Season 1 Episode 13

Epitaph One

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Unknown on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (25)

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701 votes
  • A very different episode with a lot of information

    I really liked this episode but I had a little trouble with it at the beginning. It's always hard when a series decides to jump to the future and change the entire cast. I kept panicking that we weren't going to see Echo and all the series regular in the episode which would have sucked. Thank god they got a way for us to get glimpses into the past with the regular characters and this is where it got interesting. I loved the way that we only got a little bit of information as to how this apocalyptic future came about. The scene that got me the most has to be the one where Topher goes crazy and Dewitt comforts him. That scene is so touching; Fran Kranz is so convincing as Topher, really emotional. Love the little shrine he made himself inside the doll's sleeping area. I also love the fact that he was scribbling on the wall, similar to what Fred's character used to do in Angel (played by Amy Acker).

    Speaking of Acker, I really loved what they did with her character. She got so interesting. I also enjoy the fact that she was Whiskey again and not Dr. Saunders. Some people pointed out that she might have imprinted herself back to being Whiskey but I think that it might have been Echo who did it to have someone inside the Dollhouse who could retract Caroline's back up personality.

    A very good episode reminiscent of Firefly at times, mostly at the beginning with the war on the streets and only a couple of "good" people left.
  • Epitaph One

    The good;

    All of it, just terrific stuff. Gritty opening title rather than the normal dreamlike sequence. Whiskey's appearance is especially good, the scene where Adele confronts an imprinted Victor is awesome (lovely touch that he's enjoying shellfish whilst in Victor because he's allergic in his own body).

    The bad;

    Couldn't we have Joss doing the commentary and not his brother? How does the little girl reach high enough up to attack the girl in the shower?

    Best line;

    Topher; "Children with matches!"

    but also like

    Echo imprinted little girl "Great, puberty all over again"

    Packing heat; everybody is armed to the teeth (even Adele for the first time apparently at the request of the actress). Weird to see this little girl running around with guns considering how anti-gun Joss seemed in Buffy?


    Boyd; 8

    Dominic; 9

    Sierra; 4

    Victor; 3

    Ballard; 10

    November; 1

    Echo kissage;2

    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?

    All of the stuff with the little girl.

    This weeks fantasy;

    Victor is the Rossum head honcho, Echo is a Russian immigrant

    Total number personalitites;

    Echo; 22

    Sierra; 10

    Victor; 7

    November; 3

    Total dolls; another Doll, Juliet is mentioned but we don't know which one she is. Also November is mentioned but Victor asks 'Which one?" implying that there was the replacement from the girl who played Mellie in season 1.

    8-Echo, Sierra, November, Victor, Mike, Tango, Alpha, Whiskey

    Topher is a bit geeky;

    The survivors describe Topher's rumpus room as a nursery. Topher from 2 years back is reminiscent of Michael J Fox.

    Subverting the Hollywood cliche;

    When Zone teases Mag about regretting killing an imprinted person she replies "I wish it could have been you"


    Sierra tied up; 1

    Ballard; 1

    Knocked out;

    Echo; 2

    November; 1

    Sierra; 1

    Victor; 1

    Topher; 1


    Sierra; 2 kills

    Echo; 1


    Capt subtext;

    The first thing Dominic notices when he's freed from the attic is that suits have three buttons again. The commentary also seems to hint he might be gay? Adele and Topher almost seem to be like a mother and son.

    Happy hookers

    Zone comments that the Dollhouse is a brothel built to make better hookers. Apparently the network gave instructions to avoid prostitution in the series. I wonder what went wrong?

    Know the face? Hooray! Hooray! It's Felicia, Felicia Day! Whedon veteran from Buffy and Dr Horrible plus The Guild. Zone remind anyone else of Patrick Swayze crossed with Corey Feldman?

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


    The imprinted little girl describes Mag and Zone as bigots because they killed anyone imrprinted.

    Fanfic; more fic than you can shake a stick at to tide you over until the season 2 DVDs come out

    Dollhouse FanFiction Archive - FanFiction.Net

    Missing scenes;.

    I like the idea of the scene with the bear in the lift, I wonder if it's the same one from the Angel ep Soul Purpose? Anyone know where I can find that clip on the internet? Do they ask it to press the floor button and then it get's frustrated because it's paws are too big?

    Reminds me off;

    We have an apocalypse in LA just as we saw in Angel season 6. The evil little girl is reminiscent of the annointed in Buffy and the Conduit in Angel. Topher's idea of the cyber-attack via the phone is a feature of the Stephen King novel 'Cell'

    Topher's rambling like Wes in season 5 of Angel. The photo wall is very BSG. The commentators are Dr Who fans to judge by their 'Don't blink' remark. The butchers resemble the reavers from Firefly who were also the result of well intentioned technology gone wrong.

    Breaking the programming;

    Echo can now maintain her own personality (pure Caroline or the composite of her imprints?) whilst she's imprinted but still have all the knowledge of her imprint. She seems to have headaches as a result as does Sierra.

