Season 2 Episode 11

Getting Closer

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Jan 08, 2010 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
601 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Adelle realizes that Echo's suppressed memories and personality hold the key to saving mankind, but Echo's past connection to Bennett Halverson puts Topher's efforts at risk. Meanwhile, the leader of Rossum is revealed.

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  • Getting Closer

    The good;

    Wait a second, Boyd's the bad guy! Wow, didn't see THAT coming! Not to mention Dr Saunders(?) blowing Bennett's head off! Talk about 2 jawdropping moments in the same episode. That's off course if Caroline's memories are to be trusted and she's not just putting Boyd's face onto the person in her memory (as Dana did with Spike in the Angel ep 'Damage')

    The bad;

    If Caroline wants to destroy the labs beneath her why does she put the bombs on the roof of the service shaft? Why doesn't she put them on the bottom? Dominic and Adele just send terrorist Caroline up to meet the Rossum head honchos and don't even frisk her, what if she'd pulled out a gun and blown them both away? When Adele, Ballard and Echo play pass-the-pistol they each cock it, emptying the magazine of rounds.

    Best line;

    Ballard; (hearing the explosions of Rossum's force entering the Dollhouse) "We're breached"

    Echo; "That's one word for it"

    Packing heat; Adele/Ballard/Echo trade the same pistol


    Boyd; 10

    Dominic; 10

    Sierra; 7

    Victor; 7

    Ballard; 12

    November; 1

    Adele; 2

    Echo kissage; 4

    Kinky dinky;

    Caroline uses her feminine wiles to get access to Adele's office. Topher remarks to Bennett 'You show me yours, I'll show you mine'. At least they have the chance to get kissy with one another before you know what happens.

    Capt subtext;

    Caroline's relationship with Bennett is akin to seduction but Bennett is happy to be 'used'. Bennet remarks that Caroline is the first person to 'Take an interest' in her whilst Caroline asks her to 'Buy me dinner first'. Does Paul rescue Mellie because Topher removes his obsession with Echo? Boyd and Echo finally hug. Topher confesses he had a crush on Bennett even when he thought she was a guy. Adele refers to Echo as 'darling'. Topher makes sure that Ivy escapes. Because he LOVES her.....

    Notches on the Dollhouse bedpost;

    Echo; 6 definite, 2 possible

    November; 1

    Ballard; 1

    Victor; 1

    Adele; 1

    Sierra 1

    Topher; 1 possible

    How'd they get away with that?

    Bennett's brain matter splattered all over the lab AND Topher!

    Total number personalitites;

    Echo; 41

    Sierra; 13

    Victor; 11

    November; 3

    Total LA dolls; we meet Apollo and Cassandra, Dolls in the DC house (Cassandra foretells disaster?)

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

    Addy is a bit British;

    She loathes Arizona (too dry for her?). When a bullet shatters the window in front of her she comments 'Damn, I just had that replaced' in true Churchillian style. By contrast Caroline hates tea, she's obviously evil, let's keep Echo instead.

    Bondage; Caroline cuffs the security guard. Echo is tied down by Ballard

    Sierra tied up; 2

    Ballard; 2

    Echo; 5

    Victor; 2

    Knocked out; Topher by Rossum goon

    Echo; 7

    November; 1

    Sierra; 2

    Victor; 3

    Topher; 4

    Ballard; 1

    Kills; Boyd kills the Rossum head honcho and 3 of his goons

    Sierra; 3 kills

    Echo; 3


    Boyd; 4

    Happy hookers;

    Echo comments that people still look at her as though she's 'Doing tricks'

    Know the face? Mike Massa was of course David Boreanaz's stunt double in both Angel and Buffy

    17-Whedon alumni-Mark Shepherd-2 (Dollhouse/Firefly), Amy Acker-2 (Dollhouse/Angel), walking action figure-2 (Buffy/Dollhouse), Eliza Dushku-3 (Buffy/Angel/Dollhouse), Jim Piddock-2 (Angel/Dollhouse), Gregg Henry-2 (Dollhouse/Firefly), Alan Tudyk-2 (Dollhouse/Firefly), Felicia Day-2(Dollhouse/Buffy), Alexis Denisoff-3 (Buffy, Angel and Dollhouse), Kristoffer Pohala-2 (Dollhouse/Angel), Stacey Scowley-2 (Buffy/Dollhouse) Clyde Katulas-2 (Buffy/Dollhouse), Maurissa Tanchon-2(Dollhouse/Dr Horrible), Summer Glau-3(Angel/Firefly/Dollhouse) Glenn Morshower-2(Buffy/Dollhouse). Greg Collins-2(Angel/Dollhouse) Mike Massa-3(Buffy/Angel/Dollhouse)


    Dominic tortures the poor security guard. Adele shows her ruthlessness, wanting to return Dominic to the Attic to save his life.

