The End of Dr. Horrible

By Shamus Posted Sunday Jul 20, 2008

Filed under: Links 83 comments

Just a reminder that you should not, under any circumstances, fail to see the conclusion of Dr. Horrible, as the series will go down at midnight tonight. Meaning this post will be infected with link rot just 9 hours after posting, which might be some kind of record.

What I’d really like is if the DVD was available for sale either once the series goes down, or (even better) right now. But I’m guessing they’re going to use iTunes sales to give them some vague idea of how many DVDs to produce. (And as much as I love the show, installing iTunes is a non-starter for me.)

Last day. Don’t miss it.

Fair warning: Expect spoilers in the comments. Go watch it, then read them. My own spoiler: The ending is fantastic, but more than a little sad.


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83 thoughts on “The End of Dr. Horrible

  1. Jeremiah says:

    Oh man. I loved it. Ending didn’t surprise me a whole lot. It was written by Joss Whedon, you know. I really loved how it was sort of a super-villain origins story. A nice departure from all the superhero origin stories that have been done lately.

  2. Wilcroft says:

    I agree, I expected more from the ending. Hopefully there will be a sequel. I mean, Dr. Horrible’s now in the Evil League of Evil!

    Also, Bad Horse actually being a horse was awesome.

  3. Freyr says:

    It didnt actually suprise me that Bad Horse was a real Horse, I mean, what else if he rules the League with an iron Hoove^^

    Yeah, the Ending was kinda sad, but also fitting. I just thought that there was no Way that Billy could ever become one of the good Guys now, after all, being one of the bad Ones, came with such a high Price. And I absolutly loved the songs, especially the Song at the Ending of the second Act, and since they will take it down in a few Hours, I have to look it a few more Times^^

  4. The Unknown says:

    I very much liked the Dr. Horrible series. And it was nice to see something that wasn’t just another Hollywood ending. Some say this was expected (like Jeremiah above) being a Joss Whedon work, but I’m not too familiar with the man (blasphemy, I know), so I was pleasantly surprised. Definitely buying the DVD when this comes out.

    Oh, and Shamus, I’d like to thank you for mentioning Dr. Horrible in the first place. If it weren’t for your post, I would have most likely missed the whole thing, and that would have been a sad affair indeed. =P

  5. LazerFX says:

    To be honest, I watched the first one, and about a 1/4 of the second one, and then stopped, bored. It just didn’t grab me… Fair play for the whole new idea, though; and I hope it does well with those who it does grab.

  6. Cybron says:

    The website won’t cooperate with me… when I try to watch any of the videos, it says “This video is not available at this site.” Anyone else having problems, or is my computer just messed up?

  7. Mixmastermind says:

    I’m not sure what that last part of the last song was all about. It makes me question whether the whole thing was just in his imagination, or perhaps he’s just continuing his blog.

  8. Pederson says:

    Cybron: The hulu player doesn’t seem to work in Mozilla for me. Try using IE.

    Mixmastermind: I think you might be overanalyzing it. I read the end as an indication that the not-so-good Doctor was feeling rather remorseful about the whole thing.

  9. Feylamia says:

    The brothers Whedon and Miss Tancharoen didn’t fail to amaze me, but that was to be expected. I cannot wait for the DVD to be released, unfortunately I cannot buy the series on iTunes as it’s not yet available here. (Should work for those using the American and Canadian iTunes stores though so you guys go buy – it’s a bargain at not even four bucks!)

  10. The Unknown says:

    Mixmastermind: To continue on what Pederson said (and I got this from the Wikipedia page so don’t credit me on this or anything), but the ending shows not only the remorse, but that, at the end of the day, he’s still in his basement like he was before, except this time, he is truly alone.

    Or it could mean anything, really. Up to interpretation I guess. =)

  11. Ericc says:

    The Hula player worked fine for me (Firefox 3), but it does require the most updated flash add-on for whatever browser you use.

    I really enjoyed the whole series. The dialog was really well done, the lyrics fit perfectly. I just want to put the music on my iPod (without the video) so I can play it while we’re playing Necessary Evil or Mutants and Masterminds.

  12. IncredibleGeek says:

    Does anyone else have problems with Hulu? I can’t just pause it let it load, so it’s all jerky and unwatchable. Youtube works fine, why couldn’t they copy them? :P

  13. Murphy says:

    Hardly a sad ending. Evil Genius with Dead Girlfriend = Evil Genius Figuring out how to Bring the DEAD to LIFE, BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. HAHAHAH! HAH! HAH HAH! HAH! Heh.

