Episode 937: The Predator

“Now that you’ve killed her father, the wedding must be postponed.”

We start today’s show with young David somewhat the worse for wear, following an improperly motivated “boo” attack earlier in the day. He was riding his bike down Crown Street, when all of a sudden, a tall blonde man jumped out from behind the bushes and knocked him off his bike. You’d think that David, living as he does in the world’s most haunted house, would be used to things jumping out and scaring him. I guess everybody has an off day, now and then.

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So now he’s wheeling himself around in a chair with a cast on his leg, and the authorities suspect foul play. According to David, the scary man knocked him off the bike and then just walked away, into history. He didn’t even have an antique telephone, which is customary when somebody pointlessly hurts David. Nixon was right, there really is something wrong with the way that young people are spending their time these days.

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Meanwhile, over at the antiques shop, Barnabas Collins is having buyer’s remorse like you wouldn’t believe. Two months ago, he swore his allegiance, reluctantly or otherwise, to a gang of enormous, reason-defiling hedge fund managers who are planning an extremely hostile takeover of everything he holds dear. Now it turns out that the Itty Bittie Kiddie Committee that piled out of his little wooden box has blossomed into an overgrown meat-ape named Jeb, who’s decided he wants to marry Carolyn and he’s not going to take no for an answer. Or yes, even. Carolyn hasn’t technically met him yet.

So I’m afraid there’s going to be a complete and total shutdown of rational conversation, until we can figure out what is going on.

Jeb:  When I was a child, you gave me orders. I hated it then, but there was nothing I could do. And now, I can do anything I want!

Barnabas:  Now, you will still obey the orders! Now that you’ve killed her father, the wedding must be postponed until we find out how the book allows for this situation. According to the book, he is the one who was to give her away!

Jeb:  I have seen her, and I want her. And I told you before, you can give her to me!

Barnabas:  You may be right. But remember, according to the book, she must want you. She cannot be forced!

Jeb:  Force means one thing to you, Mr. Collins, and another to me.

So obviously, the question is what the hell are you even talking about, you utterly insane people? I swear, I was really down on this Leviathan storyline for a while, but this week is phenomenal. Jeb has turned this entire show right around.

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Because, oh my god, look at Barnabas’ little pout! This is an actual expression that he makes with his face. He is this put out by his life right now.

And that’s a good thing, because Dark Shadows is always at its best when Barnabas Collins is on defense. His grim grinning gravitas makes all of his worries seem like the most urgent problem in the world, and he is currently broadcasting that we are all under threat by this monster of a man that he supports but does not endorse.

“Friday evening,” Jeb announces, “there will be a wedding in my room. Afterwards, you will prepare rooms at Collinwood for us.”

Barnabas is not thrilled about his sudden promotion to wedding planner. He sputters, “But Collinwood is not my house!”

“No!” Jeb grins. “It is mine.”

And that’s how bad the situation is. As everyone knows, Collinwood is literally the only location in the world, and if Jeb plans to take it, then he will soon be the master of Earth.

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And then they have one of the most chilling conversations in all of Dark Shadows, which they bellow at each other from across the room.

Jeb:  After the wedding, Roger Collins will become one of us.

Barnabas:  But what if he can’t be taken over? There are those who can’t, you know.

Jeb:  Then he’ll join the list… of the expendables. There are a lot of people in that house who I don’t like.

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Jeb:  Dr. Hoffman… I think she’s an enemy, don’t you?

Barnabas:  But she doesn’t know enough to become an enemy!

Jeb:  But I have seen her, watching me. You will think of a suitable fate for her — and that’s an order! And then there’s Maggie Evans.

Barnabas:  Maggie Evans doesn’t even know you. What threat could she possibly be?

Jeb:  She was a threat to me when I was Michael, so she’ll be a threat to me now.

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Jeb:  Her parents are dead, aren’t they? There’ll be no questions asked.

Barnabas:  That is not true. You are wrong!

Jeb:  Well, then, you will have to do some very clever thinking. Hmm… Amy. I know she’s one of us, but that was against my permission.

