[Season 1 !Season 2 ]
This starts with the protagonist, Echo ( Eliza Dushku ) on a hypocritical Pro Bono mission, saving whores (who have free will, unlike a slave like herself).
A lot of the time is spent with characters spouting exposition. However, this is very well written and comes across as moralistic whining instead.
The deleted scenes show different versions of the intro. After the Pilot was made, Joss decided to build Season One up as a series of pseudo-prequels.
Caroline ( Eliza Dushku ) makes a deal with Olivia Williams . She becomes a Doll, a cross between La Femme Nikita and Profiler . Instead of learning new skills and retaining their own personality, the Dolls' skills and personalities are uploaded from a super-computer. Caroline's codename is Echo.
An FBI goon (Helo from BSG 2003 ) is obsessed with Caroline.
A young girl is kidnapped. Echo is hired as Hostage Negotiator.
Echo ( Eliza Dushku ) is sent for a weekend with an extreme sports freak. Unfortunately, he wants her for more than just the sex. Under the influence of halucinogenics and extreme stress, Echo starts to remember the Alpha incident. She also sees some of her other imprinted personalities
Echo's handler has flashbacks to when he was first hired ... Just after the Alpha incident. Echo was the only survivor.
The FBI goon from BSG 2003 sniffs around the crime scene from the end of the previous episode, even though the Special Agent in Charge is Mark Sheppard. Security is so lax he takes Top Secret files home with him. Incidentally, a gorgeous new neighbour has just moved in.
Mr Dominic, head of Dollhouse Security, is paranoid due to the Alpha incident. He sees Echo as an ever-growing threat.
Someone sabotages the pyrotechnics at a Beyonce -style singer's stage show. The Manager hires Echo as a singer-cum-bodyguard. Sierra is backup, as President of the Fan Club.
The nature of the threat is more complex than it seems. Echo must adopt an even more complex strategy. Everyone at HQ is impressed, except for Mr Dominic.
Tony Amendola ( SG-1 ) hires Echo to dress and act like an uber-sexy hooker. She teams up with a gang of robbers too stupid to wear masks or gloves!
With the predictable double-cross comes a glitch in Topher's technology. Someone, perhaps the person behind the Manhunt and the source of the FBI's leak, is manipulating events around Echo.
A religious group with a secure compound is being investigated by the BATF. Echo is hired to infiltrate, as a blind girl with strong religious beliefs. The boss is an ex-convict, more like Charlie Manson than David Koresh. The BATF are typically over-zealous, and Mr Dominic regards Echo as expendable.
The FBI goon is back at work, so to speak. He's finally decided to use facial recognition software to compare a photo of Caroline with the FBI database. Someone sends him a video of her as well, from her college days.
Topher notices that Victor has a man reaction when showering with Sierra. Doctor Amy Acker blames Miss Lonelyhearts, a client who has used Victor on EIGHT occasions!
A TV station plays some voxpop interviews from LA, getting a wide range of opinions on the urban myth about the existance of the Dollhouse.
Meanwhile one of the Dolls, Sierra, freaks out. It looks like she's been having illegal sex on the premises. Echo's handler makes it his personal mission to hunt down and punish the male responsible, rather than leave this to Security and Management. Kevin Kilner ( Earth: Final Conflict ) is Sierra's handler.
The FBI goon from BSG 2003 closes in on the Dollhouse. He manages to catch up with Echo ( Eliza Dushku ). For some reason, as well as being a trained investigator he's also an expert Martial Artist who can take out a squad of bodyguards bare-handed. Unfortunately, the Dollhouse has techniques and plans far more advanced than his own.
The Dolls are sent to a University Campus to stop the spread of a strange epidemic. Unfortunately the Dolls are the only ones who are immune, as the oversight personnel are somehow infected!
Sierra has a flashback to the previous ep. And Echo starts to remember things too ...
Adelle and the staff are worried about the possibility of another Alpha Incident. They are upgrading the security system.
Echo and her colleagues wake up in the pods. They have their original personalities, but no memories. They still manage to remember enough to follow up on their unfinished business from their previous lives. Sierra was put into the Dollhouse by an angry beau (Vincent Ventresca - Invisible Man ). Now, with Victor as her pimp she wants payback!
The FBI goon tries to trace the bugs he found, planted on him by Dollhouse Security.
Echo dresses as a dominatrix ...
We get to see a day in the life of 4 dolls. It's not an average day, because it starts with Topher discovering there's a mole in the Dollhouse! Echo is assigned to find out who it is. Can the Mole get Ballard the FBI goon to help?
November is sent back to spy on the FBI goon. But the Mole knows his/her cover is blown, and has a plan.
Sierra is sent to infiltrate NSA HQ, which she accomplishes with inexplicable ease. This is an Alias reference as much as anything. Nice to see someone other than Echo getting to kick ass.
Victor goes for a romantic liaison with Miss Lonelyhearts. We learn a lot about certain staff members this episode, which makes them all the more human.
Echo talks Topher into imprinting her as a human lie-detector. She interviews all the suspects - then defeats the Mole in a violent fist-fight.
Echo Quantum Leaps - err, she is given the personality of a rich woman who died. The dead woman thought she would get murdered, so she regularly backed up her personality (as in Sixth Day ) in order to return incognito and solve her own murder.
Back in the Dollhouse, Echo's old handler has been promoted to Head of Security. She apparently has a new one, though he doesn't appear when she's in trouble. Topher is allowed one of the Actives for an annual check-up - they spend the day hanging out playing computer games together.
The FBI goon enjoys himself with his very own Doll.
A USB stick arrives addressed to Mr Dominic. Management naturally becomes more than a little suspicious of it, and employs the Dolls to solve the mystery surrounding it.
