Season 1 Episode 11

Briar Rose

Aired Friday 9:00 PM May 01, 2009 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (28)

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  • Briar Rose

    I loved how well Joss made this episode! I can't remember how many times I've seen this episode, and can quote most of what they say. Alan is probably the best actor Joss could have chosen for the phsycotic Alpha character next to Zachary Quinto. Really loved this episode completly.
  • Big suprises and some answers

    Have to agree with most reviews in here, this is the episode I was waiting for. Alan Tudyk was just wonderful as the crazy architect. Love his interaction with Paul, this is what was missing from Dollhouse...buddy cop humour!

    Paul is getting really interesting now that he got rid of Mellie, the way he just crushed her was cruel, but necessary. Love the fact that they send Sierra away, she'll be so bombed to see Victor's face when she gets back.

    Great twist when it was revealed that the crazy architect was actually Alpha. Love the way Tudyk played the transition, very scary. It's also interesting to see that Echo still trusts Boyd and doesn't trust Paul (probably a good thing since we don't want her getting out in the world without an imprint).

    Alpha understood this and imprinted Echo with someone's personality (his ex?). Love the ending when crazy Alpha and Echo just got out of the Dollhouse, it reminded me of a certain Spike and Drusilla at their most menacing. Now that's what I call an ending!
  • Briar Rose

    The good;

    Totally had me fooled with Alpha (partly because his agorophobic uber-geek and Ballard makes such a great team). Stunning performance on both counts. You really feel for Mellie when Ballard dumps her. Great performance from the actress who plays the little girl too. Dominic asking for 'Whiskey' is a masterful bit of foreshadowing and Ballard is one smart cookie with his plan (but not as much as you-know-who).

    The bad;

    Alpha's plan seems unecessarily complicated? Ballard says he doesn't have a badge any more but then he shows one to 'Kepler' (did he swipe Loomis'?)

    Best line;

    Adele; "There's indignation enough for everyone to have seconds"

    reprogrammed Echo upon seeing Alpha

    "My prince"

    Packing heat; Both Boyd and Ballard with their pistols again. Ballard also uses a stungun on Topher.


    Boyd; 7

    Dominic; 7

    Sierra; 3

    Victor; 2

    Ballard; 8

    Echo kissage;2

    She plants a big old smackaroo on Alpha, so much so it cuts her lip

    Notches on the Dollhouse bedpost;

    Echo; 3 definite, 1 possible

    November; 1

    Ballard; 1

    Victor; 1

    Adele; 1

    Sierra 1 possible

    Topher; 1 possible

    How'd they get away with that?

    Watching Alpha slicing up Victor is HORRIBLE! The little girl's plight is also horrific but at least she has a chance to recover. Also hard to watch Ballard cruelly dumping Mellie and her near suicide. Plus Alpha's recycled urine.

    This weeks fantasy;

    Topher has made Echo into a grown up, healthy version of the damaged little girl in order to counsel her, Alpha turns her into a white trash princess. Sierra is a CSI girl (her technobabble may be a subtle joke on them). Victor is Dominic

    Total number personalitites;

    Echo; 19

    Sierra; 9

    Victor; 6

    November; 2

    Total dolls; add Alpha so 7

    Echo, Sierra, November, Victor, Mike, Tango, Alpha

    Topher is a bit geeky;

    He actually uses the phrase 'All frakked up'.

    Subverting the Hollywood cliche;

    Amanda lets Echo sit near her, not because she trusts her but because she has flicknife concealed on her.

    Bondage; Boyd puts Ballard in handcuffs (presumably his own?)

    Sierra tied up; 1

    Ballard; 1

    Knocked out; Toper get's tasered into unconsciousness by Ballard

    Echo; 2

    November; 1

    Sierra; 1

    Victor; 1

    Topher; 1


    Sierra; 2 kills

    Echo; 1


    Dolls injured;.

    Poor Victor, traumatised by Ballard and Boyd crashing down on top of him and then cut to ribbons by Alpha.

    Capt subtext;

    Check out the very caring, maternal way Dr Saunders helps Victor who really comes across as a frightened child. The Briar Rose story has a feminist slant on it similar to Buffy, Amanda and Echo prefer the ending where the Briar Rose saves herself. Echo says that Amanda is "Close to moving forwards but it'll hurt" just as she is. Interestingly when Ballard asks Alpha is he Kepler he replies "Well there are a lot of aspects to that question" . He also refers to the Dollhouse as 'The New Eden' which it just might be. He asks Dr Saunders if she always wanted to be a Dr and when she says yes tells her that's a lie.

    Happy hookers

    The little girl seems to have been exploited as a child prostitute by her mother's boyfriend. All the Dolls in the Dollhouse are above the age of consent but only those we've seen (and only in LA).

    Know the face? Alan Tudyk was Wash on Firefly/Serenity

    7 Whedon alumni-Mark Shepherd, Amy Acker, walking action figure, Eliza Dushku, Jim Piddock, Gregg Henry, Alan Tudyk


    Drugging and torturing Dominic who's on a day trip out of the attic, very hard to watch (great performance from Enver, really nails Reed Diamond in his mannerisms). Sending Echo to help the little girl is everybodys way of living with themselves.


