Episode Reviews (19)
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This series isn't over until the Epitaph is sung.
As intriguing as the first 25 episodes of Dollhouse were (not including the original pilot), the series would be nothing without this finale. Epitaph 2 is to Dollhouse what Serenity is to Firefly; it ties up loose ends, prevents future apocalypses, and gives fans, at least this one, the assurance that our beloved characters are going to have as close to a happy ending as they can in their post-apocalyptic Earth. Of course, losing Ballard and Topher, like losing Shepard and Wash, wasn't easy; their deaths made me wish that I had no emotions like the dolls/dumbshows this series features. But after our tears fall and the heroes manage to restore things (again), we can appreciate that sacrifices must be made for the cause, and the ending is all the happier because Topher and Ballard made it possible.
Kudos to the writers for having Alan Tudyk and Summer Glau reprise their roles as Alpha and Bennett, respectively. The episode would have been perfect with a glimpse (or fleeting mention) of Ivy and Whiskey. But, for the most part, this episode is a well-executed end to a sci-fi series that made us laugh, yell, wail, and contemplate the implications of technology.
Epitaph 2; The End of Dollhouse
EPITAPH 2; The return
Very, very good ep, lovely way to round out the series and a great send off for the characters. Many, many nice little features including Harding and his allergy to shellfish again and Victor still having Ernesto the Acrobat in his memories.
Joss WHY NO COMMENTARY? You didn't do one for the last ep of Angel either. Or are you saving it for Special Edition DVDs to fund your new project? That said the dinner party is a nice touch.When Adele leads the Dolls into the streets outside where have all the butchers gone? The idea that Victor, Echo and Sierra have to hide underground for a year to escape Topher's pulse is just silly.
Alpha; "We're not freak shows. Well ok I am. And Echo. But Adele's a class act all the way"
Adele; "I'm glad you didn't clean up"
Alpha; "It spoke to the schizophrenic in me. Well, both of them actually"
Packing heat; everyone armed to the teeth. For a guy who says he doesn't like guns Joss puts a heck of a lot of them in his shows.
Echo kissage; 5
In the missing scenes we see that Echo/Rebecca got all kissy with Joel in the back of the van at the end of The Love Supreme
Naked musclemen in chains. Say what you like about Joss he gives us cheesecake but for boys AND girls of all tastes and persuasions.
Note the tender way Adele feeds Topher whom she refers to as 'darling'. She offers to die with him but he wants her to live. Mag seems to have the hots for Kilo and vice versa, Zone commenting that she now has the option to 'go down'. Adele and Echo finally embrace. The butchers are now wearing suits, do they represent the network executives that cancelled the show?
Notches on the Dollhouse bedpost; Paul and Echo appear to have become occasional sexual partners but not romantic lovers. Victor/Anthony and Sierra/Priya are lovers and have a son.
Echo; 7 definite, 2 possible
Topher; 1 possible
How'd they get away with that?
Paul is dead...(hmmm? Have I heard that somewhere before?). Once again shot in the head with his brains all over another character, in this case poor Mag.
Total number personalitites; note 'mini-me' refers to herself as Caroline? But in every other way she's Echo, able to access all the memories in her head. Ballard refers to 100 people in Echo's head. 101 including him. Suprisingly the series doesn't end with Caroline getting her body back, she's just one of the personalities in Echo's head.
Total LA dolls; Kilo again, for a second I thought it might be Ivy. We also have Romeo and Yankee
11-Echo, Sierra, November, Victor, Mike, Tango, Alpha, Whiskey, Kilo, Romeo, Yankee
Subverting the Hollywood cliche;
Psycho killer Alpha pops up in his usual sinister fashion....and get's a great big hug from everyone!
Bondage; Paul and Echo in chains
Sierra tied up; 2
Kills; Echo kills the Rossum honcho for the last time. Once they get into the fight with the Reavers...sorry butchers, you just lose track.
Sierra; 3 kills
Zone refers to Echo as a 'magically delicious superwhore'.
Know the face? Nate Dushku, Eliza's brother plays one of the Clive Ambrose's, he was also in the Angel ep 'Orpheus' as the armed robber in the doughnut shop.
