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"I am Loki of Asgard. And I am burdened with glorious purpose."
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January 29 2010

(SPOILER) Discuss the Dollhouse series finale. It's the endgame. If you missed the episode, you can watch it for free at the Fox site and Hulu and buy it on iTunes.

Cheeers to Joss, Eliza and the rest of the cast and crew for making such a damn good show.

Indeed. I'm gonna miss 'em.
A little dull so far. Oh, wait, it hasn't started yet.
I'm going on computer blackout for the next hour but I just wanted to state how impressed I've been with the cast, crew, directors, & writers. Even at it's not-so-best Dollhouse have been creatively & intellectually stimulating. Not to mention it brought me Fran Kranz & Enver Gjokaj, two of my favorite people in the world. I can't wait to log back on at 9 and see what everyone thinks of Epitaph 2.

Joss, Eliza, cast, & crew: You should all be incredibly proud of what you've been able to accomplish. Bravo!
I can never sum up my thoughts at the end of the episodes well enough to post here. I assume this will be no different. I'll second Simon's cheers to the cast and crew. Fantastic work they've done, particularly this season. I'm not going to get sad though, not yet. Right now, I'm mostly excited to see how it all ends.
I saw that plot twist coming! Oh wait, it hasn't started yet.
Very excited too! :) Sad, but excited at the same time.
I've got 3 more hours to wait, but enjoy you guys!
I'll be happy if I only shed tears. I am starting to actually feel sick about this. I don't want it to end. I don't to face no more Joss on TV again. I've been there. Didn't like it.
Oh boy I hope people have seen Epitaph One.
Ugh. I've got a strip running on the bottom of the page for school and business closings. Stupid snowstorm. Don't the weather gods know the Dollhouse finale is airing?
Summer and Alan!!! I love seeing their names :)
Ask me again some time? Ahahaha... That was classic.
Nice, glad they didn't use up screen time showing us the Echo Montage opening! More plot time, cool!

...Topher... :(
Is it weird I was really happy to see Mag, Zone, and Kid-Caroline again?
What year did the caption say? 2019? It must be since Mag and Zone are with the girl right? I changed the tv volume and it blocked the caption :( --- But great so far!
Interesting that "previously on Dollhouse" showed footage that had never been aired.

CellarDoor, sad + excited = exsadded.
AGH!!! So long to wait til optimum streaming quality arrives...But at the same time I don't wanna watch this...put off the Dawson's Creek finale for 4 that was hard!!! But this...this is just plain wrong!!! I WANT MORE!!!

(but grateful for what we got!! Thanks to all involved!)
Victor! What has happened to you?
Truck looks like Reavers.
"She's a girl, Mag!"
YES! Thank you, Dollhouse! I'll take it, even if it is a bit late.
That is one heavily armed recreational vehicle.
As usual, Joss et al. delivered a phenomenal finale. The Echo/Paul romance was beautifully wrapped. I loved Topher's final moment of lucidity with DeWitt. The Priya, Tony, Tony vignette was understandable and moving (miraculous for how little screen time it took). Even Mag, Zone, and Mini-Echo added some power to the episode.

Joss, cast, and crew: thanks so much! Don't wait to long before beginning your next projects!

[ edited by Canonical on 2010-01-30 03:29 ]
Why? I know this is a Joss production but really?
OK, that may be the most unexpected Joss death ever!
NO!!!!! You cannot kill Paul!!!
excel it does rank up there with Tara.
I did not see this coming... which is why I should have seen it coming. Poor Mag, too!

Remember a copy of Paul is in Alpha.
Over the course of five seconds --

"Oh wow, they're going to kill Mag..."

I jumped. I shrieked.
Anyone else still trying to lift their jaw off the floor?
Holy crap!
I wonder how Alpha got normal?
Paul in Alpha! I forgot!

Remember a copy of Paul is in Alpha.
i'm a little sad for paul. and i didn't think i'd feel quite that way.
As soon as they got off the truck, I could tell Mag was going down. Didn't see Paul coming (or going?).
Oh snap. That was Joyce in the Verizon commercial!
Umm... Echo... i think you're projecting.
Ha, I had the same reaction as Alpha. I laugh anytime I hear someone say Luddite.
Do I have to be the first to mention Luddite?
I forgot that Paul was in Alpha, too.
Overidentify much? (Not to be insensitive...)
Ladies and gentleman, that was for all the people that said Eliza couldn't act, Wow.
And here come my tears... oh Echo!!!
*closes eyes* Crap. I didn't know that Dollhouse aired an hour earlier. Wish I had known. :(
Favor Favor Be Paul! Is that possible?
Too fairytale.
Couldn't they fire the magic thing, and then reimprint the dolls to whatever they'd rather be?
how did i completely miss that the finale was airing an hour earlier than usual.....................

just turned on my tv at 7:55 central to get ready, only to accidentally see a few seconds of the end of the show.

And that is the most romantic ending ever.
FUCK! I thought it was on at 9!!!
Never mind, that was better :)
Hulu it up, people who missed it. It becomes available at midnight western.
That was kind of beautiful.
Was that a happy ending? Did we really just get a happy ending from a Whedon show? Joss must be going soft on us ;)
What the frik! I just turned on the TV and it's the end of the episode, not the beginning? When did it move to 8? I thought it was on at 9! Argh.
What...? Was that a really abrupt ending, or just me?
Lovely! They did it -- pulled it all together, with a perfect ending. Thanks to everyone involved. It was a great run.
Shortest... hour... ever.
Yes, it was beautiful! A work of art!
Uh-huh, I think we just saw a (mostly) happy ending. As much as it could be. Still weeping over it though. :) Yes, Eliza Dushku definitely impressed. Wow, what an exquisite finale!
Two things I've noticed from Twitter - apparently half the audience didn't know it was on at 8pm (advertising) and the other half haven't seen Epitaph One so didn't have a clue what was going on (network). Oh well, thems the cards.

What did people think?
I really enjoyed it, but it still kind of makes me mad that it's canceled. I should be glad we got what we did, but I really wish I could have seen Anthony's development into a techhead.
OMFG...Joss, I love you and I hate you. Topher can't be dead. He can't be dead. I love him completely now he can't be dead!!!
I dunno if I like the ending. I think I'll have to, well, think on it.
C. A. Bridges,

Yep, it wasn't just you. She didn't even get to fall asleep and there was Grr! Arrgh! moving very fast.
Still got some eye leakage from Topher at the end...
Even though there's plenty of unexplained plot points (such as what happened to Whisky, both before and after Epitaph One, what happened to Dominic, and some other stuff I'm sure I'm forgetting), that was still a very emotionally satisfying ending. But yeah, I screamed "NO!" at the tv when Paul died.
Ah! That was nifty.

[ edited by Brett on 2010-01-30 03:10 ]
Sweet dreams Echo.
I didn't know it was on at 8 until today, and then found out by accident. Thank you Fox, uncommunicative until the end.
O.K.- Wow! That was one of the best episodes of television I've seen in quite some time. I loved how everyone's character arcs managed to wrap themselves up nice and neat, and even Mag and Zone got in some nice moments. And that ending with Paul- perfect. I've never even cared about that couple, and tonight made me care. I'm so happy that Priya and Tony got back together too. And Topher was utterly, utterly brave and heroic.
Joss, Eliza, Tamoh, Olivia, Enver, Dichen, Fran, and all the rest- Thank you so much for putting together this unique and extraordinary show. I wish we'd gotten more, but I can't fault what we got. I loved getting to be a follower of your show for once, instead of catching up on DVD per usual. Thank you and good luck on your next projects. I'll be watching.
*squee* Tony/Priya and little Tony! I approve of this ending.
Very well done. Loads and loads of things unexplained, of course (but ain't that what fanfic is for?), but yes, for once, a Joss show ended happily... after destroying (practically) all the world, killing Paul, blowing up Topher, and a little cannibalism on the side, so maybe not exactly happy, but hopeful.

Well done, cast. Take a bow.
DetectiveYelsew, I had just gotten through chanting a mantra of "Everyone dies, no one's safe since it's the last episode. They're all going to die" right before then, so I was less stunned, but it still hurt.

I did gasp with delight when little T ran to "Mommy" though. Awww :)

Ohh, yeah good point about Dominic. Hopefully we'll have a deleted scene in the DVD showing that.
gossi | January 30, 03:00 CET
"Hulu it up, people who missed it. It becomes available at midnight western. "
Topher oh Topher. Paul was hard but he didn't know it was coming. Topher, amoral Topher, chose it.
But I swear we had twice as many commercials as usual.
I'm not sure, but I think that was a happy ending and I must say, I loved it. Beautiful way to wrap up the journey. Shed some tears, felt shocked, laughed, and ended full of teary smiles.

And yeah, I think that ending felt abrupt, I wonder if there were supposed to be a few more seconds before the ME "Grrr Argh" came about.
I must watch that again...and again...and again...
I am...very happy with the finale, even though there are still questions left. (Where's Dominic? Okay, okay...) A hopeful ending, but with no glossing over the fact that there's still a lot of hard work left to do to fix the world.

I enjoyed the previous ep, but this one was pitch perfect, so I'm not upset about it being the end. (Of course, I could just be in denial and it will finally hit me in a week or two...)
Was like Buffy starting to smile.
Nothing here to see. Move along.

[ edited by Lioness on 2010-01-30 03:13 ]
Is it just me or was that the fastest hour of television ever?!?! It feels like I just sat down. Brain is kinda wonky right now (possibly due to lack of oxygen-sobs have been wracking my body since Eliza beautifully brought us Echo's breakdown) so I'll just say that I never thought I would cry over Paul, I love that Zone got all parental with ex-LittleCaroline, & Fran Kranz is my favorite person ever to walk this earth. He was wonderful tonight on so many levels that I can't even put my awe into words. Big props to Dichen & Enver, as well. Their scenes together reminded me what first made me fall head over heels for this show and showcased some truly amazing talent. It's always a pleasure to see Felicia and Olivia still rocks hardcore as Adele. Oh, and did Joss give us a happy ending?
Topher was just... beautiful. Incredible! I think complete sentences are still forthcoming.
And kudos to Maurissa who did a great job. Eliza's brother (?) was in the opening credits - anyone know who or why?
The ME thing was very abrupt here too. I know that ultimately it was Tophers chance at redemption but how sad. And for a second I thought Echo was going to go back to being Caroline now that Paul was gone. What a sweet gift from Alpha considering his state of mind.
That was a wonderful final episode.Topher's death was so elegant and fitting.He died to bring back the world.Perfect ending.It reminded me of Buffy's death in The Gift and Spike's death in Chosen.Paul's death echoed,no pun intended,Tara's,Anya's and Wash's deaths.

I loved the twist of Alpha being a good guy now which was forshadowed in Epitaph One and what he does for Echo here.

Also loved the resolution with Victor/Anthony and Sierra/Priya and their son.

I loved Chosen and was greatly disappointed with Not Fade Away but Epitaph Two:Return ranks back up there with Chosen or me.Also like Chosen,it leaves the door open for the surviving characters.While there won't be a continuation like Buffy Season 8,it's nice we can imagine what happens to them in the new world once they come out of there hole in a year.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-01-30 06:26 ]
It's been quite a ride! Sad to see Dollhouse come to a close after what only amounts to 2 half seasons. While there should have been many more stories told between the beginning and the end, tonight's finale still somehow left me satisfied. A hardy THANK YOU to the entire cast and crew!
Lioness, Nate Dushku was the latest incarnation of Clive Ambrose.
So awesome, so amazing, so sad.

I am glad the show got to end, but I would have LOVED to see the evolution to techy Victor, nice Alpha, and all the other great stuff.
Okay, watching in Mountain time, and Victor just showed up. Not quite sure what's going on with him, but he looks awesome! Can we get a post-apocalyptic Victor spin-off?
i loved the little piece of call out to firefly—the dinner table at safe haven created/implied the feeling of community that we saw in the mess on serenity. very "Hygge" as they say in danish.
Now I want the DVD set for season 2 like right
Wow-my mind hurts from all the blowing, err---I mean my mind is blown and my heart hurts.
Thank you sir (may I have another).
Was Jed briefly sitting there in the first kitchen table scene, or was I just seeing things?

Anyway, great job and much thanks to everyone involved!
Jed was in the episode too, right? I didn't just imagine that.
zombiecow, thanks. Time to go watch the whole show again, I think.
Gorgeous. I had a sneaking suspicion Paul and/or Topher would be the ones to die (and didn't, sorry to admit, care much about Paul), but Topher still broke my heart. I loved Alpha, though, and Adelle and Anthony had developed beautifully. Loved the clip of Bennett and, of course, T. I'm iffy about the Paul/Echo ending, but I'll take happiness when Joss hands it to us. I wish we could have had more, but this leaves me with nice, comfy closure.
So when's the third season?
deadbessie: Hah, nice timing. Guess we didn't both hallucinate him then.
Loved it...that was a fantastic final episode to a fantastic series.

@Lionesse: Nate Dushku was Ambrose, I believe.
Twitter posts:

From @elizadushku: Dollhouse, the end. Would Love 2 hear u share your thoughts ;) Thank u 4 letting us entertain you.. 'for a little while'

From @frankranz: thanks for a wonderful series people. you really made it happen. hope you enjoy the end. i'm sure going to miss it - christopher brink

From @feliciaday: Gratz to @motancharoen and @drhorrible for writing a fantastic Dollhouse Series Finale tonight. So privileged to be a part of the episode :)
C. A. Bridges,

Starts now in your head.

[ edited by Anonymous1 on 2010-01-30 03:30 ]
@Sid the Wily Dairy Gnome: another shoutout to Firefly: strawberries.

[ edited by JMaloney on 2010-01-30 03:31 ]
Thank you, Mo and Jed for the Tony/Priya stuff, Echo's dreams. I almost forgive you for the mean stuff. Almost. Maybe tomorrow. Or next week. I'm trying, okay? ;)
Dammit DPatel! you're making me weep all over again!
I loved the full-circle Alpha takes, culminating here. He started off self-serving, giving Caroline to Paul in a manila envelope so he (Alpha) could return to the Dollhouse. He came to create chaos and get what he wanted. Once Alpha really "came home" to the Dollhouse though, Wonder how long it took the writers to tie up loose ends, or if it just came to them in a rapid fit of brilliance?
*headpalm* I didn't even recognize Kilo until I read this thread. I was just thinking "Who's the hot asian chick?" while I was watching it.
I'm trying to avoid reading posts, but I'm just so annoyed that I've been waiting and waiting forever, getting excited as the day went on, farting around until 9:00, only to turn the TV on at 8:58 and seeing it was almost over. Midnight seems so far away...
Jed's there indeed, and Kilo with a gun = the awesome.
Kind of...lame, overall. But some really amazing moments. Good Alpha = win. I love alan tudyk with facial hair. I never really wanted to watch the Echo/Paul romance get up and going as it dealt with odd issues of consent...Also think it's interesting that we finally get a taste of a world POST-apocalypse.

Loved Eliza's acting. And the final scene with Paul in her head was very much like Heinlein's I Will Fear No Evil. Someone please tell me they got that as well?
Nice catch JMaloney! I thought of it at the time, but it didn't fully register till you mentioned it!
Echo and Alpha, kicking the ass of the traitors. And thanks, upthread. for mentioning Paul was in Alpha's mind, I wondered how he reformed.

Tony and Priya, a family together at last.

Topher, gaining insight and inspiration from Bennett and gently kissing her video image. His courageous sacrifice and tears as he looked at the Wall of Remembrance.

Adelle, becoming a shepherd to lead her flock.

Paul...inside Echo's mind, and never to be parted again

I am simply stunned by the beauty of the conclusion to this saga. Wonderfully and masterfully done.

Much deserved congratulations to the cast and crew of Dollhouse. And thanks to all the great Whedonverse and other guest stars over two seasons who made this so much fun to watch.

We hardly knew ye, may fair winds follow you all your days.
Beautiful, wonderful, gorgeous, amazing. Spectacular.

I kinda liked it.

But sad now.
Alpha was great

I did get very misty eyed watching Topher at the end. And at the whole Paul/Echo situation
Happy ending? = Mind blown.

Happy relationship? (and a half?) = Backup wedge's mind blown.
I just have to mention to everyone who posts on Whedonesque for Dollhouse—I am so going to miss spending my Friday nights with you. You are a part of the reason why watching Dollhouse had been such a wonderful experience.
Really great way to close out the series. And the whole cast wasn't killed! Topher has to be one of the greatest developed characters EVER. He goes from being self-centered to sacrificing himself to save the world. And to think I once hated him!
I saw a brief mention of how the dinner table echoed the family created by the crew of Serenity, but they really echoed that one scene about "keeping a civil tongue in that mouth", almost word for word. The Browncoat in me cheered when I watched that scene.

I loved this series, and I can't wait to get my hands on the DVD.

Topher's final word of "Huh…" was absolutely perfect for his character. Fran Kranz you are brilliant.
I don't like to brag, but I totally called who would die in the first five minutes (I'm getting better at predicting Joss-Deaths). Of course, that in no way means that I *wanted* them to die, as Topher was my favorite, and I liked Ballard as well. But I did see their deaths coming. I figured that Topher wouldn't have a logical place after the apocalypse (considering his guilt and fall to insanity) and I guessed Ballard because Echo loved him and they would have been happy together (not having too many issues), therefore he had to die. Sorry... slight rambling [because I watched the finale with my mom (who I recently got into the show, but who seemed unimpressed with the finale) and my friend (who had never seen/was uninterested in Dollhouse) and therefore had no one to really discuss it with]. Overall, I enjoyed the episode. It was a good ending.
Aw. Topher! Dude! Tragic. But so right, his arc has been fantastic. I just... Fran Kranz rocks my world.
Very satisfying, mostly.

[ edited by peacemonger on 2010-01-30 03:57 ]
I really don't think I've seen a more satisfying ending out of television. I was upset when Joss said he didn't want to continue it, but now i understand. Perfect in almost every way.

This series is one of the best Joss has done. There... I said it.
That was both beautiful and impressive. It managed to balance arc-completion with storytelling and character in way that, tragically, "The Hollow Men" basically didn't.

Thank you, Joss, Eliza, and all. It was a magnificent journey, and far too short. But I never fell asleep.
it was a good end. but I want MORE MORE MORE! because I'm greedy like that.

do you think Joss would come to my house and tell me stories all the time? that would be great.
I'm calling this Joss' best series ender ever. Immensely satisfying, and yet some regret that we won't get to visit that universe again. All the character moments at the end were "just right" - Alpha leaving Echo the Paul imprint to integrate, the Priya/Tony/Tony reunion, and Echo settling down in the series' iconic sleep chambers (the cut to the ME logo was quite abrupt though).

Big thanks to Joss, Jed, Maurissa, Eliza, Fran, Enver, Felicia, Alan, Olivia, and everyone else involved in the show. I can't wait to see all of you again on my TV and/or computer and/or local movie theater screen.

[ edited by holeintheworld on 2010-01-30 04:20 ]
I could almost see Paul's death I'd been wondering all episode long what would happen to Paul's cobbled-together/rebuilt brain architecture once he was exposed to the reset Signal/wipe effect.

Would have liked to have the time to learn more about Alpha in Epitaph Two, and would have loved to have seen that Whiskey survived the end of 'Epitaph One'.

So odd that my least favorite character (Topher) at the start of the series is now my most favorite character at the end of the series- but then again, that's so Joss Whedon.
I'd like some too, please!
What I love about this episode is that it feels like the finale to an epic, long-running show with several seasons' worth of backstory. I mean, we had all of 40 minutes to get used to the idea of Tony as a tech-head, Priya as a mother, Alpha as a good person, etc. but it was all very natural and convincing. It just makes me wish they had made Epitaph: the Series instead of Dollhouse.
Was the favor to make an imprint out of Alpha's head of the Ballard part or was that an old imprint.
Wonderful finale. I wish we had had more episodes to tie up the loose ends, but this was as satisfying as one could possibly have hoped for.

Thanks to all who made Dollhouse possible, Joss, the writers, the cast, crew, everybody. And even thanks to Fox for giving us the second season. I'm so grateful for the extra hours of top-notch entertainment.
I didn't think the series could have been wrapped up so well. This finale exceeded all my expectations. I should have known not to doubt the talent of every member of this cast and crew.
Wow. I visit this site daily, and have posted MAYBE twice. I'm fine with the lurking, and reading everyone elses thoughts. Had to Post though.

Very satisfying Episode. Beautifully done all around. Im very sad to see this end :(

Thank you Joss and Eliza for this concept of a show, Thank you to all the Writers, especially Jed and Maurissa for some of the best writing on TV this year, and of course a BIG thank you to all the cast. Dollhouse had some amazing actors...I look forward to following you all in your next endeavors.

Lastly, Joss, Please let us find you on cable....I don't think I can take anymore short lived works of brilliance..
Well, thank God, Elphaba, someone was willing to note correct predictions beside me. Gossi tried calling me out (not by name, mind you) way up top there. ;-)

I will as always be in the vast minority, but I thought was a bunch of meh. They destroyed the DH because the "tech" was bad, but used it to put Paul into Echo anyway? And how does that work, anyway? Just another mind to assimilate, like the Borg? And Echo not destroying the chair? Paul and Topher getting killed was easy to predict, but I really really did call my ending wrong- I thought that the way it would play out would be this: Echo would die, leaving mini-Echo/Caroline behind. Paul would be dead, but would somehow be placed into Little T, so that Echo and Paul would end up together as children, able to begin to build a new life together into the future. How that would happen I was not sure, but I was certain that much as Joss kills people, he would not kill either parent after showing us their child. Adelle as savior? How did she earn that? She's as responsible for horrible pain as anyone. Echoes (!) of Serenity in Echo's words about everyone leaving, and when asked about Paul telling them he ain't coming- like Zoe and Wash.

This is not the ending of Buffy, which really was perfect. This, not so much. Lot of loose ends here= Alpha, for one; what it means to now have 5 billion people who all just woke up, etc. Well, time to slay the dragon and see what's next.
A great episode, and a solid finish to a good series.

I was more of a Paul & Mellie fan, but I liked the final imprinting. Didn't love, but was surprised by Paul's quick and blunt death. Loved Echo's breakdown with Priya. Loved Zone and Mag interacting with our main cast. Loved future Victor. Loved the cyberpunk apocalyptica. Loved "evolved" Alpha. Loved Topher's sacrifice. Loved Adelle leading the way. And I loved that the good guys one! A happy ending! Yay!

If we're to trust the Epitaph One flashes, I guess we're to believe a wiped Saunders eventually made her way back to the Dollhouse somehow and got her face fixed. That's the only thing I feel wasn't properly resolved, but it's no big deal.
Think favor was make an imprint out of Alpha's head of the Ballard part. Otherwise he wouldn't have had to ask for a favor.

So did they program the imprint to meet Echo like that or because Echo can control her mind that is the way she can meet all imprints.
I totally cried my way through bits of it. I loved Priya and Tony working things out - it's nice to have something normal again in this f'ed up show world. Loved T. Dichen crying always makes me cry, I've never known why.

Fran. Franny fran fran. "Huh". I really didn't like Topher at all - I'm pretty sure one of the early Dollverse podcasts has me referring to him as just 'Dick'. His arc in the series really is very well written and plotted, and well played by Fran. Ended up loving the guy.

And Echo. Geez. I'm not sure you got the happy ending. You got the love - in your head alone. Which is the worst kinda love.

I thought it was a great send off to the show. I'll miss ye. It really did infest my dreams for many months.

[ edited by gossi on 2010-01-30 04:34 ]

5 billion people did not wake up.
Well, gossi... I guess Echo finally got to have one fantasy. Adelle at least might have said she was better off having a fantasy and no actual Paul as opposed to having neither. (but then, Adelle had her own little ongoing fantasy which didn't make her all that happy in the end, did it?) That still makes me sad for Echo though. It seems lonely, but then, Echo is a rather different sort of persons.

In other news, Frankranz may hit 7000 followers by the end of the night. :)

[ edited by CellarDoor on 2010-01-30 04:43 ]
God, it's been almost two hours now and my heart is still aching for Topher. I fell hard for his character and this ending is gonna stay with me for a long time. Topher!

I don't have insightful words. Only this ache in my chest.
He wasn't real.
Honestly... I'd almost go as far to say that it was the best Whedon finale ever. Is that bold? Cause I truly believe that.
I still say Chosen is the best. This is a solid second, with Angel third and Firefly fourth.
Who wasn't real?
This was a great finale. It left several things unexplained, but felt very satisfying nonetheless.

As for Echo/Paul, they seem to have a bittersweet ending, though I will say that in many ways, they get to be closer than any two humans can get.
I feel like I was just imprinted subliminally with a decade's worth of DH eps. I wish we could actually unpack those never-were segments -- I can imagine what amazing places we'd've gone to, courtesy of Joss & ME.

Plus he broke my heart again with Adele and Topher.

What visions & concepts of identity & presence were dramatized over these 26 hours, with such terrific actors & actresses (I hate the sudden disappearance of the latter word) -- fantastic work.
New bumpersticker/t-shirt: "Joss is Echo/Echo is Joss".
I cried.

That's the only thing I can say about the finale. It was beautiful. And to anyone who is still stupid enough to be bashing Eliza's acting, consider yourself completely refuted by this episode. Sad tears, happy tears, bittersweet tears, Epitaph Two pulled them all out.
I would have loved to see all of this play out as it was originally intended, over the full five seasons planned but given that limitation, this was the most amazing ending possible.

Also, it's official; Butchers=Reavers.
Yeah, the lack of Amy Acker (and Reed too) made this perfect finale.... a little less perfect... but still.

This was just a brilliant finale, more than I could've expected. I was extremely satisified, mentally and emotionally, with the closure we got: story and characters.

But back to Amy. She shouldn't have been brought back for the last two episodes where she did nothing but make our brains hurt with confusion. Having Whiskey be inside the Dollhouse with the other Actives, getting her original self back would've been a perfect end for the character. A final gift from Topher too.

[ edited by hitnrun017 on 2010-01-30 05:27 ]
Riker, you mean Topher? Yeah, we know. I love when art can instill powerful emotional reactions. Makes for a better ride. And it's kinda the point, isn't it?
The Firefly parallels are actually pretty strong. Butchers-Reavers. (Sooner or later they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people better.) Adelle is a shepherd. The strawberry thing. Reference in Epitaph One to China putting out a blanket signal, identifying them as a major world power. Dollhouse could totally be viewed as a Firefly prequel in my eyes.
Am I the only one that thought that "Not Fade Away" was the best finale? Nothing has ever made me sob like that.
Lately, I have been coming to grips with dying as being a happy ending to some people (in stories).

Topher was really gone by that point, too tortured to even be brought back to that unique character we all really loved. I think him dying made me happy. It was sad, but it was happy.

Not like many senseless killings in Joss's past. Paul was a little senseless. Senseless killings may provide some raw emotion, but they don't provide any closure and I like my closure. They also don't provide any depth to a story.

Topher's death was closure. :)

I got close to tears with Echo's emotional breakdown, but that's probably the only part. I don't get teary-eyed very often.

Reavers don't eat their own. At least we never saw them do that.
Am I the only one that thought that "Not Fade Away" was the best finale?

