|Full Name:||Paul Ballard|
Los Angeles, California
|Occupation:||Federal Agent (Former)|
|Assignment:||Los Angeles FBI Office|
|Last:||"Epitaph Two: Return"|
Portrayed by Tahmoh Penikett, Paul Ballard is a character of Dollhouse. The official casting descriptions call him "an FBI field agent, he's been chasing the urban myth of the Dollhouse long enough to have lost any shot at promotion. He becomes obsessed with/a twisted romantic counterpart for Echo."
Paul Ballard joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at some unspecified point in his life. He received his training at Quantico, where he was trained as a criminal profiler, capable of interviewing/interrogating and profiling potential serial killers. After this he went on to become a field agent, though his record indicates that he has had a marked lack of success in ever completing cases. (S1: "Omega"; S2: "Belle Chose") At some point, he developed his skills in hand-to-hand combat to a high-level, though is unknown where he acquired these skills.
Paul was assigned to the case designated "Dollhouse" fourteen months prior to the events of the first episode, "Ghost". In the course of his investigation he has physically threatened a senator, disrupted a seven-year human trafficking investigation (the "Borodin case") and been arrested for trespassing on Prince Amoudi's yacht. His coworkers speculate that he was given the Dollhouse case because it is a dead-end and he is a sub-par agent, not because anyone in the FBI thinks the Dollhouse really exists. (S1: "Ghost")
Despite facing contempt from his colleagues at the Bureau, Ballard possesses a single-minded determination to expose the Dollhouse. Scenes of an intense boxing match between Ballard and an unknown sparring partner are cut in with the introduction to his investigation, underscoring his feelings about the case. Even so, he will later describe himself in this time before he learned of Caroline as just doing his job. As a part of this job, he singles in on Lubov from the Borodin family of Russian mobsters as a lead to connect the family's human trafficking to the Dollhouse.
Lubov (in reality, the Active known as Victor), is a dead end at first, but Ballard is spurred on by a messages from a mysterious source (the rogue Active, Alpha), who sends him a video of Echo as Caroline prior to joining the Dollhouse. The young college graduate gives a face and a name to the people Ballard is trying to rescue, and he goes from determined to obsessed. Even the overwhelming ambush Lubov unwittingly sends him to does not deter him. The Dollhouse has sent Lubov to provide Ballard with closure on the Dollhouse case, but he can no longer gain closure without resolving his search for Caroline. Caroline becomes the focal point of his investigation. His source continues to send him information about her in "Gray Hour," and her face is a signal for Dollhouse involvement in "True Believer."
Ballard has a very limited social life outside of work. In "Ghost" it is stated that he is divorced. He becomes close to neighbor Mellie (in reality, the Active known as November), who is as besotted with him as he is with his search for Caroline, but he is never shown with other friends or family. Instead, Mellie provides him with emotional support as he searches for Caroline and the Dollhouse.
In "Man on the Street", Paul Ballard closes in on a definite Dollhouse client, Joel Mynor, through close analysis of his outgoing finances, including annual payments to the Mayfair Fund. He catches him, but is thrown when he sees Echo as Rebecca Mynor. Echo escapes with handler Boyd Langton, and Ballard forces Joel Mynor to confess about the Dollhouse. Dollhouse director Adelle DeWitt later sends Echo to take care of Ballard, and after a drawn out fight, Echo gives him a message from a man on the inside of the Dollhouse who compromised her imprint and Ballard becomes aware of the global scale of the Dollhouse's activities. Echo then shoots a cop with his gun to get him suspended so that he will investigate the Dollhouse through other means. Ballard hands in his badge and gun, but resolves to pursue the Dollhouse and Echo.
In "Echoes", Mellie goes on vacation while the Dollhouse recalls the Active November. In her absence, Paul discovers the Dollhouse has been spying on him, and receives a phone message from a temporarily resurfaced Caroline in "Needs".
