Episode Title: "Epitaph Two: Return"
Written By: Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon & Andrew Chambliss
Synopsis: The "Dollhouse" saga comes to a conclusion. Ten years have passed since the death of Boyd Langton and the destruction of the Rossum Corporation's headquarters, but Armageddon commenced nonetheless.
The episode picks up following the events of "Epitaph One," bringing Mag (Felicia Day), Zone (Zack Ward) and mini-Echo (Adair Tishler) face-to-face with the real Echo (Eliza Dushku). Once Topher (Fran Kranz) is freed from Rossum's control, the computer genius devises a plan to save the world from Rossum's technology, but freedom doesn't come without sacrifice.
The World Still Needs Heroes, Kid: Obviously, there is way too much ground to cover everything, but at least we can tell you what happened to everyone you care about. As if you need further warning, spoilers are in full effect...
- Heroes die, including Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) via an unceremonious stray bullet to the brain and Topher Brink via self-detonation.
- Alpha (Alan Tudyk) is reformed, having finally evolved to the point of siding with the apocalypse's survivors.
- Victor (Enver Gjokaj) and Sierra (Dichen Lachman) rekindle their romance and reunite with their young son.
- Adelle DeWitt (Olivia Williams) embarks on a new path with the thankfully resurrected dolls, essentially acting as a den mother.
- And finally, there's Echo, who uploads Paul's personality into her brain and can happily live her life with his thoughts percolating in her brain.
Final Imprints: Sound like a mouthful? Indeed it was. "Epitah Two: Return" was about as good as you could reasonably hope it to be considering the cancellation of "Dollhouse." Unfortunately, my "Dollhouse" expectations weren't thoroughly reasonable.
After a string of phenomenal episodes, I was let down by "The Hollow Men," particularly with its lead-in to tonight's series finale. As a result, the show's final installment felt rushed, requiring at least 20 episodes to fully expand upon the mythology and make everything worthwhile. It's hard to blame Joss Whedon and company, but they aren't entirely without fault — after all, they wasted time with Senator Daniel Perrin (Alexis Denisof), even though those episodes were terrific.
Clearly, "Dollhouse" would benefit from a comic book counterpart that fills in the ten years between "Hollow Men" and "Epitaph Two." There is so much to explore, from Ballard and Echo's awkward relationship to Topher's imprisonment to Adelle's thawing to Alpha's cleansing and more — but frankly, we'll never get the resolution we're looking for. Instead, it's best to let our own minds make the imprints for us, expounding upon the details that we missed and writing our own missed connections.
All things considered, the "Dollhouse" finale was about as good as could be expected. It would have been nice to have a season's worth of post-apocalyptic build-up, but given the lack of audience support and Fox's dissatisfaction with the ratings, it's hard to expect too much more from the finale.
It's hard not to wish for a little bit more, but hey, it is what it is. If nothing else, the final chapters of "Dollhouse" have me very excited for whatever Whedon has in store for us in the future. Let's just hope he doesn't take too long in planning his next big adventure.
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