Season 2 Episode 8

A Love Supreme

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Dec 11, 2009 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
416 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Alpha returns and goes after Echo's past romantic clients, killing them one by one.

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  • A Love Supreme

    The good;

    Great to see Alpha back (NICE suit! Dominic would approve), also glad they spared Joel, he was by far my favourite of all of Echo's clients. Gorgeous scene at the end where he says goodbye to Echo and she assumes the Rebecca personality for him, one last time, telling him that his dead wife wouldn't want him to be alone. Really is a rollercoaster that kicks in and never stops. Once again a great performance from Enver as the shrink but Alan Tudyk is the unquestionable star.

    The bad;

    If Alpha is a Doll why not use Topher's gizmo we saw in The Public Eye to knock him out?

    Best line;

    Topher; (upon learning that Terry Karens is still in Echo's mind) "So she's a serial killer?"

    Boyd; "Only a little"


    Echo; (as Topher introduces himself) "We've met Topher, don't you remember?"


    Topher; (realising the quantum shift in Echo's abilities) "I'm obselete. This must be what old people feel like. And Blockbuster"

    also like

    Joel; "It's just this morning I was engaged to a great girl and this afternoon I'm hiding out with my dead wife"

    not to mention;

    Boyd; "You have to put it together?"

    Topher; "It's called the manufacturing room, not the 'It's finished' room!"

    Packing heat; Boyd and Ballard with their pistols. Bit surprised Adele doesn't have a gun stashed somewhere. Apparently the staff have tranquliser guns but not in the house itself.


    Boyd; 9

    Dominic; 9

    Sierra; 4

    Victor; 3

    Ballard; 11

    November; 1

    Echo kissage; 4

    Kinky dinky;

    Sierra's personality is naughty and aware of it. She's been done wrong 10 days to Sunday and it's still Tuesday.

    Capt subtext;

    Dr Victor wonders if Adele is actually jealous of Echo the virgin/whore, much to Topher's amusement? Alpha is quite the dandy, he cites famous Georgian-era socialite Beau Brummel. One of Echo's past engagements was a lesbian who married her in San Francisco in what Boyd describes as a 'lovely ceremony' (YAY!) but was killed by Alpha (BOO! Why do so many lesbian characters die on TV?). At least one other of her past romantic clients was a woman called Angie Demeron. Alpha asks if Ballard is gay. Echo tells Adele that they'll 'Hug it out later'. Alpha declares one of his personalities was an Eagle Scout and the other a sailor which must combine to some form of dirty joke?

    Notches on the Dollhouse bedpost; Frank Pierce, Echo's repeat romantic engagement

    Echo; 6 definite, 2 possible

    November; 1

    Ballard; 1

    Victor; 1

    Adele; 1

    Sierra 1

    Topher; 1 possible

    How'd they get away with that?

    Somehow Alpha's knife is all the nastier for having that fish-gutting mini-hook at the front. Poor Matt Cargill (motorbike/bondage guy from the very first episode) get's blown to smithereens with Boyd and Ballard picking their way through his viscera.

    This weeks fantasy;

    . Frank Pierce who wants his sister-in-law to fall in love with him

    What do we think of the client?

    .Once again, if you lust after your sister in law it's probably quite a moral option to hire a proxy so you can live out your fantasies without wrecking your brother's marriage.

    Total number personalitites; Sierra is a glammed up Ava Gardener style film noir femme-fatale, Victor is a psychiatrist, Echo is Rebecca for Joel and Susan for Frank Pierce

    Echo; 36

    Sierra; 13

    Victor; 11

    November; 3

    Total LA dolls; There are now a couple of hundred Dolls in the house and Echo is the most popular active they have.

    9-Echo, Sierra, November, Victor, Mike, Tango, Alpha, Whiskey, Kilo

    Addy is a bit British;

    Alpha says he loves Addy's British knack for understatement, Monty Python and uses the hunting call 'Tally-ho'

    Subverting the Hollywood cliche;

    Adele confesses to Alpha that she's scared out of her mind and tries to bargain with him, offering Echo and Joel. She says her chivalry has been overcome by her sense of self preservation.

