On Dollhouse

The Redemption of Topher Brink

By Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Almost from the moment we met him, my favorite Dollhouse
character was Topher Brink. This seemed odd, because it
quickly became evident that Topher was one of the least sympathetic
of the characters. Checking the internet in early season
one confirmed this: people hated Topher.

The things that made Topher unlikable were, in some sense,
the same things that made him interesting to me. He was a brilliant,
unapologetic geek, socially awkward and arrogant. He
knew what he knew and thought that he knew everything–
which meant (in the hands of Joss Whedon) that he was destined
to get his world shaken up the most.

And that was precisely what happened. The second season
of Dollhouse forced him to confront the failure of his own vision
of reality. Topher’s journey was the hero’s journey, a personal
odyssey that took him from the safe, known realm into the
unknown, and then forced him to return again, transformed into a new heroic identity. His personal transformation was surpassed
only by Echo’s. Topher, as much as Echo, was the hero
of the Dollhouse saga.

Topher Wouldn’t Use the Word “Genius,” But . . .

For a long time, I didn’t get why Topher was so hated. Initially,
I thought that this hatred was primarily a reaction to his arrogance,
which reeked of The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper
with a wee bit of Buffy’s Warren thrown in.

But the hatred of Topher went beyond just disliking  …

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