*raises hand*
Not Fade Away's my favorite as well.
Epitaph Two > Chosen > Not Fade Away. Serenity's not really in the running given how much "bigger" and longer it was.

Note that ">" really means "Greater than, but not by leaps and bounds". I love them all of course.
Chosen's too standard for me. Nice wrap-up, but the first 25 minutes feel like mid-tier Buffy. Not Fade Away brings its A-game for the entire length of the show.
So after my disappointment with the last episode, "Epitaph 2" surprised me with its somewhat satisfying conlusion to the show. The emotional resonance of the episode and particularly the final character arcs for Topher and Alpha did a lot to make me forget all the underwhelming answers revealed in "The Hollow Men" (though I still hate the over-the-top, crazy Boyd).

I don't think it was a particularly satisfying conclusion for Echo, however. I don't know how anyone can perceive her ending as anything other than tragic. She's fought so hard to hold on to herself and in the end, that's all she has.

On a side note - I chuckled when Neuropolis was introduced as I sat here in my living room in Tucson. This city being featured so prominently has definitely been one of the more bizarre aspects of watching this show the past year.
'not fade away' is my favorite finale as well.

that said, thought this was amazing. i've always loved paul, mostly because of my man-crush on tahmoh since the bsg miniseries, so it really got to me when he died. at the same time, i felt it was so effective because it was like tara's. it was brutal and fast.

as for some of the talk about whiskey, i've gotta say, and i've stood staunchly behind this since epitaph one, that she was killed by the gas at the end.

i'll miss this show so much. thanks to everyone who made it possible :)
Don't think I will read this thread untl later. But I'm glad the show got to go out on an episode penned by the series' three best writers. No offense to Joss and Tim, but Jed, Maurissa, and Andrew just seemed scarily dialed in to what the show needed to be doing. Giving them the ending just seems right.
"Am I the only one that thought that "Not Fade Away" was the best finale?"

Nope. There was a lot to mentally chew on tonight with the end of Dollhouse, but 'Not Fade Away' hit on every note.
I wonder if this show would have worked better is set in the future and flashed back into present day?
This didn't fix all the issues I had with the previous few episodes leading up to it, but... what an amazing finale. I pretty much loved it.

Paul in Echo at the ending was kind of beautiful... though the story leading up to it was that Echo shut out Paul, which is actually the reverse of what we saw earlier in the season. Must have flopped around sometime in the interim.

Echo's breakdown... just another reason to love Eliza. And what a trooper with the broken wing.

It occurs to me that Alpha's turning point may have been assimilating Paul. And if so... wonder how Alpha would have done without him. Maybe that played into why he wanted to go topside for the pulse.

I would gripe - Topher can create a device to fix the world, but can't cook up a remote, but I think this wasn't actually presented as a technical restriction so much as a choice he wanted to make.

Tony and Priya were sweet as always.
Sad now. Happy ending? Whaa? Thank you to all!
just finished...heartbroken...tht is all...
That was amazing. I can't believe how high my expectations were and still have them completely blown away. Every part was so loaded with everything it needed it was pure bliss to experience. I was horrified at Paul's death, then on the verge of tears when Priya starts crying watching Anthony and T bond, then broke down as it wrapped with Paul being within Caroline and seeing them become one. Such beauty and grace went into this I feel so amazingly fortunate to have been given this gift. Watching these characters grow has made me want to be a better person.

(I wanted a series for Enver Gjokaj before this, I think I want one now about a billion more percent.)
Better than "The Hollow Men," for sure, but still not great. However, nearly all the "not great," seemed down to a) the rushed plotting, or b) the reduced budget.

I think the other big problem with this ep, and with Dollhouse overall for me (as much as I've mostly adored it), is how lacking the Echo/Caroline and Ballard characters are. Nothing about them has ever really involved me, and their scenes here were all dead weight (despite the neat "letting Ballard in" idea).

Some of the future stuff was pretty cheesy/derivative, but some of it was awesome -- a mixed bag, like the episode itself.

I will say the dialogue was consistently strong and witty. Lots of great lines. I also enjoyed seeing Bennett and Alpha, and Topher's end was great.

Will definitely buy the Season Two set for those astounding middle nine episodes, even if the first two and last two weren't the greatest.

Now, roll on the next Whedon project!

My grade for the ep: a solid B. The season overall: an A-. My favorite ep: The Attic, hands down.

Oh, and Not Fade Away is probably better than Chosen on balance, but as I care for the characters on Buffy way more than the ones on Angel, I'd rather watch Chosen. I think Epitaph Two is the weakest of the three, but it may get better for me on repeat viewings.

If people decide to count Serenity, that may actually be my favorite, although I agree it's not really fair to count it.

[ edited by bonzob on 2010-01-30 06:25 ]
The softest I've ever seen Adelle. Of course, she's had 10 years to reflect while humanity fell all around her. You know, it's too bad Fox couldn't even give the finale of the show the time to fully present. Instead, the scenes were so short and the commercials so many my blood started to boil. Then that weird, truncated cut-off ending? The whole thing was like an ever-present raised middle finger.

Anyway, I did the "What!Whaaaat!What!" thing again when Paul got shot. Damn, it hurt, but they were all soldiers at that point and death could come at any time. I was surprised, shocked really when Echo broke down and said she'd never told Paul she loved him, appreciated him. The scene back at Safe Haven with everyone talking, eating, discussing, he had his hand on her shoulder and they seemed like a couple. But now that I see how it played out, it makes sense that she was such a creature of the mind, Paul living there with her is fitting. Sad for her but it was obvious it will be enough. Topher's sacrifice (his state of mind is one of the most stomach-churning, tragic things I've ever seen and if anything, his death was a release), Priya's child, Alpha nearly sane. Yes, it all came together beautifully.

Like my card in the album said, "I love and respect you all". Mucho kudos.
Tears, big fat crocodile tears. I am now a believer, Eliza can act. Her breakdown with Priya was, well, heartbreaking. I didn't cry when Paul died, I liked him ok but he wasn't my favorite. I cried because of the impact it would/did have on Echo. I actually said out loud, "Oh my god Joss I love you (two seconds later) I hate you Joss."
Color me shocked, Joss actually allowed a couple to be happy. Priya and Tony reconciled and were happy! I'm impressed Mr. Whedon. Pleased and impressed.
I wanted more Topher and Adele. Lots more Topher and Adele. They are by far my favorite characters and really wish we could have seen how their relationship progressed. But, alas, wonderful closure for both characters. I liked the picture of Adele standing amid all the fallen actives. Always the den mother.
Overall, great finale. I am still in the "Not Fade Away" club but this runs a close second.
Thank you Joss and company!!!
Very, very easily Joss's second best finale.

1. Angel. Best episode of television I've seen. Best death scene. Best closing line (works for the corporate feel of the season AND the "never stop fighting" theme of the series). Just a whole bunch of bests squeezed into forty minutes. Perfect.

2. Dollhouse. Oddly, also perfect. Or close to it. The one thing I wasn't with 100% was their fight to get to the Dollhouse after the come out of the techie-mobile. I don't think the score fit there, and freezing on some of the gunshots was a strange editing choice. But the rest of it. AHHHH! The Alpha stuff was incredible. Everything about this episode was incredible. The end. Topher's end. Everyone's arcs tied up so nicely without having that "wrapped with a bow on it" feeling. Utterly incredible.

3. Buffy. Great, great, great. Some of the most iconic stuff in the series.

and 4. Firefly. Not only because we got Serenity, but because it wasn't intended to be an end and had to be. Good end, yes. But not THE DEFINITIVE END the way that Angel and Dollhouse SO are and Buffy pretty much is.
My favorite thing about the finale: I can now lurk in the spoiler threads without fear. In fact, it gives me a slight tingling feeling.
I'm not gonna read anyone's posts tonight to avoid getting pissed like I just did with 2 tweets, so I'm just gonna write what I thought:

I loved it. LOVED IT.
I laughed, I cried, I got excited with every single scene.

I think they closed the show beautifully. And I couldn't have asked for more.

Mini Caroline was great. She played it really well. I especially liked her when she's in the cell and says "it'll be ok" and then:

Zone: Do you have a plan?
*Big Caroline kicks ass*
Mini Caroline: I guess I do. (her facial expression here was great!)

Oh, also, when she says "Paul...".
Seriously, this kid is good.

(cont... / gonna put it in 4 comment because it's too big...)
Prya and Tony:

SOOOO sweet. All cute and housewife-y. And cute kid too!!! Could have acted a bit better, but hey... I wasn't really looking at the kid with Dichen in frame. I thought it was very fitting that she wanted to stay away from the tech, away from the DH... I think she played that perfectly. And I love Dichen.
Also, cute "we don't really eat people's tongues" line.
Liked the talk between them, but part of me just felt bad and weird for not seeing them together.
Prya's tear when she takes "T" to meet Tony was beautiful and made me feel a bit better, but I'd love a hug between them or something...

Tony was a little... weird. But I think it's only cause those clothes and that thing in his face looked weird. I don't mind what he was doing. He is the soldier.

Zone and Mag:

Zone was great. Made me laugh a few times, especially with the "She's a girl, Mag!".
I hate that the show is over and it won't see more of him. He's a character I know I'd love, with potential to become one of my favorites.

Mag was cool too. It's no secret that I <3 Felicia, so yeah... seeing her kicking ass was awesome! Her dialogues with Zone were great too. Cute last exchange between the two. And I got a good laugh at Mag/Kilo possibly hooking up, haha!
Oh... AND SHE GOT SHOT!!! Oh, come on!!!! Way to scare me! For a split of a second I went "Nooooo!! Don't kill Felicia!". But then she was alright... and then... BAM! Paul gets shot in the head!!! Whaaaaa???


Paul died.
I never really liked Paul, and to be honest, among all of them, if I had to chose someone to die, it'd be him... still, I went "Nooo!!!" and was sad that he died. Echo's breakdown during her talk to Prya made me cry and from there on my heart just decided it wouldn't stop racing.

Topher and Adele:

Beautiful. They were great, as always, and it just broke my heart to see Adele all housewife-y and then she got Topher back... and then BAM, they have to go back to the DH and BAM, he has to die.
When Topher said "I didn't wanna cause any more pain"... it just killed me. =/
His death was sad. And at the same time, that moment when he looks at the "To Remember" wall was funny. His "Huh..." was very Topher. One question though... I might have missed it... that pulse will hit the whole world??? O.o

Also, kind of weird comment: Little things like Adele putting her hands into the jacket's pocket when she followed Topher to the pods and then the way she stood (her body language, I guess) when she was standing and all the dolls lying on the floor... for some reason I loved that. For me, it showed a tired Adele... a "real" Adele, I think... not the "bitch in charge" Adele. The side of her that showed while she was taking care of Topher. I loved it.

Alpha, Kilo, Bennet:

Ha! Alpha was great!!
In a way I kinda loved that we don't get to see how he came to the "good guys" side. I think it's just funnier that way.
And I was very surprised he took the decision to go be wiped... I mean... wasn't the original Alpha a psycho??? Why would he want to be that again?

Always fun to watch Maurissa. But I feel like I don't like Kilo.... haha. I mean... I liked the wiped Kilo, but I don't like the smart Kilo. And somehow I feel like Mag totally should not date her, lol.

It was cool seeing Bennet. Just cause it's Summer, you know.

Also, Jed appearance!!! =)


Weird that I chose Echo to talk about last... usually I'd left Sierra/Victor for last, cause they were my favorites. But the show was Echo's journey, so I think it's right to talk about her last now...

I really like Echo. I don't like Caroline. And I like that Echo was the one in charge. Though it still brings up the moral question... is that right??? It is Caroline's body after all. But you know what... I don't care. Actually, while I write this, I thought of something... I think... I think Echo IS Caroline. I think Echo is a redeemed Caroline. To go back to the early promos of the show "Can you wipe a soul?", I guess that Echo is Caroline's soul........ or at least that's how I rationalize it so I don't feel bad that she's the one in charge.

Anyway, back to what I was going to write at first. I think Eliza was great in every scene. She made me cry when Echo was crying for Paul. I think Echo finally felt like she did all she could do. That her battle is over, and now others would pick it up from where she left. She can rest now.

I think that's it. Sorry if this was too long...

I loved this show since episode one. I don't care if there were episode that weren't THAT good. I don't care a bunch of stuff was rushed to wrap it up now. I loved it. It moved me. I will miss it.

Thank you Joss, writers, cast, and crew.
I have deep respect for you all.
VeryVeryCrowded, I agree with MikeTMC, though I admit I forgot that the wipe would have destroyed Ballard's mind after it had been remapped and imprinted since there was nothing left after Alpha took his mind. He would just be in a coma, which isn't a fitting end for the character (in my mind). Much preferred this.

Just have to say, amazing, AMAZING episode. Action was fantastic, great character stuff and we got to see almost everyone ('cept Whiskey and Dominic) back. Truly wow, and if the cast and crew get this far in the thread, I want to thank them for an amazing ride. Season two has been some of the strongest work of Joss' and though I'm incredibly sad it's over, this was b*lls-out fantastic. Kudos, guys.
Something nice I caught that I don't think has been mentioned (forgive me if it has). Tony and Priya were reading a book with Tony, Jr., in the exact same chair where Sierra and Victor read a child's book together back when they were both dolls. Beautiful touch.

I still think there were way too many contrivances and loose ends to call this a perfect finale, but it was about as good as we were going to get considering all that had to be packed in.

I also loved the last song, "Everywhere I Go," by Lissie. The music selection has been fantastic in Dollhouse. Beck's "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime," Bat For Lashes' "Traveling Woman," and Anna Ternehim's "No I Don't Remember," were all wonderful choices, used brilliantly.
Let me state up front that I loved the episode. So what's following isn't a complaint, more of an observation on my reactions. Also why I think things had to happen the way they did.

Well it was hard to cry when Paul died because like Wash in Serenity it was abrupt, pointless, and not enough time time is given to reflect at the moment. And I hate to say this, but Whedon's shows do this so often that I'm desensitized. It's like I'm in a never-ending dramatic war and it's getting harder to feel every time I see it. At the moment, I was neither surprised nor effected.

BUT, Eliza nailed the breakdown scene. That redeemed it for me. In that moment, the attachment was vocally expressed. Part of the problem with that relationship has been it has relied on unspoken feelings which are no less real, but unless you love studying the human condition, doesn't work very well dramatically. For proof, I think there's about 6 episode forums worth of evidence.

But the truth is, whether or not you bought the "love story", I don't think there was ever a question that Paul always tried to be her friend. And in that case, it's still sweet even if you didn't like the "love" angle. It's like getting to keep your best friend with you. Of course, I'm not sure how anyone's really said how unstable that will be if she ever becomes attracted to someone else. ;)

As someone pointed out, the idea that the tech was going to reverse everyone to a state before their imprinting meant that Paul was on a suicide mission anyway. He was always going to die, the only question was what were they going to get out of it. I think they did about as well as you could ask on that front.
This whole series was as much Topher's story as it was Echo's story.
Eliza was fine in the breakdown scene but the writing killed it. It's such a massive cliche to have the stoic character breakdown while supposedly talking about someone else... only we know who she's REALLY talking about. Sigh.

It didn't help that Ballard/Echo has been creepy from the beginning, and I never bought that she would give a crap about him (then again, I found Fred and Wesley equally creepy together).
I wonder... Do we call them "The Family" as we call them the Scoobies, Angel Investigations or The Serenity Crew? I am all for that.
When Mags legs got shot up, I cringed, then when Paul got shot in the head, I was indifferent not much of a reaction at all, just kind of an "eh". I'm not sure if it's because I didn't care about the character or what, I had quite a reaction when Bennett was abruptly blown away, and Glau was only on the show a few episodes. Perhaps it's because they pulled the "abrupt character death" card out of their sleeve 3 episodes in a row and by the 3rd the time it had lost much of its impact.
Cliche maybe, but logical. A stoic character doesn't break down. That's why they're stoic. So either they break down because of a major trauma or they break down for no reason or they never break down at all. The second doesn't make any sense and the third one is boring which is probably why we never see them, resulting in the cliche.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-01-30 07:15 ]
Right, but Joss is usually better at either subverting cliche or doing the cliche so well that it becomes fresh again. For an example, see Zoe in Serenity -- same situation, almost exactly, much better handled, IMO.

But again, I also cared about Zoe and Wash, and didn't about Echo and Ballard.
i loved this episode. Rewatched the last few minutes 10 times at least. Cried for 20 minutes straight, and I'm not that emotional of a guy. Joss, amazing writing. Eliza, amazing acting. The song was also amazing. Does anyone know what it was?
Personally I disagree. But then, I watched Serenity before Firefly. And because of it, I really did go "mmmkay" during that entire death sequence. And it was never really set up well enough within the movie to hold that weight or subvert anything. Actually, I can't consider it subversion since she later tries to kill everything in sight which... has also been done to death.

But I think we have the same reaction for the same reason. I just don't think we agree on the execution point.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-01-30 07:23 ]

[ edited by azzers on 2010-01-30 07:25 ]
I think there's a lot of issues here that would have had a lot of good slow cookin' if this had gone 5 years: Echo keeping someone with her who she had lost? The idea of integrating one's own personality with the people one loves? How does one deal with being alone?

Also, Ballard falling for Echo, even though he had been "programmed" not to? How would THAT have been developed and explored?

Anthony being conflict over whether to stay who he was or to "upgrade" as he did in the "Hollow Men"? Priya choosing her own opposite path?

But given how little time we had to explore with these characters, it's good that the creators had enough warning to wrap it up so we can ruminate over all the yumminess we see before us.

Kudos to cast and crew! Wishing you all the best, and hope to see you again soon!
I assumed a crash position fearing that Joss & the gang would do something very evil, but this was actually extremely good. They didn't even kill Felicia.

Thanks to all the people that put their hearts and their minds in this project. I hope we don't have to wait too long for the DVDs (hint for whoever makes them: lots of commentaries is a good thing).

Joss, for the next project please skip the middle man and ask for money directly to us.

And now I'll have to stop crying and go back to bed (it's 7:22 am in this corner of the planet).
I agree that without the Zoe/Wash backstory, the death holds little resonance. But with the backstory, Zoe's reaction has a lot more elegance than Echo's (I've seen all the Echo/Ballard backstory and it still left me cold). I guess we'll just agree to disagree on this. I still liked the ep overall, and loved the show.

Topher and Adelle are two of my favorite Joss characters ever, and Enver may be his greatest find.
azzers - the folks underground weren't going to be affected by the mass reset. that's why adelle took all of the dumb-shows outside, while all the people with imprints that wanted to keep them stayed inside, allowing priya to keep her memories of t, etc.

i was really sad about paul's death, and guardian owl, you're right that they played the abrupt death card too many times. i knew at least one person was going to die that way, i was just bummed it was paul. at the same time, maybe i'm just a sappy guy, but i really liked the resolution to the paul/echo storyline.

actually, the only thing that really bugged me about the ep was the fact that they called the kid "T." i mean, come on, raise your hand if you didn't know the moment that we found out priya was the mother that victor/tony was the father.

oh, and the commercial editing. the ep was the proper length, i checked that, but cutting off that, i dunno, 25 seconds that would've allowed the song to end properly and finish the shot just made me hate gordon ramsey that much more.
Wonderful ending to a great show. I am still a little bitter that we won't be getting more. Actually a little more than a little but whose counting?
I cried when Echo had her meltdown over Paul. My heart broke for Topher, who I used to HATE and who became one of my favorites....Victor/Tony, now that guy can act. Hope to see him again in another Whedon project. I can actually imagine him as a beloved scooby.
Adelle also broke my heart grieving for Topher. I'm a little too emotional right now to comment further but I loved it.

I missed the credits. Who wrote the finale?
Great ending. Loved it. Cried a little. Cast and crew, thank you guys so much for this show. It brought me so much joy over the past year. Can't wait to see what you all are going to do next!

And also, I wanna echo bonzob on the music selection for this show—mad props to Andrea van Foerster. There've been some really great songs used throughout this series to great effect.
I loved it. I gasped when Mag was shot and shrieked when Paul died. I had always loved his character and even though I know Joss and what he does I was still shocked and upset.

Echo's breakdown was where I started crying and I really didn't stop through the rest.

Topher was heartbreaking and beautiful.

Thanks to everyone who put this show together. You've given me another great finale to remember always.
The finale was really wonderful I thought. Eliza's portrayal breaking down over Paul made my cry. Amazing. Everyone was great and I will really miss the show.
Last to see it (in the U.S.), as always. Beautiful, heartbreaking and thought provoking enough that I'm guessing this thread will go on for at least a week. Everyone brought their A-game, the acting rocked from start to finish and fittingly, probably Eliza's best performance ever (and I think she's been excellent from the start).

Fran Kranz, there are no words for how much I love you. :) I'm in a minority because I loved Topher from the beginning - I could sense that there was going to be some major character development going on with this one - and in an even smaller minority because I've always loved Paul, as well.

The abrupt ending was like the final slap in the face from Fox - wouldn't have wanted The Chef From Hell (or whatever) to start three minutes late. Can't wait for the DVD.

To Joss and all the ME team, every single one of the excellent actors, a million thanks for such a wild and awesome experience. *sniffle*

The sense of lost potential for what obviously would have been, if Dollhouse had been given either a couple more more short seasons, or one more full length season, is really painful.
TV with no Joss again - *sigh*.

They destroyed the DH because the "tech" was bad, but used it to put Paul into Echo anyway ..... Adelle as savior? How did she earn that?

It's called ambiguity, you get it a lot from really great story tellers.
wonderful lovely intense ending to this too soon gone show. Thank you to all involved. I am hoping when the ep goes up on HULU that I will be able to see the ending actually END. Just wow. Eliza has redeemed herself mightily as an actress in my eyes. And yeah, Topher's journey was perhaps the best of all of them.
I cried manly tears for the last 10 minutes, I wasn't ready to say goodbye.
I was going to watch Caprica, but instead watched the last twenty minutes of Epitaph Two twice in a row.

Now I'll get to Caprica... maybe...
It's far too early for me to make any bold claims about this episode as a series finale. That being said, it was a lovely send off, and I am glad Tony and Priya had that conflict to add another element to their relationship. I also loved Topher's ending. I will sorely miss Olivia Williams on my television screen. And all of that beautiful, beautiful writing. God, I'll miss this show.
A good ending which did try to tie up loose ends, and was a very fitting finale. I watched with the BC Browncoats in Vancouver and it was an intense experience, and everyone was sad that it was the end. (People were glad to get a "Hi" from Felicia via twitter :))

It's sad things didn't work out for Joss and the team with Fox, but I'm already looking forward to the next thing (fingers crossed they create a web production company!).

[ edited by worldofhiglet on 2010-01-30 08:27 ]
Am I the only one that thought that Paul's death was a callback to Serenity? Paul dies suddenly as they're retreating into the tunnel... and then, once they're inside, there's Alan Tudyk... alive! I wouldn't be surprised if Joss wrote it that way specifically for Alan.

Really great episode, satisfying to the last drop. It had a lot to get done yet didn't feel rushed. I'm going to watch it again soon.
A fitting end to a woefully underappreciated series. No compromises. I mean, I had to laugh when they showed scenes from "Epitaph One" in the "previously on Dollhouse" intro slot. Guess they figured if you're actually still watching, you've seen this already. Somehow.

For me, this was not only a deeply satisfying ending, but a giant flipped bird to the Eliza haters. She fucking ROCKED this ep. And in case we forget, none of this would have happened without her. For the past year and a half, we'd still be dissecting "Dr. Horrible" outtakes here. Or something far less... current.

So I propose a toast: Eliza. Thanks. Many thanks.
Shey, I join you in the Fran-loving minority - I've been on-board with him from the word "bison". Similarly, I was amazed be Enver from the first spoilery clips as Lubov in the bathroom, and Tahmoh left me cold throughout.

I think the only actor/actress of whose abilities my impression has really changed is Eliza's. In the early episodes, I thought she did a solid but unremarkable job in her roles; in Epitaph 2, when I was watching with my family, I was so affected by her breakdown that I watched, unseeing, through an entire Olive Garden commercial before my brother's yelling to mute it finally penetrated. I feel she's come a very long way since those first few eps, to the point that I may well follow her to her next project on her own merits.

As to the episode/season/series itself, I'm amazed at how much story the writers managed to reveal to us in how criminally little time they had. I'm even more at peace, now, with the fact that the last few episodes left me in tiny neutron-star knots of pure stress; with the advantage of the closure that Epitaph 2 gives, and the ability to rewatch and analyze the whole series, I'm certain I'll absorb enough to reconcile with the massive amounts of information in those episodes.

In conclusion, I'd like to thank Joss and co., as well as my fellow whedonesquers and even FOX, for accompanying me through this, my first time being a fan of an on-air show. I felt like the people waking up in the circle around Adelle and Zone were an apt metaphor for what was just about to happen to us, the fans. What a ride!
The episode is now up at the Fox site and iTunes.
There was so much to do in so little time! Great job everyone. It was lovely to see Jed and Maurissa on screen. From that and the photos posted earlier I get a great feeling of family. I like that we got to see everyone off, even if it was in little nugget size pieces. Bye Bennet! Bye Alpha! Bye Topher! Like little Dollhouse vol-au-vents. *sigh*

You know what would have been perfect? If Topher had turned round to see the memory wall and gone "...heh... Battlestar GalBOOM". I would have chuckled at that. Slightly less emotional impact though, I guess.
I for one am a little tired of the gorgeous lesbians in Whedon content. Maybe NPH could talk them into being a bit more equal-opportunity with throwing some content to the LGBTIQIQA community. ^_^

That said, it was nice to see they made some effort to wrap up the stories of the three future leads. (And I do sort of love it when someone gets to have a one-on-one with themselves like big Caroline and little Caroline.) It totally came out of nowhere though since we have no idea what Kilo's preferences happen to be and whether or not Mag really has a shot. Then incidentally re: the tech actives, had they known, it would have been cool to seed these other dolls a bit earlier in the series.

And for that matter, while we're throwing out Whiskey and Dominic as loose ends, I wonder what became of their other other Asian, Ivy. As much as I grew to like Bennett (how awesome is it that she went from generic electrocuting crazy girl into the heroic inspiration only shown in old video footage?) it seemed like Ivy could have been a relevant figure in Topher's life for him to consider living/sacrificing for. Alternatively, she could have contributed to saving the world herself in terms of intellect.
I'm going to miss these characters. A lot. The actors all better have great careers so we see lots of them after this, or I'll *really* cry.
What Shapenew said.

To me, Whedon characters always just feel like they have a little something extra, something that makes them seem less like characters on a tv show and more like people I've come to know. Which makes it harder to deal with the ending of a show. Especially one with such a unique story and such intriguing concepts.

Though it took some time to find its footing, by the end there was no doubt that this was a Whedon show. I have no idea how I would even begin to judge which of Joss's works I would call my favorite, but Dollhouse is definitely up there, in the running, with the best of them.

Thanks again to everyone involved in making this show happen, and to all you other posters who have dissected every aspect of each episode and given me plenty of reading after each aired.
Needed a 3rd season SO badly.

