471 dark shadows hello thing

Episode 471: A Farewell to Arms

“Do you remember I told you when I was in the past that I shot someone?”

At the end of Friday’s episode, Dr. Eric Lang’s assistant brought him a package straight from the cemetery. Delighted, the doctor opened the box and said, “Oh, Jeff! Don’t be so squeamish! Come have a look at it! It’s a perfect specimen!”

Then the camera zooms in on the box to show us a detached human arm, which actually does look pretty nice, if you like guys from the elbow down.

We’re not going to reach that level of damn-the-torpedoes lunacy again until, ooh, about halfway through Tuesday, so we might as well take a moment to talk about The Munsters and The Addams Family.

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470 dark shadows insane roger vicki

Episode 470: Mad Men

“This painting can’t be in the house. I was responsible for bringing it here, and I am going to dispose of it.”

It’s another dark and stormy night in the great house at Collinwood, and Victoria Winters, girl governess, is creeping around the house in her nightgown, eavesdropping on people. As she approaches the closed drawing room doors, she hears Roger speaking to someone. This is what you do when you live at Collinwood — you walk the perimeter, and check on the inmates. It’s a survival skill.

As usual, there’s something unearthly going on in the drawing room — Roger is being hypnotized by an oil painting, and when he flings open the doors to confront the interloper, he believes that he’s Joshua Collins, an ancestor from the 18th century. Lord knows what everyone else is getting up to. This could be contagious, you never know.

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Episode 468: The Odd Couple

“You keep talking about secret rooms, and guns. It bothers me for some reason.”

And now, another tableau from our pageant of Great Moments in American Health Care.

Victoria Winters was in a car accident the other day, and escaped entirely unharmed. But she’s been cooped up in a hospital bed for episode after episode, and she doesn’t even have a magazine.

She says to her doctor, “You are going to release me today, aren’t you?” The doctor smirks, and says, “Now, why be in such a hurry?”

So apparently this hospital encourages able-bodied patients to stay longer. Even for a vampire soap opera, that requires more suspension of disbelief than anything else on the show. I thought we were back in the 20th century.

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467 dark shadows scream lang

Episode 467: Physician, **** Thyself

“Perhaps — in the mastery of science, in the mastery of modern medicine — you will find your best hiding place!”

Previously, on Dark Shadows – Barnabas Collins, knocked unconscious in a car accident, was brought to the Collinsport Hospital, and is now under the care of Dr. Eric Lang. Observing the patient’s lack of pulse and impossibly low blood count, noting the presence of two puncture wounds in Vicki’s neck, and blessed with the unique ability to add two and two, Dr. Lang identified Barnabas as a vampire, halfway through yesterday’s episode.

Dr. Lang confronted Julia with his conclusions, and insisted that they work together to treat Barnabas’ condition — and by the end of the episode, Lang surprised Barnabas by whipping open the heavy curtains and exposing his panic-stricken patient to the late-afternoon sunlight.

And now Barnabas is fine.

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465 dark shadows conference vicki barnabas

Episode 465: The Best of All Possible Worlds

“How can they possibly hear you or me, when we are both dead?”

Hey, remember when Barnabas wanted to turn Vicki into a new version of his lost love Josette, but he wanted her to come to him willingly, without having to use his hypnotic vampire powers on her? Yeah. I think we’re going to have to circle back and review that one again.

Because Vicki made the tactical error of actually going and having her own life outside of Barnabas’ immediate sphere of influence, and she met another guy. That made Barnabas get all bitey, and now he and Vicki are going away together.

But — and this is something I never thought I would say — Vicki is doing something interesting here. She’s agreeing to go, because she’s been hypnotized, but she doesn’t look happy about it.

When Carolyn got bit, she got a dreamy look in her eye, and she was super excited to be Barnabas’ new blood slave. All she could think about was how she could be helpful to Barnabas. Vicki’s affect is more like she agreed to go on a trip with someone that she isn’t that crazy about traveling with, but she promised to go and the tickets are non-refundable.

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464 dark shadows remember vicki stokes

Episode 464: First Wife’s Club

“I mean, the very idea of people cavorting in and out in time periods would be amusing, if it weren’t so preposterous.”

Sometimes I see a big event on a daytime soap opera — a wedding, or a black-tie charity fundraiser, or a serial killer holding a group of teens hostage in a police station during an earthquake while one of them is having a baby — and I think, it is seriously unbelievable that this is the same genre, the same medium and the same timeslot as Dark Shadows. It’s the budgets — I just can’t get my head around where all that money is coming from.

I understand that the technology has advanced — filming and editing and effects are easier than they used to be. But how can they afford all those people? When modern soaps do those big episodes, they just throw dozens of people at the screen — main cast, recurring players, guest roles, plus all those extras standing around in the background, pretending to dance or eat or tend to the wounded.

Dark Shadows could afford five and a half people a day. That’s it. If you’re lucky, we’ll get a guy to wrap some bandages around his head, and we’ll call him an ancestor. I mean, it’s not like people suddenly got less expensive. There can’t be that many out-of-work waiters willing to appear on a television show while they wait for something to open up at a restaurant.

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463 dark shadows angelique portrait

Episode 463: Meanwhile, in the Past

“One cannot buy a witch in an antique shop.”

Today, Victoria Winters returns to the scene of the crime — the Eagle HIll cemetery, where she shot and killed a man two weeks and 172 years ago. I’m not sure if there’s still a warrant out for her — there’s a lot I don’t know about the statute of limitations in a time travel scenario.

She’s hunting for the grave of Peter Bradford, her 1795 boyfriend and accomplice, who was left behind when she returned to 1967. Or possibly 1968. It’s hard to say. I’m pretty sure it’s a Wednesday, if that helps.

I mean, she left in November 1967, but by the time she got back, it was already April 1968, and she’d missed Christmas and a new Beatles album, and her library books were, like, crazy overdue.

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462 dark shadows terrace barnabas julia

Episode 462: No Place Like Home

“I think I expected a haircut to make me feel all new. It doesn’t.”

Victoria Winters is back from her trip to the 18th century — and like all young people coming back from break, she has a bullet wound in her shoulder, a barely coherent memory of what happened, and a new boyfriend who she doesn’t know how to contact.

Now, Julia Hoffman — who has just revealed that she’s a doctor — is providing some unorthodox therapy, spinning a medallion in Vicki’s face and interrogating her under hypnosis. Let the healing begin.

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