Hoo, boy, let me see if I can explain this, and know that just because I make the effort doesn't mean I think it all holds together. Also, I don't know how to avoid making this the longest recaplet in history, so bear with me. We continue where we left off, two years ago with Boyd and Caroline, and he makes vague allusions to her blood, tested at a Rossum lab years earlier, showing her "amazing potential," before browbeating her into taking Adelle's offer of Dollhouse service while promising that he'd protect her.
Priya and Tony return to the Dollhouse, albeit reluctantly, and find the place littered with corpses. Meanwhile, Adelle and Ballard successfully escaped, along with Mellie (whose tracking device Ballard managed to remove), and they await a rescue chopper (where it's coming from is unclear) while tensely hoping their allies will make it out to join them. And they -- well, Topher and Echo -- do, but they're accompanied by Boyd, about whom no one knows the truth -- except a hysterical Echo who complains of feeling like she's on fire. The others mistakenly conclude that Caroline and Echo are at odds, thus causing the freak-out, and tranquilize her, after which Boyd tells them they have to get to Tucson and destroy the mainframe, using Caroline as bait to get in. Unbeknownst to them, however, Priya and Tony have discovered a note on the chair in the lab that reads "Press Enter," and can't resist imprinting Tony with whatever program is in there -- and he once again becomes Vicpher, which is a rather loving thing to do for the fans before the series ends, although he doesn't have the hair and the argyle sweater. Voice is uncanny, though. They wonder who could have left the Topher personality for them to find, but when Priya laments the fact that someone erased all the security footage, Vicpher recalls that Topher installed a security camera that no one else knew about, and they discover that Boyd drugged Echo, which leads them to the conclusion that Boyd's working for Rossum. Not exactly, but we'll take it! Vicpher suggests he whip up a super-imprint for Tony to give him skills that will balance out the fight against Rossum, and although Priya takes some convincing, Tony is soon a total bad-ass ninja.
In Tucson, the gang enters to find Whiskey, who's not sporting the Claire personality anymore. Instead, she's now Clyde Randolph Number Whatever-The-Hell, and she's acting awfully Eevil for a personality that was supposed to be devoid of all ambition. She tells Adelle that Caroline is their savior, not because of her mind, but because of her body, and I know Eliza's hot but that seems like a bit of an overstatement.
Meanwhile, Boyd keeps pretending to be a good guy as he breaks the rest of them out of confinement, but when he sends Ballard and Mellie off to get some weapons, Topher tells him the way Echo's acting is eerily similar to the way Priya did when Nolan drugged her on a serial basis, and also mentions the part where he left a backup of himself just in case Tony and Priya returned. Boyd's like oh, is that so, but he's got too much on his plate to do more than send a couple of goons after the two of them -- and that's before Echo shakes off the drug and comes to with Boyd in her sights. Boyd takes Topher into the research lab, where they discover that Rossum is ready to mass produce the technology Topher invented to imprint everyone in the world -- except none of the prototypes they have lying around the lab are actually functional. Boyd Svengalis Topher into fixing one of them for them to use against Rossum while Ballard and Mellie weapon up and resolve to find the mainframe. When they do, Mellie gets the brilliantly simple idea to pull the plug on the cooling units and overheat the mainframe's servers. Meanwhile, once Topher succeeds, Boyd just about reveals himself to him, but then Echo turns up and starts kicking the shit out of Boyd -- until Whiskey puts a gun to her head. Once the cat's out of the bag, Topher is especially hateful toward Boyd when he realizes he's the one responsible for Bennett's death, but Boyd ignores him in favor of making a grand speech about being on the right side when the technology is exploited, or whatever. Also, the reason he nurtured Echo's ability to block the imprints is that Caroline's body would produce a unique neurochemical tracer THAT THEY PLAN TO HARVEST FROM HER -- in other words, her spinal fluid will be used to make a vaccine against imprinting to protect a chosen few, which ow, and ew. He then zaps her with Topher's doohickey -- but Mellie and Ballard have just taken down the primary cooling systems, so Boyd puts a gun to Adelle's head and orders her to activate Mellie's sleeper programming, which I thought would have been eradicated when her service was up last year. Adelle sticks out her British chin and calls Boyd's bluff, but he gets his hands on a recording of the time Adelle had her kill Hearn, and Mellie starts shooting up the place and soon has a gun to Ballard's chin. He exhorts her to fight the programming, and she succeeds long enough to come out of sleeper state -- only to lose the battle and commit suicide rather than kill Ballard, earning her the Captain Terrell Memorial Award from Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan.
When Echo comes to, she has her spinal fluid extracted, most painfully, but Priya and Tony show up to rescue her with most excellent timing. She sends them to retrieve Adelle and Topher while she goes after Ballard (well, and Mellie, because she's not up on the most current events), and once Victor kicks some more ass, the four of them resolve to destroy all traces of the deadly technology. On her way to find Ballard, Echo runs into Whiskey, and tries to get her to overcome the Clyde imprint, while Boyd runs into a distraught Ballard, who still doesn't know Boyd is behind all this and blames Adelle for Mellie's death. Echo eventually knocks Whiskey out and turns her attention to the mainframe, but Boyd and Ballard show up, and Boyd finally gives up the ghost and puts his gun to Ballard's throat. Echo shoots Ballard in the leg to drop him from Boyd's grasp -- but it's Topher who saves the day by zapping Boyd and turning him into a Doll right as he's about to kill Echo. In quite the ironic twist of fate, she loads Doll Boyd up with explosives and has him walk a grenade into the server area and pull the pin, and that's all she wrote for the founder of Rossum. Echo goes off on an unknown errand but makes it out alive -- but ten years later, the world of Epitaph One is still happening, and it looks like the series finale will be set in 2020 -- in two weeks.
We pick up right where we left off last week, as Caroline is telling Boyd that people will find out if anything happens to her. Boyd, however, opines that she could vanish off the face of the Earth and "not a soul" would notice she was gone, which okay, her boyfriend may have died and her BFF may be pissed at her over the whole arm thing, but just the fact that she had those relationships makes Boyd's statement kind of suspect. Boyd babbles for a bit about the extent of Rossum's reach, the point of which is to let Caroline know that they've been privy to medical information about her for quite some time, as she apparently got tested to see if she was a suitable bone-marrow donor for her cousin, who had leukemia. He adds that she's very interesting, "at least on a microscopic level," and if that's a veiled insult to the interest level of the total package I'm only too happy to snicker. Caroline asks a salient question, that being what he wants from her, so he tells her that he'd merely like a few years of her life, since the alternative for the terrorist acts she's committed will be life imprisonment or even death. Caroline tries for some bravado that even she can tell is unconvincing, and Boyd basically ignores it to tell her that she has amazing potential, and he wants to see how far she can go. Hate to ruin the suspense, dude, but a season and a half looks like the limit. He adds that he'll protect her, and when she asks how she can believe that, he puts on a maniacal-adjacent smile: "You'll learn to trust me."
Back in the present, Priya tells Tony she doesn't want to go back to the Dollhouse, but the fact that they're currently in one of its elevators suggests the conviction isn't all that strong. He does indulge her, though, saying that they can leave, find a doctor to "rip out all this crap they put in our heads," and never look back, but of course Priya wasn't serious, saying that even though she doesn't want to risk losing him, she couldn't live with herself if they didn't return to help Echo and the others against Rossum. When they descend to the lab, however, they find the place dark and littered with corpses, which...where are all the commandos? Did they leave without having captured a single important person? Whatever, this is the least of my issues with this episode and I'm going to have to pace myself. Tony notes that the war started without them, and we go to the opening credits...