    Questions and observations;

    Great ep, truly, truly great, the first 10 out of 10 for the series. Kepler certainly does nice work, his Dollhouse has survived a remarkably long time. The tension between Topher and Dominic is evident right from the start. Dominic actually warns Adele of the consequences of letting the tech run riot. Whiskey's scars are healed as are Victor's. Is the argument in the kitchen the moment Adele turns against Rossum? Is the life after death idea a transfer of consciousness from one body to another or just a Haunted style imprint? If so, it's not really life after death, it's just making clones of yourself. Sierra's real name is Priva Testrene (Tibetan apparently). Adele strikes you as a very good leader, hope Caroline doesn't kill her. Interesting to see that Victor seems to lead the Dollhouse defence force (which is why Paul is talking to him whilst Dr Saunders is fixing Echo up?). So Dr Saunders blanked herself into Whiskey to avoid the madness of being alone for 2 years?

    So, does Whiskey kill everyone and herself with poison gas? Or as the commentary suggests it's just knockout gas, she imprints all the unconscious butcher's with Echo's wedge and creates countless guides to safe haven?

    Marks out of 10; 10/10 excellent, they saved the best until last, I wish the whole series could have been this good, can't wait for season 2

  • Easily the best of the season.

    Don't let the couple of low ratings fool you-- this is easily the best episode of the first season. It is the first time we get to see any type of overaching plot come through the storyline (something the rest of the season is lacking). No, it's not perfect, but it's a LOT better than the other episodes in this season. Also, I don't understand how the same people who hate Dollhouse can LOVE Firefly. They both have crappy first seasons with almost no plotline. As a matter of fact, all of Joss's shows are like this. He needs to realize that mediocre first seasons lead to cancellations.
  • Opening with an Armageddon like future set in 2019, Epitaph One posits the dark future that the Dollhouse technology has led to

    Wow, I can't believe I waited this long to watch Epitaph One. Its really good, definitely one of the best episodes of this season.

    Opening with an Armageddon like future set in 2019, Epitaph One posits the dark future that the Dollhouse technology has led to. Imprinting has gotten out of control and the world is plunged into war. A small band of survivors, stumble upon a now empty and desolate Dollhouse and retrace the steps that led to their current stage. As they retrieve memory after memory, they find out through the different characters of the Dollhouse the events that transpired. Eventually they find Whisky who's left behind of her own choice, floating about in child like unawareness as she leads them to escape. Her role is very well etched out and has an amazing poetic resonance.

    This is a very layered episode, as much as it is futuristic and outlandish. It also raises a lot of interesting questions about ethical science, human greed and the dangers of playing with nature without lapsing into regressive arguments.
  • 'Epitaph One' stands head and shoulders above just about anything that was actually aired under the Dollhouse moniker.

    In a somewhat frustrating turn of events, it transpires that Dollhouse's greatest episode is also the one that the vast majority of the viewing public will never get to see (well, unless FOX tag it on to the end of season two or something.) In case you weren't aware, 'Epitaph One' was never broadcast as the show's season one finale, as it was supposed to be, due to a load of codswallop wrangling between the network and the production crew over how many episodes were ordered and how many delivered (if you want to understand the minutiae of the situation, just check out the notes on Consequently, the only chance that the programme's fans have to see it is on the recently released first season DVD (well, the only legal chance anyway…), but trust me, it really is worth forking out the £25 for. Whedon's script is a masterpiece of ingenuity, transporting the viewer to a depressingly bleak, nondescript future in which the technology of the Dollhouse has gone global and caused society as we know it to effectively fall apart at the seams. With the Rossum Corporation controlling which personality they want to imprint in each body, and the option available for 'lesser', 'weaker' individuals to have their minds replaced with more preferable models, a Hellish dystopia has been created, wherein no human being is necessarily who they claim to be. Amongst this chaos, Whedon weaves the tale of a ragtag band of 'originals' struggling to survive, who suddenly come upon the very thing that they may need to save mankind: the original Dollhouse itself. The viewer is launched headfirst into this unfamiliar, unforgiving environment and has to work to piece together the minutiae: the characters' dialogue is littered with jargon and self-reference, which is often somewhat impenetrable, but such astute attention to detail greatly enhances the believability of the piece (after all, if you'd been living in such a world for the better part of five or so years, you wouldn't explain everything to your compatriots in every sentence, would you?) The conflict and tension amongst the members of the group is also deliciously palpable; the guest cast do an absolutely stellar job of selling the paranoia and distrust that have become a natural part of their everyday lives. It's something of a brave move to depart from the standard formula of the show and reduce the regular cast to B or C storyline status but thankfully, in Whedon's masterful hands, it works wonders. The flashback sequences that do involve the Dollhouse occupants are all the more enjoyable and intriguing for their brevity. We are only allowed glimpses into the sequence of events that have led to the catastrophic environment in which we now find ourselves: we get an idea of how Ballard and Echo work from within to 'free' the Dolls, how Rossum develops its plans for the facility and, perhaps most significantly from a characterial perspective, what happens to Topher and DuWitt as they begin to see society falling apart around them. The scene in which she comforts the scientist in his mock Doll-hole is beautifully minimal, loaded with emotional meaning. Whedon is careful not to reveal too much here, suggesting rather than delineating, although one is tempted to question whether he wrote the script imagining that it would be Dollhouse's last. It does seem to be a definitive path for the narrative post-'Omega'; would he have been so revelatory if he'd known that the show was to be renewed? We can but speculate; just as we can but ponder the episode's title, which seems to suggest that there are several epitaphs, not simply this one. Could this be a hint that we are seeing a possible future, not a definitive one? Or that a future season could pick up the story after this episode? Who knows? At the end of the day, perhaps it is actually for the best that 'Epitaph One' never aired. As a 'bonus' episode, outside of the official, televised canon, we are able to choose whether we treat its suggestions as sacrosanct or simply conjecture. This gives the episode an even greater weight, a rich ambiguity that makes its story all the more rewarding. A considerably brave move from Joss Whedon and one that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout, desperate for the next revelation or morsel of exposition. With a fantastic guest cast, beautifully laconic and bleak production and another damn fine turn from Amy Acker (really, she's just the best damn thing about the show, isn't she?), 'Epitaph One' stands head and shoulders above just about anything that was actually aired under the Dollhouse moniker. An absolute must see.
  • Blown away by this episode!

