Season 1 Episode 0

Echo (Unaired Pilot)

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Unknown on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
225 votes

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Episode Summary

Echo (Unaired Pilot)
Agent Ballard's investigation into the Dollhouse gains momentum when he gets a photo of Echo. Meanwhile Echo and some of the other Actives start to show signs of self-awareness, making Adelle and the handlers nervous.

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  • ECHO


    The good;

    A solid introduction to the workings of the Dollhouse and the various characters we will encounter over the course of the series. Love Echo at the wedding reception and Victor being a doll is sure a shock. Interesting debate between Topher and Boyd, they seem closer here than in Ghost.

    The bad;

    You can see why the network demanded a reshoot, very little action and kinda hard to like the characters, especially when Echo shoots Agent Ballard. Also stretches credibility that there's no sex involved, reminiscent of the holosuites in ST;TNG

    Best line;

    Victor's "People are mostly crap!" just beating Topher's "Morality is programming" (or do they mean the same thing?)

    Packing heat;

    Echo shoots Ballard with his own gun.

    Kinky dinky;

    Astonishingly in this first ep there's no sex whatsover except for a little kissy kissy at the wedding reception. Addy remarks to the client about hiring girls to dress as cheerleaders for him. Topher justifies him being in the Dollhouse because it is "Cutting edge science in a house full of hot chicks". Personally all the naked showering scenes do little or nothing for me, when the actives don't have their personalities implanted they act like stoned children and I just find it extremely creepy (nudity in itself is seldom erotic, the context is everything).

    Capt subtext;

    Addy's client is a little too eager to turn down the offer of a male doll. Victor says that he wants to be Doris Day (cut to Sierra looking just like her or actually a little more Jackie O perhaps?)

    How'd they get away with that?

    The sociopath assassin Echo is programmed with is hard to take, she's loathsome but your heart bleeds for a girl who's been running from the police since she was 5. Still hard to watch Ballard threaten her though but this being a Joss show she turns the tables. Boyd seems pretty callous just abandoning a wounded Ballard but in fairness the police are on their way.

    This weeks fantasy;

    Echo is a vengful streetwalker, besotted fiance, damaged goods assassin and rehab girl. Sierra is Jackie O, Victor is a Russian gangster

    Total number personalitites;

    Echo; 4

    Sierra; 1

    Victor; 1

    Total dolls;3

    We meet Victor, Echo and Sierra

    Addy is a bit British;

    Likes her tea

    Topher is a bit geeky;

    His lab is an ubergeeks playground complete with gumball machine and whack-a-mole arcade machine

    Subverting the Hollywood cliche;


    Knocked out;


    Dolls injured;

    Sierra with an unexplained cut on her face

    Happy hookers;

    Essentially the Dollhouse is the ultimate fantasy brothel, amazing that Joss was able to get that onto the screen but I guess The Sopranos, The Shield etc led the way. Here we actually have Echo beating up a pimp and packing his latest working girl off home, rather hypocritical given the nature of the Dollhouse, is what Addy and co do that different to what he does?

    Know the face?

    2 Joss Whedon regulars, Amy Acker and Eliza Dushku.


    The conspiracy starts here, the power and reach of the Dollhouse is truly terrifying


    Plenty where Echo and the girls get to dress up as cheerleaders and 'Bring it on'.

    Missing scenes;

    Interesting missing scenes with Echo saving the girl in a spiral of self-destruction but the Dollhouse seems a bit TOO altruisitic

    Reminds me off;

    The dolls sleeping pods are very Alien whilst the Dollhouse itself is reminiscent of the Wolfram and Hart set in Angel.

    Questions and observations;

    Gotta say I prefer Echo to Ghost although I can see why the network didn't. Do we ever meet Ballards ex? Addy seems to imply they're all dammed.

    7 out of 10, good enough, intriguing but not brilliant

Clayton Rohner

Clayton Rohner

Marc Dreyfuss

Guest Star

Raphael Sbarge

Raphael Sbarge


Guest Star

Maury Sterling

Maury Sterling


Guest Star

Reed Diamond

Reed Diamond

Laurence Dominic

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Topher: Wait, you are not allowed to have conspiracy theories when you're in the employ of the conspiracy. These folk elected to give us 5 years of their lives, after which they will be blissfully ignorant and very wealthy.

    • Adelle: I know you've heard colorful rumors about what an "Active" is. Robots, zombie slaves - they are, of course, quite the opposite. The Active is the truest soul among us.

  • NOTES (3)

    • On May 15th 2008 a trailer containing parts of "Echo" was shown at the Fox-Upfronts and was later leaked on the Internet.

    • This episode was originally intended to be the series pilot, but after test audiences found it too confusing and dark Joss Whedon decided to shoot a new pilot, "Ghost", to better introduce the story and characters to the viewing audience. It was originally reported that this episode was going to be aired second, after the new pilot, but when it proved impossible to salvage (even with reshoots) Joss decided to shelve the episode completely.

    • Production of "Echo" began on April 23rd, 2008. Principal photography took place from May 6th to May 12th. In June, four of the seven original days of shooting had to be reshot. This may have been related to the fact that a new pilot was filmed, making "Echo" the second episode rather than the first, as originally planned.