    Reminds me of;

    Carrie at the prom is referenced as is The Wizard of Oz. Bennett is very Willow and her meeting with Caroline akin to Buffy's historic first conversation with Willow in the Sunnydale High courtyard. Tron and The Matrix also mentioned. The lab is very similar to the Angel ep 'Dead End'. Rossum's office is very Blade Runner. The scene where Boyd(?) strokes Carolines face is reminiscent of the Shadowmen in the Buffy ep 'Get it done', doing the same even after enslaving Buffy and having her knocked up by their pet demon.

    Whedon cliches; sleeper agents

    Maimed characters. Rich and powerful famillies who cover up the evil deeds of their wayward sons. Top security installations which aren't secure at all. Loving self-sacrificing mothers who risk all for their children. Corporate politics literally played with deadly seriousness. Monty Python quoting villains. Offices full of zombies. Strawberries. Sleeper agents.

    Breaking the programming;

    Bennett speculates that Echo has merged her personalities into a 'superego', made up of all her collective minds but not dominated by any of them.

    Questions and observations;

    Interesting that Bennett and Caroline can have a different memory of the same event (although it may just be that they're both deaf from the explosions and can't hear what one another are saying). Adele says that the Rossum bigwig will undoubtedly have downloaded himself into several different bodies. That may be true but he's still dying when they kill him, his consciousness ends there, the others are just his clones. We discover Clyde is dead but we now meet Clyde 2.0 (or one of them)

    Apparently in the scene at the end of the The Attic the cast and crew get the word that the series had been cancelled. This means that Joss has 3 eps to finish off the entire storyline AND address all the issues raised in Epitaph One. For that reason they obviously have to cram an awful lot into 120 minutes of airtime and it sends your brain pretty much into overload.

    Marks out of 10; 8/10, certainly zips along at a fair pace

  • Too many twists, too many turns, not enough reason to care.

    Joss Whedon's shows usually have about 12 red herrings an episode. I can understand how to some people that might be riveting and fun television, but for a person like me, I like simple continuity with the shows I watch. Some twists are fine, but when one episode makes your head feel like it's on a roller coaster that is not such a great thing.

    Summer Glau as Bennett has been a high point for Season 2 of this show, but the flashback sequences were nothing to write home about. Now we know why Joss Whedon has never written or produced a teen drama/CW-esque show as the brief period of Bennett and Caroline on campus was brutal to watch.

    And that shootout with Boyd was probably the most anti-climatic thing this show has ever done.

    Just a poorly organized episode of Dollhouse. Not a good way to end the show with just two more episodes left.moreless
  • No one can shock you like Joss can, and as this series closes, it begins to do just that. And it does it superbly. This review has SPOILERS.

    Seriously one of the biggest surprises I've gotten from a show in recent memory.

    I'm still reeling at how amazingly Dollhouse hid its biggest secret from us in plain sight the whole time. This show has surprised me before, but never like this.

    You know, since the beginning of the show, Boyd always stuck out to me. He didn't really seem to fit in. He seemed to have morals and he didn't seem to really want anything from anyone. He was always the number two guy. Always supportive. Always the friend. The only redeemable character in the show.

    Or so we thought.

    The best surprises are the ones you don't see coming but make perfect sense in hindsight. This is one of them.

    Finding out Boyd was the big bad, the mastermind, the founder of Rossum, the one behind it all... I was completely floored. It made perfect sense. We still knew next to nothing about his past after all. As Ballard said at the beginning of the season, "If you're pointing fingers, you should be looking at Boyd. I know why I'm here."

    All this time we thought he was just supporting everyone, but really, he was manipulating everyone. EVERYONE. And we never noticed because he seemed to be so true blue. We assumed he had the best intentions. He stopped a rapist, save Echo on a number of occasions, always seemed to be on our side. We wanted to know his past, but it never seemed vitally important. There were always bigger questions.

