From reliable sources on the ‘ole Twitter feed, including @feliciaday and @drhorrible, comes news that FOX will not be airing the 13th and final episode of the first season of Dollhouse. After lots of semi-public wrangling between the network and creator Joss Whedon, the show premiered to fairly anemic ratings on Friday nights, but it has enjoyed some renewed critical attention from many (including myself) since the sixth episode, “Man On The Street,” which found the show moving past standalone stories and into the overarching plot. The 12th episode, called “Omega” (written and directed by Firefly co-creator Tim Minear), will air on May 15th. The 13th episode, called “Epitaph One” (directed by Whedon and written by Jed Whedon and Marissa Tancharoen), will be relegated to the DVD release, which is tentatively slated for release at the end of July, after Comic Con in San Diego.
Further developments can be tracked over at the Whedonesque and Dollverse fan sites. Remarkably, the lost episode is not necessarily a verdict on the fate of the series, which is still up in the air. Scuttlebutt says that like a lot of Whedon series, the second-to-last episode resolves all the action while the finale aims for a tonal departure. But we won’t know for sure until the DVD comes out, right?
UPDATE: Star-Ledger critic Alan Sepinwall has more information up on his blog. Apparently, the network is counting the scrapped original pilot as the 13th episode in its 13-episode order. The finale would then be #14, which allows FOX to get out of any contractual obligation to show it. Or something to that effect.
UPDATE #2: And still more Dollhouse reportage, this time from Hit Fix’s Daniel Fienberg, who comments on the Twitstorm that started false cancellation rumors and offers more details about how Season One will wrap up and what the unaired episode is all about.