Season 2 Episode 7

Meet Jane Doe

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Dec 11, 2009 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
381 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Echo is left adrift in the world after her experiences at the DC Dollhouse, and her multiple personalities struggle against each other... and Echo. Meanwhile, Boyd receives a call and Harding makes his move against Adelle.

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  • Meet Jane Doe

    The good;

    The subtle struggle for power within the Dollhouse is truly nailbiting stuff, especially the final scene between Topher and Adele. Some lovely little touches showing how much the Dollhouse has changed since Adele is no longer in charge, cigars in Adele's office, Boyd's security guys with their feet up.

    The bad;

    Do we really think a girl as gorgeous as Echo needs to shoplift or scrounge from bins? Couldn't she just charm her way through life in the manner of 'The Sexless Innkeeper'? Personally I don't find the jail storyline all that involving, it just doesn't seem much of a challenge to our girl when we've seen her do so much more. Also it seems unecessarily complex, why not just have Ballard take the Mexican girl into custody as his FBI witness? In many ways the Dollhouse reminds me of early Angel, supposed to be about the 'client of the week' but the viewers wanted more and more arc and interaction with the central characters instead.

    Best line;

    Echo; (putting the moves on him) "...just the two of us?"

    Ballard; (turning her down)"Is it really just the 2 of us?"


    Rossum honcho; "Did you ever think of imprinting a Doll to kill me?"

    Adele; "I like to think I'd have the honesty to do it myself"

    Packing heat;


    Boyd; 8

    Dominic; 9

    Sierra; 4

    Victor; 3

    Ballard; 10

    November; 1

    Echo kissage; 4

    Kinky dinky;

    The latest client seems to be a sadist who quotes the Marquis de Sade. Echo comments that sometimes a girl 'likes to be chased'. She implies that she's done a 'sister act' before but never with 'cooking food'? Ballard and Echo's training seems akin to foreplay, 'getting all sweaty' as Xander would say.

    Capt subtext;

    Adele tells Topher she cares for him, reinforcing their mother/wayward son vibe. She also calls Echo 'love', English slang or something more? Echo comments that she's been 'gay' 7 times and that occasionally there is some 'noise from the chorus girls'.

    Notches on the Dollhouse bedpost;

    Echo; 5 definite, 2 possible

    November; 1

    Ballard; 1

    Victor; 1

    Adele; 1

    Sierra 1

    Topher; 1 possible

    How'd they get away with that?

    Can we please have an ep with no needles? Also the prisoner's bruising is nasty, again because it's more real than any sci-fi injury

    This weeks fantasy;

    The Dollhouse is now renting out Dolls as submissives to a sadist.

    What do we think of the client?

    Hard to know, how far does he go? The stern headmaster or Pinhead from Hellraiser? You could argue that it's better for him to do this with actives as they'll be unhurt and have no memory of it afterwards.

    Total number personalitites; Echo refers to now having 36 personalities in her mind

    Echo; 36

    Sierra; 12

    Victor; 10

    November; 3

    Total LA dolls;

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

    Addy is a bit British;

    She call's Echo 'love' (see Capt Subtext)

    Topher is a bit geeky;

    He actually refers to Cylons on a show with numerous BSG stars!


    Sierra tied up; 1

    Ballard; 1

    Echo; 2

    Knocked out;

    Echo; 6

    November; 1

    Sierra; 1

    Victor; 1

    Topher; 2


    Sierra; 3 kills

    Echo; 3


    Know the face? Glenn Morshower, another great character actor who also played Cassie Newton's dad in the Buffy ep 'Help'

    15-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)


    Brutality from the police towards illegal immigrants, keeping 'the scum off the streets'.

    Reminds me of;

    Adele suffers the 'death of a thousand cuts' also experienced by Lilah at the hands of Lindsey and Gavin in Angel. Echo and Ballard's training routine appears to have been inspired by Clouseau and Kato from the Pink Panther films. ED as a nurse as she was in Tru Calling and her medical pilot that didn't get picked up.

    Whedon cliches;

    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.

    Breaking the programming;

    Echo seems to imply that rather than being a composite of all her 36 personalities that the Echo character is actually a seperate entity and can access the other's skill and knowledge at will, like a filing system. Does this mean she also keeps Caroline filed away, afraid to let her loose?

    Questions and observations;

    With the addition of a new house in Dubai there are now 23 Dollhouses around the world. Boyd is very honest with Adele, informing her that they'd always placed the actives at risk, they're now just more blatant about it. We now have Adele at her most sinister ever, seeming to come aboard with Rossums blatantly insidious plan. Topher seems increasingly conflicted and Boyd, Echo and Ballard are now in cahoots. I'd like to see Topher be a bit nicer to Ivy, he seems unecessarily snide to her. Very clever concept, the Dolls imprinted into helping in the Dollhouses research.