18-Whedon alumni-Mark Shepherd-2 (Dollhouse/Firefly), Amy Acker-2 (Dollhouse/Angel), walking action figure-2 (Buffy/Dollhouse), Eliza Dushku-3 (Buffy/Angel/Dollhouse), Jim Piddock-2 (Angel/Dollhouse), Gregg Henry-2 (Dollhouse/Firefly), Alan Tudyk-2 (Dollhouse/Firefly), Felicia Day-2(Dollhouse/Buffy), Alexis Denisoff-3 (Buffy, Angel and Dollhouse), Kristoffer Pohala-2 (Dollhouse/Angel), Stacey Scowley-2 (Buffy/Dollhouse) Clyde Katulas-2 (Buffy/Dollhouse), Maurissa Tanchon-2(Dollhouse/Dr Horrible), Summer Glau-3(Angel/Firefly/Dollhouse) Glenn Morshower-2(Buffy/Dollhouse). Greg Collins-2(Angel/Dollhouse) Mike Massa-3(Buffy/Angel/Dollhouse), Nate Dushku-2(Dollhouse/Angel)
The deleted scene from this ep is reminiscent of the ending to The Tripods, Zone, Mag and mini-me stumbling across a deserted camp but ready to start again. You can't help but feel bad for Adele when she tries to pick up Victor in the bar in Stop Loss, he actually offers to take her home but she knows she's not the girl he's waiting for.
Reminds me of;
Wizard of Oz again, the 'great and terrible' Caroline. The method by which Rossum force Topher to work for them is similar to how Lorne is forced to work in Vegas in the Angel ep 'The House Always Wins'. Sierra/Priya appears to be auditioning for the remake of Little House on the Prarie. In contrast we have Mad Max Victor.
Whedon cliches; strawberries again! Also in Alpha we have the series greatest villain becoming the series greatest hero (Spike, Angel, Illyria, the agent in Serenity;the movie)
Maimed characters. Rich and powerful famillies who cover up the evil deeds of their wayward sons. Top security installations which aren't secure at all. Loving self-sacrificing mothers who risk all for their children. Corporate politics literally played with deadly seriousness. Monty Python quoting villains. Offices full of zombies. Strawberries. Sleeper agents. One girl who holds the secret to everything. Villains who become heroes.
Breaking the programming;
Note the butchers are now using guns, they're evolving too.
Questions and observations;
So what happened between the events of The Hollow Men and Epitaph 2? An awful lot it seems! Presumably everyone makes their way back to the Dollhouse once the world starts going to hell. What happens between Adele and Echo so that Echo is on the point of killing her in Epitaph One? Presumably the vaccine that makes everyone immune to imprinting is derived from Echo's spinal fluid as we saw in the previous ep? Does Alpha have the same ability and is that how he created safe haven? What does Topher go 'huh' for at the very last moment when he looks at the 'Remember' wall? Love Adele's new family, her, Zone and mini-me ex-Caroline, she can start again, ever the Shepherd leading them into the light (we've seen how good she is with kids from her relationship with Victor/Sierra's son). Alpha finds it amusing that Romeo refers to him as a 'luddite' (groups of disgruntled workers who opposed the industrial revolution). Nice that they could work Summer Glau into the final ep through Topher's vid.
So what happened to Ivy, Dominic, Alpha, Perrin, Whiskey etc? I guess we have to leave it to the fanfic? Who kept sending Ballard all the clues to the Dollhouse, was it Alpha? I like Joss' idea of Echo and co as the post apocalyptic A-team, I'd watch that.
Marks out of 10; 10/10
So that's Dollhouse. Good series and enjoyed it a lot. If I were to rate Joss's series I would score them as;
Buffy; 10/10-best TV show of all time
Angel; 10/10 (only beaten by Buffy because we had more Buffy eps)
For all you Browncoats who now want to lynch me maybe I'd like Firefly better if there'd been more eps but it only had 16 compared to 27 for Dollhouse, if Firefly had been given a greater chance it might have done better. I think Firefly's problem is that as a space show it was quite expensive in terms of special effects, costumes, sets, makeup etc whilst Dollhouse could be filmed just on an ordinary street. Looking back over the eps I'd say Epitaph 1&2 are my favourites with A Love Supreme and Man on the Street coming up behind them, Spy in the House of Love also in the top 5 and I have a soft spot for Haunted. I think Dollhouse had less of a sense of fun than Buffy or Angel although Topher was a funny character, it was all more grown up. The Dolls didn't grow on you in their dazed state and the other characters weren't sympathectic or charismactic enough. Certainly glad I watched it though, enjoyed it immensely. Apart from Eliza in sexy outfits the standout for me was Enver as Victor who really showed some amazing range and talent in his various Doll characters
An amazing episode of television for a show that I believe was far superior to its predecessor. I own Firefly but I watch Dollhouse!
Just needed to jump in with my two cents for all these Dollhouse haters who believe Firefly was somehow the superior show. It wasn't.
