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July 28, 2014

Review: Dollhouse - Epitaph Two (series finale)

by Brad Trechak, posted Jan 30th 2010 12:15AM
Dollhouse(S02E13) What words can be used to describe Joss Whedon's latest complete series on television? "Weird" is one. "Rushed" is another.

Granted, the show only had slightly more than a full season's worth of episodes to establish itself (26 in all), but Dollhouse never really felt like something Joss really cogitated on and imagined from the bottom of his soul and thought through every detail. The series felt more like a favor he was doing for Eliza Dushku to prevent her from being typecast as a tough chick, with some clever bits thrown in.

Overall, the series wasn't as good as his previous attempts, but still much better than 99% of the other crap on television. Major spoilers follow after the jump.

Had the series continued, would there have been an Epitaph Three, Four and Five? It was the most clever piece of the series. It's hard to believe that the concept only came from a need to film an emergency 13th episode on the cheap.

The big shock of the episode was Paul's death. He lasted so long just to be wiped out from a lucky bullet? Joss and company are good at tricks like that, and it did drive home the theme that nobody is dead so long as they are remembered (plus a little piece of Paul will live forever in Echo's mind).

The lack of opening and closing credits was very cool and I wish more shows would adopt such a habit. Was the same thing done with Epitaph One? I don't recall.

What happened to Whiskey from Epitaph One? Perhaps Alpha did. We'll never know. Obviously Alpha became a good guy within 10 years. It beats being the Joker knock-off that he was. When I saw that the deceased Summer Glau (by that I mean her character, not the actress) was a guest-star, I was hoping for a Firefly mini-reunion. Oh well.

The "future slang" was kind of funny, with terms like "butchers" and "dumb shows". Also technology related terms like "power down a sec" and "log off". Alpha had the best line in the episode: "It spoke to the schizophrenic in me. Both of them."

Anthony/Victor's role in the show ended up being a tribute to Mad Max. How on Earth was Priya able to raise a kid in that environment? Still, it was probably better than raising him in (insert really bad city here).

The biggest problem of the ending was that apparently Topher suddenly had the capability of curing everyone (along with acting like a sacrificial savior). That conflicts with what we're told before about imprinting. The original personality of anybody that is wiped, unless it's copied to a hard drive (or flash drive in the case of ten years later. It's surprising they didn't use solid-state drives in the first place), is gone. It seemed like a rushed Hollywood ending and was awkward in conjunction with the apocalyptic tone of the series.

Sorry Joss. There was some really good stuff there towards the end but this one wasn't a winner. That being said, I'm still looking forward to the next one.

[Watch clips and episodes of Dollhouse at SlashControl.]

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dcg2u

I loved the show and am angry it ended. I like Eliza D, Echo was very smart and entertaining. I thought Tru C was a great show as well. Until they messed it up with the freak. I don't know what ya'll are talking about on this one. I enjoyed every show, every time they aired. They should have been given a better/longer chance. What is wrong with you people? Entertainment! I am not watching to pick it apart. I loved the Topher and Bennett characters as well. Excellent. Too sad, your bad.

February 05 2010 at 5:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris

"Rushed" is the key word. In watching the episodes of Season 2, I often felt "well, that episode was the Cliff notes version of what we would have learned in Season 5." I think, had the show been allowed to unfold over time, the way Joss usually does, this could have been his best, most mature program. As it is, we have the equivalent of fragments of a lost masterpiece.

February 04 2010 at 9:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jay

Loved the show completely. Epitaph 1 was one of the best hour on TV. Epitaph 2 was great too but was obviously rushed. However, there was one fact that I couldn't get over; Laurence Dominic's story was blatantly contradictory. In Epitaph 1 he was pulled out of the Attic as the chaos started and still hating Echo like he did before he was sent there. In "The Attic", they seemed to have allied themselves.
Paul's death, Echo's outburst and her closure was a really good and moving "death story" but I have never seen a more "beautiful death" than Wes' in Angel's finale -
Demon Fred: Shall I lie to you know?
Wes: Oh yes please!
- but I guess Joss was given a lot more time to build that one up

February 03 2010 at 3:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jay's comment
timhoover

jaY-how could epitaph 1 be one of the best hours on tv,when the fox jerks never aired it?

February 28 2010 at 5:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ricky

I like the finale, but was disappointed in that you had to watch Epitaph One. If they made it available on Hulu/Fox, that's one thing; but to make us buy an episode to know what's going on for the finale? The teaser didn't give enough background to those who hadn't watched it.
How did things break down in just 8 years? Why was there anarchy to that bad of an extent.

The ending was too neat and tidy for me. Just because people got themselves back didn't make everything alright. There is still a society to rebuild.

February 01 2010 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
thepassenger

I recall the term "dumb show" from Shakespeare, meaning a pantomime play.

January 31 2010 at 7:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordy

Paul's death reminded me of the T:SCC finale, down to the bullet in the forehead of the male supporting the alpha female. Maybe this was Joss' mea culpa.

Funny, Eliza waited until one of the last scenes of the series to show her acting chops. Oh well. Better late than never.

I enjoyed this series while it lasted.

January 31 2010 at 6:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Greg

Season 1 up to Man On The Street was a mess partly because they gave Dollhouse the Firefly treatment, meaning that they aired episodes out of the intended order and screwed around with the tone of the show.

They did the same thing for a couple of episodes this season before they didn't care no more and let Joss do his own thing knowing that they were going to cancel it anyway.

The episode was a very good way to end the show. I do think that Fox should have aired Epitaph One before this one, would've helped the people who did not get the chance to see that episode on the DVD/Blu-ray and/or Itunes etc understand the episode a little better.

I would have loved to see Alpha evolve into the person he was in last nights episode. The episode that he took Ballard's wedge showed he felt something he didn't know he could when he was leaving the Dollhouse but that felt unfinished.

Overall Joss did a very good job. Perhaps if Fox would have given Joss a few more episodes for this season it would have felt a little less rushed but I was more than satisfied with this finale.

January 30 2010 at 6:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Greg's comment
Casey

I agree, an episode or webisodes showing a time period between 2010 and 2019 would be great. Maybe one of those times when Echo "let Paul in" and some interaction with Alpha, like when they first found him after the initial chaos. There was so much story to mine that I felt cheated by Fox.

January 31 2010 at 12:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan

Okay S1 was not perfect. But S2 (after the first two or so episodes) WAS perfection. Of course maybe a part of that was them knowing the show could very well end this season and had a more focused plan of where they wanted to take it, but it still meant one of the best seasons I've seen from ANY TV show I've watched the past year (and trust me I watch A LOT of TV).

The finale was great considering what they had to work with. All of the "off" stuff the reviewer mentioned are too nitpicky and could be disproved if one really think about it. Both Epitaph episodes, I feel, require one to watch them more than once before everything sort of registers. Lots of things happening, etc.

January 30 2010 at 2:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SISSERS

Im thinking as I was watching the previews before the show started, that this finale was supposed to be 2 parts. We didnt get to see the first one because of the telethon last week, and FOX didnt air it before the second one last night. Because there were scenes in the previews that I know I havent watched, like when the little girl was imprinted as Echo. Or did I miss something? That would explain why it felt so rushed. It needed to be a solid 2 hours to tie up lose ends. Otherwise I cant wait to get the DVD set!! I loved this show. Started a bit slow, but it really grew on me.

January 30 2010 at 12:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to SISSERS's comment
misguided

Screw you haters! This show was amazing and not a "favor". It requires an imagination which most people don't have. They need it fed to them.

January 30 2010 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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