    Marks out of 10; 7/10 would like more Dollhouse and less jailbreak

  • 'For me the leads of the show now are clearly the ones running the Dollhouse (Adele, Topher and Boyd)'

    This episode would have worked a lot better had Echo and Ballard had a real connection, or ya know, actual chemistry. Their relationship has simply been of the professional kind this season, so their hot and steamy ''training'' sessions did nothing for me. In fact, their scenes in general felt stale – both Eliza and Tahmoh give rather stilted and unbelievable performances, and some of their line delivery was horrendous. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact these two characters have very little romantic background, so to suddenly force this 3 month relationship out of nowhere onto them may have factored into their performances.

    Elsewhere, this episode fires on all cylinders. I enjoyed the standalone aspects, which weren't SO stand-alone, with Echo breaking into the correctional facility, in order to help Galena as well as practice her infiltration of the Dollhouse. Originally, Joss described this show as part Matrix, and I can clearly see that now. Echo felt very Trinity downloading the ability to ride a motorcycle; it reminded me of that scene with Trinity and the helicopter. It was also neat revisiting a few of her old personalities ('Blue Skies').

    The episode really picked up steam when Topher grabbed Adele aside and proved that he isn't so ruthless – curious, genius and often unlikable, but not ruthless, certainly not heartless. I knew Adele would betray him, and I loved his scene calling her a cold bitca, it was a great piece of acting. It makes the reality of Epitaph One more and more likely.

    Overall, a solid if less than stellar episode. Some aspects don't work very well, a lot of it does. It's funny, for me the leads of the show now are clearly the ones running the Dollhouse (Adele, Topher and Boyd) with Echo and the gang proving to be good subplots to a more a engaging storyline than Echo's self awareness and Ballard's fluffy feelings towards her. Loved the ending, I bet they weren't expecting such a cold welcome back.moreless
  • Echo is on the run with Ballard. They are freeing a young Hispanic women either as a specific target or as a project for some unknown reason. Adelle has lost control of the LA house and Topher is once again seeming to outsmart himself.moreless

    This episode really rings the truth about the direction Rossum is taking with the Dollhouse and the reality of the Epitaph One unaired episode. Everything is slowly falling into place.

    Harding played by Keith Caradine has taken over the LA house and Adelle has been left to do some menial tasks. Another house is to be opened in Dubai and it seems each house is working on a certain task or problem related to the actives. Topher being the brilliant man he is figures out the ultimate goal of this subterfuge and Adelle uses this knowledge to her best interest it seems at this point. The main story is Echo herself She has gone AWOL since the DC adventure and now she and Ballard are involved in some sort of project to either save someone specifically (Galena played by Ana Claudia Talancon) or prove something to themselves. Ballard seems to be in contact with Langton and in the end everyone including Adelle seems to be aware of what is really going on with her and what that might mean to the Dollhouse.

    Unfortunately too late to save the show, Dollhouse is turning into a truly original show which shows a great deal of promise. I now understand the premise and why they set the show up the way they did. Again unfortunately the show was not going to fly given its seemed original premise and the way it was put together. Only in this the second and final season do we see the real quality of this show coming through. We finally have a number of characters to specifically have empathy for or to really dislike which is what a show like this needs to really win over fans. Thanks for reading...moreless
  • Echo is alone in the world but using her experiences from previous missions to survive as Ballard tries to come with a plan for her to come back to the Dollhouse.moreless

    Excellently played episode. Great performance all around. Adelle now appears to play ball and accept the fact that Lipman is in command or is she?

    Echo appears to be headed for a meltdown when all of her previous active manifestation are taking control are they?

    It was interesting to see Echol deal with her situation away from the Dollhouse trying to be normal with Ballard's help. Her normalcy was short lived because of the previous personalities implanted in her and with the lingering fact that she would brought back to the Dollhouse.

    This episode was excellently written. Now the purpose of Rossum as it's been clear since this show is clear to take control of every living human being using the Dollhouse technology. Topher's findings of the secret portable device coupled with Adelle's betrayal of him was definitely gut wrenching.

    This is how corporations do business by being cutthroat, deceitful, and making their employees submit to their whim.

    As I am getting more and more caught on the latest Dollhouse, I will repeat again how it's so stupid of Fox to cancel this great show.moreless
  • A new Echo arrives

    (Note: This review covers the first half of the two-episode event that aired on 11 December, 2009. This review was written without prior knowledge of the events in the second episode. A subsequent review will cover the second half of the event.)

    This episode feels like a natural pivot point, summing up the fallout of the first half of the season while setting the final stretch into motion. By jumping ahead in time, the writers make it possible to bring the story closer to the beginnings of the apocalypse seen in "Epitaph One" while maintaining the connective threads to what has come before. It is all a fairly logical progression of the various plot and character beats, even if it seems like some elements are glossed over to make it all work.

