Skip to main content
What's in the tea? A Dollhouse re-watch.

What's in the tea? A Dollhouse re-watch.

By What's in the tea? A Dollhouse re-watch.
A re-watch of Joss Whedon's series Dollhouse! Siblings and long term Whedonverse fans Gemma and Rowan discuss their viewing of Dollhouse which began in 2010 ish and continued during many moves to different countries and across many years and formats with the elusive second season still eluding them. Can they reach the end of the series? Can you? Will we ever find out what is in the tea? Or whether Topher lives in the Dollhouse full time? Listen to our discussion of this noughties Eliza Dushku, Olivia Williams and Fran Kranz extravaganza to find out. Contact us at
Where to listen
Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo


Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


Episode 13: Whence this clown?
Well, here we are at the end (sort of) of series 1 of Dollhouse - Epitaph 1. What a ride. Suddenly we are transported into the future with some cheesy dystopian teens talking in clockwork orange army jargon. There are a lot of guns and many many flashbacks and some jumps forward to wet the whistle for the second season.  We see Topher's first day in the Dollhouse and his demands for a trampoline and we see Topher at his lowest, curled in a ball in a sleeping pod. We ask how did Dr. Scar and Boyd get together? Why would you take a shower in the middle of an unknown warehouse/bunker during an apocalypse? Hasn't she seen horror films? Why would you give a child a gun? Is Ambrose just a wedge? Would Elon Musk wedge himself if he could (of course he would). What did DeWitt previously think the plan was? Why are all the dystopian teens Southern? How many November's have their been and who is Juliet? Has Echo killed Alpha? Why would you tattoo your own name on your back where you can't see it? Why do they have to go out the window on a rope-ladder and what's the rope-ladder attached to and who set it up?! Oh, and what is in that tea? (In this episode it appears to be neat vodka).  Oh and it seems that 'it goes in here and comes out here' is from a Tommy Dorsey song The Music Goes Round and Around. I think. Correct me if I am wrong - @gemmazoey on twitter Enjoy the episode peeps and see you for series 2! 
May 27, 2022
Episode 12: We're gonna stick her in a wedge
Welcome Listener! We are on episode 12, the penultimate (or last really, depending on your view) episode of the first season of Dollhouse - Omega.  In this episode we have multiple personalities and delight in Alan Tudyk gollumming and Frankensteining around manically. We learn that the dolls have GPS strips in their necks like puppies. We wonder does Topher actually like the Prodigy or did he just find the t-shirt in a thrift store? Does he even go to gigs? When was the last time he got out in the fresh air and socialised? Is Lars actually still having fun in his Tarrantino fantasy? Did he forget his safe word? Just what is residual noise and what is Topher doing with that multimeter? Probably Rowan knows the answer to this better than Gemma who is very lost. Alpha chockablocks around on his bank of improbable computers and for those uninitiated this is the 80s classic Chockablock -  Is Alpha playing dumb with the handler and why don't they notice him just standing in the middle of the room for ages glaring at people? What the hell do Sierra and November do once they are programmed and then never seen again in the episode?  Who is the most scary, the scientist or the muscle? Why is it pronounced San Peeedro and why are they not all vitamin D deficient when living in the dingy Dollhouse? Do Dr. Scar and Toph have a past? Why did he make her so that she would hate him? How great would it be if Faith Lehane was in the series of flashbacks Echo has? (Answer, pretty great). What the hell is a scissor pud and most importantly...what's in the tea?!  Do please get in contact on or leave a voice message on our homepage 
February 13, 2022
Episode 11: Just because we can move forward, must we?
