Episode 831: Crash of the Kaiju

“Your involvement with this man-beast has placed you completely at my mercy!”

So let’s say you walk into a guy’s bedroom, and you find your brother-in-law manacled to the wall, while his gypsy girlfriend is pointing a gun at him, which is loaded with silver bullets. The gun is loaded, I mean, not the girlfriend or the brother-in-law. Well, they probably are too.

Naturally, you’re going to jump to several conclusions, all of them entirely justified, but the question is: What are you going to do about it? Saying “Pardon me” and quietly leaving the room is not really an option. This is a situation that requires a response.

Basically, you can either a) make for the exit and try to put as much distance as you can between you and whatever the hell is going on right now, or b) grab the gun, tell the gypsy to beat it, accuse your brother-in-law of being a werewolf, pistol-whip him into submission, drag him down several flights of stairs by the collar, throw him into the jail cell which is built into the basement of your house for no earthly reason, lock him up, and then summon the police to your little homemade slice of Abu Ghraib, so they can congratulate you on your heroism and community spirit. Those are the only two possibilities. P.S. The smart money is on option a.

831 dark shadows quentin trask magda gun

That’s how things work in the world of the Reverend Gregory Trask, because he is a stone cold crazy person. Apparently, a ghost told him that there was a werewolf in the house, although he never actually saw the ghost, so honestly, it could’ve been a wrong number. Who even knows with Trask.

But he walks into the room and finds this absolutely absurd situation, and he just lights up like it’s twelve Christmases. This is his favorite thing in the world.

And it’s mine too, really. Long-term serialized narrative is natural selection for stories, and by this point in the 1897 storyline, they’ve burned all the way through every normal thing that could possibly happen. What we’re seeing now are the last remaining survivors of this chaotic plot-point environment, stomping on skyscrapers and shooting fire at each other.

There are five characters in today’s episode, and every single one of them is a villain. Everyone on the show today has committed at least one murder. This is what it smells like when Tokyo burns.

831 dark shadows quentin trask jail

So yeah, screw it, let’s put Quentin in a make-believe jail cell that we made out of scenery flats and fourth walls and stage lighting and hope. I don’t know where this weird little lockup is supposed to be. The sets are almost entirely conceptual at this point anyway. They’re suggesting that this is the basement of Collinwood, but even at Collinwood they’d have more sense than this.

I mean, sure, grumpy old Joshua Collins was involved in the Revolutionary War somehow, so naturally he built secret passages all over his house so that you could slink around in the crawlspaces and then pop out and shoot at redcoats or servants or whatever. I mean, that’s just basic architecture. But building an Olympic-size holding pen for humans like this, in your own basement? That’s a signal that maybe living with other people is not for you. You need some time by yourself, to really think things over.

831 dark shadows quentin trask cellblock

And look how gorgeous Quentin is right now, all beaten up and put-upon; he’s rebel-without-a-causing all over the place. This specific shot might be the single most romantic moment that Quentin ever gets. Dark Shadows is daring you not to swoon. It can’t be done. I’ve checked.

831 dark shadows quentin composed

I mean, this is what Quentin looks like when he’s being questioned at gunpoint. This is what we’re dealing with right now.

Trask:  Where is that confession?

Quentin:  Don’t ask such a stupid question.

Trask:  Where is it, Quentin? I want it!

Quentin:  You want it? Go and look for it.

Trask:  Tell me where it is — or I’ll kill you, HERE and NOW!

Quentin:  Oh, no you won’t.

That’s what he says. “Oh, no you won’t.” He is currently looking down the barrel of a gun two inches from his face.

Quentin:  If I die now, the curse is ended! And the transformation won’t take place.

Trask:  I don’t believe that.

Quentin:  Shoot me, and find out!

I’m not going to bother recapping what that conversation is about, because it doesn’t matter. If you don’t happen to know what confession they’re talking about, or what curse, or what “the transformation” means, it makes absolutely no difference. You could show this scene to any human being with no explanation, and they would instantly fall in love with Quentin Collins. It is a biological imperative. That is how sexy behaves.

831 dark shadows magda angelique uproar

Naturally, the rest of the house is also in an uproar; this level of crazy is not a localized phenomenon. Seductive witch-vixen Angelique walks in the front door, cause she lives here, and she’s greeted by Magda the gypsy. This is the dialogue.

