'Dollhouse': A traitor and mastermind revealed
Viewers were probably a bit more on edge knowing that Boyd Langton was the puppet master and having to watch him guide the team around in this "The Hollow Men" episode.
I didn't even mention Victor and Sierra escaping last week, but for now, they've returned. We'll keep calling them by their doll names until I'm sure there's no shenanigans going on! And based on a note left in a destroyed lab, they decide to get back into the doll-making chair. They rationalized it, and may not fear it as much since they know they've been through it many times, but that pricked me a bit. The result though? Victor as Topher! Yes!!! When you find a good thing, use it. Now, with another quick tweak making Victor a super-soldier, they're in the game.
So Boyd, still pulling the strings, gets the crew down to a Tucson dollhouse after drugging Caroline/Echo, where they meet ... Whiskey/Dr. Saunders? Clyde Randolph, another of Rossum's architects, took the body of Whiskey. Wow, but great way to get Amy Acker back in. How did Adelle DeWitt know so easily? Guess she knew him pretty well.
Anyway, so fast-forward. Boyd splits the team and goes with Topher to "find Echo," sending November with Paul Ballard. Right away, started thinking about flowers and vases. His plan was going well until Echo woke up. She finds and smacks Boyd around for a while, but Whiskey shows up with a gun. Then Boyd's calculated craziness is revealed.
"You're here 'cause you're my family. I love you guys." What?! The show made what was thought of as the most stable character into the traitor and mastermind. Such carefully crafted misdirection, down to an emotional level. DeWitt said it best: "You are spectacularly insane."
More mean: Boyd is going to take Echo's spinal fluid to make an antidote that can fight against the doll imprint (that his company created?), and he activates assassin November, unleashing her on Ballard. The two battle, but November actually fights her programming! Seems she's the only doll to do that other than Echo, which kind of throws Boyd's "Echo's the only one who can fight it with her bodily fluids" theory out the window. But now, we'll never know because Paul is cleaning November brains off him after her suicide.
Echo's spinal tap. That. Looks. Painful. Ouch. But Victor and Sierra come to the rescue.
And it happens. Echo versus Whiskey. Former No.1 versus present No. 1. Great fight. Have to find out the names of the stuntwomen involved. Not quite Buffy versus Faith, but still good. Echo wins.
"I did all of this. I'm the one who brings about the thoughtpocalypse." Not sure about that, Topher. The guy who invented steroids is not to blame for Mark McGwire.
Boyd's last trick was duping Paul Ballard, but Echo shot Paul in the leg to get him out of the way, so that's OK. As Boyd and Echo fight, we all wonder who will come in to stop him. Has to be Ballard. Maybe DeWitt. Nope, it's his betrayed buddy Topher. And not only does Topher not kill him, he makes him a doll, wiping his memory and personality. Echo and the group send him on a suicide mission. That was brilliant. No quick end to the manipulator.
In two weeks, we get to see the future finale in "Epitaph Two." Apparently, 10 years later and the future is still doomed. They had to think that a multinational corporation probably had other houses working on the tech, and though Topher is brilliant, someone would crack it. Have to wonder though: Did Boyd somehow live? (Whiskey could've woken up and gotten him out.) Even if he didn't, Clyde Randolph said he had lots of other bodies. In any number of scenarios, Rossum could live on. Question is, can they ever really be stopped? Would love to know what people think in the comments.
We knew the end was coming, though it seems like it got here fast. Viewing parties anyone?
-- Jevon Phillips
Photos: Top, Boyd Langton (Harry Lennix) is caught in the cross hairs. Middle, Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) and November (Miracle Laurie) share a moment. Bottom, Echo/Caroline (Eliza Dushku) and Whiskey (Amy Acker) tussle. Credit: Fox