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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.

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Now you’ve got the probably-werewolf in some forgotten old crypt, waiting for moonrise. You pulled a gun on him, and marched him all the way out here. It didn’t take as long as you figured it would to find a hiding place, because there’s a high crypt-to-citizen ratio in this town.

He’s playing dumb; he says he doesn’t know what you’re talking about. Maybe he doesn’t. You’re pretty confident he’s the werewolf, but you want to be sure, in a situation like this. If the moon comes up and he doesn’t change, then you’re wrong about him, and maybe you’re the one playing dumb. Somebody must be.

The full moon doesn’t rise until tomorrow night, so you’re going to have to keep this guy chained to something for 24 hours. But you can’t just hang around, trying to make conversation with a dude you’re planning to kill. Besides, you’re going to keep him locked up for a whole day with no food, water, sleep or toilet facilities; things are going to get kind of biological after a while.

You bring in your associate, a guy that your boss killed, and then raised from the dead. Now you get to tell him what to do. This is the cool part, this is why you joined up with these freaks in the first place. Power over life and death! The ability to kill an enemy — your dad, let’s say, or anybody — and then bring him back to life, as your mindless slave! And then you can stand there, and look into his cold, dead eyes, and know that you’re the one with power. Now, it’s your turn.

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So, let’s say you used to be a police officer. You worked hard. Collinsport was a hard town to protect and serve. You heard a lot of weird stories, and some of them were true. But you went to work every day, because you were a good police officer, and you loved this town. You had a family. You can’t quite remember all of their names right now. But there must have been someone, standing next to your grave. Crying. Somebody was there.

“It’s-true-he-did-die,” says the under-master. “But-he’s-been-brought-back-from-death-at-least-temporarily.” Is he talking about you? What does he want?

“Go-over-and-shake-hands-with-him.” Okay. You reach out your hand, but the other man screams “No!” and jumps at the wall. What happened? Did you do something wrong?

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That happens a lot. The master says you should do something, but everything is so loud. They talk so fast. You try to do what the master tells you, but it all runs together.

The master told you to follow the under-master. You don’t like that. That’s not how it works. When the master tells you to do something, and you do it, then it’s not quite as cold for a while. That’s why you got up from your grave. He made a promise, over your resting place, that if you do what he says, the cold would go away, a little.

Doing what the under-master says doesn’t feel like anything. You have to do it, the master told you to. But it still feels just as cold.

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“Harm-you-as-long-as-you-behave-yourself,” the under-master says, to the other man. The other man looks scared. You have no idea what’s going on.

Okay, relax. Think it through. The under-master has a gun, and he’s in charge. The other man must be a fugitive. You used to be good at this. Ask a question.

“WHY IS HE HERE?” you say. Your voice doesn’t sound right.

“You-know-who-he-is-don’t-you,” the under-master says. It’s a question. You say yes.

“What-you’ll-find-more-interesting-is-what-he-is.” That’s too many words. Did he answer your question? Is this still the same conversation? Sometimes, things go so fast that it’s a different day.

“TELL ME,” you say. Your voice doesn’t sound right.

“Through-the-woods-looking-for-victims,” he says. The under-master is telling you something. “Isn’t-that-ironic-Mr.-Jennings-that-Sheriff-Davenport-here-while-he-was-alive-could-never”

Sheriff Davenport. That sounds familiar. You saw that written down, somewhere. That used to be somebody’s name.

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The sheriff says, “What are my instructions?” That is so cool. The cops at home would freak out, if they saw you had a dead sheriff asking you what to do. You’re going to have a whole army like this, someday.

You tell him to chain the wolfman to the wall, and stand guard over him. Then you give the dead man your gun.

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“This has six silver bullets in it,” you say. “When the moon rises, he’ll go through a transformation. You’re to wait until that transformation is complete, and then — kill him.”

“I understand,” the dead man says. So cool. Seriously, that is never going to stop being cool.

You swagger over to the big, bad wolf, still cringing against the wall. “Mr. Jennings,” you smile. “You look so pathetic, I could almost hope I’m wrong.” And then you turn, and walk away. You wink at the sheriff, on your way to the door.

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You have a gun in your hand, now. This must be some kind of a jail. You’re supposed to chain that prisoner to the wall, and then wait until something happens. It’s still cold, it’s always cold. You wish you could remember what’s going on.