    It's now quite clear that Echo is a distinct personality, as implied in the previous few episodes, and she has developed the ability to call upon the knowledge and muscle memory of her former imprints. It's not an easy process, and it is having a physical toll in the form of headaches, but it's not clear if there is a solution. After all, Echo is essentially immune to the wiping process, which means that any fix through that technology would be temporary at best.

    It's interesting to see Ballard struggle with the knowledge that Echo is now her own entity. Ballard's ongoing mission to take down the Dollhouse network is now complicated by his personal interest in Echo. He doesn't want to be the kind of person who would use a Doll, even if he already has, yet he has struggled with his attraction to Echo all season. Now the question emerges: does Echo have the right to Caroline's body? What rights would Echo have in any real sense?

    This is a classic science fiction question, usually reserved for artificial intelligence. If computer software becomes so advanced that it appears to have free will and the ability to exceed its programming, there are plenty of arguments for treating that new intelligence as a being with rights. But in this case, this is the result of the melding of deliberately generated false human personalities. Echo is more than the sum of her parts, and she was "born" within Caroline's body. Does she have equal right to Caroline's body, especially in Caroline's absence? Or is her every action just as much a violation as the actions of the programmed personalities?

    This is not an idle question. With Topher's creation of the technology that will allow innocent people to be reprogrammed remotely, the separation of mind and body becomes real. It leads directly to the situation in "Epitaph One", where there is a constant question of identity and integrity of self. If someone like Echo can emerge out of the programming, it's not as clear cut as "original" and "program" anymore.

    Even so, Echo herself seems to understand that she is still influenced by the demands of her programming. While the imprints give her an array of skills and a knowledge base that makes her a powerful asset, it also comes with all the rest of the baggage. All those romantic engagements leave her with an aggressive sexual appetite and a desire to be loved (and in love, one would imagine). It sounds like fan service on the surface, but it's actually a logical consequence of the process that led to Echo's creation.

    With Ballard and Boyd still working together to bring Echo back to the Dollhouse in the hopes of bringing it down, there's some small sense of hope for a positive outcome. The audience is given reason to think that it will be a challenge, but that it's possible for the right people to win in the end. Of course, we know that's not the case. "Epitaph One" made it plain that the future is far from bright, and that whatever gains are made are minor victories in a lost war.

    Topher is already crushed by the fact that he has given Rossum a means of taking control of the world, and it's evident that this will begin his downward spiral. Being betrayed by Adele can only contribute to the descent. He's already well aware of the fact that Bennett is more than capable of unleashing his invention on the world. I'm not sure it would take much more to push him over the edge.

    I understand that Adele did what was necessary to take back control of her house, but the price was high, and I'm not entirely sold on the idea that she would be given back her old job so easily, even after handing over the plans. The hierarchy has no vested interest in doing so. The house was running efficiently under the new management, and Echo was still at large. Perhaps she is still being watched carefully, and that explains her cold attitude regarding Echo. She may be playing a part. Even if that is the case, why wouldn't she be forced to ship out Sierra and the others Dolls selected for Dubai?

    I was pleased by something that Boyd said to Adele. Adele is uncomfortable with how the Dolls are being treated. She doesn't like the fact that the Dolls are seen as expendable, as though it is perfectly moral to allow the Dolls to be hurt or killed if the client so desires. Boyd chides Adele, pointing out that they have always known what kind of business they were in, and what it meant. It's just that they can't lie to themselves about it anymore. I never bought into the notion that the writers were trying to say that the characters were right to do these things, so this was a nice confirmation.

    Some have suggested that this, with a little retooling, would have made a much better starting point for the series. I can understand the sentiment. It resolves one of the main problems with the first season by giving Echo a distinct personality. It's something that the story has been building towards since the first episode. I can understand how the writers would see that process as an interesting story in and of itself, but I wonder if this iteration of the status quo would have been a more popular choice.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Topher: Bennet has twice the resources I have. She thinks she runs that House. And she might for all I know. But there is one thing of which I am certain. I have a cooler office.

    • Topher: I will never trust another woman as long as I live. She totally went all Cylon on me and sent a sleeperized assassin after Echo right behind my back. Disarmed me with her arm and glasses... and face. Mostly. But underneath it, all she is ice-cold. Truly wicked. With a... shriveled-up raisin of a heart.... I wonder what she's doing right now.
      Ivy: So, what happened?
      Topher: Well, I punched her in the kisser--not what I was planning to do there, by the way--and knocked her out cold, which she might have been impressed by if she hadn't been out cold.
      Ivy: I mean to Echo, Topher. What happened to Echo?
      Topher: Ohhh. We don't know.

