Let me catch my breath for a second and try to explain the plethora of emotions, theories, and questions that are circulating through my body like an IT system on its way to crashing from information overload. “The Hollow Men” was great, but it wasn’t “Getting Closer” nor was it “Epitaph One”. I blame this on the release of the episode title for the series finale of Dollhouse being released early, which is “Epitaph Two: The Return”. Knowing that title ruined some of the shock and awe of tonight’s episode, “The Hollow Men”, because we knew that it wasn’t going to end well despite the efforts of Echo and the Bunnymen. We did get some shocking deaths and some ‘reasoning’ behind the madness that was Boyd, but in the end, I couldn’t help but to constantly anticipate the inevitable, which was the Apocalypse, or as Topher calls it: the Thought-calypse. In other words, “The Hollow Men” was spoiled for me weeks ago. But that didn’t stop me from doing a kamikaze hara-kiri and reviving myself from the sheer will of needing to know how it all ends!
Ok. On to recap…
The Set Up
2 Years Earlier…
We pick up moments where we left off from last week’s psychotic reveal of Boyd being the puppet master of the intricate Rossum Corporation. Caroline claims that she will expose them to the world, but Boyd knows that Caroline is on her own and no one will miss her if she gets out of pocket. He then boasts the company’s resume by detailing all the good things Rossum has done with their research, but strikes a nerve when he reads a blurb from medical records that belonged to Caroline. Boyd explains that Caroline is one of the special people “on a microscopic level” through her blood type. He then asks Caroline for a few years of her life, which she is not having, but Boyd reminds her that her actions in the last 24 hours are worthy of a Federal prison sentence, never seeing the light of day again. After telling Caroline that Adele is waiting for her downstairs and that she basically has no choice in the matter, Boyd continues to say that he will “protect” Caroline as she develops her “special” abilities; and that she will trust him. Why? Because she will learn to do so.
Boyd (and Harry Lennix) has NEVER been so frakking creepy as he was just now…
Priya and Anthony are on the elevator back to the Dollhouse. Priya doesn’t want to do it, but changes her mind when she realizes she couldn’t live with herself if she didn’t come back. They enter a war torn Dollhouse and wonder if they were super tardy for the party.
Outside on the top of the building, Adele, “Mellie” and Paul wait for the others. While doing so they eradicate any means of them being tracked by Rossum, which includes a mini surgery to remove “Mellie’s” tracking chip and destroying their phones. Topher and Boyd show up with a whacked out Echo, who is screaming that she is burning and is in hysterics. Obviously, Boyd has done something to her. But what? He even goes as far as claiming that the reconstructed wedge is responsible for the Echo’s issues, but Topher says that it is fixed and that Bennett died to fix it (sniff). But the point of the matter is that Echo is the key and they need her to break into Rossum in Tucson. Adele simplifies their problems by saying that instead of sneaking around, they should simply walk into the front doors of Rossum with Echo as their prize. That should be interesting.
Take Two Tophers and Call Me In The Morning
Back at the Dollhouse, Priya and Anthony discover that Rossum took the security feed to cover their tracks. As the two prepare to leave, Priya notices a note on the Imprint chair that says “Press Enter”. Anthony volunteers his brain and tells Priya to shoot if the person he becomes is evil. Priya doesn’t want to do it, but Anthony calms her down by saying its the only way to help their friends. So Anthony let’s the chair do it’s thing and Priya is ready for whatever wakes up in his place. And who might that be?
Topher 2.0! Enver Gjokaj for the win!!!!!!
After a hysterically funny intro between the two, Topher 2.0/Anthony becomes scared that the reason he was activated was because of his death, which he thinks has happened given the bloodshed around them. He immediately wants his body back, butÂ Priya calms him down by pointing out that Topher has to still be alive if the Topher 2.0 wedge was left behind. They then try to deduce the reasoning behind that fact and Topher 2.0 remembers that Topher had an additional security camera installed that no one else knew about (so he could catch Ivy stealing his food. HA!). After viewing the last thing recorded, Topher 2.0 and Priya witness Boyd standing over Echo and then ‘slyly’ throwing something away in the trash can. The two dig in the can to find a syringe and deduce that Boyd is working for Rossum.
They later try to track the group through Mellie, but can’t due to her chip being deactivated. Priya wants to kick some ass, but first have to deal with Topher 2.0’s bewilderment of Boyd’s betrayal, which is funny to us, but not her. Topher 2.0 comes up with a solution of upgrading Anthony and Priya with some damn good fighting skills. Priya’s not sure, because she doesn’t want to be involved with any more tech, but as Topher 2.0 claims: It’s about time that the good guys get some leverage of their own.
Anthony awakes, but doesn’t feel any different. As soon as two Rossum soldiers appear, Anthony takes them down under a second flat. I would like some enhancements, please?!
The Snake and the Rat
The gang arrives at Rossum’s doorstep and demand to see the man in charge, but who they find instead is Clyde, this time in Whiskey/Saunders’s body. After telling the group that he ditched Saunder’s personality in the technological ether, Clyde/Whiskey focuses on Caroline/Echo and the others. He/she tells them that his “original got caught in a loop” and that today’s world is all about people who can evolve with it. Adele asks if that includes them and Clyde/Whiskey asks if that’s why they came in the first place. What?!?!