    The adventures of doomed lovers Echo and Alpha disturbingly popular. The little girl's story reminded me of a Buffy fanfic where we learn why Faith is as screwed up as she is and Buffy, Joyce and Dawn help her get over it and adopt her as a new Summers girl Thanks for taking care of my body, Faith!, a Buffy: The Vampire Slayer fanfic - FanFiction.Net

    Questions and observations;

    So, the headquarters for the whole Dollhouse project is in Tuscon? Can anyone tell me exactly WHY Alpha is hiding naked in a dumpster when he kills the homeless man? Or am I trying to find logic in the actions of a madman? Note when Ballard finally gets into the Dollhouse he says 'It really exists', he'd obviously begun to doubt his own sanity. 'We call that editing' may be a subtle joke on the crew. Alpha thinks the Dollhouse is a good place but with bad people. I hate stairs without risers too, always fear I'm going to fall through them. Note Boyd gives Ballard a way out, he's not going to turn him in if he can help it. Surely consensual slavery is a contradiction in terms, if it's consensual it's not slavery? The Dollhouse we see was only built ten years ago despite the rumours dating from the 80s.

    Marks out of 10; 9/10 really good

  • Intrusion.

    Finally, we get an episode we've all been waiting for, or at least I have. I was wondering for a long time who Alpha was, and now the time has come to find out more. I was very sad previously for the ending of the Mellie/Ballard story, but it actually brought us to this point where Ballard was finally ready to enter the Dollhouse.

    The entire entrance Ballard and Alpha had was interesting, even more so when we found out it was actually Alpha. The fights, the confrontations and the cliffhanger was exactly what I was waiting for a long time. I still think these episodes are seven minutes too long, but I can handle that, really.
  • A whole new spin to an old tale.

    Have you ever wondered what would've happened if the sleeping beauty chose her on curse? If her Prince wasn't charming or the Witch was not evil? What would've happened if the Godmother was a Godfather? What if Sleeping Beauty didn't want to wake up at all...

    We start the episode as Echo tries a pro bono case courtesy of her Godfather Topher, but before she goes back to sleep the Witch ...I mean DeWitt spots an odd murder with Aplha's trademark and sends Sierra to investigate, an advantage Paul uses to infiltrate the Dollhouse using a shiny white horse in the form of an architech, that turns out not be an architech at all but Echo's twisted version of Prince Charming, Alpha, who finally succeeds to awake her since he started trying back in the pilot episode.
  • And take that, all ye naysayers.

    And take that, all ye naysayers. Dollhouse ups the ante not once, not twice, but around about ten times with this rollercoaster ride of an episode that takes in Ballard's infiltration of the facility and the re-emergence of Alpha as a threat to the lives of our protagonists. Espenson's script is superbly crafted, beginning as a seemingly rather standard mission for Echo in which she helps a young girl come to terms with the advances of her predatorial father – a sub-plot that is handled with suitable delicacy and that introduces a terrific metaphor that permeates the hour – before morphing into a series of shocking plot developments that bombard the viewer with sequences that we've been awaiting for months. It's good to see Tamoah Penikett getting such a considerable slice of the action, as he's usually relegated to B or C storyline status, but here, it is his mission to rescue Caroline that provides the plot with its backbone, and, as is to be expected, he rises to the challenge. His counterpoint, the supposed Stephen Keppler, is an excellent foil too, striking just the right balance between fear and pathos to make their interplay suitably enjoyable. Espenson does a fantastic job of disguising the biggest twist of all, that Keppler is in fact Alpha, come to whisk Caroline away and cause all kinds of havoc to poor Victor's face; the abundance of narrative strands, and the strength of the humour in Ballard and Keppler's interaction, turn the viewer's attention away from any distinct analysis of the situation. Indeed, Sierra's mission to uncover the identity of the body in Tucson, which DuWitt identifies as being a potential victim of the errant Doll, even becomes something of a red herring: by making the Dollhouse occupants aware that Alpha is active once again, and addressing this within a C-storyline, it puts a distance between this concept and what is going on within the central thrust of the plot. There is no immediate association between Alpha and Ballard, and therefore the quick-fire moment in which Keppler turns into a face-disfiguring maniac provides one of the biggest fall-off-your-seat shockers of the year. Alan Tudyk is absolutely excellent in both of his roles, giving Dushku a run for her money in the versatility stakes, and it's worth giving Amy Acker a mention too, since Dr. Saunders's evident horror as she realises that the man who scarred her has returned essentially sells Alpha as a formidable foe. A thoroughly enjoyable episode then, and one that'll leave you reeling from its many twists and turns long after Echo and Alpha have run off, snogging their way into the distance.
  • Alpha Written by Jane Espenson Directed by Dwight Little

    Kepler/Alpha: “I was nursing a tender throbbing hope that you’d give up, yeah.�
    Paul: “Well, I’m not.�

    Determination. The root of all good. Paul wants so badly to make a difference, take down the Dollhouse and rescue the girl. Unfortunately, one of the many things that Paul seems to lack is common sense and this is deadly obvious, even after he finally decided to take some affirmative action to actually find the Dollhouse itself.

