Season 1 Episode 7


Aired Friday 9:00 PM Mar 27, 2009 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
934 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Echo abandons an assignment when she is drawn to a nearby college where the entire campus is being affected by a mysterious memory drug.

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  • Whedon writes the episode, not his best work but still better than the first episodes of Dollhouse.

    It's interesting to see how much the fan reviews vary so immensely. I get why some people really enjoy the show and why some hate it so much. I wonder if the people who hate it so much are die-hard Whedon fans who feel that he can do so much better. For me, I am a big Whedon fan and Dollhouse is not one of his greatest achievements but it's also not the worst thing on TV.

    Concerning this episode, it's funny 'cause there is a lot of Whedon in here (he did write the episode). The characters acting out of characters is reminiscent of "Tabula Rasa" from Buffy. I actually love it when he does that. Dewitt got so much more interesting in this episode as did Dominic. Love the way he kept trying to apologize for trying to kill Echo.

    And what about seeing Victor as head of the NSA, how cool was that! I really like how Enver Gjokaj plays every different role he as to play, he's so much more interesting that Echo. This is what makes a Whedon series, the supporting characters are soooo fascinating, this is why I loved Spike and Giles and Westley so much more than Buffy or Angel.

    I have to agree with the other reviewers than the Echo back-story wasn't that interesting but I still care about the series enough to see where it goes from here.

    Hopefully we'll get the Whedon's magic touch back for the long arc.moreless
  • Echoes


    The good; So we find out how Echo came to the Dollhouse. Hilarious to watch Dominic bossed around by Victor and the other dolls and lovely scenes between Adele and Topher.

    The bad; Why do they use the NSA as cover? Surely they're involved in intercepting communications, not stuff like this?

    Best line; Toper (of Dominic) "He didn't take any, no way would Dominic have any fun" plus Again "Nothing is what it appears to be"

    Packing heat; Dominic with his Glock (personally I always found them a bit light for my taste?) Sierra and Victor also get one whilst we also see Victor with an M16 in his flashback. Echo;4 Boyd; 6 Dominic; 6 Sierra; 3 Victor; 2

    Kinky dinky; Echo's knee socks, high heels and micro-mini dress are spectacular, especially when she's on the bike (but is that ED?). Check out her stumble when she chases Sam from the lab. She engages in bondage sex with her returning client.

    Notches on the Dollhouse bedpost; none unless Echo goes back to finish her engagement. Why are Topher's trousers off? What did he and Adele get up to? He says she's his 'Superior in every way"? Echo; 3 November; 1 Ballard; 1

    How'd they get away with that? The poor kid headbutting the glass, yeeesh! Tophers ode to drugs is also pretty near the knuckle.

    This weeks fantasy; Echo returns to her biker-party-girl persona which we see in Ghost, Victor is a federal agent and Sierra a government scientist

    Total number personalities; Echo; 14 Sierra; 5 Victor; 2 November; 1

    Total dolls;4, but we hear of another Doll, Foxtrot? Sam becomes an active at the end but do we ever see him again? Echo, Sierra, November and Victor

    Addy is a bit British; "Sarcastic? Unfeeling? British?" She uses the British term crisp. Brown sauce is actually a mix of fruit and spices. Topher also refers to his machines that go 'Ping!' which is a reference to Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.

    Topher is a bit geeky; Topher is so excited to meet the Rostrum head guy he might throw up. He quotes Mighty Mouse 'Here I come to save the day'.

    Subverting the Hollywood clich;

    Bondage; no but Echo ties up her client Sierra tied up; 1

    Knocked out;

    Kills; Sierra; 2 kills Echo; 1 November;1

    Dolls injured;

    Capt subtext; Adele's interview of Caroline is reminiscent of seduction. Paul wants to take care of Mellie, just like he wants to save Caroline, always the white knight. Topher and Adele begin to share. Adele says she has a good story about Victor. Dominic hints that there's more to him than just a professional heavy, namely his suits, is he hinting that he's gay?

    Happy hookers

    Know the face? 5 Whedon alumni-Mark Shepherd, Amy Acker, walking action figure, Eliza Dushku, Jim Piddock

    Guantanamo; The press are fed a cover story of a student prank gone wrong

    Fanfic; One theory explored in fanfic is that Caroline is actually Adele's daughter?

