Musings of a fandom geek

Sometimes, you’ve just got to say “The laws of time and space? Who gives a smeg?”

“There’s no happy ending – not for me, anyway.”

Posted by Michael Warren on July 19, 2008

Here’s how it ends…

The final part of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog has gone live. And you have just 24 hours to enjoy it. But how does this climatic act measure up against the spectacle that has been the two so far?

Spoilers within.

I felt somewhat disappointed by the ending, to be honest. I don’t know how much of that was the result of frustration at my internet connection – which fell apart late afternoon on Thursday, and still hasn’t recovered – only allowing brief connection which meant I had to view the episode in a very disjointed way.

This climactic act didn’t start off all that well for me. I didn’t feel that the montage sequence worked all that well – despite cameo appearances by David Fury and Marti Noxon – and Captain Hammer’s speech also left me cold. It felt rather crude at times. Dr. Horrible’s appearance improved things, with another brilliant singing performance by NPH. And you knew things wouldn’t go as planned, and that something terrible would happen.

Of course, Whedon kills the girl. It would be nice if he didn’t do that.

It’s interesting how the ending suggests that although Horrible (because he is Horrible now – there’s almost nothing of Billy left) now has everything he wanted – fear, recognition, Captain Hammer defeated, membership of the League – he’s become an empty shell (and the use of the outfit to indicate this – whereas before he wore it on the blog, and rarely outside, now its only in the blog that he drops the facade, mentally and physically – is subtly done). It’s a bit disappointing, though, that we didn’t get more reaction to Penny’s death.

This final act might improve upon viewing it as part of the whole, in the DVD release that we’ve already been told is coming, but surely won’t be too far away from release. But it felt somewhat… lacking. And that’s a shame.

Overall? An ambitious project, and it succeeded spectacularly. Despite my disappointment with Act Three, it’s still a good piece of visual programming (can’t say television). It was strongest in Act Two, with my two favourite songs both appearing there – “On the Rise” and “Brand New Day”. In my mind, the best performance came from Neil Patrick Harris, with Felicia Day very close behind. Nathan Fillion, as mentioned in my review of Act Two, felt somewhat underused, and the character was a bit too unlikable. The music was powerful and varied – each song was audibly different from the rest, with a myriad styles of music displayed.

I hope we get to see more in this vein from these actors and crew soon – obviously, a follow-up to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog would be without Felicia (a tragedy, in my opinion), but something that perhaps focuses on her or Nathan Fillion might be a good next move.


2 Responses to ““There’s no happy ending – not for me, anyway.””

  1. Daniel Klein said

    After seeing Act 2, I was mulling over potential ways to wrap this up. Nothing satisfying came to mind. I guess there could have been a petty struggle between Dr H and Capt H, with Penny ending up disgusting by both, returning us to “the status quo”, that is the situation at the beginning of act I–obviously no good. Dr H could have killed Capt H, but there would have been no way to pull that one off without making Dr H look like an ass. He can’t just be a straightforward villain, obviously, since this setting has such a twistiness to it. So that was out of the question as well. A truly happy end? I don’t know, Penny seeing Capt. H for the stupid ass he is and ending up with Dr H? And then what, the good Doctor dodging Bad Horse and hanging up the goggles? No way.

    The more I think about it the more I see that Joss set this one up to come to an inevitable end: the one he wrote. All of a sudden we’re reminded that we ARE seeing the story of an evil man, after all. A story of redemption has no place in this setup, thus it can only be the coming-of-villainage, the origin story of Dr. H.

    Having read your review twice now I still fail to see the part where you point out WHY you disliked the ending. Okay, so you didn’t like the songs so much, your internet connection was spoiling the fun for you, but otherwise? It felt… lacking? How so? Of course I was shocked when the Penny death reveal happened, and of course I tried to look for ways to help Doc save her, which is a good indicator that I was attached to the character, but once the shock had beautifully settled in, I looked back and realized, yeah, like this and no other way. It ended the way it had to.

  2. I felt the same way actually, the ending left me disappointed. It may have been the way it “had to end”, but it still fell a little flat for me. Maybe it was the abrupt switch from lighthearted humor to dark drama or maybe it was just that I needed a little more humor and less depression in my life today, but I was left feeling bummed as the credits rolled. I adore Joss but it seems like killing some important character at the end has almost become expected. I was hoping for the unexpected.

    That said, I still plan to enjoy it again on Itunes and I do admire the project as a whole. And I am thrilled NPH is now an official Whedon alum. Loved hearing him voice Whedon lines. If there is a sequel, I will be there!

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