Wellllll, hello listener! Welcome to epsiode 11 of Dollhouse - Briar Rose. In this ep we are absolutely overwhelmed with sub plots and storylines, moles within moles! The one with the big reveal! We wonder what the difference between Briar Rose and Sleeping Beauty is and confuse ourselves with fairy tale plot lines. We try to keep up with the many layers and metaphors going on. We feel sorry for the writers who put in a whole b-plot that must have been edited out - links to screenshots of newspaper articles about the body found in the cold open - We are uncomfortable with Dullard and wonder if we are meant to be. We learn what a stair riser is and that we too are afraid of stairs with them missing. We also learn who Paul Bunyan is, but why the blue ox? Why was this whole bit put in if it was not really referred to again? Who was the man in the dumpster?  Why doesn't Dullard care about the other dolls, is it because he just doesn't fancy them? Who wouldn't fancy Victor?! Who sent the encrypted thumb drive to First Name Last Name? What exactly does happen to people in the attic?  Is Alpha toying with all of them? And most importantly, where is Judith with that tea?
December 20, 2021
Episode 10: I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, you're dead.
Welcome to episode 10 of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse - Haunted. The one with the horses and the characters we don't care about, the oedipal stuff, Topher being cute on his birthday, Eliza hamming it up and a return of the elusive tea deliverer Judith. We discuss the anterior interior cortex (or rather Rowan does) and enjoy Dichen Lachman as always but Gemma is not a fan of Topher's cardigan in this one. We continue to hate the Mellie/Dullard dynamic which reaches a gross climax (pun intended) in this episode which troubles us. Gemma is impressed and horrified by whiskey drinking acting and horse rearing in that order.  We ask, why Margaret is wearing kitten heels alone in her bedroom, why Dullard has to bag a wine glass, couldn't he just have got some of her hair for goodness sake? Does Topher live in the Dollhouse? If so, why? Why aren't people recognising the dolls if so many people are using them in L.A.? What is the timing of the denouement? Why is she horse riding in the middle of the night and why are the rest of them up as well? Does Joss have body dysmorphia? Does he fit the plot around trying to get Tahmoh Penikett naked? How hard can it be to find the gorram Dollhouse anyway and what would you do if you went back as another person to solve your own murder? It probably wouldn't be, hey, I just found a letter that predicted I was going to die and planting a weird rewriting of your own will that can't be explained.  Finally, how DO you access the Dollhouse? Is it like Deliveroo?  Phew, enjoy Haunted and find us on 
October 20, 2021
Episode 9: Elementary Dear Echo
Welcome to Episode 9, A Spy in the House of Love, of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse starring Oliva Williams, Dichen Lachman and the lovely Fran Kranz oh and Eliza Dushku might be there wearing some leather.  In this episode, there's a mole somewhere in the Dollhouse! Topher finds a chip and is freaking out! This is the one with Woger and Oliva in a smoking hot fencing outfit and where First Name Last Name gets sent to the attic. Eek.  We wonder what Amy Acker (whose character name I still haven't solidified in my mind) really thinks about the Dollhouse and why she is there. Why Topher opens up to Echo in the first place and where Boyd's morals lie (it's complicated says Joss, probably).  On this weeks TV tropes watch we wonder if anyone really has a wall with string irl ( here's the TV tropes link if anyone wanted it, they call it String Theory). Other tropes include 'just one more thing' detective work and windows that smash satisfyingly into neat knife like shards to be used as weapons. Topher's sweater is probably itchy and he is clearly bewildered by the idea of a girl liking him (gay gay gay) but it's ok, he's in neuroplastic heaven. We wonder how the doll's don't remember waking up in the house and how Mellie's hypnotism is triggered; by the buttons on Dullard's shirt?  We imagine actually being on a train and someone sitting next to you who is dressed as you down to the last detail. HOW DID SHE KNOW WHAT THE WOMAN WOULD BE WEARING? Finally, did Echo plant the chip revealing the spy to get rid of First Name Last Name? Are Boyd and Topher et al given counselling after this horrific event? Are they all just really messed up? Phew, we definitely need some of that tea.  Send us a line at on your thoughts on A Spy In the House of Love. 