When November (as Mellie) returns in "A Spy in the House of Love", Paul shows increasingly paranoid and obsessive behavior. In an intimate moment with Mellie, her hidden imprint activates and she delivers the message from the Dollhouse and that Mellie is really the Active known as November. The revelation shakes Paul very badly, but he is instructed to play along as if unaware of the deception. Ballard later engages the help of a friend in the FBI's facial recognition database team to identify a sample of "Mellie's" fingerprints, which brings up a long list of aliases, including one or two mug shots indicating that November had been captured by the police before escaping on different criminal assignments. The list quickly erases itself, convincing Ballard's friend that the Dollhouse is real.
In "Haunted," Paul's odd behavior towards her convinces Mellie that he is in love with the idea of Caroline, and she offers him the opportunity to use her as an outlet for his frustrations. Despite appearing intensely disgusted with himself, Ballard allows himself to sexually use Mellie/November to fulfill one of his own dark needs. Later, Mellie asks Paul if he wanted to look for more clients of the Dollhouse, and a self-loathing Paul whispers from the shower, "I just did."
Realizing that he is quickly spiralling downward into the Dollhouse's web of deception, Paul makes his final move to save himself and, if he can, both Caroline and Mellie. Thusly, in "Briar Rose", Paul callously breaks up with Mellie and tells her he's moving away. He then follows her until a handler picks her up and drives her back to the Dollhouse. After tracking down Stephen Kepler, the original architect of the Dollhouse, Ballard and Kepler infiltrate the underground complex and try to free Echo. Ballard's partner turns out to be Alpha, who betrays him and escapes with Echo. In "Omega", Ballard teams up with Boyd to track Alpha down; in exchange, the Dollhouse pays November's contract off and releases her from service. Although Ballard's insights about Alpha and the limits of the imprinting technology lead him to his quarry, Ballard and Boyd are unable to capture Alpha. They instead rescue Echo and the imprint wedge with Caroline's original personality.
Paul then makes a deal with Adelle: his silence in exchange for releasing November from her contract. Despite believing fiercely in his job, he allows himself to be completely discredited by the FBI, ensuring that he will never be taken seriously by the organization again. He briefly meets November as Madeline Costley, introducing himself as "nobody," despite feeling obvious pain that Mellie's all-consuming feelings for him really were just a product of the Dollhouse, forgotten as soon as she was wiped.
Ballard appears to be an independent contractor working with the Dollhouse during the time period (about five months) in between "Omega" and the season two premiere, "Vows." During this time, despite serious moral and ethical dilemmas making him question everything that he had thought he knew and believed a mere half a year before, he engages Echo to become his "partner" in the FBI, in order to take down an old enemy, by having her go undercover as arms dealer Martin Klar's fiancee and eventual bride (Ballard listens in on their wedding night through the Dollhouse's biofeed network, disgusted with himself). When Echo "glitches" due to a spike of head trauma and begins to slip in and out of previous imprint personalities, Ballard begins to understand what she is becoming and is determined to help her. His innovative approach that both saved Echo and completed the engagement successfully spurred DeWitt on to firmly entrench him in the Dollhouse once and for all by engaging him as Echo's new handler.
Paul's first go-round as Echo's handler in "Instinct" does not go well, however, and he fears that he is growing too close to Echo. He offers to tell Topher about her self-awareness and allow her to be permanently wiped, but is convinced to be her friend and aid as she grows into her own. They vow to take down the Dollhouse together, whatever it takes. During this time he also meets Madeline Costley as she comes in for her diagnostic in the Dollhouse. Despite dropping several hints, she doesn't remember her time as Mellie. He is clearly uncomfortable around her, and can't wrap his head around the fact that she is grateful to the Dollhouse—until she tells him that they used their neuroscience to erase the all-consuming grief she'd felt after her daughter had died of cancer.
Ballard allows his personal feelings to cloud his judgment when senator Daniel Perrin steps forward with accusations against the Rossum Corporation -- the force behind the Dollhouse—with Madeline as a material witness in "The Public Eye." He attempts to free her from protective custody with Perrin's wife, a suspected doll, only to have Madeline view him with disgust and horror as she assumes that the "Mellie" imprint she's found out about was deliberately engaged by Ballard. Thrown by her revulsion, Paul attempts to use a device Topher Brink created to incapacitate the dolls—only to have it work on Madeline, who still isn't completely free from the Dollhouse, and reveal Cindy Perrin as Daniel Perrin's handler.