    This episode was unreal - it took Dollhouse to a totally different level. I liked that the regular characters were not the main focus, but rather, what impact the Dollhouse has had on humanity and how humanity fights for their own survival. I also liked that it showed us what happens when technology turns on us - how do we cope without it as the only way to stay yourself is to no touch any type of technology

    Most of the time I was watching it, my mind just leaped with possibilities for how the show will progress and even post this episode.

    Bring on Season 2 - well done Josh and co!!
  • It is 2019 and the tech that ran the Dollhouse has gone worldwide with cataclysmic effect. A small band of survivors of the tech try to find a way to escape and find themselves in the old abandoned LA Dollhouse or is it abandoned?

    What a terrific start or ending point for this series. So many questions answered and so many important points revealed in just one episode. This is truly what was missing from the first twelve episodes of Dollhouse.

    Even if this is just a possible future or the actual future we have a greater understanding of what the Dollhouse is ultimately about and how the stories are interwoven. I think this episode gives life to the characters and really gives you that empathy that was missing from the original episodes. I found myself bonding with Langton and Dr. Saunders most in the first twelve episodes. Then eventually Adelle and Topher as well. With just an hours program time I now have a better understanding of the other characters and what they are going thru.

    This episode is truly the human side to the Dollhouse. The moral questions and scientific anomaly of just because you can do something does that mean you should? Certainly that drove Topher mad at the end and Adelle who really understood his genius with him.

    A great episode that needs to be shown on broadcast television soon so that everyone besides the Dollhouse faithful can understand the show better. This episode brings this series to the level of Firefly and some of Whedon's other classic series. Good job! Thanks for reading...
  • People Who Don't Watch This Show Are Brainwashed Losers!! They are missing a series that is VERY, VERY Special :)

    I just finished watching it and oh boy did my love for Dollhouse grow!!
    It was epic, breathtaking and SERIOUSLY depressing. Seeing what the world of Dollhouse would or will look like in 10 years. Wow that was frightening! Notice how I said both would and will. Will the end of the show really be this depressing? Even though it would be a unique and clever way to end it, I don't want to a depressing ending to this wonderful series.

    The parts I enjoyed the most were the flashbacks of some of the characters' first day entering the Dollhouse. Topher's was a absolute classic. =D By the way, I really did feel touched at the way Adelle was taking care of him during his madness.

    There were a lot of questions to wonder about like: What happened to all the actives and everyone from the dollhouse? Where are they in the future? How did Topher's madness start and end? How did the war and all the destroyment start? Perhaps we'll get answers as we go along. Whedon did say season 2 will show some of the future.

    Overall, a fantastic episode that keeps you wanting more.
    Anyone who is not watching(basically every brainwashed Americans except the 2 million viewers that watch the show) is missing out something VERY SPECIAL!! :)

    P.S. Loved the song at the end of the episode.
  • Finally Joss in charge

    This is the first of all Dollhouse eps that actually feels like Joss Whedon and the difference in quatily and entertainment is mind blowing. If the show was a skyscraper Epitaph One is the top floor while the rest are all the basement. So glad to hear that Fox is butting out now and letting Joss do the show as he wants it to be. Hopefully season 2 will keep the quality of the, for some reason, unaired episode. I almost stopped watching the show altogether but i knew mister Whedon had more to give. Only a few more days to the new and improved Dollhouse.
  • Special Review: A turning point that hopefully they can deliver on.

    The controversy that surrounds this episode took precedence over the episode itself. It was originally scheduled as the finale, but because the original pilot was reshot, this was considered episode fourteen, one more than they originally ordered and therefore, didn't air. Instead they threw it on the DVD as an extra to boost sales, a plan that failed miserably. It's a shame (and one of the big mistakes the network has made), because this episode is easily the best of the first season and important to the series' story.

    It can be understandable why this one was shelved. "Omega" is the climax of the season, whereas this one doesn't tie into the season's story (this episode is Dollhouse's "Restless") and doesn't affect its viewing. The main action focuses on characters we've never met who are 10 years in the future and those in 2009 don't have a lot of screen time. However, going back to "Restless", it sets up some major pieces for the future, which considering Dollhouse's time on the bubble, may explain why it was shelved: to avoid nerds getting angry over unanswered questions.

    The big question going into the next season is how will viewers who didn't buy or rent the DVD, which let's be honest is most of them, view season two and potentially beyond. The writers have to write to an audience who missed out on what is sure to be a crucial piece of the story, but still satisfy the ones who did. It may mean less Zone, Mag and "Caroline" than they hoped, but how much is enough for both groups of viewers? That balance if achieved will be interesting to see.