Magda:  Oh, Angelique, come quick!

Angelique:  What is it? What’s happened?

Magda:  Everything!

Because Magda has now fully matured into Chico Marx. The gypsy shuts the doors, and hisses, “Trask! He knows all about Quentin!” Angelique gasps, and Magda continues, “You got to do something quick, before he takes him to the police! He’s in Quentin’s room, right now! And he’s got the gun, with the silver bullets in it!”

831 dark shadows magda angelique dark

Struggling, Angelique says, “Magda, you must try to keep calm,” and Magda shouts, “But I can’t! It’s gonna be dark soon!”

She gestures at the window, indicating that it’s gonna be dark soon, and then she just stands there and pants, staring out the window like oh my god it’s dark already!

Angelique literally walked into the house thirty seconds ago, and now she’s trapped in a room with a turbulent gypsy in the final stages of emotional meltdown.

831 dark shadows quentin trask amulet

So Angelique does the only logical thing, which is to use her magical Chromakey amulet to show her exactly what Quentin and Trask are doing right now. This is obviously a complete waste of a pageload, because she’s currently in the same house as them, and she has functional ears. People six towns over are sticking their heads out the window and wondering what all the racket’s about. She must have an unlimited data plan.

831 dark shadows angelique glasses

Then she kneels down by the fireplace and waves a pair of Reverend Trask’s reading glasses over the amulet, giving her instant access to his onboard navigation system.

“Mr. Trask, you wil hear my voice,” she says, “but only in your mind, for I am going to enter your mind, and you will not be able to resist me.” It works, too. That’s apparently how you do this.

You know, I wonder what all the sane people are watching right now. Probably sports; it’s usually sports, or something about the stock market. I’m sure they’ll let us know how it all works out.

831 dark shadows trask suicide

I’m not going to walk you through the entire experience, because I value your time, but this is where we end up — with Reverend Trask puppeteered all the way into the drawing room, with a gun at his temple and a finger on the trigger.

And I want to stop here for a second and reflect, because this is an unbelievably vicious thing to do, even for Dark Shadows.

I mean, is this allowed? This isn’t a clever plan with multiple steps and its own sound effect. He hasn’t been driven to madness by guilt or fear. He isn’t sorry for what he’s done, he hasn’t learned his lesson, it’s not a catharsis and it’s not a metaphor for anything. This is just straight-up, cold-blooded, I’ve decided to end you. Angelique has read/write access to the cast list, and that’s all there is to it.

I’ve been writing about Dark Shadows episodes for more than two years now, and we’ve seen a lot of crazy shit. I think the only thing that compares to this for sheer brutality is the day we watched Minerva die slowly of arsenic poisoning, and we had to work up to that with a whole week of practice poisonings. Today, we go straight from walking in the door to decorating the drawing room with the inside of somebody else’s head.

He’s standing about two feet away from the drinks cabinet, too. That’s going to be a mess. I don’t know what you do with all that sherry once it’s been showered in blood spatter and skull fragments. They’ll probably have to take it out and have it destroyed.

831 dark shadows trask petofi visit

So it’s actually a relief when the door opens, and in walks the wickedest warlock of all time, a mad god who just last week described himself as “pure evil.” Count Petofi gives the scenario a once-over, and basically says, holy crap, you people are out of your mind. A hundred years ago, I killed the last fucking unicorn, and even I think this is messed up.

831 dark shadows magda petofi strangling

What does he do about it? you ask. Well, he goes out into the hall and strangles Magda until she tells him where Angelique is. Then he goes to Angelique, snatches the amulet away from her, and crushes it with one hand.

Recovering his senses, Reverend Trask finds himself standing in the drawing room, pointing a loaded gun at his own head. And I swear to god, he just goes right back downstairs and yells at Quentin some more.

Tomorrow: The Triangle Factory.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

At the start of act 1, there’s an exchange that I can’t imagine was scripted:

Trask:  I intend to deal with you, right after I attend to him.

Magda:  What are you gonna do to him?

Trask:  To him, or to you?

Magda:  Both!

During Trask and Quentin’s conversation about the confession, the director has a hard time getting the shots lined up. They keep cutting to a camera that isn’t quite focused yet, or it’s moving from a close-up to a two-shot.