    All season long, Paul has been in an obsessive mode to bring the Dollhouse down but instead of focusing on the fact that there’s so many victims, all he’s bloody yapped on about is Caroline. Yeah, Paul, we get it, she’s in dire straits but so are the other poor sods that are stuck in the Dollhouse too.

    Such as Mellie for instance. Paul decided to outright cruel and break up with her. Okay, while it made sense that by doing that, she would lead him to the Dollhouse; it did actually make hate Paul for it as well. Something tells me that this isn’t the first time he’s dumped a girl harshly.

    Anyways much sympathy goes to Mellie for the simple fact that she genuinely believes she’s done something wrong to make Paul want to ditch her so coldly. I know she’s a Doll but, I don’t know. I think this episode did more harm than good for Paul’s character in the long run. Especially given how cold he was later when opting not to save her from the Dollhouse as well.

    His determination to save Caroline I think is one big drawback for Paul â€" why Caroline? What makes her any more deserving than Victor, Sierra or November or any of the other Dolls we have yet to be properly introduced to? It also doesn’t help that Paul’s physical attraction as well as a lack of connection to Caroline are also factors in this whole scenario.

    Getting help from environmental consultant Stephen Kepler also seemed a touch suspect. Paul’s been hitting so many brick walls in his continued search that as soon as he managed to contact Kepler, there was something about that that seemed to be too good to be true. Let’s face it; Paul is pretty crap at his job.

    Alan Tudyk deserves a medal for this whole episode. I absolutely bought into him as the nervous, jittery, extremely paranoid Kepler. Especially for the comment where he said he hated buddy cop movies. Yeah, I’m not too big on them too but the banter between Kepler and Paul certainly added some humour to proceedings.

    As for the Alpha reveal. The timing of the season did make it extremely perfect for the psychotic Doll to come out and play. There are times when I wish I hadn’t read spoilers and given that I knew weeks in advance that Alan Tudyk was going to be playing Alpha, I loved that we got fooled with the Kepler persona for a while.

    Tudyk can also turn very quickly. The way he went from Kepler to Alpha, almost in a flash was downright impressive. Even physically there was a noticeable difference and while we should’ve seen more of the Alpha persona in this episode, the stuff we got was of quality.

    Slashing poor defenceless Victor’s face was certainly a nice way of showing us how chilling Alpha could be (not that we needed it, given the bloodbath he caused all those months) and his scenes with Claire were equally creepy. I’m gonna say that Claire was a Doll called Whiskey because basically this episode confirmed that all too well.

    We had Dominic in Victor’s body immediately refer to her as Whiskey prior to her sedating him and Alpha immediately didn’t recognise her as a doctor. The way Alpha taunted the truth out of her not always wanting to be a doctor was pure chilling. Alpha certainly is one scary bloke.

    However if there is a flaw with Alpha, it’s that he follows a growing trend of people acting like Caroline/Echo is the centre of the universe. Yes, we know Eliza Dushku is the leading lady but Victor, Sierra and November still usurp Echo in being overall interesting and that’s not something that’s going to change over night.

    With Paul and Boyd slugging it out, Alpha didn’t exactly have the most difficult of tasks in retrieving Echo, though he imprinted her with something before they left. What was it â€" a former lover? Are we going for a Bonnie and Clyde type of dynamic with Echo and Alpha? That might not be the best of routes to go on with this character.

    As for Boyd and Paul, I really should’ve felt conflicted during the big fight scene but I wasn’t. I wanted Boyd to knock Paul into the middle of next week and I absolutely loved that Echo chose to help Paul rather than Boyd (Kepler’s right, stairs without risers are bloody dangerous, I don’t like them too). What does that say about me, other than my dislike for Paul being cast as the valiant Prince, who’s not that charming when you think about it.

    I even got a kick out the confrontation scene with Adelle. I don’t particularly see Paul meeting his maker and I think that the Attic can be ruled out for him too. Seeing Paul as a Doll would be a good way of giving Tahmoh Penikett something else to do but Adelle would have to pull some strings to get him to sign a contract for five years.

    Other interesting thing, other than Alpha finally stepping out of the shadows was Echo’s assignment of the week. Using the Sleeping Beauty story to help the damaged young Susan might have been more than heavy handed but it was a good template for the episode and it made me look at the story differently.

    Paul is the Prince and the Prince isn’t that altruistic about his motives about saving the girl. You could argue that Boyd’s are when it comes to Caroline and Echo. Susan’s anger about Briar Rose being unable to save herself could be a post feminist jab but there’s some truth behind. Sometimes the only person who can save us is ourselves. That may end up being very applicable in Echo/Caroline’s case during the series duration.

    Also in “Briar Rose�

    Briar Rose is the original title of Sleeping Beauty and yeah, the allusions in this episode did come at us from all sides.

    Mellie: “Stop being so cruel. Can’t you see this is killing me?�
    Paul: “You’ll get over it.�

    Imprinting Echo with bits of Susan (they even had the same name) was clever. We need more altruistic missions next season.

