I was perusing the upcoming schedule notes from FOX, including the series finale of Prison Break on May 15, and I noticed a curious thing. FOX lists the May 8th episode as Omega, the twelfth episode of Dollhouse, as its season finale.
I've seen other sites list Epitaph One, the thirteenth episode as the finale that would air on May 15. Clearly that isn't happening because Prison Break's finale on May 15th is two hours.
The May schedule information only goes through May Sweeps which end on Thursday May 20, 2009, so I'm not sure what the schedule for beyond that looks like, but for now it looks like they only plan to air 12 episodes of Dollhouse with the season finale on May 8th.
So either I'm wrong (very possible), the information I'm looking at is wrong (possible, but less likely) or it looks like we're only getting twelve episodes of Dollhouse, and if they've actually made 13...
Update: Note, the finale of Prison Break is only the FOX finale, apparently the actual series finale will only be available on the season four DVD set which will include another two hours that FOX does not plan to air (see comment below from "Wheeler". This has me and others wondering if the same will be true for Dollhouse's 13th episode.
I'll see what I can find out.
Update 2: (hat tip to Chris in the comments). Felicia Day who played the heroine in Whedon's Dr. Horrible and also had a part in the 13th episode said on Twitter that Fox wasn't airing it.
Update 3: via James Hibberd:
One might argue that from Fox's point of view, the entire season order was fulfilled because Whedon reshot the pilot -- otherwise the network would have paid for 14 hours instead of 13. Sources also maintain the story in the "Omega" season finale is Whedon's original vision for how the season would end, so fans watching the show to the very end will not feel as if the storyline was cut short. Except, of course, that there is another episode, whose fate is unknown.
Despite Day's comment that "Epitaph One" will appear on the DVD, sources say nothing has been decided yet. Unaired episodes do tend to see daylight nowadays between DVD and online streaming, however, so the content will probably surface somewhere provided the studio decides to pay for postproduction.
All parties also insist the network has not cancelled Dollhouse, though obviously the network declining to air an episode isn't encouraging.
But wait there's MORE (bonus update from Alan Seppinwall):
Long story short, because this is convoluted: Fox network ordered 13 episodes of the show. Joss Whedon shot a pilot, and then the pilot was scrapped in favor of a new pilot, but for contractual purposes, that unaired pilot counted as part of the 13-episode order -- which means Fox only had 12 episodes to deal with. Eight of those have aired, and four more are still to come, all of which have been scheduled, with the last of those -- with the very finale-ish title of "Omega" -- set to air May 8.
Day's episode, called "Epitaph One," was apparently filmed by the studio independent of the agreement -- or, at least, independent of what Fox network considers to be in the agreement -- and does not seem to be tied in to the story in "Omega." In other words, if there's a cliffhanger in "Omega" (and I don't know if there is), it's not going to be resolved in "Epitaph One."
Here are the schedule blurbs for Fridays from FOX, don't read on if you don't want any spoilers at all!:
FOX Friday goes into overdrive with back-to-back thrill rides PRISON BREAK and DOLLHOUSE, including the incredible two-hour series finale of PRISON BREAK.
Friday, April 24
PRISON BREAK (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) - "Vs." - Time Period Premiere
Michael (Wentworth Miller) and Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) square off; Christina (guest star Kathleen Quinlan) sets her plan in motion; and Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies) makes a surprising discovery.
DOLLHOUSE (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) - "Haunted"
When Adelle's (Olivia Williams) wealthy friend mysteriously dies, Echo (Eliza Dushku) is implanted with the friend's memories and personality in order to solve the murder. Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) looks into Mellie's (Miracle Laurie) past, and Topher (Fran Kranz) secretly programs Sierra (Dichen Lachman).
Friday, May 1
PRISON BREAK (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) - "S.O.B."
Michael has an uneasy reunion with Christina, who drops a bombshell regarding Lincoln. While Lincoln runs into Christina's deadly trap, T-Bag (Robert Knepper) sets out to prove he can become a Company man.
DOLLHOUSE (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) - "Briar Rose"
Ballard's investigation leads him to the agoraphobic designer of the Dollhouse (guest star Alan Tudyk); Echo helps a young girl deal with her traumatic past; Adelle goes to the Attic in search of answers; and Alpha reveals himself to set his end game in motion.
Friday, May 8
PRISON BREAK (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) - "Cowboys & Indians"
Pandemonium erupts at the hotel following an assassination at the global energy conference, and Michael must choose between saving either Sara or Lincoln.
DOLLHOUSE (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) - "Omega" - Season Finale
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.
Friday, May 15
PRISON BREAK (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) - "Rate of Exchange" / "Killing Your Number" - Series Finale
Familiar faces return to help Michael end his quest to bring down The Company once and for all.