“If he himself can transcend time mentally, he should be willing to accept the fact that it can be transcended physically.”
To be honest, there’s not a huge hell of a lot happening on the show right now. Two kids are inching their way towards being supernaturally swapped for two other kids, one of the romantic leads is being catfished by a ghost, and there are two independent story threads about a main character hoping that a secondary character will turn out to be a dead person that they used to know. None of these storylines are particularly compelling, and they don’t cross over with each other at all. It feels like the writers have gotten into a rut, and decided to stay there.
Usually, the thing that extricates us from this kind of morass is the show’s insistence on having an exciting cliffhanger at the end of every episode, but even that has failed us. This week, there are four episodes in a row that end in exactly the same way — David and Hallie open the playroom door, and then gape in open-mouthed astonishment at whatever they see.
In episode 1082, they open the door and see a dollhouse, with little dolls inside that they recognize from their shared dream. In episode 1083, they open the door and see that the dolls that they burned in the fireplace are back in the dollhouse. In episode 1084, they open the door and see Tad and Carrie, reading from David’s notebook. And in episode 1085, they open the door and see Tad and Carrie again, standing on a staircase.
And that doesn’t even count episode 1074, where they open the door and see the linen closet; episode 1075, where they open the door and see the playroom for the first time; and episode 1080, where Hallie opens the door and sees Tad, and then turns around and opens the door and sees David.
It’s possible that they’re going to keep doing this from now until the end of time, and there’s nothing I can do but try to make it more enjoyable for everyone. Here is my list of 100 things I would like David and Hallie to see when they open the playroom door.
When David and Hallie open the playroom door, they see…
1. A flappy bat, they’re all vampires now
2. Phyllis Wick
3. Another, smaller door
4. Hallie’s mom and dad, they’ve come back to life, this was all a big misunderstanding, and now Hallie can leave
5. A fast-forward button
6. Night of Dark Shadows, might as well get it over with
7. Dinosaurs wrestling
8. A million more wishes
9. Laura Palmer and The Man From Another Place
10. Animal, after eating a whole bottle of Insta-Grow pills
11. Claude North
12. The guy who played Claude North, in a different role
13. Acting classes
14. Movie sign!
15. A Busby Berkeley dance number
16. The answer to life, the universe and everything
17. The Lindbergh baby
19. David and Hallie, opening the door from the other direction
20. Desmond pushing a button every 108 minutes
21. Violet Welles and Robert Costello, they’re back and they’re sorry and they won’t leave us ever again
22. Diagon Alley
23. A dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind
25. Ed McMahon, they’ve won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes
26. Michigan J. Frog, singing “Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal”
27. A missing 1897 episode that’s really amazing, and I’ve never seen it before
28. Lady Gaga
29. Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!
30. A black hole
31. The Statue of Liberty buried in the sand
32. Pee-wee’s Playhouse
34. The Land Before Time
35. Roger Davis (just kidding)
36. The night Rose Cottage burned, the murder, and the night I sang my song, all at once, total head fake
37. An oncoming train
38. Marion, don’t look at it. Shut your eyes, Marion. Don’t look at it, no matter what happens!
39. Today’s winning Lotto numbers
40. Dramatic Chipmunk
41. The Glenbrook Shopping Mall in Fort Wayne
42. David Selby, with his shirt off
43. David Selby, with his shirt on
44. Honestly, just David Selby, it doesn’t matter what he’s wearing. I just really like David Selby.
45. A room filled with hundreds of ping-pong balls
46. A secret warp pipe to the boss castle
47. It’s Christmas Day. I haven’t missed it! The Spirits have done it all in one night!
48. Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.
49. Pig weasel
50. The Cross Bronx Expressway
51. Laser Floyd
52. Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory
53. The room with all the doors from the Dream Curse (just kidding)
54. You get a car! You get a car! You get a car! Everybody gets a car!
55. World peace
56. The Rockettes
57. The room from The Room
58. The Glow Cloud, all hail the Glow Cloud
59. Christmas Town
60. Lumiere singing “Be Our Guest”
61. Pismo Beach, and all the clams we can eat
62. Jonathan Frid, asking us to support public television
63. Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!
64. Boo’s bedroom
66. Bathia Mapes
67. A surprise party
68. Not the playroom, anything but the playroom
69. Raggedy Ann, getting down with the sexy lion plush
70. A world I’ve never known, with people I’ve never met
71. Back to 1995
72. The Upside Down
73. The trash compactor from Star Wars
74. A logical explanation
75. Schrödinger’s cat
76. Fraggle Rock
77. Just a room, no big deal
78. Tad and Carrie, reading a notebook (again)
79. Mrs. Doubtfire
80. He turns around, and they’re all wearing eyepatches
81. John and Yoko, staying in bed for two weeks to protest the Vietnam War
82. Gerard. Is that too much to ask?
83. A room full of Tribbles
84. Another band of time, where this storyline is going somewhere
85. A lady in the bathtub who screams, and they slam the door
86. The Great Unwinding
87. An elevator shaft
88. Episode 1219
89. The playroom, but it’s upside down and they’re standing on the ceiling
90. The Big Bang
91. Pansy Faye
92. The interior of a submarine
93. Scrooge McDuck’s money bin
94. A Dark Shadows convention
95. Metebelis 3
96. A Japanese game show
97. Doctor Sam Beckett, hoping that his next leap will be the leap home
98. A big stack of blog posts for the whole rest of this storyline, already written so I don’t have to think about this anymore
99. A social worker to find a new home for these kids where they don’t get attacked by spirits all the time
100. Six more weeks of winter
Tomorrow: Our Ignorance and Folly.
P.S. Cody Schell went and put together an amazing video of alternate endings for this episode. Thanks, Cody!
Also, if you like the new Twin Peaks, you should check out his incredible Twin Peaks: Once in a Lifetime video.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
Sebastian makes some mistakes when he’s playing the carousel theme on the piano — he hits a lot of wrong notes at the end of act 3, when Julia thinks, “It’s the same music that Barnabas and I heard in 1995!” It’s hard to know how she can tell.
Julia rattles a cup when she’s trying to pour tea for Sebastian.
In act 4, when the scene changes from Julia and Stokes in the foyer to David’s room, we can hear David and Hallie running from one set to the other. When they enter, they’re both a little out of breath.
Tomorrow: Our Ignorance and Folly.
— Danny Horn