Also, everything waxlion said.

edit: I just figured out what was bothering me about the ending; even if Paul is now an integral part of Echo, is it REALLY Paul? It's not like it's his actual conscience--it's just his memories. It's really poignant that she "let him in" in the end, but I feel like it's kind of pointless. She's as "with him" as much as she's with the psychopath in Belle Chose, which isn't satisfying at all to say the least. I guess what I'm saying is Paul's soul and essence kind of died with his body which makes the ending a little bit unfullfilling for me.

[ edited by iwearthecheese on 2010-01-30 11:30 ]
I don't think it's specifically lesbians that are good-looking in Dollhouse/TV, though; unless there's some reason to believe that homosexuals are unattractive, I don't know why you'd single out Mag and Kilo in a cast of gorgeous people. Admittedly, that may itself be an issue with television in general, but I think that generality detracts from an argument that one sub-group is receiving unusual treatment.
Loved it. I can't believe Dollhouse is now well and truly over :( They could've done so much more.

It was great seeing Mag, Kilo, Mini-Caroline, Bennett and Zone all again. And the ending was so sweet.
Would've been nice to have a better wrap-up of Saunders story though. That'd be my only complaint.
Mercenary, I think that wasn't his... or her point. The thing is, Joss has been pretty gung ho with pretty lesbians on Buffy (Willow/Tara, Willow/*shudder*Kennedy and Buffy/Satsu) while there haven't been any gay men in any of his series--unless you count when Victor, imprinted with Terry-Kerrins wandered into a club and ended up swapping imprints with Echo who was imprinted with Kiki and ended up trying to seduce a male club patron. Also, as it turns out Andrew is straight... supposedly.

[ edited by iwearthecheese on 2010-01-30 14:09 ]
Thought it was a beautiful ending (although Echo's ending is strange, gotta admit, maybe it makes sense for her. Potentially creepy for us, from the most common perspective, but...hey, our dead relatives, spouses, and friends only live on in our memories in real life anyway, so this is sort of like that too, only a lot more heightened/special/deeper/unknowable, right?). Perfectly paced until the last five or ten minutes, but otherwise I have no complaints (and it's no one's fault anyway, about the rushed ending, just a victim of the cancelation. Joss, maybe an extended version of this episode on the DVDs ? You restored "Objects in Space" for the Firefly set, so why not ?).

Wasn't really thinking about all the loose ends (forgot about Dominic this week), though I did hope we'd see Whiskey when they went back to the LA dollhouse. But sorry, I'm with the guy upthread who figured it was pretty clear that Whiskey died in the gas solution of "Epitaph 1". Alpha didn't mention her (though you'd think he would've), but I guess he just cleaned all the bodies out when he arrived. I was really hoping that the gas Whiskey used was merely to knock all the Butchers out and then she Doll'd them, and that was the answer when Caroline's team entered the dollhouse and saw all those dolls walking around, but I guess those were just people (maybe some Butchers, too) that Alpha gathered over time.

Maybe the answer to Whiskey is a deleted scene we'll get on the DVDs. If not an actual appearance by Reed Diamond or Amy Acker, I feel strongly that we'll get a line of dialogue or two to explain the fates of at least one of them in the cut footage on the Season 2 DVDs.

Very surprised that we didn't have someone sitting in a chair and giving us flashbacks again, in between the 2019/2020 scenes, as with "Epitaph 1". That's what I was expecting the format of this ep to be. Or at least for it to feature the characters flashing back in a more common fashion, without the aid of tech. But I'm happier with what we got, because the future storyline was allowed to breath and be its own thing, without interruption.

Man, how pathetic was Rossum in 2020. They needed to be ended. I did enjoy the beefcake as Harding chose a new body for himself though. One of those dudes was huge and perfectly square-jawed cut-from-stone hot ! Given how short they were on fresh bodies, according to Ambrose (Eliza's brother), I bet they were culling from their soldiers/mercenaries at that point.

Speaking of Harding, I wonder if his original old man/Keith Carradine body survived into 2020 somewhere. Happy Caroline offed one of the versions of him (well, then again, if she'd spared him, that dude would've been restored in not too long--and probably would've been shocked to find how big he had gotten--but I guess Caroline's team didn't have a remote-wipe device on them and so they couldn't risk Harding coming after them later. Also, they seemed to have been pretty shoot-first/ask-questions-later, even knowing that they were attempting to restore everyone, Butchers and Dumbshows alike.

BTW, how much would it have sucked to have been restored and find yourself eating one of your fellow Butchers (not that you'd know anything about your life as one, once restored). Ewww. Still, better alive and grossed out/traumatized than prematurely dead like so many others in the Dollverse.

There're gonna be a lot of horrors to deal with and, in some cases, clean up. Better than humanity ending though.

I wonder how the Butchers came to be. Was it a war tactic when the dollhouses in different countries decided to try to off their competition in other countries (the old, "We've gotta get them before they get us!" mindset, like Boyd's motivation) ? So they blanket-imprinted entire populations to become violent, rage-induced (but still gun-and-other-assorted-weapons-skilled) maniacs ? But they still have the urge to eat, or maybe they programmed them with the will to survive no matter what ? If the latter, then at least they would clean themselvs a little to stave off infections and whatnot.

I can't help thinking of all the implications of a zombie apocalypse, especially when they're taking a non-decomposing, "realistic" view of how it would happen like in Dollhouse and 28 Days Later. Like how they would all soil themselves...nasty. Sorry for grossing you guys out more, after already wondering about the cannibalism.

As with the Reavers, I'm still left with the question, how do they know well enough to not attack their own ? (although at least with the Butchers, we see that they do when they get hungry enough) Is there some kind of Butcher code word or special style of grunt ? Do they have a particular scent marker that the brain starts causing the body to emit once they've been imprinted as Butchers ?

What year did the big wipe/imprinting happen ? (what Topher referred to in "Epitaph 1" when he said there were now two kinds of people in the world, "Those who answered the phone when it rang, and those who didn't"...or didn't have phones, I suppose, since I imagine certain tech-free South American and African tribes would've been the most-protected from all this insanity. That's one thing that I was trying to remember (if it was even revealed in "Epitaph 1"), is what year this all happened.

Was worried Adelle Tishler, being a kid, would age too quickly for the role in between the shooting of the two Epitaph eps, but nope, it still worked (and they didn't tell us how long she had been on the road with Zone and Mag, I don't think, but it did change from 2019 to 2020 in between the two eps, so possibly a year or a year and a half or something like that, but then again they didn't have too far to travel, from LA to, I think, Nevada was it ? Where Adelle and Priya's home was?).

Everyone else has already mentioned the great acting/emotional moments.

Oh, one other person mentioned this, but I couldn't help feeling a bit pissed and sorry for any viewers who haven't seen "Epitaph 1" or don't know it exists--all those "Previously On" scenes at the beginning were just another kick in the face. I mean, I guess they helped non-Epitaph viewers maybe absorb a little of what happened in that previous ep, but they might've confused more than helped. Also, if they had just aired "Epitaph 1", we maybe could've filled that minute of previouslies (or however long it was) with new "Epitaph 2" footage. D'oh ! Ah well, this show will get to be itself finally when it's all fully out on DVD (okay, even then not really, due to condensed-Season-2, but it's as good as we're ever gonna get).

[ edited by Kris on 2010-01-30 12:05 ]
Thanks to Joss and Eliza - and especially Jed and Mo for this one. It ended up being a very satisfying conclusion to a-not-always-satisfying journey.
Agree with many of the comments above. However, not sure why Paul's journey would have ended with him comatose (rather than dead) since, as pointed out above, he only had to stay down below to avoid the mass wipe.
Nonetheless, the absolute best arc of the series - and best ending - belongs to Topher in my opinion. Loved his story and loved Franz' delivery (and I too hated him early on!)
No offense to Joss and Tim, but Jed, Maurissa, and Andrew just seemed scarily dialed in to what the show needed to be doing. Giving them the ending just seems right.

Quoted for truth, b!X.
I dunno if this should be posted or put under "What The Papers Say..." but the Watch With Kristen team did a "Dollhouse Redux"
I liked the fact that Felicia and Alan's characters didn't die in this show, as opposed to other Whedon ventures. Of course it would have been a bit silly to kill them off again. They almost had to live this time.

Seeing Alpha as a good guy who cared about Echo enough to leave her Ballard's imprint was also really great.
Haven't been able to read any of this so far, but I wanted to post a quick bit of trivia:

The spot where Paul is shot is mere feet from Where Jayne picked up the uniforms in "Ariel" It is more easily recognized in the shot of the dolls waking up at Adelle's feet. When that shot starts, up on Adelle, look back to the left at the railing and the wall, should look familiar. That spot is behind the Dollhouse stages, probably no more than 100' from the imprint chair (formerly :-( )
Awesome episode... It had everything you could ask of them really. I mean, wrapping up an series with an episode that's set around the premise that we've time jumped 10 years into the future, that's not easy. You have to layer it with all this implied backstory that we have to feel without knowing it. There were a few scenes that weren't perfect maybe, but others more than weighed up for them... For example, everyone that has been bitching about Eliza's acting, especially early on... Well, she certainly showed them. Echo's breakdown, that was just... Eliza hit that out of the park, and two third's through the city aswell... That was amazing... Give her the right scene and that girl can really shine...

[ edited by Djungelurban on 2010-01-30 14:26 ]
I say give her any scene and the girl can shine. I never understood the criticism Eliza came under I thought she repeatedly brought her A game throughout the series with Echos breakdown being the high point!
Wow, that was awesome (too awesome for me to post about last night).
I'm VERY grateful to Joss for the happy (kinda happy) ending, and I felt that every single one of the performances were brilliant. Eliza made me cry a lot, and Maurissa made me laugh a lot, and Topher/Fran blew my mind (I love that his final thought was about seeing that memory wall...). Everyone was amazing, and I want my Season 2 DVD set NOW!!

Oh and how great was it to see a mentally healthy Alpha? I love Alan!

[ edited by embers on 2010-01-30 14:56 ]
That was a great ending, but I'm so sad it's over :(
I have a question re: Paul's being absorbed into Caroline/Echo's composite so they can live happily ever after, virtually, that is. Wasn't the imprinted Paul a Paul from ten years earlier? That is, how would he (in Caroline/Echo's composite) have known what they had just shared earlier in the episode? Or, for that matter, whatever they had shared while on the run? Or am I just over-thinking this little moment?
A brilliant finale. Disturbing, powerful and unexpected. Beautifully written and structured. I can't quite believe how much I initially hated Topher, and then how his character blossomed into- what I thought- was the best part of the show. I can't think of another character who so amazingly portrays such disturbing ideas of responsibility, consequences and destiny- common themes in Joss's work, but I think most powerfully shown through Topher.
It totally came out of nowhere though since we have no idea what Kilo's preferences happen to be and whether or not Mag really has a shot.

After being disarmed by Echo (with a little help from everyone's favourite lapsed psychopath ;) Kilo says (of Echo) something like "She's so cool" and there seems to be more to it than simple hero worship. Not definitive but enough wiggle room for Mag to hope i'd say.

Just an amazing end to the future thread, so, so glad the show got such a great send-off and a big THANK-YOU to everyone involved for bringing this dark, substantial, at times crazy brave TV show to our screens.

Some specifics:

- Paul's abrupt death worked fine for the story. He was a soldier and soldiers die (usually without tearful farewells or famous last words). And his "resurrection" was lovely.

- liked the post-apocalypse shout-outs (e.g. the armoured lorry which is surely a deliberate nod to 'Mad Max 2') and if they were maybe slightly self-consciously "cyberpunky" I still enjoyed the tech-heads, especially the little touch of them carrying the USB keys (i.e. their "identities") around their necks like dogtags.

- Topher. Ah Topher. You started off a complete dick who spouted funny lines and ended up a complete man who spoke wisdom and held onto enough of himself through the storm to choose to die. And every nuanced step of the way you were played to perfection by Mr Fran Kranz esq. Bravo sir. Not quite a Wesley/Spike arc but right up there.

- Alpha. 'Nuff said ;).

- also liked the name 'T'. It didn't seem like a misdirect to me (we all surely guessed/assumed Anthony was his father) it seemed more like a little joke - 'T' comes after 'S'[ierra] after all ;).

Sure there were loose ends but for me the difference between this and 'The Hollow Men' is, they didn't feel like loose ends, they felt like possibilities. Hard to see how they could've wrapped things up better in a single episode (FWIW BTW, 'Not Fade Away' > 'Chosen' > 'Epitaph Two' IMO but there's not a lot in it).
palehorse, it's kind of a wonky theory, but the Paul imprint would have been mashed in with all the other imprints, so he could probably access and integrate Echo's memory of that conversation with him into his "memory." The Paul imprint/memories no longer exist in isolation, after all.
And if he came out of Alpha he might have Alpha's memories too, it's not 100% clear how (or if) the imprints interact inside their heads (do they "run" all the time for instance, like background processes that can still access all the active's senses and other memories, or only when Echo consciously calls them up ?).
Also, as it turns out Andrew is straight... supposedly.

If you're thinking of 'The Girl in Question' there's a Joss post in the archive that talks about that.

And on the subject of Joss' many pretty lesbians: it's Hollywood so any central character is pretty much required to be pretty in most shows. So yeah, there's a lot of pretty lesbians, but there's also a lot of pretty Slayers, and pretty vampires, and pretty scoobies, and pretty W&H lawyers, and pretty Serenity crew members, and pretty Dolls. "That's kind of the idea." -Topher-

Just watched on hulu. Initial reaction: damn. I wanted more.

The 43 minutes went really fast...wish this could've been a two-parter. It wrapped things up in a satisfying way, for the most part--and considering length, it's kind of amazing how much they managed to fit in.

But I'm sad we didn't get to see Dominic again. His scene in E:1 was one of my favorites; he was beyond awesome in "The Attic"; and I would've loved to see him & Adele end up together. Or at least know he was still alive and fighting. I'm also sad that we didn't get more on Saunders/Whiskey before the show ended.

Also I found the resolution of the Paul/Echo storyline a bit facile and annoying. (Though I *love* that Priya and Tony got a happy ending. Yay Joss, way to confound expectations. :-) And I would've liked a little more explanation for Alpha's sudden sanity.

But other than that I loved it. The redemption of Topher & Adele, Mag and Zone, Echo's breakdown--so many amazing moments. And it was great having Alpha again, even without explanations. And *so* much good dialogue mixed in with all the epicness. I particularly loved the Safe Haven scene with everyone at the table. ("We don't really eat tongues." "Good to know.") So yeah, overall it was hell of a good ending to a brilliant half-season of TV. Glad I was along for the ride.
Someone upthread wondered if Mag had a chance with Kilo but Kilo does make some comment just before she is hauled away about how hot Mag is.
I figure that Dominic was in the attic and if that stopped being supported, as it likely was, everyone up there died.
I think that little girl Echo called herself Caroline to make it easier- she didn't have to explain to Mag et all how she was many people.
Topher's story was wonderful Greek Tragedy. The great man who is brought down by a tragic flaw. Well done it is cathartic, and I think this was very well done indeed.
I'll be a naysayer about Eliza. Her breakdown was great but not a hard scene to play as an actor, I think. All big emotions as it was. But the moment itself worked, so no complaints from me.
And it was wonderful to see a couple in love left intact. Thank you Joss for that nice surprise!
I notice elsewhere that there's a little bit of resentment that the episode was a sequel to Epitaph One (which some people never got a chance to see).
Yeah, I noticed on Twitter when it aired a percentage of the messages were from people who did not have a clue what was going on. Most of them asked about the 'previously on'.

Not the shows fault, btw. Ratings should be interesting, could well be a series low.
A happy family, a potential new couple and half a happy couple (I'm assuming Echo will be spending a lot of time in her bunk.) This is Joss, right? ;)

Two things that stand out - they took a character I couldn't stand (Topher) and made me care about and respect him. They did the same with Adele (though I always found her interesting.)

And for a moment there, Eliza was acting and I believed her. That I didn't expect.
gossi - especially with all the people who thought it was on at 9:00, not 8:00.
Yeah, I noticed on Twitter when it aired a percentage of the messages were from people who did not have a clue what was going on.

On the other hand, when was the last time a show came out with an episode purely designed for the hard core fans? Is this a record?
I feel for them but so long as people don't hold it against Joss or ME (it not being their fault in any way) I can't say I care too much, ratings are academic and the show's over. Though I suppose the extent of it would show how many people still watching weren't what you might call hardcore fans (who'd presumably either have the DVD or at least know there was an unaired episode).

Someone upthread wondered if Mag had a chance with Kilo but Kilo does make some comment just before she is hauled away about how hot Mag is.

Nope, as I say Lioness, unless there's another time she's saying it about Echo (and it's 'cool' not 'hot' - ain't memory a funny thing ;). But cause for Mag to hope nonetheless (there's a bit of adoration in Kilo's delivery).
I was so behind on Dollhouse. I watched six or seven episodes last night, then had a ten minute break before Epitaph 2 started.

Wow. Just wow.

Everyone has pretty much said what I was thinking but: does anyone else think Priya started Tony down the tech-head path when she let "Topher" give him ninja skills?

Also, I think the problem is not pretty lesbians, but the lack of pretty gay men.
Topher's final scene was a work of brilliance.

He's spent years watching people be killed in front of him, whilst trying to undo things. He makes the tech, he's stood in Adelle's office with it about to go off and kill him to save everybody else, he turns around and sees the photos of everybody he made forget, with a sign above saying "REMEMBER". He says 'huh'. The bomb goes off. Everybody remembers.
Am I the only one that thought that Paul's death was a callback to Serenity? Paul dies suddenly as they're retreating into the tunnel... and then, once they're inside, there's Alan Tudyk... alive! I wouldn't be surprised if Joss wrote it that way specifically for Alan.

@dispatch- I thought the same thing. And Zoe saying "He ain't coming" to Echo saying something very similar sealed it for me.
Gossi, when you said "He's spent years watching people be killed in front of him, whilst trying to undo things." I thought you meant Topher as we saw him for most of the series. He watched people die when they sat down in that chair, and came back as Dolls. Interesting flipside.
Zone should have been the gay character.
Adelle totally likes ladies. And Roger.

[ edited by gossi on 2010-01-30 16:56 ]
Saje, I must have remembered the subtext of what Kilo said. :-)
And like most people have said:
Wished we could have had some bit with Dominic and Whiskey. Bringing back Bennet and Alpha for more seconds, I thought for sure there could have been some way to tie up those loose ends.
Also wanted the little girl post-wipe-wake-up to say: "did I fall asleep?", even though "what happened" makes more sense. Zone's "everything's going to be alright" kind of echoed the handler/active exchanges we've seen before.
I just hope in our imaginary season threes that Echo (and Paul in there) make it to Neuropolis or wherever to destroy the "heads of the snake" 's wedges.
At the end of E1 and the beginning of this episode, it seemed hopeless in this future, but I was very glad that it was more-or-less positive after all the death and sadness. Every character had such monumental arcs for just 25 episodes of television.
And what's up re: lesbians and gays? I just watched the episode on iTunes, and didn't catch anyone's implied gayness. Just Kilo thinking Echo was cool. Is that it? Oh, and they're pretty because they're on TV. And supposed to be people coming out of a house of pretty people. This cast is on-purpose pretty!

[ edited by CaptainB on 2010-01-30 17:05 ]
Oh, the exchange between Zone and Mag about Kilo? Wow, I "read" that a whole different way. Girls thinking cute girls are cute doesn't equal gay. I just thought Maurissa T liked writing that line.
I know the show is done now, but there's one thing I still need from it: A score soundtrack. Anyone know how we can make that happen?
A business degree then gradually working your way up to become head of 20th Century Fox ?

Girls thinking cute girls are cute doesn't equal gay. I just thought Maurissa T liked writing that line.

How about girls then sitting in their wheelchair semi-pining after the cute girl they've said they think is cute ? Mag was fairly certainly either gay or bi. It's no biggie but it is what it is.

Saje, I must have remembered the subtext of what Kilo said. :-)

Heh, yep surprising how often 'cool' actually means 'hot' ;).
I've been a faithful viewer of Dollhouse. Encouraged everyone to watch, supporter of Whedonverse writer, actors, etc, but I have to say, I did not enjoy that finale. There were great moments, truly great, love Adelle becoming the shepherd, loved Topher's sacrifice (always loved Topher even in his "Dick" stage, best part of the show imo), even loved the aburpt death of Ballard. Things shouldn't be safe in that kind of enviroment. Also I'm happy Priya and Tony were on track to reconcile, that was a sweet moment, even with all the metal crap glued to his head. Speaking of metal crap, the appearance of "Road Warrior" Tony and his metal bus made me laugh out loud. And what was up with Alpha's unexplained conversion to good? I guess they did as best they could to wrap up the show, but there were just too many unexplained plot points for it to be a satisfactory conclusion. Oh and I'm a little wigged about Ballard being imprinted in Echo.

All that said, it was well acted and I can't say I've ever felt I wasted my time watching this show. I'll miss it.
Yeah, no doubt the ratings are gonna be a series low. But it really doesn't matter, does it? The end of the world happens not with a bang, but a whisper.

Or something like that.
Joss made me cry again!

Lots left unanswered but it was beautiful. I can't believe Joss gave Priya and Tony a happy ending, I didn't think he would. Thank you, Joss.

But we lost Topher! And Paul! And now I'm crying again!
I keep listening to "Everywhere I Go" and I have a strong feeling that this is going to be the next "Goodbye to You" sized hit in the Whedon fan community.
Wasn't my favorite to be honest, though there were definitely great moments. At least Joss kept up his tradition of killing my favorite characters. It's kind of something I expect at this point.

Was, naturally, unmoved by Paul's death - though Echo's breakdown was very moving. I think that is the only part I teared up in.

Can someone explain to me why Paul has a connection with Echo again? Because I thought that was taken away. Did they explain it somewhere along the way?

I watched the episode with a group of friends, so I feel like I may have missed out on some things.
I assumed the connection just reformed over the ten years of working and living together ? They took what he had rather than the potential to ever have it again (or that's what I assumed anyway).
I'd assume that when Echo was yelling at Priya about how they wiped away Victor and he still loved her, she was also talking about Paul.
actually, the only thing that really bugged me about the ep was the fact that they called the kid "T." i mean, come on, raise your hand if you didn't know the moment that we found out priya was the mother that victor/tony was the father.

Honestly, I thought they were calling him "Ti" until he met Tony and said his "that's my name too" line

my one disappointment was not seeing Tony and Priya go from Epitaph 1 "she wants him, he's standoffish" to Epitaph 2

[ edited by ardentdelerium on 2010-01-30 18:14 ]
Forget Joss and attractive lesbians. What's with Joss and attractive red-headed lesbians? If he's not careful, someone going to write a paper. ;)

Agreed Saje. And they also went to great lengths with Priya/Anthony to establish that you couldn't really wipe the natural attraction at least within the context of the show. So I actually liked it this way, even if he did die later because it kept the theme consistent which was something that was bugging me from when his feelings were wiped.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-01-30 18:18 ]
Yeah, she was definitely talking about Paul. Especially when she said his name. ;-) The subtext rapidly became text there.
Forget Joss and attractive lesbians. What's with Joss and attractive red-headed lesbians? If he's not careful, someone going to write a paper. ;)

My brain just started bombarding me with images of Willow/Vi.
i guess i just don't understand how anyone who watched last night hadn't seen Epitaph 1. did they just start watching this season? did they not at least rent the dvd? befuddeling.
i watched last night and my brain went to a happy place when i saw Mag and Zone and Little Caroline (who was also amazing in a season three episode of Veronica Mars) and then had a series of braingasms. i won't repeat what others have posted, with the exception that i, too, have never been involved in a fandom for a show that's currently airing and although i mostly lurk i'll miss the discussions. not quite as much as i'll miss the potential three years of Dollhouse leading up to last night, especially as Alan hinted they would have spent much more time in future world, but i think the writers did a great job of pulling things together and i personally thought it was emotionally sastifying in ways that have already been articulated.
oh - and i thought the Mag/Kilo storyline (and Kilo/Echo subtext) was more along the lines of attraction based on attraction and not so much gender, if that makes any sense.
Ok, so Dollhouse was a love story.
not quite as much as i'll miss the potential three years of Dollhouse leading up to last night, especially as Alan hinted they would have spent much more time in future world . . .

Yeah, I would have loved loved *loved* a whole season set in brain-apocalypse world (or a whole season with Lost-style "flash-forwards" to Mag et. al.). I agree about missing the discussions, too--it's been all kinds of fun.
My brain just started bombarding me with images of Willow/Vi.

How about Mag/Vi ? Yep, my brain is weirder than your brain.

Nice ending. I didn't cry, but I came close with Topher and Adelle's last scene: "Your job is way harder."

I get why Topher did what he did: he wanted to atone for what he'd done, but he also wanted to make sure no one could use him to make the tech work again.

And remember this: the version of Paul that was in Alpha was pulled from Paul before Paul's love for Echo got wiped. Interestingly it seems Paul got very attached to Echo again afterward... not surprising, considering they've been working together for years. So it was a different version of Paul (with, interestingly, some memories from Alpha), but still one that cared for her deeply.

Although if Alpha was worried who he'd be when he woke up, why didn't he just stay down with Echo and Priya and Tony? He could have been extremely useful later on. Best explanation is he wanted to clean out some of the uninvited guests...

Adelle as savior? How did she earn that? She's as responsible for horrible pain as anyone.

Kind of the point, no? She's redeeming herself by being the savior.
The thing is, some viewers won't even know what Epitaph One means. They're watchin' for the drama, and probably don't google it. A fan asked me the other day if Joss Whedon was one of the actors. (Which, by the way, I loved - not everybody who loves this show knows Willow's surname).
It was Ufgood, right?
How about Mag/Vi ?

I'll be in my bunk.
Vi question redacted due to Google research. I don't know why I don't Google before asking things. Very silly.

Oops, Saje responded so the question was officially, "whatever happened to Vi? She seemed to completely disappear?"

[ edited by azzers on 2010-01-30 18:51 ]
Personally I suspect she's acting as bodyguard to Larry as he travels the world fighting for disabled/gay rights. Because he didn't die *la la la fingers in ears la la la*.

ETA: Or, like I said all along, she's leading the New York Slayer squadron. Ahem.

[ edited by Saje on 2010-01-30 18:49 ]
HAH. I did the exact same thing when I read that.
Wasn't the imprinted Paul a Paul from ten years earlier?

This has probably been answered already, but I think Alpha downloaded his Paul imprint to leave for Echo (the favor). That Paul would have Alpha's memories up to date.

Although if Alpha was worried who he'd be when he woke up, why didn't he just stay down with Echo and Priya and Tony?

Another guess -- Paul's imprint was what had made and kept him sane for the past ten years. Once he downloaded it, he was afraid that influence wouldn't be there anymore and wanted to protect his friends. They were going to be stuck underground for a year or two, so it's not like they could kick him out if he went all serial killer again. Of course, that means the real criminal will be released back into the world, but perhaps that isn't a bad thing -- it's a new frontier, and new frontiers have been settled by convicts before.
I dunno, it's not an either/or thing is it ? I assumed they could upload copies of their imprints rather than just having to lose it completely. Can't think of a good reason why it wouldn't work that way.