Later during a one on one, Clyde/Whiskey compliments Adele on her accomplishments, most notably getting Caroline to ‘be her best’. Clyde/Whiskey also believes that Caroline will be the savior of the chosen few left over after the apocalypse hits. Adele, who is one of those chosen surviving”few”, asks how will Caroline be the Second Coming if her brain is fried. Clyde/Whiskey tells her that they don’t need Caroline’s mind, just her body. Um… What?!?!
He/she then informs Adele that The Man Behind The Curtain knew that Adele would be the one to guide Caroline in her right path. Can I say that Amy Acker had the mannerisms of a man down to a science?
Boyd, Topher, Paul, and “Mellie” are all locked in a holding room. Boyd acts as if he is trying to get them out, but slyly provides a keycard to finish the job. Boyd then tells Paul and “Mellie” to find a weapons room, while he and Topher go look for Echo. Paul tells the two to be careful. My heart continues to split in a a million different shards at Boyd’s betrayal…
While moving through the corridor, Topher tells Boyd his suspicion of Echo/Caroline being drugged by the same stuff that Nolan drugged Priya with. He also tells Boyd about his plan of leaving the Topher 2.0 wedge for Priya and Anthony. Boyd, amazed at Topher, tells the brainiac thanks for sharing.
Meanwhile, Echo remembers everything from Caroline all the way up to her latest Imprint, but most importantly, she remembers the ultimate betrayal. Echo awakes saying only one name: “Boyd.”
Boyd and Topher find the Research and Development room and ‘break’ into it. Topher notices his tech that Adele gave to Harding. He thought it would take years to make, but apparently Rossum has to meet the holiday shopping deadline, because they have everything ready for assembly. Topher panics and is in destructive mode. Boyd then reasons that they can use the tech to get out of the building and asks Topher to fix one.
Paul and “Mellie” find some weapons and while they load up, “Mellie” wonders why she is there and feels that she is in the way since Paul can’t save her every five minutes. Paul tells her that he couldn’t leave her behind, which prompts her to say that she is a program, which Paul responds to by saying that he is one as well. But to Paul that doesn’t mean anything. He continues by declaring they will feel how they feel no matter what so they should just go with the flow of things.
Topher rebuilds the Wipe Gun (which can wipe anyone clean if they have the architect in their head or not) and discovers something that a team of engineers couldn’t, which makes Boyd beam with pride and remark that he was glad that he chose Topher, who is bewildered. Boyd reaches in his pocket and then gets knocked on his ass by Echo as she attacks and shows no mercy. While Topher screams for Echo to stop, it takes a gun pointed at Echo’s head, courtesy of Clyde/Whiskey, for Echo to press pause on her fists of fury. Topher is shocked when it is revealed that Boyd is the cofounder of Rossum, but I am shocked at the bombshell Boyd drops afterwards. When Echo accuses Boyd of preparing to kill Topher, Boyd is horrified that Echo would suggest something so venomous. Why? Because they are his family and he loves them…
SMACK!!! (My jaw hitting the floor)
The Beginning is the End is the Beginning
Paul and “Mellie” find the AC unit and “Mellie” comes up with the idea that instead of risking their lives trying to destroy Rossum’s mainframe, they should just let it overheat from lack of air.
Meanwhile, Boyd gives Echo, Adele, and Topher his view of the concept of family values. In short, Boyd’s views are warped as much as a big person in spandex. Not healthy for anyone.
Topher gets the ball rolling by putting together that if Saunders killed Bennett then Boyd knew about it. This gets Boyd to say that because all of them are so loyal and dedicated to the cause to sacrifice so much then he has to have them on his side while the world ends. Adele would rather be dead, which Boyd says will be better than being a mindless enslaved drone. And Boyd’s solution to all of this? Be either “the destroyed or the destroyers”. Echo chimes in on how much she trusted and adored Boyd, who says he still feels the same and took care of Echo while others tried to stop her. Why? Because she is the “key” to saving them all. It seems that whenever Echo got an Imprint, it sent some sort of neurological chemical that pretty much is the reason she can retain her identity. In other words, let’s say Boyd had that unique chemical in his body, he could pretty much do the same thing Echo could. But Boyd wants to extract the unique trait from Echo to make a vaccine against Imprinting that will have to be extracted through Echo’s spinal fluid. Ew and heartbreaking… He then uses the remote stunner to knock out Echo.
Paul and “Mellie” start doing damage to the AC unit and Boyd demands that Adele repeat that infamous trigger phrase to unlease the killer in “Mellie”. She refuses. In the AC room, Paul shows “Mellie” how to hold a gun and shoot. Then all of a sudden over the PA system, Adele’s voice (which is actually a recording) gives the trigger phrase. “Mellie” goes into assassin mode, shooting at Paul, who drops his gun in an attempt to show “Mellie” that he is harmless (and because basically he wouldn’t shoot her no matter what). He manages to knock “Mellie’s” gun out of her hand, but she gets the upper hand and nearly takes him out. At the last minute, she comes through, fighting the tech. She tells Paul that she can’t do it much longer and that when she was with him, he made her feel like a real person.
