Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by Dwight Little
Echo’s current engagement is a philanthropic one: helping a little girl who was horribly abused figure out how to move forward in her life. Paul dumps Mellie, which devastates her and causes her handler to pick her up and take her back to the Dollhouse. Paul was counting on that, and he follows. But he can’t get into the actual facility, so he goes back to Loomis for help finding someone who can. He figures it’s a closed system deep underground. They find the name of the guy who designed the system, and Paul goes to find him to get his help breaking in. Someone delivers a thumb drive meant for Dominic, and Adelle decides to imprint Victor with Dominic so they can unlock it. It’s from Alpha. The file leads them to Tucson (where Dollhouse’s HQ is located). They tell them to up their security and they send Sierra to investigate a murder that happened there that morning. Paul and the closed system guy break into the Dollhouse. They sneak around and the guy fiddles with the security systems from Dr. Saunders’ computer. Paul tries to get Echo out, but ends up fighting Boyd and being dragged up to Adelle’s office. Also, the closed system guy is actually Alpha, and he’s there to get Echo.
I like the Sleeping Beauty metaphor a lot. The whole kingdom is asleep, and waking up the princess will wake up the rest. Echo is the key. And Ballard thinks he’s the prince, but there’s also an evil prince, and he’s way craftier. This is a fantastic, twisty episode. All the hints about Alpha from the beginning of the season finally come together at the same time that Paul’s investigation comes to a head. I love converging arcs.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
Alpha is terrifying but in a mesmerizing way. Who knew Alan Tudyk could play such a convincing psychopath? I certainly didn’t before I saw this show for the first time.
Echo operates on instinct. She already trusts Boyd, both because she was programmed to and because he earned it over the course of the season. Her only memories of Paul are of fighting him and of him scaring her during the engagement with Joel Miner; she has no reason to trust him.
The first time I saw this, I really didn’t want to buy into the theory that Dr. Saunders was actually a doll, but on a rewatch, I was ignoring a lot of hints. Dominic!Victor saying Whisky, specifically to her, which makes no sense unless he’s using it as a name. Her reluctance to go outside, her general depression (which seems to have been getting worse), and what Alpha says to her. Yeah, she’s a doll.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.