Dollhouse Season 2 Episode 13 – Epitaph Two: Return

So Dollhouse has finally run it’s course. Epitaph Two: Return is the final episode in the series and is a continuation from the last episode of season 1 – Epitaph One. At the end of episode 12 – The Hollow Men – we caught a glimpse of the post apocalyptic future that befalls the survivors of the Dollhouse. In Epitaph Two we see how the gang finally get rid of Rossum, once and for all.

In a land beset by butchers – mindless killer zombies, wiped by the Rossum technology created by Topher – who set out to kill as many ‘actuals’ as they can, there are a few actuals – those with their original personalities and selves still intact – who are still fighting the influence of Rossum. Meg and Zone, along with the child imprinted with Caroline’s personality finally catch up with the rest of Rossum’s enemies – Echo, Ballard, Priya, DeWitt and Anthony (who has reverted to his Doll personality Victor, in order to fight the war against Rossum). Together they rescue Topher and return to the LA Dollhouse in order to try and reverse Rossum’s wipe technology and restore the public to their original personalities.

As the gang enter the Dollhouse, which is now run by Alpha who is rescuing survivors and atoning for his former sins, they are attacked by butchers who kill Ballard and injure Meg. In the end, however, Topher’s traumatised mind comes through and he manages to create the technology to return people to their original selves, and the former Dolls hide out in the basement of the Dollhouse to escape being returned to their Doll selves.
So Echo and the gang finally save the world and atone for the sin of unwittingly setting the wipe technology free into the world. The question of why the gang thought they had defeated Rossum in The Hollow Men is resolved – the people confined to the Attic and powering Rossum in a Matrix-style human battery operation were not destroyed and so Rossum wasn’t either. Not fully. This is the future that was glimpsed in Epitaph One, and Echo and friends were not avoiding it, just fulfilling the path that led to that future.

The sad thing about this episode is not the shock of Ballard’s death, or the weird fact that Echo absorbs his imprint into her already crowded head in order to be with him for the rest of her life. Nor is it the fact that Topher sacrifices his life for thesake of humanity or that DeWitt is no longer the ice queen that we all loved to hate. No, the sad thing about this episode is that we get a glimpse into the amazing season three that we have been denied since the show has officially been cancelled. OK, so it’s all a little bit Dark Angel – talking about the pulse and the rebuilding of humanity, but we could have had a great season based on the slow reintegration of people into their original selves and the problems that this causes. Either that, or a look at the intervening years, how the apocalypse came about and what happened to Alpha to make him see the error of his ways.

This was simply not meant to be, and the Dollhouse team did the best with the little time they had left, and managed to come up with a satisfying end to what could have been a long running, beloved show.

All we can do now, is wait to see what Joss Whedon offers us next, and pray that the network heads have the courage to let the show run as long as it needs to.

GS Reviewer: Brogen Hayes

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