Firefly was axed long before Dollhouse because it failed on many more levels. What made Buffy, Angel and Dollhouse work was the world was built from the ground up. We start with a few characters who we love and the world and mythology is built from there. Firefly jumped right in with way to many lead characters to count, a very dull opening episode and throughout its 12 episode run only a few episodes that really engaged me. I have the DVD but have not watched it since my initial viewing of the series as a whole. The movie worked a bit better but ultimately what Dollhouse is is the answer to all these issues.
Dollhouse learnt from the mistakes of Firefly and ultimately became the superior show. While nothing Joss has created can compare to his Buffy universe that intrigued us and kept us watching for 8 years (I'm including Angel in that count), Dollhouse comes as a breath of fresh air after the dull as paint drying Firefly. Dollhouse ends with an amazing finale where characters we love die, questions we had are answered and the ideas of freedom and individuality are upheld. Echo also becomes Whendon's most complex hero. Sure she started as a vegetable but where the series leaves her is as this amazing heroine who gives up more for what she believes in then Buffy, Angel or Mal ever gave up.
A fantastic final episode to a masterpiece. It is sad the series only got two seasons and 26 episodes BUT they were an amazing 26 episodes that kept there audience on the edge of their seat. Thank you Joss for some of the most amazing hours of television I've ever seen. I am sure if Firefly can earn a movie, Dollhouse will not be far behind. Superior television at its best. :)moreless
A very tidy ending ...
Knowing the circumstances under which the show ended, I guess this is the best than could be expected. All along in Season 2 (especially the last half) the story arc was sped up and plot strands/reveals were compactly presented so that nary a stone was left unturned at the close. I guess from that perspective I am grateful and not left wondering what happened to X, Y, or Z.
I thought it was kind of cheesy for Echo to go back into the pod as the closing scene. But that is okay - I will let Whedon and Co have that moment.
Overall, I was a little apprehensive about seeing this show but in the end I am glad that I did. To be honest my expectations going in were pretty low and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually enjoyed the show. Sure there were those "whatever" moments - but how many shows DON'T have them. I felt like, in the end, my viewing time was worth it.moreless
So.. after two years, it is over. In ratings wise, it was astrophysical but I liked the show.. I liked the story and just like Epitaph 1 showed the full potential what could have been, the same happened with epitaph 2: it was all about the story what would have been developed, explained in depth if there would have been time but there wasn't and so some parts felt very rushed, there were lot of to take in put.. I still liked it.
It was very emotional and weird.. I never thought that show would make me cry but it did. I loved the developments.. some really good char moments but in all - it was conclusive.. it took it all together and gave a finish. Not all the series do that. So glad for that.moreless
Really, why did you hold this one out on us, come on!
This is the quality I wanted, probably for the past two seasons. Arggh, this was actually a cool idea for a series and they blew it! I want to have more episodes of this series, I don't know what the previous episodes were about, but this one was clear about the exact quality in producing, action and the acting by Eliza Dushku was unbelievable! This is the Dollhouse we want. Why did you wait until now to give us this one, why!
As you probably gathered from the ranting above, I was a bit disappointed by this one, and not in the 'this episode sucked' way, but in the 'this episode flew through the hills and now the series is being canceled' kind of way. Whedon should have started from scratch for Season two, he should have used the same style of this episode and portray possible flashbacks, anything better than what he gave us.
This was his plan all along, I knew it, he wanted us to give poor reviews and poor comments and he wanted us to criticize until we begged for a cancellation, his end game would be to shove it to us "You see, this is what you are going to be missing out on, I had good ideas", but that really sucks Whedon, that was a low blow.
It would be generous if someone could pick up the same style and change the overall name of the series. I mean really, I always admired the original idea of this series and I expected so much out of it. Instead of focusing on sending actives on engagements, or even during, they should have focused on developing characters like Boyd and the organization he worked for. Look at how beautifully Dushku pulled off that 'grief ridden' scene, the actors and actresses needed more room to bring out their true talents. My only regret on their part is that the chance is probably gone now, when we could have gotten so much more out of it.
Terrible, truly terrible.
