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At least the guys pull off their parts well.
As for Topher and Saunders, I think Topher definitely felt guilt over the Doctor's death, but it seems to extend more to Whisky than to the doctor himself. Possibly Topher blamed himself for not seeing that Alpha was a danger, maybe he had previous attachments to Whisky (seriously, at this point I'm planning on going back and re-examining every scene with this pair in it so that I can figure this out!) and maybe Whisky was exaggerating about her being programmed to hate him. However, after rewatching that part, Topher seemed to be surprised at her comment, but his immediate response was that she didn't open it. Maybe he thought if she opened it, she'd understand why he wanted her to hate him, why he thought he deserved it.
I'd like to believe that Topher was already that smart. I like the idea that there are unknown dolls among the dolls, but I don't want the entire establishment to end up having handlers just outside the door. It cheapens it somehow, takes the easy way out. I think Topher was really just that good, but perhaps his motives for joining the Dollhouse weren't just about working where he can do work his grad-school professors hadn't even dreamed of yet. Maybe the imprint he used on his birthday was even Whisky's original personality (with a couple of minor adjustments, or Whisky may have known what was going to happen and embraced it as an alternative to her future), we just don't know yet. That's part of the fun :)
I also don't think that Dominic was the mole that Ballard was getting information from. When Mellie said (in her November spy state) that the person was captured/compromised, she couldn't have known that someone was onto Dominic. The timeline was wrong, Mellie was imprinted and after that, Topher talked to Dominic about finding the NSA chip. In order for Mellie to have had that information hidden as part of her imprint, this would have needed to be known well before she was imprinted so that Topher's version could be altered. It just doesn't add up. Couple that with the imprint constantly referring to itself as part of a group (though that could be the NSA) and it just isn't logical.
I think I broke IntenseDebate, so second half to follow..
Definitely, Saunders/Whisky mentioned something like that early on (which I had forgotten until you mentioned it again), saying "sometimes you just hope for good enough". Couple that with her reaction to Victor when he says that he's not his best and you see more evidence (don't you just love Whedon?) that the soul and the person you are deep at your core is never wiped, nor are the experiences you've had. If that's followed on from, I wonder what it means for Sierra and her experiences with both the man that trapped her in the Dollhouse and her handler's evil deeds.
Roll on Monday, I love hypothesising but it's more fun when you know you're going to find out the right answer later!
If she saw the details of her imprint she could know exactly what he put into her, but it didn't look like that sort of detail was on the screen. I think what you said first would be more accurate, where she has accepted her life as a doll. The reason I'd say that one is that after all that anger during the episode and her yelling at Victor, she shows that she's accepted who she is by doing something that was a tradition for the original Dr. Saunders, she hands Victor the jar of lollipops to choose from.
I'm starting to feel like I should watch this episode again, to make sure I got every single nuance! Not that that's a bad thing, the ability for a show to give you more each time you watch an old episode is definitely something to be praised, but it makes remembering all the details hard!
As for why Whisky didn't get any plastic surgery, perhaps the technology to completely erase scars wasn't around a couple of years ago. Also, they needed to replace Dr. Saunders with a new doctor and with no guarantees that Whisky would be perfect after trying to repair them, they decided it would make more sense to just reprogram her as the doctor instead.