Skip to main content

TV Recap: Dollhouse - Needs

Amid the backdrop of The Dollhouse and its staff upgrading its electronic security systems and making plans to ferret out their "troubled" Actives, the four Actives with the most glitches - coincidentally the four Actives with whom we're the most familiar - awake to their original personalities and make their escape.

At first, their "awakening" seems to be a result of issues with the security upgrades and/or maybe the manipulations of Alpha or the "inside man" within the Dollhouse, but that seems less likely over time. First, the Actives all seem to have their original personalities, but - save for some brief flashes - none of their memories. Second, we repeatedly see Adelle Dewitt being updated on their status and arranging mild resistance for the escapees, but never actually taking the steps to capture them.

How the Actives escape the Dollhouse isn't really worth mentioning, just because it goes exactly as you would expect. As they're escaping though, they all begin to get flashes of memory. Victor feels connected to Sierra and has a vague feeling that something very bad happened to her and he needs to protect her. Sierra begins to remember the man who put her into the Dollhouse and craves vengeance, or at least a confrontation with the man. November begins remembering a daughter and decides to find her. Echo/Caroline just remembers mountains and peace and wants to find them.

Just when the other Actives are about to drive away from the Dollhouse in a highjacked SUV, Echo decides to stay and try to help the other "unawakened" Actives. We'll pick back up with her later.

The next Active to separate from the group is November, who remembers that her daughter is near. She wanders through a park, through the courtyard of a Catholic church and school. When she wanders through a gaggle of young schoolgirls, you think she's about to see her daughter, but she keeps walking into a cemetery. She finds a gravestone with her daughter's name, crumples beside it, and weeps.

Sierra and Victor find the penthouse apartment of the man who sent her to the Dollhouse and confront him. He's unrepentant and tells her that he did it because she told him no, and nobody tells him no. Now she says yes to him and does anything he or the Dollhouse wants her to. Victor begins beating him and he tells them that he called the Dollhouse people as soon as Victor and Sierra stepped into the elevator. They evade the cops and the Dollhouse personnel throughout the building and finally find a hiding space. Sierra then starts to remember that Victor always waits to make sure she gets into her sleeping pod safely before getting into his and that he's always there for her. She begins to cry that they'll take that away from her, but Victor assures her that they'll find each-other again and they share a kiss.

Echo goes back into the Dollhouse to collect evidence and find a way to free the other actives. Adelle is surprised at first, since they thought she went with the others, but then realizes that this is exactly what Caroline would do. Again, I'm left with the impression that these two have a much longer history than we've been led to believe. Echo somehow completely kills the power to the Dollhouse and then finds Topher to confront him about what they do to Actives in his lab. We get a little elaboration on the whole process here, but nothing terribly enlightening. Topher indicates that all of the Actives were volunteers. Echo rejects this, but I'm starting to believe him. There may be a certain level of coercion involved, i.e. making the offer to people who don't have a lot of other options, but I think everyone voluntarily signs up. It'll be interesting to see if Actives are actually freed and paid when their contract is up, though.

The power comes up and Echo is about to forcibly give Topher a "treatment" when Adelle shows up. She engages Echo in a brief back-and-forth before Echo decides that Adelle is going to lead all of the Actives out of the building, no matter what Adelle says the consequences will be. All of the Actives, along with Adelle with a gun held to her back by Echo, file out of the parking garage. As soon as Echo sees daylight, though, she drops to the ground as if she was shot by a tranquilizer. Dollhouse agents materialize and usher the Actives back into the building.

At the same time, Sierra and Victor fall unconscious in each-other's arms and November/Mellie falls asleep at her daughter's graves. In each case, a group of Dollhouse agents materialize to collect them.

We then see a flashback. As an alternative to using drugs and further programming to resolve their glitches, Dr.Fred suggests that they give the Actives closure, figuring some unresolved issues in their previous lives are what's making them glitch. Adelle had Topher imprint them with their original personalities, but not memories, and let them go on self-directed engagements, hoping they would seek out closure.

Adelle feels that it worked. Sierra needed to confront the man who betrayed her, November needed to mourn her daughter, Victor is in love with Sierra, and Echo/Caroline wants to save them all. Their engagements made them feel like they had resolved their issues, and all four actives seem to be glitch-free again.

Meanwhile, Ballard found the video bug in his apartment and has found a tech nerd to help him block the transmission, though he couldn't follow the signal. When he comes back to his apartment he has a message from Caroline. Apparently, she found a file with his name while on her open engagement and called him to help. It didn't sound like she gave him any clues, but we shall see.