Dollhouse gets ready to go out with a bang. Here's how

Did we fall asleep?

Seems like weeks since we last visited Fox's Dollhouse. But it's back tonight and for the next few weeks, with the final episodes of the now-canceled series. And if we know creator Joss Whedon—and we do!—there's one thing that's certain: He's going to tell his story his way and take Dollhouse out in style.

We've got nine unaired episodes yet to see, and Fox is going to air them regardless of how few of us decide to watch, starting with tonight's two-hour block and continuing with double-headers for the next three Fridays in a row, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT. The show then takes a short break before coming back in January for the finale.

So what do we have to look forward to? Lots of sci-fi guest stars, as well as Echo (Eliza Dushku) on a mission of her own involving Rossum, the corporation behind the Dollhouses.

It's "all about the larger conflict now between Echo and Rossum," Whedon told TV Guide. "It's going to get very, very twisted."

Tonight's back-to-back episodes, "The Public Eye" and "The Left Hand," feature Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Alexis Denisof, who guest-stars as U.S. Sen. Daniel Perrin. He's on a mission to expose the secrets of the Dollhouse with the help of Madeline/November (Miracle Laurie). The team heads to Washington and runs into Bennett Halverson, a brilliant programmer who has a connection to Echo's past. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles' Summer Glau plays Bennett, and Reaper's Ray Wise plays her boss, Stewart.

On Dec. 11, Echo returns to L.A. and begins to struggle with her multiple memory downloads in "Meet Jane Doe," while Topher discovers there are dangers for our future when it comes to imprinting people. Alan Tudyk returns to guest-star as psycho-maniac doll Alpha, who is up to his old tricks in "A Love Supreme." Meanwhile, Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) tries to find allies in his mission to bring down the Dollhouse.

"You don't bring Alpha back unless you've got something really fun for him to do," said Whedon. And that somehow involves "a very violent Franciscan friar."

The first of the Dec. 18 episodes, "The Attic," will reveal more about the mysterious attic, where actives go when they are bad.

Dollhouse will return with the final three episodes, starting Jan. 8, 2009. The series finale, which airs on Jan. 22, will be called "Epitaph Two: Return" and will act as a sequel to the never-aired-in-the-U.S. episode "Epitaph One," which explored a dystopian future that resulted when the Dollhouse technology got out into the world.

It appears that the episode was written by "Epitaph One" writers Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon, along with Andrew Chambliss, and it guest-stars Felicia Day, who was also in "Epitaph One." We're guessing this also may be the episode that sees the return of Amy Acker as Dr. Saunders, since she was prominent in "Epitaph One." (It's available as an extra on the first-season DVD set.)

Are you ready for the final episodes of Dollhouse?

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