“Dollhouse” mini-cap 2.12 “The Hollow Men”

Two years ago, Caroline tried to blow up Rossum, got pinched, and met its evil mastermind, Boyd. We should have known it was Boyd all along. Boyd is an anagram for “body.” However you spell it, Boyd is a bad boy.

He tells Caroline that Rossum is not only the world’s largest manufacturer of MRI machines and fancy medical doo-dads, it monitors every person who passes through its devices and keeps track of all the data. We’re supposed to believe this level of competence exists, even though your health insurance company lost your claim and no one can find Osama Bin Laden.

Instead of putting a bullet in her pretty face, Boyd tells Caroline she either can become an Active or be given the death penalty for terrorism. He admits he’d rather she work for him; she’s worth more alive in ways he doesn’t explain. “You’ll learn to trust me,” he says, as if she has a choice.

In the present, Caroline is back in Echo’s head but the addition is making her freaky. Adelle, Boyd, Mellie, Ballard and Topher hatch a plan to take her to Rossum’s headquarters in Tucson for some fresh desert air and some answers. Rossum had better gird their loins, Adelle’s got a gun.

Go get ‘em, mama.

Meanwhile, Victor/Anthony and Sierra/Priya have returned to the Dollhouse, only to find the party’s over. Their former digs are thoroughly thrashed, everyone’s gone and the floors are littered with the bodies of Rossum’s goon squad. Up in Topher’s lab, they find a note on the imprinting chair that says “Press enter,” accompanied by a smiley face. Who can resist such a tempting invitation? Not these two. Anthony hops in the chair while Priya holds a gun on him, just in case it’s a trick.

When he comes to, he’s Topher. You’d think he’d be happy to be in Anthony’s GI Joe body, but no, not so much.

Anthony/Topher: This is terrible. I want my body back! It was a nice body. I mean, I covered it up half the time with plaid and cotton-poly blends, but I took pride in my physique. I had a physique, do you understand? I mean, this body’s OK and everything, but still.

As fun as it is listening to Topher2 rant about missing his scrawny ass, there’s real sleuthing to be done. Topher2 tells Priya he has a secret camera no one knows about. Instead of catching Ivy stealing his turkey jerky, it’s captured Boyd drugging Caroline. They’re onto him.

In Arizona, Adelle and the others are having revelations of their own. At Rossum HQ, they find Claire/Whiskey is running the joint. Not as Dr. Saunders, but as Clyde, the co-founder. Having escaped the Attic, he took over Claire’s body and went straight to Banana Republic.

Clyde thanks Adelle for bringing Caroline, the “savior,” right to her, er, his doorstep.

Adelle: Caroline’s going to save the world?
Clyde: Oh no, not the world; just the deserving few. You’ll be happy to know you’ll be counted among them.
Adelle: Unfortunately, in her present state, Caroline isn’t fit to save anyone. I’m afraid we scrambled her head one time too many.
Clyde: The mind doesn’t matter. It’s the body we want. He always knew you’d be the one to deliver her to us.
Adelle: Our mysterious founder? I’d like to thank him for his faith in me.
Clyde: I know he’s looking forward to that moment.

For the moment, only Anthony and Priya know that Boyd is a traitor. In Tucson, the real Topher innocently tells Boyd he left his own wedge in the chair, hoping Anthony and Priya would return and use it. Also, he knows someone on the inside drugged Echo. Great. Why don’t you just give him your ATM PIN number, too.

Back in LA, Topher2 programs the chair to revert back to Anthony, but with enhanced fighting and cooking skills. He and Priya decide to join the others in Tucson, where Echo is waking up and realizing, finally, that Boyd is Mr. Big.

Boyd leads Topher to Rossum’s research lab, where a prototype of his revolutionary imprint gun lies incomplete.

Somewhere else in the building, Ballard and Mellie have escaped and are arming themselves. Mellie doesn’t understand what she’s doing there anymore than I do. She’s got no ninja skills, isn’t a technology genius, and doesn’t like guns. Ballard says he just likes having her around. He’s resigned himself to being a Doll, but at least they’ll have each other.

I thought when you love something, you’re supposed to set it free or something. Well, good. When she gets her head blown off, he can put in a jar and keep it on his desk.

In the lab, Boyd convinces the diminutive genius to finish the work, so they can use it for good, and not evil. Topher completes the imprint gun in a few short minutes – something Rossum’s scientists couldn’t do in months. Boyd puts a creepy hand on his shoulder and says, “I’m glad I chose you.”