    Topher: “Everybody wants to be righteous when they can afford it.�
    Ivy: “Even Topher Brink?�
    Topher: “This feeling... It is not unlike pride.�

    Echo: “Are you keeping that book?�
    Susan: “I’m fixing it.�
    Echo: “I see that. It’s called editing. You can make a living out of that.�

    Was this the first time we’ve seen Mellie’s handler? Sierra also got to be a forensics expert in this episode. Very CSI of her.

    Victor/Dominic: “Whiskey.�
    Claire: “He wants a drink.�

    Kepler: “We go in there, then we're in there. There's? There's more people in there. I'm not good with people.�
    Paul: “They're not people.�
    Kepler: “I'm not good with that sentence either.�

    The real Stephen Kepler was killed by Alpha, which meant that he must have expected Paul to lead him to the Dollhouse. Couldn’t Alpha have gone there himself or was Paul needed as a distraction for Adelle? Kepler: “They told me this was going to be a new Eden.�
    Paul: “Eden wasn't a prison.�
    Kepler: “What, are you kidding? The apples were monitored. Plus they didn't have a steam room that could recirculate human sweat and put it right back …�

    Kepler: “All right, would you look at this place! I mean, first of all, feng shui up the ying yang. Also, I designed parts of it, but I did not design the stone-cold foxes in the small clothes, and the ample massage facilities. I mean, don't get me wrong, I heart my porn, but this is cool.�
    Paul: “This is a bad place.�
    Kepler: “Bad people, maybe. Good place.�

    Alpha discussed quite freely about the scars that he puts on people. I think that he also said that Victor’s would be different from Claire’s as well. Boyd: “Sorry Agent Ballard. You don't get the girl.�

    Echo: “I remember something about you.�
    Alpha: “I remember everything about you.�

    Chronology: No idea. How many months has it been since Alpha’s last attack on the Dollhouse?

    At first the episode didn’t complete reel me in, probably because with “Briar Rose� so much does seemingly happen all at once, you need to process it. Once doing that, though it becomes a stunning episode that will also hopefully lead to an equally stunning finale if we’re lucky.
  • Awesome, everything starts coming together and Alan Tudyk makes a brilliant guest appearance.

    Surprises all around – Ballard finally gets into the Dollhouse and we meet Alpha face-to-face… literally.

    As much as I've come to like Ballard, I hate the way he's treating Mellie. Yes, she's a sleeper agent and he knows that now, but Mellie as a person is completely innocent, knowing nothing of what she is, just innocently loving him. She doesn't understand his coldness or rejection. What makes it worse is that he either deliberately, or as an afterthought, followed November back to the Dollhouse, now knowing the location. Having figured out the building is underground, he figures out how the building is built and that gets him to the guy who designed the building and what a delightful surprise, Alan Tudyk! All of his scenes are utterly delightful, some great repartee with Ballard and he is just such a welcome addition to the cast.

    Then there's the dark side – he's not the systems engineer, he's Alpha! He uses Ballard to get him inside the building and while Ballard distracts Boyd and DeWitt, Alpha goes to say hello to old friends, like Dr Saunders and Echo. Tragically, Victor was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got badly slashed, I really hope he's okay because I love him to pieces!

    Ballard continues on his single-minded, obsessive crusade to save a girl who doesn't want to be saved! Does the word 'volunteer' mean nothing to you?! Of the people here, Caroline is one of the few that is actually here of her own free will. Loved how she took Boyd's side, having flashes of all the times he helped her while having flashes of the last time she saw Ballard, trying to kill each other. Who's she going to choose?

    The last shocker – the answer to why Alpha left Echo alive when he originally escaped (though not why he's been trying to kill her since?!) – they're a couple!!!

    What a great episode, full of confrontations, revelations and pivotal moments. Excellent.
  • This episode was pivotal revealing the potential endgame for this series. Spoilers will be present.

    Unlike everyone else who seems to be raving about this episode as the best one this season, I have to say that it wasn't quite as interesting as Man on the Street. That said, it was still really excellent.

    First of all, I love Alan Tudyk. I know how brilliant an actor he is, so it was no surprise to me that he turned out to be Alpha; however, it was still a really wonderful twist. He spent the entire episode playing this neurotic brainiac in front of Ballard, only to reveal himself to Saunders. Secondly, I love watching Ballard deal with Mellie issues. Last episode, we saw them get intimate again. Knowing what Ballard knows made it really dark. This episode, Ballard finally ended it with Mellie. It was such a heartbreaking scene. He really does love her and his heart must have broken, but he knows she isn't real. She doesn't love him for real, but she was affected by his actions far more visibly. What's worse is that he used her, knowing that she would lead him to the dollhouse.

    I only somewhat liked the Sleeping Beauty metaphor. First, it was about a prince saving a princess. Then it was about saving yourself from yourself. My only complaint is that it was a little too contrived for my liking. Topher sometimes does good things so he can experiment a bit. Like helping children in need. For no fee. Mad contrived. All in all an excellent episode.
  • Easily the best episode of the season.

