Claire treats Victor, who uncomprehendingly asks how he can be his best now, and she bitterly tells him he can't -- all he's suited for now is to be an object of pity. She then hacks into Topher's computer and learns for sure she's a Doll, and definitely isn't too happy about it, and also reveals she knows Topher programmed her to hate him.
In the wake of Alpha having revealed himself, Adelle and Boyd discover he not only absconded with Echo, but also gave her an imprint of unknown origin and removed her tracking device. Adelle then turns her attention to Ballard and tells him the story of Alpha and his "technological anomaly," and informs him he took Caroline. They then discover that Alpha has called in a terrorist threat, causing the FBI to show up outside, but Ballard intervenes with Tanaka and tells him about the Dollhouse, which causes him to call off his dogs and leave in disgust -- which is just what he promised Adelle would happen. Her joy is short-lived, though, when she finds out that Alpha took every single imprint ever given to Echo. Ballard agrees to help find Alpha in order to rescue Caroline, and uses his profiling skills to figure out Alpha's game -- when he had his composite event, he destroyed his original personality, and now he's going to do the same to that of Echo. Ballard, of all people, brings up the question of whether their technology can erase a person's soul, and asks who Alpha used to be. Adelle reveals that he was doing hard time for attempted murder, so Boyd and Ballard go to interview a living victim of his, whose face he scarred, and learn from her where he might have taken Echo.
We learn that a few years ago, Alpha and a female Doll disappeared with a client named Lars while sporting imprints not unlike the leads in Natural Born Killers, and Alpha tortured the guy until he gave up the information about them being Dolls -- their personalities were part of his fantasy. While this was going on, the female Doll danced in the shadows, and we're of course supposed to think it was Echo -- but it was actually Whiskey, their "number-one Active." We meet the previous Dr. Saunders, an older male, and then Alpha sees Adelle giving Caroline her welcome tour. Later, we Alpha kiss and confess to the newly-made Echo that he likes her, which earns him a warning from his handler but does nothing to change his feelings. When he hears that Whiskey is the number-one Doll, he brutally slashes up her face while mildly telling her to let Echo have that vaunted status, and then breaks out of his treatment and horrifically put out his handler's eyes before killing Dr. Saunders.
Back in the present, in a car, we see that Alpha and Echo have picked up another passenger -- a blonde woman of random origin who's there against her will, and Alpha takes them both to a room that contains another chair. Echo, who's sporting some kind of trailer-park personality that thinks Alpha is her boyfriend "Bobby," watches as he puts the blonde in it, and while Alpha's hearing voices, they don't stop him from putting Caroline's original personality into the blonde. He explains to Echo that Caroline abandoned her, vacated her life when things got too tough, and she can ascend to something higher, something like he is, by killing her. He then gives Echo an imprint of all her personalities at once to force her own composite event, but when she comes out of it, she attacks Alpha instead of Caroline, because she doesn't see him, or herself, as superior, only empty. Alpha ends up shooting the blonde woman and then threatening to destroy Caroline forever, but Echo's composite personality seems impossible to intimidate, and even though he shoots her in the shoulder, she chases after him as Boyd and Ballard arrive on the scene, the latter of whom fulfills his years-long dream by rescuing the imprint of Caroline's original personality. Alpha, however, escapes, and to find him, Adelle hires Ballard, who gives his service in exchange for Adelle permanently releasing November (real name "Madeleine"), not Echo, from her contract. In the end, Echo, back to her un-composite self, goes to sleep in her pod -- but whispers "Caroline" before she does. Not as good as it could have been, to be honest, but the show certainly deserves to come back. Fingers crossed!
We open with Claire, in a panic for more than one reason, entering the atrium and calling for help. Adelle and Boyd appear, and Adelle calls for EMT aid. As Claire haltingly tries to fill them in on what happened to Victor, Boyd reports that it looks like Alpha made it out before they could secure their exits. Adelle calls for a full lockdown and head count, but Claire tells them what they're going to find: "He came for Echo."
Cut to Topher confirming that, and also informing Adelle and Boyd that Alpha gave Echo an imprint of unknown origin. Also, he physically removed Echo's GPS strip (perhaps with that knife expertise of his, otherwise it seems like he would have been hard pressed for time) so they have no way of finding her. Adelle orders him to figure out the nature of the imprint, and when she's gone, Topher sees that Claire is standing in the doorway. Sounding dead inside, she tells him about Alpha asking her if she always wanted to be a doctor, and Topher, after catching enough flies to make a light dinner, asks who can fathom the mind of a crazy person. Claire: "The one who made him crazy? Maybe?" Topher's like, "Answering that rhetorical question was not cool."
It's still night as Alpha and Echo drive on a highway, apparently having decided between the elevator and here that adopting Katie Holmes's accent from The Gift for their own use is an interesting dramatic choice. I mean, it makes sense that Alpha would use this imprint, as it's clear it was designed to make her in love with him, but I could have done without the clichéd Southern trailer-park personality. It's uninspired. Anyway, Echo's under the impression that Alpha rescued her from some bad situation when she was thirteen (closing the Briar Rose chapter, but it would have been more effective to learn this last week), but the picture suddenly flashes to Alpha, in his normal voice, saying that never happened. He tells himself to shut up, and Echo notices something's up with him, but she must just have seen that he suddenly looked indisposed. I mean, I can't believe he's in such little control of his personalities that he has to verbalize everything he thinks -- surely he wouldn't have been able to keep up his cover with Ballard as he did. At this point, though he drops the act, saying he's not her boyfriend "Bobby" -- at least, that's not all he is. Echo, however, is presently distracted by the lack of something shiny, in particular some "Tasty couture" t-shirt she really liked, and her simple-minded trashiness is grating on me, so here's what's up: They stopped for a little shopping spree, and in addition to whatever Tasty garments they selected, they also procured a blonde salesgirl, who's tied up in the back with her mouth duct-taped shut, which is probably best for her own safety, as it prevents her from commenting on how hopelessly derivative her kidnappers are acting, which would probably result in her immediate death. Credits.