Barnabas:  You would even kill one of us?

Jeb:  Yes. I’m not sentimental, Mr. Collins. She will have to go.

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Jeb:  The housekeeper, too.

Barnabas:  Mrs. Johnson will do as I say, as Mrs. Stoddard says!

Jeb:  There will be other servants. I will see to that.

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Barnabas:  It is impossible!

Jeb:  I don’t know what that word means, Mr. Collins. I only know that you have twelve hours to prepare for the wedding — or else!

And then they start chatting about turning Barnabas into a vampire again, and torturing Josette in the past, and at the end of the conversation, Barnabas gets up, dusts off his cape, and that’s pretty much the end of the Collins family as a going concern.

So holy cow, right? I love that conversation. You just sit back and watch the body count rise, as Jeb runs through the list of everybody that he’s ever met. You keep thinking that he’s run out of names, and then he says, “The housekeeper, too.”

I think that’s probably the moment in this debate when you say, oh my god, this is Donald Trump, and he will destroy the world. He’s settling old scores, unable to let go of even the mildest slight, and did you notice that he wants to hire Roger, but kill all the women? He’s so Trumpian at this moment that he practically calls Mrs. Johnson “Miss Housekeeping.” Like Trump, Jeb Hawkes is an extinction-level event.

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It’s October 2016, by the way, when I’m writing this, just before the second presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and I guess this is the moment when the Leviathan/Trump connection is so obvious that I just start calling it out explicitly. You’re reading this post in the future somewhere, and I assume that Hillary must have won the election, because otherwise you’d be in a forced labor camp, watching the guided missiles fly overhead. You probably wouldn’t have time to read about vampire soap operas; you’d have larger concerns.

So this is a coincidence, a trick of time, that Jeb’s rise to power comes just at the moment that it looks like Donald Trump’s campaign is entering a death spiral. We’ve just seen the tape of Trump bragging about how he tried to seduce a married woman by taking her to buy furniture, presumably at a Leviathan-owned antiques shop.

And then he starts talking about his upcoming marriage to Carolyn. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them,” he says. “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” And at that point, I guess, you go upstairs to the Chosen Room and take on your true, hideous, world-destroying form.

But it’s not really much of a coincidence, because in January 1970, they had their own tyrant-in-chief. He had an enemies list, too. I don’t know if Mrs. Johnson was on it or not.

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And then David wheels himself into the shop, and we find out the extent of the predator’s cruelty. He was the man who was hanging out behind the Bushes — Billy, I suppose, and maybe a George or two — and jumped out when David was riding by, knocking him to the pavement and breaking his leg. And then he just walked away, smiling, probably tweeting.

“David must understand,” he explains, “that I can be cruel, as well as kind.” He wasn’t punishing the boy, or hurting him for any particular reason. He just wanted to send a message.

He will hurt and humiliate everyone — his supporters, as well as his enemies — because even being worshipped is not enough for this man. He doesn’t love anyone, in particular, and he doesn’t even hate anyone, very much, but he will use other people’s love and other people’s hate as tools to feed his unstoppable Ancient-Ones-sized hunger for domination and control. But we stopped him — didn’t we, people of the future? I’m sure we did. I hope we did.

Tomorrow: The Dunwich Cuckoo.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

In the teaser, Jeb delivers his closing line — “Remember, Barnabas; Friday,” — after the dramatic sting has already started.

Barnabas tells Jeb, “Now, the book says… that…” He glances at the teleprompter. “Well, there must be a timetable!”

David says, “You were Alexander and Michael!” Jeb says, “Yes. I call myself Jeb now.” He pauses for a while, realizes he still has a line, and looks at the teleprompter.

When David goes upstairs on crutches, Maggie says, “Now, you be careful!” After a moment, she adds, “And be careful on those stairs!” She needs to say the word “stairs”, because the camera stays on Julia — clearly, David Henesy couldn’t actually get up the stairs on crutches yet, so it happens off-screen.

