Monthly Archives: November 2014

Episode 535: The Point of Return

“I was standing here, waiting for the end to come, and it never did!”

Clinical notes of Dr. Julian Hoffman, ABC Daytime.
Session recorded on June 28, 1968, for broadcast on July 12th.

Patient is a two-year-old daytime soap opera that has recently gone through major changes in focus and storyline. Patient has been plagued for several months by a recurring dream, which is interfering with story progression and audience engagement. Patient is sponsored by Bactine, the modern no-sting antiseptic, and by Ajax double bleach cleanser.

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Episode 534: The Scene of the Crime

“Yes, Adam learn. Adam learn very good!”

Adam’s out on a spree again, crashing around the sets and putting people in the hospital. That’s what happens when you’re an enormous Frankenstein man; even a simple walk in the woods turns into a spree. It’s basically your entire job description.

Carolyn was with Adam when he jumped from the cliff on Widow’s Hill, so naturally she figured he was pretty much mucilage at this point. But she’s heard that there’s a 6’6″ madman running around loose, so she’s gone back to the abandoned root cellar where he held her hostage a couple months ago.

This brings us to today’s question: What is Carolyn on, exactly?

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Episode 532/533: In Darkest Hour

“If I had known you were going to pursue your usual nonsense, I would never have come downstairs.”

Okay, there’s just one more week of the Dream Curse, one of the most tedious storylines in all of Dark Shadows. When I started this blog, I knew that the Dream Curse was going to be a hard period to work through. The problem for me isn’t really that the episodes are bad — some of my best entries are for bad episodes — it’s that they’re so repetitive. There are only so many ways that you can talk about a three-month storyline where exactly nothing happens.

But soap operas are resilient beasts; they rise on stepping-stones of their dead selves to higher and better things. Probably. I’m pretty sure we’ll get to cool stuff at some point.

So here we are, in the darkest hour, fidgeting and waiting impatiently for the dawn. But what the hell. Let’s have some fun.

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Episode 530: Requiem for a Dream

“For a moment, when I first saw him, I felt a stirring in me.”

Looking back, I think the thing that really matters is that we did it together, you and I. It was hard, of course; anything that’s really worth doing is hard. But we stuck with it, day after day, and we were strong, and now we’re reaching the end of this journey together.

This is the last week of the Dream Curse, Angelique’s three-month battle with story progression. The witch’s spell created a chain-letter dream which passed from one person to another, until practically every character on the show had the same slow, pointless dream sequence. Then they had to describe the dream, in detail, and tell us all about how petrified they were of this entirely unscary experience.

But finally, after almost three months of this tedious nonsense, we’ve reached the final week, where we’ll see the last two iterations of the dream. And then the Dream Curse will be over, thank goodness, and there will never be another boring storyline on Dark Shadows ever again.

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Episode 529: Missing Adventures

“I must throw them off the track! The secrets which are mine must remain buried within me! Ahhh… darkness!”

“I know this is going to sound incredible,” Maggie says to Joe, “but tonight, I saw a ghost!”

Joe says, “Don’t you think you’re letting your imagination play tricks on you?” because Ron Sproat wrote the script today, and in Sproat’s world, characters never learn anything, or accumulate experiences in any way.

It’s a recap-heavy show today, in a way that they haven’t really done in a while. Maggie and Joe cover the Dream Curse and Angelique’s portrait, and then we go over to Stokes’ place, where we get a lengthy recap of Adam’s entire storyline, in the form of a word association exercise.

So, forget it. If Sproat’s not going to bother writing an actual episode today, then I’m going to go read the first issue of the Dark Shadows comic book.

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Episode 528: This Tawdry Affair

“My dear Cassandra, how commonplace you have become, like some suburban housewife with little human worries.”

Jeff and Vicki are in the drawing room at Collinwood, just chattering away about old business. Jeff can’t figure out whether he’s Peter Bradford or not, and he grumbles that Barnabas is in love with Vicki, and he doesn’t understand why Professor Stokes thinks this Dream Curse is so dangerous. It’s a pageant of every boring B-plot we’ve been looking at for months.

Meanwhile, out in the gazebo, Nicholas Blair is entirely over it. “All the time you have wasted, Cassandra,” he says, summoning her to the gazebo. “Weeks are minutes to you.” And we fall in love with Nicholas all over again.

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Episode 526: Nothing But Vengeance

“I will concentrate on vengeance, and nothing else!”

You know, I’ve been throwing the word “exorcism” around a lot lately, but I’m not sure that’s the correct term for what’s going on here.

This is the situation: A witch was murdered in 1795, but then her restless spirit moved through time to be reincarnated in 1968. A group of well-meaning occult experts held a séance to call on the ghost of an 18th-century witch hunter who was sealed up behind a wall in their basement, and that ghost tied the dead witch to a tree and said a prayer over her to cast out the demons possessing her, which made her crumble into ashes and disappear.

I don’t think there’s a word for that, because it has never occurred to a single person in the history of the world to even imagine that such a thing could take place. Except for the writers of Dark Shadows, obviously, who can’t think about anything else.

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Episode 525: The Blair Witch Project

“She believes she fell into the hands of a witch hunter, a fellow who roamed the countryside exorcising witches and hobgoblins.”

His name is Blair — Nicholas Blair — and he’s in Collinsport on His Dark Majesty’s Secret Service, to rescue a comrade who’s fallen into the hands of an enemy combatant.

The fallen agent — code name, Cassandra Collins — has been working undercover at Collinwood, as Roger’s innocent new bride. Her mission was compromised a week ago, when she was tied to a tree and exorcised by the spirit of Reverend Trask, an 18th-century witch hunter.

Nicholas is now staying at Collinwood, posing as Cassandra’s brother, and his mission — if he chooses to accept it — is to locate the tree where the witch was burned, and bring her back.

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