October 09, 2021
Episode 8: Grow a belly, sew a quilt
In which the dolls wake up in their coffin beds and somehow have no memory of why they are there and Amy Acker decides to 'let the tide wash in' to give them all closure so that they settle down. Mike does a bad job of small talk at pancakes and Echo keeps looking at the cameras. Victor and Sierra are cute and we love them and Boyd is cuddly as always.  We wonder why Victor's 'civilian' clothes include a thong and what was Mike's closure about and why was he there anyway? What is the mountain that Echo keeps harping on about and what do they do when they get to Z (Zulu?) in the phonetic alphabet, do they move to numbers like The Prisoner?  We learn that Mellie had a dead daughter and Dullard is ridiculously stupid when it comes to bugs - why doesn't he put it in a crisp packet?! All the dolls conveniently have closure at the same time like a fairy tale and Topher is afraid of the dark. Olivia has good arms and good rhetoric and Topher says it best when he says 'I can advance the proteins corrosion of long term potentiation'. You can advance our proteins any day Toph and we'll protect you from the dark even if you are mostly sociopathic.  Welcome to Episode 8, Needs. Send us a line to say anything (nice things) at
July 23, 2021
Episode 7: Drawer of inappropriate starches
We discuss episode 7 and read our correspondence of 10 years ago after watching this episode in different countries. Ah, the memories.  In the episode, DeWitt and Topher get high and we love it, we learn that Caroline was an animal rights activist with a soppy boyfriend and we don't love it, the Rossum Corporation are somehow connected to the Dollhouse (and robots) and have produced a yellow drug of indeterminable usage which makes everyone high. Boyd knocks someone out and Mellie leaves and we see a more human side to First Name Last Name.  Some questions that will never be answered; does anyone ever actually have those blueprints of buildings when conducting a heist? Does DeWitt believe she is doing good work? Does Mellie have a fake job? Is Whedon a Pratchett fan? How does Boyd get away with wondering around knocking people out and shooting people every episode? Who wants this drug anyway and what would they use it for?!  Enjoy episode 7 of Dollhouse ramble recap - Echoes. 
April 04, 2021
Episode 6: There are three flowers in a vase
In which we discuss episode 6 - Man on the Street, the episode that was intended as the pilot.  Welcome back to another roller coaster, this episode discusses the moral implications of the Dollhouse. We wonder how Ballad is still working at all, what is he supposed to be working on? Just what IS the name of one of Patton Oswalt's businesses and why is he so loveable (we love Patton). Why does takeaway always come in those same container in American TV? Is it a prop department trope?  What HAS happened to Ballad to make him want to rescue women in this way, does Patton have his number?  Why are there so many handlers that we have never seen before? How did Herne the Hunter think he was going to get away with this? Is there precedent, what normally happens to people who get punished in the Dollhouse?  Most importantly, how did they know Ballad would go out for a takeaway and where he would go and how did they know the phone would go to answer machine?  Questions questions and so many wobbly grey areas of moral certitude. 
February 15, 2021
Episode 5: True Believer
Join us, Gemma and Rowan, for a slow in arriving episode re-watch of Joss Whedon's The Dollhouse. In episode 5, True Believer, Echo/Eliza/Caroline is a blind cult member called Esther, Boyd is a cuddly action man again and Ballad does, well, fuck all to be honest.  In this episode, Rowan is confused between the floomfy haired cult members and Gemma still doesn't know Amy Acker's character name. Our Bible studies fail us horribly in this religious laden episode with many a reference to the Garden of Eden and probably much more we missed. Ballad is given the SAME DVD AS LAST TIME. WHY? and watches it over and over. Amy Acker and Fran Kranz have some quality comedy time together and we see First Name Last Name's true colours.  We ask, why DOES Olivia seem to like Echo so much? Just how long can the cold open go on? Is Topher a psychopath? How did Echo/Esther do her make up so well if blind? Can you hear a smile? Do blind people really do that stroking faces things and could you really recognise a person you'd never met this way?  Also up for question, why is the FBI unit in Hollywood watching local Arizona news? We fail to understand Captain Nathan Sparrow's motivation behind the cult, does he have a fire proof room? We are disappointed by his lame cult inductions, where are the candles the long white gowns, the incantations? How does Ballad have such bad security as an FBI agent that even dippy Mellie can break in? How many man reactions did Victor have in the shower? Did Topher have a man reaction watching the tapes of Victor's man reaction? Will the term man reaction ever stop being funny?  Most importantly, did the episode fulfil the correct number of Eliza compliments? Did we mention that she's pretty? Did we?  Phew, enjoy and see you next time. 