That Paul would have Alpha's memories up to date.

Do we actually know that ? I.e. is it established that the imprints share memories with each other (rather than just with the "main" consciousness) ? Mentioned it above as a possibility but it'd close a potential hole if we actually knew it was true.

HAH. I did the exact same thing when I read that.

Pure laziness (on my part at least) with no excuse. I mean, in Firefox the frikkin' search box is right there ! Still, now we know.

[ edited by Saje on 2010-01-30 19:02 ]
Vi appeared in the "Time of Your Life" arc, although using her full name, Violet -- Joss said in an interview that "VI" is problematic in the all-caps environment of comics, because people would read it and say "six? who is six?"
I think Alpha gave Echo the imprint he took from Paul, so she only has Paul memories (not Alpha ones). I kind of took this to show that our loved ones are never really gone from us, we keep them alive in our memories of them. That just because Paul's body is dead doesn't mean his soul can't live on through others (not in the literal sense shown). I'm probably seeing this through recent events in my own life, but I found the Echo/Paul ending comforting.

I don't know that Alpha is entirely stable, so perhaps he felt it was safer for everyone if he wasn't locked underground with them for a year. Maybe he couldn't bear to be with Echo while she was grieving another man. He obviously has some of the natural immunity that Echo has to the imprinting process so who knows what happens to him. And although the gas probably did get Whiskey, I'm going to pretend that she was also out there somewhere and got put back to her original self when Topher's device went off. I don't think there was any way for Topher to have a happy ending - the only thing that would have gotten him past the horrors of seeing Bennett and all the others die would have been wiping him.

I just recently watched the entire Angel series, and I did prefer Not Fade Away to this, because understandably the past few episodes were just too rushed. I also wondered (like IMMORTAL above) if Dollhouse would have been one of the few stories made better by knowing the end at the beginning. It would have given focus and a sense of purpose and urgency to the present day stuff.
[Response to ActualSize]

Except that apparently Alpha is now evolved like Echo rather than just the result of a horrible composite event accident, so removing an imprint from his head wouldn't really remove it (assuming he even had to take it out as opposed to just copying it). Maybe it would weaken Ballard's influence in his mind for a bit, but he'd get it back. Going topside would weaken the rest of the minds in there too, and would also restore the one he destroyed when he smashed the wedge of his original self. And on that note, did he even know Karl William Kraft was a serial killer? Also, even if Ballard's mind helped Alpha become a good guy (which I'm sure it did), that was only the mental aspect. There must have been an accompanying change of heart--of *soul* to go with that, or the whole "you can't erase a soul" thing is kind of pointless. I think Alpha is truly reformed, and giving Ballard to Echo sealed the deal. I also think Echo should go find him after her year in the dollhouse bomb shelter and make sure he's still okay.

And I agree with DPatel about what the Ballard in Echo's head is like. But it's more than memories. It's his whole personality and capability for independent thought. But there's still no accompanying Ballard soul or body to go with that, so it's very incomplete.
Do we actually know that ? I.e. is it established that the imprints share memories with each other (rather than just with the "main" consciousness) ? Mentioned it above as a possibility but it'd close a potential hole if we actually knew it was true.

I don't guess we actually know that in terms of being told outright, but we do know that Alpha and Echo had the ability (that the others lacked) to integrate various imprints. So it makes sense to me at least that the Paul part of Alpha would retain the memories of the whole. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. :)
Taarako, I think Alpha is truly reformed too, but I think he feared he wasn't. That's what Adele told Echo, and it makes sense to me that a person who has struggled to become good and moral wouldn't want to endanger the people he loves. In my future world, he and Adele join up to start rebuilding a better civilization, with Zone and formerlittleCaroline along for the ride.
I'm right with you there. Alpha has lots of reasons to be afraid of himself.
maxsummers | January 30, 06:49 CET
'I might have missed it... that pulse will hit the whole world???"

Did you see the pulse go up the sides of the mountains? From there it was bounced up into the atmosphere and then around the world and I guess could be bouncing around for a whole year. That is why anyone who did not want all programming removed from their minds had to stay below. EMP! Reboot to original programming (memories before any Dollhouse Tech hit them)

Simon | January 30, 16:25 CET
"On the other hand, when was the last time a show came out with an episode purely designed for the hard core fans? Is this a record? "

It is also designed for Dollhouse: The Complete Series DVD. Like Firefly, people will watch the episodes in the order Joss made them to be shown.

IDoDoodle | January 30, 17:36 CET
"And what was up with Alpha's unexplained conversion to good?"

Alpha said something about it taking him years to get to this state of peace and then I think he beat up everyone.
Remember Alpha loaded Ballard into his head. Alpha loved Echo. Echo loved Ballard. If Ballard did not take charge in Alpha's head by his forceful personality, Alpha could have let him just on the chance that Echo would love him like she loved Ballard.
Alpha wanted to become a better man. Alpha had a selfish love for Echo before. Now Alpha has unselfish love for Echo.
Regarding Alpha, I think anyone who has been tortured by dark impulses (and Alpha is certainly a poster child for that) always fears the day they lose control or in his case loses control again. He knows what his id wants, and he doesn't trust it. I think that's one of the reasons he comes across very zen in this episode. The glance he cast back at Echo when he found out Ballard had died, didn't escape me either. He has not lost his impulses, he has learned to control them.

It may be true that he's too strong to revert back, but if he truly has moved past them then he has already acknowledged just how strong they are. Like an addict who knows they are one drink away, one would have to assume that he fears himself in a compromised state and does not want the others exposed to it. That is why he has reformed. Often it requires the knowledge and acknowledgment (because where else can understanding come from) of mental weakness that allows people to overcome it. If he had stayed, then he might have been saying he was "too strong" and those are the types of people who relapse.
Alpha wanted to become a better man. Alpha had a selfish love for Echo before. Now Alpha has unselfish love for Echo.

Also this. And what Azzers said.
Yay Topher. I'd hoped he was going to save the world.
Although I will add, boyfriend living on in your head with a bunch of other people was not how I'd pictured Caroline having a happy ending. That was really strange, especially with Anthony's arc going on at the same time.
Loved this episode. Maybe not quite as much as I loved Epitaph One, but that was much more of a game-changer. This was just fitting and right and all things good.

And since Topher was my favourite character from very near the beginning - with Adelle a close second - I found it rather perfect all round.

Not much else to say, really. I loved this show, and I loved its ideas. Going to miss it, but glad it exists and glad it all (ish) aired.
azzers, that's perfect. I agree completely. Alpha was demonstrating real strength by acknowledging his weakness. Might seem contradictory on the surface, but it's not at all. Thanks for putting it so well.
To all who made this: thank you for making this happen.
My favorite piece of writing in the episode was definitely Bennett's (paraphrasing here) "We are what we do. Our brains are best defined by what we are in the moment" thing. Works on multiple levels.
I had one prediction, at the last minute, for this episode, and it turned out to be wrong. But, oddly, they sort of addressed it nonetheless. I was sure that Topher would have to sacrifice himself, but that Adelle at the last moment would take his place. It didn't happen that way, and in fact Adelle offered to go with him, not take his place, but his comment in response addresses either possibility: that she was needed more than him in the world to come next.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2010-01-30 20:21 ]
As soon as I heard that it was canceled I knew they would kill Topher. He always kills the lovable characters. Who's more lovable than Topher, besides Millie, and maybe Tara, or Wes.....oh wait....yup all dead! Over all I liked it and was proud to see Eliza's acting was great but just for the one scene. Still not sure I believe she can act. I'm going to miss this show!
I wonder how the Butchers came to be.

Back in "Epitaph One", Topher is discussing the wiping robocalls that can create an army. "Millions programmed to kill anyone who's not programmed to kill anyone." Those, I've always presumed, are the Butchers.
Sunfire | January 30, 19:28 CET
"Although I will add, boyfriend living on in your head with a bunch of other people was not how I'd pictured Caroline having a happy ending. "

Well, happier than dead and I never told him I loved him. Also looked like there was no one else in the space but the two of them. Wonder if that is something Topher and Alpha programmed or the way Echo can neet anyone.

If it is a place Topher and Alpha programmed, then Echo has an actual place to go when she doesn't want to be alone and someone who loves her is there.
Thank you cast and crew for making Dollhouse, it was an hell of a ride which I enjoyed very much. It was fun while it lasted and the series finale was good. Made me cry a little.
I don't know if anyone mentioned this in the hundreds of posts already here, but the kid who played T really looked like he could be the son of Priya and Anthony. Whoever cast him did a good job!

I loved the finale for pretty much any reason already mentioned by others. I'm just sad there wasn't more time to play out the series to the end - and now we will have Whedonless TV again.
The One True b!X,

Do you think the Wielders(sp?) were Victor and friends. Or maybe the people in Neuropolis? I always thought the Wielders were people running around wielding the tech and blanking people out with the imprint guns. Which would mean Neuropolis on the hunt for fresh bodies.

Unless the word was Welders...
I was sure that Topher would have to sacrifice himself, but that Adelle at the last moment would take his place

I said that very thing to my spouse when Adele realized Topher intended to detonate the device. I'm glad they didn't go that route -- she is needed, Topher is no longer in pain, and he went out knowing he'd redeemed himself.
Such a beautiful, well written and wonderfully scored episode. The cast was fantastic, great twist with Mag and everything wrapped up so damn nicely. I'm going to miss this show, but at least it got an ending it deserved.

Huge thanks to everyone who made the show possible! The Cast was on fire for the most part, though I personally would have loved to see Enver play Topher one more time. Such a great finale. Joss knocked it out of the park one more time.

I can only look forward to the next bit of awesome he throws our way.
Also, BTW, Eliza made me give a shit about Ballard. Suck it, Eliza acting haters. ;)

That's not actually directed at anyone here, specifically. I've only speed-read this thread. Just a general parting shot.)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2010-01-30 20:52 ]
I love Whiskey/Saunders/Amy enough to believe that the only reason we did not see her among the other Dolls in Alpha's house was because Amy Acker couldn't appear in the episode. Mag and Kilo were sent to Medical to be treated for gunshot wounds, then when next we see them they are recovering.

Sure, anyone could've patched them up, but why not believe it was Saunders, restored by Alpha when he found her in the house upon his arrival? And then Adelle led her outside with all the other blank Dolls, and the pulse returned her to who she was. Or she's still in the house somewhere, and will continue to be Dr. Saunders in the lost Season 3. Yay!

Yes, Whiskey/Saunders/Amy was too busy patching up wounded to be on screen. Whiskey/Saunders/Amy gasses everybody and wiped them. Alpha comes to the Dollhouse and helps her become whole with her original memories and still keep the doctoring stuff. Then he did plastic surgery on her face and removed all her scars.

And Alpha freed everyone in the Attic and Dominic was assisting Whiskey/Saunders/Amy in dealing with the wounded.

Deleted scenes!!!

I feel much better now.
Hmmmm. Damn good episode. Up there with the end of Life On Mars (original version).
When you want to upload weapons expert skills, you have to make room for it first by deleting something. You could delete every TV commercial jingle that gets stuck in your mind and drives you crazy, or you could delete mercy.
Anonymous1 - Yes! I second that world. Also, in that world, Laurence Dominic was resurrected from the Attic at some point so he could be in the Epitaph One scene, then went off to fight in the apocalypse on his own, so is alive out there somewhere. Right?
@shnoods yeah turns out some things you can't wipe - like a soul - and annoying advertising jingles.
Just re-watched the episode, and the one line I totally missed last night was Alpha's, when he says to Tony "Why would someone do something so awful to your face?"--pointing to the tech bits around his ear--but also of course making reference to his own butchering of Victor's face. Wow, how did I miss that one?
What an adventure, and a classy denouement at the end of this story. 'Thanks' doesn't cut it for the feeling it makes :)
Add another one who thinks "Not Fade Away" is the best final,with "Epitaph Two second.

RIP Topher and Paul!
Palehorse, yeah that was my favorite line in the ep. Pretty funny when Tony responds with something like, "You psycho", too.
What? They saved the world? How depressing. I'm going to pretend Topher was nuts and they only cured the area around the building :)
I adored "Epitaph Two".

I thought it was epic, filmic, filled to the brim with good lines, and teary emotional scenes. Loved the "Star Wars" references near the beginning. Whoever thought of the Slave Boys - you have my eternal gratitude. Although Mo in leather was strikingly hot too.

And I loved the bonkers pace of the whole thing - it really did go out with a bang IMO.

I just want to take a moment and thank Eliza for asking Joss to lunch that day. And for being a real star.

To Fox, I would like to thank you for a second season, and for keeping the show aired even though it had worsening ratings.

And to Joss and everybody else, who made the show as BIG as it was despite the dwindling budget, literally bringing in family in order to cut costs, you have my absolute admiration. (Even if I did spend the last twenty minutes weeping like a baby.)

I don't know if anyone mentioned this in the hundreds of posts already here, but the kid who played T really looked like he could be the son of Priya and Anthony. Whoever cast him did a good job!

Yeah, although he seemed a bit too old for the timeline.

Where else but on a Joss show would post-post apocalypse=happy ending? Though I think the six of them will get pretty bored down there for a year.
Adelle, Little Tony, and Mag (if the dollhouse has street-access wheelchair ramps) could go aboveground and get whatever fun new technology is put out in 2020 that is likely to be all the rage. Sorry, I know what the show's metaphor is all about, and all, but I teach elementary school children and the only thing on their minds is getting home to play their Wiis, Nintendo DS, PLaystations, xBoxes, whathaveyous. So when I think of embracing technology not always being the best thing for us message, I think of that. Every day.

Also, yeah, the kid looked the part, but I wonder if he was supposed to be born between 2010 and the Priya/Tony scene from E1? Or after?
Also, if there's less than a year between when the Actuals left the 'house in E1 to E2, how on Earth did Alpha get it up and running again? It was so dilapidated when we saw it in E1. And full of bodies and bad gases. I know, I know, TV. I do like the speculation that Whiskey was still around and helping Alpha out, or responsible for the wipes and cleanup before he got there. Still odd for him to say "when I bought the place" to Adelle.
Yes! Great ep. Sad to see it go.

Song when the gang is getting out of the truck: "Peace" by Apocalyptica. I LOVED it but I wasn't sure it was Apocalyptica. Now I am so I thought I'd share with any curiousies out there.
I wondered if that was Apocalyptica; it sounded so much like their type of sound. Thanks, Jes.
I'm sure they'll find something to do... Like play shuffleboard.
I just know that Dominic is out leading another team of fighters (like Victor), maybe Whiskey is with him - she could be good in a fight. He survived the attic, so he could definitely survive the apocalypse.

I loved Alpha's little comments, it was good to see that even when he was behaving nicely, he didn't lose his wicked sense of humor.
No problemo Xan.

... I love when Ballard says the word "hilarious" it kinda sounds hilarious.

A part I thought was cool was an instant before Zone said "what was that" to the noise Topher looks to the side because he heard it too. Well I guess everyone heard it but Topher had a reaction (it was cute).

Super upset at how Ballard got dead. My reaction was very similar to Zone's "Oh, come on!" pitch and all.
Someone else may have said this upthread but I'd love to see Joss and company do Epitaph as a spin-off of Dollhouse (on cable please?)either including the ones underground or the ones who woke up to another brave new world, or both.
I know we got the happy ending but there is so much more story there to be told and...
Ok, I think maybe I'm entering the Denial phase. I'm one of the few who came to the Whedon party late and Dollhouse is the first Joss show I've watched from start to (sob) finish so religiously.

While I am grateful to LOGO for running Buffy, I can't imagine not seeing shiny new Joss-isodes on my television, even if it's a death-slot-scheduled,weeks-between-episodes, unadvertised-hour-early friday night... I want my Joss-TV!!!
Well, bloodyrockerswitch, when Buffy ended, we all had high hopes for: Faith, the series, or a Tales of the Slayers-type spinoff series. Then there was Ripper, then a Spike/Illyria TV-movie. Be glad you weren't around for that. I've just learned to not get over excited right away for the "what's next for this universe?" and instead wait out for something new and different. Agreed, that the story of this brave new world, as you put it, is a story that deserves to be told, but likely won't be.
And Jes, I agree that Tahmoh's delivery (throughout the series) sometimes made me laugh, not because it was a bad delivery, but it just sounds odd, in a cool and good way. Also want to add Adelle's "is in the dollhouse" and the subsequent look she gives for some reason struck me as understated brilliant acting (along with the part in the garden...okay, everything Olivia Williams has done in this show).

[ edited by CaptainB on 2010-01-31 00:11 ]
He's Canadian and as with Nathan, sometimes the words are given a unique spin by virtue of that.
My girlfriend, infrequent viewer of Dollhouse (and unfortunate viewer at that--only saw "Ghost", "Stage Freight", "Omega", and "Hollow Men") thought a few times "is that guy the captain from Firefly?" Referring to Ballard.
I'm glad it's over. Hopefully Joss can put this blemish behind him and deliver something great next time. Which I believe he will because he's awesome.
I don't want to let this thread end on that comment, seer - no offense.

I don't know what I can say that I haven't already said, but I'll add what I tweeted to @whedonesque and posted in my Hulu review: This episode did everything it needed to do, and everything that I needed it to do. It fulfilled a fantasy for this world that I hadn't even realized I had, and it did so in a way so uniquely its own that I never could have seen it coming.

Thanks, J-And-Mo.
Am I the only one who didn't like the Echo/Paul resolution? I found it kind of creepy. I don't know about anyone else but I wouldn't not want my lover's personality mushed up with my own. What if she wants to pursue someone else? Is his personality gonna stop her? I know, I know, she has tons of other personalities that she has been able to overcome/use, but she never loved any of them. Also, tease much? If I could get past the creep factor there's the fact that Echo still never really gets Paul. Just memories. She'll get to talk to him about how it could have been but it will never be. I loved Echo's breakdown and thought it was about damn time for her to show some emotion but I just can't see the Echo/Paul composite as a good resolution. I would have rather her found a journal of his or perhaps Alpha could have given her a few memories of Paul saying he knew she loved him.
*shuts mouth and waits for onslaught of counterarguments" (assuming anyone else finds this interesting)
I love love love the fact that this finale was made for the hardcore fan. The fan that went out of their way to see E1 with no apologies to those who didn't. This makes me irrationally happy.

Not sure that I would agree with Simon that there were people who didn't get a "chance to see" E1. It was readily available in multiple channels. It just took the least bit of effort to see it.
Ok, went back upthread and realized other people have commented on the Echo/Ballard composite. So, I'm not an original thinker, but it doesn't mean I don't like to think! =)
Cheese and Pancake were on the nose, I was complaining not of pretty people on my TV/hulu-in-this-instance, but the fact they're all womenfolk either making out or suggestively making comments to each other--Which I don't have a problem with either and actually wish they'd had the chance to flesh it out.

I actually did notice that little "she's so cool!" Kilo let out regarding Echo but otherwise the only big Kilo scene I remember was her sexily/dangerously expositioning at Zone. I saw online that some people mistook that "cute little Asian" thing as being in reference to Priya or even a friendly/optimistic acknowledgment that T somehow was borne post-apocalypse. The bedside vigil was sweet, but I imagine at some point edited-for-time they must have had Kilo and Mag actually talk/be introduced to each other/on screen at the same time before then.

Then also, would it have been to much to have hoped one of the male actives got imprinted with Bennett and have her and Topher run off into the the sunset? ^_^ (Note: again with the tongue in cheek. But Topher did say as much that he had a crush on Bennett before he realized what she looked like or that she was even a girl....) That Joss comment about Andrew accidentally being de-gayed with I'm actually okay with, I must have missed that first go around so it's a little less troubling. Though I do still wonder what happened to his hobbit hair in between his appearances in Angel and in the comics since it'd make him more recognizable beyond being "the only non-Xander or Giles" guy, especially with that surprise Oz appearance.

And speaking of poor segues, every time Alan Tudyk makes an appearance on Dollhouse I love his character so much more. While most of the other actors got the benefit of playing totally different characters every time, he was more or less the same person every appearance (apart from as the architect) yet it came off so differently everytime as the character changed. I just sort of wished we got more time as he developed into this last version. (Plus I imagine maybe they had to write him out since he had limited availability but I do sort of wonder what sort of person he'd revert to by letting him go out into the world without Ballard as a guide.)

And more on Ballard-- he always sort of struck me as a lummox but I thought it was interesting how relatively sweet it was for such a bleak ending. I mean aside from the fact he died in the end, he helped reform a psycho, somehow overcame that brain death/active architecture, and Echo finally did let him in, in a non-sexual sense which he apparently was after the whole time.

I'm still a little bummed out though that they made so many of the other characters a smidgen more intriguing but couldn't wrap up their stories. (I do enjoy these alternate theories about what Saunders and Dominic were doing that kept them off-screen.)
luv4whedon, I sort of get a feeling about Echo (depressing, but it's kinda what I perceive) that her ending is sort of like Frodo's ending. When Frodo's about to depart from the Grey Havens, Samwise tells him, "But [...] I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and years, after all you have done." to which Frodo replies, "So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger; some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them."

Echo's maybe as happy as she could be, given what she's been through and who she has become. Though if Paul had lived, it certainly might have been different. Just my take... =\

Edit: I just noticed that hobbits were referenced 2 posts in a row, in no way related to each other either! hehe

[ edited by CellarDoor on 2010-01-31 01:43 ]
Y'know, I always thought Vi was a lesbian! ;) But what's wrong with giving us lesbians out there wonderful eye candy? There's so much gay and lesbian subtext throughout all of his shows (c'mon, Spike/Angel, Wesley/Gunn? Even if the average viewer never saw it, every Joss fan from the LGBT community that I know did see it), but it is sad that he hasn't had a gay relationship on a show yet... maybe next one? As for Kilo/Mag, I think Marissa just wanted to get Felicia to ogle her on screen!

I was one of those people who didn't realize that it had been moved up an hour ("special early time"! HA!), so I ended up staying up all night waiting for it to get on hulu. It was worth it though! I think I ended up crying from the Echo/Priya scene until the end of the show, and when I watched it again today with a friend, that scene made me cry again. Everyone was on fire. Paul's death even shocked me, even though I could never stand the guy. That went something like: omg, either Tony or Priya is totally going to die in this scene! Damnit, Felicia's not gonna make it through another Joss show. OMG! Felicia! OMG!!! PAUL!

The things that really got me were all the moments between Topher and Adelle (I've loved both of them from the beginning). Adelle looked so aged and worn in those moments, you could tell that she was totally devastated at the prospect of having to loose Topher all over again, and it was heart wrenching. And then, when Topher was in Adelle's office, setting up the stuff, he looked like a little kid playing with LEGO. So much crying happened while watching this!

Does anyone know who did the music from when they got back into LA? The cello rocked my world!
A great ending to a great show. Still a lot of loose ends that I would have like to seen resolved during the series, but given the time, unavoidable.

Interesting comment upthread suggesting that Echo having Paul's memories is more parallel to the memories you have of a person after that person dies, rather than a true merging/connection of souls, as it were. Yet the conversation Echo has with Paul in her mind seems to suggest she is connected with his current self/essence/soul rather than merely an upload of his memories/personality - because she is having a conversation with him, not just accessing his memories or personality. Is the implication that Echo has gone past the ability to integrate various memories/personalities, to an ability to connect with the essence/souls of others? Perhaps reading too much into it. I will have to rewatch.

(And: to take it a step further, let's hypothesize that God is the collective essence of every living thing. If Echo could conceivably have the memories of every living thing uploaded, she has vast knowledge, but that's all she has. If she is able to connect directly with souls of other living things, perhaps that takes the Echo-as-messiah-saving-the-world parallel to another level.)

A huge thanks to Joss & Co., cast and crew, who made this show possible.
Does anyone know who did the music from when they got back into LA? The cello rocked my world!

"Peace" by Apocalyptica.

Per-episode lists of all music used in Dollhouse were given to Music from TV Shows by Andrea Von Foerster, the series' music supervisor.
I never understood fully this idea that Whiskey was unresolved (except fuller explanation of the character) In watching E1, it was always my understanding that she died when turning on the gas.
My questions between "Hollow Men" and "Epitaph One" that I was hoping would be answered in "Epitaph Two" -- how did Clyde get back to being Claire/Whiskey, because that pretty clearly wasn't Clyde in the 2019 Dollhouse? Why, given that they seemed solidly on the same side in "Hollow Men," was Echo so angry at Adelle and Topher in E1? And what happened between E1 and E2 to make her so not-angry now, given her previous ire? I'm sure there are not too difficult wanks for all of these, but given the emphasis these matters received on air, I was hoping we'd get some in-canon answers.
I kinda thought that a real physical relationship was more of a Caroline/Ballard thing...but the upload to be "let in" to Echo was more fitting for their particular dynamic...and I like Paul...and miss him and wish it had worked out right for them now...I HATED in a Boyd never got what they saw in him way...but damnit it all worked in the end!
Damn you Whedon's and significant others for creating something we wish hadnt ended so last thing...i preferred this to NFA and Chosen...cause Spike was not a favourite of mine and the B/S bit was not okay with me...but at least this had closure...unlike NFA...happy fulfilled mind bending closure!
Thanks, b!x, that was one of the few posts I skipped over near the end, and I read it right after I posted :) Apocalyptica had been the first thing I thought of, but I wasn't sure.
Well they knocked out Whiskey and at some point pulled her from the building, so I can get why she ended up being Saunders. However, I'm not sure why she was left behind to send people with Caroline or how they managed to afford fixing her face. (For that matter, it seemed like maybe she was meant to embody Caroline until it was revealed the little girl had someone else in her brain.)

As for that Adelle tiff, maybe it was the idea that at some point she ended up back in a dollhouse filled with former actives and she was only hiding underground and tending to them specifically rather than doing any more to mitigate her involvement out in the world. Actually I never got the impression Echo was particularly angry at Topher by that point since he was not a moral actor conscious of his own actions. (Plus in that intervening time when he was abducted he was subjected to further horrors.
Just finished watching the finale, and I've gotta say - Jed, Maurissa & Andrew nailed it! It wasn't perfect, given that it wasn't time for that story yet (I would've loved to see the whole 5 years worth), but it was beautiful. Gorgeously shot, beautifully acted, and wonderfully written. Though it's shorter that I'd like it to be, I love what we've been given.

Congratulations and well done to Joss, Maurissa, Jed, Eliza, Miracle, Tahmoh, Fran, Dichen, Enver, Amy, Harry, Summer, Felicia, Olivia, Alan, Shawna and all the cast and crew.

I'm probably in a minority, but I really enjoyed the complexity of the Echo/Paul relationship and am satisfied with how it resolved (though, it still would've been preferable if Paul LIVED, dammit). I LOVED Topher and am surprised that it took me so long to realise that Topher was short for Christopher (thanks, Fran!). Adele grew on me, and I was very surprised to find that I liked Dominic. Sierra/Priya & Victor/Tony were a wonderful surprise, and I'm very glad to know that they made it through to Epitaph 2 as a family.

Now... where are my Dollhouse Season 2 DVDs??