He frees himself from captivity and beats off Perrin's Washington, D.C. Dollhouse goons and confronts Madeline again, but he slips up and calls her "Mellie" on accident. They have a brief argument and she convinces him to really free her, not just from the Dollhouse, but from him, as well. He lets her go, turns off his phone and his Dollhouse locator/transponder and vanishes for a brief time.
After Echo escapes into the real world in "Meet Jane Doe," she remembers Paul's phone number and calls him. They live together for three months and he is forced to change his view of the dolls as Echo proves that she is an individual, a true human being, and he trains her to control her ability to slip in and out of her imprints, despite his worries that he is using her for his own ends as she fights off vicious headaches during this time.
For three months they live together, and on their last night they have a conversation in which Echo makes romantic advancements, which Paul struggles with denying. He feels that he would be taking advantage of her if he were to accept her overtures at this point, and also he has no idea if she really feels the way that she feels or if it's just an imprint. It's clear that he has strong feelings for her that he will not allow himself to give into, and so they train instead. After a successful mission freeing a wrongfully imprisoned woman, Paul and Echo return to the Dollhouse.
When Echo is imprisoned in solitary in "A Love Supreme" by DeWitt when neither Paul nor Boyd Langton (Echo's first handler who still takes care of her much like a father with his daughter) will confess that they helped Echo learn to live away from the Dollhouse for three months in her doll-state, Paul snaps and fights with DeWitt. Langton takes him to task for his weakness and for his implying that Langton doesn't feel the same pain for Echo, telling him to "man up" for Echo or Langton would take her from him. Paul does just that, letting Topher in on Echo's secret and forming the first stages of an alliance against Rossum with Boyd, Topher, Echo and himself.
After murdering all of Echo's previous romantic engagements (minus Joel Mynor, who had moved on and found a real woman who he was engaged to), Alpha revealed himself by taking over the Dollhouse in order to get to Ballard. Still obsessed with Echo and convinced that Echo was the goddess to Alpha's god, Alpha is furious that Echo herself and not an engagement identity has fallen in love with Ballard and that Paul returns the feelings, despite Paul trying to deny it. Alpha reveals their relationship to DeWitt before capturing Paul and torturing him in the imprinting device until Paul falls brain-dead.
After Echo and Alpha furiously battle, just when Echo gains the upper hand and moves to strike a killing blow, Alpha reveals that he has imprinted himself with Paul's mind, and Paul takes over Alpha's body briefly and speaks to Echo in his own voice, urging her to kill "them" so that Alpha can't hurt anyone else. When Echo hesitates, Alpha manages to escape, clearly shaken by the turn of events.
The Dollhouse staff try to save his life and his mind in "Stop-Loss," and finally succeed in "The Attic" although there is a terrible price to be paid: in order to save Paul's severely damaged brain, Topher had to retrofit his brain with Active architecture, essentially making Paul a doll imprinted with his own personality. Also, in order to get vital parts of Paul's brain working, Topher had to remove "the brightest neurological pathways" in Paul's brain—his love of Echo. Paul is shocked, shaken and horrified by these revelations, though when he learns that Echo has been consigned to the Attic he storms DeWitt's office and holds her at gunpoint, demanding Echo's freedom.
DeWitt reveals herself to have engineered Echo's trip to the Attic as a fact-finding expedition, trusting Echo's singular power to be able to save herself from the Attic. DeWitt gathers the alliance together in her office: Paul, Echo, herself, Boyd, Topher, Ivy (Topher's assistant), Victor/Anthony Ceccoli and Sierra/Priya Tsetsang. She states that they are finally ready, but Echo stops them, saying that they are down one soldier: Caroline.
