“It can’t be! That woman is dead!”
The sun sets, the coffin opens, and guess what, there’s more bad news. It’s like every time Barnabas gets up, there’s some depressing new development. He’s got to be wondering why he ever bothered to rise from the dead in the first place.
This is probably the first truly original concept born from this unholy union of monster movie and daytime soap opera — the idea of a vampire waking up and saying, Man, this has been such a crappy week.
You see, Barnabas killed his crabby old fussbudget aunt on Tuesday and dumped her body in the woods, just sitting up against a tree. It turns out that if there’s a string of suspicious deaths, after a while people start wondering who’s responsible. This is news to Barnabas, who was under the impression that he could just leave the corpses out front for the recycling pickup, and nobody would mind.
But the really bad news is that they’re blaming Vicki, the time-traveling governess from the 1960s. This is bad news because it means we still have to pay attention to her tedious witchcraft trial.
So now we’re sitting through a whole scene of Barnabas insisting that Ben has to testify at the trial, and tell everyone that the real witch was Angelique. Ben says that the judges won’t believe him — after all, he has a prison record — but Barnabas assures him that everyone will have to believe him, if he tells the whole story.
This is what vampires do on television, apparently; they lurk in basements and give legal advice.
So here we are again, for the third day in a row, watching the same people having the same arguments, in an obviously trumped-up kangaroo court scenario where there’s no clear sense of who’s winning, or what we have to do to make it stop.
And this is one of those episodes where the show is just sitting on my head, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I started this trial sequence with a handful of cute things to say about TV courtrooms and Perry Mason and standards of evidence and so on, but this is the fourth trial episode since last Wednesday and I am clear out of ammunition.
If I’d known it was going to drag on like this, I would have saved a couple jokes, or called in sick, or started a blog about something else.
So it’s time to tell Dorothy to wrap this up; I think we’re done here. Say goodbye to the Lullaby League, and let’s grab the next tornado back to Kansas.
This weird little journey through Oz has been fantastic, a really worthwhile trip — we got to shake off the tired old 1967 storylines, and try out a whole new bag of tricks. Now we can head back to the present, with some new story points to explore.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple; apparently, tornadoes don’t come around that often. We’ve still got five more weeks here in 1795. Five weeks! It’s late February 1968 right now, and we’re not heading back to the present until April Fools Day. In fact, we’re not even getting a break from the courtroom until the middle of next week.
So it turns out the 1795 storyline was really all about Josette after all. Or, at least, it was about the Barnabas/Angelique/Josette love triangle. But now all three characters are dead, more or less, and everything else is running out of steam.
I can understand why they want to keep the time travel gimmick rolling for a few extra weeks. It’s been an extremely clever and story-productive idea, and it’s brought the show a lot of well-deserved attention. The little soap opera that couldn’t has become a bona fide hit by now, surprising everyone, even the people making it.
But now they’re about to do something that proves that 1795 is basically over. Ben has come to Vicki’s trial, and announced to everyone that Vicki is innocent, and the real witch is Angelique.
Ben describes the spells that the witch cast to snare Barnabas as her husband, and Peter puts all the pieces together. Vicki didn’t have any motive to hurt the Collins family and break up Barnabas and Josette’s wedding plans, but Angelique obviously had something to gain. And she got it, too — she married Barnabas.
Now Vicki and Peter understand what’s been going on this whole time. All those mysterious incidents fit together; the case is solved. Let’s pat everybody on the back, congratulate them, give them a medal or whatever we need to do, and then hustle Vicki outside to find out when the next tornado is leaving for Kansas.
And then Angelique appears. I have no idea why.
Seriously, there’s not a single reason why Angelique would show up in the courtroom. Yes, Ben is telling everybody all of her secrets. But who cares?
Angelique is dead. Barnabas is a vampire. Josette is gone. That story is over — or, at least, the phase that takes place in 1795 is over. Yeah, Angelique is still determined to have her revenge on Barnabas, even after she’s dead, but that goal is starting to get a bit abstract now that she’s driven Josette off the cliff. That was the match point. Angelique won.
Plus, she has absolutely no reason to interfere in Vicki’s trial. I’m surprised at this point that she even remembers Vicki’s name. As far as Angelique is concerned, Vicki was a pawn that she used and threw away weeks ago. She has nothing to gain from punishing Vicki.
But we’ve entered the era of the Wicked Witch, where Angelique does mean things just for the thrill of being bad. The only justification for today’s appearance that I can think of is that Angelique is popular, and the producers want to make sure that the audience knows that she’s not off the canvas for good. She’ll be back, and she’ll find a whole new way to be amazing all over again. But not today.
So, the hell with it. Vicki’s going to have to take care of this mess on her own. Let’s go find some Munchkins, and see if they’ve got an outbound hot-air balloon. There’s got to be a shortcut around here somewhere.
— Danny Horn