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You go back to the carriage house, to tell your boss the good news. The werewolf is the only thing that can hurt him, and you figured out who the werewolf is, and now you’ve got him chained up in a crypt, being guarded by a zombie with a gun. It’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done. You’ve basically saved a god’s life. He ought to be thrilled.

Except he’s not, obviously. He’s uptight and angry, like he always is, these days. You try to tell him that something interesting happened on your way back from Collinwood, but he jumps down your throat, complaining that you took too long, and you didn’t get enough information about the ghost that’s haunting him. He doesn’t even ask about the werewolf.

So you tell him that the ghost tried to choke you, earlier today. You almost forgot that even happened, it’s been that kind of night. The lights went out, and suddenly there was a noose around your neck, pulled tight against your windpipe. You almost died. It’s weird that you forgot about that, for a minute. But that’s what your life is like, these days. Sometimes it feels like something shocking happens every twenty-two minutes.

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“Just let me think. Let me think!” the boss says, pacing around and smacking at shadows, and all of a sudden, this cold pit opens up in your stomach, because you’ve been here before. You thought joining the Leviathans would mean you’d never feel like this again.

He glares at you, and says, “Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Like what?” you say.

“Like I’m afraid.”

You try to smile. “Afraid of what?”

“Spirits of the dead.”

But you’re an adult now. You have a fur coat and an important job and a zombie. This is your leader, the demon god of the Leviathan people. You’re not afraid of him. He likes you. He’s not your dad.

And then it goes bad, way, way faster than you thought it would.

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It’s Emily, you think. Or Amy, or Amelia, or something like that. Or Emily. It’s hard to think. You have so much time, locked up inside this empty shell that walks and talks and follows instructions. You have eternity without rest, there is nothing but time and temperature.

And then you notice the prisoner, sitting huddled in the corner, and you remember: oh, right. You’re supposed to chain him to the wall.

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He struggles. You grab at him, and he screams. You hear yourself say, “YOU DON’T LIKE THE TOUCH OF DEATH, DO YOU?” Your voice doesn’t sound right.

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The gun is in your hand, again. The prisoner is up against the wall. You tell him to put the manacles around his wrists. His hands shake. You think about asking him if he wants his lawyer present, and then you remember what you are.

What was his name? Somebody said Davenport, before. Is this man Davenport?

And then you think: Emily Davenport. That’s the name. You wonder where she is. Is she warm, and safe, and alive? Is anyone? Are there still real people out there, anywhere, or is this dark carnival everything that there is?

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So at this point, you’re wondering what the hell you’re doing this for, if you’re still going to get smacked in the face.

“I lead,” he says. “And you follow, Bruno! Don’t you ever forget that.”

And then you look into his eyes, his mad monster eyes, and you think: I wonder if it’s too late to get into art school?

Monday: Protagonizing.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Bruno leaves the crypt, and Zombie Davenport points the gun at Chris — staring at him, unmoving — until he breaks eye contact for a second, to check if the camera is still on him.

When Jeb is on the phone, saying, “That idiot! That imbecile!” you can see a camera moving at the left side of the screen.

Bruno tells Jeb, “Just as I was about to leave, the lights went suddenly out.”

Jeb tells Bruno he’s afraid of the spirit of Paul Stoddard, and something falls over in the studio.

When Jeb tells Bruno that he has a gut feeling, you can hear somebody walking in the studio.

Monday: Protagonizing.

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Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

19 thoughts on “Episode 960: Time and Temperature

  1. Damn. Danny, you’re better than great.

    Totally worth the wait, all the time.

    Better than The Show.

    You make Leviathans and their minions hilarious,….. and Frid, in his mausoleum,
    Is likely furious, but that’s His Problem.

    As far as I can tell, he never showed a sense of humor………

    If only you could have written alongside Sam, or Violet.

  2. I agree with Chris – that’s beautifully written, especially the parts with the Sheriff. Maybe your next project should be an original DARK SHADOWS novel?

  3. “You don’t like the touch of death, do you?”

    One of the great rhetorical questions ever uttered on this, or any, show.

    It’s been many months since I watched this era of the show, but didn’t Davenport, when he was alive, have a darker hair color, something closer to brownish? To say nothing of skin tone, zombiefication doesn’t seem to do much for one’s hair color either.

    Ex-sheriff Davenport looks like he could use a box or two of Touch of Death For Men. To look your vibrant, life-like best even when dead on your feet. Touch of Death For Men — get beyond the grey, when beyond the grave. Try, Touch of Death For Men.

