The highly anticipated episode when Agent Ballard finally finds the Dollhouse certainly lived up to expectations, in my opinion. Being the episode before the season (hopefully not series) finale, Whedon and company had a lot of fast-forwarding to do after last week’s somewhat idle episode.
The episode opens with Echo reading the story of Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty) to a bunch of kids in an orphanage. Her purpose is soon discovered when a young girl throws a fit about how stupid Briar Rose was to wait for someone to save her. Echo’s imprint is revealed of that very girl, but a grown-up and successful version. Topher explains this is ideal to help the girl since Echo’s personality knows exactly how she’s feeling, therefore she should understand how to help the girl out. This is just another layer of the Dollhouse that will truly make this show an exceptional long-term series, raising questions like life after death and future versions of children.
Next we see Ballard who is moving out of his apartment while Mellie is frantically begging him not to. She wants to understand why he’s leaving and even asks if it’s because of Caroline and the Dollhouse. Ballard is past feeling any emotions for her since he knows he’s been manipulated by the Dollhouse. “You’ll get over it,” he tells Mellie as he walks out the door.
Afterwards, Mellie wanders the streets in distress only to have her handler safely take her into a van and drive back to the Dollhouse. And there’s Agent Ballard, watching the van pull into a parking garage. Now he has a lead and dives deeper with his friend from the FBI. He still believes the Dollhouse is underground and finds a specialist who was hired during the construction of the building. Ballard goes to question him.
Back at the Dollhouse, Langton approaches Adelle DeWitt with a flash drive saying it was dropped off for Dominic (who we know is in the Attic). They figure the drive has information from the people who are enemies of the Dollhouse since they sent it to Dominic, the mole inside. They imprint Victor with Dominic’s personality and after they drug him, they’re able to retrieve the contents of the drive. There’s a picture of Paul Bunyan that DeWitt recognizes being in Tucson, where the Dollhouse headquarters is located. Also, there’s a report on a murder from the previous day. Sierra is imprinted and she goes to investigate.
Ballard stops at the specialist’s apartment and they have a nice chit-chat, resulting in Ballard realizing he’ll need him to get into the Dollhouse. The specialist is extremely nervous and goofy (sort of like a version of Topher), but Ballard plays the tough cop forcing him to comply with his every move.
Ballard and the specialist are able to get inside the Dollhouse without being detected. I’m not exactly sure how, but you would think it would be a bit more difficult than just walking through the back door, no? Even with an underground organization that’s almost impossible to find, I expected there to be at least a few additional layers of security. Anyway, they get in, Ballard tasers Topher and has a lengthy kick-ass fight with Langton with small conversation in-between about who’s doing the right thing. Meanwhile, the specialist has somehow disengaged all of the security, cameras, systems, etc.
At the conclusion of the fight, Echo sides with Langton and Ballard is now in handcuffs and brought to Ms. DeWitt. They all exchange a shouting match about what’s right and wrong and how the Dollhouse is corrupt, yada yada yada. Then Sierra phones in to inform DeWitt that the man who was murdered wasn’t in Tucson like they first assumed. He was killed in Los Angeles. Also, the man killed was identified as the specialist who designed the Dollhouse’s self-sustaining system. Which means…
The man that Ballard brought in the Dollhouse with him was Alpha! And we cut to Alpha who approached Dr. Fred after slicing and dicing Victor’s face. She calls in Echo and Alpha smiles like a kid on Christmas day. He imprints Echo with a personality that recognizes who Alpha is. They start kissing like the prince that saves Sleeping Beauty and hand-in-hand they leave the Dollhouse.
And there’s your mind-blown. After the identity of Alpha finally being revealed, it turns out the story of Briar Rose was a parallel to Echo and the prince was Alpha, not Agent Ballard.
With only one more episode left in the season, there are still many questions to be answered. Like, what is the history between Alpha and Echo/Caroline? What is the reason for Ballard for trying so hard to find the Dollhouse to save Caroline?
Please don’t make the next episode the last! Renew the show! Do it Fox! Do it!