So Echo is clearly not the first to become self-aware (hence the names Echo and Alpha, I suppose).
Well, I love me some good backstory, and while I still don't understand why on earth Langdon would come work there, all "highly qualified" as he is, it was nice to see the process and sociology of Dollhouse through someone looking from the outside. Not to mention we got the explanation for Dr. Claire's scars a lot sooner than I thought we would (is that the only reason for her defeated demeanor, though? I doubt it....)
But let me see if I got all of this straight: Alpha was imprinted with awesome and creepy fighting skills, in order for the Active's to have some self-defense while in their blank state--and Topher didn't think that required mere Aikido, but instead near-surgical lightning speed with a knife. Hokay. He freaked out, a "composite event," and killed just about everybody he came across, possibly spending a little extra time on Echo's handler, but left Echo standing in the middle of the bloodbath. It's arguable that even then, though didn't kill her, he didn't mind screwing with her a bit (since I don't think being surrounded by the dead bodies of everybody you know is exactly a pleasant experience).
Fastforward. Adele meets with a new client, whose file does/does not indicate that he likes taking his dates out to the woods and killing them, and charges an extra fee (which had me outraged--she's supposed to be setting the Actives free after five years; one would hope that Dollhouse would be contractually obligated to keep them alive until then, not just charge extra for snuff engagements). New client, clearly ridden with daddy issues, duly attempts to kill Echo, but being not very sportsmanlike, keeps all the cool equipment for himself and drugs her to boot.
The wonky drugs make her remember things, not only from her (Caroline's) past, but from her blank Active state, as well. Some very nice bonding with a shot Langdon (still paternal, the bonding! Dear God) but he gets a little concerned when he realizes that the drugs have made even his imprint on her a little wobbly. But she's all badass and saves her own damn self, and goes home and is wiped clean of her encounter with Hiking Psychopath.
Except. Hiking Psychopath, though he certainly is that, was a plant, and this was all orchestrated by Alpha. And Laurence gives Echo an appallingly sadistic speech about how he doesn't give a damn about her, she's not a person, he should just kill her (prompting Dave to demand how they could have somebody like that working there?! Whereas I don't understand how you could possibly work there and not be like that). But--duh duh duh--she does remember, slightly, and clearly is a person. Jerkface.
This all means that Alpha is the one who gave Echo the drugs, and so he is actively trying to wake Echo up (and still screw with her, apparently). I don't think he's woken up as a full-on person. I think he has awareness, and reason, and a plan (since slashy-faces at the end of the previous episode mean that he's the one who gave Ballard the file on Caroline) but clearly no remorse or morality--a sociopath.