Episode 1041: Westworld

“A man doesn’t just suddenly choke to death for no reason at all!”

“I’d like to get it over with, all right,” says Quentin Collins to the detective, “with Bruno, and with my bare hands!” This is during an interrogation about the death of Quentin’s first wife, who he strangled with his bare hands. She didn’t die from being strangled — the murderer was actually a rogue hatpin, acting alone — but also Quentin was simultaneously strangling her at the time, which it’s been months since they’ve established that but I still can’t get over it.

So it’s probably not a great idea for him to start shouting about his bare hands in front of the gendarmes. Everybody has bare hands, anyway; it’s nothing to brag about. Sadly, this Trump-tweet level of self-incrimination is a common problem in soap opera towns, which are populated almost entirely by petulant narcissists with no impulse control.

Anyway, Quentin storms over to Bruno’s cottage — that’s his preferred mode of transportation, storming — and accuses him of turning evidence over to the police. This obvious obstruction of justice is just another Trumpian turn for a guy who I swear used to be one of my favorite characters.

“You’re not going to get away with it this time!” Quentin says, and then he hits back ten times harder. He grabs Bruno around the neck and starts choking him with — well, the sleeve of his coat, actually, so I guess he’s not using his bare hands after all. Maybe they’re too small.

Getting bored, Quentin flings Bruno across the room and spits, “What’s the use? You’re not worth killing!” except apparently he is, because the next thing you know, somebody’s killing him.

It’s Angelique, of course, it’s always Angelique these days; she’s the only self-actualized character on the show. She’s got one of Bruno’s terrible ascots, and now she’s tied it around an object that for some reason everybody is going to spend the entire week calling a voodoo doll. They actually had a little clay voodoo doll prop a couple weeks ago, but maybe they’ve lost it, because now they’re using this bust-statuette thing instead, except they keep saying it’s a voodoo doll. Good Lord, says a random character who picks it up and looks at it, this is a doll, which was recently used for the purposes of voodoo. I have no idea who they’re trying to kid.

Anyway, Angelique is in a different house, but somehow she knows the exact moment that Quentin decides it’s not worth killing Bruno, and she does it herself, via remote control. Bruno chokes, and then he falls to the ground dead, and that’s another item crossed off America’s collective bucket list.

As Quentin tries to come to grips with the scenario, in rolls Inspector Hamilton, Collinsport’s most blasé cop. He lost track of Quentin in the middle of their interrogation, and let him run over to a nearby cottage to commit another atrocity. He has no feelings about that one way or the other.

“Mr. Collins,” says the inspector, “I hope for your sake that he isn’t dead.” Quentin says that he doesn’t know, so Hamilton rolls his eyes and says, “Suppose we find out.” Then he kneels down to examine the remains.

Straightening up, he delivers the verdict. “He’s dead, Mr. Collins,” the detective says, in the mildly disappointed tone you might use when you get ten dollars from the Community Chest for winning second prize in a beauty contest.

“You quarreled with him, and killed him,” says Inspector Ham-L-10. “A man doesn’t just suddenly choke to death for no reason at all.”

Then he says, “I’m placing you under arrest. The charge is suspicion of murder. If you wish, you may call your attorney.”

Quentin sighs and picks up the phone, and the justice machine says, “Mr. Collins, I derive no pleasure from having to do this.” Yeah, no kidding, Data.

But he’s not the only replicant on the premises. He strolls over to the main house with Quentin for some reason, and delivers the bad news. Angelique is the only one who expresses any emotion, and she’s faking it.

Angelique:  Bruno’s dead?

Hamilton:  I’m afraid so, Miss Stokes.

Angelique:  I don’t believe it! How did it happen?

Hamilton:  That’s what we intend to find out when we question Mr. Collins.

Quentin:  The Inspector thinks I did it.

Angelique:  Oh, no!

Hamilton:  Mr. Collins, the charge is only suspicion of murder. I haven’t stated flatly that you did it, because I don’t know. But I did discover you standing over the body.

Angelique:  I don’t believe that Quentin could have murdered anyone!

Hamilton:  I sincerely hope you’re right, Miss Stokes. But you must admit, his position is rather shaky.

Which is just — what? Is Hamilton supposed to choose up sides like that?

In fact, the only sign of life that we see in the whole conversation is the weird erotic tension between Hamilton and his handsome prisoner.

