Dollhouse deals with the aftermath of "Epitaph"

Now that Fox is letting Joss Whedon tell a continuing story with Dollhouse, the season-two premiere will pick up where the season finale left off. No more stand-alone episodes. The continuation follows episode 12, "Omega," not the DVD exclusive episode 13, "Epitaph One," said actor Harry Lennix, who plays Boyd Langdon on the show.

"I can tell you that it both is directly sequential to 'Omega' and also references in rather vague ways what happens in 'Epitaph One,'" Lennix said in an exclusive interview on Aug. 6 in Pasadena, Calif., as part of the Television Critics Association fall press tour. "It's in between."

Dichen Lachman, who plays the Active Sierra, offered more details about the season premiere. "Obviously Paul [Tahmoh Penikett] is in the Dollhouse because he got in there," Lachman said in a separate interview. "So, yeah, it's just kind of back to business. There are, as Joss said at Comic-Con, a few flash-forwards in the first episode, which will be nice for the audience to just be reminded of what happened [in 'Epitaph One']."

Planting those seeds for the future might not be as straightforward as viewers think, said Lachman. "There are some things which are harder to kind of get around, like obviously Amy Acker's character is very much in the Dollhouse in 13," Lachman said. "As everyone knows, she's got another job on another show, so we have her for a very limited amount of time now. So there are things they're going to have to negotiate around, but I think they'll be fine. They're all very, very talented people, and it's very exciting to get a script."

In the present day, the Dollhouse has more immediate concerns than the apocalyptic future suggested by the DVD episode. Echo (Eliza Dushku) is still out cavorting with Alpha.

"The Dollhouse is reeling from the encroachment by Alpha, obviously," Lennix continued. "This is an important thing, because obviously this man is now out, and he's on the loose, and he has access to technology which might be detrimental to the smooth functioning of the Dollhouse. So we still have to try to find her, and at the same time, we also have to continue to supply services to our clients. So we're somewhere in between knowing that something bad is out there that is an imminent threat, but also we have a job to perform by having our actors engage with the different clients."

Sierra is still available to be imprinted as any client requests, and Lachman said viewers will see her at work, if not as a central character in the initial plots of the season. "Well, the first time you see her, it's just an engagement," Lachman said. "Like, her coming back from an engagement, I guess. Then I don't really appear until a bit later on, like episode three. It's just her coming back, and she's very proper. She's British. It's a very short little moment, but then also Victor and Sierra's relationship starts to come through a little bit, and hopefully we get to explore that more."

Lachman expected upcoming stories to focus more on Sierra. "I think you can look forward to seeing her get her power back a little bit this season, develop her relationships a little more," she said. "I won't say which ones, but you probably know if you've been watching."

Newly promoted to head of security, Boyd has not had much to do yet. "As yet, I do not, and yet that's okay, because I think that quality trumps quantity any time," Lennix said. "Right now, being able to work with Olivia Williams directly is great. I also get to work with Amy Acker. I've got Olivia and Amy, and while I do not have as much to do with Eliza as I used to, I have the hope that maybe I can be in the best of both worlds."

Boyd still questions whether the Dollhouse is a good idea, but now he's also responsible for keeping it running. "Now that I am in a managerial position, I also have to be concerned about function," Lennix said. "Inasmuch as I am concerned about the metaphysics of why we're doing a certain thing, I have to make sure that it functions smoothly, that the Actives are safe, that the handlers have all the information they need. So now it is a kind of equally balanced thing between why and how. How do we make it happen is no less important than why we're making this happen."

Dollhouse returns Sept. 25 at 9 p.m. on Fox.

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