Here's a quick summary of the first four episodes of Dollhouse. Episodes 5-8 on the way!
The first episode, “Ghost,” was received on many accounts as either confusing, bland, or amazing, depending on the viewer, introduced us to the world of Dollhouse, showing how Echo, formerly named Caroline, ‘volunteered’ to have her past wiped if she also let those in charge take complete control of her mind and body for five years. She is first sent on a mission to help a rich man recover his kidnapped child, in the body, mind, and physiology (the personality with which she is imbued has asthma, therefore Echo has asthma) of an expert negotiator, only to discover her personality knew the kidnappers from when she was taken as a little girl. Eventually saving the little girl, Echo returns to the Dollhouse, memory wiped clean during her ‘treatment’ of anything that had happened.
The second episode, “The Target,” delved more deeply into the history of the Dollhouse, its characters’ history within the corporation, and a mysterious ex-doll known as Alpha, who massacred numerous people in the Dollhouse just months earlier, but left Echo alive. Echo is imprinted with the skills of an outdoorsy girl and she goes on a camping adventure with a seemingly perfect guy. However, the guy suddenly reveals to her that he will be hunting her, so she better get a five-minute head start. After falling into several of his traps, Echo bests the guy, who has tried to kill her numerous times throughout the episode. Upon returning to the Dollhouse, her memory is wiped of the incident, but flashes of the day and the past pop in and out of her mind.
During the third episode, “Stage Fright,” Echo becomes a back-up singer and instinctive bodyguard for a famous pop star named Rayna, who has a crazed stalker that is out to kill her. Another ‘doll’, Sierra, comes on board this mission as Rayna’s number one fan, just in case anything goes awry. The stalker attempts to shoot her, but Echo saves Rayna, much to her dismay. She wanted to die all along because she can’t take the pressure of fame and isn’t singing for herself anymore. After the stalker captures Sierra, Echo kidnaps Rayna in order to save both of them. By threatening Rayna’s life, she realizes she wants to live. Echo knocks out the stalker, Rayna continues her pop star life, and Sierra and Echo go back to the Dollhouse for their ‘treatmeant.’ The two with seemingly wiped memories pass each other in the hallway. Sierra wants to be friendly, but Echo subtly shakes her head, so the two pass without acknowledgement. Did they remember something?
The 4th episode, “Gray Hour,” opens with Sierra and Echo pleasantly eating at the Dollhouse and discussing all they know, which is to always try and to be their best—whatever that means for a person with no personality. Echo is sent on a mission that appears to be an entertainer for a bachelorette party, but is really on a job for a heist in the connecting building. After taking out the security guard, her team comes in. They break into the vault, which houses priceless works of art to steal a piece of the Parthenon. One of the members betrays them and takes off with the loot, locking them in the vault. Echo calls her handler, Boyd, but while on the phone something interrupts the signal. Suddenly, Echo says the classic memory wiped line, “Did I fall asleep?” Her personality has been wiped during the heist. She spends most of the episode in shock and completely confused since she is a blank slate. In order to retrieve her, they imbue Sierra with the same personality Echo had. After much confusion, gunfights with guards, and smoke bombs, Echo escapes to have her memory wiped. Those in charge of the Dollhouse are convinced Alpha, who is supposed to be dead, caused the remote memory wipe.