  14. Karl says:

    re the very last bit of the ending, notice that if he is continuing his blog (and that last shot wasn’t just symbolic or imagined), he’s doing so in his normal ‘Billy’ clothes instead of his Dr Horrible outfit. Maybe just for visual contrast in the sequence, but could also indicate that he’s now living as Dr Horrible from day to day, and blogging his private thoughts as Billy, instead of the other way around.

  15. Bob says:

    Well, I liked it a lot, but I’m not quite sure I like the ending, mostly for the abrupt change of style. Entire show was all fun and jokes and then, suddenly, big emotional kick in the groin. Powerful for sure, but kinda unfair. Myt jury is still out for final verdict…

  16. happyturtle says:

    Thank you for posting this, as I had been meaning to watch it and just hadn’t gotten around to it. I loved it! But it stupidly isn’t available on itunes uk. *grrrr* I’ll have to wait for the dvd–at least I have a multi-region player.

  17. MRL says:

    I’ll second the “emotional kick to the groin”…it just ended on such a bizarrely low note. And poor Billy STILL never gets a break – he couldn’t kill the Captain face-to-face, he wasn’t even HOLDING the gun when it killed Penny, and he STILL gets stuck with the crime, and Hammer gets all the sympathy.

  18. Suzene says:

    It’s Joss Whedon. I think he’s actually incapable of writing a happy ending.

  19. qrter says:

    The ending was a bit disappointing, I thought. Not because it’s a down ending, I’m fine with that, but because it feels a bit like Whedon trying to suddenly inject the whole project with some form of depth, without actually making a point.

    To me the third act felt like it actually was the second act of a three acter.

    Apart from that, I loved it. Thinking of the bit where Dr. Horrible goes “.. emails!” in the first act still cracks me up. As does the penis joke in the second act. Perfect.

  20. Elise says:

    I’m hoping that the thing will be popular enough that they’ll release it on DVD in Australia. My internet wasn’t fast enough to watch it without it being all jumpy and choppy which really interfered with my enjoyment of the songs, and as we all know not all iTunes are made equal.

  21. David says:

    I didn’t much care for Act III either, but there was a neat little piece of musical foreshadowing going on — if you listen carefully in Act I when Billy is preparing for his Wonderflonium heist, the background music is an understated version of the “sheeple” song at the climax.

  22. Vendrin says:

    Liked it, but mad at iTunes, bought it and downloaded, but the audio/video synch is off on the downloaded videos from them. At least for me.

  23. folo4 says:

    bah, I didn’t get a chance to enjoy the show anyways; my internet sucks so bad it acts like dialup.

    Ah well, hope the DVD EVER FREAKING appears on Southeast Asia, though I highly doubt it.

    Or at least, make it available via Playasia, where I can buy it online.

  24. Carra says:

    Thanks for the warning, watching them now :)

    Also found out about the firefly series a year ago or so and those were great :)

  25. Andrew says:

    The ending could have been much better. It let it down, especially after some humorous musical numbers (all packed in too). It didn’t have to be such a dramatic downer – the hint earlier that Penny didn’t mind the evil angle, or maybe it was just me.

    Then again, does allow the raising-from-the-dead angle too, heh. Or silly angst like in most Joss things. Who knows? Might be the end of it. As a mini-story it is good enough to watch :)

  26. Ernest says:

    A classic ending, and a classic morality play: the Gods punish you by granting your wishes. “Here is the all the power you said you wanted; the cost is the one thing you really love. Soul destroyed yet? Well, keep faking it- if you pretend you don’t feel anything long enough, eventually you won’t.”

  27. JFargo says:

    You know, I honestly thought that Penny was going to turn out being on the Evil League of Evil.

    I did like it, and hope that they make enough off this project to continue it, or at least do something similar.

  28. Shamus says:

    JFargo: Me too. I was expecting Penny to turn out to have superpowers (on one side or the other.)

    What really kills me is that Billy *could* have had everything he wanted. Penny liked him more than she liked Captain Hammer. The only reason he really wanted into the League was so that he could prove himself to her. If he’d actually understood this it could have changed everything. As Freyr pointed out above, Billy is lost now. After paying such a dear price, there’s no going back. He’d need to go through some sort of Vader / Annikin arc to have a shot at redemption now.

    I also like how the whole thing comes off as an angry Nerd vs. arrogant Jock battle – over a girl – underneath all the superhero stuff.

    Another series would probably have to focus on other characters, with the audience only catching glimpses of Dr. H. as he works his evil deeds at a distance. His actions would be mysterious to the main characters but understood by the audience, because we know him.

    It was a short production, but I can’t stop going over it in my head. I’m not usually a fan of downer endings, but this was well-done, and it didn’t feel like Whedon cheated at the end. It’s just how things had to turn out. (In contrast to (say) Dreamfall, where the end felt like a manipulative sucker-punch.)

