The episode starts where “Stop-Loss” left off, with Echo being laid out on a table, hooked up to a monitor, while a female voice says “Welcome to the Attic. We’re so glad to have you.” When her body disengages, she’s able to wake up, put down a couple of guards, and escape. She finds Sierra and Victor, and they are about to escape when Echo is tapped when a clear door closes behind her. She sees Sierra and Victor shot and killed in front of her….
and then the nightmare begins again.
Welcome to the Attic, Echo. It’s so happy to have you.
Elsewhere in the Dollhouse, Adelle wants Topher to fix Paul’s brain, even if it means turning him into an Active. Maybe he can be the new Victor. Boyd is still at the Dollhouse, but reveals he’s been at home, dealing with something personal. Some suspect he’s keeping Claire Saunders there, but that’s not certain.
Boyd then asks him about the Attic. All Topher knows is that it’s where Rossum does experimentation, maybe torture. Anyone in the Attic is kept in a fear-inducing nightmare, in the form of a problem they can’t solve.
In Echo’s case, it’s trying to escape when she can’t. However, once she realizes it’s all a dream, she escapes to another room…where she’s under a large snow-covered tree. She also sees Terry’s hateful relatives from “Belle Chose” and even the young Margaret Bashford from “Haunted”. Echo guesses this isn’t real. However, someone in black is real, and is trying to kill her.
Back at the Dollhouse, Topher compares Paul’s brain to a football team without a quarterback. Ivy says it’s not as if his brain could do the “wildcat formation”, where the center snaps the ball to a running back, not a quarterback. Topher, however, suspects it could. So, Paul’s brain will become the Miami Dolphins, which likes the wildcat offense. Suddenly, Ivy’s called to Adelle’s office. He’s worried, but tells Ivy that Darth Vader kills lieutenants, not stormtroopers.
In Attic Land, Echo finds out someone is following her….none other than Laurence Dominic, the former head of security. He says he is following someone named Arcane, who tried to kill him and is killing others. He thinks he’s still in his head, but Echo tells him he’s in hers.
As they wander around, she suddenly finds her way to a Japanese restaurant. She meets someone named Matsu, who says he has to stay and enjoy himself. He, of course, is also in the Attic. He says Rossum hired him to find a weakness in the company mainframe. Once he did, he was sent to the Attic to keep his findings secret. As for Victor and Sierra, we learn that sometimes they make love, then find out where they really are. Sierra is locked in a padded cell with undead Rossum bigwig Nolan Kinnard raping her, while Victor is in Afghanistan literally fighting himself. That is, Anthony the solider is attacking Victor the civilian.
How can Enver Gjokaj do both roles well? He gets his twin brother Demir to help out.
When Ivy gets back from Adelle’s office, she is cold to Topher, almost afraid. Adelle got to her, and “advises” Topher not to be disloyal. She also says she knows how he got rid of Nolan Kinnard, the Rossum bigwig who wanted to own Sierra. If Adelle is being sympathetic towards Nolan, to show her loyalty to Rossum, then something is wrong. Actually, she defines it for Boyd: when you work for Rossum, it owns you body and soul. You be a good employee, or it’s off to the Attic or the grave. Specifically, “I have seen the future, Mr. Langton, and it is not for the weak.”
Back at the Attic Sushi Bar, Echo hears Arcane kill someone. She tries to get Matsu to leave, but he can’t. His legs have been cut off, and he’s been forced to eat the meat from them. It’s not long before Arcane kills Matsu as well, and his world also “dies”. He’s about to kill Victor but Echo and Dominic get there first. Later, they’re able to save Sierra, but soon find themselves in the apocalyptic world that was part of “Epitaph One”. We also see Arcane has turned into…..Clyde?
Now Boyd and Topher are passing a flask, discussing how to rewire Paul’s brain to bring him back to the land of the living. He’ll lose some part of him, but don’t say what. Whatever it is, Boyd says anger is all he’ll have left. “That woman is going to drag us straight to hell,” Topher says. Is that Echo or Adelle?
They do revive Paul, and he’s not happy when he’s told he had to be turned into a Doll. He winds up pulling a gun at Adelle, while she has a gun aimed at Paul’s face. What happens next? We don’t know.
Now, who is Clyde, and why is everyone in Los Angeles 2019? Clyde Randolph was a co-founder of Rossum, and helped develop the theory of imprinting people. He says he’s also trying to destroy Rossum’s mainframe, except it’s made of human brains. The Attics of all the Dollhouses are computer rooms. He’s been in one of the Attics since he was betrayed by his partner, with help from the first imprinted person, Clyde 2.0, way back in 1993. Since then, he’s been forced to determine what the technology would create, In 97 percent of all cases, we’d have the end of the world.
He asks what year it is now, and Echo says 2010, maybe, because “we don’t know how long we’ve been off the air”. Clyde thinks that’s good news until he learns about Daniel Perrin.
Then he remembers that a woman accidentally got inside Rossum, and discovered the person who betrayed Clyde.
Yep, it’s Caroline Farrell, now known as Echo. She doesn’t have Caroline’s memories, but can find them.
So, what can be done? Echo makes the sacrifice, allowing herself to be shot so she can cause her monitor to flat-line. Then, she can “rise from the dead” in a Matrix-type of way, escape from her room, and revive the others. Sierra and Victor are willing to sacrifice their dream selves, while Clyde and Dominic stay behind to tell the others to not be afraid.
Eventually, we see Echo tell someone that she has the information that can destroy Rossum’s mainframe and its plans for the future. She has escaped the Attic, and is now ready for the final battle against Rossum.
So, what will Adelle DeWitt do to stop Echo?
Nothing. Adelle can’t stop Echo…because all this was Adelle’s idea!
Yes, Miss DeWitt pulled off the biggest scam this side of Angel pretending to join the Order of the Black Thorn to uncover pure evil.
Let’s go back to where Adelle is about to send Echo to the Attic, describing how it could be the worst type of Hell. She also thinks Rossum’s deepest secrets could be located there, especially the “human brain mainframe” part. Adelle actually gambled that Echo, with 40 brains, can make her way through the Attic and get out with the information. Clearly, it worked, because Victor, Sierra, Topher, Ivy, Boyd and Paul are in Adelle’s office, too.
They’re ready, but they need one more person.
Dollhouse December included more plot twists than a year of daytime soap operas, along with betrayals, triumphs and surprises. It’s almost a shame to see it go.
Now, Dollhouse fans will be unwrapping their Christmas gifts and ringing in the New Year. On January 8th, the road to the end will start.
The big question is: will Team Echo battle Rossum and lose? It has to, so that the world of “Epitaph One” can exist. Does that mean final victory will be delayed until 2019? Who will be left, and can the survivors clean up the mess Rossum made?
Not only that, did Caroline really betray Bennett Halverson, costing her an arm? Will Alpha show up again, and where?
As for the ratings, both episodes generated an 0.7 rating, or about 2.1 million viewers.