“Are you aware that you’re looking in the direction of the Old House?”
You know, I hate to be that guy, but if you can’t even do a duel properly, then I don’t know why you’re on television.
I mean, I remember the days when a Dark Shadows character could walk ten paces, turn and choose not to fire because they were being noble and heroic, and in return they would be shot in the face and die, like a man. And then they would come back as a revenant with an eyeball hanging out of their face and a different voice and they would say I WANT IN DEATH WHAT YOU WOULD NOT GIVE ME IN LIFE and people would be afraid of them and run away, and it would be crazy-looking and fun to watch. That’s what I expect out of a duel, some spectacle and excitement, and most importantly, an actual plot point that facilitates story progression.
But this? Bramwell stands there and lets Morgan shoot him in, I don’t know, the shoulder or something, and now he’s just saying sullen Bramwell stuff while he’s horizontal instead of vertical.
This is not romantic and noble. It’s not even story progression. This is just lying down and moping.
I mean, there isn’t even any blood, which is the least they could do in the service of dramatic verisimilitude. When Morgan shoots, Bramwell should clutch his shoulder and burst a little handful of stage blood, just to give us something to look at. What I see when I look at the instant-replay duel footage is Bramwell Collins walking across the lawn, standing still and then falling over. There’s not a scratch on him. In fact, I’m not even sure it had anything to do with the duel; it might just be a coincidence.
When Morgan tells Catherine and Daphne that Bramwell was wounded in the duel, he makes a puzzled expression on his big face, and says, “He raised his pistol, but never fired it. I’ll never know why…” Well, you could walk over and ask.
So as far as I’m concerned, Bramwell is just lying there and taking a nap, on ABC’s dime. When he wakes up, he pretends that he’s going to get up, and then he pretends that his shoulder hurts, and then he’s in bed for the rest of the week.
Catherine’s sister Daphne is the current attending physician; she says that she examined the wound and put a temporary dressing on it. She also must have dragged him out of the woods and all the way to the Old House and up the stairs and into bed, because Morgan just left him to bleed out on the pavement, and nobody has a cell phone to call for an ambulance. Bramwell asks if his mother knows, and Daphne says yes, you can’t really drag a grown man up two flights of stairs by his shirt collar without other people in the house wondering what all the noise is about.
Fortunately, Daphne is dressed properly for emergency medical care; her PPE consists of a dress made of about three times more fabric than seems strictly necessary, even for the mid nineteenth. There might actually be more than one person back there. If you ever wanted to break somebody out of prison and smuggle them to safety, that dress would be the perfect ensemble; it might even be bulletproof. Bramwell’s lying there and thinking, why wasn’t I wearing that during the duel? It would have been like shooting at a continent.
Now, the whole reason why he went into the duel in the first place was because he kept insisting that Catherine couldn’t possibly marry Morgan, because she loved Bramwell so much that it would take her a couple minutes between the time he broke into her house until the time that she told him to go away and never come back. Presumably, if he won the duel, then Morgan would be dead and Catherine would marry Bramwell, although they never checked in with Catherine about it and she may have had other plans.
Now that the duel is over and they’re both still more or less alive, Bramwell doesn’t really know what to do with himself. “Morgan made a great mistake in not killing me,” he says. “Everyone would have been better off, with one of us dead.” This is probably true, but it’s too late now.
“Catherine no longer has anything to do with it,” he continues. “She and I, we’re through. She is my enemy now, and always will be.” We may need to set up a follow-up duel.
Still, he’s not entirely without human feeling. “You are very kind, to come here,” he says. “I’m very grateful to you.”
“I didn’t come out of kindness,” she replies.
“Then why are you here?”
“Because I want to be here,” she says. “And because I want you to go on living.”
That means that she did come out of kindness, and I’m not sure why she’s trying to deny it. For people who talk about their feelings pretty much non-stop, they are really not very self-aware.
So I think that Daphne might be Isabella Linton, which is not a good thing to be if you find yourself in Wuthering Heights. My advice to young women starting out in life is to figure out whether you’re Isabella Linton or not. That is a thing that you need to ascertain.
Meanwhile, the guy who won the duel isn’t happy either, so I don’t know why they went through with it, if it was just going to piss everybody off.
Morgan walks into the drawing room and stands right next to Catherine and shouts, “I’m still waiting for a direct answer!” and if you have to wait all the way through a scene for a direct answer then it’s not likely that you’re going to get one.
“I can’t stop thinking about it,” she says, getting to her feet and looking pained. “I’m just so sorry it all happened.”
“Well, I’m NOT!” he hollers. “Maybe this incident will bring him to his senses!” And it’s true that getting shot by someone is a good opportunity to re-evaluate your life choices, except if you’re in literature and you’re a symbol of something.
Catherine looks around at nothing in particular. “If this feud goes on,” she says, “it will end in tragedy! You know that, don’t you, Morgan?” He says yes. He seems to be in favor of it.
She crosses to the window, and he observes her for a moment before saying, “Are you aware that you’re looking in the direction of the Old House?” This is all-time champion mansplaining, which would be incredibly annoying even if he wasn’t showing the entire shaft of his cock through the front of his trousers. The answer is yes, Catherine is aware of the direction that she is looking in. That is a thing that people are often aware of.
“Is that where you’d like to be, Catherine?” he badgers her, and she indicates I’m conflicted so hard that they might as well put it on the closed-captions.
“I’M WAITING FOR AN ANSWER!” he shouts —
— and then the next thing you know, they’re kissing, and I have to admit that I did not see that coming. I guess sometimes attempted murder works, as a problem-solving tool.
So it turns out that there’s plot progression after all, thank goodness. I was afraid that we were going to have another week of aborted wedding plans, but Catherine and Morgan slipped away and got married during a commercial break. I guess that’s what I wanted, although now we have to hear them call each other “darling” all the time, which is going to wear on me something fierce.
But I have to say, I still prefer doing it the other way, with zombies and dream sequences and champagne bottles full of blood. I’m just an old-fashioned romantic, I suppose.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
They shoot the reprise from yesterday’s finale again, and make the same mistakes: when Morgan and Bramwell are taking ten paces, you can see the edge of the burlap on the floor, and a studio light.
After he shoots Bramwell, the camera can’t get Morgan’s face in focus. Then they cut to a partially obscured view of Bramwell on the ground.
I cleaned the quote up in the post, but what Bramwell actually says to Daphne is, “Catherine has no longer anything to do with it.”
Gerard doesn’t disappoint, still serving up Gerardspeak: “But if you’re wrong, she could be a thousand miles away from now— by now.”
As Morgan pours champagne for Catherine, the camera swings too wide, and you can see the edge of the set.
When Daphne tells Bramwell that Catherine and Morgan are married, there’s a clank in the studio.
— Danny Horn