When he locks Quentin up, Trask explains, “I may not have time now before the moon rises to get you into Collinwood!” He means Collinsport.

Magda asks Angelique if she knows where Quentin is. Angelique says, “They have him — Trask has him — in the basement cell.”

When Petofi is showing Angelique the portrait, there’s an obvious stage wait until Petofi checks for the cue to start the scene.

Tomorrow: The Triangle Factory.

831 dark shadows sad trask

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

23 thoughts on “Episode 831: Crash of the Kaiju

      1. I believe King Johnny when he says he’s from Boston. I’m from Boston, and one afternoon in 2015 I was riding a westbound subway train into Cambridge, a city that borders Boston, when I saw seated right across from me the very image of King Johnny Romana(o) himself! Same face, same hairline, same beard — even the same sport coat. Coincidentally, I was even viewing this point in the 1897 storyline at the time. I was tempted to tell this person about who he so closely resembled, but I didn’t want to risk being shown the golden scimitar.

        Regarding the article on 19th century gypsies in Maine as linked in the above post, it seems that 1892 was the new 1692 in the eyes of some New Englanders.

  1. A bowling alley in the basement would have been more fun but knowing his family, Jeremiah probably figured a holding cell would get more use.
    Heck – I don’t blame Trask for locking Quentin up. There have been several shredded up dead bodies lying around lately that reeked of werewolf pheromone – and Quentin IS shackled and being guarded by a person holding a gun loaded with silver bullets – on the night of a full moon. The evidence points to Quentin.

  2. Dark Shadows had a knack for creating villains like Barnabas and Quentin and then having them come to grips with their evil causing gradual changes in behavior. They are too compromised to ever be heroes but its definitely interesting.
    I was always interested that of all the vampires that were on that show only Barnabas and maybe Angelique regretted being cursed. The rest of them:
    Tom Jennings, Dirk Wilkins, Meghan Todd and Roxanne Drew just happily chomped along. Hope I didn’t miss any…

    1. Good point. Perhaps this is a reflection of their true inner selves, much like Petofi’s personality altering curse on the members of Collinwood. Tom Jennings was an amiable handyman of limited means, Dirk Wilkins a servant, Meghan Todd was just struggling along with a small shop who was then forced to give up everything she knew and had, only to become jealous of Carolyn Stoddard, and Roxanne Drew was in the process of entering into a marriage to a man she detested.

      What these characters lacked was control over their lives and the means to alter their destinies, whereas Barnabas was just the opposite and who naturally would be conflicted over having his place in life transformed by someone else. Of course, Angelique would never relish being cursed with something she would use to condemn someone else — in addition to that she loved being a witch and couldn’t revel in those powers, and her every move was being controlled by Nicholas. Although she certainly did take pleasure in the effect her bites were having on Joe, and especially on Barnabas; at least in that way she could enjoy doing what seemed to give her the greatest pleasure — manipulating others for her own personal gain.

    1. Collinwood should have both – the Biltmore Estate had a bowling alley in the basement. Judith and Edward should at least try to keep up with the Vanderbilts

        1. Well nobody could keep up with the Cabots

          And this is good old Boston,
          The home of the bean and the cod,
          Where the Lowells talk only to Cabots,
          And the Cabots talk only to God.
          

          Although I doubt the Cabots had a family vampire.

  3. As I mentioned when commenting on yesterday’s episode, this one has my all-time favorite DS scene and line. It’s when Petofi snatches the amulet away from Angelique, holds it above his head, crushes it with that hand, and says to Angelique, with utter, shriveling disdain, “So much for petty black magic.” And Angelique just takes it. She can’t do a thing to stop it. I mean, how many other characters on this show could get away with talking that way to Angelique and thwarting her so openly? Nicholas Blair could, but Angelique ultimately took it to their common HR department, file a formal complaint, and contribute to his downfall. But Angelique clearly doesn’t know what to make of Petofi or, at this point, any idea of how to deal with him. Petofi has become the biggest, baddest kaiju in the history (at least thus far) of the show. And what does he think of Angelique’s use of her powers? It’s petty. Whomp! Take that, you third-rate witch, and see what I care! That’s why I love this scene and that line so much. There are only three or four other scenes in the entire history of the show that, at least in my mind, even come close.