Despite being severely shaken and confused by the new facts of his existence and the loss of his feelings for Echo, Paul continues to aid Echo in her quest to take down the Rossum Corporation. When the team discovers that Caroline's original personality wedge has been stolen (Getting Closer), Paul and Topher work out a plan to kidnap Bennett Halverson from the Washington, D.C. Dollhouse in order to engage her help in fixing the backup wedge destroyed by Alpha in "Omega." While in D.C., however, Paul discovers that Madeline has been abducted by the D.C. house and been erased once more to become November. Despite the knowledge that he can do nothing for her and her absence will send the D.C. house down on their heads, he rescues November and takes her back to LA.
As DeWitt begins to restore all of the dolls to their original personalities and send them back out into the world, she is forced to re-imprint November as Mellie, who is overjoyed to be reunited with Paul. Remembering his feelings for Mellie, Paul and Mellie grow closer as they bond over their shared knowledge that their entire existence is the result of programming. Despite this, Mellie trusts her feelings for Paul as real and decides to join Echo's team to take down Rossum.
In the penultimate finale "The Hollow Men," both Paul and Mellie take up arms and travel to the headquarters of Rossum in Tucson, Arizona. After being imprisoned and fighting free, Paul and Mellie team up to try and take out the mainframe while the others try to find and free Echo. Paul and Mellie grow closer and agree that though they are both dolls they are still people, and that they love each other. After sharing a kiss, Mellie suggests that they overheat the mainframe rather than going on a suicide mission against the armed guards, which Paul gladly agrees to.
When their sabotage is discovered, however, Boyd Langton (revealed to be the founder of Rossum) plays an audio recording of DeWitt's voice activating Mellie's sleeper programming. Paul desperately tries to reason with Mellie, who continues trying to kill him; however, after he disarms himself in front of her, Mellie is able to overcome her programming long enough to tell Paul that she loved him and that he "made [her] feel real," before shooting herself in the head rather than hurt him again.
Boyd finds a blood-splattered and grieving Paul, who believes Adelle is the responsible for Mellie's suicide. He uses this to his advantage and takes Paul to meet Echo, using Paul as a human shield as he gambles on the idea that Echo won't hurt the man that she is in love with. Trusting Paul when he tells her to do it anyway, Echo shoots him in the leg, causing Boyd to drop him. Paul helps Echo set up explosives in the building and meets her outside, where they think that they've saved the world.
The Future (Epitaph One, Epitaph Two: Return)
Ten years after the events of "The Hollow Men," what was left of the Rossum Corporation went entirely out of control and unleashed the technology upon the world, causing half of the world to be erased and the other half to be programmed into mindless killing machines called "butchers." The ruling elite, who were able to create a cure ten years previous, live on in different bodies as the bodies they are inhabiting grow fat or diseased or old. In this devastating post-apocalyptic future, Paul Ballard rejoins Echo and what's left of her team in her quest to restore the world to order and finish the Rossum Corporation once and for all.
After helping Echo and Alpha (who, with the influence of Paul's true personality within him, has evolved into a more peaceful creature) establish Safe Haven, Paul and Echo re-enter Los Angeles and invade the Dollhouse, where Adelle DeWitt has been keeping the Actuals (those who have not been wiped) along with Echo's team safe, as well as sheltering Topher, who has had a severe mental breakdown due to overwhelming guilt over his complicity in designing the technology that brought about the end of human civilization. They then escort the those who wish to go with them to Safe Haven, where Echo establishes a refuge against the tech.
During this decade, Paul and Echo have begun to fall back in love with each other, though Echo won't express it out of fear. Paul states in Epitaph Two that he and Echo have made love before, but only when Echo was sure that they were going to die before a mission and let her guard down enough to let him in. Despite this, they stay together as a team and Echo expresses that though she's unsure of the exact nature of their relationship Echo trusts Paul with her life.
When Topher is kidnapped by the remnants of Rossum in their central city of Neuropolis (once Tucson), Paul and Echo mount a risky rescue mission. Paul allows himself to be stripped and presented before the current incarnation of Matthew Harding, who has allowed his current "skin" to grow fat and dirty and is looking for a new body. When Harding recognizes him, however, Paul reveals that he is not a "dumbshow" (a mind-wiped individual) and quickly fights and wins against the guards and the current incarnation of Clive Ambrose, though Harding escapes—only to be assassinated once more by Echo.