Five Stars (...for the Finale)
This episode was simply amazing! It's now my favorite episode, but it so very saddens me that it will be the last! There are so many ways that this episode is great! I loved that Priya and Tony have a kid! Anything with Topher was powerful! Adelle's relationship with him in the Epitaph episodes was very sad and lovely! She was always there for him! Eliza Dushku was perfect in this episode! My favorite part of this episode was when she wass yelling at Priya but it was really how she felt about Paul dying and she completely broke down saying she's always alone! Oh and I LOVED so much that Alpha was a good guy! Alpha is amazing! It was so cute of him to give Echo Paul's mind! All and all, this episode was a perfect ending to a show that ended way to soon!moreless
The end has come
It's interesting to note that many fans also felt that the writers went a step too far with the Boyd reveal in "Getting Closer", and that it hobbled the ability to bring the resolution of the season/series to a fitting and satisfactory end. It's true that many writers manage to provide a near-perfect setup, only to struggle with the payoff. Joss Whedon has been more successful than others over the course of his career, but his writing teams are hardly immune.
Some have wondered if the existence of "Epitaph One" was the problem. Having set that future in stone, the writers were locked onto a path with a known destination. And with only twelve episodes to get from the first season finale to the basis for that apocalyptic future, the writers were facing down quite a challenge. In that respect, it's amazing that they managed to make it fit together as well as they did.
Yet I think that "Epitaph One" gave them a goal to achieve, which served to tighten the focus for most of the season. The only problem came when they tried to get too cute with the twists and turns. The Boyd/Whiskey reveal did explain why Rossum lost control of the tech, but it also made it impossible for some of the dots to be connected. Many of the "flashbacks" in "Epitaph One" are left with only the slightest hint of context, and the presence of Whiskey in 2019 doesn't fit at all.
Having now seen the series' conclusion, set after "Epitaph One" and bringing the story to a close, I'm even less enamored of the Boyd reveal. The time that was spent making that work could have been used to make better sense of Caroline's importance, Alpha's role in the grand plan, and the preparations made in the wake of Rossum's corporate beheading.
Ironically, while Caroline/Echo's unique nature was touted in "The Hollow Men" (however inconsistent with the earlier hints that Victor and Sierra had similar developing immunity), it had almost nothing to do with the final solution to the wiping problem. It just explained, more or less, why Echo was able to lead the resistance. But was a specific explanation necessary?
After all, her immunity to the wiping process was already evident, and left alone, it also would have made more sense. Consider that the implication for most of the second season was that a certain percentage of Dolls would, over time, develop composite personalities that were, in essence, reflections or "echoes" of their original selves. The more a Doll was wiped and reprogrammed, the more likely the compositing would take place.
Left alone, this would have explained why so many of the Dolls survived to make it to Safe Haven, and why they would be able to resist the tech. It also could have formed the basis for the restoration of civilization: that there were some pockets still out there surviving, having developed composite immunity over time. Topher's final solution might have still been the same, but at least it would have connected better than the ultra-specific explanation given for Echo's development.
As it is, this series finale was merely functional. It didn't have the stunning gravitas of "Epitaph One". There wasn't the same crushing sense of hopelessness. Part of that was the recognition that the only resolution, once Topher came on the scene, would be a successful mission to save what was left of the world. Topher's final act of genius would, in one instant, wipe out the remnants of Rossum's middle-management, kill the tech, and give humanity a chance to rebuild. Even with tragedy along the way, it had to end on that semi-optimistic note. I just couldn't see Joss taking it the other, far more crushing direction.
The presence of two Caroline's never seemed to pay off, despite early hints that there would be a purpose to it. The tension between Anthony and Priya was a bit unexpected, but it was a natural enough extension of Anthony's appreciation of his tech-based mojo in "The Hollow Men" for it to make sense. Thankfully, the writers chose to allow Anthony and Priya to find happiness with their son; that's a rare commodity in a Joss production.
The showdown with Harding and Ambrose simply did not work, largely because the actors were annoying and there wasn't enough time to give the audience a reason to care. It was one of those moments that had to be there to ensure that the audience understood the link between "The Hollow Men" and this episode, but it just felt rushed. And Neuropolis was the sort of thing that sounds clever in the writing room, but is just corny on-screen.
I already mentioned the issue with Whiskey. Fans that never saw "Epitaph One" will never think to ask the question, but how did Whiskey go from being a meat-suit for Clyde 2.0 to the bizarre servitor of the Dollhouse in "Epitaph One"? There wasn't even a hint of how that happened. And since the copy of Caroline only served to bring Zone and Mag to Safe Haven via Neuropolis, it just wasn't a great payoff to Whiskey's apparent importance in that prior episode.
Also, there was never a payoff to Dominic's presence in the Attic, beyond triggering some of what happened in "Getting Closer". I was hoping that "Epitaph Two" would tie up that particular loose thread, even in passing, and it never happened. It seems as though the trip to the Attic was to provide some necessary exposition and give the characters something of an early warning sign, and nothing else. Considering some of the implications from "The Attic", that was a letdown.