    Flash forwards are an interesting way to rejuvenate a storyline. Lost did it to great effect, and Desperate Housewives tried something similar as well (not counting FlashForward, which uses it as the impetus for the story). Dollhouse is a different beast as this was done at the end of the first season, whereas Lost and Housewives were established series. It also was plagued with bad luck, from low ratings to a troublesome first five episodes that reeked of studio meddling. This episode was written in mind that it may be the last and with nothing to lose, Whedon and company lay down some serious cards.

    The story takes place 10 years in the future, where the technologies of the Dollhouse (called "tech") caused the end of civilization. Mass imprinting turned most into "butchers", dolls intent on destruction who now mostly fight each other and those not imprinted. Those survivors (called "actuals") desperately try to avoid being imprinted to the point where seeing a radio is enough to provoke a serious reaction and suspicion of being imprinted is grounds for execution.

    The episode focuses on one group, lead by Zone, Griff and Mag (Whedon favorite Felicia Day), bringing along flashlight fodder Lyn, "Iris" and her "father", a guy whose personality has been wiped clean, but hasn't been imprinted into being a killer. While seeking sanctuary they discover the seemingly abandoned Dollhouse. After they find the imprinting chair, they begin to put together the story of the rise and fall of the Dollhouse as well as society in general.

    Through the "flashbacks", several pieces of information are revealed about the decade between in the lives of the regulars, but a lot is up for speculation. Paul became Echo's handler as expected, but at some point she became capable of handling two personalities at once, working as a double agent with Paul. However, there appears to be drawbacks in the form of major headaches. It all leads to her immunity to imprinting, which may lead to more appearances by Alpha.

    The turning point seems to be when Ambrose, the head of the company that made the Dollhouse, imprinted himself into a healed Victor (and as he claims, 10 other dolls in 10 other houses) with a scary proposition: selling the actives for hundreds of millions so the personalities of old, rich people can live forever. This is something the show has discussed before and as the episode is all about tracking the slippery slope to the apocalypse, his proposal is the logical conclusion. However, both Topher and Adelle see this as crossing the line: the dolls do five years, and their personalities aren't for sale. The next piece is Ambrose's warning that he will know if they mind wipe Victor, which we see happened. Removing Ambrose has to be the "crossing the Rubicon" moment where they make their stand that Ambrose's plan is wrong.

    As this next phase of the series begins, it makes sense to give the leads some degree of morality (this episode addresses the prostitution element, something the suits didn't want mentioned despite it being obvious to viewers). Adelle's use of the word "soul" when referring to them is particularly telling, even if it is motivated by her feelings for the imprint who loved her. Topher gets the full brunt of guilt (more on that later), and Adelle seems remorseful for her actions, comforts Topher in his guilt and doesn't resist when Caroline comes knocking down the barrier looking for revenge. Lack of empathy was a big problem of the first season, and it seems like it'll be taken care of.

    Of course the big question of this apocalypse is who, whether it is Ambrose, fired the shot and why? It doesn't seem like a lot of people would benefit from the complete destruction of society, but it could be a powerful organization that seeks to take over once the dust clears (like the conspiracy behind the September attacks in Jericho) or a rival nation, some of whom apparently do their own mass imprinting on the US.

    As everything falls apart, the Dollhouse seals itself off and the actives are restored with their original personalities. This may be the ultimate gesture on Adelle's part of sympathizing with the dolls: letting them be able to be themselves for as long as that'll be possible. Some of the actives leave, such as Sierra (real name Priya Tsetsang) and Caroline with Paul. Sierra isn't seen when Caroline and Paul return, which likely means she is still above ground. The episode implies from her back ID tattoo that Sierra created the actuals' movement, which carries a lot of irony. This is one piece I'm really looking forward to seeing and hope they get to it if the 13 episode second season is all they get. They probably will, as tighter budgets everywhere are causing shows, especially ones that aren't hits, to cut costs and filming on one set is a good way to do it.

    Throughout the episode several characters mention "Safe Haven", a place where imprinting is impossible and where Caroline and Paul were leading the remaining actives (when or if they got there isn't said). Interestingly, Caroline credits Alpha with making "Safe Haven" safe, promising us more of Alpha in the future. Alpha may have created technology and abandoned it, been killed by Caroline or someone else, or Alpha switched sides, making him the Spike figure for the show.

    One of the big arcs of the flashbacks is Topher's breakdown. Throughout the first season, he hasn't had much concern over the moral problems imprinting people presents. However, in the jumps he gets the full impact of his actions and it drives him insane from guilt. He made the technology far too easy and when it becomes cheap and quick, it gets mass marketed. It's not new to have a scientist lose control of his creation, but it adds an interesting layer to his arc this coming season, perhaps setting up redemption like Buffy's Andrew.

    There are still a lot of questions that beg answers. Why is Whiskey still there and not imprinted as Dr. Saunders? Is there a deeper conflict between actuals and butchers or are butchers just one note killers? What happened to November, and is it the same November we've seen? Why release Dominic? What was the relationship between Dr. Saunders and Boyd? How was Caroline able to hold two personalities at the same time and not go insane like Alpha? What's the deal with the shrine Topher surrounded himself in? I doubt they'll answer all of it by the end of season two (or series depending on the ratings), but hopefully there will be some resolution if two seasons are all we get.