  29. Allan says:

    Is it just going to be these three on the DVD? I mean, it was great and everything, but I wouldn’t spend more than £5 on a 40 minute DVD.

  30. Shamus says:

    Also, the fictional height difference between Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris was hilarious. In the laundromat we see Hammer towering over Billy, but in the following montage we see Dr. H standing, legs far apart, knees bent, and he’s still just a *little* shorter than Hammer.

  31. Derek K. says:

    I thought the third act was far and away the best. The music, the lines – I enjoyed it all, but I didn’t laugh out loud until Act III.

    Dr. Horrible outfit #2 is much better, too.

  32. Noggy says:

    I also disagree with Dreamfall. It was obvious that Dr horrible wasn’t happy with killing Penny, but the montage afterwards made him appear to harden to his actions. The feeling of remorse at the end made him more human and in a bizarre way made it a sort of happy ending. To put it another way, would you feel better if Billy was not sad at the end? What does that say about you, the viewer? I liked the series because it made me ask that question.

  33. The Lone Duck says:

    To me, the sad part was the hope that (A) Billy was redeemed and got the girl, or (B) that Penny sought to change the world, and joined Dr Horrible. The crushing of that hope with by the much hated status quo, is what makes the sad ending acceptable. Captain Hammer was a symbol of the real enemy, the status quo. No one cared about the homeless, no one cared about the outcasts. As for then ending, it’s plain that Billy regrets what happened; now, more than ever, he has to change the world. The world is just as lacking in values as the villains, if not more so. Billy disguised his Stun Ray as a Death Ray. Captain Hammer, believing it to be a Death Ray, was all too willing to kill. When heroes kill, it’s heroic. When villains kill, it’s villainous.
    Sorry about the verbage. Well done.

  34. Davesnot says:

    It’s Romeo and Juliet.. kind of a classic ending.. Unobtainable true love.. etc.. so forth..

    It was a gut punch to the viewer.. but.. well.. it solidify’s Dr Horrible’s trip to the Dark Side.. Now he’s living as Dr Doogie Howser.. er.. I mean.. Dr Horrible (two rr’s).. because he has sucked the joy from his existence.. and it was his fault..

    I’m sure he now longs to be stopped.. but.. as hell is rumored to be.. he’s stuck in his self-caused misery.

  35. BenTGaidin says:

    Shamus: I’m glad that Penny didn’t turn out to have superpowers; it’d have been far too similar to ‘Soon I Will Be Invincible’ if she had. As it is, Dr. Horrible might have a PhD in Horribleness, but he must have slept through all his courses in Vivification. I mean, really, what’s a little accidental death of your would-be girl to stand in your way? All he needed is a few bubbling glass tubes full of electrovitalic fluid, a good thunderstorm, and a big knife-switch, to have not only killed his nemesis’s girlfriend, but meddled in god’s domain to bring her back to life and make her his own!

  36. ZeroByte says:

    The characters in the Evil League of Evil are pretty awesome, almost a waste that they (probably) won’t be used again but the gag was pretty good. Professor Normal, Fake Thomas Jefferson, Tie-Die, Dead Bowie, Fury Leika, Snake Bite and Bad Horse. Makes me hold out hope for an origin story of Dead Bowie. T’would be awesome.

    I absolutely loved the last song by Dr. Horrible, it underscores the emptiness of his victory so well. “Here lies everything, the world I wanted at my feet”. Just gets me. On The Rise is also a lovely song, generally love the songs where Penny and Dr. Horrible sing over each other. I really want the DVD especially if it contains clean copies of the songs. And the complete Laundry Day song!

  37. Luke Maciak says:

    Thanks for bringing this up Shamus! I’m glad I caught it before it was taken down.

    I also think it was a perfect ending. Personally I think happy endings are overrated and I do enjoy a good downer every once in a while. :)

  38. Taellosse says:

    to The Lone Duck: My impression was that he souped up his stun ray into a death ray, actually. But it got damaged when Hammer attacked Dr. Horrible, so it exploded when he tried to use it.

  39. Segev Stormlord says:

    In response to the lone duck’s comment:

    I don’t think he was disguising it. Note the montage where he’s doing all the sciencey stuff before he puts the sticker over the label – I think he actually upgraded it to lethal power. That was a relabelling, not a disguise.

    The end song of act II (my favorite song in the lot) is really the turning point in Billy; he becomes a threat precisely because he goes from being a soft-hearted society-is-evil pseudo-villain to a full-fledged bad guy. He’s willing to kill, and with that will to use what power he has, he becomes dangerous.

    The ending bit – the last two words – confuses me a bit, just because what exactly it means is a bit up in the air. I know a friend of mine thought it meant the whole thing was just him telling a story, but has since changed his mind.