    Bondage; Echo in a straightjacket and Ballard tied to the chair

    Sierra tied up; 1

    Ballard; 2

    Echo; 3

    Knocked out; Topher and Ballard by Victor

    Echo; 6

    November; 1

    Sierra; 1

    Victor; 1

    Topher; 3

    Ballard; 1


    Sierra; 3 kills

    Echo; 3


    Dolls injured;

    For once it's the Dollhouse staff who get the stuffing beaten out of them, at least one being killed.

    Happy hookers;

    Dr Victor states that Echo is a virgin/whore and is celebrated for the fact. Ballard describes himself as Echo's pimp. Alpha wants to tally Adele's ho's.

    Know the face?

    15-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)

    Reminds me of;

    Victor does a great Woody Allen and rather reminds me of Dr Joel Fleischman from Northern Exposure. Topher makes reference to Return of the Living Dead and Harry Potter whilst Alpha refers to Stephen Sondheims epic 'Send in the Clowns' and 'Nothing more than feelings' , maybe he spent the summer on Broadway, hence the suit? He also refers to Yogi Bear and sounds a little like Snagglepuss "Who doesn't love a pun?". He describes Echo as his 'immortal beloved' which is a reference to Mozart.

    Whedon cliches;

    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.

    Breaking the programming;

    Even Topher doesn't know what Echo is any more. She can resist Alpha's signal which sends the other Dolls crazy.

    Questions and observations;

    You always figured people would get addicted to the Dollhouse and like all addictions lead them to ruin. A truly stunning ep, easily the best of season 2 and possibly the best so far. I'd never actually watched Firefly until after I'd watched Dollhouse Season 1 so I had actually no idea of who Alan Tudyk was or his performance as Wash. Amazing how effective you can be with the simple device of taking an actor everyone associates with funny and heroic characters and casting them as absolute villains, as Nic Brendon recently proved with his amazing performance in the rapist story arc on Private Practice. Some great dialogue, this ep co-written by Joss himself . Nice music too.

    Marks out of 10; 9/10, excellent ep, Alpha always ups the game, the first ep of season 2 I went back and watched again straight after

  • They canceled Terminator and kept this low rated show?

    If you look at the ratings for Terminator TSCC Why! would Fox keep Dollhouse and drop Terminator TSCC? Sure the last Terminator movie sucked, But the TV show rocked! Yes I'm still pissed after all this time. Cancel Dollhouse please! and bring Terminator back... ASAP.... ..... .... ... ..... .... ..... ... ... .... .... ...... ...... ...... .... ..... ...... ... ... . ...... ..... .... '''' '''' ''' ''' ''''' '' '' ' '''' '''' ''' ''''''' ,,,, ,,,, ,,,, ,,,, ,, ipoigk jgfjd fjlj g jgjdflj jldjg snmmfnmgnfkj kdfkldf hkfjh jhkjhgf hhffdf gfdkjfhgk hkjhkhdgfgdfgjhvcnvb nknkj njvcnkcb njn cvjknb vn kjcvnb njnjnb ufhghdf ncjnbkjnfgb cmoreless
  • Alpha returns bent on getting to and terminating anyone who has had a significant relationship with Echo. Ballard and Langton struggle to keep Adelle out of the loop, but catastrophic occurrences at the Dollhouse bring everything together.moreless

    Well the show is on a run of very positive, well produced and acted episodes. This certainly was an interesting and very action packed episode of The Dollhouse. As things begin to come full circle for the LA house. It is becoming apparent to even Adelle that Echo is something different or unique in an Active.

    Some excellent scenes in this episode especially the Adelle/Alpha office scene and the Ballard/Alpha scene near the end. Besides Alan Tudyk as Alpha, we see Patton Oswalt return as Joel Mynor who may not have been a target of Alpha's because in Alpha's twisted mind Mynor's need for Rebecca was not in the physical nature, but more spiritual.

    Some deep consequences for the Dollhouse in general. It will be interesting to see what happens with Ballard/Echo, to Echo herself, and finally how Adelle recovers from some of the revelations of this situation. Of course Alpha is still out there as well.

