I'll let Couch Baron do the heavy lifting and rating of this episode, but to tide you over, here's the quick rundown of the happenings from the series finale. I didn't think a year ago that this show ending would make me sad, but it kind of does.
Anyway, the trio from Epitaph 1 (Mag, Zone and mini-Caroline) are running trying to find the elusive Safe Haven. Along the way they get captured and taken into Neuropolis -- the town formerly known as Tucson -- where Echo and Paul are hiding out as prisoners. They dynamic duo take down the latest (fat) Harding, pick up an exhausted and screwed up Topher and head off to some sort of Amish country, where Priya and Adele are growing strawberries and Priya's got the cutest little son. Topher's latest plan is to build Harding and company the technology that they want (that will wipe the remainder of the world) but to underhandedly plan to reverse it without their knowledge and have everyone return back to their right minds. Priya is not too pleased with going back to the time before being a doll, and neither is Caroline or her mini-me version. We see why when Tony finally shows up all guns a-blazing and speaking Russian and whatnot. Apparently he and Priya have had some sort of falling out since he's a totally tech head and she doesn't want her son around him, and she's mighty peeved that Echo called him for backup. Anyway, they all pile into a big tank and head back to the LA dollhouse to get Topher the tools he needs.
Priya and Tony bicker about his desire to protect her and their son by being a tech head while their son sleeps soundly, though why they brought him on the mission in the first place beats the hell out of me. In the back of the truck, Paul and Echo have a thinly veiled conversation about having sex and the team finally puts a plan together as they pull up to the Dollhouse. The techheads load their aggressive personalities via embedded walkie talkie looking devices, and there's a lot of slow-motion shooting and running. During which Mag gets shot in the kneecaps and Paul gets shot dead with a bullet to the head. Yeah, just like that. In the dollhouse, it is all mindless people… and Alpha. He's created a nice place for "dumbshows." Topher starts speaking in tongues and making about as much sense as he normally does, when the tech heads aim their guns at the geek because they don't want him to wipe everyone. Their thinking is that if they just steal more personalities, they can rule the world. Echo and Alpha swiftly take down the tech junkies with their lofty goals. Priya starts smashing all the little portable personality hard drives, then Echo wigs out and tells Priya she's lucky that Tony loves her and then she starts bawling about how she never told Paul she loved him.
Topher finishes his Mindunwiper 2020, with the help of an old video tape of Bennett and says the device has to go upstairs and it will cause a big explosion. Oh, and did he mention that he has to set it off manually? Adele catches his meaning and realizes it is a suicide mission. He's tired of hurting people and their brains, so he tells her that she's got the task of reshaping the world and helping the dolls adjust to real life. Alpha goes away into hiding so he doesn't become a psycho killer again, Tony and Priya roast marshmallows or something with their kid underground to avoid the mindunwiping happening in the rest of the world and Adele awkwardly hugs Echo and tells her to destroy the chair post brain unwipe. Topher sets off the bomb, everyone, including mini-Caroline's all back to normal, and Echo reaches the chair and sees an imprint with her name on it (left behind by Alpha). She uploads it and we see that Paul is now inside her head forever and ever. Then she wanders around with only Mag, Tony, Priya and Tony Jr. as company before she lays herself down in a little pod and we're done. -- Angel Cohn
I never recap the previouslies, because they usually annoy me with how much they give away and I end up hyperlinking to the relevant stuff anyway, but since this one doesn't have any, I'll flip the script and do my own version. So: Some time ago, Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku sat down and came up with a concept for a new sci-fi-ish show. Said show would star an actress with fan appeal beyond reproach and acting talent that was somewhat less so. They got Fox to pick up the show, whereupon they ran into massive creative differences that led to several delays and a reduced episode order. When the show saw the light, the first half of the season was tepid at best, but was followed by a strong second half that made its inevitable cancellation look unjust. But amazingly, Fox decided to give it another chance, albeit in a dreaded Friday night timeslot. The show repaid this kindness with three below-par episodes (one of them absolutely dreadful) and was informed its services would no longer be required; however, it was given the chance to air its full order of thirteen episodes to wrap the show up in a satisfactory fashion. The show responded by ripping off a rather mind-blowingly good series of episodes, but then advanced a horrifically nonsensical penultimate offering that left what viewers remained thoroughly unsure of what to expect going into the finale. And if that sounds frustrating, you're not wrong, but if you've been following along with this paragraph you'll admit it's not exactly unexpected either. Regardless, Dollhouse has been fun to recap, on the whole, and I'm sorry my return to the Whedon game couldn't have lasted longer. One more thing: Thanks very much to Angel Cohn for covering the recaplet when Fox unexpectedly switched up the finale date. And now, let's get to wrapping it up:
We start as we left off, in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles in the year 2019. Oh, I see: These are the previouslies, or the "postviouslies" if you prefer, but whatever, it's a quick selection of scenes from Epitaph One, which I suppose I can't begrudge them doing for the people who never got hold of the DVD in order to watch it. Probably a little confusing for those who didn't, but then again, it's not like we're catering to a whole lot of casual viewers here. Also, nice to see Whiskey, given that she's not in the episode proper. The whatever-you-want-to-call-them leads to a mere title card instead of an opening-credits sequence, which signals that my fingers are in for it here, and then where we really start is with some Dumbshow shambling around "Somewhere near the California-Nevada border," as a chyron so helpfully informs us. What, there's no particular town that wanted to be mentioned in a dying show's last gasp? Maybe after Chino's depiction on The O.C., everyone's gun-shy. Probably more important than the "location" is the year, which is now 2020, and this Dumbshow quickly becomes well beside the point, as a horde of charging Butchers come out of nowhere and head toward my wonderfully sarcastic TV boyfriend Zone, who awakens from the nap he was enjoying in his Jeep to yell a warning to Mag and... well, young Caroline, formerly "Isis," who are nearby fetching some water, as the womenfolk apparently do even in post-apocalyptic times. Zone starts laying down some covering fire as Mag sprints behind the wheel and gets them out of there, not without an assist from young Caroline, who uses a lead pipe to brain a Butcher who managed to grab the back of the Jeep. Actually, the pipe may not have contained lead, but I played Clue enough times as a kid that it's hard to imagine any other possibility. Once they've safely escaped, Zone wonders how there could be Butchers all the way out where they are, as they're not even close to a city, and Mag speculates unimportantly before pointing out that they have better things to worry about, such as getting to Safe Haven before they run out of water and gas. Young Caroline whines that she's doing the best she can now that she's unable to see over the dash, which would have been funny if she'd had any sense of humor about it, but she's too worried about asking whom her current body used to house. Zone declines to mention more about Iris than that she was printed before they met her, and adds that they put Caroline into her body because of her knowledge of Safe Haven, like, okay, none of that really makes any sense, because "Caroline" and "Echo" ceased to be any different as of ten-plus years earlier, so there's no way YC would know where Safe Haven is and not Echo, but a billion things here make no sense and we won't get an answer to any of them, and if I don't have time to dwell on them now, I'm certainly not going to bother recapping all the garbage about their goal of making a "true world" where everyone is an Actual, because we know this already and, despite what I said before, it's a LITTLE LATE for re-explaining stuff here. Anyway, they continue down the desert road...