Now, don't get me wrong -- Joss Whedon has a way with words. Every other word out of his characters' mouths has me rolling on the floor in hysterics. But his true genius -- the talent of his that really, truly caves in my skull, as if with a large rock -- is his ability to deliver the funny dialogue right up to the point where he decides that you are no longer allowed to laugh. That's when he sticks the knife in you, or throws you the curveball, or drives your tour bus off a cliff, whichever "shock and awe" metaphor floats your metaphorical watercraft.
My title comes from the third and final act of Whedon's online musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, specifically the song/speech performed by hero Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion) in this chapter. "It's not enough to bash in heads," he sings at the dedication of the homeless shelter he helped create. "You've got to bash in minds." This is of course, his ham-handed way of saying that maybe getting people to think about the homeless and stuff is just as good as fighting villains. But you could totally take that and apply it to what Whedon does. His shows aren't just about girls fighting vampires, or space cowboys fighting space cannibals or a mad scientist fighting a giant tool. They're about life, and what better way to remind viewers of that than by telling them that life sometimes sucks?
There are two major shockers in the finale -- I won't spoil them for you, although just telling you they're there is probably still somewhat of a dick move. But I will say that I was underimpressed by the "getting ready for battle" song, having lived through "Walk Through the Fire" from Buffy the Vampire Slayer's musical episode and come out a new man. I was also underimpressed by Hammer's speech/song, until he dropped the "bash in minds" line, as well as another one in which he hypothesizes that if home is where the heart is, then home is in your chest. However, the entire chapter turned around for me once Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) showed up to kill the Hammer -- of course, what doesn't get better with the addition of Neil Patrick Harris? (Answer: A Neil Patrick Harris assassination attempt. Think about it.)
I won't tell you Horrible's fate, but I will tell you that he finally appears before Bad Horse and his Evil League of Evil, and it is wondrous. None of the other members are identified on-screen, but the credits reveal that two of them are "Dead Bowie" and "Fake Thomas Jefferson." If that's not a reason to stay through the credits, I don't know what is.
To read what NPH addict Mindy had to say about Act 1, click here; for Whedon novice Lauren G.'s reaction to Act 2, click here. To read Angel's blow-by-blow recap of all three acts, click here. And to talk about this in our forums, click here!
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