Dollhouse (2009–2010)
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FBI Agent Paul Ballard searches for Caroline, a missing person, who may be connected to a Dollhouse. A place that people say doesn't exist.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Echo / Shauna Vickers
Hayden Leeds


Echo is an 'active' one of several volunteers who work at the Dollhouse, a secret and illegal international organization that rents out programed people for their high-paying clients needs. Paul Ballard is an ambitious FBI agent who relentlessly asserts the existence of the Dollhouse, despite incredulous claims by fellow agents and superiors that it does not exist. Adelle DeWitt, director for the Los Angeles Dollhouse branch, suspects someone from the inside is aiding Ballard in his investigation, so she programs Echo to stop him. Written by matt-282

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

28 July 2009 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The song playing at about 4 minutes in is Front Line Assembly's Civilization of the album Epitaph. See more »


Langton tells Echo that their insider at St. Paul's Hospital has informed them that Agent Ballard is still alive. When Echo goes to the hospital to finish the job, the sign at the entrance very clearly identifies the place as St. Michael's Hospital. See more »


[first lines]
Adelle DeWitt: The world is a very simple place... at first. Then, as we grow up, it grows around us, a dense thicket of complication and disappointment. Unbearable for some. And even for the luckiest of us, still sometimes more than we can handle. Less than we'd hoped.
See more »


References Roger & Me (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

good enough, intriguing but not brilliant
20 December 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews


The good; A solid introduction to the workings of the Dollhouse and the various characters we will encounter over the course of the series. Love Echo at the wedding reception and Victor being a doll is sure a shock. Interesting debate between Topher and Boyd, they seem closer here than in Ghost.

The bad; You can see why the network demanded a re-shoot, very little action and kinda hard to like the characters, especially when Echo shoots Agent Ballard. Also stretches credibility that there's no sex involved, reminiscent of the holosuites in ST;TNG

Best line; Victor's "People are mostly crap!" just beating Topher's "Morality is programming" (or do they mean the same thing?)

Packing heat; Echo shoots Ballard with his own gun.

Kinky dinky; Astonishingly in this first ep there's no sex whatsoever except for a little kissy kissy at the wedding reception. Addy remarks to the client about hiring girls to dress as cheerleaders for him. Topher justifies him being in the Dollhouse because it is "Cutting edge science in a house full of hot chicks". Personally all the naked showering scenes do little or nothing for me, when the actives don't have their personalities implanted they act like stoned children and I just find it extremely creepy (nudity in itself is seldom erotic, the context is everything).

Capt subtext; Addy's client is a little too eager to turn down the offer of a male doll. Victor says that he wants to be Doris Day (cut to Sierra looking just like her or actually a little more Jackie O perhaps?)

How'd they get away with that? The sociopath assassin Echo is programmed with is hard to take, she's loathsome but your heart bleeds for a girl who's been running from the police since she was 5. Still hard to watch Ballard threaten her though but this being a Joss show she turns the tables. Boyd seems pretty callous just abandoning a wounded Ballard but in fairness the police are on their way.

This weeks fantasy; Echo is a vengeful streetwalker, besotted fiancé, damaged goods assassin and rehab girl. Sierra is Jackie O, Victor is a Russian gangster

Total number personalitites; Echo; 4 Sierra; 1 Victor; 1

Total dolls;3 We meet Victor, Echo and Sierra

Addy is a bit British; Likes her tea

Topher is a bit geeky; His lab is an ubergeeks playground complete with gum-ball machine and whack-a-mole arcade machine

Dolls injured; Sierra with an unexplained cut on her face

Happy hookers; Essentially the Dollhouse is the ultimate fantasy brothel, amazing that Joss was able to get that onto the screen but I guess The Sopranos, The Shield etc led the way. Here we actually have Echo beating up a pimp and packing his latest working girl off home, rather hypocritical given the nature of the Dollhouse, is what Addy and co do that different to what he does?

Know the face? 2 Joss Whedon regulars, Amy Acker and Eliza Dushku.

Guantanamo; The conspiracy starts here, the power and reach of the Dollhouse is truly terrifying

Fanfic; Plenty where Echo and the girls get to dress up as cheerleaders and 'Bring it on'.

Missing scenes; Interesting missing scenes with Echo saving the girl in a spiral of self-destruction but the Dollhouse seems a bit TOO altruistic

Reminds me off; The dolls sleeping pods are very Alien whilst the Dollhouse itself is reminiscent of the Wolfram and Hart set in Angel.

Questions and observations; Gotta say I prefer Echo to Ghost although I can see why the network didn't. Do we ever meet Ballards ex? Addy seems to imply they're all dammed.

7 out of 10, good enough, intriguing but not brilliant

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