Jeb tells David that he took the boy’s transistor radio when he was Michael; that actually happened when Jeb was Alexander.

Quentin asks, “You think they buried him, then tried to resurrect him?” Julia mutters, “I don’t know…” and then, a second later, “Yes! Yes, I think so.” He smiles. “Julia, if what you think is true, what are you going to do?” She answers, “I won’t know… until I find out.”

There seems to be a fault in one of the cameras in the scene between Barnabas and Maggie in the drawing room.

There’s a burst of offstage noise just before Maggie leaves Barnabas.

In the last scene, Julia tells Barnabas, “I pronounced that child dead two weeks ago. I would swear that he was dead. But for some reason… it had to be faked. That he was dead.”


Behind the Scenes:

There’s an in-universe explanation for why David’s in a wheelchair — Jeb punished him by making him fall off his bicycle. David Henesy actually just got his leg jammed in a door at the studio. This is the kind of thing that makes the concept of “plans” irrelevant in serialized narrative. David’s in a wheelchair for four episodes in January and February; he’s out of the chair in March, to play Daniel Collins in Parallel Time.

Also, we get another visit to David’s room, so I can check in on his toys and decorations. Today, we see the following: the kite, the woman and child picture, the US map, the dog with a protest sign, the nutcracker-soldier looking thing, the cool concert posters, assorted cars and robots, and that terrible globe that we saw at Stokes’ place two weeks ago. No sign of the football player, the girl with a protest sign, the ship in a bottle or the sailboat.

Tomorrow: The Dunwich Cuckoo.

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— Danny Horn

23 thoughts on “Episode 937: The Predator

  1. Christopher took David’s new transistor radio.

    Michael made David spend the night in the antique shop.

    Jeb made David break his leg.

    David needs to get his shit together.

    If only they had had the idea of David eventually ‘snapping, and turning’ on Jeb. Oh, the things he might have screamed…

    1. I know; you really would think he’d be able to get something together that was the equivalent of taking his brake valve thingy. I mean, once he was a murderous psycho, and all. What happened to that?

  2. So who would make a better Hillary: Dr. Julia, who would put every citizen on sedatives, or Angelique, who would require all Americans to register with a piece of their clothing, a nail clipping and a hank of hair . . .

    Let’s make it Angelique. If it’s Julia, then Barnabas is Bill, which makes Josette Monica Lewinsky. But if it’s Angelique, then Sky Rumson is Bill, and on DS, Bill, the dawg, is already being unfaithful . . . with Donald Trump!

    1. Well obviously it would be Julia, because she could easily hypnotise everybody via TV, and everyone would vote for her, without any need for hanks of hair and such nonsense. Imagine the bureaucracy involved in that.

      1. That’s true, I forgot about the necklace: “My fellow Americans, stare into the jewel! Isn’t it pretty? See how it shines in the light. You will forget about the e-mails . . . you will forget!”

        1. Hahaha exactly. Kind of scary really. “Jeb 2016” is starting to sound good. Let’s go with that. Chew the scene, break the set, and smash the state!

  3. Jeb could have caused both of David’s legs to be broken, and maybe even an arm or two. He thought about it, but then he decided not to. That he could have done something really nasty to David but then thought better of it shows that he has the temperament to lead the Leviathans.

    1. When Chip Coffey makes claims about having “almost been on Dark Shadows,” this is one of the almosts he cites. He says that he was going to play David until David Henesy’s leg healed enough for David to return to the role. Instead, Henesy’s injury was written into the storyline and Henesy did not need a temporary replacement after all.

  4. Julia can’t be Hillary – she doesn’t do pantsuits.
    Besides, Quentin has to be Bill – he’s the only one whose mack daddy skills come even close to Bill Clinton’s. Just ask Beth, Jenny, Rachel, Angelique, Pansy, Amanda, Gennifer, Kathleen, Paula and Monica.
    Oh and Eleanor Mondale.

