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Episode 374: The Wedding Presence

“Anyone who would do a thing like that is capable of anything.”

Today’s episode opens with — guess who? — Angelique, the villainous lady’s maid, who has basically just walked up and pulled the show out from under everyone else. This storyline was supposed to be about Victoria Winters, girl governess, and her strange and terrifying journey into the past. But Vicki is off screen today, quietly governessing somewhere, and Angelique takes center stage again.

And, naturally, Angelique is — guess what? — talking about herself, and how great her plans are. She’s recently acquired an unwilling sidekick, the heavily indentured Ben Stokes, and his primary duty appears to be standing by as Angelique delivers a spontaneous TED talk on the subject of how awesome she is.

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Episode 373: The Devil Wears Prada

“If I ever leave this place, it will be in my own carriage.”

The first day at a new job is always a trying experience, even if it’s 1795 and you don’t have to switch to a new email address. Ben Stokes just met Angelique earlier in the day, and now she’s cast a spell on him, and made him her slave. So now he probably has to fill out a W-4 form, and give her a cancelled check to set up the direct deposit.

But Angelique has no time for onboarding; she’s got some ambitious first-quarter deliverables. We’d better get started.

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Episode 372: Another Country

“Joshua Collins can think up a whole lot of ways to be cruel to a man.”

Vicki has mysteriously traveled back in time, from 1967 to 1795, and now she has to fit in, because she doesn’t know how to get home. She’s actually doing remarkably well, under the circumstances. Personally, I’m not sure what I’d do if I suddenly found myself in the wrong century; I don’t really have a backup plan for that. I’ve just tried to stay in the century that I’m in, and so far, it’s worked out okay. So Vicki does earn some respect, just for getting up in the morning and dealing with whatever year she happens to find herself in.

That being said, it’s Vicki, and she’s an idiot. So, obviously, when she meets a Collins family servant who looks like the guy who kidnapped and tried to kill her with an axe last year, she doesn’t say, “Aha, here’s another person from 1795 who coincidentally looks like someone that I used to know; I should play it cool and introduce myself.” Nope. She backs up against the wall and shouts, “Stay away from me!” and then she screams and screams and screams and screams and screams.

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Episode 371: Damn the Torpedoes

“I do not understand any more than you do.”

Okay, here’s a health tip: If you ever have an overnight layover in Martinique, don’t make out with the crazy girl.

Seriously. The girl is out of her mind. At the moment, she’s got a handkerchief wrapped around the neck of Barnabas’ wooden toy soldier, and she’s choking the life out of it. This is apparently going to teach Barnabas a lesson about treating people with respect. It might also partly be about leaving a tip for the maid when you check out of a hotel. It’s kind of an abstract lesson.

Now, this was an unusual Friday cliffhanger, because we know that Barnabas became a vampire, so he couldn’t have died from action-figure-based asphyxiation. Or maybe he could have. There’s a serious question raised today, which is: How does time travel work?

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DS Every Day on “Tune In Tomorrow” podcast

Dark Shadows Every Day is being featured on tonight’s episode of the soap podcast “Tune in Tomorrow”! The show is hosted by my awesome new friend Richard Simms, executive editor of Soaps In Depth magazine. It’s a whole hour of Dark Shadows talk, including the Dream Curse, humane recap techniques, the casual non-science of Parallel Time, and why every soap opera has elves.

The show airs tonight starting at 7pm Eastern, and then archived for eternity. And check out the other episodes — it’s a really fun and thoughtful discussion of soap operas, and the strange culture that we’ve built around these everlasting stories.

 

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Episode 370: A Woman Scorned

“You, and one handkerchief, are all I need to make him regret what he’s done to me.”

Vicki has traveled in time — she’s trapped in 1795, and so are we, for the foreseeable future. We’re here to learn the secret history of how Barnabas became a vampire, and how he lost Josette, the woman that he loved.

In the last episode, we met Angelique, a beautiful young maid who works for Josette’s family. She had a love affair with Barnabas in Martinique, before he knew that the wealthy Josette returned his affections. Josette is traveling to Collinsport for her wedding to Barnabas… but Angelique isn’t done with him yet.

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Time Travel, part 1: Mist Opportunities

“I’m just glad to be here.”

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Thursday’s episode of Dark Shadows was pre-empted this week, so ABC could air football on Thanksgiving afternoon. I want the blog to keep the Monday-to-Friday rhythm of the original broadcast, so today, the normal blog entry is pre-empted by our own Thanksgiving treat.

Today, we’re going to do some time travel, fast-forwarding to the mysterious far-off year of 1991. It’s a Sunday night in January, and NBC is airing the prime-time remake of Dark Shadows. This first episode is a two-hour journey into the unknown, so let’s get started…

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Episode 368/369: A Wicked Woman

“I am your servant. You are my master. That’s the way it is. That’s the way it is to be.”

Okay, let’s talk some more about The Crucible, the 1953 Arthur Miller play about the Salem witch trials. Everybody knows that The Crucible is the inspiration for the Collinsport witch hunt that’s coming up next month, but the influence goes even deeper than that, all the way down into the soul of Dark Shadows.

The play is a dramatization of the hysteria in 1692 Salem, Massachusetts. A group of young girls is found dancing in the woods, in defiance of the strict Puritan laws against dancing, music and anything that might be enjoyable. Horrified at being discovered, and desperate to find a scapegoat, the girls pretend that they’ve been seduced and tormented by witches living in the village. Directed by the eldest girl, Abigail Williams, they become a terrifying mob who accuse dozens of their neighbors. Guided only by the “spectral evidence” of the girls’ testimony, the court convicts and executes 20 innocent people.

Abigail is a terrifying figure in the play — self-centered and vengeful, taking a special delight in wielding the power that she’s suddenly acquired. Abigail was a servant of farmer John Proctor, and her tangled relationship with him is the emotional heart of the drama.

Over the last few weeks, the crucial new idea on the show is to introduce these narrative collisions, weaving characters from other fictional worlds into the story of Dark Shadows. There’s a beautiful woman from another story walking into the house today, and things are going to get ugly.

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Episode 367: Making History

“I can’t let you leave here. The evil in you may return in another form.”

You know the scene at the end of The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy wakes up, and she’s delighted to discover that the ruby slippers have carried her home, and she’s surrounded by her family and friends? And everybody is super thrilled that their beloved Dorothy is alive and safe at home? Well, this scene isn’t like that at all.

Today, Vicki wakes up and finds Mrs. Johnson, the friendly housekeeper, sitting by the bed. Except she’s not Mrs. Johnson, she’s not friendly, you’re still trapped in the nightmare, and she hates you.

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Episode 366: The Phantom Menace

“Something happened during the séance… something unnatural.”

A long time ago…

Vicki is confused. That’s not a particularly startling development, because she generally goes around in a state of ongoing bafflement, but this time she has a good reason.

The last thing she knew, she was sitting in the Collinwood drawing room, having a perfectly ordinary séance with her employers, just like anyone might at the end of an average day at work. Then a ghost started speaking through her mouth, and now she’s standing outside the Old House, and it’s a bright, sunny day.

As she approaches the house, Barnabas Collins opens the door, and he’s young and alive and engaged to Josette, and it’s the past.

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