Echo helps an abused girl by reading her a fairy tale - Briar Rose, a version of Sleeping Beauty . This thematically foreshadows the ep, as the Fed tries to infiltrate Dollhouse and steal her away. Naturally, nothing turns out the way he expected it to.
Alan Tudyk, last seen in Whedon's previous show Firefly , pops up as a hypochondriac boffin who the Fed coerces into helping him.
Alpha tries to convert Ech and make her like him. Of course, since it turns out that he had a history of criminal activity before he entered the Dollhouse ...
The Fed teams up with the Dollhouse management. He has to deal with rival Fed Mark Sheppard ( Firefly ), and use his skills to hunt down Alpha.
In the year 2019, we see a post-apocalyptic future. A small band of survivors traipse across the shattered remains of L.A., where there has been a Zombie Apocalypse of sorts. Felicia Day leads a band of gun-toting survivors to find Safe Haven. And they discover an underground self-contained building ...
The Dollhouse's mind-wipe tech turns out to have destroyed civilisation, in a similar way to Doc Theo's destruction of the written word in Now And Again . How things turned out the way they did is hinted at in brief scenes, as the survivors access the (potentially misleading) memories stored in Topher's lab. The Fast Zombies have had their minds blanked by technology that Topher somehow created and the Rossum Corporation deployed (for reasons unexplained). If the next Season carries forward with this story (replacing the old Alpha story arc) this could be very well fleshed out.
The survivors stumble into the Dollhouse, and discover the memory chair. They read a handful of memories, showing us flashbacks to the final day of the Dollhouse. A handful of de-activated Actives teamed up with the staff ...
Echo marries an International Arms dealer. She thinks she's an undercover Fed, and Ballard is the client.
Doctor Whiskey wages psychological warfare on Topher.
Echo is sent out to be mother to a young baby. But she becomes paranoid and hormonal. In fact, she resists the standard mind-wipe ...
Millie, AKA November the ex-Doll, gets called in for her regular check-up.
US Senator Alexis Denisof ( Angel ) is on a crusade against the Dollhouse. Someone is leaking him info.
Echo becomes Kiki, a college student set up to seduce Professor Ayre Gross.
Victor is selected as a vehicle for the memories and personality of the nephew of a Dollhouse shareholder. The poor boy was abused as a child, the sole male in a vicious matriarchy, and this caused the empathy centres of his brain to atrophy. Now he has a bunch of women locked up in a basement somewhere.
Naturally things go catastrophically wrong. Security at Dollhouse, even after all last Season's catastrophes, is as full of holes as ever. Topher tries a remote reboot ...
This is one of the darker stories. But it also has some very light moments to counter this.
US Senator Alexis Denisof ( Angel ) is on a crusade against the Dollhouse. Millie the ex-Doll has been traced, and wants to testify at a Government hearing.
Big Boss Keith Carradine visits, to tell Adele not to interfere. He has a cunning plan already in action. Echo is sent as a call-girl to blackmail the Senator.
The FBI goon wants to save Millie from herself, but just gets himself in even more trouble. The Dollhouse crew end up going against another Dollhouse! Bennet Halverson ( Summer Glau ) is the evil version of Topher.
To be continued!
Topher and Adele go to Washington to meet their opposite numbers. Adele tries a combination of seduction and threats on Ray Wise ( Reaper ). Meanwhile Topher finds that Summer Glau is as entranced by him as he is by her. However, somehow she knew Caroline before she became Echo. She wants to get even with Caroline, and will kill Echo and anyone close to her.
Echo is lost, without her GPS tracker or any imprints. She tries to find food, but ends up stealing it. This turns out bad for a Mexican woman who doesn't want to learn English or work for a living.
Back at the Dollhouse, Adele has been demoted to office flunky for messing things up. Keith Carradine from HQ is in charge, and Topher has been promoted to Research. They're building a remote-wipe weapon, although Topher is suspicious of Rossum's overall agenda. Adele plots with Boyd to get her position back, while they have to locate Ballard and retrieve Echo.
Echo tries to make things right for the fence-jumper by staging a Mission Impossible style overly-complex prison breakout. Unfortunately the poor little girlies in lock-up (think Faith Lehane from Buffy the Vampire Slayer ) have to face off against big bad redneck guards. How this got shown on the Uber-Fascist FOX network is never explained.
Echo is in solitary, while Adele keeps her and Ballard under observation.
Alpha is back, slaughtering anyone who has had a romantic encounter with Echo. He has an end-game, of course. The entire Dollhouse is at risk!
Victor's contract is over, so he is released. He has trouble adjusting, and is being stalked by persons unknown.
It turns out that Rossum has a secret Special Ops team. Echo and Sierra have to take them on. This is like something out of Dark Angel .
Adelle sends Echo, Victor and Sierra to the Attic. Turns out that it's a VR system created from the networked brains of prisoners held in every Dollhouse worldwide.
Echo must escape from a mysterious character who is killing off Attic inmates. And when you die in the VR simulation, you die in reality.
Echo and her allies discover Rossum's true objective, and the apocalyptic outcome.
Amy Acker , the doctor, returns from hiding. The team abduct Bennet ( Summer Glau ) to make her help recover Caroline's personality. Through her flashbacks we get to see what a complete selfish arrogant bitch Caroline was.
Finally we discover who the Big Bad is. Yes, the founder of Rossum is ... revealed. The identity makes no sense at all.
The team visit Rossum HQ in Arizona. Can they defeat the Corporation? If they do, they'll all be out of a job. But Topher has a few tricks left.
We get to see what Rossum's evil plan was.
This takes up where the previous season climax, Dollhouse [Season 1, Episode 13] Epitaph One, left off.
The survivors must evade the Fast Zombies/Reavers/Whatever, defeat what's left of the Rossum Corporation, and then reverse the effects of the Global mind-wipe!