    Missing scenes;

    Reminds me off; Very reminiscent of the classic 3rd season Buffy ep Band Candy, Adele in particular similar to the wonderful Joyce.

    Breaking the programming; In this ep all the Dolls glitch but Echo starts before she even get's the drug. She actually says 'No' to her treatment.

    Questions and observations; Adele refers to her and Caroline playing this game for 2 years? First return client, the same guy from Ghost. Caroline is an anti-war protester and animal rights activist. My personal theory was that Leo, her boyfriend who was shot was actually Alpha. Boyd plays the piano pretty well. We learn Caroline's full name, Caroline Farrell and Dominic's, Lawerance Dominic. We find hints of the Dolls previous lives, Victor was a soldier, November is mourning someone

    Marks out of 10; 7/10 again, enjoyed this more than I thought

  • Didn't find the Caroline/Echo story interesting, but the rest was highly entertaining.

    This episode goes a long way to expanding on the other main characters and filling in some detail about Caroline. Not to mention it's really hilarious at times.

    Tofer plays a prank on Dominic – making Victor NSA so he 'officially' outranks the head of security! The drug gives Tofer and DeWitt some hilarious bonding time together! It is just too cute! Dominic is infected too and hugs Echo, "I am so sorry I tried to kill you!"

    Echo's deterioration continues – while on an assignment, she remembers enough to lead her to the college campus where she has enough memories to lead her into the Rossum building and everything that followed. It's only vaguely interesting, just filling in the gap of how she got recruited.

    How the episode does pay off is we see a completely different, more relaxed, more fun side to characters that, until now, have been rigid and strangers. I like the characters far more now that we've seen this, and the plus side is that it provided some really funny scenes. This is the equivalent of an 'office party', one where everyone gets drunk and makes fools of themselves, or worse, providing stories to tell about each other until the next office party.

    Though I wasn't really interested in the entire Caroline/Echo story, the rest was very entertaining and great from a character POV.moreless
  • Finally what I have been waiting for! At last we got some effective humor. The thing I have been missing most is the interplay between actors in an ensemble cast. It was a perfect example of my favorite Whedonesque magic-moreless

    Finally what I have been waiting for. Maybe because it was a perfect example of my favorite Whedonesque magic; revealing insights into characters by showing their responses after they have been affected by some unexpected device. The thing I have been missing most is the interplay between an ensemble cast. If half of them have no personalities and the other half (minus one) have to repress their humanity it gets pretty grim and monotonous. At last we got some effective humor to balance all the portentous pretension. For the first time Topher didn't seem paper thin and Laurence Dominic did more than cast a shadow. I have admired Reed Diamond's work in Homicide:LOTS NS and the Shield so I am glad to see him given something to do other than skulk.

    I think it helped that`we didn't focus on Echo and her "John." Wow that got old real fast. Moe Viktor and Sierra please. Give Echo a rest she is stretched to her limits already.moreless
  • An incomprehensible mess. If this is your first episode of Dollhouse, I'm truly sorry...

    One step forward, 2 steps back. That basically sums up the momentum (and consistency) of Dollhouse in a nutshell. For every good episode they deliver, it is followed by a story that is just not up to snuff. It's hard enough finding an audience to watch this show, so if you tuned in for the first time after all the buzz from last week, I am truly very sorry.

    "Echoes" is a muttled, incomprehensible mess. Basically, there's a drug going around a campus that makes everyone act all loopy and weird. Some ramble incoherently, others break down mentally. Even the dolls begin to "glitch" with past memories. This was an opportunity, I believe for the creators to turn the series upside down, and have some fun with the characters. (As evidenced by the Dollhouse head, flopping around with no shoes on and being chummy with Topher.)

    But my problem was this nonsense went on way too long. (The explanation should have come at least 15 minutes into the episode. Imagine if Buffy's "Hush" never explained why everyone lost their voice until the midway point or later. It would be an extremely frustrating watch. That is a key difference between good and bad screenwriting.)

