“We should leave this house, and let it stand deserted!”
Today’s situation report: Roger, who killed Angelique, has killed Liz, and is hiding her in Angelique’s room, while Angelique is hiding Julia, who killed Julia, in the basement. I literally cannot make it any plainer than that.
We’re currently living in the end times of Parallel Time, a rickety storyline staggering towards a finish line that’s been buried in the sand like the Statue of Liberty in an ape movie. Almost everyone is dead, and the cast list is getting shorter by the day. There are three more murders coming in the next two episodes, as everyone settles whatever scores they have left, without the assistance of law enforcement or common sense.
Collinwood of Parallel Time is a post-apocalyptic landscape, where War Boys and Smokers and Postmen deal out frontier justice from their supersonic speedcycles. And we can’t count on the main characters to help, because one of them is locked in the basement, and the other one is busy trying to half-wake a comatose girl using electricity and face-touching. I know what Tina Turner said, but we do actually need another hero, and if anyone has one, please direct him or her to Parallel Collinwood immediately.
Continue reading Episode 1054: Another Day in the Desert
“I know about hypnotism. I know how to resist it!”
It was Roger!
Continue reading Episode 1053: Whodidn’tit
“If she’s trying to destroy me, why doesn’t she go ahead and get it done with?”
“Where is Barnabas right now?” Angelique snaps at her lieutenant, Hoffman the housekeeper.
“He’s somewhere in the house,” Hoffman offers.
Angelique narrows her eyes. “Are you sure that you’ve been following him everywhere he goes, as I told you to?”
“Of course, every opportunity I get.”
“Well then, why haven’t we been able to discover his secret?”
“Well, for one thing, I’m a housekeeper,” Hoffman replies, “and this is an enormous fucking house. What is the matter with you?”
Continue reading Episode 1052: Ouroboros
“My eyes have the power to restore you to me!”
It’s been four months since the terrible flashlight man came into our lives — a dark stranger, appearing with no warning just outside Angelique’s room, gazing in a perplexed manner at a scene that he could see but not participate in. “Elizabeth!” he cried, but she couldn’t hear him, and neither could Hoffman. “It is hers, it will always be hers,” Hoffman said, and it was, and it is, and the goggle-eyed man from another place just stood there on the threshold, saying, “Quentin! Husband?” and generally making an ass of himself.
His name is known to us now: he is Barnabas Collins, the Destroyer of Worlds.
Trespassing on our favorite show from an alternate world where I hope they appreciate him more than we do, this monster has brought a wave of supernatural violence to our sleepy little soap town, killing two thirds of the cast and driving the ratings into the earth.
Hoffman is dead. Carolyn is dead. Will is dead. Bruno is dead. Cyrus and Sabrina and Larry and Dameon are dead, plus Chris is missing, and Liz isn’t looking too well. Barnabas Collins has swept through our show like a buzzsaw. Everybody said that bringing a vampire onto a soap opera was a terrible idea, and they were right, especially this vampire.
Continue reading Episode 1051: PTED: Destroyer of Worlds
“I must learn your secret — how to bring you half alive!”
It’s 4:00 on another summer afternoon, and Dr. Julia Hoffman is mixing drinks. “Nothing for me, thank you,” Elizabeth says, and the doctor replies, “Are you sure, Mrs. Stoddard? You usually like a cocktail before dinner.”
It’s not a typical situation for someone with a medical degree and her own sanitarium, but Julia’s currently on vacation in a parallel dimension, solving other people’s problems. She’s murdered her alt-universe double — Collinwood’s housekeeper, Hoffman — and taken her place, in order to revive a black-magic-afflicted coma victim and destroy a wicked witch. Now she’s hopping back and forth between making beds and exploring the outer limits of human consciousness, just like every other woman in 1970.
She’s a housekeeper, a bartender, an impostor, a spy, a murderer, a blood specialist, a henchperson, a mad scientist, a dear friend and an all-purpose lunatic. I don’t know she does it; it just goes to show that women really can have it all.
