While last week’s double-dose of Dollhouse felt like one giant episode, there was a definite divide between tonight’s episodes, as we got to see what became of Echo during the first hour and the return of Alpha in the second hour.
While the second hour was full of excitement as Alpha made his grand return, following a string of Echo-related murders, I think I preferred the “Meet Jane Doe” episode a little bit more. Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen were two of the three writers on the episode (Andrew Chambliss being the third) and I’m sure die-hard fans spotted Maurissa in her cameo as the gangsta-active who was wiped during Topher’s demonstration of his fancy new remote-wipe gun. I believe her active name is Kilo ("The Public Eye").
When Topher wasn’t busy trying to get over his Gaius Baltar experience with Bennet (loved the comment about her going all “cylon” on him), he was working on creating a remote-wipe gun to use to impress the Rossum people who were taking over the L.A. Dollhouse branch, much to Adelle’s dismay. In the process of making the device, Topher figured out that Rossum eventually wants to be able to remote-imprint people as well. Being the mega-genius that he is, he’s unable to practice some obvious restraint in not drawing up the plans for such of device. Seriously, Topher. What were you thinking?
Yeah, we know he can’t help himself but still. He knows what Rossum wants and he knows that a device such as the one in his plans could be a danger to all mankind and yet he decides to map out how to make it and then tell Adelle about it. Duh. Adelle used the plans to get rid of the Rossum people. She traded in the evil-death-ray schematics in exchange for getting her house back. Sure, it’s possible that she has some grand scheme in mind that will benefit everyone but right now it seems more probable that she was only looking to regain control.
Meanwhile, Echo wandered off in mostly-blank-slate-mode, starving and eating out of dumpsters until she came across a felling starving hot-chick and ended up getting the woman arrested. Jump forward a few months and we see that Echo’s posing as a nurse and looking to infiltrate the prison where the woman is being held. Not only has she managed to access her imprints enough to get by but thanks to Ballard’s help, she’s learning how to recall them as she needs them. The focus of her story centered largely on Echo using her various imprints (including the art-thief one) to help the woman escape from prison. And in the end, after successfully springing said hot-chick free, she and Ballard returned to the Dollhouse.
The story they gave Adelle was that Ballard found Echo living like an animal and barely getting by. Only he and Boyd (and Echo) know that Echo is developing her own personality and capable of recalling imprints on demand. Topher is let in on the secret later but given how he handled the situation with the remote-imprint plans, I’m not sure he’s the best person to be keeping secrets lately. Then again, his reaction to Adelle trading in the plans for her house (and the resulting face-punch he received) seems to have reminded Topher of where he stands at the house. I doubt he’ll be confiding in Adelle any time soon.
Other notable moments in the first hour include a guest appearance by Glenn Morshower (Aaron from 24), playing the mean sheriff at the prison, a sexy-sparring session between Echo and Ballard (they didn’t have sex but the metaphor was definitely there) and the return of Ballard’s delicious abs. Also, it seems Victor and Sierra may be split up soon as their "grouping" behavior is becoming much more noticeable. There was talk of Sierra being sent to Dubai.
Hour two (“A Love Supreme”) had Echo in solitary confinement at the Dollhouse. While Adelle seemed to be buying Ballard’s story (though she seemed suspicious) about Echo being an empty shell, barely getting by, she put her into solitary before sending her on a repeat romantic assignment. This is where Ballard and Boyd told Topher, Echo need not be imprinted. As she’d already played the role of the woman in love with her brother-in-law before, all she had to do was recall it and head off for the little one-on-one family reunion. When she got to the guy’s house, she found him dead and so begins the return of Alpha.
Alpha was on a rampage, killing numerous Dollhouse clients, all of whom had been with Echo for romantic engagements. On the list was Joel Miner, the internet guy from the first season who hired Echo regularly to play his dead wife. The guy was a likable enough character and definitely sympathetic as we learned in his episode that it wasn’t so much sex that he was after but more a chance to live out the day he was supposed to have with his wife before she died. As it turns out, since his encounter with Ballard last season, he severed his ties with the Dollhouse and is engaged to be married. But since Alpha’s on a killing spree, they thought it would be best to bring the guy in.
Miner was probably safer out in the real world than he was in the Dollhouse. Alpha showed up not long after Miner went to the house, triggered all of the actives into combat mode and then grabbed Miner and hooked him up to a chair. When Ballard went to rescue him, Alpha revealed that it was him he wanted and not Miner. Earlier Alpha had a confrontation with Adelle wherein he showed her photos. I thought maybe they were pictures of her and Victor or something blackmail related but as it turned out, he had been snooping in on Echo and Ballard’s brief hiatus together. He had enough photographic evidence to show Adelle that Ballard and Echo are in love (and that Ballard was lying about Echo’s mental condition when he found her).
Alpha’s dealing with some serious anger and jealousy issues over Echo and Ballard’s relationship. Alpha hooked Ballard up to the chair and zapped his brain, essentially frying it, so he’s down for the count now. It also appears that he imprinted himself with Ballard’s mind. The Alpha-Ballard surfaced briefly when Echo escaped from solitary and fought with him. While Ballard asked her to kill him, she hesitated long enough for Alpha to regain control of his mind and escape. I’d thinking we’ll see more of Alpha-Ballard in the future. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if that turned out to be Alpha’s undoing in the end.
So Ballard’s on life support now and who knows if they’ll be able to get his mind back. You would think if there’s any place that could fix a person’s brain, it would be the Dollhouse, right? I don’t suppose they keep backups of their agents’ brains in storage somewhere but then again, I wouldn’t be surprised.