    1. Can’t use it – he’d have to comb it in, and evidently zombies DON’T comb. Maybe some “Just For Dead” instead…to wash away the grave.
      He’s got a lot MORE hair, too, since he returned from the dead.
      I suppose it’s rhetorical anyhow, Z-Dave won’t be around much longer.

      1. I think Davenport’s hair style was patterned after David Bruce’s zombie hair in “The Mad Ghoul.” Dark Shadows has borrowed other imagery from that movie.

      2. Zombies are big right now; makeover shows still have some steam going. I think we’ve just discovered a new hit reality show: Makeovers for zombies! Learn all the tricks of the postmortem makeup trade!

        SHUFFLE THAT RUNWAY!

        1. Queer Eye For The Dead Guy

          “Hmmmn, first, Pookums, we have to get you into wardrobe. Cause honey, that suit looks like you were buried in it. We’ll see if we can go a teensy bit more casual, drainpipe jeans, nice neutral shirt, and let’s try a bright red tie, something that really POPS! Then some two-tone Italian loafers, alligator, natch, and yellow socks.

          Now, the pallor; sweetie, believe me, it is NOT taking away your manhood to use product on your skin, lots of real men do it! And ‘moisturizer’ is not a dirty word, either! We can just use some foundation, even up the tone, and highlight those cheekbones; you have marvelous bone structure, but that pasty grey is just washing everything else out. Some liner, bring out your eyes a little, maybe some tinted contacts…green, mmm, green, or dark blue. Slate? Ooh, grey!

          The hands. I have this fabulous cream, I don’t ever use anything else. Oh! Those handies are SHRIEKING for a manicure! Look at all this dirt under our nails! Let’s get you right to my BFF Narda, for a mani-pedi. Oh, maybe we’ll do a Brazilian wax too, just across the back. A ‘spa day’, definitely… Mudpack, seaweed wrap, we’ll do it all!

          Mmmm…the hair. Not criticizing, you have a great look, very ‘today’, but we can just try something a little more styled, and cleaner, believe me, your scalp will thank you. And, trust me, the lady zombies will really like it, too-oo…

          And, well, there isn’t a good way to say this, the smell. Now, don’t get defensive, you know it’s true! I’m taking you to this exquisite little scent shop I know, we’ll craft something for you there that’s absolutely unique. I’m thinking bergamot, clary sage, and orange. Yummy!

          Now, let’s see those teeth. Come on, smile…oh! Oh dear. Veneers, definitely. And the breath! Honeybunch, what HAVE you been eating?”

  4. What, exactly, is Chris being chained TO in the mausoleum? Would your average crypt have rings embedded in cement, or secured to the marble wall? Wouldn’t it be more sensible to put Chris into one of the many prison cells in the basement of Collinwood? I’m sure that Loyal Leviathan Liz would be willing to accommodate. And it would give her a chance to visit with Sheriff Davenport, catch up on how he’s doing, maybe have a drink – after all, he’s not on duty!

    1. Some old recycled Stockbridge markers apparently. I know they made a lot, for their elaborate Stockbridge crypt in the old days, when they used to go all the way…but it’s kind of surprising they still have those lying around…

  5. For all the years I’ve been watching the show, I’ve always gone back and forth about Christopher Pennock’s work here. I still haven’t 100% made up my mind whether he’s doing a really good job playing a very childlike monster, or whether he’s just a fairly green actor in his first television role, maybe in a bit over his head, letting his own immaturity come through and using it. Aside from some overchewed dialogue, I don’t guess it matters much as long as it’s effective. And it mostly is, I think.

    (Is time and temperature a thing anymore?)

  6. I thought the same thing.

    Now that I’m at the end of his tenure(1840pt), it seems he made the right moves.

    He never went up. That I can remember.

    Played the most horrible people.

    And committed.

    John Yeager had missteps, but enjoyable ones.

    His character had me believing that he was playing himself, until Sebastian and Cyrus.

    I gotta give it to him.

    Maybe because it started with the hated Jeb on the wrong foot, we don’t realize his talent until much later.

        1. Here’s a link to one of CPS General Hospital episodes. He turns up about 20 minutes in. He’s definitely I have a, but more restrained.

          GH 12/01/78

          The life to tape format tends to magnify whatever tics an actor may have, ’cause there just isn’t time just move them over. And oh, how I did love Cyrus Longworth.

            1. At least you have a reason; me, I blame spell check and my fat fingers, but there’s really no good excuse for MY nonsense… 🙂

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