When all of Echo's past romantic engagements are found murdered, Adelle and the rest of the staff of the Dollhouse fear that Alpha has returned to seek his revenge. Adelle begins to grow suspicious of Ballard who hopes to find allies in Boyd and Topher in his continuing secret plan to bring down the Dollhouse from the inside.
- We open in the desert, with a man confessing to have loved Echo even though he knows she was programmed. "You want to know the saddest part?" Alpha asks. "The ending." He takes out a HUGE knife and SLASHES the man's throat. Ouch.
Cut to Echo in a straight jacket. She is in great pain from the constant headaches. Outside the cell, Adelle explains that she must have answers from Echo. "So if she floats, she's a witch," Paul quips. It's unclear whether Adelle catches the reference -- and it doesn't really matter. "Until I'm satisfied that Echo wasn't exposed to dangerous elements during her sojourn, these sessions will continue," Adelle explains. She exits -- and Boyd explains that Adelle is only doing this to make Paul squirm. "So man up," Boyd says. The pair is then confronted by Topher, who has never seen brain scans like those that Echo is producing. Boyd explains that Echo is not a "blank slate." In fact, the Doll has retained pieces of all the personalities she has worn over the years, including those from Alpha. Better yet: Echo can control those personas. "What is she?" Topher asks. Good question.
Later, Adelle sends Echo out for a tryst with a former customer. Paul doesn't like "being your pimp," but Echo explains that she will be "Susan" when the time comes. It won't be her, in other words. But when Echo shows up at the man's house, she discovers that his throat has been slit -- Alpha style. Back at the Dollhouse, Paul and Boyd explain to Adelle that they suspect Alpha. Adelle worries that Echo might be the man's partner. "Echo was missing for three months," Adelle snaps. "It stands to reason that someone was helping her. If it wasn't Alpha, who was it?" Paul isn't about to answer that question, so Echo will be locked up until the team can find Alpha.
Moments later, Boyd and Paul discover that a string of Echo's former "boyfriends" and "girlfriends" are dead. But that's not all. Topher discovers that Sierra was recently sent out on an engagement with Alpha, who booked the appointment under a different name. Alpha even left a message for the Dollhouse team: "The next lover ages well." Boyd quickly puts two and two together: Alpha's next target has a birthday coming up. Bingo. A certain former client used to hire out Echo each year on his special day. Cut to a SWAT team, led by Paul and Boyd, storming the man's rooftop apartment. They find Alpha with the birthday boy tied in a chair and draped with explosives. After pontificating about how these men have "used" Echo, Alpha throws the trigger in the air -- and flees. Paul and Boyd dive for cover as the unfortunate client EXPLODES.
Paul and Boyd then track down Joel Myner, the last living former "client" of Echo. They bring him back to the Dollhouse, using Echo as the bait (despite the fact that Joel is engaged to be married). "Which part of 'put Echo in solitary' did you not understand?" Adelle asks Paul and Boyd. "I'm aware of your little cabal and I will not be managed." Later, Adelle returns to her office and discovers Alpha is waiting for her. "Are you scared?" he asks. Says Adelle: "Out of my mind." Alpha, laughing, shows Adelle spy photographs of Echo and Paul playing house together over the summer.
Paul and Boyd then notice Alpha on a security monitor -- and spring into action! It's too late, however. Alpha produces a device which emits a high-pitch squeal. It also happens to turn all the Actives in the building against their handlers. Suddenly, the Dollhouse is thrown into punching-and-kicking chaos! Taking advantage of the scrum, Alpha slinks into Joel's room. Paul attempts to follow, but he is taken down by a turned Victor. Paul falls unconscious at Alpha's feet. "Hello, lover boy," Alpha says with a sneer. Uh oh.
Moments later, Paul awakens to find himself strapped into the treatment chair. "What are you doing?" Paul asks. Alpha shows Paul the summer spy photos. "She has feelings for you," says an angry, jealous and insane Alpha. "It could be love." He then presses a button and Paul begins to violently shake in the chair. In the meantime, Adelle runs into an escaped Echo. "Move your ass," Echo says. "We can hug it out later." They quickly run into Boyd and Topher, who hurry to reverse the Active-altering process.
Echo then heads to the treatment room, where she discovers Paul, seemingly dead, on the floor. "Want to snuggle?" Alpha asks. "Too soon?" Indeed, it is. Echo is DEVASTATED. She discovers that while Paul hasn't physically expired, he is brain dead. And this makes our favorite Doll very, very angry. A furious fight ensues! "He's ten times the man you are and you're like 40 guys!" Echo screams as she kicks Alpha through a glass window. Suddenly, Paul's voice comes out of Alpha's mouth! "I'm sorry, I thought we had more time," says Paul/Alpha, begging for death. "Please. Do it."
But Echo can't. She lets Alpha escape as he apparently holds the last remnants of Paul in his already crowded brain. Later, Topher and Boyd, who are zapping Actives to make them docile again, find Echo cradling Paul's limp body.
To be continued ...