priya/Sierra and Anthony/Victor are two other Actives in the L.A. Dollhouse.
The plot of "Getting Closer" occurs in several distinct times. The main action occurs in what is the present for the show. This action centers around the attempted capture and imprinting of Caroline inside Rossum's L.A. Dollhouse. Throughout this action, various flashbacks reveal important historical events that provide context for the series. These events include the initial meeting between Caroline and the D.C. Dollhouse operator named Bennett, a conversation between Dewitt and Dominic, in which the latter informs the former about footage of Caroline's break-in, and a sabotage attempt by Bennett and Caroline, in which Caroline escapes inside the facility while Bennett becomes trapped by falling rubble.
Reviewers, including Jevon Phillips from the "Los Angeles Times" and Eric Goldman of IGN, all noted the intense pacing and head-spinning complications of the episode. Each recognized director Tim Minear's ability to cram a lot of information into a single episode, but also acknowledge that the hurried pacing of the show could have been spread out over several episodes or even an entire season.
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