Monthly Archives: November 2016

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Episode 962: The Second Law of Thermodynamics

“The dead sheriff was standing over me with a gun, and I woke up here.”

Paul Stoddard is missing, again. The Leviathans desecrated his grave a couple weeks ago, with the vague intention of dragging the corpse out of the ground and interrogating it, and when they cracked the coffin, they found the dead man grinning at them in a frozen, ghastly moment of post-mortem mirth. What could this mean? they asked. How could there be something out there that’s crazier than us?

So they burned the body, and by “they” I mostly mean Jeb Hawkes, the master of murder who’s currently standing graveside, comforting Paul’s daughter, as she grieves for a father who just keeps on disappearing.

“When I was a little girl, my father went away from me,” Carolyn chokes. “I told myself then that I was so small, I couldn’t keep him. Then I grew up, and he came back to me. I had another chance. And he went away again.”

Jeb approaches, the secret author of her pain. “Carolyn, this is not the same!”

“Maybe not,” she shrugs. “But I did lose him again, didn’t I?” He embraces her, and for a moment, he almost feels like maybe it wasn’t such a hot idea to murder someone in his girlfriend’s immediate family. And Carolyn cries, “Why are there so many ways of losing people, and so few of holding on?”

So you look at this couple, at this point in the show’s history, and you can’t help but think of the six words that could bring down a government: Don’t you think she looks tired?

Continue reading Episode 962: The Second Law of Thermodynamics

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Episode 961: Protagonizing

“I want you to get good and mad — mad enough to rip a man to shreds!”

“My, my, Mr. Jennings,” Bruno says, splitting his face with a lunatic’s grin. “How you’ve changed!” He’s sneering at the snarling werewolf that’s currently chained to the wall of this desolate crypt, and he’s staying just outside the creature’s reach, like Foghorn Leghorn standing at the dog’s leash limit.

“Does the tone of my voice anger you?” Bruno jeers. “Good! I want you to get good and mad — mad enough to rip a man to shreds!”

This is not typically a problem for werewolf handlers, because the entire point of werewolves is to be a metaphor for unchecked fury and explosive violence. You don’t need to rile up a werewolf. They come pre-riled.

Continue reading Episode 961: Protagonizing

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Episode 960: Time and Temperature

“Well, the spirit’s certainly acting in a very strange way.”

So, let’s say you’re a Leviathan. Not the hooded sparkle-face kind, or the secret transforming alien octopus kind, just the regular human type Leviathan, who was given a ring and a membership card by an occult entity who promised that you would get power and money and revenge on your dad if you agreed to work seven days a week for no salary, performing dangerous assignments that you don’t understand.

Look, you’re stupid. Let’s just say that you’re stupid.

And here you are, in the middle of the night, in a drafty crypt, in some fish-factory town in Maine. You read in a book that your boss is vulnerable to werewolves, which you didn’t realize there were any, but guess what, there are. Also, there’s vampires, you just found that one out too. Apparently there’s everything.

You met some spooky girl with white hair a month ago, who seemed like she knew who the local werewolf was. You just happened to run into her again tonight, and you shadowed her to her boyfriend’s house. You broke in, you found some clues, you found the werewolf. And there’s going to be a full moon tomorrow night, so you’ll know for sure that he’s the wolfman before you shoot him in the head with a silver bullet. It’s hard to call that a lucky break, but you might as well try. This is some nightmare version of “lucky” that’s basically all you have to look forward to.

Continue reading Episode 960: Time and Temperature

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Episode 959: Do No Harm

“Only the spirits of those that we’ve killed would dare to harm us this way!”

They all lay in stone houses in their great city of R’lyeh, preserved by the spells of mighty Cthulhu for a glorious resurrection when the stars and the earth might once more be ready for them.

The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.

But not today, obviously. They’re busy today.

Continue reading Episode 959: Do No Harm

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Episode 958: The Not Normal

“All we know is that there’s another force working in this house against the same people that we’re fighting against.”

“Now, that I don’t understand at all,” Quentin says, just like everybody does in this storyline, about everything, all the time. The Leviathan story may be one of the least understood in the history of the dramatic arts.

Specifically, he’s talking about Elizabeth, who’s under the sway of the malicious alien heptapods who are currently terrorizing Maine. “Yesterday, she tried to kill Maggie,” Quentin observes. “Today, she obviously lies, and smiles graciously, and wishes that Maggie were back.”

Julia shakes her head. “Quentin, this is a house of lies. The only way to bring these people back to the truth is to smile and lie, just as they do.”

And for the first time in my life, I have to ask the question: Is Julia Hoffman right?

Continue reading Episode 958: The Not Normal

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Episode 957: The Sad Song of Sue Agatha

“They made another room incredibly evil!”

“I mean, I just don’t understand any of it!” Willie says, pacing anxiously. “Maggie, when we were locked in that room, she tried to explain it to me, but it makes no sense! I mean, does it, Barnabas?”

Barnabas sighs. “Unfortunately, it does.”

Well, sort of. There’s been a lot of in-universe discussions lately about whether the storyline makes sense. At some point, you have to face facts, and finally admit that it doesn’t.

Continue reading Episode 957: The Sad Song of Sue Agatha

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Episode 955: Once Again

“Surely, you must have realized that neither of us has any chance for a normal life.”

There’s a spooky spellcasting music cue on the turntable, and newly-minted vampire Barnabas Collins stands on the terrace outside the great estate of Collinwood, speaking to people without moving his lips.

“I’m waiting for you, Maggie!” he vents. “You must respond! You must come to me! Now!”

And then she does; she just walks right out onto the terrace and starts responding. This is why Barnabas doesn’t need a phone.

Now, I was under the impression that Barnabas could only pull stunts like this because he’s psychically connected to his blood-slaves. But Maggie isn’t under Barnabas’ sway these days, so I don’t know how he gets this direct line to her nighttime terrace decisions. Maybe everybody’s had Bluetooth this whole time, and they just didn’t mention it.

Continue reading Episode 955: Once Again

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Episode 954: Irreconcilable

“I hope Jeb had presence of mind enough to put the coffin back in the grave.”

They had something, presumably, when it all began. She was a beautiful, self-sufficient woman. He was a wealthy, ambitious man. She had fire in her eyes — deeper and hotter than he realized, but it seemed warm and inviting, at the time. He surprised her with little gifts, just to show her that he was thinking about her.

That probably had a lot to do with it, actually. Not the trinkets, just the fact that he thought about her. He was the first man she’d ever dated who wasn’t mostly in love with somebody else.

Continue reading Episode 954: Irreconcilable

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Episode 953: Walking Around and Pretending to Have a Plan

“Let there be light — because I am tired of eternal darkness!”

Man, Jeb is such a rebellious teen that he still feels burdened and put-upon, even though there is literally a worldwide organization devoted to worshipping him as a god, which is actively working to make him the emperor of the Earth.

Continue reading Episode 953: Walking Around and Pretending to Have a Plan