    Just a thought about some of the plot devices and Alpha as a character. I believe that the Alpha character even though interesting may have been a tactical error on the part of the creator and writers. He brought a lot of intrigue and supposed plot conformity to the first season, but in a way he is a distraction from the main plot of the show. He is the focal point of why Echo is the way she is, but at the same time he clouds and distracts from where the show is really going. I guess maybe he is the worst case scenario of what could happen using people this way.

    I enjoyed this episode as much as the last, but I give it a slightly lower score for the interference effect I believe this part of the show has distracted from the overall storyline and in the end its relative importance. I'm not sure how they could have manipulated the situation in the same way using a different plot device, but I think it would have been good to try. Thanks for reading...moreless
  • Alpha comes back to the Dollhouse to take back Echo.

    A continuation from Meet Jane Doe. Alpha presumably dead from last season is still alive and comes back to raise hell. His mission this time is to kill Echo's past clients and her current love interest of Paul Ballard. Echo is still undergoing her mind warping at will giving the Dollhouse a lot of problems.

    A fairly straightforward episode but done well. Alpha is a formidable opponent for the Dollhouse. Not too many surprises here except for what happens to Ballard. Still the performances are great.

    As far as this talk about Terminator and why it was canceled and why not Dollhouse. It's been covered many times already but Terminator didn't deliver this season the big ratings FOX hoped it would. Same thing with Dollhouse. The big difference is Terminator had a far bigger budget and Dollhouse did not. In the end, Dollhouse having the lower budget and lower expectation was easier to renew. In the end, both shows were canceled so it doesn't matter.

    I liked this episode. It's a way to put an end to the Alpha storyline and progress the story with Ballard and Echo who clearly have strong feelings for each other that goes beyond him simply being her handler.

    It was fun to see Olivia squirm when Alpha had control. Seeing all the active lose control temporarily is exactly the type of scenario that the Dollhouse dreads.moreless
  • Alpha returns

    (Note: This review covers the second half of the two-episode event that aired on 11 December, 2009. A previous review covered the first half of the event.)

    When you already know the game is lost, sometimes you give up. You just phone it in and wait for the next season. But sometimes, it's just an opportunity to throw caution to the wind and swing for the fences. "Dollhouse" may be going, but it is not going quietly.

    The first season's climactic encounter with Alpha always felt a bit like a prelude, because while it set the stage for Echo's evolution into a distinct personality, it didn't resolve as strongly as it could have. This episode finally pays off Alpha's intentions towards Echo, and it is not pretty. It also throws quite a few assumptions out the window, at least in terms of the pacing and the content of the rest of the season/series.

    After the previous episode, I was sure that Echo's true nature would be hidden for a little while longer. When Topher was brought into the conspiracy, I thought it might have been the payoff for his displeasure with Adele, a grasp at atonement for his role in creating the most dangerous technology imaginable. There is something poetic about the notion of Topher using the last of his sanity to ensure that Echo is fully prepared to face the consequences of his actions.

    So I was shocked when Alpha's latest assault on the Dollhouse resulted in Adele's discovery of Echo's true nature. It felt like it happened too quickly, especially right after the three month leap that took place in the previous episode. If anything, this is a clear sign that Joss and the rest of the gang recognized their likely fate, and chose to cram as much of the story into the episodes they had left.

    It is, in the end, a minor point. If it hurts the flow of the season, that won't be fully apparent until the next couple episodes. It doesn't undermine the strength of this episode and its connections to the grand scheme of the series. It's still all about the nature of mind and body, and how the status quo arrives at the world seen in "Epitaph One".

    Alpha is right in this respect: he helped to make Echo everything that she is. The difference, it seems, was the end result of the imprint compositing process. Alpha's gestalt personality is an amoral psychopath (albeit with a rapier wit and an interesting sense of style). Echo, on the other hand, appears to be Alpha's polar opposite. Echo's inherent morality, mated with a desire to do what she thinks is best for a given situation, is a potent combination.

    This incident might change that dynamic. Had the series continued into future seasons, I suspect Alpha would not have uploaded Ballard into his mosaic of imprints. Alternatively, if it did happen, I doubt the consequences would have been evident so quickly. My suspicion is that Ballard's less obsessive love for Echo, as well as his sense of morality and understanding of Echo's method of control over her own imprints, will allow him to exert an unexpected level of control over Alpha himself.