While a lot of the problems were a lack of follow-through on previous plot and character threads, there was also a problem with execution. This series finale may have been too ambitious for its own good. Many of the action set pieces were terribly staged, and poorly directed. The writers tried to mitigate the issue within the dialogue, but it's clear that the budget and shooting schedule issues got in the way of meeting the original intentions.
While I thought a lot of things didn't quite work, and that the writers failed to live up to the promise of "Epitaph One", there were things I did like. First and foremost, Topher's final moments were an amazing turn for the character. Topher's character arc was one of the best aspects of the series. As central as Echo was to the entire progression of the plot, Topher became one of the reasons to keep watching.
I also loved how well the writers handled the Echo/Alpha/Paul subplot. It was never overtly explained, but Alpha was clearly changed by the inclusion of Paul's mind into his composite personality. And when Paul died, Alpha understood that there was nothing to be gained by having Paul erased from his brain like the rest of his mental menagerie. His final gift to Echo, a copy of Paul to upload into her mind for the rest of her life, was a beautiful payoff to "A Love Supreme".
It's unlikely that the writers could have given the series a sense of full resolution with this episode. At best, the plot and character arcs would have been given some degree of closure, and for the most part, that's what was accomplished. The rough nature of the resolution is largely a symptom of circumstance; the writers did what they thought was best with the time they had left. It's probably no surprise that some of the choices wouldn't quite work, and it's unfortunate that many of those questionable choices were concentrated at the end of the run.
On the other hand, I'm still left with a desire to see where the story would go from here. I understand that Joss has said that he considers "Dollhouse" to have come to its end with this finale, and that there are no plans for a "Dollhouse: Season 3" comic book treatment. And this does work well enough as a firm ending. For my own part, I'd love to see how the world would recover from a long-term disaster on this scale.
Whatever the case, "Dollhouse" has come to its end, and Joss Whedon managed to tell a relatively complete story despite poor ratings, network intervention, and a flawed premise. I personally feel that the story as a whole mitigates much of the early criticism of the premise, though there are aspects that will always be put to understandable question. So perhaps it makes sense that "Epitaph Two" is a flawed but ambitious finale to a flawed but ambitious series.moreless
In the conclusion to Epitaph 1 (from the season 1 DVD), the Dollhouse characters seek to restore the chaotic results of the tech implemented by the founders of Rossum in Season 2. This wraps up the show well.
I do not want to write this as a spoiler, as so many others have, so I'll be brief.
Dollhouse was a great show, and Joss pulled out all the stops for this final episode. Though I've read negative reviews, this was an emotion-packed episode, and was a great ending to the show. I do recommend Epitaph 1 (S01E13) from the DVD first, as this is the continuation of it. I felt like this episode brought things in the show together well and brought redemption and conclusion to the characters. This episode made the series worth watching.
To those who thought this episode was lame, I'm not sure if you were really watching the show all along. The rest of the episodes made me really care about the characters, and maybe the reason this episode was not meaningful was that you did not care about the characters. Sure, there were some random things in there, but 10 years (2009-2019) of insanity in the world can explain why the characters would band together. Ten years changes people somewhat.moreless
Excellent ending to a hit or miss series.
Dollhouse has to be one of the most frustrating television series of all time, starting each season with a series of bland, episodic, uninspired episodes and then flipping over midway into a series of brilliant stories following a compelling story arc. The final episodes of season two perfectly typify what the series could have been if it had focused entirely on the story arc and pushed the episodic stuff to the background, and Epitaph 2 wraps up the series beautifully, creating a compelling distopia.
The big problem with Epitaph 2 is that a lot of people never saw epitaph 1, and it is perplexing that the network did this. If you didn't download that first Epitaph, or see it on the DVD, then you're likely to be completely confused by the finale. I did see it, but that was a while ago and I would have loved a more detailed refresher in the show, but it was obvious Dollhouse was overlong as is (the show weirdly cuts out about 2 seconds before it should at the end, which is rather jarring).
In spite of being confused by who some of the people introduced in Epitaph 1 were, I thought it was a fascinating episode. The best thing bout it was the tech-heads who have become enamored with the technology to the point where they keep USB drives of personality traits around their necks and talk to each other in tech-slang (one face-to-face argument ends with a stern "log off!"). There are a few real shocking moments in the show, Topher is fascinating in his mentally unstable state and there are many telling encounters. I was pretty shocked when I see TV.com viewers had only rated the episode as 6.something, but I do think that is at least a partial reflection of people not having seen Epitaph 1.
A great ending to a half-great series.moreless