    It's really too bad it took this series an entire season to build up to this level of intensity and drama. So many episodes were wasted on mundane fantasies of the over-privileged. The Alpha plot line was seeded from the very start, and painfully forgotten all season. Now that it is back to my joy and acclaim, I only fear that the waited too long and the damage has been done. This is a sinking ship. With episode 13 announced to be only included in the DVD release, it's a fair bet it will take a miracle to see another season of this show. Then again, if we are handing out episode funding based on promise, give me another season of Firefly, and leave Dollhouse in the Attic.
  • A great Show that keeps on growing better

    This latest episode was fantastic! I am proud to say I am one of the many people who did not catch the spoilers leaked online about Alpha's identity (despite the fact that I am constantly looking for Dollhouse info- mainly to see if my new favorite show is staying around), and the reveal was quite a shock for me!! I can't wait to see the finale, and the episode that follows it on the DVD (That sucks that we don't get to see the whole season as it was meant to be seen.) This show is growing and growing on me every episode... if you are a fan please spread the word. We need fox to know they need to keep Dollhouse around... for the growing number of fans and Whedonites everywhere. As much as this show grows better and better, it is only season one. If the Wb had givin up on Buffy season one we would never have had Angelus, Faith, Willow and Tara, "Hush", "The Body", or the musical!!! Think about it people, this is just the beginning!!!
  • By far the best episode yet.

    I just loved this episode. The ending leaves you at the edge of your seat and just cant wait until the next one airs on Friday. Ballard finally discovers the dollhouse but I just cant believe that he helped Alpha get in and steal Echo. I wanna know more about what happened exactly with Alpha and why he is obsessed with Echo. Were they lovers before their minds got swiped clean or did he imprint Echo with someone he loved but died? I just love this episode and how it got played out. I hope that this show can return for many more seasons.
  • What every Dollhouse episodes should have been, but the rush part

    If all episodes were like this one, Dollhouse would be a great show. However episodes like True Believer and Haunted proved that recycled stories and stereotyped characters don't appeal a modern or mature audience. This one focused on the major arc, was really serious and managed to convince us how dangerous technology can be. The chair scene at the beginning was really scary and it was interesting to see how every characters reacted. Moreover flashbacks and fairytale were mixed to reveal how hard it can be to actually change things when you disagree with someone or think what people do is wrong. It was also nice to see all dolls involved, like in Spy in the House of Love.

    However it wasn't flawless and a few things disappointed me. For example Paul didn't plan his actions and rushed things like if he knew the end of season was near. It would have been so much more interesting if he planned things like Michael Scofield solved the puzzle in Prison Break during all season 1 episodes. Instead we got breadcrumbs and fillers. More important he managed to succeed anyway, in some way, and that doesn't really make sense.

    Otherwise if you gave up on the show I strongly recommend you to change your mind because Briar Rose is a good episode. Last but not least one episode remains so the best is yet to come. I can't wait to see what happens next !
  • "Briar Rose" shows once again what a masterful ensemble creation Dollhouse is. The storyline was compelling, but it was the performances that made it a heart stopping hour of gasps and laughs.

    I have enjoyed Dollhouse from the first episode and haven't missed a single airing - but Briar Rose blew me away. I'd managed to avoid all spoilers and even though I suspected the Alpha reveal, I did not expect it to happen the way it did!! My poor Victor! I loved the "People were fighting on me" moment. It is a prime example of the quality of performance that is taken for granted in a show filled with this much talent. So many good lines, amazing scenes, true emotions and what a build-up for next week's finale! This was the best thing I've seen on TV all year. Hands down. No contest.
  • A terrible beauty awakens

    There is a reason why I avoid spoilers. I like to see a story unfold in the manner intended by the writers, actors, and production staff. It honors their work. Spoilers make it too easy to pre-judge an episode or even a performance. Sometimes, they are unavoidable, particularly when casting is part of a blanket press release. But there are reasons why the best surprises are those best kept.

    I had no idea who Alpha would turn out to be before the episode aired, so it was something that dawned on me as the story progressed. I think a lot of people would agree that it was the highlight of the episode, perhaps even the season, because that reveal was brutal and effective. Alpha's false persona was so convincing that even the vague suspicions that came with his computer savvy didn't quite gel until Victor's face was mince meat.

    At this point, it seems as though Alpha's entire plan was to get back into the Dollhouse to take Echo. Helping Paul find Caroline was simply masterful manipulation. It's still unclear why Paul was so dedicated to rescuing Caroline, but it was definitely something that Alpha nurtured. Could it be as simple as obsession? Or does it still fit the early impression that Alpha was trying to forge Echo into a weapon like himself?

    Alpha apparently used Paul as a distraction, a way to give him enough time to get what he wanted, but Dewitt seems to have had her own intentions for Paul at this stage of the game. That could have still been part of the misdirection; the entire "Briar Rose" concept was meant to suggest that Paul was Caroline's "Prince". That metaphor was so overwrought that it actually distracted from the fact that it was too obvious to be true.

    For all the issues surrounding the series, both in terms of network interference and fan dissatisfaction with elements of the premise, the story has taken some interesting turns, and I think the uncomfortable morality actually helps give the tale some heft. Just within the context of a single scene, a character can go from goofy and harmless to morally corrupt and disgusting.