[ edited by JenskiJen on 2010-01-31 03:08 ]
Re: the EMP. The only way it could work was if the doll state was not a removal of the original personality/memories but a suppression of them. Remove the suppression with the EMP and the original personality/memories can re-emerge. Which means that Rossum's apparent original thinking along those lines (that the personality/memories can be extracted and new ones implanted in their place) was incorrect, which Topher eventually figured out.

One unresolved question is what percentage of the population is like Echo- and possibly Alpha- and will retain their memories of the imprinted state?
Bravo! Simply bravo, Joss. Thank you! Now looking forward to the next one.
FYI, my desire for Whiskey closure despite the ominous closing scene of Epitaph One definitely stemmed from denial. I didn't want her to be dead, so I just talked myself out of it. Given lack of Whiskey/Claire/Amy in the finale, the most logical answer is probably that Alpha cleared her dead body out with the butchers.
So when can we login to the Mag & Zone website to watch the new internet spin-off show?

[ edited by zaphod on 2010-01-31 04:00 ]
Re: the EMP. The only way it could work was if the doll state was not a removal of the original personality/memories but a suppression of them.

Or wipes/imprints of non-Actives are of a distinctly different sort, achieved in a manner different than those performed on Actives. Ultimately, though, the idea that all wipes/imprints involve suppression rather than removal is the only one that works overall, otherwise Topher would have known from the moment he invented the tech to wipe/imprint non-Actives that it could be "easily" reversed.

The only distinction, then, would be the presence of Active architecture in the brain, which I guess serves as a kind of hard-wired original personality suppressant and persona implant platform, creating a hardware-based baseline for the Active, which is why any Actives exposed to the EMP would be reverted to doll-state instead of their original personality. The EMP reverts people to their baseline -- which for Actives is their architecture, and for anyone else is their original personality.

It would seem odd that the evolution of the tech began with "wipes/imprints need hard-wired architecture in the brain" and progressed to "wipes/imprints can be done to anyone". But maybe they simply didn't understand enough in the early experiments to have success with architecture-free wipes/imprints, and only came to see the ways to do it that way after years of experience with the architecture-based version of the tech.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2010-01-31 04:11 ]
I think the dolls walking around the dollhouse when everyone returned were former butchers.
I assumed they were dolls that Alpha and others retrieved from the other houses.
If the finale had been a two-parter, walking into the Dollhouse to find it apparently in use would have been my pick for the episode break.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2010-01-31 05:39 ]
I like the idea that they were former butchers, and that Alpha was the one who set Whiskey up to be the reception committee for any newcomers in the dollhouse while he spent most of his time off looking for people to save. Or something. Also that Whiskey was one of the people Adelle led out into the city, and she only didn't get screentime because of Amy's lack of availability. *shrug* Oh, and I'm guessing that the "Epitaph One" flashback to the Tony/Priya angst took place very shortly after he decided to stay in the fight and keep using tech, which could have been mere weeks or months after the events of "The Hollow Men", and judging by how old little T looks, Priya could even have been a couple of months pregnant in that scene. (Yaaay, fanwanking. There should be a theme song and dance routine for it.)
(Yaaay, fanwanking. There should be a theme song and dance routine for it.)

We just use Numfar's "Dance of Shame."
And the people that remain after the Thoughtpocolypse ("I caused it, I get to name it") and the tech is abandoned decide that rebuilding on Earth is always going to be too painful, so disfigured is the world they awake to. So the peoples form an alliance, the remains of America and the remains of China at the forefront. They build a vast fleet of spacecraft and seek out a new solar system with new Earths, and hope that what had become of Earth That Was will never happen again.

But they never can stop tinkering with people, right River?
But they never can stop tinkering with people, right River?

"Sooner or later, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people better." -Mal-

Firefly to Dollhouse: You be sooner, I'll be later.
The Earth got used up!

I've been listening to the closing song all day. Everywhere I go:
Does this officially make Priya and Tony the first couple to ever survive a Joss show?
Just did my re-watch. I am in love with the fullness of how completely undisappointed I am with the finale.
No, but it makes them the first complete family unit to do so.
What other couple has survived in tact?
Simon and Kaylee?
Ahh of course how stupid of me to forget.
Well, technically they didn't survive the show intact as a couple, since they didn't hook up until Serenity. ;)
Late to the party, but count me with the people in tears from Echo's breakdown on. And with the people that said Topher's story was the greatest thing this show did.

I'm feeling, at the moment, that Topher is the most sad I've been for a Whedonverse character to die, right after Fred. I'm not saying it was the saddest scene, cause most of The Body takes that prize, but that was sad because we felt for Buffy, Dawn, and the gang. I'm saying, to me, I was more sad to lose Topher than any Whedon character other than Fred. Buffy's death in The Gift was heartbreaking, but I knew she'd be back. Wes is probably close, but we had six years to live with his character and wonderful arc. Topher only had two short seasons.

Anyone else? I know some people will say Tara, and while I loved her character, I was more sad for Willow than anything else. Wash is pretty high on the list as well.

Does this officially make Priya and Tony the first couple to ever survive a Joss show?

That sort of depends on your definitions. I mean, for example, Willow/Kennedy and Faith/Robin were still alive and together at the end of Chosen. And as someone else mentioned, Simon/Kaylee made it through Serenity intact.
perhaps it's the rum but . . . i can't get over this feeling that when Echo meets Paul as a download in the end it looks as if the setting echoes (yes, to pun) the basic construct of The Matrix. Joss makes it clear in the Paley reunion of Buffy Q&A that his favorite film is The Matrix, and the whole concept of the attic is very Matrixey so what if he took that one step further and had Echo become, in effect, the architecture of the Dollhouse itself? in that she could both call upon, and independently interact with, all the personalities she'd been imprinted with? but, of course, none of those imprints knew her as well as Paul, and if that imprint was removed from Alpha, who was with them until Reno, whenever that was, and knew he was physically dead, then my mind is boggled to a new level.
I don't think the Buffyverse ones count anymore, because the comic leaves that up in the air. But Serenity is part of Firefly's canonical universe, so Simon/Kaylee totally counts.
As I said, it depends on definitions. It basically all comes down to where you draw your lines in the sand.
I loved that the last thing Topher felt was joy at seeing his friends' pictures on the wall. Didn't much care for the scene inside Echo's head (have all her imprints been sitting around chatting this whole time?) but it's only 30 seconds and the finale still counts as a home run in my book. :)

Edited for typo

[ edited by cabri on 2010-01-31 07:06 ]
After a rewatch I have discovered that whenever Alan Tudyk is on screen I am unable to look at anyone else. He commands such attention.

When he's standing there next to Tony while Tony is talking, in the standoff scene, he clenched his jaw a little and it gave me the shivers.

Why is this man not on my television all the time??

Also, a rewatch was even better than the first time around. Wonderful, wonderful.

[Edited for clarity]

[ edited by Scaniano on 2010-01-31 07:17 ]
cabri, I don't think that the moments just after receiving an imprint are predictive of the later behavior. Each time we've seen someone imprinted, there's been a beat of disorientation before he/she starts acting again.

On top of that, Echo and Alpha receive imprints as intact personalities, layering atop whatever people they already contain, so the process would intuitively involve some kind of interaction between the old guard and the newcomer - if we read the Echo/Paul scene as an internal monologue, (well, dialogue,) you might find it less offensive.

Also, I don't think that Paul would stand in the way of Echo having an intimate relationship with someone else, because that wasn't what he was seeking from Echo - it was intimated that they'd already shared that. Echo, at least, was immensely experienced with "romance", but neither they nor Caroline had been much good at maintaining friendships, from what we saw; Paul was asking for what, from Echo, was a greater intimacy: to be let in.

Yes, I also think Paul would be happy for Echo and also wanting to do a background check on the person.
Totally on board with TamaraC on this. They could have diluted and dumbed down the storyline in the home stretch, hoping to accommodate the casual or new viewer. That's what the Conventional Wisdom dictates. That's what network Powers That Be usually insist upon (and so, many kudos to Fox for letting the gang finish the story their way).

Instead, we got a finish for the fans, the True Believers, the ones who'd been on board from the beginning. So much of the dialog's snap and sting would be lost to the Outsider (the whole Anthony/Alpha exchange about lapsed psychosis, for example). But it will stand up to repeated viewings in DVD, Blu-Ray, and Implant form for decades to come.

Damn. Gonna miss these post-Friday meetings. What a great run, folks. I can't wait to see what we seize upon next!

ETA: Yes, came back to this without refreshing the browser, so my comment refers to something far upthread.

[ edited by Tin Ear Tom on 2010-01-31 07:51 ]
There have been a few comments to the effect of "Topher was so damaged.... He was too far gone....At least there was some kind of release...etc." I find such comments problematic.

Significant trauma is enough to simulate psychosis but it is not psychosis. It is treatable, work through-able, hell - given time you can recover from it on your own through sheer human resilience. People who have trauma (or psychosis for that matter) are not "damaged" and "damage" is not a consoling factor in someone's death.

I don't think the writers portrayed it that way, but some of us seem to be reading it that way. So, yeah, problematic.
curlymynci, It was a story and it was poetic. Nobody thinks people damaged by traumas should die.
Seems Topher had a little time to stand around after he set the device and even got to turn around after he set the machine. Maybe he could have made it to the open window with the ladder and swung down to the floor below. Or made it to the elevator. Or out of the room. If he had wanted to...

How many floors blew up? And was it just Adelle's office or the whole floor?

No, no, I know. I wasn't trying to start a fight or get all arsey about it. Just every time I saw a comment like that it made me wince.
b!X said:
"Just did my re-watch. I am in love with the fullness of how completely undisappointed I am with the finale."

b!X, I feel exactly the same way. Was a little concerned that "Epitaph 2" might not hit the notes I needed it to hit, y'know ? It hit several I wasn't expecting.

Wasn't expecting to see Bennet again, so that was a nice extra. Still wish we'd gotten Keith-Carradine-played-Harding one more time, but I guess I'll have to settle for Adelle telling him there was no smoking in her office, in "Meet Jane Doe", as that version's comeuppance of sorts.

I was fine with the cancelation back in November, I'd gotten used to the idea that Season 2 might be it as soon as it started airing. When cancelation hit, was unsure how to take it, but soon reassured by Joss' "We're not saving anything for the ride back" (not sure how true that is though because, even though they wrapped up many arcs and the big picture, without having adequate time to explore it as fully as I would've loved to have seen, there's still plenty meat on the bones to make another stew out of, IMO). Now I realize I'd really like to see some of the blanks filled in, but I can settle for being told by the writers. And it'd certainly be okay and kinda cool for them to not explain everything to us. As others have pointed out, the possibilites could be looked at as gifts to the audience, ripe for discussion for those that want them.

Feel a little bad about suggesting in the "Hollow Men" thread that maybe folks should wait until after "Epitaph 2" had aired before bitching about no further exploration and/or explanation of Boyd, Dominic, and Whiskey/Saunders. Woops. I thought at least one of them would be touched on, but then I guess aside from flashback exploration of motivations and his rise to position, there really wasn't much to say about Boyd. Dominic was fun, but maybe not necessary to explore further (maybe a pre-Dollhouse NSA flashback ? Preparing for going that deep undercover ? I dunno, something to inform us of who he was pre-mission. But maybe he's just the dedicated soldier/spy and there's not much more to him). Whiskey is the largest remaining question mark of the series then.

Adelle kind of too. Topher got a more than adequate/brilliant arc. Adelle was a ridiculously well-constructed character, beautifully acted, and probably my favorite character in many eps, but I wish we'd found out more about who she was and how she came to be the manager of the LA Dollhouse. When did she decide that Rossum needed to be stopped anyway ? Only after she gave Topher's plans to Harding in "Meet Jane Doe", or was she worried about the future long before that and brainstorming ways to take them down ?

The big chunk of story missing is the stuff we only saw glimpses of in flashback ("Epitaph 1" flashback). After blowing up the Rossum head office in Tucson, we know only little bits, like Adelle taking care of restored-personality former-actives in the sealed-up LA Dollhouse and that she, Topher, Priya, Tony (and Saunders? I forget if we saw Saunders in any of the post-"Hollow Men" flashbacks of E1) remained there, while Paul and Echo went off to find a place for safe haven. That maybe would've constituted Seasons 3 and/or 4 ?

The way Season 2 went, it felt like Season 3 might've been maybe more about Rossum hitting back after getting wacked pretty hard in "The Hollow Men" and the LA Dollhouse defending itself. Then maybe the catastrophes start in the Season 3 finale and Season 4 sees the beginning stages of the apocalypse, maybe with smaller bouts of wiping/imprinting, tech wars, and whatnot. Season 5 would've brought the "Epitaph" scenes and past together (I realize this means the story would've required many more "3 months later" skips in time, probably sometimes years at a time, but I would've loved that).

Sooo many possibilties, and the 13-episode seasons were maybe a blessing for this series.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-01-31 08:14 ]
Given the way the special effects turned out I could still see people rationalizing Topher somehow surviving. If they couldn't accord to show any building damage in The Hollow Men the same more or less happened this go around too since it's not quite like those floors blew out or anything.

I do still kinda wonder what was the intention of having Topher notice something on the wall before probably dying though. While it was kind of a nice touch having someone on the verge of death realize something and it suggests they have some sort of being that exists beyond a character dying for plot/thematic reasons, I wonder if we were somehow supposed to piece together what exactly that meant, if this is supposed to be one of those TV answers that go unrevealed, or if there's going to be an interview that ever explains what the writers meant.
curly Re: suicide and psychosis, you're not the only one who caught it. I suppose after the consent issues during Belonging, I'll be honest when I say I just never brought up the issue of mental illness again because it went no where. And I don't think you're wrong, I do find it a bit "ick" that we're talking about how poetic a suicide is.

I think there is a natural disinclination in drama to work through major psychological ailments unless it is the focal point of the story. I'm mainly basing this on the fact that I've never seen it. Probably because it's hard to do it dramatically and its much easier for the audience to understand death and feel bad. Or conversely, have something really good happen to the afflicted and they're somehow magically cured. Or you get Monk where you have an extended state of the same thing.

That said, I was fine with Topher's end. It worked. But I do question why Adelle doesn't simply demand that the plan does not go forward until Topher can build a time delay. Since he activates the bomb by seemingly completing a circuit, I don't think that would have been a problem. I have no degrees in engineering and can build that one. And I'm certainly no Topher. But that's the curse of being a hobbyist. I'm probably not meant as an audience member to "see" that.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-01-31 08:21 ]
But part of the point was that Topher did not want to survive and risk causing pain again. That's evident from the fact that he didn't tell Adelle that he wasn't going to be coming back from detonating the device until she realized that was the case and said something. His response to her realization: "I didn't want to cause any more pain." (It might have been "don't", but I don't remember.] That's an explanation both for why he's going to die with the device, and for why he didn't tell Adelle that.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2010-01-31 08:27 ]
And I'm just saying, why some people will take issue with that is that the entire situation is "ick." You have an apparently mentally infirm person and rather than help him work through it, you're showing him the way to the elevator. Every person who kills themselves, generally has a reason. I'm not sure that's the point.

As I said, the end didn't bother me. But it was not without an element of "ick."
I guess I just don't, personally, see that telling this particular story of a character who was, after all, (in)directly responsible for the trashing of the entire human race -- a fairly indescribable and extreme trauma to inflict upon oneself -- somehow is making a commentary on mentally infirm people of the more pedestrian sort we have out here in the real world.

He said "Huh". Surprise. Like Mal opening the box with River in it. I think it meant how did I not notice that...wonder when somebody did that...

It is funny how you miss the little things when there is a devastated city outside the windows and stuff you have to do to save the world.

It would have just took him a few minutes to throw the pictures out the window if he had noticed them before he set the device...although maybe the butchers would have found his friends by then.
Kris, I'm not sure that the Brainpocalypse were necessarily part of Joss's original pitch to FOX, much less the more minor details you mention. While that is a seemingly intuitive result for the tech to lead to, we know of at least one major change to the show's mythology that was network-mandated: the evil Rossum corporation.

It could be that the tech would be wrested from their control, or absolute power might have eventually done its thing, but I'd be hesitant to guess that the original five-season pitch looked much like what we saw.
I should say, I don't think I'm throwing down the gauntlet here. Simply noting the fact that people the fact that he killed himself and was allowed to, is uncomfortable. Those are character actions. I don't think I'm making the case it's a commentary. Topher wasn't infirm long enough screen wise to qualify as an in-depth look at major illness.

But I will say, the fact that Topher finds primary fault in himself for the end of the world IS a flaw in logic and exactly the kind of thing you would find even in the many of even the most mundane cases of extreme loss. Parents who blame themselves for the actions of their children for example.

And remember, I like Dollhouse when it's uncomfortable and morally gray, so to criticize it now would seem a bit silly on my part.

I did personally add the bit about mentally infirm in relation to drama, only because it's a pattern I notice. I don't find Dollhouse unique in its approach of simply taking mental illness in the direction to get maximum dramatic impact in as short a period as possible. It's pretty normal.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-01-31 08:54 ]
"I didn't want to cause any more pain." And one of the ways Topher could cause pain again was to fall into the hands Neuropolis again. If Neuropolis was only populated by dumb shows and backups, Neuropolis is back to a normal city...maybe the only one in the world.

But if any of Rossum or anyone else who knew about the tech still had a original body alive, soon they would be looking for any of the Dollhouse scientists. Beckett is dead. Topher is dead. Oh, Oh, where is Topher's assistant?

They would be trying to figure out why the tech did not work anymore. And maybe figure out that it will only work underground.
That's a slightly different issue and an interesting point on its own. If we think about the end state, I think it isn't unreasonable that more than likely the original bodies of the Rossum brain trust are dead. But even if they're not, what is their continued base of power?

There is no food infrastructure. No transportation infrastructure. No finance. No government. Just people. Too many people probably. In short, the braintrust of Rossum, even if they survived should probably be cut off from real power. They'd also have their own problem as soon as people figured out what exactly happened. I can't imagine any surviving ex-employees who worked for Rossum but weren't on the ark taking the realization with a large amount of self control.

I think that is a reason Topher could have had. But again, I find it logically suspect. Especially since if I'm wrong, then they were going to need Topher again. Essentially to combat any surviving tech.
A comment someone made up-thread I think explains Topher's suicide, although since it's not directly addressed in the episode -- Topher himself is a weapon. He knows (and any survivors of Rossum know) that it is possible to coerce him into creating tech he doesn't want to make. Even madness and exhaustion haven't interfered with this. The only way Topher can be sure he is never again used as a weapon is to make himself entirely unavailable. It looks like Adelle wasn't able to save him from being kidnapped between E1 and E2. So this may explain why Adelle didn't press harder to have him handle the situation a different way.
Gossi gave a great summary of why the final Topher scene is perfect, including the "huh" at the photo wall:

He's spent years watching people be killed in front of him, whilst trying to undo things. He makes the tech, he's stood in Adelle's office with it about to go off and kill him to save everybody else, he turns around and sees the photos of everybody he made forget, with a sign above saying "REMEMBER". He says 'huh'. The bomb goes off. Everybody remembers.

I get the ethical "I don't want to cause more pain" reason, I get the beauty of the character arc. I was just expressing discomfort with those who were consoling themselves about his death using the "it never would have come out in the wash" approach to mental illness and personhood.

Also, I just had a whole teaching block on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder so am a bit tetchy on the subject.
Just saying, I agree with you. And PTSD seems extraordinarily apt for Topher although there may be a different disorder that fits him better. I just don't know what it would be.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-01-31 09:17 ]
And I really appreciate it. :)

I thought PTSD because he had had significant complex trauma (expected, repeated, prolonged) and his distress over this would be tied together with lots of appraisals about his own responsibility for the situation. Plus the flashback elements of PTSD can often appear as delusions and hallucinations (the defining symptoms of psychosis). Topher's "madness" was depicted as a psychotic state, with the deterioration in self care, cognitive disorganisation etc. although I suspect that's mainly because it is the classic tv form of "going crazy". I'm not sure what the alternatives would be. Adjustment disorder?

Although I don't want it to happen here, I suspect the more political TV commenters and bloggers are going to have a lot to say about this. Quite a lot has already been written about the depiction of mental illness in Whedon shows (the examples being Tara and River). Similar critiques would probably apply.
OMG! Thank you so much to the people that have pointed to Apocalyptica. I had no idea they existed. I just bought 3 of their albums on Amazon. They sound amazing!
My sister just sent this to me via text. "Roses are red, violets are blue, Dollhouse is dead and Topher is too." She's on my s**t list now!
Rayna, don't stay mad forever. Not over a TV Show!

...Forgive her after a few years. Two, three - fifteen at the most.
This was pretty damn good. Extra props to Eliza for the heartfelt delivery. I was choking up.
Topher committed suicide? I thought he sacrificed himself to save the world.

I suppose they could have programmed a doll to do it. But that would have been murder.

Someone had to die to set it off, and if it wasn't their choice it would have been murder, which leaves only a handful of people. Personally I think Adelle should have nutted up and done it. But it definitely had to be either her or Topher.
Someone from the show wrote to us to say:

The opening scenes with Zone, Mag, and little Caroline were originally shot as the opening scenes of Season 2 episode 1, (along with and an un-aired post apocalypse ending), but the studio and network didn't really get it so they asked for the scenes to be lifted.
The plan was to re-introduce the 2020 time frame in episode 7 but it never made it until the finale.

"Someone having to set it off" is a plot convenience - we see Topher do nothing (after the bomb's built) that couldn't be accomplished with 5 quid's worth of electronics and (for someone like Topher) about 20 minutes. It's truer to say he killed himself in the process of saving the world and only needed to die for the script itself.

Up there with the end of Life On Mars (original version).

Steady on old son ;).

I suppose after the consent issues during Belonging, I'll be honest when I say I just never brought up the issue of mental illness again because it went no where.

No offence azzers but if you're referring to the response in the thread itself then that's not representative of the true state of affairs. We too-ed and fro-ed ourselves over the point (as always, the thread's still there, folk can look themselves), to say it went nowhere as if everyone else saw it as a non-issue just isn't correct (though it's a view you initially expressed in the thread itself IIRC). If that's not what you meant then apologies but I must admit to being a bit annoyed (throughout the series) at the idea often expressed (or implied) in these threads that some people have their finger on the moral button and the rest of us are either immoral or just don't care.

As to Topher, it was poetic (and good TV) but more than that, it was what he wanted to do, that was the significance for me - he held onto enough of himself to make a choice. And choices are part of what the show's all about - making them then living with them (or choosing not to).
I thought Topher had survivor guilt and that's the reason he stayed behind to set off the macguffin.
I loved the love from Adele this episode towards Topher. It could have been taken as romantic, or parent like. I expected Paul to go. That said, with Paul in Alpha, didn't Alpha go so he could be restored? that was the impression I got, else he would have stayed in the dollhouse with Echo.
Well, this is it. A conclusion, and a good one, at least for me. I would have liked to see some of the gaps filled in, such as what happened with Whiskey before the Hollow Men, her and Dominic's stories leading up to the Epitaph One memories, how Adelle and the others left the Dollhouse and set up their new home, or what happened with Alpha and what he was doing back in LA- but I don't mind it. It was a satisfactory ending, and not knowing all that was left out doesn't detract from my enjoyment and sense of closure.

The one thing that bothered me was that the gunfight scene outside the Dollhouse seemed to drag on a bit too long, but perhaps that's why Mag and Paul being hit seemed so sudden. On the other hand, lots of great and very touching stuff: the food scene (particularly Adelle defending Topher in her, um, "mellow" way), Bennett's recording, Mag and Zone's farewell, the callback to "Ghost" with Alpha's envelope and even Echo and Paul's conclusion (even though I wasn't all that invested in that relationship). Echo's breakdown really made me feel for her in a way that I had perhaps never done before -"I'm always alone"- and, like many above, I think Eliza did great work with it.

All in all, I really enjoyed the series. It wasn't perfect, and it did have some serious problems at first, however I loved the first season starting with "Man on the Street". The second season was better in terms of pacing and storytelling (though rushed) but, with the exception of some Season 2 episodes, I think the first one delved deeper into the themes and implications of the show.
It's unfair to compare "Dollhouse" to "Buffy" or "Angel", shows that had time to grow (and grow on you). Still, I would say that, even if it hasn't reached the place in my heart that "Buffy" has, "Dollhouse" has been deeply moving, thought-provoking and has shown some very strong stuff, apart from being well-made. It's a very different show (both from Joss's previous ones and in general), and that's probably what made me love it.

[ edited by alqualond on 2010-01-31 11:30 ]
I thought Topher had survivor guilt and that's the reason he stayed behind to set off the macguffin.

Among other guilts. The point is (presumably) that he should've been stopped from doing it because he wasn't entirely compos mentis. It's interesting in itself because that goes to the very heart of the consent issue from day one i.e. what constitutes an informed, rational choice and when should you stop someone choosing to do something because you consider them incapable of making a choice ? When are a person's own wishes no longer important because they're not their "true" wishes ?

And cos it's come up a few times BTW, I quite liked the freeze frame on Echo firing her shottie outside the dollhouse, stylish.
Suicide will never be... acceptable.
It's still a choice though and one people should be allowed to make for themselves IMO. Who else's life is it ?
If the measure of an excellent finale is how much you think about it the next day, in the background while going about ordinary stuff, then this one rates very near the top of my list.

I don't think this was a happy ending, by any stretch of the imagination - nor should it have been. Sure, Tony and Priya and little T are together, but in what kind of world? As it was described in the i09 article, " ... most of the human race being erased by technology harnessed to ego and greed".

I see the way Echo ended up as extremely sad, as well as raising more questions than it answers. I'm thinking of something Adelle said about fantasies, and Echo saying "I don't have any fantasies", to which Adelle replied something to the effect of "that's really a shame". So what Echo gets with Paul is to an extent, only a fantasy.
Someone you love living in your mind, a part of you in a way that wasn't even possible before the creation of the tech that changed the world - part of you but never able to be with you as a separate "other" - a physical presence and partner in the real world - that strikes me as really tragic.
And the point it raises is, just how different will this brave new world actually be? The people who stayed underground, can't stay there forever. And how will they fit in with actuals, when they finally emerge. This is a post-apocalyptic world, any way you look at it - a society that isn't going to rebuild itself in one persons lifetime.
And I loved the bitter irony of Echo creating her own identity and personhood from the driving force of desire to bring down the Dollhouse and free all the actives, then ending up a prisoner there herself, for an undetermined amount of time.

I see Adelle's (chosen) fate as due penance for her crimes against humanity. And she will no doubt be haunted for the rest of her life by the things she did. She will live every day in the post-apocalyptic world she helped to create, making an effort to help others regain some vestige of a normal life. And she will no doubt be forever haunted by the memory of Topher and her role in his tragedy, as she'd come to care so deeply for him. Spending the rest of your life atoning and seeking redemption is a great (and ancient) epic story device - and one of Joss's favorite themes - but it isn't exactly the road to happiness.

I agree that what Topher did was a sacrifice, in the grand tradition of epic tragedy - not a simple suicide. And that in the context of this story, it was his right to make that choice.

