Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Friday 9:00 PM Feb 13, 2009 on FOX
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Episode Summary

Echo is one of the "Actives" in the elite and illegal Dollhouse. Through different personality downloads, she plays the role of a lovestruck girl on a romantic weekend, and then a ruthlessly efficient kidnapping negotiator.
Meanwhile, FBI Agent Paul Ballard is struggling with his assignment to uncover information on the Dollhouse. The chase has destroyed his marriage and is wrecking his career, and it doesn't seem that he'll stop until he uncovers the truth.moreless

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Kurt Caceres

Kurt Caceres

Gabriel Crestejo

Guest Star

Brett Claywell

Brett Claywell


Guest Star

David Doty

David Doty

Dir. Sam Zimmerman

Guest Star

Amy Acker

Amy Acker

Dr. Claire Saunders

Recurring Role

Reed Diamond

Reed Diamond

Laurence Dominic

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The names of the Dolls are all words from the NATO phonetic alphabet. This alphabet is used for radio communication because many letters sound the same over such connections. Thus one says "Alpha" instead of "A", "Bravo" instead of "B", and "Echo" instead of "E".

  • QUOTES (18)

    • 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.

    • Caroline: (on video) I'd like to take my place in the world, like Mrs. Dundee taught us. Global Recovery, Doctors Without Borders... The world is in need of serious saving. And I want to travel. Travel around the world as I save it. In a private jet that I pilot and designed. Okay go ahead and laugh yearbook monkey. I know, I'm such a cliché. What can I say, I want to do everything. Is that too much to ask?

    • Boyd: (to Adelle) I've been here long enough to know that you like to tell yourself that what we do helps people... Let Echo help this girl.

    • Topher: Look at Echo, not a care in the world. She's living the dream.
      Boyd: Whose dream?
      Topher: Who's next?

    • Adelle: I'm talking about a clean slate.
      Caroline: You ever try to clean an actual slate? You always see what was on it before.
      Adelle: Are you volunteering?
      Caroline: I don't have a choice, do I? How did it get this far?
      Adelle: Caroline, actions have consequences.

    • Topher: (Indicating a monitor of Echo's brain) See the blue areas? That's fear.
      Boyd: It all looks blue.
      Topher: That's where I'm going with this.

    • Topher: We're great humanitarians.
      Boyd: Who would spend the rest of our lives in jail if anyone ever found this place.

    • Tanaka: I'm a billionaire. I can hire anybody for anything. And I'm going to go to an illegal organization and have them build me... program me what? Perfect date? Confessor? Assassin? Dominatrix? Omelet chef? I'm paying a million dollars for that? I can get that. I have everything I want.
      Ballard: Nobody has everything they want. It's a survival pattern. You get what you want, you want something else. If you have everything, you want something else. Something more extreme. Something more specific. Something perfect.

    • Boyd: The older man. You know him. He's the one who took you. They never found him.
      Echo: He said he was a ghost. You can't fight a ghost, but he was heavy, the weight of him. Ghosts are heavy. Ghosts are sheets with holes cut out.
      Boyd: He took you away. And now...
      Echo: He's unprofessional.
      Boyd: He's taken Devina.

    • Matt's Friend: Dude, where's your friend?
      Matt: Time for her to go. Had to get to her carriage before it turned into a pumpkin.
      Matt's Friend: What?
      Matt: Stroke of midnight.
      Matt's Friend: Midnight?
      Matt: End of the ball.

    • Topher: Hello, Echo. How are you feeling?
      Echo: Did I fall asleep?
      Topher: For a little while.
      Echo: Shall I go now?
      Topher: If you like.

    • Adelle: Nothing is what it appears to be.

    • Gabriel: You told me you were good with people.
      Echo: I misspoke. I'm good at people.

    • (Boyd and Topher are discussing Echo.)
      Boyd: Glasses, Topher?
      Topher: She's near-sighted.
      Boyd: Is that supposed to make people take her seriously? Like the librarian thing is supposed to hide the fact that she's-
      Topher: Am I speaking Urdu? She's near-sighted, Boyd.
      Boyd: You can mess up her eyesight?
      Topher: I can mess up the neural connections to her eyesight. Make her brain process the information it gets any way I want.