    I suspect this because in "Epitaph One", there is a stray comment that suggests that Alpha was eventually an ally for those seeking to survive the fall of civilization. While it could be that Echo simply defeats Alpha and then makes use of his resources, I think it's more in keeping with the concepts inherent to the series if Echo and Alpha end up on the same page because Ballard takes command of Alpha.

    After all, if Echo can take possession, so to speak, of Caroline's body as a composite personality born of persistent imprints, then it stands to reason that any truly strong imprinted personality could do so. The headaches could be the result of Echo's need to fight for control; when a particular imprinted personality is accessed, it could give that personality an inroad to challenge Echo.

    In "Alpha", it appeared that Alpha was having trouble maintaining dominance. As assured as he was in this episode, that earlier instability suggests that Ballard may have the right circumstances to survive as the dominant personality in Alpha's body. He was able to push through for a little while, when he begged Echo to kill him. Even if Ballard doesn't take control of Alpha, he could force a shift in Alpha's base personality, thus mitigating the madness and the amorality.

    For that reason, saving Ballard may be a futile effort. If Alpha ripped away Ballard's mind, leaving Ballard's body little more than a shell, what could really be done? The process seems to have gone far beyond turning someone into a Doll, so it doesn't seem likely that a new personality could be imprinted. The question is whether or not Ballard's original mind is still resident. If Alpha only made a copy, then it might be possible to restore Ballard if the damage can be undone. Of course, it might take someone like Bennett to make that happen, which would be interesting, to say the least.

    Beyond the personal fallout for Echo, there's now the question of what Adele might do. It's not at all clear. She just managed to take back control of her house from her superiors, and that was based on perceived weaknesses in house security and personnel management. It's hard to imagine that the house wouldn't be under some form of surveillance, so Alpha's incursion and Echo's autonomy shouldn't be a secret for very long. This will be a real test of Adele's true motives.

    This episode continues a six-episode winning streak, starting with "Belle Chose". That alone makes this season a vast improvement over the first. I still think that the series has been fundamentally flawed, in terms of the disparity between sexualized promotion/presentation and the fundamental issues raised by the content, but the bulk of this season has been quite a ride.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Victor asks Echo if her headaches started before her 3 week absence from the Dollhouse, though in the previous episode the on-screen text said "3 Months Later" between her escaping and rescuing Galana from prison.

  • QUOTES (16)

    • Paul: What does she think she's going to get out of Echo?
      Boyd: She doesn't expect to get anything out of Echo. She's using her to make you squirm and it's working.
      Paul: I can't help it. I don't like seeing her in pain.
      Boyd: I don't like seeing her in pain. I looked into her eyes and swore to protect her, same as you. Before you. Today, protecting her means not reacting while DeWitt tortures her. So man up.

    • Victor/Dr. Gholsen: Oh, you don't like my remark, Ms. DeWitt? You prefer men to keep their natural urges to themselves?
      Adelle: On the contrary, urges are my stock in trade. I find identifying with those of my clients to be very useful.
      Victor/Dr. Gholsen: But that's your sales pitch, I think. In truth, you're very tightly controlled. See, men wear everything on the outside, including their genitalia. Whereas, you are chastised for any suggestion of sexuality. Punished, perhaps.
      Adelle: So goes the entirety of intersexual relations throughout history, Dr. Gholsen. I really don't see...
      Victor/Dr. Gholsen: No wonder you despise that girl. Echo. She gets to be the virgin and the whore, and for both, she's, uh, celebrated.
      Adelle: Yes, very insightful. Would you like a treatment?
      Victor/Dr. Gholsen: Oh, yeah. Very much so.

    • Topher: These are the craziest scans I've ever seen. I... I can't even look at them without going nuts! I know a conspiracy when I desperately try to avoid seeing one.

    • Topher: Is she... still Eleanor Penn?
      Boyd: Yes.
      Topher: Is she still Terry Kerrans?
      Boyd: Topher, yes.
      Topher: So she's a serial killer.
      Boyd: Only a little.
      Topher: Right. Only a little bit serial killer.

