“It’s the ceremony I don’t like. It comes too close to the angry ancient gods for comfort.”
Amun-Ra, Prince of Light and Radiance! Creator of things that came into being when the earth took form in the beginning! Master of the bounds of eternity! Shining one! Dweller in light! Accept this sacrifice to thee!
That’s not me saying that, by the way. That’s Quentin, from TV’s Dark Shadows. He seems to think it’s an acceptable way to begin a television show, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
It’s time for Laura Collins to leave the show; the sands in her hourglass are running thin. Laura showed up six weeks ago, with the intention of taking her young children into a furnace and turning them into immortal fire demons. It’s a weird concept, and she hasn’t really made a lot of progress, so she needs to pack it up and call it a day.
Quentin is conducting the exit interview, with Angelique’s assistance. Here’s some more.
Great One! Son of the Great One! Fire! Son of Fire! Accept this sacrifice, homage to thee, Lord of Creation, whose abode is hidden! Homage, thou flame which comes forth from the horizon, and passes over the sky, and homage to thee, who puts an end to the darkness of night!
Now, I was in high school when I watched Dark Shadows for the first time. It was on every weekday at 6:30pm on New Jersey Network, and if my family expected me to eat dinner with them, then my schedule was open any time before 6:30 or after 7:00. So “Danny watches a goofy vampire show” was not a concept that flew under the radar in my domestic circle. It was pretty much front and center, five days a week.
So every once in a while, my parents or my older brother would walk into the den while the show was on, and I swear to God, every time they did, it would be something like this.
Anyway, the fire dies down in the fireplace, and Quentin and Angelique take it pretty hard.
“She’s fighting us!” Angelique says, and Quentin agrees: “Ra needs her here, still!” These are the obvious conclusions to draw. Everyone knows that chimney trouble is a sign that somebody from ancient mythology is making personnel decisions.
So I think I’m speaking for everyone when I say, Ra needs her here for what, exactly? What would the creator of things actually want from this particular caper?
All this fuss for two kids who I’m sorry, but they’re not even that great. I mean, they’re fine, but there have got to be some families in Maine that don’t include multiple practitioners of the black arts. Can’t Ra just go to the next mansion over and see if he can get something cooking over there?
It’s like the Daleks plotting to take over a public library in Topeka. I mean, sure, it’s dastardly, but isn’t it a bit below their pay grade?
By the way, speaking of Doctor Who, that was the other show that I watched on New Jersey Network, on Saturday nights. I can still remember the moment when my brother walked in while I was watching “Kinda”. It was this moment, specifically. He still mentions it sometimes.
Okay, back to the prayer meeting. They’re striking out with Ra, so Angelique suggests that Quentin try calling Set, the God of Death. He gives it a shot.
Hear my voice in the depths of the underworld, oh Set! God of air, who first brought death to mortals! Enemy of Osiris! Show your green face to her who’s Ra’s servant! Rekindle the fire! Show Ra your powers are greater than his! LET HER BURN FOR YOUR GLORY!
Wait, so we’re dragging Osiris into this now? How many gods are we getting involved with in this theological tug of war?
So I think we’ve reached a milestone in the development of Dark Shados’ crackpot demonology. At this point, anybody can call on any entity to do whatever they want. The characters are communicating directly with the special effects department, and absolutely anything is possible.
And then, just as it looks like we’re getting somewhere, in walks Jamison, followed by Quentin’s sister Judith. She takes one look at this weird setup, and obviously she wants to know what the hell’s going on.
So, you see what I’m saying about older siblings walking into the room? Every time!
Naturally, Judith demands an explanation, which is not easy to provide. If you really want to understand what’s going on here, you pretty much have to go all the way back to Willie Loomis, and start from the beginning.
So that’s what Dark Shadows does. It burns for your glory, twenty-two minutes a day. At this point, they can import any kind of crazy they need, as long as it’s mysterious and thrilling and imaginary, and then you have to explain it to your bossy older sister.
Look, just tell her that the Wicked Witch and the Big Bad Wolf are praying to King Tut to rescue Dracula. If she doesn’t get it, then tell her to go to hell and move on. Honestly, it’s not worth it.
Tomorrow: Kill Me Maybe.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
In the teaser, when Angelique takes the wax doll from the mantelpiece, a camera can be seen on the right.
Angelique tells Quentin, “Laura needs Jamison alive now. She won’t bother with us until she’s — with him, until she’s finished with Barnabas and me.”
You can hear a lot of footsteps in the studio at the beginning of the scene with Jamison walking into the Old House and reviving Laura.
Laura shuts the front door after she walks into Collinwood, but it swings open again. They’ve been having a lot of trouble with that door, lately.
Worried, Judith asks Laura, “What is happening at the Old House? Has it to do with David? — Jamison?”
Behind the Scenes:
The colorful Collinsport Afghan makes another appearance in this episode, covering Jamison on the couch when he’s recuperating at the Old House. The last time we saw it, it was in Beth’s room, a couple months ago.
Tomorrow: Kill Me Maybe.
— Danny Horn