Monthly Archives: January 2014

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Episode 320: This Means Your Life

“Another blunder! This may mean your life.”

We take you now, live, to a young boy’s subconscious mind. David Collins is having a nightmare, and everyone’s invited.

Of course, his subconscious doesn’t have to work very hard here. David’s whole life is a terrifying nightmare, so bad dreams for him are essentially just edited highlights.

Continue reading Episode 320: This Means Your Life

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Episode 319: This Maniac

“I’ll have a man behind every bush and tree, if you give the word.”

Well, the Collinsport Star had to break out the 84-point type again. Another Girl Attacked! You have to admit, it makes for a compelling headline.

Underneath that, the sub-head says “Police Baffled”, about which quelle surprise. I’ve seen the Collinsport police. “Baffled” is actually a pretty good day for them.

Continue reading Episode 319: This Maniac

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Episode 318: Interesting Times

“I heard the dogs howling, Barnabas. I know what you’re up to!”

When we last saw our heroes, they were in the Collins family mausoleum, trying to figure out what happened to young David during the days that he was missing. They know that there’s some connection between David, the mysterious little girl named Sarah, and the secrets locked in the mausoleum.

That’s all pretty straightforward, at least as much as Dark Shadows ever can be. The problem is that there are four characters in the mausoleum right now — two on one side of the secret panel, and two on the other — and it’s not clear which side “our heroes” are supposed to be.

Continue reading Episode 318: Interesting Times

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Episode 317: The X-Files

“When I came into your room that night to kill you, I should have gone through with it.”

Today’s episode opens with Dr. Julia Hoffman walking into the Old House to find Barnabas getting ready to leave. Technically, she’s supposed to be coming over to continue her experiments; she believes that she can cure Barnabas of being a vampire. This usually involves injections, seasoned with dialogue about the structure of his blood cells.

But we’ve seen that situation so many times lately that they apparently don’t even need to mention the experiment anymore. Julia just walks in, and asks Barnabas what he’s up to. He calls her “doctor” a few times, but otherwise there’s no mention of the cure, or any other reason that she might be strolling in this evening. It’s actually surprising that she even bothers to knock on the door. Things have become noticeably casual at the Old House.

The main topic of the week is whether young David knows Barnabas’ secret, and what Barnabas is going to do about it. Julia urges him not to do anything rash, and he tells her to mind her own business. You’d think that watching people talk about murdering a child would be inherently interesting. Apparently, that is not always the case.

Continue reading Episode 317: The X-Files

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Episode 316: The Big Bad

“Maybe, maybe! What assurance have I with maybe?”

Okay, it’s Monday, which means that it’s time to check in with our lunatic premise of the week. Unfortunately, the current scenario is so far outside the limits of normal televisual narrative that a thumbnail summary just sounds hopelessly tangled.

Here, I’ll show you. All last week, young David was trapped inside the secret room in the Collins mausoleum. He was brought there by a mysterious little girl named Sarah, who he doesn’t realize is the ghost of one of his 18th-century ancestors. She showed him the trick of getting into the secret room, so that he would see the empty coffin where Barnabas, who David doesn’t realize is a) Sarah’s big brother and b) a vampire, was chained up for 170-odd years until c) Willie let him out.

But Sarah didn’t show David how to get out of the secret room, so he was trapped for a week, until she suddenly turned up again and showed him the hidden door mechanism. As David left the mausoleum on Friday, he ran straight into Barnabas.

Now Barnabas thinks that David knows that he’s a vampire, but he doesn’t, although David does know that Barnabas thinks that David knows more than he’s saying that he knows, which he does. There, that’s you all up to date.

Continue reading Episode 316: The Big Bad

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Episode 315: Between Sentiment and Survival

“The only possible explanation for David’s disappearance is that he vanished.”

It’s now going on five days since David got locked in a box, and doesn’t it feel like forever? This is something that people miss if they don’t watch one episode every day, the way that the original audience did. And by “people”, obviously, I mean everybody in the world except me.

After all, you’re free to skip around and watch any episode you want. And here I am, committed to this one-episode-a-day format, trapped with David in a secret room of my own making.

Continue reading Episode 315: Between Sentiment and Survival

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Episode 314: A Logical Explanation

“I’ve got a feeling about this doll.”

It’s the next morning, and Joe’s been out all night searching for young David, who’s trapped in the secret room in the mausoleum.

Joe walks over to Maggie’s house, and he slumps down into a chair to grab a few moments of rest. He’s exhausted, and dirty, and he hasn’t shaved. And you remember how yesterday I noticed that Joe is really handsome? Cause, damn.

But there’s no time for romance; we’ve got serious business today. Worn out from weeks of baffling mysteries, Joe finally says what everyone’s been thinking.

“We all know there’s something very strange going on in this town,” he says, “but I’m beginning to think that it’s something so strange that…”

That what, Joe?

“That it borders on the supernatural.”

BOOM! And the world explodes.

Continue reading Episode 314: A Logical Explanation

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Episode 313: Old Friends

“He heard the pearl-shaped voice of a ghost saying Boo.”

The storyline this week is that young David’s trapped in the secret room in the mausoleum, and he can’t figure out how to open the hidden door from the inside. It’s a fairly suspense-free scenario, because he’s friends with a ghost who knows that he’s in there.

So it doesn’t take a genius to predict that Sarah will show up to rescue him, at some point between now and the day he starves to death. For the sake of convenience, let’s call that point “Friday.”

And yet, here we are, smack in the middle of Wednesday, with no end in sight. On the plus side, we get to spend some time with Joe this week, so that’s something.

Continue reading Episode 313: Old Friends

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Episode 312: Search Party

“Be quiet, you fool!”

I know it’s not politically correct to say it, but this is why you can’t trust vampires.

Hysterical governess Victoria Winters is out on the terrace, terribly concerned that her young charge, David, has wandered off into the night. Barnabas stops by, and she pours out all of her fears and anxieties. She begins to sob, and he comforts her, holding her close and making soothing sounds.

And then, apparently, he decides to just go ahead and rip a new hole in her neck. For the last several weeks, he’s been carefully positioning himself as a trusted friend and advisor, setting up the early stages of a long-term seduction plan. This moment is an uncharacteristic lapse, a gentleman jewel thief about to smash a piggy bank.

But what the hell, he must be thinking. You only live once, approximately.

Continue reading Episode 312: Search Party

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Episode 311: A Tomb of One’s Own

“It’s more than a little peculiar. I’d say it was very peculiar.”

Okay, let’s get started; it’s the middle of the night, and there’s a lot of plot mechanics to get through.

On Friday, Sarah the apparently-friendly ghost lured young David to the Eagle Hill cemetery for some kind of necromancy play-date. She disappeared, and he went looking for her in the secret room hidden in the Collins mausoleum. You know, like they always do on soap operas.

Meanwhile, Sarah’s vampire brother Barnabas and his blood-slave servant Willie are also looking for the little ghost, at her final resting place — the Collins mausoleum. Startled, David closes the door, and hides inside the coffin in the secret room.

The mausoleum is apparently empty when Barnabas enters, but he wants to check the secret room. Willie opens the panel.

Barnabas walks in and poses with his hand resting on the coffin, which is kind of superb. This is supposed to be high drama, but it’s actually a plot point from a farce, with everybody piling into the secret room. I’d give anything to have the Marx Brothers show up and start ordering hard-boiled eggs.

Continue reading Episode 311: A Tomb of One’s Own