Episode 242: A Mystery in Science

“Now, look here. There is no such thing as a mystery in science.”

You think you’re having a hard day? Try being Dr. Woodard for a minute. He made several house calls, examined the patient, asked questions, ran tests, played with his glasses and organized an impromptu blood transfusion. Then his patient was kidnapped right out of the hospital, and he doesn’t even have a diagnosis.

And now Burke comes into the office — without an appointment, thank you — and demands answers. This is what health care used to be like, just everybody scolding each other.

242 dark shadows burke microphone

Burke’s worried about Sam, but not worried enough to remember his lines past sentence number four. Have I mentioned that Mitchell Ryan was drunk a lot? I’m not being a jerk, he really was. Ryan was an alcoholic, and in two weeks, he’s going to get fired for showing up at the studio drunk.

So we’ve only got a couple more chances to witness the spectacle of a hung-over Mitch Ryan desperately swimming upstream, as an overly-optimistic writing staff decides to let him carry three-quarters of a dialogue-heavy episode. Enjoy it while you can; there’s a replacement Burke on back-order, and he’s not nearly as much fun.

Burke says that Sam’s going to go off the deep end, worrying about Maggie’s disappearance. Woodard asks, “Don’t you think I’m doing everything I can?”

“Oh, of course you are, Sa– Dave,” Burke says, and then he just loses contact with his lines completely. “But… well…” He looks at the teleprompter for help, and then says, “Can’t you give me something to tell?” It’s beautiful.

242 dark shadows touching burke

“Take it easy, Burke,” says the doctor. “Just sit down.” Yeah, there’s no hurry; this story isn’t going anywhere.

If you’ll recall, Maggie disappeared from the hospital over a week ago. You hear doctors talking about losing a patient, but Woodard takes that literally; he actually went and lost a patient. Now he’s squinting into the microscope like he expects to find a signed confession from the kidnapper hiding behind some platelets.

Woodard doesn’t really understand what he’s seeing on the slides; he describes it as “a pretty heavy skirmish going on between Maggie’s red and white corpuscles.”

Burke presses for answers, and the doctor snaps, “Now, look here. There is no such thing as a mystery in science.”

242 dark shadows burke microphone

For some reason, Burke gets it into his head to argue about whether they should call this a mystery or not. You know how sometimes you lose track of what you’re talking about halfway through a sentence, so you just keep going and hope for the best? That’s Burke’s whole life right now.

“Now, maybe something like a blood sample, when you examine it under the microphone, it doesn’t show any mystery at all. But suppose it does. Suppose it, it, it…”

(He checks the teleprompter.)

“… it indicates that something so extraordinary is happening that mysterious is the only word to use.”

Well said. You meant microscope, by the way. Not microphone. That’s a different thing.

242 dark shadows liz lamp

Mercifully, Burke gets a little break halfway through the episode, as we check in with the blackmail story over at Collinwood. There’s really not much to say about it today; it’s just another reprise of the same material they’ve been doing for a couple weeks. Roger expresses concern, Liz stonewalls, and Jason smirks. At least we get another look at the Ralston-Purina lamp; that’s always fun.

242 dark shadows smashed window

And here’s the really frustrating thing — while we were spending all that time at Collinwood, somebody broke into Woodard’s office and trashed the place, bursting through the window and stealing Maggie’s blood samples. They went and had a whole action sequence, and we didn’t even get to see it! What a ripoff.

Surveying the wreckage, Woodard says, “Do you realize what this means?” Yes, It means your storyline has ground to a halt again. Want to try another recap?

Tomorrow: Blood Drive.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Pretty much everything that Burke says, especially the “microphone” line.

Also, Woodard tells Burke, “Do you realize what this means? It means Maggie never left that office under her own power.” He means the hospital room.

Tomorrow: Blood Drive.

242 dark shadows dead microphone

Dark Shadows episode guide – 1967

— Danny Horn

9 thoughts on “Episode 242: A Mystery in Science

  1. Also loved how Dr Woodard kept referring to Dr Hoffman being an expert and if ANYONE could figure it out, “HE” could….then comes Grayson Hall ;)=

    1. Yes! I probably should have mentioned that, but I was too wrapped up in Burke’s problems today. I can’t wait until I get to Julia joining the show… still a few weeks away, but the countdown has begun.

  2. It probably never entered the writers’ minds that fans would ever pay attention past the previous week or retain any details. And never in their wildest days would they have thought we’d be watching their show in the 21 century and analyzing each episode. That’s about as crazy as time travel!

  3. I like that in the wreckage of Dr. Woodward’s office (see the last screen cap), the desk lamp has been carefully strewn so as not to break the glass shade; and what the devil is the doctor using salad tongs for? Did he just walk off with them from the hospital cafeteria?

  4. Danny, these entries are great—the best I’ve read about Dark Shadows anywhere. So glad you’re still doing it.

  5. Oh, how I loved Mitch Ryan! I have seen where he said he hit rock bottom about now and should have been fired. He did change and went on to be Greg’s dad in “Dharma & Greg”, among many other things.

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