    I also felt the premise is coming in way too early in the series. I'm still not connected enough to these characters to be flipped out over their change in character. The show has so many identity crisis's already (Echo, the other dolls and some of the agents), there was just no effect for me. I was watching with my Dad (a first timer) and I kept trying to explain to him why something was supposed to be fun or weird, but really, it was just hard to follow, and nothing made sense.

    The only positive thing I can say (even the ending was predictable) was Dushku was driving me nuts in those thigh-high stockings. Hubba Hubba!moreless
Brett Claywell

Brett Claywell


Guest Star

Philip Casnoff

Philip Casnoff

Clive Ambrose

Guest Star

Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer

Professor Janack

Guest Star

Reed Diamond

Reed Diamond

Laurence Dominic

Recurring Role

Miracle Laurie

Miracle Laurie


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • When Topher meets Clive Ambrose, he greets him by saying, "Third richest man in the country; nominated for a Nobel Prize..." According to, the names of the nominees cannot be revealed until 50 years later, so the only way that Topher would know this is through the Dollhouse's network of influential clients and other clandestine sources of information.

    • We learn that Echo's real name is Caroline Farrell when a college professor recognizes her.

    • The motorcycle that Echo rides in this episode is a Ducati 1098.

    • Mellie's Dollhouse name is revealed to be "November."

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Adelle: The effect is spreading. Mr. Dominic is exhibiting erratic behavior.
      Topher: Huh? He didn't take any. There's no way Dominic would consciously try to have fun. It could be airborne.

    • Adelle: Do you have any crisps?
      Topher: Have you not seen my drawer of inappropriate starches?

    • Paul: Didn't know I could cook, did you?
      Mellie: Nope.
      Paul: Good. Then you won't be disappointed when you find out I can't.

    • Dominic: Tom, this is Dr. Gawa from the Center for Disease Control.
      Victor: Super, I haven't heard a good flesh-eating-strain-of-something-horrible story in a while.
      Sierra: Yeah, I've got dozens.

    • Topher: I'm working! What are you doing, besides being...
      Adelle: Being what?
      Topher: Wait a minute.
      Adelle: Sarcastic? Unfeeling? British?
      Topher: It's an animal.
      Adelle: Where?
      Topher: No, the word.
      Adelle: Still, you have to admit, I am… very... British. I don't say hard Rs.
      Topher: You know what I like? Brown sauce. What's it made of? Science doesn't know.
      Adelle: It's made of brown.
      Topher: Brown... mined from the earth by the hardscrabble brown miners of North Brownderton.
      Adelle: Oh, my God! I find lentils completely incomprehensible.

  • NOTES (3)

    • The building shown as the outside of the frat house where the affected people are being kept is the Associated Students building at San Jose State University. The two buildings in the background are MacQuarie (on the left) and Duncan (on the right).

    • International Airdates:
      UK: June 30, 2009 on Sci Fi
      Australia: July 21, 2009 on FOX8
      Latin America: September 15, 2009 on FX
      Norway: November 9, 2009 on TV2
      Czech Republic: January 15, 2010 on Prima COOL
      Slovakia: December 28, 2011 on JOJ Plus

    • Music: Portions For Foxes (Rilo Kiley), Fantaisie-Impromptu In C-Sharp Minor, Op. 66 (Chopin), For Everything A Reason (Carina Round)


    • Topher: Listen to me, carefully. I've got a huge phalanx of machines that go ping.
      This is an allusion to the Monty Python film The Meaning of Life. In the first part, "The Miracle of Birth", there is a machine in the hospital which the doctors refer to as "the machine that goes ping."

    • Topher: As long as we keep the place locked down and don't have any more X-factors, then here I come to save the day.

      "Here I come to save the day!" is a catchphrase used by the cartoon character Mighty Mouse, star of The Mighty Mouse Playhouse and other cartoon and comic book series.

    • The Rossum Corporation

      The Rossum Corporation, and the Rossum Building on campus, takes its name from Karel Capek's 1931 science-fiction stage play R.U.R., later translated to English under the full title of Rossum's Universal Robots. The play introduced (and popularized) the term robot in reference to automatons. In the play, the robots are not purely mechanical systems, but rather organic creatures assembled in a factory, more resembling the current definition of "clone" than that of "robot".