Paul and Echo discover that Topher, despite being mentally tortured by Harding's goons during his captivity, has created a sort of anti-wipe, a piece of tech that will restore all human beings to their original personality. Paul tries to make a stirring speech about needing to complete the mission, despite being mocked by Echo. Caroline, who has been imprinted in the body of seven year old Iris Miller, informs him that Echo actually "likes it when [he's] corny," revealing to him that Echo is in fact in love with him despite her not admitting it.
Paul and Echo assemble their team and journey to Los Angeles, where they will have to stay in the Dollhouse in order to get Topher the tech he needs as well as to protect themselves from being erased and restored to their original personalities with no memories of the past ten years themselves. On the trip, Paul confronts Echo about her never letting him in, and he gets her to admit that she has feelings for him, though they find no immediate resolution.
Upon arriving in Los Angeles, they discover that the city has been overrun by butchers, and they engage in a furious firefight in order to make it into the underground entrance to the Dollhouse. Paul fights bravely and selflessly, and when he sees that Mag has been wounded in the legs he rushes to help her make it in. Here, however, Paul is shot in the head and killed in front of Echo by a butcher, dying instantly.
After Echo makes it into the Dollhouse, she breaks down and finally admits that she was in love with Paul and was so scared of losing him that she never told him how she felt, and that now the one person who ever understood her is gone without ever knowing that she loved him. In the Dollhouse, the team discovers that Alpha has taken the facility over and is housing all the remaining dumbshows in the house, sheltering them from the butchers. Alpha displays genuine grief at the news that Paul is dead, as do Tony and Priya.
After the tech is reversed, Echo goes to dismantle the last of the tech left in the Dollhouse and finds that Alpha has left her a gift next to the imprinting chair: a personality wedge, the last that would ever be created. When Echo loads it in the chair and imprints herself, she discovers that Alpha has left her the full personality of Paul, and since Echo is in complete control of the personalities living within her, she and Paul can converse and join together on a level transcending the flesh, literally joining them together through the end of Echo's days. He warns her that he has a lot of baggage, and she tells him that she's finally ready to let him in.
In the original pilot, the rogue active Alpha gives Agent Ballard a picture of Caroline/Echo, his first solid lead in his pursuit of the Dollhouse. Adelle DeWitt discovers this security breach and engages Echo to silence Agent Ballard.
Paul also has an interaction with an informant, Keene, about the Dollhouse, where he insists on its existence, although Keene tries to convince him that it's a myth. Keene is in fact Victor who was also sent by DeWitt to throw Paul off of his pursuit of the Dollhouse and was renamed to Lubov when the first season went into production.
Universally hailed as a vastly superior introduction to the series, "Echo" introduces Paul's character and his eventual obsessive/paranoid downfall much more clearly. He also has a sense of humor, something that was largely sacrificed in the first season. He has an encounter with his friend from the facial recognition database room earlier, and his trip to the hospital in "Gray Hour" was caused by a fight with Echo rather than a bad tip from Lubov.
Four different scenes (albeit one that was shot differently) from "Echo" involving Paul were used in later episodes, and the Lubov storyline was stretched out for five episodes in the first season rather than just the pilot.
In the beginning episodes, Ballard's relationship with Mellie is very one-sided. He accepts her awkward advances, including multiple offerings of baked leftovers, with graceful indifference. However, as the first season progresses he becomes more receptive to her interest and aid (asking Mellie to 'break in' to his apartment for medication).
Ballard does not show romantic interest in pursuing a relationship with Mellie until Mynor points out that there is "no room for a real girl" in his Caroline-rescue fantasy. This comparison throws his situation and feelings into sharp relief, Ballard initiates a romantic and sexual relationship with Mellie. She is cautious of his obsession with finding Caroline, but he insists that he is thinking only of Mellie.
