While Adelle DeWitt was occupied with finding Echo and Paul Ballard, there's one Active she may have forgotten. He caused a little trouble, like killing several Actives and severely injuring another, all to get the love of a certain girl...named Echo.
Now, Alpha is back, and he'll win Echo's love by eliminating the competition.
He'll start in Riverside County, where a guy named Clay who lives in a run-down trailer. He talks about how he's blown his money on the Dollhouse. While he may be in love with a girl who doesn't exist, that love sustains him. Alpha, looking very fashionable in a three-piece suit, agrees with Clay, and points out the saddest part about love is the ending...right before he cuts Clay's neck with a hunting knife.
At the Dollhouse, Echo is in a straightjacket, interviewed by a shrink who looks a lot like Victor...because it is. It's part of Adelle's efforts to get Echo to say what she did during her three-month walkabout. Adelle claims she's sorry she has to do this, but I suspect she also resents Echo for running away. It was the reason Adelle lost control of the Dollhouse. It's also a way to get Paul Ballard to admit he was helping Echo. It's starting to work until Boyd tells him to "man up".
As Adelle asks Dr. Victor his opinion on whether Echo is really in pain, he winds up analyzing Adelle, especially about how reserved she is. He even accuses Adelle of being jealous of Echo because she's both the "virgin and whore" and is being celebrated for both. Of course, he gets treated after this. Topher also pretends to side with Victor's opinion that Echo's pain is all in her mind.
Later, we see Topher knows how active her Doll state has become. He's told by Paul and Boyd about how she's 37 people in one, and is just about self-aware. So, what is Echo, he asks? Is she Eleanor Penn, Taffy, Bree, Rebecca, Terry the serial killer (even a little bit)? Yes, and more. Soon, she'll become Susan, for a romantic engagement with a guy named Frank Pierce. She does that even without an imprint. Topher can only think this is what old people feel like...or Blockbuster. Well, more like Tower Records, Topher.
On their way, Paul tells Echo he was hoping that when she came back on the field, they'd run. Echo disagrees, because they'd probably be Attic-bound. They get to Pierce's house, and she notices a trail of rose petals. It leads to Pierce's dead body. They also find some flowers, with a card that says "You're My Number One." Alpha the romantic.
They also figure out Alpha's been killing Echo's past romantic engagements that have given her love, including a woman that married her.
Later, Sierra comes back as a film noir doll, maybe Elizabeth Scott or Barbara Stanwyck, complaining about a guy who did her wrong. She hopes she never hears that guy's name again...Alpha. She also has a message, "the next one ages well." They also figure the next victim is a guy named Cargill, who reserves Echo on his birthday.
While all the Actives are re-wiped, Paul and Boyd find Alpha, with Cargill wearing a vest loaded with TNT. Alpha is disappointed his fashion sense is better than anyone else there. He says the men Echo had only loved pieces of her, while he alone can love all of her, and those inside her. He winds up blowing Cargill to smithereens and leaving the scene.
Who's left? None other than Joel Mynor, who we last saw in "Man on the Street." He was the internet genius who wanted Echo as his dead wife to recreate a moment that never came. He's leery about hiding out at the Dollhouse, especially since Alpha once broke in. After he sees Echo as Rebecca, he might as well try. He also talks shop with Topher, saying that once a program is deleted, it becomes alive somewhere. Maybe the same with personas?
Adelle prefers that Mynor be sent somewhere else. However, Alpha is already inside her office. She claims she's scared out of her mind, but he doesn't have that problem. He can just go to the next mind. She's willing to give him Echo not because she is chivalrous, but because of self-preservation (which the previous episode has proved). Echo's locked up, and she can be sent to him. Instead, he shows Adelle his "vacation photos", including a lot with Echo and Paul. He drags her to the executive elevator, where they get to the lobby. However, it's not because she's his human shield. It's to allow him to use his own remote wipe gizmo, which causes the Actives to turn against their handlers. Adelle gets away, and runs into her panic room.
Echo is able to get out by breaking a two-way window. Paul finds Alpha with Mynor, but it's bait and switch. Victor drugs Paul, while Alpha has plans for him. He wants to know why Echo loves Paul, and will drill right into his brain to find out. Paul keeps saying he doesn't love Echo even if she might love him. Alpha is certain Paul loves her because he didn't have sex with her. So. he zaps Paul's brain to get the answer.
Echo finds Adelle, and they later figure out Alpha used a computer virus to take control of the Actives, but it didn't work on Echo. Topher also figures he can use his Remote Wipe Ray to subdue the Actives.
Alpha, meanwhile, hasn't found the answer in Paul's brain...because it's been fried. So, he decides to imprint Paul into himself. Echo is shocked and angry at Alpha for making Paul brain-dead. While she clobbers Alpha, and says that Paul is ten times Alpha is (and he's 40 guys), he keeps telling her that to love him is to love herself. Then he speaks in Paul's voice, and the "Paul" inside Alpha begs Echo to kill him. She just can't, and Alpha leaves. It's almost a callback to when Buffy was torn over fighting Angel because she had to kill the man she loved...when he had a soul. Here, Echo can't kill Alpha because it also means killing Paul.
Mynor soon leaves, but not before Echo shifts into her Rebecca persona to give him a chance to say goodbye. He admits to "Rebecca" she lives on in him. Echo then turns to Paul's brain-dead body, and says he lives on in her.
The last scene is Adelle DeWitt over looking the damage in her Dollhouse. We wonder what she is thinking. Does she regret selling her soul to Harding to regain her place at the Dollhouse? Does she blame Echo for all her problems, and believe Echo should be shipped to the Attic?
Next week, we'll see if Paul can be saved somehow, and we'll also see what the Attic is all about, thanks to someone who we remember from last season.
Even though Dollhouse will end its run in a little more than a month, both episodes actually gained a tenth of a point over last week, attracting more than 2.4 million people.