Hamilton:  Shall we be going, Mr. Collins?

Quentin:  Can I have one last request before we go?

Hamilton:  Depends what it is.

Quentin:  I’d like to take something with me, if I’m going to be the guest of state overnight. I’d like to go up to my room.

Hamilton:  By all means. But I’ll have to accompany you. You do understand.

Quentin:  Of course. Don’t you want to handcuff me?

Hamilton:  I’m assuming — or should I say, hoping — that there’s no reason why you should try to escape.

And everyone smiles, and makes wry remarks, and then Quentin goes to prison. He knows that there’s no way to prove his innocence — he actually was choking Bruno, right before Bruno died — but all he cares about is packing a toothbrush.

So I’m sick of Parallel Time, is the basic problem, and I’m pretty sure Parallel Time is sick of itself. They’ve had three months to convince me that I should care what happens to this little pile of miserable people, and they have not used that time productively. The characters aren’t even bothering to care about themselves, much less anything else, and I have run completely dry on both curiosity and give-a-shit.

Barnabas and Julia know that this is their fault — if they’d destroyed the lady in the back parlor like they were supposed to, Bruno would still be alive — but all Barnabas can say is, “Well, all right, perhaps we were wrong, but there’s no point in going over that now.” Now they have to get Quentin out of prison, on top of everything else they have to do, and the whole thing is just a huge hassle. When are we going home?

Tomorrow: Still Another Murderer.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

In the teaser, when Quentin kneels down next to Bruno’s body, he bumps it with his knee, and the body rocks back and forth in a way that makes it really, really obvious that it’s a mannequin dressed in Bruno’s clothes.

What is going on with Hamilton’s office? It’s the next room over from the main police office set, but half the room is wood and the other half is brick.


Behind the Scenes:

David Selby has been working nonstop since everyone went to film House of Dark Shadows, so now it’s time for a two-week vacation. Quentin escapes from jail in this episode, and we won’t see him again until episode 1051.

Hamilton is now using the desk that Cyrus had in his laboratory.

Tomorrow: Still Another Murderer.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

24 thoughts on “Episode 1041: Westworld

  1. When I watched this episode again and was struck by several things:

    —Inspector Hamilton’s line “I hope for your sake that he isn’t dead.” What about for Bruno’s sake? Hamilton really is a slipshod police officer too. He gave a half-assed reading of Quentin’s Miranda rights which would certainly prove problematic come trial time. Also,that was quite a leap of authority for Hamilton. He can arrest someone for murder but isn’t it up to a judge or prosecutor to decide what degree it should be at an arraignment? What evidence was there to call this first-degree murder?

    — I also caught the inanity of calling a bust a voodoo doll. I understand Angelique couldn’t use the hankie on a clay figure…she’d decapitate Bruno. And how could a scarf create hand prints using voodoo?

    — Was it necessary to refer to the “almost dead” body as a “creature”? It wasn’t as though she was like the “Brain That Wouldn’t Die” Although wouldn’t that have been interesting if Barnabas & Julia were trying to save a Danielle Rogét type?

    I also have to agree that parallel time had gone on too long and was quite tiresome. Miserable people indeed. There is, in my opinion, at least one bright spot coming up that unfortunately came too late: Roxanne. I will give credit to Louis Edmonds, John Karlen, Nancy Barrett and Thayer David for approaching their roles as different characters as opposed to carbon copies of their “real time” characters

  2. “Sadly, this Trump-tweet level of self-incrimination is a common problem in soap opera towns, which are populated almost entirely by petulant narcissists with no impulse control…I’m sick of Parallel Time, is the basic problem, and I’m pretty sure Parallel Time is sick of itself.”
    Well, that explains a lot. When people start thinking life should be like a soap opera, they act like their in a Dark Shadows episode. I wonder if we can find the portal and leave Barnabas and Julia behind?

  3. “My name’s Inspector Hamilton/
    But it’s really Colin Hamilton/
    And there’s a million crimes I’d have to solve/
    If I dared/
    Or if I cared.”