Dollhouse was really a grand vision, easily Joss's most ambitious vision, IMO. I just wish we'd been able to watch it play out over several seasons. If that had happened, I think it would have proven to be his best work yet.
"We literally become what we do, not what we've done, or what we will do. We're best defined by our actions in the moment." That's the thing which swung it for Topher. Summer!
Re Topher's final choice I am also reminded of his words about Elinor Penn in the very first episode "She never made it." What she had suffered had destroyed her despite her acheivements.

Which in turn reminds me of William Styron author of "Darkness Visible" and "Sophie's Choice".
When I brought this up I wasn't questioning Topher's (or anybody else's) right to commit suicide. That is a very big and thorny issue. I didn't see it as suicide, the plot didn't write it as suicide. It was played as sacrifice.

I also think that when people vocalise things that involve morals or ethics, it can very easily be read as "You kill babies, I don't kill babies. You bastards." Not the case and not what I was aiming for.

I would like to somehow send out some love, rainbows and bunnies to you all now.
curlymynci, I don't think you did anything wrong. It's a valid issue.
curlymynci, I agree with gossi - I was just adding my interpretation on what may have lead Topher to that choice, sacrifice or suicide, is still a good debating point.

And for me that is where Dollhouse has excelled - in giving pause for thought and presenting moral quandries with no easy answers.

Thanks for the rainbow and bunnies though - they're so pretty.
Hurrah for civil debate and the sharing of bunnies! :)
Glad to see I'm not the only one who cried. What a way to go Paul (reminiscent of Anya) and Topher (Spike).

Was I right in seeing Harry Lennix credited but not appearing? Still found that plotline rushed and not credible.

We love you Joss. Thanks!
Did I fall asleep?

Seven hours away and this thread got wicked depressing.

"Making jokes about everything to hide the fact that you're a scared, insecure, little boy."

*looks up* Bad internal monologue. No dessert for you.
Discussions on here veer from whimsical to deadly serious (and often back again) in a blink, it's just how we roll Xantastic1316 ;).

I also think that when people vocalise things that involve morals or ethics, it can very easily be read as "You kill babies, I don't kill babies. You bastards." Not the case and not what I was aiming for.

Well, thanks for explicitly saying it curlymynci but yeah, as we've discussed before, it often feels exactly like that (right down to the accusation of baby killing. OK, not literally. As far as I remember ;). In this instance BTW, you didn't say anything that applies to me anyway so that wasn't directed at you specifically, just a general gripe. "Moral guardians" annoy me and always will (as do people that can't tell the difference between agreeing with the right to make a choice and agreeing with the choice itself).

And i'll take a bunny (i'm making a pie ;-).
Someone had to set off the explosion, and Topher, as creator, chose to. I think it's a death like Spike, Doyle, Buffy... whatever their reasons, they did something heroic to save other people.
I still couldn't make through half of the comments and I want to watch the episode again before talking about it but I want to say that this show was very important to me and season 2 was fantastic, right up there with my favorite Buffy moments. I hope Joss and Eliza team up again in the future because they are awesome together and I can't wait to see what Dichen and Enver do next (BTW, I think Joss has discovered a big movie star in Enver). Thank you all for great quality thought-provoking entertainment.
i'm making a pie

OK, maybe not babies, but you kill bunnies!

Finally saw the episode & read the bajillion comments. Loved it. And boy was that one incredibly short hour. Just goes to show that when the characters feel right, the plotholes don't seem nearly as glaring.

I think the lack of feel-goodiness means I won't be rewatching Dollhouse endlessly like I do the other Whedon shows, but it was quite a ride. Definitely can't wait to get the DVD and re-watch this season.
How did the little girl's brain contain all of Echo's various personalities (the was able to access doctors' and scientists' expertise)? I thought Caroline was unique in her brain chemistry/spinal fluid/midicholorians and was the only one who could do that.
I hope there's a complete series box set coming out soon, Fox Home Entertainment!
I thought Caroline was unique in her brain chemistry/spinal fluid/midicholorians and was the only one who could do that.

I dunno, Alpha seemed to do it too (to some extent). But yeah, you could legitimately see that as a hole I think Shiny_. Or we can fan-wank that it's allowing her identity to survive imprinting itself that makes Caroline's body special (rather than just having multiple imprints) - the little girl's never imprinted post-Caroline IIRC so doesn't contradict that interpretation. Or that Echo somehow "rationalises" all the imprints into one coherent personality which can then be copied (with access to all her existing imprints but no ability to add more).

OK, maybe not babies, but you kill bunnies!

Ah but is it me or is it the oven that kills bunnies ?

[ edited by Saje on 2010-01-31 17:23 ]
Topher's sacrifice (his state of mind is one of the most stomach-churning, tragic things I've ever seen and if anything, his death was a release)

That's what I had to say about Topher's death upthread and when I said "state of mind", I meant the totality of his traumatization, not that he was psychotic or mentally ill. I stand by calling his death a release. I certainly grew to love the guy despite his colossally misguided choices, his season one arrogance. I would not have wished for Topher having people shot in front of him (Bennett over and over and over and over again) until he did what the Neuropolis gestapo wanted. His choice and responsibility and also, freedom from his pain.

I quite liked the freeze frame on Echo firing her shottie outside the dollhouse, stylish.

You would, you Spartacus fan, you.
Anyone notice that Senator Perrin just tweeted "sad weekend"? Strange that they're continuing anything ARG. Or is it just one last tweet referring to the finale?
I for one am head over heels in love with the lack of resolution for the Whiskey/Saunders' arc. I think if the series had continued, she would have reemerged later and blown us all away. And not necessarily via the offscreen-medic thing. Something more mind-meltingly delicious.

I see Boyd's arc as a casualty of the cancellation. Necessary given the time constraints, but frustrating because we all know what awesomeness Harry Lennix would have brought given the chance. He did a helluva job last week with what he was given. And even with this "ending", Boyd could conceivably emerge later too. Lots of wiggle room.

All of these feel like intentional artistic choices leaving space for the maximum awesomeness that is the "finale." A bad hand played exceedingly well.

Of course, I am still in denial and hope that some cable network will come begging, hat in hand, for a spin-off :)

And, oh, the Spike/Topher thing!!! Miles and miles more to be said about that.

[ edited by ananda on 2010-01-31 18:07 ]

Bunnies! Lucky Anya is not around.

Here have an unconditional hug!
This was good. I agree, Not Fade Away was more epic, but Dollhouse was something worthwhile.

I never bought the Adelle/Topher pairing. I don't see Topher's ending as a big noble sacrifice, either. He's just stopping (NOT CORRECTING)the tsunami HE (Topher) started/supported. I'm sure there was another brain on the planet that could have done what he did, but Topher did it first.

And in his juvenile, self-centered way, he was proud of it until it reached the disaster level, which he could have foreseen if he wasn't so selfish and had bothered to stop congratulating himself for more than 2 minutes.

Now people are returned into their original minds in this demolished world. Thanks for nothing, Topher. Lucky you, you don't have to try to live there.

I always liked Paul, but his sudden yet inevitable death was, well, inevitable. Really liked the Priya/Anthony thing, altho I think naming juniors shows a lack of intelligence and imagination - make Anthony the middle name and give the kid a separate identity.

I like Zone a lot, maybe Joss will use him again. I understand and agree to a point that Joss should do movies, but I like having his work on TV every week. Serenity was amazing, but Firefly was longer, having more episodes and all. I thought I read Joss is talking to a cable network, maybe something fabulous will come from that. Or maybe that was Conan.

I'm definitely getting the second season DVD, or waiting until the inevitable full collection gets made.

Thanks Eliza, Joss, Mo, Jed and everyone!!!!!!

[ edited by falina on 2010-01-31 18:20 ]
You would, you Spartacus fan, you.

Dammit, where's the HTML for "a big sploosh of slightly fake looking blood covers the screen" when you need it ?

(not 100% sure I am yet BTW though I enjoyed the first two well enough)

ET close a tag

[ edited by Saje on 2010-01-31 18:19 ]
Was there a Dollhouse in Reno?

Cause they thought they lost Alpha in Reno.

If Reno was a Dollhouse, maybe the dolls were going around the world destroying tech chairs and tech sites.

Maybe Topher's chair is the only chair left. And also there is a vaccine. So maybe even after the year is up, Topher's sacrifice (thereby protecting the world from himself) to save the world will hold and the tech will not come back. Also hopefully, Topher left directions on how to build the brain EMP device, so it can be used again if necessary.

Tin foil wonder if that would work against a brain EMP device. All new tech heads will have to wear tin foil all the time.
Obviously foil hat man didn't want to forget that Rossum shipped his liver to Saturn when they inevitably tried to wipe it from his mind.
The point is (presumably) that he should've been stopped from doing it because he wasn't entirely compos mentis.

Contextually, however, probably the only person close enough to Topher to know if he was capable of knowingly making the choice was Adelle. And, as much as she hated it, she saw that in fact he absolutely knew perfectly well the choice he was making, and respected his right to make it.
Absolutely (the '(presumably)' was because that's not how I see it personally). As is consistent with her character, Adelle (usually) respects other people's choices. I don't think her "Topher Brink is a genius/keep a civil tongue" response was (entirely) knee jerk pride and defence of a friend, I think she really believed he was more or less still there.

(and since most of what he says actually makes sense from a certain perspective, I think we're meant to think so too)
Now that the finale has aired (and nothing further was revealed), I think we can safely say that Boyd's turn as evil conspirator was entirely brought about by news of the cancellation. If this show would have gone on for years, I'm fairly confident we would have seen a natural (and probably non-evil) progression for Boyd. At least, this is what Joss told me.

That said, they made it work. I'm glad we didn't get any more Boyd this week. Sad for no Whiskey. Impartial about Dominic. Everything else, though not always spectacular, was satisfying.

Adele and Topher join the ranks of best Whedon characters ever, in my book. This book also contains Wesley, Giles, Angel, Spike, Fred, Lorne, Mal, Wash, River, Dr. Horrible, and Kitty Pryde (though not technically his).
I think we can safely say that Boyd's turn as evil conspirator was entirely brought about by news of the cancellation.

Except that Tim Minear said: "It was decided upon early in the forming of the stories this season."

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2010-01-31 19:21 ]
Not a great ending but certainly not a bad one. However, whoever thought it was a good idea to use that really bad cheesy nu-metal rawk guitar abomination for the LA shootout bit really needs...erm...shooting! :D
Except that Tim Minear said: "It was decided upon early in the forming of the stories this season."

When I recently asked Joss he said it came about roughly six or seven episodes in, once they got a more realistic word that the show would not be coming back. I'm sure both Tim and Joss are probably speaking about the same thing here.
Well, that was definitely an amazing conclusion to the series. I can't help thinking how much I would have loved to have seen that play out over the course of a season, rather than in one episode.

A lot of the unanswered questions from The Hollow Man remained unanswered, and we never got a better answer than "Dominic" as the one sending Paul messages from within the Dollhouse (which, sorry, I don't buy). But we got a glimpse into an awesome post-apocalyptic world, where the tech revealed yet another use (the freakshows), we found out what happened between Priya and Tony (and saw them reconcile), Topher finished one of the best character arcs I've ever seen (especially over the course of only 26 episodes), and humanity is saved.

I'm still processing what I saw, and I'll need to rewatch it (multiple times :-) ), but I can say that Epitaph Two was one of the best episodes of television I've ever seen. If only The Hollow Men didn't drop the ball so badly, the Dollhouse finale would have been absolutely amazing.
Wasn't Alpha sending stuff to Ballard?
What did Adelle tell Ivy about Topher?
I don't think Topher was trying to commit suicide per se, nor was it presented that way, any more than Spike wearing the amulet was presented that way. From what we saw, a huge chunk of the building blew. Even if Topher had time to go down, say, three flights of stairs, he would have still been in the blast area -- it just might have taken longer for him to die. There wasn't anyone else who could fix the tech and there seemed to be a time concern element, that Butchers or Rossum folks might show up at any moment. He couldn't save himself without risking other people and, as he said, he felt he'd caused enough pain. There didn't seem to be a scenario of causing the explosion where *nobody* died, and for all the reasons discussed here and in the thread, Topher decided it should be him. All Adelle could do was offer to be with him, which Topher declined in a way that made survival seem altruistic on Adelle's part rather than, "Are you kidding? After all this, you want to stick me with *your* death, too?", which must have occurred to him. And Topher didn't invent the original tech. He refined it, but Boyd and Clyde were the original architects of the mess. There didn't seem to be any malice in Topher. He struck me as an extended version of Jonathan and Andrew thinking it was cool to play with magic and then realizing after the fact they'd tried to use it for date-rape that led to death.
So, er: I liked it. I didn't love it. But I might grow to.

I'd comment now, but I am still a little worn out from the discussion the past few weeks.
What did Adelle tell Ivy about Topher?

I'd presumed from context that Adelle told Ivy what Topher had done for Priya.
Rewatching parts of Epitaph 1, just because I can't stop thinking about all of this. Now it really looks like Whiskey did die at the end from the gas. Though I still want people to be able to believe she just passed out and Alpha helped revive her. And there is some hostility between Adelle and Echo, but not as much as I remembered. THough still on the same side in 2010, I'm sure Echo just got more pissed in Adelle's involvement of how everything played about by the time Echo and Paul came back in E1.

I would really like for someone to put together a plausible timeline of events, though, with some speculation thrown in to make things make sense.

After "Hollow Men", it appears the tech has gone out of control at some point. Adelle, Topher, Whiskey, Priya, and Anthony go underground (back into the 'house) with some other un-imprinted people. Whiskey's scars are fixed and she's back to the Saunders persona, and Topher has lost it. There, they shut down the attic, and free Dominic. Echo and Paul branch off, team up with a reformed Alpha, and take down other 'houses, all the while building safe haven with her vaccine. They all go to safe haven. Except now that a back up of Echo is at the dollhouse, Whiskey stays behind to make sure someone knows where to find safe haven. Priya and Anthony have a son (or maybe he was conceived even before or soon after going back to the dollhouse). Anthony leaves with some other former dolls to become a band of steampunk imprint junkies. Topher is hostage by Rossum. Zone, Mag, and the actuals wind up at the LA house in 2019, where "Iris" is imprinted as Echo, and are sent to safe haven. Whiskey and some Butchers are gassed. Alpha revives the LA dollhouse within months. Echo and Paul rescue Topher, and this is where E2 begins. Am I missing anything? Phew, that was long.

[ edited by CaptainB on 2010-01-31 22:45 ]
I've been straining my brain about the lobster scene. I've decided that in my fanon it takes place during those 3 months while Echo was away from the Dollhouse and that was the final catalyst leading to Harding's appointment. (The length of Adelle's hair will just have to be dismissed.)
The last ending was all right. It wasnt great and it wasn't bad, it just was. I'm a little confused as to why Echo didn't agree to the whole cure thing. If she had allowed them to harvest the cure then they could have avoided a large mess of problems. I mean still kill Clyde-doll and Boyd but with the serum slash cure they could have mass produced it and possibly done something like sneak it into flu shots so the general pop became immune. They are a medical giant. Or even if they couldnt get it mass produced in time they could be able to generate enough and give to the resistance. That's one prob I have. The bomb that kills Topher makes Echo’s cure pointless, where the cure could have been used to prevent Topher’s death.

The second being that I felt the tech head mutiny a bit contrived. The reason for them wanting to kill Topher is fairly lame. Granted they would have been wiped with the bomb, but if they stayed underground for a year, they could come back with enhancements and skills needed to help restart humanity. Butchers and dumbshows, even the dolls get a raw deal in the end. Everyone is reset, not knowing what just happened and the world is in chaos. Who's to stop them from creating gangs or cannibal hordes and becoming smarter slash better butchers? There is no government left and many people are frankly too dumb to live in the wild alone. Take a regular suburbanite and stick them in a post apoc world and they are equal to screwed. The tech heads could emerge from the House like a freshly minted char from Fallout 3 escaping the Vault and taking the high road to helping humanity. If anything, just destroy the remote wipe tech after you've uploaded certain skills destroy the rest. As far as making room, just remove things like mercy, fear, and your cruel middle school years.

Other things: I do love that Alpha is in remission because Ballard is in his head. That is beautiful. Could have had more scenes with him in it. Confused why no one really cared that there was a mini-Echo in their midst. Also, wtf is Whiskey?! Kind of saw the Ballard death; it was either him or Victor. Also, I think it might have been better that Echo went surface side for the reboot. Still have Ballard in her head but at least they would be able to go together and Caroline could get a fresh start on life too. I dunno, I guess I would have just done things differently. I expected more and only wound up wanting more.
The point about the vaccine, I thought, apparently was that it wasn't mass producable, but had to be made directly from Echo's spinal fluid, of which there is not a constantly flowing supply. They clearly were using the vaccine (and it was why Safe Haven was located near Neuropolis), but it wasn't a solution for the entire world. Only a solution for the people engaged in the fight.
like what CaptainB has written up.

Xantastic1316 Tim Minear said that the sceen happens during the break tween season 1 and 2. Adelle even makes a comment about it when they shoot Ambrose in her office.
Okay, I was just lost. Thanks b!x.
It was never expressly stated as such, I don't think. But at some point Boyd said they'd been unable to artificially replicate Echo's body chemistry. My take on that was that only her spinal fluid would work as a source, rather than that if they had her spinal fluid they could then mass produce it.

So, in "Epitaph One", when Echo mentions that the tech works and no one's been imprinted at Safe Haven, but the tech can't move and so people need to be taken there, she's talking about the fact that the vaccine tech is bound to Neuropolis.

Ultimately, the Safe Haven dinner table discussion centers around the notion that Topher's pulse idea is an answer to the entire problem, not just a solution for a select few like the vaccine. Zone starts yelling about how he thought they have a vaccine, and Echo says they do, but this is the chance to fix almost everything for almost everyone.
I love that we have whedonesque to sort out the things that don't make sense to us through discussion with other fans. It's what makes the show so damn discussable--that it can be with a lot of diverse and smart people who notice subtle things, and have alternate p.o.v.s on the same subjects. As a group, we can piece together something so complex, yet I'm sure there's some nuts yet to crack on the whole thing.
Eep. Seems I threw a grenade and then went to sleep and then went to work. Of course since that's literally what happened, sorry everybody.

Since I didn't really want to get into the full debate (which is why I referenced the Belonging conversation in the first place) I just said its a conversation that tends to go nowhere in the sense that people's minds probably don't change. I found it interesting when we discussed it the first time Saje, I just didn't want discuss consent in a mentally infirm context again in this thread. I used the phrase "ick" or uncomfortable multiple times to indicate it is a contentious issue, not a black and white/right or wrong issue.

And I'm sorry if it seems like I split people into camps. In general, I always use the phrase "some people" not to speak for everyone. Even if I said something as benign as "everyone thinks we breathe air," I'm probably wrong to say it. It's a contrivance of speech I use, rather than an attempt to segregate. It's my generic "I'm not going to speak for you because you may agree or not" phrase.

Where's the stew?

[ edited by azzers on 2010-01-31 23:34 ]
*grumbles* People need to stop giving interviews that contradict my fanon. Haven't they realized I'm the center of the universe? =P < / bighead >
I'm sure someone has Minear as a friend on Facebook. Maybe we can get him to retract the statement. < ThumbUp >< /ThumbUp >
Okay, thanks again b!X, helps to put what I think are glaring mistakes into perspective with cohesion. I need to rewatch those eps.

If there was any way for a spin off series to happen, I'd love to see a comic format of the Dominic and Clyde buddy cop adventures through the Attic's dreamspaces. written by Neil Gaiman of course. But that's a whole other nerdgasm.
Brief rewatch thoughts...

Anthony showing up straight out of the "Road Warrior" is indeed very cheesy, but I think Joss is constitutionally unable to make a post-apocalyptic scene without throwing in something like that. And it comes right after the lampshade hanging on cheesiness, so there you go.

When Echo talks about how the actives will get wiped, Caroline-in-Iris immediately looks straight at T. Speaking of which, that actress did a bang-up job, from first to last; she seemed to have a lot of Echo's expression in her face.

Topher had an odd mix of total trauma and determination in his face, a raw look, which worked beautifully.

I wondered why Adelle and Zone were taking the dumbshows up to the surface without any escorts, considering there would still be butchers around, but then I had a thought: Alpha could have driven them off (or led them off) as he left, as a final favor.

The last we see of Adelle, she's cupping "Iris's" face: it's her gesture of compassion.

Echo jumps down into her sleeping pod. (So does Topher, incidentally.) It's an interesting variation: sort of an acceptance of what's happened to her, a voluntary participation in this last act of taking in a new personality.
Never in a billion years (or at least since "Belle Chose" aired) would this fandom think one of the weakest parts of this show's finale would be whatever goes on with Victor. Just a thought to add to keep this thread from dying. It is the last time in a loooong time we'll be discussing a fresh episode, so I want it squeeze the last drop out of it.
Ehm in reference to the questions about Iris getting Echo's brain stuff...she always says this could just be that segment cause she knew as much as know with the whole being part of her thing and so they just isolated those memories and put them in a wedge for iris same as Alpha did with Paul...right?
BlueSkies: The only problem is she seemed to have medical training, nifty handcuff escape-age skills, and enough science to validate Topher's pulse plan, same as Echo.
I think "Iris" being called Caroline was for clarity. She was imprinted with a wedge of Echo, not Caroline. Though in E1, we weren't fully at the stage of Echo's full self-awareness in 2009 (meaning when E1 was written/seen) that came about around the three-month gap in "Meet Jane Doe." So the writers really avoided calling Echo "Echo" in that episode, and when they did reference Echo, they said "Caroline". Anthony says they have a backup wedge of Caroline, Whiskey and the Actuals refer to the imprint as Caroline, and Adelle and Dominic refer to her as Caroline in Epitaph One. But we also see in that episode that the imprint was taken from Echo (but at that point, we didn't know she was Echo, it was ambiguous). I just have my doubts that the Caroline part was isolated because Echo had become whole and complete, and would have had no reason or purpose for "just Caroline." Plus, went Echo/Caroline-in-Iris wakes up in E1, she recognizes Saunders and knows about safe haven and later, in E2, recognizes Paul. That's all very much Echo-like.

[ edited by CaptainB on 2010-02-01 01:45 ]
BlueSkies, I did wonder about that. Your explanation makes sense to me, anyway.

Also, I'm wondering about the music that got played over the "Previously On" segment. I've definitely heard it before but don't remember what it is.
Since Fox never bought Epitaph One, did they have to pay to put that recap in?
Or maybe gossi was right when he said they bought it...
the only reason i put forward that explanation was cause so many people were having trouble dealing with the idea of Iris being imprinted with a composite(that is a sentence i never thought I'd have to form!!) so it just made sense at the time(thanks ManEnoughToAdmitIt!!) But CaptainB your theory of her personalities becoming complete works too...i like it almost as much as mine(cuase it's not mine makes it less likable!!!)
Remember though, they never clarified what Echo/Caroline means. She simply merged personalities in Hollow Men and it was left up to the viewers interpretation as to what actually happened. At least, I don't remember any exposition asserting the dominance of one personality over another or that they were unique AFTER the merging. Echo always insisted that they were, but only for a period and not after the merge.

The great thing is, the writers left it vague.

And along with what you're saying, Iris imprint of Caroline might only have been of the memories of Echo/Caroline without the architecture that would have supported multiple imprints. So different, but the same.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-02-01 01:56 ]
Azzers...i think i just had a brainpocalypse with those thoughts...but thanks for clarifying!!
I finally walked to my local comic book shop today to pick up Buffy #31. Suddenly, I hear Zone yelling about being next to the Death Star. The woman behind the counter was watching "Epitaph Two".
Me: "Are you watching Dollhouse?"

Her: "Yes." (beat, seemingly suddenly afraid she's spoiling) "Have you seen the last one?"

Me: "Yes."

She goes back to watching.
What I have discovered going through this thread is that most of the people who loved Chosen like Epitaph 2, and the ones that love Not Fade Away dislike this ending. It's funny, E2 is a lot like Chosen in that it has abrupt deaths and ties up some strings, someone sacrifices themselves for everyone else and they presumably go forth to save slash change the world. E1 is more like Not Fade Away, in that they face insurmountable odds and do not go quietly into the night, they go down swinging. At least the Dolls do, not the Actuals. But overall, both have a hint of Firefly to them, more so E2. I'm a NFA fan, hey, NFA spells fan! Funny. I also liked Joss' end on his Astonishing X-Men run.

Also reading through the tread, I would have thought it better now that yeah, that mini-Caroline would have made it rather than Eliza. (I must say now that I am convinced that Eliza is a one note girl and that girl is Faith.) Convinced as well that when Echo got the Caroline imprint she was made "whole" so even though Iris has Echo/Caroline she has the completed version, not 40 personalities fighting it out because the persona of Echo was an amalgam of those personalities alreadies. We saw Echo/Caroline duke it out in a drug induced haze but they came to a middle. That was a rabbitting mouthful. N-E-Ways! Where was I? Yes!

I think the show would have been stronger and lasted longer if we had started the series off knowing Caroline, following her through her terroristic and yet morally gray acts of violence in the name of the little people to her getting caught by the Dollhouse and forcing her to be an active. I think it would have had a deeper character investment then they really could play the whole is Caroline the person, the soul, fighting back, resisting the wipes, or is this a new identity? Could really touch on issues of slave trade, sex crimes, existentialism (which we know Joss loves), human trafficking, what it means to be a person, are memories the soul, etc. etc . etc. Then take it to her and Paul against the Dollhouse, and finally over to Epitaph: The Series. Idk. I’d watch that show. Fanon is soo much funsies! But I guess that's a different forum.

Victor had seen all the Mad Max movies and everyone else had. So almost anyone that survives an apocalypse is gonna want to build one of those vehicles. Whether you got a bus or truck. No body is gonna wanna use a VW bug. Zombies could pick those things up and throw them.

On Caroline vs Echo imprint. It was an Echo imprint specificly made to be loaded into a dumbshows head. They called it Caroline because no other survivors were going to follow someone called Echo. Like What? You are going to put an echo in someones echo echo echoooo. I am so outta here.
I just finished the episode. i don't have any deep thoughts, though i loved it.
I will disagree with Mr. the Goose about Eliza, she is not a one note girl. She has at least two. Faith, and something warm and friendly.
Right, Anonymous1, that makes a lot of sense, too. I still believe it was part of the formation of Echo as a person that she could be an imprint. The dumbshow's brain need not have special architecture like Caroline's, since Echo became a person, not a composite of 40-plus people.
It just hit me that there isn't going to be another episode. That's a really crappy feeling.
This is one thing that sort of hit me I didn't quite notice before-- so Little Caroline gets wiped and reverts to who she was before the apocalypse, so does this mean she's somewhere between like 5-9 mentally when she's... whatever age she is now? 10-14? I miss if they ever said how long the world's been post apocalyptic. And granted, there's the possibility that she was a late wipe.

And I generally did like this ending just as I generally liked Not Fade Away and Chosen too. Oh, Serenity too while I'm at it. They all sort of have this massive scale in media-res game-changing event within the story it's just they all happen to end at different points, Angel particularly in the middle of it all.

