You and me are through "Dollhouse." It's not fair that you've become simply awesome now that the show is canceled. Last week was another double episode feature for Joss Whedon's latest creation, and he's working hard to make the audience miss it. Way to make it hurt, Joss. These episodes feature the return of Alpha, Echo's emerging personality, and a tragic possible end to a major character.

Echo is now out in the world on her own, but she is in a doll state and therefore confused and naive. She sees a Mexican woman being refused from a grocery store and steals food to give it to her. This leads the woman to get arrested, sadly, and Echo beats the crap out of the police officer who tries to get her. We jump ahead to three months later and things have significantly changed. Echo is now a personable nurse and Ballard has found her. The two have been working together to get the Mexican woman out of jail, and Echo is able to call upon all of her personalities at a given time. She happens to be a charming and interesting character now, which is a huge step for the show.

Back at the Dollhouse, Adelle has been demoted and her rival (played by Keith Carradine) has taken over. She's furious that even Topher outranks her now, and she spends most of the first episode completely bubbling over with rage. Boyd and Ballard are conspiring together about Echo, because she is getting horrible migraines due to constantly shifting personalities around. She plans to get her friend out of jail and then willingly return to the Dollhouse, but not before kissing Ballard. It's really interesting to watch Echo move between former characters, and this continues for the whole two hour block.

Topher has grown a conscience (I know, what?) and is concerned about the plans that Rossum has for the Dollhouse. He fears that they are trying to make a machine that can turn any person into a doll. He's made a device that can wipe dolls remotely, which he hilarious does to Sierra and Victor when they start getting romantic to one another in character. Keith Carradine is like 'we'll have to separate them' and the entire fanbase screams as one 'kill him!' Topher has actually come up with plans to make that dangerous device Rossum wants, and he tells Adelle secretly. Naturally she actually hands this over and regains control of the Dollhouse, thus breaking Topher's spirit completely and getting everyone one step closer to Epitaph 1.

So Echo saves her friend and comes back to the Dollhouse, but Adelle is pretty annoyed at her. She knows that someone helped Echo outside, and suspects it was Ballard, so she leaves Echo without help in a solitary cell as the headaches kill her. This is just to make Ballard squirm and it works perfectly. She continues to mess with him by sending Echo on a romance mission. Topher is brought into the secret Boyd/Ballard/Echo alliance because he hates Adelle now. He's creeped out by Echo having a sentient mind and that she doesn't need him to wipe her anymore, but he's surprisingly gentlemanly and welcoming to her anyway.

The real problem of the second hour is that Alpha is back in a big way. He is still obsessed with Echo and wants anyone that she has ever loved to suffer. So he goes around killing all the romance clients she has, only the ones that she has been programmed to love. Ballard and Boyd does catch him with one of them, but Alpha just snarks at them and then blows the man up. He's pretty much the best villain ever, and Alan Tudyk hits this role out of the park yet again. Now if you're paying attention you can see exactly where Alpha is going with this, but otherwise there's a big twist coming up.

They manage to go steal the internet client that has moved on now to a real woman, because they don't want him to be Alpha's next target. He is 'safe' in the Dollhouse, but Alpha shows up there anyhow because he's awesome like that. He taunts Adelle and takes her captive, then he hits a button that causes all the dolls to start killing everyone in sight. Intense! This makes it easy for him to go get his victim, knock out Topher, and wait. Wait, you say? For who? Well that's obvious, people, it's Ballard he's after!

Image © Fox Broadcasting

Ballard is the only person that Echo specifically has feelings for. She wasn't programmed to care for him, but she's falling in love with him. Alpha was stalking them when she was out and about, and he's angry. He kills Ballard ... well makes him brain dead at the least. Nooooo! He imprints Ballard on himself using the chair, and then Echo arrives and gets very angry. They have a great fight but when she's about to kill him, Ballard takes over and tells her to do it. But she can't hurt him. Now Ballard is brain dead, Alpha manages to escape, and Echo has no way of saving her new boyfriend.

Why is this show hitting its stride now? This could've been useful earlier in the season! Now people concerned for Ballard should know he was in Epitaph 1, which was an episode set in the future, so he should come out of this somehow. But how?

"Dollhouse" is on FOX Friday nights at 9 PM EST.

Story by Chelsea Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer

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