Saturday, May 09, 2009

Needing to be Madeleine for a While

I just finished watching last night's season finale of Dollhouse. Loved it. Alan Tudyk as a multiple personality psycho is the right mix of sad and threatening--Dollhouse is set in a world without people who are fundamentally good or evil, which you get the sense is something Whedon must have felt very constrained by in the Buffyverse--so the sympathetic scenes for the villain character in Dollhouse work better than any other of the kind in previous Whedon series. It kind of reminded me of the best moments with Sylar on Heroes, but really with a lot more going on. Alpha bringing up Nietzsche was excellent, though I'd have liked some mention of Nietzsche's "master/slave" dichotomy. Echo's dismissal of the ubermench idea is a little ironic as she saved the day by being something like an ubermench while Alpha unwittingly fell into the slave mentality--his actions were defined by what other people had done to him while Echo, as some sort of free floating collage of identities, was able to observe and evaluate the facts of the situation for their true value, whether they came from Alpha or Caroline.

The characters having conflict with their own personalities might be a red herring, but it's a delightful red herring. Whiskey asserting that she knows who she is without knowledge of her original personality is a great, subtle counterpoint to Alpha's and Echo's default personalities asserting themselves behind the imprints. Is it because the scars have defined Whiskey now? Is that inherently good or bad?

And finding out the Millie active's real name is "Madeleine Costly"--I told you this was Vertigo: The Series. "Costly" may have been overselling it a little, but maybe not.

There're still flaws--mainly in how both Ballard and Echo evidently capitulated easily in order to wrap up the episode. But, I have to say it . . . whether or not this is Whedon's best series, it's by far the series I've enjoyed the most. What seemed like a safe idea at first has worked out to be more ambitious than Firefly and more cohesive than anything Whedon's done before. With Hitchcock references.

My tweets from last night;

Save-on guy's afraid of 1am drunks.
CVS now--too many syllables.
Anyway, his Christ has no time for punks.
Or cussing or car speaker decibels.

For some reason, the clean cut blond kid behind the counter thought I looked like his comrade and kvetched to me about the drunks who were there and who were--steel yourselves--using foul language! Even the young lady with them, who didn't seem drunk, was using some bad words!

I was at the CVS after 1am buying pasta sauce--Ragu is all they had, and it turned out to be as disgusting as I thought it would be. I was reminded of Henry Hill at the end of Goodfellas when he said he asked for spaghetti and marinara and got "egg noodles in ketchup". The shit poured out of the bottle like blood contaminated with spoiled fruit juice.

But it was my only choice--it was after 1am, as I said, and not as many places are open twenty four hours now with the economy as it is. And the reason I got to grocery shopping so late was that I lost track of time at Tim's taking screenshots of Oblivion;

This is my own Madeleine--I named and loosely modelled her after Kim Novak in Vertigo;

Not too bad, if I do say so myself, considering I was working from memory. Oblivion, much like Mother Nature, doesn't make eyebrows like Novak's in Vertigo.

This is Madeleine in her optimal gear, which she doesn't really need to wear anymore as I used all my experience of playing the game for three years to make her the perfect character--she's an expert in everything, which is a little trickier to do in Oblivion than it was in Morrowind. But everything she's wearing is available in the game, except for the sword which is part of a really nice weapons mod Tim and I found who knows how long ago.

Here she is in something more comfortable;

Three years after its release, I still think Oblivion's the best looking game out there. This set of shots were taken in the southern swamps of The Shivering Isles;

Archery practice--the Mongolian recurve bow is part of the same weapons mod, the arrows are regular elven arrows.

In an area called "The Fringe" now, sort of the gateway area between The Shivering Isles and Cyrodiil, where most of Oblivion is set.

Madeleine's using a khukri in a lot of these images--another part of that weapons mod.

Back in Cyrodiil now.

Someone's killed a deer.

This is another character--Henrietta. I have a bunch of different characters saved--this one was only level 12. I can't quite remember what I was doing with her--I think she was going to be a fighter.

Henrietta watching a night owl farmer.

On a ship's deck, docked at the western port town Anvil.

This is Josette, named and modelled after Josette Day. A little less successful with this one, I think.

This character's name is Laura Palmer--I don't think I made any conscious attempt to model her after Sheryl Lee. She's of a demonic species called Golden Saint, which is not a race the player's normally able to use--I unlocked the race with a simple mod I made myself.

This is a dark elf named Finch, who I seem to remember making as a mage character, though it looks like I trained her in blade at some point.

Finch again, with a candid shot of a zombie in the background.

Josephine in the besieged town of Kvatch. She's wearing the mask of the Grey Fox, which you get when you complete all of the thieves' guild quests--the head of the thieves' guild is the notorious Grey Fox who passes the mask and identity on to you a la The Dread Pirate Roberts.

Josephine in another outfit--the clothes and hair are both from mods.

This is not one of my characters--I mean, it's not a character I use, but it's a character I made as part of a mod. Basically, I'd beaten the game so many times and in so many ways, I decided to create a challenge for myself with this ultra powerful character. I placed her in a chapel in the town of Bravil, and when you enter the chapel, she starts slaughtering everyone. She'll leave the chapel, too, as you can see here, and begin terrorising all of Cyrodiil. I forgot what I named her, so let's just call her The Killer.

Here The Killer fights a khajiit and one of Bravil's town guards at the bottom of the nearby river--my own character isn't pictured because I'd untethered the camera to take screenshots. This melee just spontaneously started up while I was busy getting shots of something else--I'd forgotten releasing The Killer in this saved game. The particular guard she's fighting automatically resurrects a few minutes after being killed because he's a character important to one of the quests. So she kills him over and over again.

The Killer swimming along the bottom of the river.

Jaws cam. The guard, on the right, has just awoken. He's probably wondering where he is. The Killer approaches from the left.

The spell she's casting on him is probably a disintegrate armour or weapon spell. That's why everyone's fighting her with fists now--the reason she's using fists is probably that she's been busy for a while and has worn down her weapons, even though I'm sure I gave her very durable equipment.

The two break the surface for a moment.

The Killer has found my character, in this case a low level magic user named Ellen. She falls quickly.

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