    • Topher: You see someone running incredibly fast, the first thing you are going to ask is are they running to something or are they running from something? The answer is always both. These personality imprints, they come from scans of real people. Now, I can create amalgams of those personalities, pieces from here or there, but it's not a greatest hits, it's a whole person. Achievement is balanced by fault, by a lack. Can't have one without the other. Everyone who excels is overcompensating. Running from something. Hiding from something.

    • Matt: You're sure you didn't let me win?
      Echo: Two out of three. Hmm?!
      Matt: Nah. Just dance!

    • Echo: No way. No way! You cheated.
      Matt: How did I cheat?
      Echo: You did something that will prove you've been cheating. This is not over.
      Matt: Oh my God, you are sore loser.
      Echo: I wouldn't know, I've never lost.
      Matt: That's okay, the first time you're always just... a little bit sore.

    • Echo: I know. "Actions have consequences."
      Dewitt: What if they didn't?

  • NOTES (9)

    • International Airdates:
      UK: May 19, 2009 on Sci Fi
      Australia: June 9, 2009 on Fox8
      Latin America: July 28, 2009 on FX
      Norway: September 28, 2009 on TV2
      Czech Republic: November 27, 2009 on Prima COOL
      Slovakia: December 7, 2011 on JOJ Plus

    • Music: Into the Fold (The Duke Spirit), Just Dance (Lady Gaga), Civilization (Front Line Assembly), K.O. (The DNC), The Way You Like It (DNC)

    • Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku first discussed the idea for the series while meeting over lunch to talk about Eliza's career.

    • According to a copy of the shooting script for this episode which leaked onto the Internet in August of 2008, the title of this episode was originally "Mariposa", and the name of Tahmoh Penikett's character changed from Paul Smith to Paul Ballard.

    • On July 22, 2008 Joss Whedon announced that he was planning to film a large number of Dollhouse webisodes, one for every regular episode produced.

    • Dollhouse was one of two new series in the 2008/2009 Fox season to be part of the Fox campaign called "Remote-Free-TV". The concept was to reduce the amount of commercial time but charge more to the advertisers, in the hopes that viewers will be less likely to skip the ads if they know the break will be shorter. Thus the viewer gets a longer episode, the advertiser has more people watching their commercial, and the network still makes the same amount of money. The other series taking part in this experiment was Fringe.

    • Production for the second filmed episode was supposed to begin on July 16th, 2008, with filming wrapping on July 23rd. However, the decision to film a new pilot episode pushed that schedule back. Joss announced on July 22nd that he had finished the new script, production began on July 30, and principal photography took place from August 4th to August 14th.

    • Joss Whedon pitched Dollhouse to Fox two weeks before the 2007-2008 WGA strike and got a seven-episode order without even writing a pilot episode.

    • "Echo" was filmed as the first episode but when some early viewers found it too dark and confusing, Joss Whedon decided to produce "Ghost" as a new pilot. The downfall of Whedon's last TV venture, Firefly, began with Fox executives forcing him to create a new pilot. Joss has been careful to point out that this time the new pilot was his idea.


    • Echo: Fatherly types?
      Gabriel: Like Edward James Olmos.
      Edward James Olmos is an American actor and director who is perhaps best known for the role of Admiral William Adama in the remake of the Battlestar Galactica TV series. Dollhouse creator Joss Whedon has said that he is a huge fan of the series, and Tahmoh Penikett (FBI Agent Paul Ballard) was one of the series regulars as Karl "Helo" Agathon.

    • Topher: There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
      This is a line from Act II Scene II of Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare.

    • Matt: (Looking after Echo when she is gone) It's time for her to go. And to get to her carriage before it turns to a pumpkin.
      He is referring to classic folk tale Cinderella. In the story Cinderella's Fairy Godmother assists Cinderella in attending a fancy ball. She turned a pumpkin into a carriage, mice into horses, a rat into a coachman, and lizards into footmen. She then turned Cinderella's rags into a beautiful gown, complete with a delicate pair of glass slippers. The Godmother told her to enjoy the ball, but return before midnight or the spell would be broken.