    • Adelle: Alpha? What proof do we have?
      Boyd: Aside from the note, nothing.
      Paul: But it makes sense. He's the only one out there with a knowledge of this place and an obsession with Echo,.
      Adelle: I thought that was you, Mr. Ballard.
      Paul: You're hilarious.

    • Boyd: Clay Corman, ex-CEO of Comulus, ex-client of Echo's, was found dead three days ago outside of his crappy trailer in Riverside County. Throat was cut with a five-inch gut hook hunting knife. Sheriff chalked it up to a meth deal gone bad.
      Paul: That guy was a billionaire. Where'd all his money go?
      Boyd: Into that fine, ergonomic chair you're sitting in, among other things. Blew everything on the Dollhouse.
      Paul: My ass does feel very pampered.

    • Topher: Let me guess. You've been done wrong by a man?
      Sierra: I've been done wrong ten ways to Sunday and it's Tuesday.

    • Alpha: Am I the only one who bothered to dress for this? I mean, the black works, because honestly, when doesn't it? It's functional, it's slimming. But you--you don't work for the federal government anymore. Why don't you go with just a splash of color?
      Boyd: Trigger device.
      Paul: Yep. Put it down, Alpha.
      Alpha: If I do then he will become a splash of color. I'm thinking red.
      Matt Cargill: Help me.
      Boyd: Alpha, do not do this. There's a part of you that knows this is wrong.
      Alpha: There are many parts of me that know this is wrong. None that care. And six that just find it funny.

    • Alpha: All right, tell me the truth. What do you think of the suit?
      Adelle: You're quite the dandy.
      Alpha: It's a little Brummel. I've gone a little Brummel. It's better to look good than to feel good. It's ironic. It took 40-odd characters on the inside... for me to realize that it's what's on the outside that counts.

    • Alpha: Are you scared?
      Adelle: Out of my mind.
      Alpha: Smart girl. Of course, I could never be out of my mind. I have so many, and the second I'm out of one, I'm right into the next.

    • Alpha: That's what I love about the British--your talent for understatement. Also Python.

    • Alpha: You're in for the ride. You're not going to get loose. One of my imprints was an Eagle Scout. Another one was a sailor. There's a dirty joke in there somewhere.

    • Alpha: I was there. I saw everything.
      Paul: There was nothing to see.
      Alpha: That's how I know that I am not wrong. For months you shared the same room. You never slept with her. You could have, but you didn't. If that's not love... Are you gay?
      Paul: No.
      Alpha: Then it's love.

    • Boyd: We don't have much time.
      Topher: Won't take me a second to put this together.
      Boyd: You have to put it together?!
      Topher: It's the manufacturing room, not the "it's finished" room!

    • Alpha: Hey! I'm the only one who should be mad. I created you, and who do you fall for? The schmuck I used to get in here.
      Echo: He's ten times the man you are, and you're, like, 40 guys.

    • Topher: I am obsolete. This must be what old people feel like. And Blockbuster.

  • NOTES (2)

    • International Airdates:
      UK: February 2, 2010 on Sci Fi
      Australia: April 15, 2010 on FOX8
      Czech Republic: April 23, 2010 on Prima COOL
      Slovakia: February 23, 2012 on JOJ Plus

    • Music: One Life Away (M Ward), Your Ghost (Greg Laswell (cover of original by Kristen Hersh))


    • Alpha: Nothing more than feelings.

      Referencing the 1975 song Feelings by Loulou Gasté and popularized by Morris Albert. Initially ranking high on the charts and covered by a number of artists, the song has since become the focus of parody against 70s soft rock music.

    • Alpha: But nothing more than the average bear, so why do you get to be her honey, hmm?

      Referencing the tagline of the famous Hanna Barbera bear, Yogi Bear. The animated bear lives in Jellystone park, steals picnic baskets, and has been the star of several series such as The Yogi Bear Show. His famous catchphrase is that he's "smarter than the average bear."

    • Alpha: Get over it, babies. Love the ones you're with.
      Referencing the tag line of the 1970 single Love the One You're With by Stephen Stills. The song was based on a line often uttered by Billy Preston, and has since been covered by performs such as The Isley Brothers.