February 02, 2021
Episode 4: Blue Skies baby
In which we – siblings Gemma and Rowan - discuss episode 4 of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, Gray Hour. In this episode’s dubious plot, Eliza is Taffy, a safe cracking high heel wearing criminal who is retrieving some stolen artwork from a safe. Uhoh though, someone uses remote wet wipes to reprogramme her. Confusingly, the tagline for this episode is also that of the environmental youth group I am a member of -  The episode starts as it means to go on, with some casual homophobia and some sleazy male gazery and moves into the realm of heist tropes. How many can we count? More importantly, why is she called Taffy? Who is Judith? Is Topher actually more ripped than is feasible for a noughties nerd living in a dystopian indoor environment? Does he really eat all that veg in his fridge? Is Yumio Takahashi really trying to steal Topher’s credit? Are you a broken cucumber or a chowder head? How have we never realised that losing your marbles is a reference to the Elgin Marbles? Or did we just make that up. We consider a Sierra and Topher spin off and reminisce on Knight Rider. Phew, it’s a time listener, enjoy.
December 28, 2020
Episode 3: Friends help each other out
Welcome to What's in the Tea, a podcast where we re-watch Joss Whedon's Dollhouse episode by episode.  Episode 3, Stage Fright; Someone tries to set fire to a singer and Dichen Lachman is here hooray, but what is her purpose? Did they really plan for her to be kidnapped? Noone knows but we love her anyway. We question why Amy Acker's voice is so seductive all the time and whether Topher is making a really shit computer game in his spare time. Is Rayna's band name Bread? Can you make a monkey tango? Who polishes DeWitt's floor and why isn't it ruined by her high heels. Why is she just staring at a blank computer screen, did Topher not turn it on for her? How shit is the painting Echo is doing at the end and what would have Faith's song in Once More With Feeling have been? Most of all, is the whole thing Topher's dream from his low level developer job in some tech company? 
November 19, 2020
Episode 2: Shoulder to the wheel
In which we meet another misogynist Dollhouse client dealing with the trauma of a toxic father; we learn more of the trauma (and bloodshed) Alpha left behind when he wrought havoc on the Dollhouse and Echo reveals her slate is not being totally wiped clean.  We enjoy Topher's outfits and unique phrasings and Olivia William's precise enunciation. We speculate on the use of fairy tales; ideas of consent and misogyny; why Topher needs so many layers anyway; the Dollhouse's recruitment techniques; how they are keeping this whole operation so secret and just what is in that tea?! 
October 30, 2020
Episode 1: A lot of exposition
Well here we go, right into the fray. Eliza is in leather (a lot); Topher has some eye popping outfits and is troublingly endearing; there is a sweaty fed boxing who is fairly easy on the eye; Oliva has some lovely shirts and pencil skirts (Gemma notices outfits a lot); Amy Acker is here and she's covered in face scars; some dubious gangsters are kidnapping little girls; some moral pondering is done whilst overlooking zombified people in a Google-type environment wearing Gap clothes; Chekhov provides us with a subtle manila envelope with the word ALPHA in capital letters on it; and most importantly....WHAT IS IN THE TEA?! Phew...we're exhausted. Join us for a re-cap of Joss Whedon's complicated Sci-fi drama Dollhouse. 
September 25, 2020
Who are we?
Who are we? Brother and sister Whedonverse fans who watched Dollhouse simultaneously but in different countries many years ago but have NEVER SEEN THE END OF THE SERIES! Can they reach the end? Can you? Do you want to listen to them chat about this slightly peculiar noughties Joss Whedon Sci-Fi Eliza Dushku vehicle? Yeah, go on, you do. Pour yourself a cup of mysterious tea and join us for a re-watch. 
September 16, 2020