    That said, I'm still not sure that this show shouldn't have been conceived as a mini-series. That's an opinion that formed early in the season, and despite the upswing in quality, my opinion hasn't shifted much. There have been so many struggles this first season that I'm wary of what a second season would bring. The recent experiences with "Pushing Daisies" and "Terminator" also show how a second season can just mean delayed heartache for fans. Right now, I just want this season to end on a high note with the finale.
  • I am praying for a renewal.

    Ballard's obsession I find interesting because he's convinced that "Caroline" needs to be rescued and I just wonder if he knew that she went into this voluntarily, regardless of her reasons, if it would deter him. Adele is experiencing her own obsession and it involves tracking down Alpha. I was intrigued by Topher's idea of how to reach and help Susan, essentially using herself, in Echo's body. My heart jumped when Ballard actually made it into the DollHouse and knew Topher was in trouble. But knew Ballard wouldn't get far, the DollHouse is too good at protecting itself. OMG The twist that Kepler is actually Alpha was AMAZING! My mouth hit the floor. The revelation the he had a plan to "kidnap" Echo was a curious twist. I'm dying to see what's planned for the finale. I LOVED seeing Alan Tudyk. His comic portrayal of Kepler and his menacing portrayal of Alpha was a stroke of genius. But THAT is Joss Whedon.
  • Everything I hoped for and more...

    I had been waiting for weeks for Alan Tudyk's appearance, and he played his role so perfectly. I hope he becomes a recurring character if the show gets another season.

    I really didn't care much about Echo's small plot in helping that crazy little girl. In fact, that's usually the case I feel with her. Is it a bad thing that I care more about the supporting characters than I do about the heroine?

    Still this episode gets a 10 from me for Alan's amazing performance and the cool twists (one that I had already known about months ago, but still!) Keep it coming FOX, don't screw this show over like you did the countless others.
  • It's safe to say i'm a Whedon fan, just not a Dollhouse fan

    After catching this episode on my DVR, I literally found myself just fast-forwarding... The show during it's conception proved to be a great idea, just really boring to watch.

    Not that the actors are terrible, I just don't really find anything with any of the leads that I truly care about. The secondary characters have literally been the only thing keeping me watching the show which is why I give this a 5/10 rating. Dichen Lachman (Sierra), Amy Acker, and now Alan Tudyk (aka Wash from FireFly aka Alpha) really are the only roles that I see anything remotely intriguing for me to continue on with this show. Dichen & Amy's characters are supposed to be the background noise, but honestly their the only 2 that actually deliver anything worthwhile on the show. Now with Alan onboard as Alpha, whose career and acting i'd follow even if he had a cameo on 90210 (uggghh lol). These guys bring a sense of caring, entrigue and overall acting chops to the table. Personally, I really wanted Alpha to be less crazy and more oblivious; as if even, he's starting to barely piece things together and lashing out from mis-fires going on inside his head. That being said I'm still interested in seeing how Alan will continue to play the role, even though his character was more insane than I'd personally liked. I still managed to get on board with how insanely evil he portrayed his character.

    Overall, i'm giving this episode a 5/10 because i'm still halfway on the fence. I love how these 3 actors have saved my interest in the show, but i'm completely bored with the overall storyline and delivery from the rest of the cast.
  • Great episode, and people stop giving terrible scores to Dollhouse episode before they've even aired just because you have no lives!

    Dollhouse has been the definition of uneven in this short season, but there has always been a great potential for the show. I think that this newest episode really displayed how good this series could be. The writing, acting and general production was excellent, and the story really came together to deliver exciting new twists and events. I'm glad Ballard finally got to the Dollhouse, and his battle with Boyd was great. I was surprised when Alpha was revealed, and it was a genuine excitement. I liked the comparisons to the fairy tale as the episode went on. I can't wait for the finale and hope the show gets renewed, but it's unlikely.
  • excellent episode. i registered just to vote it a 10 and i never register on sites like this. i was on the fence about dollhouse before, but this episode made me a fan!

    excellent episode. i registered just to vote it a 10 and i never register on sites like this. i was on the fence about dollhouse before, but this episode made me a fan!

    the only thing i don't like is the minimal word count of this form, so forgive me but i'm going to copy and paste.

    excellent episode. i registered just to vote it a 10 and i never register on sites like this. i was on the fence about dollhouse before, but this episode made me a fan!

    the only thing i don't like is the minimal word count of this form, so forgive me but i'm going to copy and paste.
  • Spectacular!

    I can't remember the last time I was this awake at 2am. Just finished watching this episode and really loved it; it had action, drama, suspense and twists.

    The episode follows along the plot line of a story Echo is reading to a troubled teenager on one of her active duties about a prince coming to rescue a princess who has been trapped for a hundred years. You are under the impression that Echo is the princess and Paul is the prince in this analogy but could there be more to it than that, perhaps the prince is not Paul but someone from Echo's past.

    More revelations are made about Alpha and his relationship to Echo and Paul finally finds the Dollhouse, but will he be the prince who can save Echo?

    A strong episode all the way through; gripping and intense. A Paul centric episode with an Alpha finale that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
  • Better than most.

    I actually liked this episode. To say I have been critical of Dollhouse would be an understatement, but I certainly applaud their effort here. I'm curious to see where they go with Paul Ballard now as your biggest hero's momentum has been all but crushed, and the only way to revive it would be for him to break out of the Dollhouse Incredible Hulk style, something I doubt will happen.

