Last week on Dollhouse
, we learned that Echo (Eliza Dushku
) lives at the Dollhouse, a place where “actives” can be imprinted with any personality for any job. Echo's former self, Caroline, has essentially been wiped away…
Three months ago: An alarm sounds at the Dollhouse. Topher (Fran Kranz
) is covered in blood and Laurence Dominic (Reed Diamond), head of security, is running a SWAT team through the facility. Adelle DeWitt (Olivia Williams
) announces that Alpha has gone rogue. They enter the showers and all the actives are dead except Echo who just says, “They won't wake up.”
Back to present day: Ms. Dewitt gives the standard sales pitch to a man named Richard Connell (guest star Matt Keeslar). He's the rich player type who thinks no woman could ever be worth him. Adelle explains that the active would never lie to him; she'll be everything he wants her to be. But, Adelle explains that her company has determined that this “engagement” will also requires a small fee due to the relative risk factor of his request.
Echo and Connell are kayaking down rapids and it's clearly not a difficulty for the girl. It seems Connell is the adventure type who fancies himself an expert at everything. After river kayaking, they go rock climbing. Echo plays a trick on Connell and pretends to fall, which scares him - not because he is afraid for her life, but rather because it'd cost him a lot of money if he lost her.
Boyd Langton (Harry Lennix
), Echo's handler, keeps a close eye on Echo from a van nearby. He's communicating with a remote Topher who's watching Echo's adrenaline levels. Langton seems very cautious but Topher has no problem with the “engagement.”
Meanwhile, Agent Paul Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett
) enters the kidnapper's house from the Crestejo case. The on-site detectives are not happy to see him but explain their hypothesis of what happened to him anyways. They think that there must've been a fifth man who blew the door and took the money. Ballard points out that a partner of the kidnappers wouldn't need to blow the door out to get into the house. Ballard explains he talked to Crestejo's daughter and she said that “the pretty lady” came and got her. The detectives are losing patience with Ballard. He finds a pair of glasses on the floor before they kick him out in frustration (probably because he's clearly a better detective).
Back to the forest where Richard Connell is teaching Echo how to shoot a bow. He explains that his dad taught him “shoulder to the wheel” – that you have to do your work and earn your way. While saying “shoulder to the wheel,” he hits his right hand to his left shoulder. They shoot deer and hook up. The perfect outdoor getaway…
Which quickly turns sour when Connell tells Echo that she has a 5 minute head start before he comes after her. And by comes after her, he means kill her in cold blood. Echo takes off running through the forest back the way they came.
Flashback: Adelle Dewitt is interviewing Langton. The Dollhouse has decided to hire better, more experienced handlers for their actives since the Alpha incident. They introduce him to Dr. Claire Saunders (Amy Acker) whose face has been badly scarred by Alpha. She takes him to the body of Samuelson, Echo's old handler. His body is badly cut up that Langton says whoever did it must've taken their time in order to inflict the most pain and damage. Dominic tells Langton that they've determined Alpha cut up Samuelson in 8 seconds. Alpha accessed some imprint that was supposedly erased and sliced the man up like a piece of meat.
Back in present day, Ballard calls Lubov and tells him to find out what's going on with Dollhouse. On his desk, Ballard finds the envelope that the naked man had sent him with the picture of Echo on which he had written “Caroline” on the back. On the envelope “keep looking” is written in neat script.
The real Echo has just made it back down the rock face, but Connell is close behind her. He manages to shoot her in the leg with an arrow, severely slowing her down.
Her handlers haven't noticed any of this because Topher was rerouting a satellite but as it gets repositioned, some park rangers pull up behind the van. Langton and his driver pretend to be lost. The ranger then pulls out a silenced pistol and shoots the driver.
Flashback: Topher and Langton are meeting for the first time. When asked about Alpha, Topher claims that he was an anomaly. He explains that they can't imprint them with any basic skills to defend themselves or else bad things like Alpha happen.
Back to the scene by the van: The ranger has a gun pointed at Langton's head as Topher asks him what's wrong because Echo's numbers are off the charts. Langton quickly informs Topher's he's being held hostage before he turns around and overtakes the man with the gun.
Back at the Dollhouse, Dominic briefs Adelle on Agent Ballard. He suggests that they authorize a kill order and she dismisses him by telling him it's being taken care of. Just then Topher bursts into the room telling them they have a problem – “the kind you need to shoot at.”
Echo, still running from Connell, spots a ranger cabin. No one's home. She searches around for some water and then continues looking for something that might help her. She hears a walkie-talkie and opens the closet door. A dead ranger falls out on top of her. She gets on the radio and Connell's on the other line. He tells her he's hunting her down to see if she deserves to live – to prove she's not just an “echo.” She starts faltering and he warns that she probably shouldn't have drunk out of the canteen.
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