The penultimate episode of the season aired on Friday. “Briar Rose” packed a helluva punch with the reveal of Alpha, Ballard in the Dollhouse and a huge Sleeping Beauty metaphor. But holy crap, where can we go now? Let’s talk!

The episode started out with Echo imprinted with a future self of an abused 11 year old girl. This was an idea of Topher’s but I don’t see how this benefits anybody outside of him and even then he really only gets brownie points. Is this a pro bono case that the Dollhouse if working on? I don’t think that the orphanage or wherever the girl is staying can afford an Active to help out one kid, let alone their star player Echo to come to the rescue. Nevertheless, Echo seems to do some help, even though she played Exposition Ellie telling this big song and dance about how she knows how the girl feels and whatnot. I kept expecting some twist here, but it seemed that the whole thing was just something that Topher pushed for to give himself a pat on the back.

Then he got sad. It seems that some fancy flash drive has been delivered for Mr. Domenic so Topher’s been ordered to take the former head of security’s mind out of cold storage and imprint it onto Victor in hopes of shedding some light on this. Is Domenic’s actual body and mind so messed up in the attic that he can’t even be re-imprinted with his thoughts? I think they mentioned something in an earlier episode about how borked up a mind can get if it goes into the chair without some preparation. Anyway, the info on the drive seems to point to Tahoe so Sierra is sent in as a cast member of C.S.I. to find out what’s up. Oh, and the flash drive came from Alpha! ZOMG!

In other news, Ballard manages to track down the guy that designed the underground Dollhouse after locating the actual building that houses it. This leads him right to Stephen Kepler (Alan Tudyk) who is so awesome. Seriously, this guy needs more work because he’s a great actor. Tudyk plays up the weirded out agoraphobe pretty well which results in some hilarious moments between his character and Ballard. This leads Ballard directly into the Dollhouse with Kepler bouncing around like a court jester disabling systems left and right.

This is where my problem with the episode came in. Langton was just promoted to head of security and he seems to be doing a shitty job so far. These two guys literally walk right into the place (granted it wasn’t through the front door), but there’s cameras everywhere. Then Ballard manages to get into the pods where the actives are sleeping while Kepler hacks into the computer systems. Sure, it’s night time but you’re telling me NO ONE noticed any of this, especially with Adelle up in her office with the big screen filled with cameras? Come on! Unless of course this is all a big test like when they had the Actives wake up with their own personalities to get closure, but that seems to be a pretty crappy test.

Langton eventually finds Ballard after he’s found Echo sleeping (Don’t you see? SLEEPING BEAUTY! He’s the prince! ZOMG!). A rumble ensues and neither party backs down until Ballard gets handcuffed. Echo ends up helping Langton due to the trust that she’s found in him, despite the work that Ballard is doing to “save” her. The two guys head up to see the lady in charge while Echo wanders around or something.

Then the biggie. Dr. Saunders brings the injured Victor into the exam room to fix his wounds when she finds Kepler…or should I say Alpha? Yes! I was a little disappointed that the Internet basically spoiled the Alpha reveal for me, but I still loved it. I noticed it a bit early on when the pair took out Topher. Kepler/Alpha cleverly hid behind Ballard which could have been seen as cowardice but was actually cunning as he avoided being spotted by someone that could out him before his plans were put into place. With a few quick slices, Victor goes down scarred while Saunders is creeped out and terrified. Echo bounces in and gets a new personality and then (to my fiancee’s pleasure) starts making out with Alpha! What is going on?! Bonnie and Clyde? Spike and Drucilla?

One could argue that Alpha could have done a lot of this on his own, but I feel that he gets a sick pleasure from playing the puppeteer. He pulls everyone’s strings in this episode. Ballard is led right into the Dollhouse and causes the perfect distraction which he puts everything right where he wants it to be. I got the sense that his personality was slowly falling apart as the episode went on before it sort of righted itself when he came out slicing. Tudyk did an awesome job and I’m really looking forward to next week.

We are not without questions though. What’s up with this new personality with Echo? Will the 11 year old girl be OK? Will Ballard now join forces with the very organization he swore to stop in order to fight a common enemy from wreaking havoc and save the girl? What does “Whiskey” mean? If anything?

What did you think?

Be Sociable, Share!