    Being on the Evil League of Evil is more prestigious than I thought, too; only 6 or so other members? How on earth did little Billy Horrible even merit Bad Horse’s attention enough to get this chance? I think, though, the end shows he -will- truly be as horrible as his name implies, now. He has lost his softening aspect, and has every reason to hate Captain Hammer more now than ever.

    Finally, I don’t think he is -upset- that he’s blamed for the crime of that murder. That crime is what catapulted him to the Evil League of Evil, and made people -fear- him. It IS what he wanted…all but the girl.

  40. ZeroByte says:

    Oh, about the Stun/Death ray. Awesome thing is it was the prop stun gun from Firefly in the hospital heist episode! I think the last bit with Billy shows what he really wants to be. Before he got into the League he blogged as Dr. Horrible because thats who he wants to be. In the end he blogs as Billy because he wants a return to those times he spent in the laundry with Penny as Billy. Maudlin overanalysis!

  41. AndrewNZachsDad says:

    First off, Shamus, thanks for bringing this up in your blog. Finally, I’m not the last person to hear about a Joss Whedon project! (I missed out on Firefly until Serenity came out…can’t help feeling like my point on the Nielsen rating may have helped keep it alive, rightly or wrongly)
    I agree with what you said about Billy being able to have everything he wanted. I give Joss enough credit to think that he was deliberately (but oh, so subtly) pointing to Billy’s tragic flaw. Check out Act 1 again, specifically the scene when he is stealing the Wonderfluonium: he states that his purpose for stealing this is to finish his freeze ray so he can stop time and figure out a way to talk to Penny. Next thing we know, she is talking to him, but he’s too focused on the WF to realize that everything he wants is being given to him!
    This was an excellent project, in the writing, the delivery, directing…everything! Score another direct hit for Mr Whedon.

  42. MistaMoo says:

    I think in the end he blogs as Billy because that’s all he is while in his basement. In the Evil League of Evil he’s Doctor Horrible, but while in his basement, and alone, that’s all he’s capable of being, the same applying to when he was with Penny, hence him saying that he’s glad that she wouldn’t see him killing Captain Hammer, because he didn’t want that personality known to her, at least until he’d achieved something with it.

  43. J Greely says:

    Two things I liked. First, if Billy had killed Hammer, the final song would have had the exact same lyrics, sung triumphantly. Second, Billy is shown raking in piles of cash in a bank heist, but still living in the same dump. Where, oh where, did all the money go? Any homeless shelters suddenly get an anonymous donation? We’ll never know.


  44. Kevin says:

    Wonderful stuff. I have to thank you as well for turning me on to this… if I didn’t have you in my feed reader, I wouldn’t have learned about it ’til it was too late to see it for free. This is wonderful as a self-contained story, but I find myself dying to see more of these characters, even if we don’t get Dr. Horrible’s POV again. I think if he was incorporated into a larger story it would be nice to see the occasional video blog with more of his private thoughts (whether he’s sharing them publicly as “Billy” now or just making them privately, or whatever).

    Was I the only one who picked up an undercurrent of forlorn hope in that very last line? He’s singing his grandiose villain song at the height of his “triumph,” but at the end we see him naked (figuratively) and alone, seeming to wonder to himself if it was all worth it… but I also had the sense that he was really hoping that “I won’t feel a thing” would turn out to be true, while at the same time knowing that it’s never going to be, that no matter how great his villainies become he’s already lost the only chance he’d ever have to fill his emptiness. The mask (figurative again, although those are really cool goggles) is the only thing he has now, but Billy will always be that little voice inside him that keeps nagging at him, asking if it was worth it, flaring up after every triumph to ask if now he’s fulfilled.

    Wow, that was a lot of words, but I really liked this and I analyze things I like deeply. It helps that I’m watching it several consecutive times to help myself to the last of the free goodness. Dr. Horrible is, to me, the perfect tragicomic “anti-villain,” and it would be a real shame not to see him again.

    One more thing I picked up – when Captain Hammer was about to shoot the death ray at him, from the tone of his voice and the look on his face I don’t think he was (just) begging for his life. I think he knew the ray had been damaged, or Captain Hammer hadn’t done something he needed to make it stable, or something of that nature.

  45. Indagator says:

    @ The Lone Duck

    I’ve been mulling over your assertion that the “true enemy” of the show is the status quo. I think you may have a point there, but I think you’re misinterpreting Billy’s motivations, which in turn affects the rest of your analysis.

    I think the key line that sums up Billy’s motivations is near the beginning of act 1. He says: “The world is a mess, and I just have to rule it.” Not change it, or reform it, but rule it. Billy claims to act out of revolutionary ardor, but what really drives him is personal ambition.