    1. I was thinking about your comment while I was writing the post — no idea which was your favorite scene and favorite line. I’ve been looking forward to finding out the answer, and yeah, that’s a good one. 🙂

      1. My all-time favorite DS scenes are, in order:

        This one, of course — Petofi: “So much for petty black magic.”

        When Barnabas kills Angelique right after rises as a vampire for the first time, calling attention to the fact that she’s becoming a victim of her own curse. Brilliant poetic justice. Of course, Angelique got better, but we didn’t know that at the time.

        The spirit of Magda (if I’m not mistaken) writes the word “Jamison” on Carolyn’s mirror in front of her, Liz, and Roger. At that point I became absolutely entranced by unfolding of Quentin haunting Collinwood, which remains to this day my favorite DS storyline.

        David Collins hears the voice of Quentin’s ghost on the old telephone for the first time. The camera very suddenly zooms in on David’s face, if I remember correctly, adding impact to the scene.

        Nathan Forbes shoots Barnabas with a crossbow, but just missing his heart. “You missed!”

        There are others I love as well, but those are my personal Top 5.

  4. That’s sort of how I felt during the Angelique / Laura showdown. I wanted Angelique to win, but I liked that they were just about evenly matched.

    There’s a very little-known comedy I’ve always been attached to called “Situation Hopeless, But Not Serious,” about a German civilian who keeps his own American POW’s in a cell in his basement, which is full of creature comforts. The reason he had it in the first place is that his psychic mother evidently knew their basement would someday be a bomb shelter, and then a cell. So the idea of one in Collinwood makes a kind of sense to me, especially considering the family history.

    1. I liked the Angelique-Laura matchup as well. My only complaint is that I don’t believe it was executed quite as well as it might have. I believe they didn’t allow enough time between Angelique’s doppelganger’s destruction and the revelation that it was just a doppelganger — only one episode, if I’m not mistaken. I think it would have had more impact if we had been allowed to believe Laura had defeated Angelique for the better part of a week. But it was indeed a brilliant pairing of villains: Angelique was clearly the more powerful of the two overall, but Laura’s more limited powers happened to be Angelique’s Achilles heel, and they both knew it.

  5. This is the scene I’ve been waiting for. For me, when Trask walks in on Quentin and Magda, it’s the most heart stopping moment in the entire show.
    Surprise! You’ve been caught red handed doing……..something………naughty, and now you are all going to go to jail!
    For the briefest of moments, Trask’s knickers are exploding with excitement, because not only has he caught the werewolf, the werewolf also happens to be Quentin, which makes Trask as happy as a little girl. Oh, the heartache for Trask, when the moon rises, and nothing happens.

  6. The gun is a nickle-plated Colt Detective Special. I’m not sure which version, but it wasn’t produced until 1927. With all the time-travel that’s taken place in this house, though, its presence in this scene can be easily hand-waved.

  7. Wasn’t Quentin put in the same cell that Barnabus kept Vicki prisoner soon after getting out of his coffin?

  8. When Petofi crushes Angelique’s amulet, we get a nice crunch sound effect, but sadly the shot makes it obvious that the amulet is intact. A great scene nonetheless.

  9. My favorite moment was where they had been trying everything they could think of to destroy Angelique and then Ben Stokes shows up with some fire and says ‘Burn witch!’ and up in flames she goes.

  10. I know, I know. Pointless to ask – but I still will.

    Where was this magical necklace/Fitbit accessory for the last 600 or so episodes? How come Angelique hasn’t trotted out her remote insta-hypno powers before today? She had to brew up potions to influence Jeremiah and Josette back in the 18th century; and she went through a rather tedious ‘look at the flame, Tony…’ process in her Cassandra period. Even the viewscreen on the pendant would have been a real help for her (let alone the robot control power). What else has Angie been holding out on?

    And then Petofi just wrecks it? I figured he’d be more the ‘headmaster’ type about it, pocketing the offending trinket, ‘I’ll hold onto this, Miss. You’ll get it back at the end of the term. Perhaps.’ I mean the amulet seems far more useful than that viewing cabinet that he can’t even get to work properly (maybe it needs a roof antenna).

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