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Episode 929: Les Disposables

“I like being the way I am right now, and I don’t want it to end.”

“Since Barnabas Collins returned from the past,” says a disembodied Nancy Barrett, “his actions have been a mystery, and a matter of concern, to many who had once been close to him.” Yeah, no kidding. We’ve had a front-row seat to both the mystery and the concern for a couple months now.

She continues, “No one has known of the strange force that has compelled him to do the things he has done — the people of the Leviathan, who hold his beloved Josette hostage, and threaten him with the return of the curse of the vampire. He has become desperate to find a way of stopping the menace that threatens Collinwood.”

Oh, well, that explains everything. Why didn’t you say so?

Continue reading Episode 929: Les Disposables

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Episode 928: Another Day in the Uncanny Valley

“I suppose I’d better pay a visit on the antique shop which specializes in a succession of strange, disposable little boys.”

Scene One: Grave, Indeed

EXT. PHOTOGRAPH OF COLLINWOOD — DAY

PROFESSOR STOKES (O.S.)

For Maggie Evans, a time of terror at Collinwood has ended, and the source of her torment has been identified as Michael, the boy who lives with Megan and Philip Todd at the antique shop.

FADE IN:

INT. ANTIQUE SHOP BEDROOM — DAY

Michael stares directly into the camera, waiting for his cue to begin acting.

PROFESSOR STOKES (CONT’D)

And now Michael faces his own time of terror. For with shocking swiftness, he has fallen ill, and as she examines him, Julia Hoffman knows his illness is grave indeed.

Having received his cue, Michael shuts his eyes and rolls around on the bed. Julia positions a stethoscope somewhere in the vicinity of his heart.

JULIA (THINKS)

Come on come onnnnnn when do I get to inject him with something

Continue reading Episode 928: Another Day in the Uncanny Valley

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Episode 927: A Limited Number of Tomorrows

“I’m not just a little boy in every room in this house!”

Right now, I’m writing these words, and right now, you’re reading them, and those cannot possibly be the same “right now,” and so there is a time distortion in everything that we know about each other.

On Dark Shadows, it’s January 1970. For me, at the moment, it’s September 2016. For you, it’s some impossible-to-predict time in the future — a couple hundred of you today, and a couple thousand of you this week, and then who knows how many, in the long tail of tomorrows to come.

Continue reading Episode 927: A Limited Number of Tomorrows

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Episode 925: The Wolf of Wall Street

“I am concerned with the safety of other people, not what’s right.”

Michael is staring at Maggie Evans.

Maggie is a pretty young woman who used to be a waitress, and now works at Collinwood as David’s private tutor. Michael is a seven-week-old baby monster who came out of a time travelling box, and will someday cleanse the Earth of its human population. Everybody has to be something, I suppose.

Michael’s come over to the house today, unannounced and uninvited, because he wants to play with David and be insolent to grown-ups. Maggie was in the middle of a lesson with David, but now Michael’s here, and she’s not sure what to do.

The problem is that Michael is such an odd little boy. He says things that sound polite — “You wouldn’t do that, would you, Miss Evans?” he says — but he keeps his eyes locked on hers, unblinking, in a way that people generally don’t, unless they’re planning to murder you.

Maggie finally decides that it’s okay — she’ll grade David’s paper, and the boys can play in the drawing room. But as she’s gathering up the papers, she feels Michael’s eyes, still following her. She turns, and sees that he hasn’t moved; he’s just standing there at the door, staring her down.

She tries to collect herself, and says, “Michael, is something wrong?”

He keeps sizing her up. “What could be wrong, Miss Evans?” he asks, with a faint smile.

“You keep staring at me.”

Anxious to break the tension, David cries, “I’ve got it! We can play Wall Street. Do you like Wall Street, Michael?”

“It doesn’t matter what game we play, David,” the boy sneers. “You know that.”

So, yeah, of course they’re going to play Wall Street. This kid is the living embodiment of the Big Short.

Continue reading Episode 925: The Wolf of Wall Street

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Episode 924: Pretty Woman

“We became friends in the past. Please, let us be friends now.”

Mrs. Rumson arrives at her palatial beach mansion on Little Windward Island, and greets her husband of six months, the handsome publishing magnate. She’s found peace at last, after so many years of struggles and schemes. She’s going to go straight, she said, and everyone laughed. But she’s on the level, this time. The dead past will bury its dead.

But nothing ever stays dead, not on this show. At least, not with Dr. Julia Hoffman around.

Continue reading Episode 924: Pretty Woman

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Episode 923: Probably Her

“If we can find more realities like that, maybe we can get him out of the mist.”

Okay, so do you remember how pretty much all of last year I was saying that the writers didn’t have a big master plan that connected Quentin’s haunting with Chris’ werewolf story, and that they had no idea that they were going to use Charles Delaware Tate’s magic portrait skills to cure Quentin and bring him to 1969 to reunite with his long-lost great-grandson? And everyone was like, no, they planned that all out, they knew the whole thing, like, totally in advance. And I was like, no, they’re just making it up as they go along.

Well, here we are, in Tate’s big dark mansion, with the culmination of this master narrative — Quentin, werewolf, Tate, portrait. So what’s the big payoff?

Nothing! Because they didn’t actually have a plan.

So everybody else was wrong and I was right, and that’s why I am the god emperor of understanding how Dark Shadows works.

Continue reading Episode 923: Probably Her

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Episode 922: To My Fans, the Audience

“Barnabas never ceases to be exciting.”

My husband opens the doors to the drawing room, and finds me deep in thought, puzzling over an old book. I’m reading carefully, and transcribing some of the more difficult passages.

As he makes his way to the drinks cabinet, he asks, “Is that for the blog?” I tell him it is, and I show him the cover. He asks why I’m writing about this now, and I say that the book just came out.

“But that looks old,” he says.

“Yeah, it just came out.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m in January 1970. This was published in December 1969.”

“Oh, I see,” he says. “You were meanwhiling.” This is why our marriage works.

Continue reading Episode 922: To My Fans, the Audience

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Episode 919/920/921: The New Neighbors

“That’s right, I’m a werewolf, and that’s why you’re gonna start painting right now.”

Here we are, in another haunted mansion, and sitting at the front desk is an audio-animatronic Charles Delaware Tate. He speaks, he turns his head, and his chest moves up and down like he’s breathing; I’d estimate this action figure has maybe six points of articulation. But it can’t be the real Chuck D, because he should be seventy-two years older than this.

Quentin and Chris are visiting this weird wax museum because they’re hoping that Tate can paint a picture for them. But Tate laughs at them, just laughs and laughs, until Quentin picks up a vase of flowers and hits him square in the chest with it.

And that’s how Charles Delaware Tate dies laughing, the target of a floral drone strike. He falls face first onto the desk, and then his head pops off and rolls across the floor.

Continue reading Episode 919/920/921: The New Neighbors

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Episode 918: Too Big to Fail

“Something kept you from disobeying the book!”

So we’re killing Julia again, apparently, that’s still a thing that people on Dark Shadows say they’re going to do.

David and Elizabeth are going over their secret evil world domination plans, and they’re doing it in a hallway, for some reason. “Barnabas asked me to remind you,” David says, “that Julia Hoffman is your responsibility.” David is thirteen years old.

She tenses up. David asks, “What are you going to do about her?” and Liz takes a moment to think. Then she says, “KILL her!”

That’s the right answer, so she gets a big closeup and a dramatic sting, followed by the opening titles. That’s how you know that your staff meeting is a success.

Continue reading Episode 918: Too Big to Fail