In Dollhouse, Eliza Dushku plays a young woman named Echo, a member of a group of people known as “Actives” or “Dolls.” The Dolls have had their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas, including memory, muscle memory, skills, and language, for different assignments. They’re then hired out for particular jobs, crimes, fantasies, and occasional good deeds. On missions, Actives are monitored internally (and remotely) by Handlers. In between tasks, they are mind-wiped into a child-like state and live in a futuristic dormitory/laboratory, a hidden facility nicknamed “The Dollhouse”. The story follows Echo, who begins, in her mind-wiped state, to become self-aware.
Beyond Dushku’s character, the show will also revolve around the people who run the mysterious “Dollhouse” and two other “Dolls”, Victor and Sierra, who are friendly with Echo. Although the Actives are ostensibly volunteers, the operation is highly illegal and under constant threat on one end from Paul Ballard, a determined federal agent who has heard a rumor about the Dolls, and an insane rogue Active on the other.
If you’ve liked Whedon shows (Buffy, Angel, Firefly) in the past, you will know that he often uses his shows to illustrate philosophical/sociological/psychological issues. This show is set to explore questions about what constitutes the ‘self’, and I am really looking forward to see how Whedon deals with issues of the self through this show. And don’t worry, I’ll be trying as best as I can to take illustrations from this show for our talk at the MBird Conference on “Grace and the self”.