Continue reading Episode 1050: The Fault in Our Stars
“You should try drinking before lunch, Mother, it makes the day just sort of float along.”
It really takes something to shock the people in this house. People can kill each other, jump out of windows, they can curse and hate each other, and nobody seems to mind. But to be a morning drinker — that shocks people!
Continue reading Episode 1049: All the Secrets
“There’s a skeleton in every closet — and there are lots of closets, baby!”
Here’s what we know about Claude North: he drinks milk. Or, actually, now that I think of it, we don’t know that he drinks milk; we only know that when we saw the secret room in the mausoleum where he appears to be staying, there was a half-finished bottle of fresh milk on the table. But if he actually liked to drink milk, then he would have drunk it, right? And there it is. So maybe we could say that he’s lactose-tolerant, but only socially.
Continue reading Episode 1048: Claw North
“Go on, go out! You’re protected by my indifference!”
A month ago, I declared that we had reached The End of Love — for Parallel Time at least, if not the whole series — because this months-long storyline revolves around protecting and maintaining one romantic relationship, which isn’t worth all this trouble.
According to how much the characters talk about it, we’re all supposed to care about volatile one-percenter Quentin Collins and his marriage to the parallel Maggie Evans, who isn’t even a governess so I don’t know how she got on the show. The main storyline is about the mostly-dead sorceress Angelique, who’s plotting to separate and destroy the couple by fair means or foul.
But Quentin and Maggie’s relationship has negative rooting value; they have nothing in particular in common, and by this point, they each believe that the other is in league with the Devil. Quentin can’t have a single conversation with his wife that doesn’t end in shouting and small arms fire. I’m just going to assert right now that if the end of this story involves Quentin and Maggie reunited, I for one am not going to consider that a happy ending. These people do not belong together, and the only good thing about them being married to each other is that at least they’re not able to marry anyone else, and ruin even more lives.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that love is dead, in Parallel Collinwood. Maybe we were just looking in the wrong direction.
Continue reading Episode 1047: The Invention of Feelings
“There’s such a fearful unreality about this place.”
It’s alive! as Dr. Frankenstein would say. It’s alive! Well, partially.
Cross-dimensional eccentric millionaire Barnabas Collins has been pulling the old wall switches and setting the apparatus humming in the basement again, trying to restore life force to a young woman who’s low on get-up-and-go.
For the last few months, the lady in Stokes’ back parlor has been flat on her back, donating her élan vital to prop up the dangerous regime of soap-vixen sorceress Angelique. Barnabas, always open to new experiences, has decided to inexplicably fall in love with this comatose couchsurfer, who so far has opened her eyes once and is otherwise resting in peace. So he’s kidnapped the girl, strapped her to some mad science junk in the Old House basement, put several minutes of lightning through her veins and then stroked her face, all of which managed to get her to open her eyes again.
Now, in a perfect world, Roxanne would leap up onto the table and do a high-kicking musical number, like the frog in the Looney Tunes cartoon. “Hello ma baby, hello ma honey, hello ma ragtime gal! Send me a kiss by wire — baby, my heart’s on fire!”
This doesn’t happen. She just opens her eyes, stands up and looks around with a bland expression. The world is still just as imperfect as we always feared it would be.
Continue reading Episode 1046: Woke
“I can feel the vibrations of his fear!”
Petulant homeowner Quentin Collins is a fugitive, accused of crimes that he’s only partially responsible for. With nowhere to go and no one to trust, Quentin goes upstairs and hides in the attic, which in Collinwood means the tower room. It’s a pretty safe hiding place, because everybody knows to keep away from the tower. The only things that happen here are history-wrecking mythological catastrophes.
Searching for Quentin, Will Loomis makes his way up to the tower, keeping an eye out for tragic irony as he goes. Will enters the tower room, and finds evidence of Quentin’s presence — his tie, his watch — but the man himself is gone.
So Quentin must be amazing at this. You have to be pretty seriously committed to the concept of hiding out to not even be in your own hideout.
Continue reading Episode 1045: We Belong Dead