    Except there weren't.

    On top of that, I was also surprised that Bennet was killed. Though I really shouldn't have been. I mean, Joss always kills the love interest. Wash, Penny, Ms. Calendar, Angel (sort of), Renee, Tara, Anya, Kitty Pryde... It always happens. I should have seen it coming. But once again, I didn't. I guess I didn't expect Whiskey to be the one to do it and I guess I was also just happy that Topher got the girl.

    So even though technically not a lot happens in this episode, the few things that do are frankly mind-blowing. It has motivated me to rewatch the entire series to look for hints.

    I am so sad the series is being canceled.moreless
  • Caroline is back..

    I think this episode really had the feel that the end is coming on it.. Every hint in the previous episodes.. everything coming together. We find out almost all the things we wanted and many more and major rule is: nothing is like it appears. So.. shocking moments, revelations and quite a lot of thinking to see all the clues and hints before.

    I loved the motion.. I loved the action and the way this episode seemed to have much what have been missing previously. There were great char interaction and even the story telling was little more fluent than previously. But I just loved the tension, the high stakes and all those surprises.moreless
  • Packed with revelations

    This is one of those episodes that comes along and hits you square in the mouth, leaving you reeling and wondering what the hell just happened. The sheer plot density of this episode is so extreme that it could take several viewings to catch all the references and connections to what has come before. In fact, it's so dense that I'm not sure if it was a rousing success or a resounding failure.

    It may not matter, given that the density of the plot is a direct consequence of the series' cancellation. The writers had to compress the storyline in a major way, and that meant answering questions at a ridiculous pace. I'll give the writers full credit for providing those answers. We have an enormous amount of context to parse out now, and the vast majority of it fits with everything that has been seen before. Any new wrinkles are sure to be addressed in the final two hours.

    We now have the full context for everything that happened between Caroline and Bennett, and it turns out that Caroline is neither the angel she was originally portrayed to be nor the devil that she has been cast as more recently. In fact, Caroline was effectively damned by her own success. Her initial discoveries of the Rossum human experiments emboldened her idealism, and in the end, she was trapped by her own choices.

    It's interesting to learn that Caroline's tenure in the Dollhouse was a direct result of the incident that destroyed Bennett's arm. It ties the story up with a nice little bow. Of course, the assumption was that Caroline discovered the identity of the two individuals running Rossum through some sort of trickery, and that's not at all what happened.

    The revelation that Boyd is "Clyde 2.0" is a stunner. It completely changes the nature of the game. Yet, at the same time, it doesn't feel like something that was decided late in the game to give the series a quick resolution. Boyd's past history has always been very sketchy, and of all the main characters in Echo's life, he had the least definition. And right from the beginning, he was framed in a way that led the audience to trust his intentions towards Echo without question.

    In terms of the big picture, since the beginning of the series right through to "The Attic", it was a reasonable assumption that Caroline was sent to the Dollhouse to ensure that her knowledge would never be revealed and she would never become a threat. And generally speaking, it would be logical to assume that Boyd reprogrammed Whiskey to kill anyone who tried to restore Caroline for the same reasons. Yet, why wouldn't Whiskey have killed Topher or Ivy as well? Why just Bennett?

    For that matter, Boyd was front and center for Echo's entire development and has been aiding Echo's little resistance movement all along. If the intention was to bury Caroline within the Dollhouse to ensure that her knowledge was never made public, to protect Rossum's long-term goals for the world, why allow that to happen?

    The implication is that Rossum's surveillance of Caroline led Rossum to believe that she would be able to help them implement a completely different plan. A plan that required Caroline herself to be out of the picture, but the development of a Doll-persona that was based on Caroline's underlying desire to seek out the truth. After all, as the parallel story structure of this episode demonstrates, Echo can be just as driven as Caroline, and a whole lot more ruthless.

    The question is: if Boyd/Clyde 2.0 wanted Echo to emerge as she has, and wanted to help Echo, what was his true motive in doing so? It wouldn't be to destroy Rossum, and it's hard to believe that it would have been a desire to bring about the end of civilization. It could be something as simple as rooting out problematic individuals within the organization, but that doesn't track, either. After all, most of the situations that led to the emergence of a resistance within the Dollhouse network were the direct fallout of Echo's activities. Stop Echo from coming into existence, and there is no resistance.

