What do you do when you need a fresh start but have no one to turn to? What if someone offered you a redo? Offered to make everything you ever wanted come true and all it would cost you is five years of your life. What happens during those five years? You will never remember. That is the beauty and curse of the Dollhouse.
People who need a fresh start sign over five years of their life to the Dollhouse where they will live as dolls. Each one being programmed to fit whatever the person paying them wants. It is a horrible unethical place.
The show asks some very important questions. If we are creatures of our experiences what happens to us when those experiences are erased or fictional? What do we become than? Can we be ourselves without any will? What is the true meaning of self? This is one of Networks most philosophical shows, one that people didn't seem to understand while it was on. But it is so deep if you pay attention.
The story follows Caroline, or well Echo as she is called now and her journey to find herself. In the second version of the pilot, which is what we are talking about here, we start on her talking to DeWitt. She doesn't feel that it is fair for her to lose five years of her life but she agrees. After all she has no other choice. From there we jump right to her on the date of a life time. She is falling hard for this guy, nothing could go wrong. Till she goes in for treatment. The happy girl is gone replaced by Echo. A blank slate who does as she is told and believes almost everything.
Echo walks in as Topher is wiping Sierra for the first time. He sends her to go see Dr. Saunders as a distraction. Dr. Saunders has a real bitterness to her that will make more sense in a few episodes. We are also introduced to FBI agent Paul Ballard who seems to know a bit about the Dollhouse but no one cares or believes him.
A man has his daughter kidnapped from inside his home so he hires the Dollhouse to give him a negotiator. Welcome to the case of the week. One of the problems with the early episodes of the show. A requirement that was placed on the show by the network. Changing it from what it was supposed to be. Just because it isn't what it was to be doesn't mean it isn't good. It's just different.
Echo's handler Boyd Langton, a former cop has eyes and ears on Echo during her missions. He is tasked with keeping her alive and making sure the job goes well. He also is the one responsible for taking her to her treatments, which is what they call it when they wipe their minds.
Boyd and Topher talk about how they imprint the dolls. Basically Topher scans peoples minds and uses them as the bases of the new personality that he places on the dolls. He can make them near-sided or asthmatic. He gives them goals, dreams and pasts. He makes them whole people not just toys but real people. It's an amazing scientific advancement, just not very ethical.
Echo, the negotiator, proves her worth very quickly. Not taking any shit from the people holding the daughter. She offers them more money but also demands that they let her father talk to her. They say no so he hangs up on them. They don't like it but start doing what she says. She proves that she runs shit not them.
Her father is pissed that Echo stopped the daughter from telling him a clue. While angry and drinking he snaps at her and starts to question her. We learn that this version of Echo was kidnapped as a child and was lets just say mistreated. The father asks her why they would put these memories inside her, coming very close to telling her the truth.
Paul questions Victor about the dollhouse. He is imprinted with a mafia personality. The family he is apart of, or thinks he is apart of, supplies girls to the dollhouse and Paul wants him to know that he is on to him.
Bad bit of luck, everything is going according to plan, they even see the daughter but she spots the man who raped her while she was a child. It causes the father to be shot and Boyd shoots the man who shot him. The daughter is taken away on the boat. He asks her if she is ready for her treatment but something isn't right with her. She is traumatized.
Boyd gets DeWitt to call off Echo being wiped. He believes that she is the only one that can save the daughter. Boyd is made to stay behind. His future in the Dollhouse in question. Oh if they only knew.
Part of Echo's personality killed herself because of this guy. It is a bad sign for the mission but it is too late to pull her out now. She is already alone with them.She turns the two kidnappers against the rapist. During the shoot out she runs for it, freeing the little girl. The rapist is dead and the kidnappers let her go but before she gets out Sierra shows up and kills the kidnappers. Mission closed and everything worked out alright. The father even lived.
We learn that DeWitt is worried about Alpha. Such a great character! And some naked guy is watching a video of Caroline. He killed a few people so that he could use their TV.