Is it me or was tonight’s episode of Dollhouse a complete and utter mind-frak? It was as though the writers were just setting us up to sucker-punch us moment after moment. I can’t complain though. The execution was brilliant. While the last new episode gave us a sense of team spirit among the characters who were rising up to fight Rossum, tonight’s episode pulled the rug out from under us with each passing turn.
First let’s start with Ballard. That thing they took away from him? Apparently it was his connection with Echo. Whatever spark he had with her is gone. Zapped away and remapped because apparently Topher thought Ballard might like to “move” and “walk.” Yeah, maybe he had a point. Still, while Ballard has all of his memories of her, poor Echo’s at square-one with him in terms of their romantic relationship and with Mellie back in the equation and Echo getting Caroline’s mind back, it seems like both of them have their hands full right now. As for most of the other dolls, they’ve all been let go. November was turned back into Mellie because she trusts Ballard and the rest of the dolls were re-imprinted with their old personalities and released. Sierra and Victor were also encouraged by Echo to run and to not look back. Meanwhile Topher said goodbye to Ivy tonight, practically shoving her out the door and encouraging her to use that brain of hers and live.
Summer Glau’s character Bennett returned tonight, and with her return, we got the flashbacks that delivered answers to her grudge against Caroline. Apparently, back in her terrorist-days, Caroline befriended Bennett in order to get her foot in the door at Rossum. Bennett, being quiet and socially awkward, appreciated the attention Caroline gave her and after she found out what Caroline’s true motive was, was too smitten by her new BFF to turn her in. Instead, she helped Caroline plant a bomb in one of the Rossum buildings. That’s how Bennett’s arm got crushed. You can’t really blame Caroline for abandoning Bennett as she lay trapped under whatever it was that fell on her. If Caroline had stayed behind, they both would’ve been caught. Leaving Bennett behind meant Caroline could escape and Bennett could pretend she was just there working late when the bomb went off.
Topher spent the bulk of the episode drooling over Bennett after Ballard and a few other LA Dollhouse people kidnapped her and brought her back to Los Angeles to help get Caroline back. At first Bennett was reluctant enough to punch Topher in the face when she found out whose mind they were trying to restore, but after Echo promised Bennett the chance to do or say whatever she wanted to Caroline once she had her mind imprinted, she complied. And then Bennett made out with Topher, further bruising his already busted lip in the process but the smoochies were appreciated by all. Who doesn’t love seeing the geek get the girl?
You would think that little happy ending would’ve left us all with smiles on our faces. Between that and learning that Saunders and Boyd were having a romance during Saunders’ hiatus (welcome back Amy Acker! You’re awesome!), the episode seemed to have enough sweet moments to make up for Ballard’s coldness toward Echo. But both of those adorable moments were spoiled when Saunders shot Bennett in the head right in front of Topher’s eyes. The mind-frak really came into play here because just before she drew the gun and pulled the trigger, it almost seemed as though Saunders was seeing a new side to Topher, the guy she despises. Maybe she was but it didn’t stop her from pulling the trigger.
Now on to Boyd. Oh Boyd. We thought we knew you. Tonight he demonstrated his awesomeness not only when he shot a bunch of higher-ups from Rossum and took a bullet himself, but also when he saved Echo when Rossum sent in a swat team of armed soldier-types. And then the final blow came. Echo imprints herself with Caroline’s minds and we’re treated to one last flashback. Echo meeting the head of Rossum. He’s a young guy who from what he implied, is probably some sort of imprint of previous Rossum execs (or one-exec who lives on through different bodies) and his partner: Boyd. Yeah. The sweet, trustworthy, levelheaded guy we’ve all come to know and love is one of the head guys at Rossum. The biggest of the bad. Who saw that coming?
Yet another amazing episode. Maybe it’s just murphy’s law, or perhaps with there being no measures taken to slow the show down in an effort to draw in new viewers, but this show has gotten seriously great in the last few episodes. Looking back to the format of the previous season and seeing where the show is going now (and speculating over what it could have become in later seasons, if given more time to flesh out the stories), I’m really going to be sad when Dollhouse wraps up for good. Just two episodes to go!