    So much of the rest of the episode was devoted to filling in the gaps between the "present" and "Epitaph One". Some of the scenes are right out of the previous episode, so it feels almost seamless. I would expect that many other pieces will fit into the next episode. Topher's eventual mental collapse could now come out of a combination of factors: his guilt over the development of the remote wipe technology as well as the loss of Bennett.

    But those connections almost feel like a minor consideration now. The integrity of the entire story now rests on satisfactory resolution of Boyd/Clyde 2.0's true intentions for Echo. Boyd has to have a reason for allowing Echo to exist. Anyone going back through the series from beginning to end should be able to see how Boyd's true intentions make sense within the context of what was shown. If not, and if the writers just gloss over the inconsistencies, then all the work to line up the second season with "Epitaph One" will have been for nothing.

    To be fair, that is a litmus test that the final two episodes will have to pass. This episode should be judged on its own merits. And in that respect, I think it comes down to whether or not the episode tried to deliver too much information too quickly. I think this took over-saturation right to the edge, but didn't quite step over the line. And given that the density of the episode was born of necessity, not choice, I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.moreless
Philip Casnoff

Philip Casnoff

Clive Ambrose

Guest Star

Rick Otto

Rick Otto


Guest Star

Jay Malone

Jay Malone

Young Man

Guest Star

Amy Acker

Amy Acker

Dr. Claire Saunders

Recurring Role

Summer Glau

Summer Glau

Bennett Halverson

Recurring Role

Miracle Laurie

Miracle Laurie

Madeline Costley/November

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (21)

    • Echo: What did you do?
      Topher: Her left arm may be dead, but she's got a terrific right cross, if anyone asks. Actually, if anyone asks, don't say I got beat up by a one-armed girl.
      Echo: What did you do to him?
      Topher: Him? Him who?
      Echo: Paul.
      Topher: I gave him his life back.
      Echo: You made him a doll.
      Topher: I had to reconstruct his neural landscape based on the brain scans Alpha made when he damaged it. But he's still Paul, same taciturn, self-regarding guy.
      Echo: No, he's not the same. He's different.
      Topher: Half of his brain tissue was scarred. I had to do major rewiring, which required healthy brain tissue. There were two pieces of real estate big enough for the job the motor cortex or the cingulate gyrus. So either he could live his life trapped in a paralyzed body, or I could take away something else.
      Echo: Me, wasn't it?
      Topher: Not his memories of you. He's still got those.
      Echo: Our connection.
      Topher: I think so. The freshest, brightest paths. Those are the ones I needed. I think that was you.

    • Caroline: Why are you so nervous? Whose office is it anyway?
      Gabe: It's nobody's.
      Caroline: Look, nobody's got a bar!
      Gabe: Come on, you want to get me fired?
      Caroline: No. I want to get you fired up.

    • Gabe: Oh, God, you're... you're a thief? I let a thief into the building?
      Caroline: Relax, I'm not a thief. I'm a terrorist.
      Gabe: Oh, I am so screwed.

    • Echo: We need to know what she knows. Clyde said there was one person who had seen his partner face-to-face, and that was Caroline.
      Boyd: She can I.D. the man in charge.
      Echo: Or the woman.
      Topher: Or hermaphrodite. Say, can we get back to the part where the chair-less imprinting tech that I designed, which you handed over to Harding in order to get the swank office back--how that leads to the apocalypse? 'Cause I thought that was kind of an interesting detail.

    • Echo: Are you okay?
      Paul: I'm good.
      Echo: We haven't really talked since you... died.
      Paul: I guess we've both died since then.
      Echo: Yeah. Weird week. So are you finally ready to meet the girl who started all the trouble in your life?
      Paul: What? Janice Charles from my fourth grade math class is here?

    • (viewing footage of Caroline)
      Adelle: She seems so innocent in a way, doesn't she? Unspoiled.
      Echo: Yes.
      Adelle: She wasn't, you know. Caroline Farrell left quite a wave of unhappiness in her wake and not a few bodies.
      Echo: Are you saying she's evil?
      Adelle: Worse. An idealist.

    • Bennett: You used the company jet to abduct the programmer of a rival House.
      Adelle: I'm certain I'll be kicking myself come holiday bonus time.
      Bennett: I'm sure you'll be dead by then. (seeing the House) It's a very open space. Quite a lot of beige. You let them roam. They roam like free-range chickens. We keep ours more like veal.

