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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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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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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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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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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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Episode 461: Leave Me Hanging

“I’m back, I’m back! I didn’t die, I didn’t die!”

And meanwhile, in the present, everybody is still standing around in the drawing room, waiting patiently to finish the scene that they started four months ago.

This is a weird thing for a TV show to do. It’s so weird, in fact, that the opening narration — which usually lasts about thirty seconds and doesn’t mean anything — actually goes on for three minutes, all the way through the opening titles and into the first scene, just to make sure we know what’s going on.

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Episode 460: Eats, Shoots and Leaves

“I don’t know what lies beyond the grave… but I hope you will have some kind of peace.”

When we last left our undead psychopath hero, Barnabas Collins, he was walking into the Collinwood study, intent on murdering his old friend, Nathan Forbes. I forget exactly what brought this on, but it’s not like it matters. Sometimes you just decide to kill a guy.

But Nathan makes a plan of his own, grabbing a crossbow off the wall and shooting Barnabas as he enters the room. This is probably why you don’t see a lot of people hanging up decorative crossbows anymore.

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Episode 459: Cry Havoc

“You cannot kill me… because I am already dead.”

It’s another gloomy evening in the great house at Collinwood. Naomi has died from poison and plot points, and they’re going to have to reset the “3 days since last accident” sign again. It’s a good thing we’re leaving the 18th century soon; we’re pretty much down to the minimum viable family.

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Episode 458: Don’t Love Me

“There was so very little meaning to our lives before tonight — and now there’s none. We exist, that’s all.”

Naomi runs into the house, and flies into Joshua’s arms. “I saw him,” she gasps. “He’s like an animal!”

She’s just come from the garden, where she saw her dead son bite his cousin Millicent on the neck. “Barnabas…” she cries. “Why didn’t you tell me? Why?”

Now, here’s the thing that she doesn’t say: “Help! Millicent is being attacked. Let’s all run outside and help her.” She doesn’t even mention Millicent until sentence five, at which point Joshua says, “Millicent — My God!” and rushes out to find her.

I mean, I get that Naomi’s upset — who wouldn’t be, under the circumstances — but she’s burying the lead here, to the detriment of grievously wounded family members. Can somebody remind me why we like her again?

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