First I will say that if you have not seen Epitaph One, do not watch the finale. You really need to see that episode to understand this one. It is basically a sequel. (Together they could be their own two-hour movie.)
The finale was everything you would expect from Joss Whedon- beloved (or not so beloved) characters dying, shocking turnarounds from people you thought were evil, some twists, comedy, and a happy ending that isn’t as happy as it should be (and by that I just mean Happily Ever After isn’t the perfect Disney ending most things are).
The acting in this episode is tops. Some of the best of the season:
-The girl who plays Iris/Caroline-Echo (Adair Tischler) is quite good, especially as far as children actors go.
-I’m appreciating Felicia Day more and more as I see her in more things. Not the best screamer but otherwise strong and entertaining.
-Topher, played by Fran Kranz, is still one of the best actors on the show and definitely garnered the majority of the “awwww” moments. He really deserves some award or something.
-Adelle (Olivia Williams) was really sweet too, especially the way she interacted with Topher.
-Who else is happy about Sierra, Tony, and little T? Tony’s storyline was interesting and the way the reconciliation worked was very realistic. Way to go Caroline always solving everyone else’s problems.
-Eliza Dushku had one moment of overacting but was mostly really good. “She’s so cool” was the correct assessment from the tech-head.
Echo/Caroline’s story was mostly great but slightly awkward/weird at the end. If you saw the show you know what I mean. I don’t mind her uploading him but I do mind the actual mental conversation happening. I wasn’t so sad about Paul since he’s never been a particular favorite of mine.
I was sad not to see more of Whiskey/Dr. Saunders, I would have liked to know how she ended up back at the Dollhouse after where we last saw her. And how she regressed back to Doll state.
The one unresolved detail is how Boyd/Harding knew that Caroline would be able to retain her imprints in the first place. I would have also liked to see some more people who could do the composite thing though I guess it took her a while to actually evolve enough to retain a consciousness. I’m also uncertain as to why Echo wouldn’t have Caroline in her mind all along since if she retains everything else she’s wiped off she should retain that.
I’m impressed at the way the show remained exciting despite the fact that it centered around salvation by technology. I think that often those things are ruined because it is hard to keep “technology” active and visual.
I read a review that said he thinks the show should have revolved more around the internal Dollhouse and less around the engagements. I completely agree with this assessment. Getting to know the characters more would have been nice. Maybe people would have grown to like Paul more. (The problem with Paul, of course, is that he isn’t a multi-faceted personality like the other characters. He basically was obsessed with finding the Dollhouse and saving Caroline and was something of a romantic but that was it.) Seeing a few engagements were necessary to really understand the world of the Dollhouse and see how effective the imprints are, but we only needed a handful here and there. It was predictable, which is why the show had a hard time connecting with viewers. But knowing Joss’s work, I was of course willing to stick it out, and it was well worth it.