“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.
Unpaid dilettante Roger Collins has murdered his third relative of the year, which should be a record for the Collins family but isn’t. He may not run the business in this time band, and his only pastime is drinking and being snide, but he’s managed to exterminate undead ice witch Angelique, his niece Carolyn and his sister Elizabeth, and he’s considering going for a new high score. It just goes to show what you can achieve if you really put your mind to it.
He killed Elizabeth because she figured out that he’d killed Carolyn, and he killed Carolyn because she figured out that he’d killed Angelique, and he killed Angelique because — well, I’m sure he had a good reason, that’s all. Anyway, that one didn’t stick.
“You had to kill Elizabeth,” his conscience assures him, because this is a world that’s exactly the same except Jiminy Cricket has made different choices. “She would have called the police! Someone will — someone else! Is this never going to end?” Obviously, the idea of taking responsibility for his own actions never occurs to him; the man’s a Collins.
Then he has a brainstorm: “I know — Quentin! Quentin killed her! They can be made to think that!” He’s doing all of this in thinks, because the last time he thought out loud, he had to murder somebody. He’s getting better at this.
Roger’s cousin Quentin is a fugitive from justice, accused of killing an assortment of people who were actually murdered by other people. He’s currently hiding out in a cave on the beach, except he isn’t, because he’s here.
When the scene starts, Quentin is hiding behind the drapes, which is adorable, because the drapes only cover about one-sixth of his body. I guess he figures if anyone sees him, he can just murder them and stash them somewhere else in the house; that’s what everybody else does.
Border control is a real issue in Collinwood these days; felons are free to come and go as they please, eavesdropping and gossiping just like everyone else. The extreme vetting is not helping.
You can tell that Quentin’s been hiding in a cave for the last several days, because his hair’s all mussed up and he’s got five o’clock shadow, which is super cute and if this was the 90s that’s how he would look all the time.
Quentin tells Angelique that he heard the servants talking about Carolyn’s death, which is still a top headline because they don’t know about Elizabeth yet. He asks who killed Carolyn, and Angelique honestly has no idea. She’s usually the one who murders people around here. She knows that neither Quentin or Maggie did it, because they’re the people that she’s framing, but this murder was off the books.
Angelique knows if Carolyn was killed by someone in the house, then it’s either Roger, Liz, Julia, the butler or one of the kids. But one person on that list has already been killed, and another is locked up in the cellar, so the police lineup has pretty much narrowed itself down. And yet she walks in and out of rooms, having conversations with anybody who happens to be there. Angelique’s already been murdered once so far, and this is probably why. Some people never learn.
Meanwhile, Julia’s trapped in a box in the basement, playing with candles. Angelique has taken Julia off the grid, keeping her locked up until she either reveals Barnabas’ secret or dies of exposure. This is what happens when you allow a mansion to become its own municipality; there are good neighborhoods and bad neighborhoods.
Upstairs, Roger returns to the scene of the crime, to see if there’s any bits of Liz that he left behind. Angelique happens by, not for any particular reason; I have no idea what these people do when they’re not murdering or framing each other.
“Aren’t you afraid to be in here?” Angelique asks, and Roger says, “Why should I be?”
“Well, the room keeps changing, you know that!” she says, meaning that there’s an unstable dimensional boundary in this room, and it’s possible for people to slip back and forth between different bands of time, just by standing here. This is a good point, although it doesn’t explain why Angelique is in this room all the time, up to and including now.
That’s how grim things have become in this house; they’re teetering on the edge of so many precipices that they can’t keep track of which ones they’re supposed to be concerned about. There is a room in the house where it’s possible to fall backwards into a different universe, and they don’t put up any police tape, or post a warning sign on the door.
Just to prove the point, Maggie runs in and announces that Liz’s body has been found in the tower room. Roger shouts “Oh my god!” and rushes off to pretend to be sad, but Angelique sticks around and helps Maggie to a chair. Yeah, the room could change, but who cares? Nobody is afraid of anything in this toxic nuclear summer of a house. You’re going to die anyway; you might as well have a seat while you’re waiting.
And Angelique takes this as another opportunity to drive a wedge between Maggie and Quentin, as if the second violent death in two days is just another tool that she can use for her soap vixen schemes. She doesn’t actually know who killed Elizabeth or why, but all she cares about is issuing press releases filled with alternative facts.
And then Quentin actually comes back from the cave for another conversation in Angelique’s room. I swear, I don’t know what to do with these people; they are absolutely incapable of taking any logical steps to protect themselves from anything.
Angelique says thank goodness you weren’t here before, the police came through and searched the house, and they might have found you, although they didn’t find Julia, who’s hidden in a place where Quentin could have been hiding, unless he’s eavesdropping on the servants or jumping out of a window or standing behind a couch. At this point, the police are just an idea, rather than a literal group of people.
He stands around being morose about why Maggie would want to kill Elizabeth, and Angelique urges him to quit worrying about it and go back to the cave. “And will that stop me from what I’m thinking?” he retorts, as he sinks into a chair and just sits there.
So this must be a new season of Survivor: Collinwood, that’s the only explanation. Vacancies are popping up all over the house, but the final four contestants keep drinking brandy and competing in immunity challenges.
At one point, Angelique announces that the housekeeper has left, and Maggie and Roger are both startled. “Well, that’s incredible!” Roger says. What are you thinking? How many people need to die before you recognize that you live in a warzone?
But Maggie is finally taking a first step towards thinking clearly. She says that she’s taken the children into town, and she’s come back to pack. She doesn’t say where she dropped the kids off, but it doesn’t really matter. Even hanging around on the docks would be a healthier environment than Collinwood is.
Then Maggie goes upstairs to pack, and she finds Quentin in her room, who accuses her of being a witch and tries to murder her.
So that’s how we end up here, in the Thunderdome. Maggie runs away from Quentin, straight to the most hazardous room in the house, where she gradually realizes that she’s locked in a room with the person that she should have been running away from.
Although honestly I don’t even know if that would have helped; Maggie is clearly not very skilled at leaving the house. The three people that she’s talked to today all want to murder her; it’s a tossup which one actually gets to her first.
So I think we need some motorcycle gangs in here, riding through the desert wasteland; it couldn’t possibly make things worse, and it might be an improvement. Is there still a Green Place we could get to? It doesn’t even have to be that green. It’s the orange and pink we need to get away from.
Tomorrow: Famous Last Words.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
Quentin tells Angelique, “I don’t have any idea to stop what’s going on around here.”
In act 1, when Julia rushes to bang on the door, the camera swings wide, and we can see past the edge of the set.
Quentin and Angelique talk over each other, when they’re talking about Liz’s death.
Maggie tells Roger, “I’d like to take David and Amy away from here.” She means Daniel. Later, she tells Angelique, “I’ll be up in David’s room.”
Not a blooper, just amazing: At the end of the teaser, when Julia worries about being trapped in a sealed room with just one candle, she takes a couple steps back and instinctively finds the one spot in the set where she can get some light on her face.
Tomorrow: Famous Last Words.
— Danny Horn