Category Archives: Gordon Russell

Episode 1149: Wicked

“I do hope he’s not becoming emotionally involved with anyone at Collinwood.”

Here it is, the climax of this epic tragedy: the love story of Barnabas Collins and the late Roxanne Drew. He’s followed her through three layers of paradox to arrive at this choice slice of cliffhanging: the zenith of all his mistakes, piled up on top of each other and ready to topple.

“You will never rest, Barnabas,” the witch spat back then, as she clutched the buckshot wound that he gave her as a wedding present. “And you will never be able to love anyone — for whoever loves you will die!”

And they have, one after another. Kill your darlings, they say, and he has — Josette and Rachel and Kitty and Vicki and Angelique and now, finally, Roxanne, the latest in every sense. He has what he always thought that he wanted — a daughter of Dracula, clad in a filmy shroud, ready to join with him for eternity in a casket built for two.

But it’s all gone wrong, somehow. It turns out a vampire vixen isn’t as sexy as everyone had hoped — instead, she’s a green-skinned witch of the west, hollow eyed and sallow cheeked, and she doesn’t seem to like him. The two predators square off in this shabby lighthouse, lightning flashing from their dark eyes, as the tension stretches to the breaking point.

And then Roxanne opens a door, and walks away.

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Episode 1145: The Unearned Curse

“It is a metaphysical attempt on my part to expand man’s natural horizons, that’s all.”

He’s not mad, really, just disappointed, and he’s also not a scientist, so how he ended up getting involved with mad science is anyone’s guess.

“Now, Gerard,” says Quentin Collins, “what would you think if I told you that by going up those stairs, you could actually travel in another time?”

Gerard is nonplussed. “Well, I’d say you were having a minor pipe dream.”

“But it’s true!” Quentin declares, with no elaboration. “This is my Staircase In Time.” Then he starts walking up the stairs, and nothing happens.

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Episode 1144: The Merry Widow

“It will give me great joy to see you rise from the dead, and walk the night.”

“Believe me, it would make me very happy to kill you,” said Angelique, “but I have decided that you would be more valuable to me alive.”

“Why?” Julia asked.

“For various reasons.”

And yeah, I guess so, because here we are again. That was from July, when the Parallel Angelique imprisoned the actual Julia for a week in a secret basement cell, and now it’s November, and the 1840 Angelique is back at it, but in a deserted lighthouse this time. The spectacle of a power-crazed Angelique tying Julia to a barrel of TNT is so irresistible that they’ve done it twice in four months.

We’re getting close to the end of Dark Shadows, and this story point is the logical conclusion of everything that’s happened since 1967. Strip away all of the details — the families, the time periods, the wannabe it ghouls — and this is the result.

Unable and unwilling to stop himself, Barnabas bites a pretty girl, and then stands around and feels bad about it. Angelique steps in and kills the girl, who turns into a vampire. Then the vampire girl bites Julia at Angelique’s instruction, and now Angelique stands there while Julia slowly succumbs to her wounds, and talks about how happy it makes her.

This is the culmination of all of Barnabas’ bad choices and general ineptitude, and he has no idea what’s going on. He’s just wandering around asking questions, while the women in his life are merrily murdering each other. This is basically the most obvious thing that could ever happen to Barnabas, so it’s good that we’re getting around to it while we’ve still got the time.

Continue reading Episode 1144: The Merry Widow

Episode 1143: Viva Droopy

“I’m not saying that I believe what Mr. Trask told me, although it did depress me quite a bit.”

In the Old House on the Collins estate, Barnabas Collins sits in solitary grief. Only he and Julia know that before another night has passed, Roxanne will become one of the living dead. And then there’s a knock at the door, and in walks Señor Droopy, from Guadalupe.

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Episode 1139: Nothing on Earth

“There’s nothing on earth that can keep us together, or apart!”

Well, here we go again. The legendary head of Judah Zachery has detached once more from the legendary neck, and is now on display in the bedroom of Gerard Stiles, who happened to have a severed-head display case in his closet, just gathering dust. This is why you shouldn’t throw anything away; you never know when you might need it. In fact, that’s pretty much the guiding principle of the show these days.

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Episode 1137: It’s Alive, Sort Of

“The underground vault below the unmarked tomb, of course!”

Lightning flashes, thunder crashes, the hunchback turns the wheel that pulls the pulley that hoists the creature to the rafters. The set explodes in enthusiastic bursts of galvanic excess. The crazed doctor squints as he peers at the ceiling, waiting for the moment when all the power of God’s creation will be at his disposal. More sparks, more zaps, and all of nature cries out — in exaltation or disgust, I know not which — as the operating table winds its way back down, to rest again on the floor.

The doctor rushes forward, craning his neck to catch even the mildest suspicion of success, hardly daring to hope, and there — in direct defiance of all the laws of God and nature — the dead man’s fingers shudder — twitch — and a pale hand rises from the resting position.

“Look!” the doctor gasps. “It’s moving! It’s — alive! It’s ALIVE!” And then the monster gets up, maybe thirty to forty minutes later.

Continue reading Episode 1137: It’s Alive, Sort Of

Episode 1136: Waiting for the Storm

“This time, I can’t help feeling that the dead have nothing to do with what has been happening to me.”

Something dreadful is happening underneath the skin of the world, something unnatural and unreal. Our dreams are full of portents. Everywhere, confusion clouds the mind. Alien forces corrupt our intentions, taking hold and steering us to empty places.

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Episode 1134/1135: The Graveyard Smash

“We cannot succeed without it, because without it he cannot live!”

You know, she’s done amazing things in the past, but now she’s even more in the past, and look what she can do. Displaced medico Julia Hoffman, thrust by circumstance into a time not yet her own, has assembled — in the middle of the night, in the middle of a graveyard, and in the middle of the nineteenth century — a pop-up artisanal mad scientist coworking space with all the trimmings, including assorted glassware lashed into an impromptu apparatus with bubbling liquids of uncertain purpose, along with tables and lamps and switches and samovars and who knows what-all.

She’s even got things wired up with electricity somehow, with a good old-fashioned Jacob’s ladder spark gap buzzing away in the corner, in case the Nobel committee comes by and she needs to science the place up a little.

She’s in a secret underground crypt, by the way, built by ignorant and superstitious villagers a hundred and fifty years ago as a long-term radioactive-waste storage facility, so they would have a place to put decapitated wizards that they weren’t using anymore. It wasn’t zoned for whatever the hell this is, so Julia’s technically a squatter, and she couldn’t hire anybody to help her drag the enormous Frankenstein-size slab through the narrow trap door beneath the unmarked grave, and down the winding stairs to this busted basement. And yet she did it somehow, in absolute silence and secrecy, all on her own. It’s incredible what you can do, when someone else puts your mind to it.

Continue reading Episode 1134/1135: The Graveyard Smash

Episode 1129: Windmills, and How to Tilt at Them

“Each time it reappears, murders follow in its wake!”

Well, this is what happens when you try to un-inevitable the inevitable; shit gets messy. Time-climbing ghostbusters Barnabas Collins and Julia Hoffman have peeled back the layers of the fourth dimension, visiting the undiscovered country of 1840 in order to avert a tragedy that they know perfectly well is going to happen a hundred and thirty years from now, right in front of their faces.

Their plan is to figure out how everything got this way in the first place, and then use that knowledge to make it not happen the way that it’s currently happening before it happens, which it already has. So it’s not going that well.

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