This was a two-parter, but to me it felt like one huge two hour episode. And it was absolutely fantastic. Better than fantastic, it was just amazing all around.
I've been waiting for a Dollhouse versus Dollhouse kind of plot for some time, or just seeing another Dollhouse facility other than the Los Angeles location. It was nice seeing the differences between the two, how they're operated and the different technology used. Although I wished we could've seen the entirety of that other Dollhouse, we only saw just a small snippet of the outside where their dolls roamed about, but nonetheless seeing the technological parts? Was awesome. More awesome was SUMMER FUCKING GLAU WEARING GLASSES IN HER DEMENTED AND TWISTED WAYS! There wasn't much background, adding more intrigue to that mystery of how their operations work and how the head of that Dollhouse can encourage such actions (though knowing Rossum's corporation they probably do encourage it, plus Summer's character, Bennett, is quite scary, damaged and scary).
Anyway, I loved this inner-Dollhouse battle which is all connected to Rossum, a highly powerful corporation which uses manipulation even amongst other Dollhouses. It also appears that Adelle's Dollhouse is more in the dark than the other ones. It's making me very curious as to what their truest intentions really are, and judging from their impressions with Adelle I want to know what they plan on doing to that Dollhouse in the future.
Secondly, I want to address the remote wiping system which Topher invented. Small and with some complications, but nonetheless an advancement which is going to bring forth the future from "Epitaph One" into a reality.
I have a feeling that by working with Bennett, with her skills and knowledge in neuroscience, he might have inadvertently placed such technology of remote wiping directly into Rossum's hands, which is bad bad bad. Again, Rossum has destructive plans for their own gain and will use their Dollhouse facilities to achieve these goals however they can. I just, I'm amazed that Topher is even continuing with this project. Curiosity and somewhat helpful maybe, but in the wrong hands the fate of the entire world hangs in the balance, and we know this from the post-apocalyptic future in which we've seen. I'm just so fascinated, and scared, with what might happen to these characters.
WESLEY IS AN ACTIVE! OH HOLY SHIT! TOTALLY DID NOT SEE THAT COMING AT ALL! And the fact that his handler was pretending to be his wife, for three years? Wow.
I love the message about self-identity and self-discovery, and upon that scary realization knowing that you are never truly free. We know this from Madeline's story, no matter what you are still connected to the Dollhouse even after your contract is up. What is freedom? Are we truly free even if we escape? Where are those limits, what can be done to stop it? Should someone return to who they used to be, will the truth destroy them? We have Madeline learning the truth about what happened during her sleeper/doll state, the senator realizing he's actually a doll and later learning the horrifying truth that he killed someone, and we have Echo, who received a memory from someone else allowing her to see the truth about Caroline, who her original personality truly was. Which was surprising in and of itself, seeing a memory where there's a different version of Caroline that we haven't seen before now (makes me wondering when this happened, before or after her attempts at exposing Rossum and when she watched her boyfriend die and she escaped, running for her life?)
This really sets the bar that not everything is quite that simple, that Echo can't just break everyone out, there is no black and white; there's all this gray and it's confusing, it doesn't make sense. It's complicated and there's no real safe haven. And you know what? It's fascinating to see this play out, because I'm rooting for Echo and her wanting to find herself, and the fact that she's becoming her own person, acquiring all these different personalities and experiences from past engagements and making them her own -- and repeating what Whiskey was mentioning, not wanting to let herself die just to have that personality back again. Complicated, complex, amazing.
TOPHER AND VICTOR!TOPHER! HOLY SHIT ENVER IS FUCKING AMAZING WITH HIS IMPRESSIONS! HE WAS TOPHER, SPOT-ON AND PERFECT! RIGHT DOWN TO THE MANNERISMS AND VOICE, HOLY FUCKING SHIT! GIVE THIS MAN AN EMMY, FOR REALS NOW!
Summer Glau = evil genius, but also adorable with Topher. CUTE GEEKY LOVE! Too bad she had a master plan on killing Echo because of their disoriented past. But it makes me wonder how she managed to get into the Dollhouse business, or if she had been involved the entire time with Rossum and Caroline found out therefore not helping her. This makes things interesting....
Adelle Dewitt = HBIC. TRUFAX. ♥
Poor Madeline. She can never escape the Dollhouse, any Dollhouse. It seems that Bennett likes tormenting the dolls, showing them pain, having her relive her own (I think?) :(
Paul no longer participating with the Dollhouse, going rogue. From what we've seen in the preview, he and Echo meet up and are preparing to take down the Dollhouse together, as what we've seen from the future episode they kind of do team up in that sense. Though as far as the suspected romance between them, I don't think it'll happen. Echo seems more self-sufficient and stronger than that, she's not helpless and I think while Paul might still want to save her, Echo can take care of herself. Which is why I don't really ship her with anyone in the show.
I kinda wanna see them teaming up with Whiskey. Paul/Echo/Whiskey (and possibly Boyd, if he's game) against the Dollhouse? Hell yeah.
The biggest question though is who are the inside sources that wanted Paul to learn about the truth of the Dollhouse? Are they continuing to watch him, send him messages? Are they going to pop up again? Because I think that should be another factor to explore, or what we can with the limited episodes we have left.
Overall, I LOVED LOVED LOVED this return of Dollhouse. Loved. ♥
Now THIS is pure Joss Whedon, utterly and completely Joss Whedon right here. This is what should have been done with the show since the beginning, instead of FOX trying to control things because having more of these inner-mythology suspenseful episodes is far more interesting than episodic engagements. If anything, Dollhouse should have started with this dark stuff right off the bat, because it would have drawn in more viewers with the suspense and intrigue. Unfortunately, it didn't. I'm sad it'll be ending, and feel that these back-to-back two-hour episodes are more of FOX's way of getting rid of the show.
But I still love it, love the direction its heading and the complexities it holds. And from the previews for the next two episodes, it's going to be quite a doozy.