TV Review – Dollhouse (S1, E1)

The first season of Dollhouse came out this week on DVD and Bluray, and as some of you may know they (thankfully) included both the unaired pilot and the 13th unaired episode “Epitath One.” To celebrate this I am going to watch the season as it is meant to be seen, and give you my thoughts on the episodes (As you may have noticed I usually only write reviews for the season finale of TV shows. Though I might include a little about the season on the whole, it is usually difficult for me to remember because it is spread out over so many months, so then my reviews tend to suffer. Or I just wouldn’t end up writing one. Hopefully this will work out much better).

Original Unaired Pilot “Echo”


I thought this version of the pilot did really well with introducing the audience to the world of Dollhouse, as well as to those that reside within. It starts with boss lady DeWitt explaining what a doll is as a few of Echo’s (Eliza Dushku) previous imprints play across the screen, making the dialog easier for us visual learners to take in. This also kept it from feeling like those moments in films or TV when the audience is sat down for a lesson on the exposition of the story. On a similar note, I really liked how they introduce the characters because they aren’t blatantly obvious introductions. No one is wearing his or her “‘Hi my name is’ nametag. Ask me what I do.” But it is still easy to get the gist.

I guess the reason for this version getting put on the backburner is because so much of the questions for the remainder of the season were being asked in this episode: Who is Alpha? Who’s pulling the strings of the puppet master (DeWitt)? What happened to Dr. Saunder’s (Amy Acker) face? Why is Echo recognizing/remembering details from past imprints? (PS – I loved the conversation at the end between DeWitt and Topher where he says Echo knows where to aim to mortally wound someone, and DeWitt responds that she would then know where not to aim, implying that for some reason (possibly subconsciously) she chose to miss vital organs.)

Sure this episode gave us a lot to chew on, but the audience isn’t stupid, and I think we could have handled it had they chose to air it.

Final Grade: B-

PS – Anyone notice that when Echo points to the picture of Ballard’s ex-wife the next shot shows a close up of the photo that is clearly visible on the bookshelf behind her? That would be really sad if he only had that one picture and chose to decorate his whole apartment with it… But like he said, he has a hard time letting things go…

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