    The important thing to remember about these flashbacks, and Whedon has brought it up, is that these are memories. What happened in them is skewed by point of view, preparing us for some Rashomon moments next season. For example, Dominic could be far crazier in his confrontation with Adelle after the fall, but he may remember it as him being angry and a skilled shot. The perception element is one I really enjoy seeing, especially with writers as talented as the one Whedon employs.

    Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen commented on many of the horror staples that appear in the 2019 storyline. The actuals finding sanctuary in the Dollhouse reminded me of the survivors in Dawn of the Dead shacking up at the Monroeville Mall. Whiskey is the wandering ghost (only thing missing is her covered in blood). Lyn is murdered while showering. Iris, the little girl, is evil (I think she may have been Alpha). The horror motifs fit the dark direction the show is going and fears they had of the show getting renewed, but it ends with a glimmer of hope, both for humanity and the show.

    Using the personality back ups, Caroline's personality from an unknown time is imprinted on "Iris" and those not dead make their way to Adelle's office, revealing the bombed out skyline and a wall of photos. The memorial is another subject of debate: it could've been a farewell to the series, a memorial to those lost or a reminder of who they were. I prefer the latter because there is some hope that someone else has survived and can help restore order and as the three survivors head to the roof (why?).

    Going into the second season, I was still apprehensive about the show. It had improved from its awkward early episodes, but not to the highs Whedon's work has hit. After seeing this, I'm genuinely anticipating the next season. Although it was written as the idea that cancelation was an increasingly likely outcome, getting a reprieve means they'll have to deliver. Hopefully they can, and that enough people support it enough for it to continue.
  • Should have never been made

    I have to admit that I have really enjoyed the season so far, but this episode proved to be a chore to get through. While I appreciate the set-up of the dollhouse that was revealed here, it was atrociously acted and felt tritely written. I prefer to pretend that this episode never existed as it never officially came out in the regular airing of the season and episode 12 was a fitting conclusion to an otherwise very enjoyable first season. The path that this episode alludes to for the show is too reminiscent of a "Terminator" style apocalypse in which the world is forever changed by the dolls. It was much more enjoyable to watch the juxtaposition and allusion to the dolls still retaining their souls in some way.
  • Total crap.

    Fans of the actual normal format of the show beware. This episode is total crap. It is clear that it was made on a budget, Joss's voice is missing and it is completely awry from the rest of the season. All I can say is stay away from this episode and you'll be all the better for it. Epitaph One takes away the shine from the rest of the show and cheapens the rest of the season. Omega was most definitely a good wrap up even if the show had been canceled. This episode should never have been made. Crap.
  • A Standout Episode

    I really cant believe the people who have given this ep a 1 out of 10...that's just ridiculous. It is most definitely the best episode from season one. The post-apocalyptic world in which Dollhouse technology has run rampant is a great and exciting direction for the show. Featuring new characters and flashbacks to the regulars, the episode is exciting and well made, revealing the history of the Dollhouse to the characters and making the house that was followed throughout the season feel like a small piece of a much larger plot. The acting and technical aspects of the episode are great. Pople saying that it is worse than the usual episodes, I can't disagree more. Much of the first season was disinteresting because the direction of the series seemed repetitive and going nowhere. This episode gives a view of what is to come and is more captivating than any of the episodes before it. Season 2 is actually very good on the whole, and it seems that quality may have started with the filming of this great episode.
  • Cliche ridden dross

    I'm quite a fan of Dollhouse. It's a show with a wonderful premise that lends itself to complex storylines and characterisation. That's why I was so disappointed when I saw this (insert your favorite expletive here) episode. What were they thinking when they produced this cliched mess? The post apocalyptic storyline is confusing and a total rip off. It adds nothing to the setup in the real Dollhouse. It almost looked like an after thought to me. An idea the producer came up with after a heavy night of drinking. My understanding is that networks didn't even broacast it. No surprise to me. Episode 13 by name and 13 by nature. Wish they'd never wasted resources filming this and I wish I'd never seen it.
  • Dollhouse finest hour.

    This true master piece begins 10 years after the pilot episode in a post apocalytic future the Dollhouses helped create, a few survivors trying to keep themselves alive end up on the organiation where everything started and unleashed memories of the last moments for Echo and Co.

    Topher's breakdown tell the audience everything they need to know about a technology played by the wrong hands, the fleeting comfort of their original personalities not enough for Sierra, Victor or Dominc as they watch the world collapse around them.

    Self aware Echo, now Caroline, alongside with Alpha has figured out a way to provide Safe heaven for those trying to escape the havoc and mayhem, using her imprint to lead the survivors Whiskey proves for the last time that even at her worst she could be her best.

    As she goes to sleep one last time the Caroline imprint within the little girl Iris takes a moment to remember those who can't follow them because greed blinded mankind into their own destruction.
  • Wow.. this is how the show should be..


    That was my first thought after this episode. So this is the future the serie is going to face and this way shown, it was all very intrigiung and it had so much promising what can really turn after that slow start first season, things around. I mean - it just looked really promising and seeing all those clips and the stories, trying to put those pieces together. I most say - there was a story, an excitement, some really thoughtful moments and I really liked it. If that show can turn itself round and get to that track this episode promised, then there is much hoped as I really liked this one.