Somewhat akin to NFA though, there is that sort of ambiguity that the characters sort of brought this upon themselves. Sure a lot of it could have been avoided if they really did just allow Rossum to come up with a vaccine but somehow distribute it on a larger scale, but in light of the fact they didn't quite know that at the time "they're best defined by their actions in the moment."
Interesting observation orangewaxlion. It is a similar situation to what happened in Angel. But I guess the disappointment for me is that in "The Hollow Men" and "Epitaph 2," I simply did not understand where the characters were coming from with their choices. Everyone on Angel plus the audience knew the deal there, I think, but on Dollhouse we only got 2 episodes after the Boyd betrayal, and I just don't get too much of anything from that point on. Back to back Topher/Boyd unnecessary suicide bombings really murked the waters for me. I would expect Man on the Street-like, Adele-crafted solutions to these problems, or at least good explanations as to why, from a character standpoint, those weren't going to happen. After all, that's how The Attic ended. Why did Adele suddenly decide to fall asleep at the wheel after that? Was her second Head of Security betraying her too much for her? Did finding out that she was "pushed into existence" by Boyd, like Echo was, create a major change in her philosophy and the game as a whole? Something between Echo and Adele and Topher needed to be communicated, after the Boyd reveal, because from rejecting the spinal tap on, I could not hook into their motivations, no matter how much I am DYING to understand/reconcile them.

Another thing I'm dying to understand is Iris/Caroline/Echo. I'm really caught between BlueSkies and CaptainB on this, and I'm beginning to think either way it doesn't really work. After all, at the end of E1 Iris says the "kids with matches" line, and would either make that particular analogy now, with what both eventually learned about Rossum?

I think the best case is for Caroline to have said that, just because that's kind of just her personality to say something like that. Also, it makes sense if Caroline was extracted from Echo and remembers Safe Haven, etc. the way Paul was extracted from Alpha, and remembers love for Echo from witnessing himself from the outside/working on Alpha from the inside, etc. (becoming somewhat a composite/new idea of Paul the way Caroline in Iris, from within Echo, is composite/new idea of Caroline, without a strong sense of identity and willing to be erased at the end. Or something.

I could also imagine Caroline knowing the lock-picking from her terrorist days.
I wonder if we'll see the unaired ending as a DVD extra.
I could also imagine Caroline knowing the lock-picking from her terrorist days.

Does she know advanced science and trauma medicine from then too ? In which case, where do I sign up for Terrorist school ? ;). And added to that, Echo calls her 'mini-me' (more than once IIRC) and the little girl identifies with Echo ("Does she have a plan ?" ... "I guess I do"). So she seems to start (with some ambiguity and wiggle room) as Caroline (in E1) and end up as Echo (in E2). It's a minor hole in other words, you can go with the composite idea that a few of us have suggested or come up with some other fan-wank but I don't think there's a simple in text explanation.

... its a conversation that tends to go nowhere in the sense that people's minds probably don't change... I used the phrase "ick" or uncomfortable multiple times to indicate it is a contentious issue, not a black and white/right or wrong issue.

Fair enough azzers. FWIW, on here i've been in numerous fascinating discussions where people are unlikely to change their minds (in fact i'd say any time someone has an actual, coherent - i.e. worthwhile - opinion to begin with then they're unlikely to change their minds) including the "biggies" that we're told you shouldn't discuss with 'strangers' (politics and religion) - which isn't to say you MUST discuss it if you don't want to BTW, that's pretty much rule number 1 for me (if someone clearly implies or better yet states outright they don't want to talk about something then you don't force it cos that really does go nowhere).

And 'ick' to me says 'disgust' and 'disgust' (for most people) is when you consider it so black and white that your body actually has the answer "built-in" so to speak so thanks for clearing that up, just a difference of usage/perspective. Which isn't to say that disgust response is necessarily correct BTW, that's where reason comes into it (i.e. 'disgust' or 'outrage' shouldn't be the final arbiter of morality).

Don't have any stew BTW but you're welcome to a slice of pie ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2010-02-01 08:27 ]
What's all this talk of an "unaired ending"? Echo lies down in her pod, we get the crane shot, cut to black. Seemed like an ending to me. Of course I saw it on Hulu, not on the air.

(Oh, and I'll say it again: I find I'm much more easily pleased if I don't expect perfection...)
That was beautiful. I mean, it could've been better, but only if Joss had had more time. Imagine if, for the finale, they'd done a huge 3-hour epic consisting of Epitaph One, followed by, well, basically what Epitaph Two was but expanded into 2 episodes instead of one? Oh well, we can dream all we want, but we got a great finale, ending on the perfect shot. Where else could we leave Dollhouse but with Echo in her little bed?
I rewatched "Epitaph Two" though and think I liked it even more. In particular Echo's outburst to Priya about Paul's death resonated with me more.

I love Topher in the episode, as ever, but oddly don't have much to say about him and his sacrifice, though I am intrigued by his "Huh." right before the explosion. EDIT: Oh, right, I forgot to talk about him and the explosion. Why couldn't everyone figure out a way to set the thing up non-manually? I think, honestly, that Topher wanted to die, and Adelle recognized that enough to let him. I don't think Topher is lying when he says that it has to be activated manually, but it's probably true that they might have found a way around it, eventually. That Topher wanted to go out fixing his great mistake seems right to me, though, and that Adelle would let him does too. And no one is going to go against Adelle when it comes to Topher. Is it "right" for Topher to kill himself? I don't know--I don't think we can really judge that. But for the characters, I believe it 100%.

There's also a nifty parallel with Boyd (which I've seen someone point out): how Boyd and Topher both produce the explosions, and both could theoretically be avoided. But it's the one by choice that saves the world, or allows the option for it to be saved. Sacrifice of the self and not sacrifice of others.

I do have to wonder why there weren't any Butchers right outside the dollhouse when Adelle and Zone led the dolls (and mini-Caroline) outside. It's not a huge deal, because they would be de-imprinted in a minute anyway, but it's a bit odd. Someone suggested that maybe Alpha provided a diversion when running away.

LOVE the visual reference to "Needs," with Adelle and Zone (maybe in Dr. Saunders' role, taking the mantle from Whiskey?) standing over several people fallen unconscious. In "Needs," it was just Caroline/Echo, and the Actives were led back inside; here, it's every Doll *except* Caroline, who is the one who remains inside. "I don't have any fantasies, Adelle," says Echo. Yeah, right! The show has your number. And the fact that everyone collapses momentarily had me scared that Topher was wrong, or miscalculated, and merely managed to kill every unshielded person who has been imprinted on the planet, which...well, I'm certainly glad they didn't do that. Except for the small part of me that kind of wishes they had.

On Echo incorporating Paul into her head: it occurs to me that this, like the shot of Echo choosing to go sleep for a year figuratively (I mean, literally lie down in the pod) is maybe intentionally unsettling? Anthony (and Tony/Priya have kind of been our...unambiguous good guys throughout the show) destroys the tech and starts a new life. Echo is told to destroy the chair but doesn't. Even Alpha chooses to leave the House, though his reasons aren't clear. And all the other (living) characters are with other people on screen in the last few minutes, when we know that formation of communities=good (well, unless you're Boyd). Plus there were Echo/Joel Mynor parallels a few episodes ago when Paul was brain dead, and it was shown there as being healthy for Joel to let go of his loved one rather than rely on an imprint. All textual cues that Echo's actions are not necessarily to be read as good. Bitty Caroline/Echo gets to start over, but Echo chooses not to, and ends up living isolated in her own mind. (Plus there's all the creepiness that Paul/Echo or Paul/Caroline has always had, which isn't alluded too that much, although Paul does mention that he has "baggage".)

And the ending is ALSO kind of romantic and sweet, and Echo finding a way to make the best of her situation where she needs to be alone for a year in order to hold onto her identity, and of where she has 100 personalities in her head and is the loneliest person Paul's ever met. She gets to know everything about Paul, and "he" everything about her, taking her imprint to a new level.

Still not sure what to think of the show's handling of Paul Ballard overall. Was he always meant to be "good guy with baggage," which is what the episode seems to be suggesting--between the lines it seems like the Ballard imprint is what turned Alpha around!--or is there still the more ambivalent treatment of him in this episode (and in much of the later half of the season) and I'm just missing it? I loved gossi's post after "The Hollow Men" reminding us of how that episode helped to highlight Ballard's failures; I don't know if I can really find any way to see this episode as not painting Ballard as a straight-up hero, though.

And incidentally: I'm not a Ballard hater. I love the character Paul Ballard, but the character Paul Ballard I love is the one who has lots of noble qualities mixed in with a lack of self-reflection and a knack for self-serving fantasy. It's possible that the writers' conception of him is more a genuinely stand-up guy with a few small problems, instead of one where the problems are so central to the character that they can't be overlooked. In fact, those traits (both positive and negative) are those I have tended to see in Caroline too, so I've always kind of thought (well, since "Epitaph One") that the two would make a good couple, but only if the show remembered to demonstrate their huge flaws.

My (brillliant, attractive) girlfriend noted a lot of connections with "Briar Rose" here, incidentally: Echo goes to sleep for a year, figuratively but by choice, and she literally becomes "the prince" in that she becomes the person who wanted to be her saviour/analyst/whatever, incorporating him into her head. And the parallel is strengthened by having the Echo/"mini-me" where "Briar Rose" had Susan the younger and the elder.

I love that the imprint montage is not the end of the episode, but we actually push past it and end a bit afterwards (though possibly extra-abruptly, maybe due to the network).

I love the scene with Harding and Ambrose. I guess one could interpret it as being anti-fat people, and that is a shame, but I look on it more as the idea that Harding has this ideal body type, and managed in a handful of months to eat so much that he doubled his ideal in size. And gaining that much weight in a short period of time is much less healthy than doing so gradually, so I don't mind the idea that Harding's excesses really are excesses.

I really liked the implication in Harding's line to Echo, incidentally, that if Boyd hadn't been killed the world wouldn't be in the same mess it was currently. That things would be under control. The idea that under Boyd, the imprinting and enslavement of the whole population might have occurred, but it still wouldn't have led to the butchers and to the end of civilization. I imagine a Jasmine-like world where people no longer have any free will, but are content and happy and are not killing each other. There's just this one line (and some of Boyd's lines last week) to indicate that this might be the case, and so it's not really strong enough to give a full argument. But still, it helps to alleviate my annoyance at Boyd being a full-on, straight-up villain in his world domination plans. The idea that somehow a Boyd world would someho at least be superficially better than the current one.

If Echo et al. blew up the building with the vaccine, why did they need to raid Tuscon for it? If they made more vaccine, why couldn't they make it somewhere else? If Rossum made more vaccine, why wouldn't they make it somewhere else?

The freeze frame at the end of each act, and in the battle with the Butchers, was an effective stylistic choice, part of the show's attempt to appear the way a TV show reasonably would in post-apocalyptic 2020.

Some of the dialogue was pretty cheesy. Of course there was the lampshading with Paul's corny line, but some lines actually seemed worse. I was particularly bothered by this Echo/Adelle exchange:

ECHO: Ever the shepherd.
ADELLE: Leading them into the light.

Although her bringing up that this was Echo's fantasy was a good recovery. But the Priya/Anthony conversation in the truck felt so obvious to me on a first viewing, even though I love the characters and felt the subject matter was interesting, that I sort of, to use the unfortunate slang Romeo does earlier in the episode, "logged off" a bit. And this was somewhat true of the whole episode on a first viewing--perhaps why I didn't respond to it the way I did on a second, and hopefully will on a third, fourth etc.

I liked the Techheads and wish we could see more of them. The actual hostage situation where they tried to stop Echo et al. didn't work very well, though, besides as a means of encouraging Victor to become Anthony, and to get Alpha's awesome "Did he just call me a Luddite?" I mean, I think we all kinda figured that nothing too bad was going to come of a bunch of characters we had no investment in (besides Kilo I guess) holding up the main cast. It might have worked if it weren't an act break, but I digress. But they served an important purpose, which is reminding us that there are consequences to any great act, including something as "obviously" good as giving people back their original identities. This season has spent a great deal of time addressing this, with the question of whether Caroline deserves her body back. The woman who took over the Iris girl's body proclaimed that Zone and Mag were bigots for being partial to Actuals only, but there is a point there: there are people out there who will be effectively killed by the wipe, and not just Hardings and Ambroses but probably other people with Doll architecture out in the world, who will lose basically everything.

So I like that the ending doesn't mean the world is "fixed." If anything, the Techheads don't present a strong enough case against what Topher does--but then, there's not much time, is there? The ending is a bit too upbeat, anyway, although there's still some evidence that it's supposed to be undercut a bit, both with the similar scenes of Echo, and some of Zone's dialogue. He reassures the Girl Who Would Be Iris that things are fine, when, of course, she has been imprinted, the world is a mess, her parents are dead. (Lots of people are going to wake up finding out that they ate other people. Wouldn't want to be them.) And in case we didn't get that he was maybe being a bit too simplistic, guess what he says? "EVERYTHING'S GOING TO BE ALL RIGHT." OMG he's treating her like a doll! That's so sweet, except to the extent that it isn't. As with Echo lying down in the Dollhouse pod and uploading Paul, this can be read both as a statement of the positive applications of the Dollhouse tech/institution, or as an implication that Everything Is Not Going To Be All Right (which is of course exactly what "Everything's going to be all right" means in this show).

So taken at face value I like this episode quite a bit; if my suspicions about the ending being undercut subtly hold water, then I like it even more.

P.S. SEASON EIGHT SPEC: I wonder if Topher's decision to reverse everything the Dollhouse did is a hint about where the season is going.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-02-01 09:55 ]
ManEnoughToAdmitIt, I was referring to this.
Narky: I think that there are definitely problems with how rushed these last few episodes were, and as such getting character motivations. So I won't address all your points because I frankly don't know the reasons for many things. But I think the reasons for the Boyd and Topher "suicides" are simple. Topher wanted to die. And they (esp. Echo) wanted Boyd to die.

You mention "Man on the Street"--well, Adelle murdered Hearn, there. I see her reasons for using Boyd (or allowing Echo to use Boyd) as a bomber as being the same: she feels that the person deserves to die, and then puts them in a position where that death serves multiple purposes. That Boyd was in a doll state--and the fact that Boyd is still a human being who, it seems, genuinely cared about his "family" and whose intentions may have been, deep down, good if extremely cynical re: the world--matters to us. But I can see why it wouldn't to Adelle and Echo, just now threatened and made fools of. (Similarly for Echo not wanting the spinal tap. The vaccine will help people, but she's being used and that's not a good feeling.)

And re: Topher, I talk about it in my previous post. I think he wants to sacrifice himself and I think Adelle cares about him enough to let him do what he wants. I don't know that this is the right decision. It is possible they could find another way. But I don't mind that they didn't.

I think that Iris is imprinted with the whole Caroline/Echo package; the fact that she can hold so many personalities without being special is odd, but that might just require having to have the Whole Echo Person rather than being, say, Techheads Victor et al.; they would have to become Echo in order to hold so many personalities. Her line about kids playing with matches actually does still make sense to me--that is still what led Topher and Bennet and probably even Clyde 1.0 to do what they did, and the tech wouldn't exist without them. That Rossum was also trying to move things in this direction doesn't defeat that. It's true that it doesn't seem like the first thing Caroline would say in this situation, putting the blame primarily on Topher, so I see your point.
Eep. Seems I threw a grenade and then went to sleep and then went to work. Of course since that's literally what happened, sorry everybody.
-azzers [emphasis added]

...You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Also, that's one helluva fuse on that grenade, and/or you are a very sound sleeper. And possibly shrapnel-proof.
WilliamtheB, you're two monster posts make sense to me. I still can't see how this finale makes sense though.

The Hollow Men need to have a follow-up that was more true to the splintered group we saw in Epitaph One. Echo was ready to kill Adele in that episode.

The Hollow Men ended in yes we saved the day, group hug, and then cut with the consequences of their actions, war torn world, Paul and Echo fighting. Shouldnt' we have seen the horrible cost. Weren't we waiting all season to see how we got to Epitaph One instead of this Safe Haven-family feel in Epitaph 2. It seems like they transferred the tension in the group over to more simplistic Priya/Anthony instead of Adele/Echo, which would have resonated so much more since they were "together" in their kill Boyd decision, and essentially created this catastrophe together (echoes of Buffy/Willow and their tension in BtVSseason8 with their world-saving decisions and then ensuing complicated issues).

I wanted stronger consequences for Adele/Echo. Instead, it was Topher who ended up taking the bullet, and the blame, which I don't think is at all fair. Epitaph 2 should have been Adele v. Echo like it has been since the very first scene of the series. I think the show was afraid to get into the nitty gritty of either character, and that makes me sad.

EDIT: OK, and maybe I'm crazy, but I'm actually starting to think that if you watch the whole series, save epitaph 1 for the end, and get rid of epitaph 2, the whole series makes a lot more sense, and is more satisfying. What you would lose is a lot of good final Echo moments that maybe we need, and yeah it would be a LOT more depressing, but I think as a complete story, works a lot better. After Boyd, things are tense, never the same, sad, Whiskey gassed, adele/echo on the outs, victor/sierra on the outs, but hope for mag, zone, caroline, and safe haven. Not sure.

Also, Iris has to be Caroline because of the line "puberty all over again" in Epitaph One. Echo never went through puberty.

[ edited by narky on 2010-02-01 11:40 ]
Narky: I don't know that I disagree with you. I will say what I like about the ending we have: I like that Adelle is going to work to heal the world now, or at least is going to try at that ("you're job is way harder"). And I think it makes sense for Echo to stay inside for a year, because you can argue that Caroline/Echo's attempts at good actions have never exactly been good for the world. (And Caroline/Echo retiring to her pod is a little like Topher's suicide, in a way, isn't it?) I like that the world can be helped, but not everything in the world is going to be better instantly, or maybe ever.

The episode actually has very little conflict, as you allude to: Topher's plan is revealed very early, and there's little suspense as to whether or not it will work. The rest is mostly in dealing with how people react to it, and to each other. This makes for a relatively easy solution to the thoughtpocalypse we saw set up for so long. It's definitely strange, narratively. I feel like the reason I don't mind might just be that it's been frontlined--we're asked to accept that the wrongs can be righted early on.

But yeah, E2 probably lets Echo and Adelle (and maybe the world) off easy. I like the reading you're gesturing to of "The Hollow Men" as having Topher, Echo and Adelle symbolically triggering the apocalypse by killing Boyd (well, Topher wipes Boyd, Adelle and Echo kill him), in which case for Echo and Adelle to have happy endings, out of conflict with each other, doesn't seem right. I go back and forth in my estimation of how much personal responsibility the various characters have for the end of the world. Maybe I just like the idea that even those responsible for the end of the world can start over. We'll see how I feel after another dozen viewings.

EDIT: Actually Echo went through puberty like 100 times.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-02-01 11:57 ]
Simon, I have the script if anybody is interested. Vows originally ended with Zone, Mag and Caroline arriving at Safe Haven, to find it gone. From memory.
I wonder where the writers planned to go from there.
There is an amazing amount of reader response theory in these 489 posts! :-)
It helps when the entry has stayed on the front page since Friday (must be a record).
gossi said:
Simon, I have the script if anybody is interested. Vows originally ended with Zone, Mag and Caroline arriving at Safe Haven, to find it gone. From memory.

I, for one, would love to see that. It'd be interesting to know what was the original plan to integrate the Epitaph storyline.
Add me to the "I'd love to see the Vows script" camp. Any chance of emailing it Gossi?
ManEnoughToAdmitIt said:

What's all this talk of an "unaired ending"?

redeem147 said:

A happy family, a potential new couple and half a happy couple (I'm assuming Echo will be spending a lot of time in her bunk.)

It seems obvious to me that they cut those last few seconds because they were inappropriate for network television. =P
I still want to know why they re-imprinted Whiskey as Whiskey or Claire after "Hollow Men" (whoever is in the Dollhouse in E1). Why didn't they just wipe the imprint and let her be who she was initially? Or had they lost the original wedge and considered Claire to be the real person because she was the one they knew best? And why in the name of everything would they let her believe that Boyd is still alive? They don't have to tell her he turned out to be the Big Bad, but they could tell her he died fighting Rossum. End of "Hollow Men" to E1 really does not track for me on this plot thread.
She wasn't necessarily waiting for Boyd, the way I see it. She wasn't imprinted as Claire when Mag, Zone and co. find her, so her saying she had to wait could be completely irrelevant. It would be a nice touch if waiting for Boyd to return had remained with her despite her losing the Claire imprint, but it doesn't seem very likely in light of the latest developments.
To be honest, there's a few plot elements like that which don't quite track - for example Echo in Epitaph One, when she returns to lead them to Safe Haven, gets referred to as Caroline by the staff. But, you know, it can be worked out with a bit of creative writing.
Sorry, I threw a metaphor in there with a literal statement. I saw the response this morning but I'll actually do a full read and respond later. Gotta work you know.
But, you know, it can be worked out with a bit of creative writing.

Fan-wank-fic !
Whiskey's story and Dominic's really are the big losses. They both got so compelling this season and then poof, gone. Some really great arcs and scenes and hints of things to come and then a truckload of confusion.
The thing with Dominic is that we at least know his real background (NSA), but with Whiskey they hinted that something about her background file was important AND we don't know for sure what happened to her. Doubly frustrating.
"Your job's way harder."
What'll be really frustrating is if Amy Acker's new show doesn't go well and only airs a few episodes. I'll feel like she was missing for no reason. Hopefully, this won't happen.
So why did they climb up to the roof in Epitaph One?
To get to the other side.
I think they climbed to the roof for dramatic imagery. The butchers can kill us dead, but by God we're gonna look good while they do it.

Either that or the Caroline imprint includes Spiderman's web-slinging skills.
Rossum had a helicopter on the roof, and Young Caroline had mad helicopter skillz.

Although I just made that up.

Whiskey was Topher's sister. Totally. Although I just made that up too.
I imagine that a helicopter would draw a lot of attention in a post-apocalyptic hellscape. Shrug.

Though I totally agree about Whiskey. I think that she was Topher's sister and possibly also that she had become mentally ill, based on the comparison Adelle made between Dr. Saunders and Sierra in 'Belong.'

My fanon is law. All shall bow down before me. < / attention-seeking-prat >
Actually, symbolism or dramatic value aside, going to the roof could very well be the only option of leaving, if the way the came in has been breached-or-another-word-for-it, no?

Now that the show has concluded, I hope there's an interview with Joss about their original plans for the Epitaph storyline, if it hadn't been moved around. I thought I read an interview where he said he chose to remove those scenes from "Vows" because there was too much going on, but Felicia seems to think it was the network. Intriguing.
Just have to take a moment and thank @whyiwatch, @gossi and @theonetrueb!x - and anyone that helped them - for all the work they did to add to the enjoyment of Dollhouse - a real highlight for me in particular was the ARG. Thanks XD.
Just realized: Paul Ballard's arc begins with becoming obsessed with Caroline/Echo to the exclusion of the rest of his life. It ends with him losing his entire independent existence and being nothing but one in another hundred people in Caroline/Echo's head, after having lost his job, his original mission, his girlfriend, his brain, and then his life. OBSESSION IS NOT YOUR FRIEND, FOLKS.
My Whiskey theory is similar in that she was somehow connected to Topher before (sister, girlfriend) and he "saved" her life by making her into a doll (either like Priya or even Paul perhaps). So why not have Topher say something during his breakdown and fill us in. Other than that, the finale still has me thinking which is a good thing.
I, too, would like to see the original script for Vows (and know what the original Epitaph integration plans were). I'm fascinated by this stuff.
Okay Joss...list of demands...
1. Original Vows script and tie in to E2
2. Whiskey backstory
3. Season 3 of Dollhouse/spin off Epitaph the Series
4. Some pie or stew... preferably both in quick succession
5. A show on FX in the very very VERY near future...perhaps starting March...but no later!

If these demands are not met...then....then....then...we'll be a sad bunch of fans...*cry*
Paul also lost his wife. I gotta admit, Paul was supposed to be the male lead but he was a bit of a rubbish character. And by the way, I love Tahmoh's work on the show.
I'm on board with the Whiskey-and-Topher sibling story too. Also, when Sierra was Topher's birthday buddy, maybe that was some part of Whiskey's original self.

Thoughts on rewatch:
--E2 was great.
--Zone: that guy was good. His gestures, expressions. Too bad we didn't get more of him. Though I guess we would have, if we'd had season 3.
--Echo's incorporation of Paul's memories is kind of sad, if that's all she has of him (though it gives her some peace). But the way she is shown talking to him in her head suggests that the incorporation of Paul is different from her other personalities/memories. On rewatch, I'm still partial to the idea that Echo's evolution becomes the ability to connect with Paul's soul/essence, in addition to having his memories. So the tiny Messiah references to mini-Caroline can mean both the vaccine/tech/safe haven, and the evolving ability to connect with the souls of others. (Yes, it's a stretch.)

Also will add my name to those interested in the Vows script.
I'm on board with everyone who didn't get enough in the way of Topher/Saunders explanation - that was really my only quibble with the finale, in spite of the several unresolved character arcs (Dominic, etc.) I was so hoping to find out what, if at all, their connection was, because I have been convinced for the entire 2nd season that there was one - even though he said in "Vows" that he didn't program her to hate him. I was thinking her animosity towards him was like Victor/Sierra's love - the one thing that never managed to be totally wiped. I'm fine with many of the other loose ends, but I just found those two characters so fascinating (and the actors playing them so compelling), that I wanted a resolution from them the most.
Gossi: Yeah, but he lost his wife before Caroline so I didn't count it.

I really liked your post for "The Hollow Men" listing Paul's failures. To me, Paul as introduced in "Ghost" as a perpetual screwup (never closes a case) and I see it as an essential part of the character, and part of what makes him interesting. He's actually a lot like Caroline in that way. (Every time Caroline tries to save a puppy, a person dies.) One of my disappointments with season two is actually that Paul was played too heroic some of the time. (This may have started with succeeding in catching the Caroline wedge.) Although I love the idea that Paul was a much better Dollhouse employee than an FBI agent--sort of poignant, and reminds me of the way Angel found himself gravitating towards bad because it suited him more closely.
I didn't like it. I feel empty. Maybe it's just me. But I didn't care for it.

I've never posted that remark before. Oh well.
I think they played Paul the way they did because he was never meant to be hated. The way it turned out, he was so flawed and ambiguous in Season 1, most people disliked him unless they were simply enjoying the nuance of the portrait. I think they rightly feared ending up with a "Riley." Riley was a better man than Paul, but what I'm saying is that fan reaction was very anti-Paul around the time of Omega and unless they wanted to kill him or remove him from the series, that needed to be fixed or you end up with dramatic dead weight that no one cares about.

The decision to make him more heroic was probably intentional. Hurting him more wouldn't have been interesting. As creeped out as many people were, Paul was essentially a lab rat running through a maze intentionally designed to destroy him in season 1. It would be hard NOT to look competent by comparison.

One of the reasons I loved Belle Chose as an episode, was because that may be one of the first times we actually get to see who Paul is actually supposed to be at his best. Not the simple, through a glass darkly screw up version which we'd been presented previously. Not the guy who's being beaten by Rossum. Not the guy who's being thrown insane moral quandaries to fail at figuring out. No, that was the Paul who is a competent investigator, profiler, and protector. And he was trained at Quantico. Perhaps fittingly, it was Minear who wrote it who also gave us the first Dark Wesley in Billy.