    The revealing of Alpha was a letdown also, and this is not the kind of turn I am interested in Dollhouse doing. It looks like the show is going in the direction of a bad slasher movie, and we all know how well that does on TV (cough, Harper's Island, cough).
  • "Carrots... Medicinal Carrots... For personal use... That were here when I moved in... That I'm watching for a friend."

    After being prepped in the chair by Topher, I had any shred of last week's episode erased from my memory. 'Did I fall asleep?' 'Mark, it sent you into a coma! The mythology driven episodes are back, wake the frak up!'

    I knew this episode would be different than the others. For starters, not only does Topher use the phrase Frak – which gets him serious brownie points – but Jane tries to make him likeable! What he does feels entirely out of character, and even more so for the Dollhouse in general, but I appreciate the attempt at humanising him a little bit. Brava.

    As for the rest of the episode? I'm not afraid to admit it had its fair share of lagging moments, especially in the middle, but it opens with some great characters bits and ends with a cliff-hanger worth caring about! It feels like the Dollhouse we were meant to experience; it's a crying shame this is most likely the third last episode of the entire show.

    I felt soooo bad for Mellie (who I'm secretly in love with, by the way) when Ballard broke it off with her. The writers did to Mellie what they should have done to Echo – gave us a false reoccurring character to care about. I know Mellie isn't real, but she's someone we've seen grow from a shy woman to this loving, caring person (with the occasional homicidal tendency). I really felt for her as she contemplated suicide. Ballard was an ass, but it was the right thing to do.

    Can I just dedicate a paragraph to Enver Gjokaj for a mo? He WAS Dominic. He had every mannerism, every tweak down to a tee. The facial expressions were spot on. His vocal tones were pitched perfect. I cannot believe Alpha disfigured Victor, allegedly deeper than Saunders. Can he be healed? Did Saunders choose to keep her scars as a reminder of the evil behind Dollhouse? Hrmm. Enver plays Victor magnificently; he has such a child-like way about him when he's in his doll state. Easily the strongest actor on the show.

    Now, this is the part where I could be a little finicky and highlight how an episode with Eliza mostly out of the picture seemed to gel that bit better, but she admittedly did a bang up job in this one. Everyone was on their top game. Dushku, however, managed to add pathos to a character we never knew before hand, something I don't think she's pulled off until now. I really bought her story as the little girl grown up. Perhaps it was the uneasy flow of the previous scripts, and now that the show has found its voice, Dushku has settled in. Even her performance as Echo seemed to reel me in that bit more – she even said 'did I fall asleep?' in a different, more effective tone. It's a minor thing to note, I know, perhaps even finicky, but at least she's improving.

    Ok, so can I also dedicate a paragraph to Alan? Thanks! This was his episode. He walked over everyone he had a scene with. Actually, no, he raised the bar for everyone and they seemed to meet him line for line. Amy Ackers and Alan Tudyk in the same scene!? Am I dreaming? They were so, so, SO good together. Alan and Eliza in the same scene making out? Oh am I baffled! They were also terrific with each other. I loved his stoner persona (Medicinal Carrots, LMAO!!) and then, at the flip of a switch, his Alpha persona brought on waves of The Joker. How he held Amy was so menacing, it's like he was channelling Ledger's Joker. ___

    That fight scene between Ballard and Boyd was easily the best one yet. It carried so much weight behind it because these were the shows only two ''good guys'' going toe-to-toe in bone crunching detail over the bad guys. It was a great piece of entertainment, cos I wanted both to win in a way…Boyd more so, but I was also rooting for Helo/Balard…Hallard? Will Ballard become a doll now? That would be oh-so cruel, but what else can they do with him now?

    Overall, this is Dollhouse. This is what I want to see from this show. I will NOT accept anything less. Sure it was a little iffy how Alpha and Ballard managed to get in undetected (and that Dewitt saw Ballard but not Alpha?), but generally speaking, this was flippin' great! Dichen wasn't in this one much, but she looked dayum fine in the few scenes she did have. More like this!! STAT!
  • Ballard finds the Dollhouse and Alpha is finally revealed.

    I have loved watching this show from the beginning but I finally realized why this show bothers me from time to time. The only characters I really feel invested in at all are Dr. Saunders, DeWitt, Topher, and Langton. The action of this episode was pretty good and the story was pretty even. I thought the twist was going to be that Alpha was Ballard which would have been a barn burner.

    The Alpha story and whoever Echo was at the end (and I'm not sure that was Caroline) really was not of any interest to me. Again I have nothing invested in this Alpha character and the cover story wasn't that good when we found out the real environmentalist was murdered per Sierra's call. At least that would have been some sort of tie in. The Ballard story and what transpired was quite good. So this was terribly uneven overall.

    So we have Ballard captured by the Dollhouse. That is a major plot event and it should be interesting to see what Langton and DeWitt do about this. They may need Ballard! On the other hand we have Alpha escaping with Echo and to be honest who cares? It is obvious Alpha is psychotic or at least psychologically warped in some way. I don't even really care what his motives are. So even though I will get clobbered with negative ratings on this review I will speak my mind. I was disappointed with this episode after the last few being really promising.