Ironically, Caroline was not fantasy and Mellie was not reality. Unknown to Ballard, she was an Active sent by the Dollhouse to keep Ballard distracted and unwittingly spy on him. The Mellie imprint was programmed to love Ballard. When this was revealed to Ballard, he continued his sexual relationship with her to maintain the secret, though it quickly grew twisted, causing Paul great personal moral/ethical problems and frustrations. Ending it roughly a few episodes later, he traced a dejected and suicidal November as she was returned to the Dollhouse for treatment.
After allying with the Dollhouse to find Alpha, Ballard secured November's freedom. Apparently a willing doll, she remembered nothing of Ballard. Although he learned her true name, he declined to give his name to her in return, so that she could return to a normal life. When he later encountered her, she had been given disturbing information by Senator Daniel Perrin about things that happened when she was employed as an Active, and was led to believe that Ballard had been a Dollhouse client and a "romantic engagement" of hers. She confronted him with his willingness to use her as November for his own ends, her words affect him profoundly, and he walks away from their encounter with a firm feeling of self-disgust.
After Paul rescued November/Madeline from the DC Dollhouse, Adelle ordered her imprinted as Mellie, still attached to Paul. Paul struggled to keep Mellie safe in the fighting, but while attempting to destroy the Rossum mainframe's cooling system, Mellie's killer sub-personality activated. With Paul's urging, Mellie broke through her programming and stopped trying to kill him. She said he made her feel like a real person, and shot herself in the head.
Ballard receives pictures and video of Echo before she joined the Dollhouse. He quickly fixates on her as an innocent victim of a nefarious slaving scheme, becoming obsessed more with the idea of her rather than the real girl—Joel Mynor confronts him on this, stating that Ballard's white-knight fantasy leaves no room for a real girl, which shakes Paul up, spurring him to turn his previously platonic relationship with Mellie into a romantic one. Ballard's desire to save Caroline is initially fruitless, it seems; discovering Echo in "Briar Rose", she is not as grateful as the fully-aware Caroline might have been and resists his attempts at rescuing her. Later, Ballard is able to save the falling imprint wedge which has Caroline's personality stored on it -- as close as he could possibly come to "saving" her.
In any case, Ballard is obsessed with rescuing Caroline, also known as the doll Echo. A spy inside the Dollhouse uses Echo to communicate with him in "Man on the Street," and indicates that he or she will continue to send messages via Echo in the future. In "Briar Rose", when he finally comes into contact with the blank state Echo (failing to distinguish Echo from Caroline fully enough), although she recognizes him, she is scared of him. Echo recalls her fight with him in "Man on the Street" and jumps to the defense of Boyd, with whom Ballard is engaged in a fight for Echo's custody.
In "A Love Supreme," it is revealed that his relationship with Echo has deepened in the three months she has been living and training with him. While he sometimes thinks of her as Caroline, she reminds him that she is different from Caroline—she is Echo. She makes advances toward him, but he rejects them because he believes it is ethically wrong to sleep with a person who has been programmed and taken advantage of. He also appears uncertain as to whether or not all of her personalities would be present if they were to sleep together. He then takes her back to the Dollhouse, as they planned, and when his mind is wiped, Echo is clearly upset and sobs over what she thinks is his dead body. At the end of the episode, she watches over him on life support and tells him that he will remain a part of her.
When he is restored to life as an Active and is presented with the knowledge that Echo has been consigned to the Attic, he marches into DeWitt's office and holds a gun to her head, demanding Echo's immediate release with no fear as to his own safety—a selfless love, as Alpha grudgingly admits.
It is revealed that Topher had to take Paul's love of Echo in order to restore his brain to life, although over the course of the decade between "The Hollow Men" and "Epitaph One," Paul and Echo have fallen in love with each other again, even making love at least three times, though always before a mission where Echo was sure that they would die. Paul has accepted that Echo is Echo and not Caroline, and made peace with that fact. He finally confronts Echo about their feelings for each other, which is left briefly unresolved before his murder at the hands of the butchers.
In the end, Echo downloads Paul's personality within herself and due to her ability to control and allow to live all the personalities within her, she and Paul will remain joined together on a transcendent level to the end of her days.