And you need that. No one cares about Captain Hammer if he isn't insanely arrogant. No one cares Dr. Horrible if he's a sociopath to begin with. That's why I think you had to make him too heroic at times. You'd spent an entire season giving a nuanced but ultimately too flawed portrait of a human for most people to care.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-02-02 03:06 ]
Shooting for Dollhouse season 2 DVD tomorrow?
If only we could submit some of the questions on this thread to be included in DVD interviews (similar to Felicia Day's blog)!
Azzers: But you know, in "Belle Chose" Paul is still really turned on by Echo-as-Kiki, dressing up as a college co-ed. He taunts Terry with kind of juvenile testosterone b.s. ("are any of those a man's name?"). And he gives a speech about Terry not being able to deal with real people any more, right after signing onto the Evil Organization.

Which is to say, Paul *wasn't* a straight-up hero in "Belle Chose". What he was, was competent. But still screwed up, with the seams showing. Showing Paul as being competent definitely was a good thing; as I said, I feel like Paul was actually a much better Dollhouse employee than an FBI agent, and that started immediately in "Omega," where he dealt with Tanaka and helped track down Alpha's original identity (and his new location) pretty seamlessly, and "Vows" where collaboration with the DH finally lets him close a case. It's a little akin to, say, Adelle, whom we admire for her confidence if not her morality (around the beginning of S2).

This lasts until "Meet Jane Doe," where the creepiness of his thing for Caroline/Echo is still acknowledged. And then in the jumble of the next few episodes I lose that tread a bit.
I have been a Ballard fan since the get go. He was our anchor through most of the series, at times I was confused why the show was not more about him rather than mindless brunette sex slave the show seemed to center on. I mean, remember “Man on the Street”? Prolly one of my fav eps in the whole series. However, that seemed to have gotten lost in the second season. I thought the point to Ballard was not who he was, but what he would wind up becoming. Not about learning his past, but seeing how he takes all the crap they intended to throw at him and put him through. I had fingers crossed for an even more epic Wesley process. I mean, on paper what happens to Ballard is cool, but the treatment of it falls short. Still loving the idea that because of him Alpha mellows out, still heartbroken over his death, but not loving him being in her head. That seems trite and shallow somehow. Cheap really.
But you have to take a few things into context. Regarding teasing Terry, he was profiling and eliciting reactions. I think we are meant to understand the irony of his statements (many people also took that scene to be a dig at Dewitt as well), but they are not somehow implicitly wrong. Antagonistic speech, is often the kind of behavior that is used to provoke these types of characters into a desired response because they're not psychologically equipped to deal with it. They are scenario appropriate.

The line between turned on and disgusted I think is blurred intentionally regarding Kiki. I think you're right and he is turned on a primal level, but he is behaving appropriately in that she seems extremely revolting to him. His response to Boyd taking over is, "thank god" after all. It is a "seams showing" moment, but I think it is benign and tends to highlight just how uncomfortable he is with it.

Ballard has been (to me) a very reflective character that often displays exactly what we would like to see. I haven't been immune at times to this. To the people who wanted to see him exclusively as a creepy stalker with a completely sexual agenda, the show intentionally gave enough ammunition to maintain that belief up until the plot requires him to cross that line or not. Essentially the tension was continually built so it could be resolved: is he a creep pretending to be a hero or a hero that is creepy. As you point out, Meet Jane Doe is the episode where he makes THAT choice. He's not trying to live out the fantasy. He's basically Samwise to Echo's Frodo with ACTUAL sexual tension. He's going to help her do whatever it is she needs to do, period.

In the end, I think the creepiness stopped being acknowledged because he had visited the choice and made it. And even when that happened, there was still disagreement on why. Shortly after this, THAT Ballard is killed and replaced by one with whatever feelings he had for Echo removed. It's a lot like they're trying to reboot the character.

I guess what I'm trying to illustrate is not whether he was good or not. It was the problem the show as facing of a lead character whose impulses were so in question that he couldn't do anything right to many people. Even when he did good things, he was doing it for stalker-ish reasons depending on your point of view. Good for debate, yes. Good for any long term connections with fans, not at all.

When I say this, I'm assuming that the stories through A Love Supreme had been broken before cancellation which I *think* they were. I could be wrong.

Goose: I agree with you. I think I'm justifying the "killing" of the original persona of Ballard because people were too impatient to watch him change. He was just the creep trying to tag Echo and they didn't want to see it. They being a large number of fans, not everyone. One of my favorite discussion moments was someone who said, "I hope Ballard comes on to Echo so she can kick him in the balls."

It's hard to reclaim a character that has that kind of sentiment working against them. I don't know for a fact that this is what the writers were trying to do, but given the context of the show it seems as logical as anything. Because there was a difference in the facets we were being shown.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-02-02 06:32 ]
I for one was very impressed with the finale. Loved it. However I watched epitaph 1 for the first time about a week ago when I finally got my hands on it via netflix que. Had I not finally watched that episode I think I would have been totally lost. Also watching it so close together probably helped tremendously.

The show wrapped up nicely and yes was as much of a happy ending as the "almost end of the world" can have. Even though I faithfully watched season 1 via Hulu I was not overly awed by most of it. Season 2 really turned my opinion around about how much I loved the show. Glad I stuck with it (how could I not with Joss at the helm). Thanks to all involved with the show. Job well done!
Not the simple, through a glass darkly screw up version which we'd been presented previously.

"Simple" ? The Dudley Doright FBI straight-arrow is simple and it's also what we see in every other TV show. Ballard was infinitely more interesting as the mess (though I welcome him being competent and don't in fact think he was ever meant to be incompetent - that seemed to me to be a function of early episode "issues" because nearly everyone looked a complete idiot at least once early on).

And people were too impatient for him to become good ? Screw "people" then in that case, people are strange, just ask Jim Morrison ;).

(my biggest complaint about the pace of season 2 - plot holes aside - is the way the juicily complex, interestingly ambiguous, not always likable characters were forced to simplify down to "the good guys" and "the bad guys" - i'm sure it would've happened to some extent anyway but it would've felt a lot more satisfying built gradually, after a few more seasons of moral murk. S'why I 'liked' moments like Echo killing Boyd or Adelle putting Dominick back in the Attic because it seemed to be acknowledging that even now, it's not that simplistic)

But you know, in "Belle Chose" Paul is still really turned on by Echo-as-Kiki, dressing up as a college co-ed.

Well, i'll be honest, so was I. And as I said at the time, I don't think that makes him screwed up, I think it makes him a straight male (especially given that IMO he fancied Caroline from the get go, whatever he was telling himself). His response to being turned on makes him a basically decent straight male though - that's the bit we can control.

As I said in that thread, for me Ballard was about the struggle between our urges/desires and what we know is right [ETA: and the dangers of obsession/ETA]- the less he was about that the less he was about anything IMO.

Shortly after this, THAT Ballard is killed and replaced by one with whatever feelings he had for Echo removed. It's a lot like they're trying to reboot the character.

Surely they're just doing the drama writer thing and trying to hurt him as much as possible ? It'd been his driving force and arguably his purest emotion so let's take it away and see how he jumps. Then cancellation occurred (or looked increasingly likely) and so none of it had a chance to play out.

[ edited by Saje on 2010-02-02 08:48 ]
I guess what I'm saying is they're not mutually exclusive. I agree it was effective dramatically because it effectively derailed Echo's relationship with him. I just think it also served a larger arc purpose as well.

Kind of like I think killing Fred was about Joss wanting to do the character Illyria. At least that's what he said in the commentary. But that doesn't mean it wasn't dramatically appropriate or extremely effective.

[ edited by azzers on 2010-02-02 09:01 ]
Maybe someone brought this up earlier in the thread, but I haven't seen mention of it on Whedonesque in a while--who was imprinted onto the mind of "Iris"/Little-Echo-Caroline for most of "Epitaph 1" ? The one who killed almost all of Zone and Mag's team and said, "I don't know how I got in this little bitch's body..."

Did we ever see confirmation ? It might not matter, but it seemed like someone we maybe should've known. The fact that he/she/it preferred to get copied into Mag's body over Zone's (I wonder if it would've kept the little girl's body as well, or if we still would've gotten the case of the copies sometimes not caring about their individual existences) seemed to imply it was a woman originally, but I can't think of many evil women we knew in the series. Senator Perrin's fake-wife/handler ? She seemed pretty small-time to earn being re-imprinted/"resurrected" by Rossum, unless they were so impressed with her play-acting and resourcefulness (the play-acting would fit with what she did as Iris) that they gave her a second chance or two later on.

Maybe it was a character that we had yet to meet, that Joss had planned for later seasons. Many people theorized Adelle after "Epitaph 1", but the little girl didn't have a British accent and didn't quite seem Adelle-ish enough. Nixed anyway, now that we've seen that Adelle is alive and well through 2020. Maybe it was Adelle's recurring red-headed assistant, Judith !

I hope Ivy survived too, but that would've been awfully convenient given how many other LA Dollhouse folks survived.
Damn you Judith ! *shakes fist* I always knew she was a wrong 'un, ever since the infamous misfiling incident.

(I don't think it needed to be a woman, I could see either Harding or Ambrose both being interested in living in a female body for a while. Must admit, reckon it'd be an interesting experience myself. And that aside, i'm sure most adults would rather be "reborn" in an adult body than a child's)

I guess what I'm saying is they're not mutually exclusive. I agree it was effective dramatically because it effectively derailed Echo's relationship with him. I just think it also served a larger arc purpose as well.

Yeah, it's certainly not a crazy idea azzers. I guess what i'm saying is, I don't think they'd have simplified Ballard (or anyone else) out so quickly if they knew they were probably coming back for a third season (or even getting a back 9). To me it makes no sense to take an interesting, edgy, even slightly subversive character and just "waste" all that potential by reducing him to some stock good-guy so quickly.

Illyria's different because Fred, much as I loved her, had pretty much gone as far as she could go IMO, she'd become a stock character (or was in danger of doing so anyway) and killing her and introducing Illyria not only opened up story possibilities (and added emotional resonance too because of Wesley/Fred), it also gave Amy Acker a chance to do something new and show her (considerable) chops a bit. It felt more like a forward step in other words. Simplifying Ballard felt like the kind of thing you do as you're winding up (which, in this case of course, they were).
I wanted stronger consequences for Adele/Echo. Instead, it was Topher who ended up taking the bullet, and the blame, which I don't think is at all fair.

Epic drama isn't fair. It's epic and dramatic. :)

NOT bunny stew.
curlymynci | February 01, 22:15 CET

I an so in the "no bunny stew" camp (vegetarian here). :)

I loved Paul, start to finish. Loved how flawed he was, and how the character was set up repeatedly in impossible moral/ethical quandaries. Loved the obsession that so many others seem to find "creepy". What, you've never been in an obsessive relationship? ;) Obsession is part of Joss's repertoire, and part of why I love his shows and characters.

I have no doubt that we would have seen more ambiguity, more layers and depth in Paul, if cancellation hadn't required wrapping things up at such a rushed pace.
I think that Paul had Wesley potential, tragic character wise. Plus .... Tahmoh, how can you have a pulse and not love him? :)
I finally watched this last night and yay, loved it! I still hate how things wrapped up last ep, and there are so many dropped threads and things-that-don't-fit to bother listing them all, but it was a great (though surprisingly suspense-free... Topher has an idea of how to Bring Back The World and so they go and ... do that) script and fantastic performances as always. So sorry they didn't have time to do it "right" and as a whole I can't say I loved the series, but there are some killer episodes and this was one of them.

I love Eliza Dushku.

Topher's arc could have been on a par with Spike / Wesley, maybe, if the series had gone on longer. In any case, Fran Kranz was fantastic. I enjoyed the character from the start, and have loved every step of his journey. Wonderful if slightly rushed end to it.

Adele being all maternal towards him was lovely.

Priya and Anthony ... there just wasn't time to do it justice, too bad, but nicely done in the moments they had.

I never got so into Paul, so his death didn't upset me, but boy it was sudden and I loved Echo just looking away and moving on. And her breakdown with Priya later, yeesh, I can understand some people don't think she's versatile (though I don't really agree) but what has always impressed me about her is just how vivid she is on-screen, and when she melts down it's incredible.

Mag and Zone and Mini-Caroline were great. So much good dialogue, and Zone got a lot of great lines. (Priya: "We don't really eat tongues." Zone: "Cool." It's nice on paper but his delivery was hilarious. I liked Mini-Caroline too: "I'm just some kid." Pretty meaty role for a little girl. She's got chops!)

Though mini-Caroline brings me to my biggest complaint, which is the whole Caroline / Echo thing, the thing I thought the whole series was building towards, and it just got squashed. They sort of become One or something, there's no discussion of it, we never know what it means for Echo, or for Caroline. Blech. Annoying.

Also had mixed feelings about Paul in Echo's head. That weird shiny little greeting they had is... um, not how I picture Echo's brain but whatever. Loved the last shot of her in her sleeping pod. Did I mention I love Eliza Dushku? Even when the show sucked, which it occasionally did IMO, it was nice to see her on the screen being awesome.

More actual responses to actual comments later, but in the meantime I'd like some bunny pie please.
Great job Dollhouse staff. Really great job. :(

Amazing Series Finale.
It was AWESOME!!! Joss never lets us down, does he? Great job writers, actors & anyone else who worked on "Dollhouse". I was expecting someone to die, and had just said, "Joss is gonna kill somebody", and boom, between the eyes. BUT Topher, broke my heart! Damn you Joss!!! You know how to turn that knife, but your right, the deaths were needed. Thanks for NOT killing Alan.:)
Azzers, I totes agree. One of the reasons I loved Ballard was because I saw a lot of myself in the character, or a lot of the character in myself. He was driven, idealistic, and hopeless in the sense of having heart and being lost. He was an all around good guy and moral, maybe a tad bit obsessive. He never came off a creepy stalkerish type to me. He was given a case, and chased every lead even before he got the picture of Caroline. He was given a face to represent all the people the Dollhouse uses, either as clients or as Actives, and it happened to be a pretty face. I think that endeared him to the case even more so. He became your classic Knight in Shining to the rescue. Yeah he so happened to develop feelings for who he thought Caroline was, but that could be said for any of us. Give me a picture of a pretty girl, tell me that she needs my help and somewhere down the road I’ll prolly start thinking romantic Princess Brideness. Does that make me a creep? I hope not. Ballard got emotionally involved in the case, which okay yeah, isn’t “right”, but it gave him drive that he lacked originally. This was a subject in “man on the Street”. What I think really proved him was when he refused Echo. It wasn’t “I’m saving myself for Caroline” that I saw, it was out of respect and a bit out of reserve from her being Doll with several personalities that may just hate him, and also realizing that he was in love with an idea of a person. He was confused and conflicted, but he was respectful even though there was tons of sexual tension. He didn’t cross a line even when he was asked to. As for the Kiki scenario, Kiki was designed specifically to allure men. Ballard being a guy was intrigued and as Saje pointed out, yeah I was even appealed, but that was her purpose, to illicit that response. Is Ballard wrong for acknowledging that response within himself, no, that was being human.

I was really let down by the treatment of Ballard in the second season. Again, the concept of taking away that affection for Echo and giving him Active archetype is cool, but it was a brilliant hand played mediocre-ly.

Also, Tony as Victor as a Tech-head? Why not have had Topher or Claire 2.0 upload him with various skills enhancements and abilities? Why make it a convoluted system of removing memories or skills and importing others? Again, something that looks good on paper, but when you break it down doesn’t make a sense.

Also also, do like the idea that Cindy Perrin is in Iris’ body during Epitaph 1. They should go back and make that official. You get points Kris.
Without reading EVERY post and scrolling through, I think it's awesome that Paul is getting so much discussion. Think that was the point? ;) The uneasy, the disagreement of interaction, character arc, denouement? One of the integral parts of this show I will miss MOST!
Why not have had Topher or Claire 2.0 upload him with various skills enhancements and abilities? Why make it a convoluted system of removing memories or skills and importing others? Again, something that looks good on paper, but when you break it down doesn’t make a sense.

Hmm, textually it makes a lot of sense IMO. Firstly, the system they have is, crucially, portable (no chair required). Secondly they stay themselves when using it (minus one or two qualities that they choose to temporarily remove) and conscious so that there's no point at which they're putting themselves entirely at someone else's mercy or under someone else's control. And if there genuinely isn't "room" for every upgrade they might need then it's really the only practical solution - they can hardly keep going back to Topher and the chair every time they need to "learn" a new weapon or technique.

And meta-textually, it's surely a pretty conscious nod to the whole cyberpunk sub-genre of sci-fi and the accompanying idea that, while technology is enabling, you often lose a part of yourself to it too (see e.g. William Gibson's 'Neuromancer' trilogy or select stories from his 'Burning Chrome' collection).

(IIRC there was a comment about it upthread BTW so I think it's worth pointing out that to me Kilo wasn't necessarily actually swapping her mercy for weapons expertise. Her tag with that label and the way she laughed struck me as much a kind of soldierly bravado - like writing 'Born to kill' or 'Bad ass mofo' on your helmet - as an actual fact. She may have actually removed it as well of course - when butchers come in all shapes and sizes, including small children, old people etc. then mercy, expressing itself as hesitation at a crucial moment, might well get you killed)
The question who was in the body of the girl in E1 is puzzling me as well, but it can't be anyone from Rossum. She had to ask if the chair was what could imprint people and only when told yes did she shoot the guy. If it was Perrin's wife or someone from Rossum they'd have known.
Good point zz9, unless Iris just coincidentally chose that moment to make her move ?

If it was someone we maybe knew, then which lay person/non-Rossum/Dollhouse person could it have been ?

Perfectly reasonable that Iris was someone random as well, who saw Zone's group as a temporary safety net, but also was fearful and sly in their actions due to Zone & Mag's hate-on for non-Actuals.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-02-05 20:49 ]
But, but... I don't want the thread to be over. That means Dollhouse is really over. :(

(I lurk a lot, but if anyone does read this I want to say thanks for all the awesome analysis. I enjoy it nearly as much as the episode.) carry on...Who was Iris? Come on Joss...details!!!
Also...Topher's death was kinda like the Serenity bit with the Operative saying to throw yourself on the sword when you recognise failure right?
And Echo...damn...she just has to have another chance...more than in-brain Paul lurking like PANCAKEGIRL(that was a joke)... Some say creepy...i say was the saddest part...but at least they can still grow old together..although it's a Buffy Angel situation where she gets wrinkly and he stays young and beautiful and they can never have kids...tragic...

please don't end the thread!!
Loved the finale, it moved me for the first time since Topher and Claire early in the season.
I could not have thought of a better way to end this series. The finale was bold, moving, and completely solid. It had enough action to satisfy your needs however it never took away from the main story line. The final sequence featuring 'Everywhere I Go' by Lissie should go down as one of the best, most emotional Whedon moments. I really loved the Ballard/Echo ending, it helped me fully invest in these characters love for each other at the last moments, as there wasn't much time to flesh it out on screen. Strong A+


[ edited by JMarchant19 on 2010-09-20 08:07 ]
Wellll.... I actually haven't read this comments thread yet, but will be reading everyone's comments, analysis and observations over the course of the next couple of days. (Posting regardless, though, because catherine made me :p)

I finally got 'round to watching E2 tonight. It had been burning a hole in my DVD player for quite a while, as I didn't get round to it when it aired, then got really busy for a couple of days, barely being at home, then got the flu for about a week (and decided I didn't want to watch the final Dollhouse ep in a fuzzy fever-filled haze ;)) and now finally found the time to watch it. (I was feeling like a really bad fan there, for a while ;)).

Anyway: the forced gap between watching the next-to-last episode and this one made for an awkward first few minutes of getting back into the show. Also, I really should've rewatched E1 before hand.

As for the episode itself, I liked it. I think there's a whole bunch of gaps and unanswered questions this episode leaves open (I was really hoping for a resolve of the Echo/Caroline thing, which got completely ignored here, for instance, and instantly wondered where the heck Saunders disappeared to, etcetera etcetera), but I'm guessing most of that stuff has already been discussed quite extensively in all the comments I have yet to read :).

This episode made me feel quite sorry again that the show didn't get to this place at its own tempo. The end result was totally awesome (even if the Mad Max-y style took some getting used to at first ;)), and I would've liked the show to get to this point a tad more slowly. It would've resonated much more emotionally, at least with me, if we'd seen Topher's or Adelle's or Victor's journey to get to where they were in this episode and then see their stories resolved.

Still though, all in all, I think this episode was a lot of fun, but kinda light weight. The plot especially was fairly simple, nearly deus ex machina-y. Topher thinks of a solution and then they kinda, just... solve things. Meh. What I did like was the atmosphere, the small and big characters moments (Adelle acting all motherly towards Topher, the Priya/Anthony moments, seeing WashAlpha being all nice), the acting (although I felt that the actor playing Zone felt 'off' somehow) and I loved that Maurissa turned up.

Looking back at the whole thing, Dollhouse turned out to be a show which I finally grew to really love in S2, after edging from my firm position on the fence bit-by-bit late S1/early S2. And after that happened, it all of a sudden... ended. Dollhouse had a few really high high points (I think Belonging is probably still my favorite episode), but also featured some un-ME-like bad writing (especially at the start of the first season; and I still really think the original pilot was much, much better than 'Ghost').

In the end the storyline had to be rushed because of the looming cancellation, which didn't improve the quality much, but at least the solid groundwork laid in all the episodes preceding the final two, made the ending more than engaging enough.

Overall, Dollhouse became my least favorite of Joss' works by a fair margin, but I certainly did enjoy the ride, the characters and the new actors introduced to this fandom, and look forward to whatever everyone involved serves up next.

So in closing I'd just like to say: goodbye Dollhouse! Thanks for the great times and until we meet again on DVD ;).

[ edited by GVH on 2010-02-19 02:50 ]
I just want to say that Epitaph Two, upon watching it 5 times has definetly become one of my favorite episodes of television. Ever. Period. I loved it.

the only thing that I hate is that we didn't have anymore time in the series to see everyone's back stories. It's burning me up a little bit that I may never know who Whiskey really was, how Adelle came to be head of the Dollhouse and I think the biggest one for me would be how Topher went crazy. I mean I know the guilt and the shame probably wore down his mind but I would've loved to have seen it ya know? I would've loved to see the moment where he really just lost it and Adelle realized she had to take care of him.

But other than that, as I've said before, I loved this episode, loved the series and I'm never going to forget it. Good-bye Dollhouse! Thanks to the cast, the writers, the food people, and anyone else who had their hands on this amazing series!
The plot especially was fairly simple, nearly deus ex machina-y. Topher thinks of a solution and then they kinda, just... solve things. Meh. What I did like was the atmosphere, the small and big characters moments (Adelle acting all motherly towards Topher, the Priya/Anthony moments, seeing WashAlpha being all nice), the acting (although I felt that the actor playing Zone felt 'off' somehow) and I loved that Maurissa turned up.

That's exactly how I felt about it, a bit plot-free yet satisfying. Except I liked Zone a lot! He cracked me up. Looking forward to re-watching and re-thinking the whole show again someday when I have more free time than I do now!
(Posting regardless, though, because catherine made me :p)

Ha. I'm so pushy. ;)
Although some of the plot points were a bit weak (a tad deus ex machina, there, with Topher's fix-it), ultimately this was everything I could have hoped for in a premature "Dollhouse" series finale. How many cancelled shows -- particularly sci-fi shows -- actually have a chance to provide closure on literally every character?

The fight scene was epic enough, but real props have to be handed to Eliza Dushku for her powerhouse breakdown after Paul's hugely unexpected death; "Epitaph Two" was likely her most powerful episode, although her dialogue with Boyd throughout all of "The Hollow Men" was excellently done as well.

Further props go to Penikett, Lachman and Gjokaj for their wonderfully played roles. Fran Kranz did the impossible this season and made me actually *care* about Topher's fate, and he did it with dramatic flair. Olivia Williams just outdid Tony Head this season as Whedon's resident Brit. There isn't any higher praise I can give her.

Ultimately, the most powerful image was Echo's fantasy from "Needs" finally being played out; the dramatic irony of the final fantasy the Dollhouse would grant was Echo/Caroline's was delightfully brought full circle. The resolution to Echo and Paul's relationship was wonderfully eccentric and metaphysical, and moving in an odd sort of way.

In the end, "Dollhouse" grew to be probably my favorite of Joss's projects -- it was frightening, thought-provoking, and challenging television. The second season was a shining moment, and I'm thankful that if "Dollhouse" had to get cancelled that it could go out on such a high note.

PS -- Does anyone know if there will be a "Dollhouse" soundtrack release? All of his other projects have had one; even "Firefly;" there were more than a few songs that I'd like to see collected on an album!
So Whiskey died in Epitaph One? That's sad. Amy Acker's my favorite actress ever so my heart goes out to all her characters. I really wish they would have expounded on her relationship with Topher though, not romantically, but in their own way. And Bennett, I never really liked Summer Glau until Bennett. Such a great character- even if she was pretty screwed up the first two episodes we meet her. My best friend and I often become frightened at the thought the Dollhouse might actually exist, which proves there are some heavily realistic ideals mixed in with the fantasy. My favorite show of all times! I never thought I'd like anything as much as Buffy or Angel, but this really hit me. Even the sci fi appealed to me- which isn't something normal for me.
And the newbies shall keep the thread going. Way to go, guys. I'd love to hear from more of our new arrivals, since they didn't get a change to join in the weekly comments in real time. Plus it would keep the thread from dying, and I could hang on to my denial for a bit longer. :)

And GVH (you slacker) ;), with some prodding from catherine.
Although I loved DH more than both of you put together, good to hear from you.
Hey Shey, just seen the finale in the UK. It blew me away. I gasped, I cried, cried a bit more and Boyd broke my heart. I loved it. I struggled with DH at the beginning but am glad I stayed with it. Nothing less than what we expect from Joss, and then some! Thanks everyone in DH, we hardly knew you but we loved you.
Didn't get to join till the show was way over, and thought this thread was long dead. Glad to see it isn't, so here it goes.

I absolutely loved the finale. Loved Topher's and Adelle's arcs, loved Mini Caroline and Zone, loved how Alpha proved his love for Echo was indeed supreme. Loved Echo/Paul ending and how it resonated show's central question of "what is a person", and how it meant that Echo's specialness was important in the end not on a global world saving level but on a level very personal to her.

Sure, it would be great to see the stories slowly develop over several seasons, but to me the finale hit all the right notes for all characters and relationships, and made it possible to imagine how everybody got to where they ended up in 2020.

After a lot of thinking and comparing, I am now convinced that Dollhouse is the Whedon show I loved the most. All of them were great and all of them made me really care for the characters, but none was as thought provoking, complex, and unconventional (great thing for me) as Dollhouse.

Huge thanks to everybody involved in making the show possible. I wish the cast and crew best of luck in the future, and am looking forward to seeing their names and faces on my screen. And, Joss, you made my world better. Again.

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