  5. According to Barnabas & Company, it was actually Kathleen Cody who was injured by a studio door:

    “As Kathy was exiting the studio’s heavy recording sound booth door, someone else was opening an adjacent heavy door, and “my wrist got pinned between both doors, causing a bad sprain…this was written into the storyline…” (p. 76)

    Another source states that David Henesy slipped on a patch of ice outside the studio and broke his ankle, and that’s why his leg was in a cast for some time:

    http://darkshadows.wikia.com/wiki/937

  6. Must find way to work “grim grinning gravitas” into a conversation.

    I find it hard to believe that there wasn’t a single room on the ground floor that could have been turned into a temporary bedroom for David. Or is gimping up and down the staircase on crutches and a full leg cast just something people like the Collinses do to Keep Standards Up?

    (The only time I had to climb up a whole staircase on crutches was when I broke my foot at Walt Disney World, and they couldn’t get us switched to a ground floor table at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue.)

  7. Yeah, I broke the kid’s leg. Then I was caught on tape bragging about it. It’s a thing that happened. I’m not proud of it. Not anymore. But that was yesterday. It’s in the past and that’s not who I am today. So okay, yeah, five minutes ago I made a joke about another kid with a broken leg, but that was a different kid, and I didn’t break his leg, and I haven’t broken any kids’ legs today. Or adults’ legs. So far. Can we move on? We should be talking about what another character did 20 years ago. Not on this show, on a different show, but he’s married to one of the characters on this show, who was not an accomplice to what her husband on that other show did, and who felt betrayed by him when she found out what he did, but who is just as much to blame because as we all know, a wife is just an appendage to her husband, and should not be treated as a separate, independent human being. So let’s talk about that instead. Hey, did you hear the one about the gimpy kid who… oh, never mind.

  8. Reading this from the future, I’ve got some bad news for you…

    It is actually kinda sad, reading this from the world in which Trump won. I’d love nothing more than to be able to walk through a doorway into a PT storyline in which… well, a lot of things were different.

    1. Richard, yes. [Conciliatory hug]. You wrote my exact thoughts as I read this post and these comments.

      I may eventually catch up to Danny’s live posts (not only because of my marathon DS-watching sessions but because I am only watching the episodes in which Julia has a part).

      I don’t know what episodes Danny was watching as from November 8th but … ::sigh:: Hope they represented a helpful escape from real life.

      Btw, Jeb (the character or the actor– cannot actually determine which) actually makes me feel a bit sick to my stomach. I don’t know if it’s because he reminds me of someone I’ve despised on a similar such visceral level (not even sure who), or … I really don’t know what it is. Of course it’s nothing–NOTHING– to the bone-deep, intestine-twisting horrified aversion that even a split-second glance at Drumpfh’s disgusting face in the news invokes in me (so I know it isn’t him that Jeb may remind me of; if so, I would require a “Make America Kittens Again”-like filter just to watch these Jeb episodes) but … jeez. Desperately looking forward to when he is gone.

      (Please tell me he will be gone soon; … that Caroline will discover he murdered her father and so will destroy him in vengeful justice….)

      (And as for Drumpfh: please someone reading this from the future: tell me that he, too, will be gone soon; … that the 2018 Senate will admit he murdered the hopes of millions and so will impeach him in vengeful justice…)

  9. Also reading this in “the future” (is that anything like “the past” on Dark Shadows?) and also watching Drumpf in horror – albeit from a distance in Australia! The news tonight was full of stories about him being denounced by his fellow Leviathans – er, Republicans – so hopefully his plot to take over Collinwood, um, the World, has been slowed down.

    As for Jeb Hawkes, he reminds me of nothing so much as the kind of sleazy sexual predator who won’t take “no” for an answer, so, as much Harvey Weinstein as Donald Trump?

  10. A cruel, arrogant, ego maniacal monster, with no impulse control, leading a cult of brainwashed puppets on an evil quest for the destruction of civilization.
    Yeah, quite a stretch to compare that to a Dark Shadows storyline.

  11. Can’t read your post today. Armed guards are about to put me on a bus that is not going to wait to take me to the re-education camp.

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