UPDATE, 3:38 p.m.: Spoiler alert! Just snagged ya'll some exclusive new info on "Epitaph One." A source whispers to me that "Epitaph One" comes from the writerly brains of Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. It's a totally non-finale-ish stand-alone episode, and—here's the crazy part—it's apparently set in the future, after the apocalypse, amidst total anarchy. And yes, I am describing an episode of Dollhouse, not a scene from Terminator. No word yet on where, when or how we might be able to see it if not on Fox, but just off the top of my head, Hulu, DVD/Blu-Ray and/or a special Comic-Con screening all come to mind. What sounds good to you?
Fox will not be airing the "13th episode" of Dollhouse, as tweeted by @drhorrible and @feliciaday. However, there appears to be some debate about what qualifies as a 13th episode and what qualifies as a season finale. Here's what we've sorted out about the end of Dollhouse...
Brace yourself, guys, because there's going to be math in this story.
Fox the television network ordered 13 episodes of Dollhouse. As everybody knows, they scrapped the original pilot, "Echo." So that is 13 less one, which brings us down to 12. The 12th and final episode that Fox the television network ordered and paid for and will air is called "Omega" and was written and directed by Tim Minear (who has told us he "can't wait" for us to see it). Focused on the Alpha storyline, sources say that "Omega" apparently "closes some doors and opens other ones" and was always intended to be and to effectively serve as the season-one finale. ("Omega" logline, if you're into that kind of thing: "Alpha's reign of terror continues as his obsession with Echo endangers Caroline's survival. Ballard must make a life-changing decision, and one Doll is permanently deactivated while another's shocking past is revealed.")
Now, let's go back to the original equation and add in an episode called "Epitaph One." "Echo" the original pilot plus 12 episodes through "Omega" plus "Epitaph One" brings us to a total of 14 episodes.
The 14th episode, "Epitaph One," was produced and paid for by Fox the television studio. It was never ordered, requested or paid for by Fox the television network, and Fox the television network will not be airing "Epitaph One." Working on getting you more details about "Epitaph One," but it's said to be more of a "stand-alone" episode.
(Note: Tim Minear just posted on Whedonesque about "Epitaph One" saying, "Because we scrapped the original pilot—and in fact cannibalized some of its parts for other eps—we really ended up with 12 episodes. But the studio makes DVD and other deals based on the original 13 number. So we created a stand-alone kind of coda episode. Which is the mythical new episode 13. The network had already paid for 13 episodes, and this included the one they agreed to let us scrap for parts. It does not include the one we made to bring the number back up to 13 for the studio side and its obligations. We always knew it would be for the DVD for sure, but we also think Fox should air it because it's awesome.")
So, to summarize, Fox the television studio made 14 episodes of Dollhouse, and Fox the television network paid for the 13 that it originally ordered and is airing 12 of them.
A last, and very important, note: According to sources on the network side, the net's not picking up and airing "Epitaph One" has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not they pick up the series for a second season, a situation which, I'm told, is "100 percent in the decision phase." You can obviously believe them or not as you choose, but I take them at their word. I may be a sucker like that.
Got any thoughts on whether or not you'd like to see "Epitaph One" and/or a second season of Dollhouse? Post in the comments.
(Originally published April 9, 2009, at 1:31 p.m. PT)