Still all in the sauce, but don’t know the flavor, Topher asked, “Chose me for what?” Before Boyd can answer, Echo comes out of nowhere, hurls herself at him and begins to pound him into a pulp. Topher watches in shock. A black man hasn’t gotten a beat down from a white woman like that since Tiger Woods tried to back out of his driveway.

A moment later, Clyde is pointing one gun at Echo’s head, another at Adelle. Now it’s a party.

Boyd tells everyone he’s happy they’re all together. “You’re here because you’re my family. I love you guys,” he explains. This just in: Boyd is nuts.

Boyd says he’s proud of his clan. Topher learned to care, Adelle grew a set, and Echo is special because her spinal fluid makes her immune to imprinting. Um, doesn’t she have more imprints in her noggin than Topher has Star Wars figurines? Whatever. Boyd intends to harvest her magic fluid and create a vaccine against imprinting, in preparation for the coming apocalypse.

Topher says, “Wow, Boyd. You’re right. I’m the Tin Man, she’s the lion, and you’re the head of the Lollipop Guild — who’s a traitor.”

Elsewhere, Ballard and Mellie can’t find the Rossum mainframe to destroy it, so they take out their air conditioning instead. If they can’t bring down the evil technology, they’ll make everyone uncomfortably warm. And if the mainframe overheats in the process, it’s a win-win.

Boyd gets word that the AC is on the fritz. Knowing it’s Ballard and Mellie, (thanks to Topher’s big mouth) Boyd orders Adelle to say the words that activate Mellie’s sleeper imprint. She tells him to shove it, so he merely re-plays the old surveillance video that recorded the phrase.

In the AC room, November turns on Ballard and sticks a gun in his lipless face. Never a dull moment when you’re dating an Active.

Mellie resists her assassin imprint just long enough to tell Ballard, “When we were together, you made me feel like a real person.” She turns away from him and shoots herself in the head. Does every Dollhouse relationship have to end with one in the skull? Can’t these people just break up like normal people?

Echo is feeling the pain, too. Boyd orders some of her magical spinal fluid be extracted. The procedure involves a row of syringes in the back and some sort of chest binding.

Boyd wanders off to pack for the apocalypse, leaving Echo free to be rescued by Anthony and Priya. In another room, Adelle and Topher are being held hostage. Adelle endures a form of torture called Topherboarding.

Topher: I did all this. I’m the one who brings about the thoughtpocalypse.
Adelle: Thoughtpocalypse?
Topher: Is brainpocalypse better? I figure, if I’m responsible for the end of the world, I get to name it.
Adelle: I gave the plans to Harding. I’m just as culpable.
Topher: Thanks, Adelle. You handed someone a piece of paper. I invented it.

Only Topher could be simultaneously guilt-ridden and egomaniacal.

Anthony and Priya bust in for a rescue and end Topher’s hand wringing, slash back patting. Down the hallway, Echo has it out with Clyde/Claire. “I’m going to scrub the floor with you,” she promises as she kicks the gun out of his/her hand and slams his/her head into a wall, finally knocking him/her out.

Ballard is the only one who doesn’t know what the hell time it is. He’s tricked by Boyd for a while, until they run into Echo. Boyd sticks a gun under Ballard’s chiseled chin. Echo shoots out Ballard’s kneecap, Boyd rushes her and is about to shoot her, too, when she says, “I loved you.”

“I know,” Boyd replies, and cocks his pistol. Just as Echo is about to become the umpteenth Doll to get one in the head, Boyd goes stiff and falls backwards.

It’s Topher bringin’ the brainpocalypse on home.

Boyd sits up and says, “Did I fall asleep?” Who Boyd really was, we’ll never know. Now he’s got 10 pounds of explosives strapped to his body. Echo gives him a hand grenade and tells him to pull the pin after she leaves to room. Dolls always try to be their best, so he walks numbly into the mainframe and waves good-bye.

In the lobby, Topher and the others evacuate the building and wait for Echo to join them. Someone says they got Claire out, too, although she’s nowhere to be found. Echo tears down the hallway, as Rossum blows up behind her.

Suddenly, she’s standing around outside with the others. Looks like their work there is done. Who wants to grab lunch?

Fast-forward ten years. It’s a full on, post-apocalyptic dystopia. Echo and Ballard are roaming the streets with automatic weapons and sweaty brows, fighting side-by-side. The world’s gone to shit and people are running around like dirty animals. Good job saving the world, you guys.

Watch the Dollhouse series finale on Jan. 29 to see how it, and the world, ends.

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