    This is where I also disagree with Seamus, because it seems clear to me that Billy’s desire for world domination exists independently from his desire for Penny. He wants to obtain both, but it’s clear from his actions and songs that world domination comes first. He feels guilty about this, but he rationalizes it away by claiming that Penny will only love him once he’s achieved the power he seeks. The irony, then, is not that he could have had everything he wanted, because Penny and world domination were mutually exclusive. Rather, it’s that his hubris blinded him to more pedestrian, but more fulfilling, possibilities.

    To get back to what you said then, with regard to the status quo being the true enemy: I think you’re correct. The story presented a central issue, the “city barely coping.” It then presented how the three leads approached or used the issue. Captain Hammer first ignored the problem, then had a shallow “awakening” that enabled him to maintain his ego-centric world view. Billy, as I discussed earlier, used the situation as an excuse for his ambition. Penny chose to quietly confront the issue by working through the system.

    Interestingly, while Penny was the only one to achieve anything of value that helped the community, she was still presented as hopelessly naive as the conflict between The Establishment (Hammer) and The Radicals (Billy) killed her. I think it’s fair to say that DHSAB advocated against all the stances presented, though Penny’s position was presented as the least-worst.

    Sorry for the treatise, but I couldn’t help myself. :)

  46. Griffin says:

    Put me down on the side that didn’t like the ending. A dark, tragic ending is fine per se, and can be great. In this particular case, though, it was such a huge, abrupt change from everything up to that point that it didn’t work for me. Indeed, it rather soured me on the entire show. Right up until Penny’s death, it had been mostly comical and fun, then bam, classical tragedy. Didn’t like it.

    Perhaps Whedon is trying to make a meta-point about the audience’s expectations for a consistent tone, but in any case, it didn’t work for me.

  47. brashieel says:

    I really like the whole thing. The whole idea of a show about the blog of a supervillain that was also a MUSICAL was just so insane yet wonderful. Even for Whedon. The fact that it ultimately managed to fit an entire dramatic arc and serious supervillain origin into 45 minutes was just icing on the cake.

    I’ll definitely buy the DVD, and I hope they do some more with this. They introduced several awesome characters, and I’d like to see them get some use.

  48. ZeroByte says:

    @Griffin: I think there’s already a dark undercurrent running in Act II in the lyrics for “On the rise” (Act II) so the tragic ending wasn’t too abrupt. The call from Bad Horse also signalled that someone must die but the twist on who dies was really well executred.

    @Indignator: Awesome treatise!

  49. ShadowDragon8685 says:

    It was great, right up until the end.

    Joss Whedon really needs to learn to write a *happy* ending. He took Book and Wash away, and now this?

    C’mon, Doctor Horrible had a PERSON-STASIFYING FREEZE RAY! Why didn’t he use his freeze ray to stabalize Penny and rush her into the tramau unit?

    And why did Penny die, anyay? Those shards coulden’t have penetrated very deep, and they were both too low to hit her heart (which would’ve been more or less instant death). That’s a *very* survivable wounding, even without a Mad Science Freeze-raying.

    Frankly, the ending could’ve been a lot sweeter by having Billy survive the explosion, and Penny, then Penny realizes that Captain Hammer is just a jerkwad, and Billy has the right of it. Que spree of evil science, and Billy earns his admittance to the Leauge by being seated in a huge winged chair with his back to the Leauge when they assemble, with a jar of glue on the table.

  50. Kaeltik says:

    I think Joss once said something about there being no happy endings and something to the effect that you just have to enjoy the ride.

    Possible spoiler:
    Joss kills a lead character in every one of his projects, usually right at the end.
    Buffy (movie): Merrick.
    Buffy (TV): Anyanka.
    Angel; arguably the bloodiest: Wesley (Fred and Cordelia a little earlier, Doyle much earlier).
    Firefly: Book and Wash

  51. PooNie says:

    Thank you for posting the link to this awesome piece of work.

    I actually quite like the ending where, after Penny dies, Dr. Horrible goes on to say how everything he wanted was at his feet (Penny dead or dying). Then he goes on with a successful bank heist, climbs the ladder of evil and arrives at the Evil League of Evil. But through the bank heist, you can see that he isn’t really showing any emotion. And during the entry to the League’s meeting, you can tell that he is just angry. He has lost everything that was dear to him because of Capt. Hammer.

    As if its saying that the status quo fuels the radicals because the establishment is not afraid to sacrifice some people (namely the homeless and those trying to help them (they use the establishment’s money, afterall)).

    And the gun thing. When Billy was pinned down by Capt. Hammer and the malfunctioning gun, I almost want to say that Billy has foreseen the explosion and knew that innocent people will die if Capt. Hammer fired it. Sucks that it was his Penny.