    • Store Manager: You know you have to pay for that!
      Echo: Yes. With money.
      Store Manager: That's right.
      Echo: Where do I get it?
      Store Manager: Well, I hear it grows on trees. Why don't you move along, girl? I don't want any trouble.
      Echo: Where is this tree?
      Store Manager: Right through that door, right there.

    • Mr. Caviezel: I marvel at the way they slip into a role--into a life--unaware, unfeigned. And I'm grateful that I can afford it. That possess the "means to satisfy my vagaries", to quote the Marquis de Sade.

    • Echo: Mr. Kleinhan in 23 is asking for a sheet change, Mrs. Willis in 31 needs something to help her sleep, and Mrs. Finney in 32 wants us to put Mrs. Willis to sleep because she keeps singing show tunes.

    • Ivy: You're looming. You don't see me looming in your office. Stop looming.
      Topher: You said "looming" so many times now that it sounds like a nonsense word.

    • Sierra: That's a radical theory.
      Topher: Well, what's my name? Doctor...
      Sierra: Brink.
      Topher: Radical. Dr. Radical.

    • Echo: (after judo-flipping him) You okay?
      Paul: Fine. Only, next time don't wait for the attack. Take the offensive like we've been practicing.
      Echo: Sometimes a girl likes to be chased. Hungry?

    • Paul: Mac and cheese, huh?
      Echo: You're not sick of it, right?
      Paul: Thirty-six personalities and not one of them can cook?
      Echo: Look who's talking.
      Paul: Honestly, I'm surprised. If I was paying for a romantic engagement, there would definitely be food involved.
      Echo: More terrifying insights into the mind of Paul Ballard.
      Paul: No, that's primal. Sex and food are sisters in human desire.
      Echo: Well, I never did a sister act.... with food--with cooking food.
      Paul: Okay, I'm done. I'm moving on.

    • Echo: You think I'm a freak. Or a child.
      Paul: I think I don't have the right.
      Echo: It's not my other... personas that make me feel what I feel.
      Paul: The Dollhouse made you fall in love, over and over. You told me that.
      Echo: They also made me aggressively sexual. And phenomenally creative in bed.
      Paul: (sighs) Now, that's just cruel.
      Echo: Also sociopathic, inexperienced... blind... And at least seven times--gay. There's a lot of noise from the Chorus Girls, but they're not me. There is a me. This is me.

    • Adelle: What else does Harding have you "improving"?
      Topher: That's, uh, on a need-to-know basis.
      Adelle: Well, I need to know.
      Harding: (walking in) And why is that? You think we're keeping secrets from you, Adelle? Haven't we eliminated those from this House?
      Adelle: Of course. I was just curious. I had quite the scientific mind before I was transferred here, if you remember, Matthew.
      Harding: I do.
      Adelle: Curiosity is what brought this House into being.
      Harding: True. And Topher here will bring it into the future. I have to say, one of your finest moments, DeWitt, finding him.
      Topher: Ah, this guy...

    • Boyd: You need to take this House back.
      Adelle: And how am I supposed to do that?
      Boyd: The Adelle I knew would never ask me that question.

    • Galena: You're not a nurse, are you?
      Echo: Right now, no.

    • Paul: You go after either of those women, this tape lands on the desk of every prison official in the state.
      Sheriff Rand: Why are you wasting your time on some border-hopping nobody?
      Paul: I'm not. I'm wasting my time on you. Don't make me waste any more.

    • Echo: Just once. Just here while it's still just the two of us.
      Paul: Is there? Really? Just the two of us?
      Echo: I guess not.

    • Adelle: But in the end, power is always used to get more power. And if Rossum has this much, I have little interest in being on the other team.
      Harding: I have to ask. Did you ever consider just imprinting a Doll to kill me?
      Adelle: I'd like to think I'd have had the courage to do it myself.
      Harding: Ever the idealist.

    • Topher: You gave Rossum the deadliest tech I've ever heard of.
      Adelle: Which you designed.
      Topher: I was trying to figure out what they were up to!
      Adelle: You were fascinated. You were playing.
      Topher: No, don't put this on me. I trusted you!
      Adelle: Well, who thought that was a clever scheme?
      Topher: You are the coldest bitch on this planet.

  • NOTES (3)


    • Topher: She totally went all Cylon on me and sent a sleeperized assassin after Echo right behind my back.
      Referencing the Syfy TV series Battlestar Galactica (2003). Tricia Helfer (among others) plays Number Six, a Cylon sleeper agent and infiltrator. The Cylon infiltrators can near-perfectly mimic humans while remaining loyal to the Cylon machine race.

    • Echo: That imprint was borderline Rain Man.

      Referencing the 1988 movie starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, with Tom Cruise as Charlie Babbit discovering the brother he never had, savant Raymond (Rain Man).