    I hope the show gets renewed (not likely) and the finally is more polished than this episode. Oh, and it was nice seeing Alan Tudyk from Firefly fame.

    Thanks for reading...
  • Other details bother me once again

    This was one of the best eps so far, I enjoyed it very much although I have to admit I was so dissapointed by Alpha. I expected him to be more like a traumatized child defending itself or taking revenge without actually realizing what he`s doing than a malevolent, somewhat sadistic character that takes pleasure from harming others. Also, what was the deal with the little girl?? I (think I) get all the connections that can be made between her story and different aspects of Echo`s/Caroline`s existence, but for real where does she fit in this story?? Who sent Echo over there?? Why?? What`s so important about this abused little girl?? Who paid?? Echo said she`ll be back but not for a while... what did she mean by that?? Will the little girl play a role in future events??, if not, they really messed up this story. And another thing: Come on, they were able to construct that whole underground corporation and keep it together for years, but they didn`t realise Paul was jerking their chain?? And how easy was to get into that building?? Where were all the cameras when our boys were on the roof, huh?? Just wait and see, wait and see...
  • I think this was probably the strongest episode so far

    Ok - this is the moment when everything is coming to point where the whole season has been leading - it is Alpha and Ballard's quest. It starts like ordinary episode, with a really good thought and meaning.. and I also loved the dialogue about Earth Day. So - first it is that kind of sweet episode - all those important things like making that girl seeing there is point of living and reminding us that we all live on same Earth.. but on the other part the whole new tune is set - that kind of intense and dark. I think the best example was the fight between Ballard and Langton. The music, the dynamic, camera work. And ofcourse the moment we realize that Kepler isn't who we thought. Wow.. that was great turn and I loved the casting choice for that role. I imagined alpha to be somehow.. different, that kind of look into face and you see the evil but oo no.. and that is great turn.
  • Paul finds the dollhouse.

    Dollhouse never ceases to amaze me. You can never really pinpoint where the show is going and when it's going to surprise you. "Briar Rose" is a game changing episode for Dollhouse as it blows the main storyline out of proportion. The advancement of the story was indeed expected due to only one more episode airing, but surprising none-the-less. The episode starts with one of the lesser popular fairy tales "Briar Rose". The focus is set on one of the children that Echo read the story too, a troubled child that has gone through several bad events in her life. Echo is imprinted with the girls "future-self" to try and relate to the girls problems and fix her lifestyle. What was weird about this episode is that after a short talk with the girl they didn't focus on that particular storyline anymore. I would've liked to have seen it resolved but I can forgive this small mishap because what they turn our attention to is more dramatic and entertaining.

    Yes, Paul is the bread winner in this episode. After watching him pack up his stuff and leave Mellie things that you probably weren't expecting get thrown at you. Paul tracks Mellie back to a mysterious building on Flower Street which he believes is the Dollhouse. I must say it was nice to finally see Paul use some brains and take his approach on the hard edge. Paul tracks down an environmentalist specialist said to have designed the Dollhouses ecosystems from the ground up, essentially making the Dollhouse "invisible" due to recyclable waste and power systems. The likable character we are introduced to is a scatter brain – a loner with some serious issues. As the episode rolls on he eventually leads Paul into the heart of the Dollhouse which is something I was starting to think was never going to happen. It felt good seeing Paul finally get his eyeballs on something he's been working hard to find for so long. As Paul and his partner infiltrate the heart of the Dollhouse – including the entry to Topher's office by tazering him – things get iffy as Paul gets to the actives sleeping pen. While it was obvious that Paul was going to get caught the thought of Boyd letting him walk out before he does more damage shocked me. Why would he even consider letting Ballard go? Either way the fight scene over echo was sweet and provided some needed action.

    Just when I thought the end was here, there was still another huge shocker that this episode leaves us with at the end, which I will not disclose in this review. I couldn't be happier with it though, as it will defiantly leave us wanting to watch the season finale next Friday. Things are looking good for Dollhouse as we enter the last episode, and I'm actually excited to see what happens next. This episode drove the main plot faster than I expected, as the show usually only gradually gives us new twists. If you've been watching Dollhouse since the beginning this episode is proof that this show can give us what we desire, and could possibly keep more overlying plots in the spotlight effectively keeping the show exciting enough to keep us waiting for Friday nights at 9.
  • This week on Dollhouse Echo becomes the grown-up version of this little girl that has a haunting past. Ballard has found a way into the Dollhouse.

    This episode of Dollhouse was Amazing. This week Echo becomes the grown-up version of this young girl and tries to get her to overcome her past. I like how they tell the story of Beauty in the Beast and it's the same with Ballard trying to save Coraline. Alan Tudyk as Alpha was the funniest thing I've ever seen. He was amazing, and even a little scary. Poor Mellie, having to go through that drama of Ballard leaving. And Poor Victor for getting his face scratched up by Alpha. Victor does a good Dominic. It was nice seeing Amy Acker in this episode again. I'm glad Alpha didn't cut up her face. I never saw Echo/Coraline and Alpha being lovers coming. I can't wait for next weeks episode. I give this episode a 10/10.
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