“We were just standing here talking, and suddenly he fell over!”
Why does the moth love the flame?
You turn on the porch light and there they are, banging their little moth noggins against the lightbulb, desperate to break through and be consumed in flames. There doesn’t seem to be a good evolutionary explanation for this, but there they are, doing it, all night long. Why?
Well, one explanation is that a moth’s navigation system depends on transverse orientation, keeping a fixed angle on a distant source of light — typically the moon, apparently. So the moth is trying to keep the moon in a fixed place, and then along comes your porch light, and the moth gets all confused, ending up in a spin around the bulb. Or maybe not. It’s possible that people just made up the concept of “transverse orientation” in order to explain the moths, and it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. Why couldn’t moths just fly in whatever direction they wanted to fly, like everybody else?
There’s another possible explanation, which is that female moths’ pheromones are slightly luminescent, and emit some of the same frequencies as candlelight, so the moths trying to immolate themselves think they’ve found a spectacularly turned-on lady moth. Except moths are even more attracted to UV light than candlelight, and UV light doesn’t have the same wavelengths as the pheromones, so that’s not it either.
People also use the word “phototaxis” to explain this phenomenon, which once again doesn’t really apply to anything except moths, and another possibility is that flowers reflect UV light, so maybe the moths think that the lightbulbs are a food source. There’s a point at which this is more about you than the moths.
But our actual assignment for the day is to find a living person with feelings that the resurrected shade of Angelique Collins can tear apart and devour, sucking the heat and life force out of his body to perpetuate her own blasphemous existence, which she seems pretty determined to do. The dish of the day is called Larry. He’s an assistant director who’s pretending to be an actor who’s pretending to be a lawyer.
And this is Parallel Time, that raucous what-if space where everything is the same except the stuff that’s different, so it’s hard to say what lawyer warmth even tastes like here, but Angelique’s feeling cold today, and everybody else needs to stop backseat driving and just give her someone to eat.
So this is Larry, another in the long line of doomed investigators — those brave, half-remembered doctors and lawyers and police officers and psychic researchers who ask the questions and unearth the secrets on our behalf, and then pay the terrible price thereof.
Frankly, Larry isn’t much of an investigator. He’s chased John Yaeger around the block once or twice, and asked some impertinent questions about the terms of Cyrus Longworth’s will, but he hasn’t gotten close to the terrible truth at the heart of that story — just beating his wings against the lightbulb, not scorching himself on the hot coils within. In fact, he’s such a lame doomed investigator that he’s not even being killed by the monster in his own story; he has to cross over to the Quentin/Angelique story for his inevitable comeuppance.
And Larry shouldn’t even be here, anyway; this is supposed to be Chris. Don Briscoe showed up stoned at the studio a few weeks ago, so they fired him and came up with a replacement character — another lawyer who works with Chris, played by an assistant director. So Larry is twice-removed from this situation, a fill-in fink who belongs anywhere else but here. Besides, we’ve already had a doomed investigator named Larry.
But here he is, Larry Chase, made of meat and full of heat, just the thing our sinister succubus was hoping for. He sees her shiver in anticipation.
“Miss Stokes, is something wrong?” he says, doomedly. Angelique says she doesn’t know.
“Well, you’re trembling!” he points out. Larry is the kind of actor who says “well” at the beginning of every sentence. There isn’t a name for that kind of actor, because we don’t have enough of them to bother coming up with terminology about it. They’re usually strangled in their cradles at birth.
She says, “Suddenly, this house is as cold as a tomb!” which doesn’t really get a rise out of him, and no wonder. “I don’t feel well” is a matter of opinion, but the temperature can be independently verified. Besides, Larry didn’t come over for a weather report.
She tries again. “I’m so afraid!” she says. This provokes a response.
“Well, what’s frightened you?” he says.
“I hate to be alone.”
“Well, where’s Quentin and Maggie?” he says. I told you about how he starts every sentence with “well”.
She turns on her eyes, full blast. Angelique is a woman you want to say yes to.
“I heard someone down the hall,” she says, and he doesn’t care. What hall?
“Would you stay here with me for a while?” she asks, which turns this into a whole other kind of scene. This is the lonely housewife and the UPS driver, or the pizza delivery guy, or whoever lonely housewives interact with when they’re feeling particularly lonely.
He blushes, and says, “Well, actually…” because he honestly can’t start a line without saying the word “well”.
But this is what they do, the hungry ones, when they see a stranger passing by that nobody in the audience cares about. “Hey, what’s wrong?” says Fred the handyman. They always want to know what’s the matter. They like to think they’re the hero of this story.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked you, should I?” says the pitcher plant.
“Well, nonsense!” Larry replies, giving up all hope of a last-minute appeal for audience sympathy. “I finished my work at the office. I just wanted Quentin to sign some papers I brought.”
“Isn’t your wife expecting you?” she teases, and he replies, “I’m not married, Miss Stokes.” He might as well say, I’m a useless drone, with nothing to offer the world except some papers that don’t really need to be signed.
“I’m the last of the bachelors,” he declares, “and proud of it!” It doesn’t matter whether that means anything or not. You’re definitely the last of something.
I don’t have much, the drone says. I don’t have looks or brains or a storyline. What do I have that I could offer to the queen?
“It’s all right,” she says. “I feel much better, just standing here, near you.”
He grins. “Well, that’s the effect I like women to have.”
And he blew it, his one seductive moment. It finally happened, and then, “That’s the effect I like women to have”? But this has never happened to him before. He’s been rehearsing for this moment every day, sometimes twice a day. The last of the bachelors.
“Feel any better now?” says the second-to-last, gathering her in his arms.
“Yes,” she pants. “Yes, I do!”
The teens are up on the hill, at Makeout Point, and a sharp knife waits for the right moment to punish them for their sinful thoughts and deeds. The moth is circling the candle, asking if it’s free tonight. They think it’s pheromones, or food. It’s actually the terrible price.
“Hold me,” she says.
He looks around. “You’re sure no one’s here?”
“I’ve been wanting to hold you like this ever since I saw you,” says Fred.
“I’ve wanted to do this ever since I first met you,” says Larry.
You thought this was your fantasy, your dream come true. She turns around, and all of a sudden, you’re the one she’s been looking for. You thought this was a story about you.
“Oh, I feel so warm in your arms!” says the ice queen. “Kiss me.” And he does.
Monday: Five Things.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
In the teaser, there’s a little bit of audio bleed-through just as the opening narration ends.
When Will examines Larry in the foyer, there’s various bits of marking tape on the floor.
Cyrus promises Angelique, “I’ll drop on back soon.”
When Barnabas leaves Collinwood, you can see a studio light.
This isn’t a blooper, but it’s fun: When Barnabas is sitting with Buffie at the Eagle, there’s a glimpse over his right shoulder of the candle on the table behind him. It looks like his cape’s on fire. This goes on for longer than you think it would.
Barnabas tells Buffie, “Perhaps in another band of time, you’ve left Collinwood.” He means Collinsport.
Barnabas admires the painting in Buffie’s apartment, and while he’s turned away from the camera, he slips his fangs into his mouth.
Behind the Scenes:
Buffie’s got the time-traveling pan-dimensional Raggedy Ann doll, which we’ve also seen in Sarah’s room in 1795, Nora’s room in 1897, and Windcliff in 1968. But what is that picture on the right side of Buffie’s mantelpiece?
Monday: Five Things.
— Danny Horn