    I like the way the episode was built. On the first it looked like - ok, they find dollhouse and now spend getting memories all the time but the way the managed to get a story out of the "now", it was not only some pointless action first and then some clips of what will come.

    I really think it was maybe episode to convince audience to stick around and if they can work it out, sticking around will be worth it.
  • One of Whedon's best...episodes...ever.

    Honestly, since there are so many reviews and it's number one of iTunes downloads, I'm going to pretty much let the episode speak for itself. But I have to say "Dollhouse" has been a mixed bag (IMO), but this is hands down one of the best episodes (unaired, granted) of television--of any show--that I've ever seen. The brilliance of flashing forward ten years to the future in an elusive, yet teasing way when you are still on season one, and the amazing amount of emotion and build-up this creates for future seasons is just genius. This is one of Joss Whedon's most finely crafted episodes, it ranks neck-and-neck with the heart-breathkingly bleak and sad episode of "Buffy"where she suffers the tragic loss of (won't say who, in case you haven't seen it.)
  • 2019 Written by Joss Whedon And Jed Whedon And Maurissa Tancharoen Directed by David Solomon

    Zone: “What’s wrong with your face?�
    Mag: “It’s my face, get out of it.�

    Sometimes I love not living in America. Especially when a network called Fox conveniently decide not to air an episode that will air internationally and has already debuted at Comic-Con 2009 and is also available on the first season DVD.

    Sci-Fi, who’s worst crime when it comes to this series is their refusal to allow the word **** to be heard in a 9pm timeslot are fortunately gracious enough to air this little gem. Or maybe rough diamond would be more appropriate given that this is most definitely a rough episode to watch.

    It’s 2019 and the apocalypse has completely decimated nearly all of LA. Joss Whedon and apocalypses usually tend to fair badly for his characters and greatly for us as an audience. This episode is no exception on that score.

    The idea of the Dollhouse’s imprinting process becoming so destructive that people were suddenly becoming involuntarily imprinted might not be shocking but it’s definitely a natural progression. No good was ever going to come from a concept like the Dollhouse and I love that this episode proves what viewers have known all along.

    Rossum deciding that some people were deserving of immortality was naturally disgraceful but it was also the very thing that made Adelle realise that the Dollhouse really had gone too far in every way possible. For a moment I was worried that Victor would be permanently imprinted with Mr Ambrose, who frankly didn’t care what Adelle thought. Luckily for us, Victor wasn’t.

    This episode gave us a lot of flashbacks in an attempt to bridge the gaps between “Omega� and the events of 2019 as well as some new ones explaining origins and the like. I particularly liked Topher getting hired for the Dollhouse and instantly taking a mutual dislike with Dominic. Topher really did know how to make a first impression on the surly security man, huh?

    This tied in beautifully with the dynamic between Topher and Adelle as a result of the imprinting madness that ensued in this dystopian future. I’ve never felt sorry for Topher before and I never thought that I ever would but damn it, Fran Kranz really sold Topher’s despair and madness of what had happened to LA so beautifully.

    Adelle being a source of comfort for him was interesting. I had read that there was supposed to be a couply vibe between Topher and Adelle in this episode but the one I got was clearly maternal rather than sexual. I don’t think I could’ve handled watching a sexual relationship between Adelle and Topher. Not because of age, just because I couldn’t ever see Adelle viewing Topher that way. She likes her men more mature and presumably rugged.

    Which is why I was delighted that Dominic reappeared in this episode. Given that Adelle put him in the Attic and all his fears about the Dollhouse came true, Dominic showed some surprising restraint during his scenes with her. Adelle should thank her lucky stars that he shot at her drinks collection and not her.

    In fact Adelle seems to be getting free passes everywhere she went. Rossum seemingly didn’t make that much of an effort to have her eliminated and even Caroline managed to just about stop herself from shooting Adelle too. Though Caroline’s opinion of Adelle certainly hasn’t improved.

    A couply vibe between Caroline and Paul was fairly prominent in this episode too. It was a neat reveal that Caroline was somehow retaining her original self along with her imprints. Certainly suggested that her and Paul were working together to take down the Dollhouse and “Omega� did hint at further compositing as well. I wasn’t surprised however that Caroline decided to copy herself though.

    I think it’s also safe to assume that Boyd and Claire might have been in on it as well. There was also a couple vibe from them but as soon as Boyd told Claire to stay behind while he fled, I knew it spelt trouble for them. Really, Boyd, you should’ve taken her with you.

    It seems that in ten years time, Claire left the building (not the Dollhouse) and Whiskey came back intact and unwilling to leave because she believed that Boyd would return and also to protect Caroline’s wedge. I’d like to think that Boyd had every intention of doing so but that something stopped rather than him giving up or not caring about Claire/Whiskey.

    Still this episode was wonderful for Amy Acker who more or less stole the show as Whiskey was there to aid Mag and Zone in their own attempts to combat the imprinting process. Iris really surprised me as a character but then again, seeing gun wielding kids embarking on killing sprees will do that to you.

