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For the character, see Echo.

"Echoes" is the seventh episode of Dollhouse. It was written by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain and directed by James Contner. The episode aired on March 27th, 2009.


"Echoes" was produced in November 2008.


A deadly virus outbreak on a college campus sends Echo back to school where pieces of her past come into focus.


Adelle DeWitt and Topher are informed that one of only two vials of a powerful drug is believed to have been stolen from the Rossum Corporation and released as some kind of virus on a local university campus. One student, Owen, is already dead after repeatedly bashing his head against a fortified glass window; other students are being collected. Topher diagnoses that the virus breaks down inhibitions, but because of the part of the brain that it affects, he thinks the Actives won't be affected by it.

Adelle sends a group of Actives, led by Victor in the guise of an NSA agent Tom Voran, with Sierra as an anesthesiologist to sedate anyone on the campus displaying symptoms. However, both Topher and Adelle begin to show signs that they are also infected by the virus, which Topher eventually realizes is transferred by touch. He also eventually realizes that the Actives can also be affected by it, but for them, it releases repressed memories (which the Wipes supposedly removed).

Echo is on a dream date with Matt Cargill as Alice, but on seeing a news report about the outbreak, she feels compelled to go there, abandoning her client. Boyd Langdon follows, attempting to take her away by asking her to go for her treatment, but Echo refuses. Langdon is also affected by the virus soon after.

Not recognizing Echo, Victor as Tom Voran takes her for another infected student, and has her put with others to be sedated. There, Echo meets a friend of Owen's, who claims that he wants to find out what Rossum's involvement is due to his friend's death. Echo, unaware that she had attended this university as Caroline Farrell, recalls that there is a way into the Rossum Building, and eventually leads Samuel inside. Once in the lab, Samuel quickly locates the vial containing the drug.

However, Echo realizes Samuel found it too quickly; Samuel admits that he and Owen had stolen it from Rossum, intending to sell it to a competitor for a fortune. He infected Owen after Owen changed his mind about selling the vial, thinking that Owen would merely be intoxicated, but Echo points out that he is still guilty for Owen's death. Samuel pours some of the solution on a cloth and holds the cloth over Echo's mouth and nose, intending to escape her while she is helpless under the drug.

The drug, however, releases Caroline's memories of when she and her boyfriend Leo had broken into this same building, thinking to uncover unethical experiments on animals, only to find evidence that Rossum was also experimenting on human subjects, fetuses, and so on, as well as animals. A Rossum security guard shoots Leo, who ends up dying in front of Caroline. In the grip of this memory, Echo tackles Samuel, believing him to be Leo, and pleads with him not to die and leave her. This allows Boyd, although still affected by the virus, to capture Samuel and convince Echo to come for a treatment.

Most of the campus recovers from the virus after enough time passes. Meanwhile, Adelle makes a deal with Samuel. She tells him she is aware of his mother's financial difficulties: in fact, her house is due to be re-possessed by the bank. However, if Samuel accepts the deal to work as an Active for five years, during that time, his mother will receive a monthly stipend that will cover all her financial needs. After five years, Adelle promises that Samuel will be released from his contract and will have enough money to be able to support his mother himself.

As all this is going on, Mellie is disappointed to learn that Paul still intends to investigate the Dollhouse, even though that brought an attempted assassination on her. She breaks up with him, and decides to leave for a time in order to clear her head. Paul doesn't know that she is actually returning to the Dollhouse as November.


Active Client Alias Personality Mission
Echo Matt Cargill Alice Innocent twenty-something Dream Date
Sierra Rossum Corporation Dr. Gawas Anesthesiologist Investigate viral outbreak
Victor Rossum Corporation Tom Voran NSA Investigate viral outbreak
November In House November Active state Test Subject



"This is the show we expected from Joss and Co."
TV Guide Recap
"For everyone out there complaining that “Dollhouse” doesn’t bring the funny the way Whedon shows of old did, this one was for you."
Zap2It Recap
"This was a terrific episode. (...) The series has improved tremendously and is starting to be a terrific piece of science fiction."
TV Squad Recap
"An imperfect but very satisfying balance between goofy stoner(ish) comedy and shadowy corporate chicanery, tonight’s hour started answering some questions about the origins of Dollhouse and Echo’s involvement with it, while holding many of the characters in the sort of debilitating (though temporary) hocus-pocus that would happen often on Buffy and Angel."
A.V. Club Recap
"This is not a great episode of television. But the details within it do increase the intrigue of the show."
The TV Critic Review


"Echoes" reached a 2.4/4 Rating/Share, a 1.42/4 Rating/Share in the 18-49 demographic and a 1.6/4 Rating/Share in the 25-54 demographic. 58.33% of the audience was in the 18-49 demographic. The episode was watched by 3.402 million viewers Live, 3.870 million viewers Live+SD and 4.821 million viewers Live+7. The episode averaged a 1.19 Rating in the 18-49 demographic Live, a 1.42 Live+SD and a 1.96 Live+7. Overall "Echoes" had 1.419 million DVR viewers. 29.4% of all viewings of "Echoes" happened via DVR.

"Echoes" reached the 69th rank of all primetime shows airing that week comparing Live+SD viewers (65th when comparing Live+7 viewers) and 64th rank comparing the Live+SD 18-49 demographic (56th when comparing the Live+7 demo).


Main cast[]

Recurring roles[]

Guest starring[]


"Indomitable... Ooh, I could eat that word! Or a crisp. (half-beat) Do we have crisps?"
Adelle DeWitt, under the influence of the drug


  • This the episode that introduces the Rossum Corporation. We also get to see Caroline Farrell for the first time since the opening of "Ghost". Mellie's designation is revealed to be "November".
  • The building shown as the outside of the frat house where the affected people are being kept is the Associated Students building at San Jose State University. The two buildings in the background are MacQuarrie Hall (on the left) and Duncan Hall (on the right).
  • When Topher meets Clive Ambrose, he greets him by saying, "Third richest man in the country; nominated for a Nobel Prize..." According to, the names of the nominees cannot be revealed until 50 years later, so the only way that Topher would know this is through the Dollhouse's network of influential clients and other clandestine sources of information.
  • The motorcycle that Echo rides in this episode is a Ducati 1098.
  • Topher's "Listen to me, carefully. I've got a huge phalanx of machines that go ping." could be an allusion to the Monty Python film The Meaning of Life. In the first part, "The Miracle of Birth", there is a machine in the hospital which the doctors refer to as "the machine that goes ping".
  • Topher also says "As long as we keep the place locked down and don't have any more X-factors, then here I come to save the day". "Here I come to save the day!" is a catchphrase used by the cartoon character Mighty Mouse, star of The Mighty Mouse Playhouse and other cartoon and comic book series.
  • The Rossum Corporation, and the Rossum Building on campus, takes its name from Karel Èapek's 1931 science-fiction stage play R.U.R., later translated to English under the full title of Rossum's Universal Robots. The play introduced (and popularized) the term robot in reference to automatons. In the play, the robots are not purely mechanical systems, but rather organic creatures assembled in a factory, more resembling the current definition of "clone" than that of "robot".


  • During Caroline's flashback whilst telling her friends of Rossum "Portions For Foxes" by Rilo Kiley plays.
  • "Fantaisie Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Op. 66" by Chopin is played by Boyd on the piano.
  • "For Everything A Reason' by Carina Round plays as Mellie tells Ballard she is leaving.

Promotional Photos[]

External Links[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Seidman, Robert (March 28, 2009). Friday Ratings: NCAA cruises to victory, Dollhouse drops. TV by the Numbers.