  4. Actually, I can see how using the bust as a voodoo doll to strangle Bruno would make sense. He was a composer, a pianist, who wrote an ode for Angelique. That bust looks like Beethoven, easily one of the more recognizable figures in symphonic music and for piano works of that nature. If you Google “beethoven ivory bust miniature” you will find a number of very similar figurines. They were going for symbolism in this instance. Being strangled by someone you wrote a musical ode for is the ultimate bad review. 🙂

    1. In 1970, my piano teacher gave us plastic miniature busts of the composers as rewards for completing our course work. I had Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt lined up on my piano.I didn’t realize their voodoo potential at the time.

    2. Yeah, it makes sense, and it looks cool. My issue is that you wouldn’t hand it to someone (like they do in tomorrow’s episode) and have them instantly say oh my god this is a voodoo doll. You would say, oh someone tied a scarf around a knickknack.

  5. Well, all right. Perhaps we were wrong.

    If there is a single statement summarising Parallel Time, that would be it! (Unless somebody has said “Let’s get the hell out of here.”)

    Just nineteen more episodes – 418 minutes. 25080 seconds.
    And I just know they’re going to do something Sproaty, aren’t they?

    1. PT had potential… here was a “new” Collinwood, with the same (yet different) people – and even for those who recognised that the plot was just ripping off Rebecca, there was a chance that the story might go in some other direction. The writers had managed to redo Dracula and Frankenstein and The Wolf Man, and throw in some curves, so why not? And we had Quentin downstage center, to boot! Oh, and they were going to rip off Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, too? Why not!

      Then it unravelled, the “different” people were too similar to the regular timers, Quentin was noisy and unpleasant (and constantly stomping off in a rage), Yaeger veered between vaudeville villainy and uncomfortable realism (although, in all fairness, he was a monster, he had to do monstrous things. We couldn’t expect him to go around deflating tires, and carving curse words in public lavatories), Sabrina was – well, Sabrina, Maggie was Vicki (again), and Buffie (despite some emotional intensity) was superfluous. Too much time was wasted stirring the pot while the movie was filming, and nothing savory was added to the recipe.

      Now here’s Roxanne, reprising Adam in drag (which is not inspiring much enthusiasm for me), but at least they’ve managed to knock off a few of the most irritating hangers-on like Bruno and Sabrina (Hoffman I rather liked, wish they’d managed to keep her around a bit longer, if only to burn down Manderleywood); and the story seems to be headed down the well-worn ruts of the standard “end of the line, everybody off(ed)” plot.

      Perfectly good storyline, pissed away.

  6. Quentin deserves a nickel in the hoosegow just for putting that necktie and jacket together. What, is he going as a blind Scottish pumpkin for Halloween?

    1. Now you mention it, the Concurrent Quentin Collection has not modelled anything I wanted to run to Parallel Ohrbachs and see if they had in my size…in fact, none of the guys have given me hope for alternate fashion in menswear. But it has shown me that nothing says ‘limp wristed and lavender’ quite like a Paisley ascot. In any reality.

      1. Not a total waste of time then. Now you know what to wear in case somebody has a gaydar malfunction, and you wanted to be really sure…:D

  7. So…howcome Inspector Hamilton had to be called? If he was paying so little attention, why didn’t Quentin just walk out? I suppose they wouldn’t want to implicate Alexis…but she could just bat her eyelids and say he overpowered her. Am I missing something?

  8. As others (including, I believe, Danny himself) have noted before, the writers of DS simply didn’t know what to do with Quentin anymore once he was no longer either (1) a vengeful ghost terrorizing a mansion or (2) the late Victorian narcissist-turned-werewolf who, upon death, became said ghost. But he had become too popular to eliminate, at least from their perspective — or, probably more accurately, from Dan Curtis’s perspective. They needed to turn him into the show’s primary protagonist, but that job was already filled by the vampire that they previously needed to figure out how not to eliminate. And it’s very difficult for a show like DS to operate with two primary protagonists. Alexandria Moltke knew that, which, in my opinion, provided her main motivation for leaving the show. She had become second-fiddle (or, if you count Julia, third-fiddle) on a show in which she had previously been the onscreen concertmaster. And that’s very hard to take.

    At any rate, the writers floundered badly with Quentin. As a result, he became insufferable.

    1. I don’t think it’s a protagonist problem. They just needed to concentrate on what Selby does well — doomed romance, comedy and sneakiness. During the Leviathan story, they managed the doomed romance. Parallel Time Quentin is 0 for 3.

  9. You quarreled with him, and killed him,” says Inspector Ham-L-10.

    I thought clone families were only allowed six clones?

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