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Eliza Dushku on Dollhouse, Epitaph One, and Echo's evolution

by Mike Moody, posted Sep 30th 2009 10:00AM
eliza dushku dollhouseIn last week's season premiere of Dollhouse, we learned that the usually empty-headed Echo is becoming self-aware and is now able to access memories from her many personality imprints.

This puts her in a very dangerous place, star Eliza Dushku told reporters during a conference call this week. While a self-aware Echo might be more fun and challenging for an actor to play than a "dumbed down Doll," Dushku reminded us that any sign of Echo's evolution in the Dollhouse might get her sent to "the attic," aka Doll hell.

The vulnerable Echo will be looking for allies this season, Dushku said. She and former FBI agent Paul Ballard (Tamoh Penikett) "may possibly be trying to bring down the Dollhouse from the inside," she teased. During the conference call, Dushku also talked about the unaired first season episode, "Epitaph One," working with Summer Glau, and she teased more origins and back stories for the show's other characters.

On "Epitaph One"

The show's ambitious unaired season one finale got a lot of viewers, including me, excited about its potential to tell a strange, dark and even epic story about the true dangers of the Dollhouse. That's probably one reason I was so disappointed with last week's mission-based season premiere. The Dr. Saunders-Topher subplot had some great moments, but the rest of the episode seemed like a regression back to the early days of season one. But Dushku said the premiere might have turned out differently if producer Joss Whedon had room to weave in references to "Epitaph One," as was originally planned. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, but Duhsku said Whedon plans to reference it later this season, and she hopes we get to see more of the dark, post-apocalyptic future.

Season Two Spoilers?

The new season will be "darker all around," Dushku said. Echo will be dealing with her lasting imprints and becoming her own person apart from Caroline, her original personality. Echo will even start to realize things she doesn't like about Caroline as she develops her own consciousness.

The show will also explore the origins of other Dolls (fingers crossed for a Sierra-centric ep!) and will offer more backstory for Adelle (Olivia Williams) and her role in the Rossum Corporation, the massive drug research conglomerate that owns the Dollhouse.

What about Summer Glau?

The former TSCC star has already filmed two episodes. "She came in with her A game," Dushku said about Glau, who plays a programmer for a Dollhouse based in Washington, DC. Dushku also said that Echo and Glau's characters have a "backstory" and will eventually have to "fight it out." (It sounds like Glau's programmer is a lot tougher than Topher.)

Despite the mostly frustrating season premiere, I still think Dollhouse will deliver some unique and engaging TV this season. I just hope we don't have to wait until the last few episodes to see it happen.

[Watch clips and episodes of Dollhouse on SlashControl.]

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Eric H

My problem is that after E1 I don't know how I feel about the series, knowing where it will end up it harder to care about some of the things that happen today. Example "Will Echo be sent to the attic?" "Maybe, but she get out later so its no big deal."

October 01 2009 at 12:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Eliza is strong enough to carry any show. i don't know what you over analyzing nerds are smoking.

September 30 2009 at 2:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

People seem to forget or ignore the fact that this was a Whedon/Dushku collabrative series and it seemed that there were some viewers even before it aired who said they wanted Summer Glau to be the star of the show. Its fine if you have a prefference of actress but the series was created as a vehicle for Eliza, and she still has a fan base. There also seems to be fans of the tired "Terminator" franchise who want to see "DollHouse" fail because Fox got rid of their show.

September 30 2009 at 11:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to divineparasite's comment

That's the key problem for Dollhouse. Without Dushku, it probably would not have existed, but with her, its less than it could be. She is just not strong enough to carry this show.

September 30 2009 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not at all for me. Loved TSCC, Love Dollhouse and I'm just happy to see my favorite actors working, and working together makes it even more fun. ;)

September 30 2009 at 1:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I worry that with Dushku as a producer of the show, she'll continue to force herself as the "star" to have the biggest role, when she's clearly one of the least capable actors on the series. I was hoping she'd realize it's not her star vehicle and let the other actors and characters grow. I think the revised opening credits are a bad sign in this regard--now it's all Dushku, all the time, and the larger mystery of the Dollhouse, and other cast members, are gone.

September 30 2009 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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