Episode 263: Don’t Say Anything

“Apparently, that madman is still around.”

Yesterday, Vicki spent the entire episode having feelings about Maggie’s death, and today she’s going to have them all over again. This is exactly how a traditional soap opera is supposed to run — something happens maybe once a week, and the rest of the time is processing everyone’s feelings.

If you don’t watch a lot of soaps, that probably sounds like the most boring possible TV show, but a well-written soap opera makes it work. You just need to build up the stakes, so that a character’s emotional response has an effect on other people.

On Downton Abbey, when Matthew is wounded in the war, they spend weeks exploring how Mary feels, and how Lavinia feels, and how Matthew feels about Lavinia’s feelings, and how Mary feels about Matthew’s feelings, and on and on, and we’re all sitting there with our eyes glued to the TV, because we can’t imagine living another day unless we find out what these make-believe people are going to say to each other.

263 dark shadows carolyn rolls hard

But Dark Shadows is not Downton Abbey — especially not today, because they haven’t invested very much in the current emotional stakes. This isn’t a love triangle, there are no big decisions coming up, and Maggie isn’t even dead, so they’re not really processing anything anyway.

Carolyn tells Vicki that another girl was attacked last night — and that’s all we get, “another girl”, which shows you how deeply we’re supposed to care about that story point.

Carolyn says that she had a dream last night, where she was the kidnapper’s next victim. Don’t worry too much about this. It sounds like foreshadowing, but it’s just threeshadowing, setting up a plot point that doesn’t actually happen.

So they naturally drift back into the same conversation they’ve been having for weeks, about Buzz and Jason and Liz. I’m sick of it, and so is Carolyn:

Carolyn:  I’m not asking for your advice, and I don’t want it. So from now on, leave me alone! Just leave me alone!

So many people end up saying that to Vicki.

263 dark shadows vicki sam sofa

But Vicki still has feelings to discuss, so she visits Maggie’s father to see if parking herself on his furniture helps with anything. It doesn’t.

Vicki:  I don’t know how to put this into words.

Sam:  Well, Vicki, then please, don’t. Just… don’t say anything.

So many people end up saying that to Vicki.

263 dark shadows carolyn joe

Meanwhile, Carolyn’s gone down to the dock to visit with Joe, who’s having lunch. That’s right, we’ve got some hot lunch action today.

It’s basically just a remix of the previous two scenes. Joe doesn’t really want to talk about Maggie, so they end up discussing Carolyn and Buzz’s engagement again.

There’s one beautiful moment of unintentional comedy today, and here it is:

Carolyn:  I’m sorry, Joe.

Joe:  For what?

Carolyn:  For talking about myself, when I came to see what I could do for you.

Joe:  We all think about ourselves.

Carolyn:  Not the way I do.

263 dark shadows joe stare

By this point, Joe is staring off into the distance like he’s desperate for this conversation to end. I’ve never agreed with Joe so much in my life.

263 dark shadows sam joe wheat

Eventually, everybody goes home and the episode just runs out the clock again. The real problem here, emotionally, is that Sam and Joe are the only people who would be directly affected by Maggie’s death, and they know that she isn’t dead.

So they’re just going through the motions, pretending that they’re grieving, when really all they’re doing is waiting.

But there’s one bright piece of news — Sam tells Joe that Maggie had her first session with Dr. Julia Hoffman today. That’s what we’ve been waiting for. We’ll meet Dr. Hoffman on Friday; hold tight until then.

Tomorrow: Unconscience.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

There are two examples of studio noise today. You can hear a door slamming during the first act, after Carolyn tells Vicki, “Don’t if it means we’ll get into a fight.”

There’s also a clattering sound in the last scene, when Joe tells Sam that he feels like a fraud.

Behind the Scenes:

The background used for the docks in the Joe/Carolyn scene today looks like a reused piece of the set from the fishing shack. (Thanks to Prisoner of the Night.)

Tomorrow: Unconscience.

263 dark shadows what the what

Dark Shadows episode guide – 1967

— Danny Horn

3 thoughts on “Episode 263: Don’t Say Anything

  1. It seems that Joe and Sam should be grieving and worrying–Maggie’s gone through an ordeal, she’s a shell of her former self, will she ever be okay again?

  2. The docks scene was actually created during the period when Laura was around-she met with Burke there at night for one of their sexual chemistry scenes when Burke was panting for her. (Took Vickie to talk some common sense into him, as he was in pon farr). Now part of that scene, true, could have been the outside of the shack where David almost got burned up by Laura, because of the window, but it is hard to tell-that scene was done at night, this is in broad daylight.

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