Then she turns around and blows her own brains out.
“I Created The Thought-pocalypse…”
Meanwhile, the scientists start the extraction of Echo’s spinal fluid. Boyd leaves while the procedure begins and misses when Priya and Anthony come in and rescue Echo. She tells them that they must rescue the others and destroy Rossum for good.
Topher and Adele lament about how they are the reason they are in the predicament they are in now. Topher wants to destroy the tech, but Adele restrains him from being killed on site for touching anything. Then Priya enters as if she has been captured and warns for her friends to get down. The room is suddenly filled with exploding charges and Anthony comes in and kicks ass, dropping all the goons. Topher then declares that they have to destroy all the tech and schematics connected to it.
Echo runs into Clyde/Whiskey and the two engage in a good ole fashioned catfight. Whedon-style! GOD HOW I MISS THOSE!!!
Boyd gets word that Echo escaped and runs into Paul, who has a gun drawn. Then Paul starts mumbling how Adele killed “Mellie” and with that door open, Boyd walks right in, using it to his advantage. He tells Paul that Adele is the evil one and must be stopped immediately. Oy vey!!!
During the cat fight, Clyde/Whiskey lets it be known that she has 20 houses filled with bodies to be downloaded with his Imprint and that they really don’t need Echo alive to tap her spine. The two women fight until they reach the computer mainframe room where Echo knocks Clyde/Whiskey unconscious. When this is over, Paul walks into the room with Boyd and is shocked when Boyd aims a pistol at his throat.
Echo explains that Boyd is the Rossum cofounder to Paul, while Boyd says that if she Caroline then she still should trust him with her life. She screams again how he betrayed her and Boyd again says how he protected her and that now it’s her turn to protect them all. Paul tells Echo to shoot and don’t think, which prompts Boyd to boast that Echo wouldn’t do it, but Caroline might. Echo then shoots Paul in the leg to get to Boyd. The two get into a scuffle, but Boyd gets the upper hand. He informs Echo that he wanted to keep her, because he liked her, but that he doesn’t need her alive. Echo exclaims that she loved him and Boyd only says he knows. He cocks the trigger, but Topher comes from behind and WIPES BOYD’S MIND!!!!!!
Then, Boyd sits up and asks Echo: “Did I fall asleep?” Echo answers, “Only for a little while…”
I might be the only person out there who choked up at this, but dammit, I did.
Then we see Echo walking towards Boyd the Doll, who I am assuming they can Imprint to be anyone. But Echo hands him a grenade and tells him to walk into the closed area where the mainframe is located and pull the pin.
Boyd, strapped in a belt of explosives, says, “Yes, I try to be my best…”
I’m near bawling stage at this moment….
The others evacuate the building and wait for Echo on the outside. The bottom area of the place then goes up and Echo makes it out. Paul asks her if they saved the world, and Echo says she guess they did.
10 Years Later…
All hell has broken loose as Echo and Paul shoot at “butchers” in the post-apocalyptic world of “Epitaph One”.
So much for saving the world…
– Was I the only one upset at seeing Boyd in Doll state? I mean he was seriously warped in the head with world domination, but they could’ve Imprinted him with someone else. I don’t know… It just pained me for some reason to see him like that and the Doll state theme music didn’t help at all. Then the creepy exchange of “Did I fall asleep?”/”Only for a little while” became poignant and took another meaning as they left Echo and Boyd’s mouths. That scene will forever haunt me every time I see this show from beginning to end, no matter how much I despise Boyd for what he did. Like I said, I may be the only person who feels this way, but Boyd was my favorite character in the Dollhouse world, next to Anthony (Victor) and Adele and it pained me to see that he was the man behind the curtain all along. That was like if Giles revealed to Buffy that he was an agent of The First the entire seven years of Buffy’s run! So to see him in Doll state was just as upsetting. Maybe, again, it is because he could’ve been an extra foot soldier in the impending war if they had of Imprinted him with someone else. Who knows? But that’s Whedonomics for ya…
– Mellie’s death… Another “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” moment that sent me reeling! She was out! If only she had of listened to Paul when he tried to stop her from going to the Senate hearing. Another reason why you should never utter words of affection in a Whedon world. I am soooo worried about Priya and Anthony in the series finale…
– The return of Topher 2.0! That was a big present for me and I am glad we got to see Enver go crazy again with his acting chops. Can’t wait to see his next role.
– The one thing that bugged me while I watched the show was that why didn’t the crew figure out that the technology was already sent to each Dollhouse to help with mass production? No matter if you blew up the mainframe, the tech had to be saved elsewhere as a precaution. Just saying.
So as I said at the beginning of this recap, the ending was spoiled for me by the title of the final episode so I was little anxious to see how they got to the endpoint. I really can’t wait to see how it all ends and if the final promo tells us anything…
It’s going to be epic…
See ya next time! And until then…
Try to stay away from any tech… As if that is even possible…