  52. Takkelmaggot says:

    The ending was… Well, it wasn’t a disappointment. It sad, sure, and I’m not a big fan of “sad”. But it has its place. (See Cowboy Bebop.) Above all, the ending was more complex and more interesting than I expected, and I came away content, if a little sad.

    My favorite bit? The singing cowboys. That came out of nowhere. It seems like all the good gags involved Bad Horse.

  53. Drew says:

    I hate the homeless.

    Ness problem in this city.

    There were some great goofs in there, all in all, this was a fun project, and I can’t imagine it cost them too much at all. That’s a winner in my book.

  54. Nazgul says:

    I really enjoyed watching it… Thanks for pointing it out. After a bit of a slow start, I thought it was quite good, especially considering how much time they had to create such a compelling story. It had a couple of really good laughs too.

    I always enjoy silly superhero/villain names (The Venture Brothers has had some hysterical ones), so the credits at the end were worth a chuckle too.

  55. Septyn says:

    I’m just wondering how I can get my hands on the keys to that shiny new Australia. Of course, I might have to wrestle Lex Luthor for it, since I think he and General Zod had some sort of deal worked out.

  56. Visi says:

    I was slightly annoyed about her dying from that wound too, but if you think about it, even if she did survive, she thought he shot her! And even if she didn’t, it was partly his fault and she’s seen the evil side of his personality, motivated by jealousy.

    Would she really want him after seeing that? She could still have survived but not want to know him/be scared of him.

  57. justaguy says:

    As to the wound and death… while it may not have been fatal in and of itself, who knows what other trauma was caused by the exploding gun. In addition, we don’t really know how long it took for paramedics to get there, and to convince themselves it was okay to go into the room with the crazy mad scientist. The freeze ray had already malfunctioned, so who’s to say he could have used it on her to stasis her. And yes, maybe he could fix it but I think he was in shock from having both won the day and lost the girl of his dreams. His mind was not thinking “Oh, logically I have time to save her”, he was going “I won, I lost it all, I’ve killed the girl of my dreams, but gotten what I wanted.” It makes it all the worse. Yeah, maybe he could have saved her but he just didn’t think to act fast enough. Just like he could have had her earlier, had he thought to ask fast enough.

    And as for the very last lines. I agree with the interpretations that he’s just lost. His Dr. Horrible persona is doing what he’s doing, but when he gets home and sits down, alone in front of his camera, he knows hes lost his chance at happiness. He still has his drive to fix/rule the world, but it won’t make him happy.

  58. Jim says:


    Never mind killing Anya, he killed TARA!!

  59. Jeff says:

    Hm, anyone catch what Penny said to NPH when she was dying?

  60. Mike R. says:

    You know, just because Captain Hammer was a jerkwad doesn’t mean that Billy wasn’t as well. Think about it; what did he really have to offer Penny, as a person? He’s not particularly thoughtful or considerate and he’s very insecure. Insecurity is a HUGE turn-off.

  61. Jeff says:

    Well, he knows Penny loves yogurt, which is more than Hammer ever learns.

  62. Indagator says:


    As Penny died, she said “Don’t worry, Captain Hammer will save us.”

    Also, Captain Hammer did know that Penny loved frozen yogurt. The only reason Billy knew was because he was spying on the two of them as they ate some in the park.

  63. Sauron says:

    Jeff: He knows Penny loves yogurt because he saw her on eating it on her date with Captain Hammer….

  64. GeorgeR says:

    Such a sad but wonderful ending. I can’t wait for the DVD to come out.

  65. Jimmie says:

    Hm, anyone catch what Penny said to NPH when she was dying?

    That, to me, was the whole scene. It wasn’t that Penny died, but that Penny’s last words weren’t about him but about him. That’s what really hardened him in the end.

    I also did like how, when he shows up at the press conference, he just nails the evil laugh that at the very beginning we knew he was working on.

  66. MadTinkerer says:

    A couple details I noticed that haven’t been mentioned yet:

    Captain Hammer is an arrogant self-absorbed jerk who bullies Billy and is only a “superhero” for the attention it gets him, but I think there’s a lot more to their relationship in the back-story that there wasn’t time to reveal.

    Some of this is hinted in the “Brand New Day” song, in the montage showing Dr. Horrible being beaten by Captain Hammer many, many times (and renforcing the statement in Act 1 that they are actual nemeses). But in Act 3 where Captain Hammer acts surprised that Dr. Horrible would use a *death* ray, but everyone else is just absolutely terrified? That’s not just Hammer’s overconfidence speaking, it’s showing that although he’s a bastard, he knows Dr. Horrible better than anyone else. Who else would be surprised that Dr. Horrible would cross that line? He’s a supervillain!