    • Adelle: Can I get you anything?
      Bennett: A diet soda.
      Topher: I have some! I mean, in my fridge. Come on. Well, lab's in here. You showed me yours. Let me show you mine.

    • Bennett: Why do you need this one restored?
      Topher: Uh... Would it sound OTT if I said this could help prevent the end of civilization as we know it?
      Bennett: I would need to understand the context.

    • Bennett: I've often thought I'd like to be less like me. More like... Well, you, actually.
      Caroline: Me? I'm still undeclared.
      Bennett: You know who you are. You're so fearless. I'd love to get a look at your amygdala.
      Caroline: You'd have to buy me dinner first.

    • Adelle: Topher, that troublesome one-armed creature--where is she?
      Topher: I had to lock her up. Couldn't leave her in the lab unattended.
      Adelle: And your charm offensive?
      Topher: Mostly just offensive.

    • Dominic: I spoke to the security officer on duty that night. He admitted to it.
      Adelle: Freely?
      Dominic: Loudly. There was some pleading.

    • (to Echo)
      Boyd: Look, I never met Caroline Farrell. I know she drives DeWitt about as crazy as you do, so I figure she can't be all bad.

    • Adelle: Put him back in the Attic. It's his best hope.
      Dominic: No. No, you bitch, I'd rather die.
      Adelle: Well, I'd rather you didn't.

    • (to Bennett)
      Topher: You know I always had a crush on you, even when I thought you were a dude. This is better.

    • Adelle: You have much to answer for, young woman.
      Caroline: I do?
      Adelle: You forced me to come to Arizona. I loathe Arizona.

    • Ivy: I can do this. I can do this.
      Topher: I got it from here. You get your chance, you slip out. In the real world, you can write your ticket anyplace you land.
      Ivy: I really do want to help you.
      Topher: Then live. You have a remarkable brain. I think it should stay in your head. Ivy. Don't become me.

    • (hearing explosions)
      Paul: We're breached.
      Echo: That's one word for it.

    • Echo: How long?
      Topher: This is going to take just as a long as it... done.

    • Caroline: Why me?
      Head of Rossum: Because you're very special. You're going to help us in ways you can't understand.
      Caroline: Not likely.
      Young Man: You don't have a lot of options.
      Caroline: So I'm going to be one of your zombies? Open up my brain like the rest of them?
      Head of Rossum: You'll never be like the rest of them. You won't be harmed in any way. You're... far too valuable.
      Caroline: And I'm just gonna trust you?
      Boyd: With your life.

    • Adelle: Mr Ambrose. What a lovely late night surprise.
      Ambrose: Are you surprised, Adelle?
      Adelle: Surprised and delighted.
      Ambrose: He doesn't look surprised. (Points at Boyd)
      Adelle: He's paid not to look surprised. What can I do for you?
      Ambrose: You can go with these gentlemen. They will escort you to your debriefing. As of this moment I'm taking over this house and liquidating the inventory.
      Adelle: I beg your pardon?
      Ambrose: Let's not play games. Nobody comes out of the attic, Adelle. There have been multiple breaches. You're done. Take her.
      Boyd: I don't think so. (shoots all of them)
      Adelle: Well, I guess we can agree this carpet's done for.

  • NOTES (4)


    • Caroline: (flipping through DeWitt's file on Bennett Halverson) Off-the-charts smart; she could kill me with her brain.
      This line refers to the Firefly episode "Trash". This is ironic because Firefly is also one of Joss Whedon's shows, and Summer Glau plays both characters who are being referred to.

    • Topher: Okay am I the only one thinking we're getting our maybe a little too much of our intel from The Matrix or possibly TRON, given the outfits?

      Referencing the 1999 and 1982 movies, respectively, which presented the idea of "virtual reality" to moviegoers. TRON featured characters entering a computer and interacting with sentient programs in human forms (all wearing white bodysuits), while The Matrix presented a computer landscape indistinguishable from real life to the unsuspecting individuals trapped within it.

    • Caroline: Hello, Carrie at the prom.

      Referencing the main character, Carrie White, in Stephen King's 1974 novel Carrie. Carrie is a high school student who discovers she has telekinetic abilities, and goes berserk when her fellow students play a prank on her during prom. The novel was made into a movie two years later.