    Of course this wouldn’t be a Whedon series without a casualty and poor Whiskey pretty gassed herself along with the butchers in order to give the others time to escape. While it might not be exactly as heartbreaking as say, Fred’s death in “A World In The World�, it’s horrible to think that this poor girl isn’t going to have a happy ending. Still nature of this show, I think we’re more than prepared for it.

    Imprinting Iris with Caroline’s personality got an interesting puberty joke but it might have been nicer if we had seen or learnt a bit more about the butchers. They were enough to get Mag, Zone and Iris/Caroline fleeing the Dollhouse as soon as they arrived though. The ending with them looking at the memorial wall and climbing to freedom with the sun shining worked beautifully.

    If anything this episode, really deserves credit for some truly gorgeous shots amongst all the grim ones we have to see for the most. A special shout out to the music and some of Zone’s more caustic lines as well.

    Also in “Epitaph One�

    Unless you’ve been to Comic-Con or own the first season on DVD, don’t bank on FOX airing it, though you can get this episode on ITunes as well.

    Mag: “We all like the sound of our voices. That’s why we’re here �" to keep our own voices.�

    Sierra’s full name was revealed as Priya Tseusang in this episode as people were scribing their names on their backs to remember their real selves. We still don’t know Victor’s real name.

    Dominic (to Adelle/Topher): “Cities don’t burn because they got smarter; they burn because they get out of control.�

    Paul: “How are you feeling?�
    Caroline/Echo: “Not exactly good as new. You need to pick up the pace.�

    Caroline talked about her headaches getting worse and Sierra at one point refused to take any medication for hers. This can’t bode well for either girl.

    Zone (to Iris): “Don’t worry, sweetie, everyone’s got to grow up sometime.�

    Iris: “I wanna be like Zone.�
    Mag: “Why on Earth?�
    Iris: “Because he’s funny and mean.�

    Some good guest casting with Felicia Day as Mag and Adair Tishler, both of whom are recognisable from their roles of Buffy, Dr Horrible and Heroes alike.

    Adelle: “This is wrong. You can’t do this.�
    Victor/Ambrose: “I think you’ll find in the coming months that we can.�

    Mag: “There is no safe haven.�
    Whiskey/Claire: “Not for everyone.�

    Amy Acker channelled a bit of a Drusilla vibe with her Whiskey performance and people who weren’t imprinted were calling themselves, “Actuals�.

    Dominic: “Did I miss anything?�
    Adelle: “Just the vodka, thank God.�

    Topher (to Adelle): “If I think I can figure things out, is that curiosity or arrogance?

    Alpha was mentioned in this episode by Caroline as helping them. Either Caroline stole his technology or Alpha came to a compromise. Oh and we got a little mention of November. Seems she was a casualty too.

    Iris/Caroline: “Thank you Whiskey for helping me.�
    Whiskey/Claire: “Was I my best?�
    Iris/Caroline: “Always.�

    Standout music: Writers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen’s “Remains� at the end of the episode was just gorgeous.

    “Epitaph One� is certainly a mindbender of an episode. As a series finale, it’s exactly the kind of scenario that you’d expect but given that we have a second season where Mag, Zone and Iris are supposed to be appearing in, it’ll be interesting to see the lead up to the events depicted here.
  • Joss Whedon is brilliant!

    Showing what it would be like in the future… Showing what decisions you make can affect others in a big way and that can destroy a world… That’s brilliant! To me personally, this episode had to be the best out of the whole season. If Joss Whedon were to end the show in the future (god forbid). This episode would certainly be the best way to end the show with. Because Fox decided not to air the season finale of Dollhouse “Epitaph One� the unaired pilot “Echo� and the season finale “Epitaph One� is on the DVD box set of Dollhouse.
  • Unearthing the truth of Dollhouse

    This particular episode has had quite an interesting history, much of which has been covered in other venues. In essence, this was an episode commissioned by the studio but ultimately never desired by the network. This is highly unfortunate, because this particular episode is probably the best episode of the series yet, and addresses a metric ton of the concerns surrounding the show’s premise.

    The first season of “Dollhouse� often felt like prelude to a much more complicated and disturbing series, and it never felt like Joss and the writing staff were willing (or able) to take the premise to its natural, evil extent. Even with FOX executives effectively taking responsibility for watering down the implications and playing up the more salacious aspects, forcing compromise, I wasn’t convinced that Joss was thinking it all through.

    “Epitaph One� has changed my mind. Not only do I think that Joss knows exactly what the implications have always been, but he’s been waiting for the chance to smack the audience over the head with them. In a very real way, it exposes the demands of the FOX executives to be clueless, because much of what they demanded was part and parcel of the cautionary tale at the heart of the story.

    “Epitaph One� takes the story ten years into the future, and it is not pretty. The Dollhouse technology has led to the destruction of civilization as we know it, and the familiar faces of the Los Angeles branch are exposed as the authors of that catastrophe. The arrogance of those running the Dollhouse, particularly DeWiit and Topher, comes home to roost. There’s a delicious irony in the notion that Topher, responsible for the technological advances that will steal agency and identity from millions, will ultimately fall prey to an identity-smashing madness.

    In many ways, this episode reminded me of the “Dollhouse� twist on the “Lost� formula. Now that the future has been revealed, and that course has been set, “Epitaph One� is something of a road map. The first season is only the first step on the path towards that apocalyptic future. This episode was chock full of details regarding the direction for nearly every major and minor character, right down to Alpha and November, and it would likely require multiple viewings to pick up on them all.