    Then when Hammer has Horrible on the ground and Horrible tries to warn him, Hammer says “I have no time for your warnings”. Not “tricks”, not “excuses”, not “begging to save your own life”, but “warnings”. Hammer knew Horrible was trying to warn him about something, because Hammer knew Horrible well enough that he didn’t even consider that he might be tricking him, but *Hammer* had too much hubris to pay attention to the warning. Now: to be fair, Dr. Horrible had just crossed a line, and I’d be pissed too if someone had tried to kill me under any circumstances. But if Hammer was an actual hero, he might have at least listened to what he knew damn well was a genuine warning from a subdued and helpless adversary. Instead, he pulled the trigger of the gun that killed Penny just because he didn’t want to take the time to listen.

    I think it was more than just the physical pain that Hammer was crying about on the psychiatrist’s couch. Billy isn’t the only one with regrets.

    Another thing: Did Hammer happen to rescue Penny, seduce her and then decide to commit to a relationship to bug Horrible because he discovered that Horrible liked her *after* Hammer had already seduced her? Or was seducing Penny actually *Hammer’s* plan to get at Dr. Horrible from the beginning? Remember in act 2 how Horrible only just realised then he needed to be careful what he said on the blog? The Laundry Day song had already been sung at this point. Billy probably had the sense to not call her by name, but even then that was letting Hammer know too much.

    The way I see it: Yes, Billy is primarily responsible for his own phyrric victory. But if Hammer wasn’t such an arrogant jerk, Penny might well have lived and Horrible would have had a less tragic denoument.

  67. Randolpho says:

    I think Earnest hit it best. This is Faust all over again.

    I can understand where a lot of people found Billy to be a compelling, even likable character; he is basically an underdog bullied by Captain Hammer, after all. But throughout the movie (because that’s what I choose to call it regardless of the length) you see Billy making all the wrong choices. He doesn’t like the “status quo” symbolized by Captain Hammer and so he chooses violent overthrow (with him safely at the head of the order) rather than the “right way” symbolized by Penny’s tireless work for the homeless. In the end both he and Penny pay the price for his mistakes.

    On a more up-beat note, I’d like to share my favorite line of the series:

    “’cause she’s with Captain Hammer now. And these,” Hammer waves his fists in front of Billy, “are not the hammer.” Hammer walks away, then comes back a moment later. “The… hammer is my penis.”

  68. droid says:

    About the death ray:
    My guess when I first watched it was that the weapon randomly failed when Hammer pulled the trigger (Maybe something loose didn’t work right at that angle? Machines made by mad scientsts aren’t reliable.)

    However, after the fact and during his rise to power he would claim a fingerprint DNA scanner or somesuch was set to detonate if mismatched.

    And Penny died because she was just a normal person. Hammer survives a point blank explosion, and Horrible survives getting hit in the face with a thrown car (mentioned near the beginning of act 2), but Penny dies from a gut wound.

  69. Cadrys says:

    @droid: The death ray was (I think) clearly damaged when Hammer punched Dr Horrible across the room. We get a few second close up on the (now sparking) gun after Horrible stops sliding across the floor. It was working as designed until then. (Presumably making some nice off-camera holes in the roof)

    @MadTinkerer: what line did Dr. Horrible cross? Having a device actually work? A plan actually (mostly) succeed?

    He *failed* to pull the trigger when he was done monologuing, standing there with the death ray at Hammer’s face. Billy is not a killer–and at that moment, he was still Billy.

    I also disagree that Hammer feels any guilt. Even money *he* is the source of the “Whats-her-name” headline. IMAO.

  70. Heph says:

    @ Cadrys: he crossed the line of making something “deadly”. All his other stuff’s just stunning, freezing, etc etc – much like most villains in comic books (not counting some of the darker ones, mostly the more recent ones with the audience desensitized to violence) will just tie up people, scare them off, stun them, etc etc, without actually ever *killing* them. This, to me, suggests that Hammer and Horrible had been going aorund and around – Horrible trying a new plan, Hammer stopping him, Horrible trying, etc etc, happily working away as the local Superman/Lex Luthor, never chaing the status quo of one bad guy, one good guy, nothing really happening in the city. Horrible upset the balance by making something that could *kill*.

    Also, someoen said it was Romeo and Julia: it isn’t. It’s actually a -whole- lot like Anakin through the first three movies. Inseecure, wants to be big and strong to protect himself and others, chooses the wrong way to do it, can’t be happy with what he’s got, takes advice from the wrong camp, ends up killing the one he loved most of all – the death that leads to his own fall to the Dark/Evil side.

    The ending bit, to me, means he’s achieved everything, but it’s an empty victory.