The rogue doll provided Ballard with information about Echo (including a photograph and video of a younger Caroline) anonymously. Ballard originally believed that Echo herself sent the picture.
It subsequently lead him into an ambush in Stage Fright during which he was injured. Ballard's aggressive tactics with Lubov and determination to discover the truth regarding the Dollhouse may very well be the reason Alpha has decided to aid Ballard. The two finally met in Briar Rose. Alpha was posing as Stephen Kepler, a contractor hired to build the Dollhouse. He abandoned Ballard and escaped, taking Caroline.
In Omega, Ballard joined with Boyd to capture Alpha. Although he failed, he offered to continue to help the Dollhouse stop Alpha if, in exchange, they complete November's contract. November's original personality was restored. Although she introduced herself to Ballard, he declined to give his name and permitted her to re-enter her original life.
In "A Love Supreme," Alpha puts Ballard in the chair because Ballard is in love with Echo. Alpha wipes his mind, leaving Ballard brain-dead and in need of life support. Alpha imprinted himself with Ballard's personality, and Paul's mind (and his love for Echo) was strong enough to fully take over Alpha's body for a brief moment in order to beg Echo to kill him and not allow Alpha to use him like this. When she cannot, Alpha takes the opportunity to escape, though Paul's presence in his mind appears to have shaken him up.
It is believed that Alpha's evolution into a peaceful and good man in "Epitaph Two: Return" was influenced by Paul's personality. Over the course of the decade between "The Hollow Men" and "Epitaph One," Paul and Alpha apparently became something like friends, enough to the point that Alpha displayed genuine grief when informed of Paul's death. As a final gift to both Paul and Echo, Alpha created a complete personality wedge of Paul Ballard and left it for Echo to download into herself so that they could be together, in a way, forever.
Ballard considers the Dollhouse to be slavery of the worst kind. Even given that the dolls are volunteers, he believes that people cannot sign away their free will unconditionally. He also appears to harbor doubts that the dolls are willing volunteers at all (a suspicion confirmed by Alpha and Sierra's origin stories and the fact that Caroline was given a choice that was no choice; however, November does appear to have given consent, and with other dolls this question remains unrevealed).
Ballard also does not believe that imprints are the sole determinants of personality. As he said in "Omega," he believes that a person's soul cannot be manipulated or imprinted. Dollhouse staff do not buy into his beliefs; Topher openly scoffs at what he sees as irrational religious mysticism, while Boyd is skeptical but open-minded. However, Ballard's views lead him directly to Alpha's secret lair; along the way he exposes disturbing signs that Alpha's original personality somehow survives despite having been wiped and denied by Alpha himself.
Ballard doggedly pursues the Dollhouse despite its cost to himself and his career. He grows increasingly paranoid in the face of the overwhelming size, scope and sophistication of the conspiracy.
- Paul does not appear in 2x04 "Belonging", 2x06 "The Left Hand" or 2x09 "Stop-Loss."
- Tahmoh Penikett was cast as Ballard almost immediately upon finishing the SyFy hit series Battlestar Galactica; Joss Whedon has made no secrets of his love for the show and admiration of the cast. Penikett was one of the first actors cast as a regular role.
- Penikett has since co-starred with two of his former castmates: Jamie Bamber and Michael Hogan.
- Tahmoh Penikett is extremely proficient in the Thai form of martial arts known as Muay Thai, and he himself choreographs all of Ballard's moves in his fight scenes, particularly in the season one episode "Man on the Street" during Ballard's fiery confrontation with an assassin-imprinted Echo. Tahmoh's skill has been shown as Ballard has come out on top in most of his fights, even when injured from a gunshot wound.
Notes & References
- Dos Santos, Kristin (2008-03-26). Dollhouse Casting Alert!. eonline.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-03.
- DarkUFO (2008-08-07). Dollhouse Episode 1.01 - Ghost - Casting Sides. spoilertv.blogspot.com. Retrieved on 2008-10-03.
- Part of the meeting between Echo and Paul can be seen in a preview clip on the official Fox Youtube-channel.