This was probably my favourite episode so far. As meganbmoore just said, she had a fun imprint. Good little action story, that played with the format a bit. Any show that sets up its weekly tropes should always pull the rug out once in awhile, and Joss and friends do that frequently. Perfect time to pull this gimmick, too. We've WELL established the "Did I fall asleep?" routine in the three previous episodes, so we know precisely what it means when Taffy says it in the vault. Any sooner just seems like tinkering a bit too soon. We've gotten the setup, now we mix things up.
And once again, more memories stick around, on all sides of the wipes. Is Topher's wiping not as clean as he thinks? Does he say they're better than they are? Does he have some other agenda? Or is someone (Alpha) manipulating things behind the scenes? If he can hack in and cause a remote wipe, why not sneak into the system and have the wipes be somewhat less than the perfect everyone assumes?
I love Agent Ballard throwing a monkeywrench into the plans of the Dollhouse. They thought he'd play by the book, send Lubov/Victor away, and never see him again. Instead, he's tossing him to the wolves, and hoping to learn stuff from Victor's body, so he knows whether or not Victor told him the truth. Most likely, 'Lubov' never worked for the Bouradains, so he won't end up dead, and that would be problematic for the Dollhouse, since Ballard will keep looking, and now knows something is up. But they're not going to cut up one of their Actives for a cover story either.
Imprinting Sierra with the Taffy personality was pretty clever, and a good use of the tech, another good way to mix things up with the basics we have now. Dichen Lachman didn't nail Eliza's protrayal of Taffy, but came close enough. I've certainly seen worse cases of two people playing the same actress.
Another interesting trend I've noticed is that almost every episode has given the impression that Echo has been imprinted as some sex object, which I'm sure gets the people who are all ready to jump over that angle and maul the show frothing, but then its quickly revealed to not be the case. I don't think that will stop the mauling, but it's pretty clear that Whedon and everyone else knows what the reaction to the show would be, and they like to play with those expectations so far.
Usual funness with the characters, more hints and tidbits with Alpha and Ballard's quest. They're dropping just enough hints to build a mytharc, but still sticking to mostly episodic fun while doing that. Classic structure for ongoing serials. Claremont at his best in the 80s springs easily to mind, especially knowing Whedon's love for the writer. He and his shows have always been good at that sort of storytelling. Other shows try to emulate it, and fail miserably. They'll do an arc episode at the start of the season, then do an entire year of unrelated episodes, with maybe one or two in the middle, then at the end of the year, it's like the people remember they have a Story of Dire Consequence they're working on, and shove several episodes at once at the viewing audience. They don't get the spreading things out part, planting seeds all over, and instead put all their eggs in one or two baskets.
And that is more than enough mixing farm metaphors.
Ooh, and quick edit to make a "Yay, Bra'tac!" squeal. I so wish the MacGuffin of the episode had been an Egyptian artifact. ;) I wonder if there's some way to bring back these missions at a later time, to learn more about them. I wanna know why the Parthenon was stolen. Probably just for a collection, but good writers could find a story there.
My thoughts are wiped, empty out your own heads here.