    Lastly, the reason we sympathize with Horrible instead of with Hammer – Horrible, like most of the superhero alter egos (Peter Parker or Clark Kent, for example) is a nerd/dork, whose real strength is hidden. The enemy is the arrogant jock admired for things that just look good but aren’t his own achievement. Most comic book readers/viewers of this movie, will be in the nerd camp, not in the jock camp.

  71. Kevin says:

    Waiting for the DVD…

  72. Namfoodle says:

    I really dug it. But I couldn’t get many of my friends to watch it, and now they can’t unless the go to itunes or wait for the DVD. Oh well, their loss. But I’m itching to cut loose with all the spoilers, which would be kind of lame of me.

  73. Derek K says:

    Re: Death Ray – Indeed. Hammer and Horrible have the classic comic book nemesisisianism (or something like that) – Horrible does naughty things, Hammer stops him, Hammer beats him up a bit, but doesn’t throw him in jail, or kill him. They’re both basically keeping each other in business.

    Now, suddenly, Horrible has gone over to actual full on killing, which is a Hole Nother Level.

    I love that Billy suddenly realizes that anyone can read his blog. My first thoughts were “Uh, supervillians probably shouldn’t reveal all their plans online before they enact them….”

    I’m annoyed. Now I want to go watch it a few more times, to see what some other people mentioned. But it’s gone!

  74. ryanlb says:

    You people and your never-ending over-analysis.

    The only thing to take away from this show is that Joss Whedon is an Evil Bastard. Damn you, Joss Whedon, Damn you to Hell.

    I liked Penny (and Wash and Anya and Jonathan, and everyone else he’s ever killed) :(

    But I am glad I bought it.

  75. Namfoodle says:

    Okay, this is great. I sent out a poll to some friends on our yahoo group, asking them to vote for Dr. Horrible or Captain Hammer.

    Some of my friends voted before they watched the show.

    One of my friends just emailed the group and said it was the best $4 he ever spent (on iTunes).

    He also said:

    “I need to change my vote. I feel dirty for supporting Captain Hammer.”

    Just like the fans at the end who switch their t-shirts.

  76. Derek K says:

    “I liked Penny (and Wash and Anya and Jonathan, and everyone else he's ever killed) :(”

    Even The Master, and J. Random vamp #174?

    And the REAVERS?! You liked the Reavers? You sick puppy.

  77. Namfoodle says:

    By the way, if you read the online Dark Horse comic, you can confirm that Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer have some history. (There’s a link to the comic on the Dr. Horrible site)

    Judging from the comic, Dr. Horrible’s true power is the ability to survive just about any level of damage you care to inflict on him. Maybe it’s inate, maybe it’s the one thing he’s built that always works right. But everything else he builds tends to fail, at least in the presence of Captain Hammer.

    Captain Hammer appears to spend all of his time either signing autographs or beating on Dr. Horrible.

  78. Miako says:

    I love me a good villain. Yes, comic book geeks will love Dr. Horrible for getting a good revenge.

    But I liked the bad guy from Camelot just the same.

    It’s because the bad guys tend to have more … depth.

    Excellent movie, excellent ending.

  79. Miako says:

    and… the best scene that you didn’t see was after NF said Penis, him busting up laughing uncontrollably (watch the edit. clearly splicing)

  80. Illiterate says:

    Good news everybody! Dr Horrible is up on the site again as a free download!

  81. jayman says:

    It’s been long enough. It’s free on Hulu for anyone who hasn’t seen it. For those who have:

    I bet Bad Horse is the leader because he’s the one who crippled up Superman. ;)

    Though I liked it, I do agree that the death was kind of out of left field. Not for anyone who knows Joss, but to someone new, the violence up until that point had a certain cartoony feel, with Hammer’s obviously painful attacks leaving no lasting damage. Even on Penny, when she got tossed pretty hard into the garbage.

    The email asking about “her” in the beginning is from Dead not Sleeping.

    Dr. Horrible never touches or otherwise upgrades his “Death” ray. He’s working on the silver gun that he has strapped on his arm later at the bank, then he works on his plans at the whiteboard (which say something like “2 is the square root of 3 variables equals freezing Captain Hammer”). He also charges up the Freeze Ray and at like the last second he slaps a sticker on his stun ray and heads out.

    I think his plan is to get Hammer to kick his ass and reveal his true feelings in front of Penny.

  82. zakattackisback says:

    the last words to the last song in the end of the movie are ” -and i will feel a thing.” u think he’s going to say nothing because he got in to the Evil league of Evil but he says “-a thing.” because he feels pain and sadness for the death of Penny who was his true love.

  83. Chris says:

    My daughter just introduced Dr. Horrible now (December 2010). Where have we been??????Loved it!!! Not sure about the ending…but the talent, singing, fun…reminiscent of Rocky Horror!

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