Episode 1245: Sunset at Collinwood

“You’ve had too many victims! It’s over for you!”

Morgan Collins, the self-proclaimed god-emperor of the great estate at Collinwood, has learned that his emotionally explosive wife, who he had always feared was cheating on him with his cousin, was actually cheating on him with his cousin, to the extent that she is currently pregnant with her lover’s child.

Driven mad by this betrayal, in addition to the general background madness of being a Collins in the first place, Morgan has locked up Barnabas and Angelique in the cursed room that plagues this parallel hell. Everyone who spends a night in that room either dies or goes insane, at the pleasure of an angry ancestor who’s determined to spoil everyone’s fun. So far, the trapped lovers have been alternately possessed and throttled, but the evil wizard running the no-escape room hasn’t gone in for the kill.

As dawn approaches, Morgan strides down the hall towards the sealed portal, with a six-shooter in his hand. When he opens the door, if he finds that the couple has managed to survive the night, then he’s just going to shoot them, and take his revenge the old-fashioned way.

So I’ve got some hard news for Morgan this morning: opening that door is not going to benefit you in any way. Letting Barnabas out of a box is what got us into this mess in the first place.

Continue reading Episode 1245: Sunset at Collinwood

Episode 1244: Empire of the Loud

“The curse is more powerful than all of us put together.”

Morgan Collins has pulled the ol’ love-and-shove on his faithless wife Catherine, pretending that he’s going to rescue her boyfriend Bramwell from the human sacrifice chamber. Where is he? I can’t see him, she said, and he said Just look closer, he’s right there, and she said I don’t — and then all of a sudden she was on the wrong side of a locked door.

“You tricked me!” Catherine cries. “Just as you tricked Bramwell, you tricked me!”

“I plead guilty, my dear!” Morgan hollers, through the door. “On both counts!”

“Well, listen to me, Morgan!” she shouts. “I’d rather die with Bramwell than live with you one more day!”

“Then you have your wish, don’t you?” he chirps. “Goodbye, Catherine!” And then he saunters away, mentally updating his Tinder profile.

So we’re agreed: Morgan is the asshole in this story, and we refuse to put up with him anymore. After nine and a half weeks of this lemon of a storyline, Dark Shadows and I are finally on the same page.

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Episode 1243: The Dark Shadows Parts

“According to my calculations, only one more person must have the dream.”

All I can think about is what’s happening behind those doors.

All I know is danger! The cards do not lie!

All she did was tell me what you had planned — to betray me — and you killed her for it, just as you killed me, and you killed your wife Amanda, because she tried to help me too.

All that remains is a shell, a manifestation! This body you inhabit is not yours!

All we know is, she was hanged. But whether she died or not is something everyone in Collinsport is still wondering about.

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Episode 1242: Cancel Culture

“When one is on a rollercoaster, one prays for it to end. But then the coaster stops, and one gets off and suddenly the world seems duller and sadder somehow.”

Dark Shadows, an ABC-TV daytime soap opera best known for making the world a stranger and more beautiful place, passed away on Friday, April 2nd, 1971, at the age of two hundred and forty-nine weeks. It was survived by a comic strip, a comic book and a paperback novel series.

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Episode 1241: Frid’s Final Battle

“Don’t become a part of this Collins madness!”

At the top of the show today, Bramwell Collins lets himself into Collinwood, where he doesn’t live and isn’t particularly welcome. Walking nonchalantly into the drawing room, he observes Kendrick Young, silent and drawn.

“Good evening, Kendrick,” he says. “Well, after what I’ve heard about you and Melanie, I would expect you to be more cheelful.”

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Episode 1240: Today’s Lucky Lotto Picks

“These two were somehow mummyfied, and preserved all these years.”

Well, there’s another swinging wake over at the Haunted Mansion today; the guys are all wearing black armbands, and the ladies have put aside their typical bird costumes, and are wearing clothes more appropriate for sea level.

“Mother,” says Morgan, “nobody understands better than I do how you feel, but it’s just as well that you didn’t see Gabriel.”

Flora turns to face her son. “Morgan, I feel so guilty,” she moans. “He deserved a better fate.”

“Mother, that could be said for all of us,” Morgan points out. “But Gabriel’s gone now. At least he has met his peace.”

The way they’re talking, you’d imagine that they’re all dressed up for Gabriel’s funeral. Actually, they’re getting ready to bury Daphne, who also died this week. You know that your soap opera’s going in a weird direction when the audience can’t keep track of which funeral you’re going to.

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Episode 1238: The Mystery of Melanie’s Mother

“I’ve got to go back into the darkness forever.”

Mad Melanie Collins, the loveable girl who sometimes transforms into a heartless killing machine, has been marooned on a desert island for as long as she knows. Washed up on the shores of an enormous mansion, with no property or parents, she was raised by the local tribespeople, and trained in their savage rituals. And in the odd moments between human sacrifices, she has looked up at the sky to gaze at the studio lights twinkling overhead, and she has wondered. Who is she? Where does she come from? How far did she travel, to wind up in this exotic locale?

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Episode 1237: Chekhov’s Sword

“You think I’m there? Well, I’m not. I’m here!”

Civil war has broken out in Collinwood, an unincorporated nation-state with its own history, founding myths, and independent system of justice. The reigning Collins family is consumed in internal struggle over trivial domestic matters, distracting them from the escalating crisis at the border. An authoritarian strongman, exiled from the well-lit areas of the house back in the seventeenth century, has declared total war on the family for no particular advantage to himself, and the inhabitants do not appear to have the basic survival instincts necessary to really get their minds around the problem.

The family’s basic strategic disadvantage is that they don’t like each other, and on the whole, they can’t stand to be in the same room for more than a couple of minutes before they long to go and be by themselves for a while. Given the current threat level, they should be building fortifications, running drills and sticking little pins in a map showing the location of enemy forces. This does not seem to have occurred to them.

This leaves them at the mercy of dissident elements, namely fifth-columnist Gabriel Collins, who is engaging in guerilla warfare. He’s running around the inside of the house, using secret panels and Jefferies tubes to access remote areas, and when he finds someone alone in a room, he suddenly pops out of a tunnel and attacks. When reinforcements arrive, he ducks back through the doorway, secure in the certain knowledge that the arriving parties would rather stand around and ask if people are okay than give chase.

Soap opera characters are not equipped for quick response time after a significant event; all they want to do is recap and discuss their emotions. Then there’s a commercial break, and they move on to other interests.

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