    Perhaps the best aspect of the episode was how it exposed the first season as a microcosm of the overall “Dollhouse� saga. Caroline seemed to be working towards independence and the genesis of an anti-Dollhouse resistance throughout the first season, but by the end, she never went far enough to make enough progress to make a difference. In the end, despite Caroline’s eventual escape, the resistance doesn’t prevent the end of the world; they simply appear to survive it.

    Also, though there was some attempt to make them sympathetic, those running the Dollhouse seemed to be living in a state of denial. They exist in a delusional state in which their immoral choices are justified. It was so complete that a number of viewers (including myself) felt like the writers actually wanted those characters to appear “good�. But in the larger context supplied by “Epitaph One�, that delusional mindset is part and parcel of the tragedy to come. Because they are convinced they are doing the right thing, they never see the implications and consequences pile up until it’s too late.

    I mentioned a similarity to “Lost�. I would be very happy if the writers actually took that a bit further and used the future world of “Epitaph One� as the basis of a plot arc throughout the second season. The “present day� might still be the main focus, but given the ratings of the show thus far, being more fluid with time may be justified. Otherwise, too many of the seeds planted in this episode will be left unsown.

    This is the kind of episode that drives a fan to go back through the entire first season to see where the foreshadowing of this dark future might have been. I feel like I could go through every scene in “Epitaph One� several times and still find interesting shades in what has been revealed. I completely agree with those who say that this was a game-changer for the series, and I can’t believe that FOX has chosen not to air the episode before the second season. This would silence a lot of critics, and give the second season a lot more gravitas as the next step towards the end of the world.
  • This one's gotta be the best episode of the show so far!

    Looking into the future.. the world is a mess, the doll system has reached the bottom.. there are only few people that stay unimprinted.. We follow 5 of them and we end up with 3, one of them a girl.. who is finally imprinted as Caroline.. of course.. Meanwhile, we get flashbacks of what happened, how Topher turned crazy facing failure, how Adele lost control of everything, how Dominic returns.. and how it all started, with rebelious Echo/Caroline and the help of sexy Ballard. Plus Whiskey gets a major role on the plot. I'm stil shocked with this major twist, but it looks amazing!! Now I can't wait for next season.. it's gonna be AWESOME!!
  • Joss Whedon at his best, a very good episode with alot of information about the future of the show.

    This is surely one of my favorite episodes it takes place in the future which means we get intoduced to a whole new set of charactors. At first glance i found my self in a state of confusion because the plot is very far from the dollhouse we know and love but the end result of the plot being so far off is genious the thought that the technology used to produce the dolls is stolen, replicated and used to create an army which are programed to kill the humans who are not dolls and ultimately loose control and cause a global erruption of violence and destruction really pulled me in. My only complaint is the episode lacked structure when it came to explaining the story line and that the main charactors could have been more present. Also, the fact that the dolls have all been returned to their former selves is a little confusing. no explanaion for the sudden recovery, the reason the dollhouse has become defenceless aginst its own technology leaves the viewer feeling like they have missed a few episodes.All and all it's really good but i think it is intended for the series end.Lucky for us it wasent canceled but this would have been the last episode had it been. I think that it would have fit.Joss knows how to pull the viewer into a whole new world.
  • Big change in the show ...

    I must say this makes the show taking a very different direction than season 1. Looking forward to season 2 but i hope they go back to present time and not keep on going to long in the future.
    Its a bit strange changing the direction of the series so dramaticly and i hope the writers can wite the story back to a middleway.
    If u havent see the "new" pilot i recomend it, 01x00 "echo" if you will, taking a lot from season 1 giveing a cinda recap feeling at the same time preparing you for the new season.

    Just one way to find out, keep watching.

    Ps. sorry for my bad english.
  • Get the facts straight.

    This is not actually the 13th episode of season one. It is a stand alone episode filmed to fulfill the DVD obligation of 13 episodes after having scrapped the original pilot. The original pilot plus twelve more episodes made up the season's thirteen episodes. The original pilot was cannibalized leaving only twelve episodes in season one. However, the DVD obligation calls for thirteen episodes, so they made a stand alone episode simply to fill in the spot for a thirteenth episode on the DVD set. It was NEVER intended to be the finale nor was it ever intended to be aired. "Omega" was ALWAYS the original finale.

    For full details, read the following article and get the true scoop from the show's sources.
  • Sad to say, that the Networks have decided not to air this final episode. So it seems fitting to write an Epitaph for this Series/Episode. Dollhouse: Epitaph One May the Dolls finally find their peace and rest without having to be canceled o

    Sadly to say, that the Networks (Fox Broadcasting Company) have decided not to air this final episode. So it seems fitting to write an Epitaph for this Series/Episode.
    Dollhouse: Epitaph One
    May the Dolls finally find their peace and rest without having to be canceled on a clifhang as many of its contemporaries this year.

    I think I'm fine with having this series end one episode short if it means that closing the series will be done with some reasonable closure, or at least without a "WTF" happened... as we did with Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and KyleXY. I'm still hoping that once the series is done and over with, the episode will still be released. Perhaps in one of the promised "web-episodes" by Wes.
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