Category Archives: July 1969

Episode 798: Everyone You Love Must Die

“I know your feeling. Everyone I love must die, too.”

“How dark it is!” says the unresting spirit of Julianka. “I do not like death at all!” She was only killed a few hours ago, so she hasn’t had a lot of time to get used to it, but here she is, already submitting her post-mortem Yelp review. I guess even dead people get impatient sometimes. That’s kind of comforting, in a way.

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Episode 797: Meanwhile, in the Present

“We have no time for your gypsy feelings!”

Hey, do you remember that plot contrivance that you don’t remember from like six weeks ago, when Jamison had a prophetic dream about Quentin’s death? In the dream, the ghost of Quentin appeared to Jamison’s grandson David, and gave him a handful of story points.

“Three things happened,” the ghost said, in the imagined future. “If I could have changed any one of them — if I could have known what they meant, while they were happening — maybe I wouldn’t have died when I did.’

David asked what the three things were, because he has good manners, plus what else are you going to say.

“The first was the discovery of a silver bullet at Collinwood. And then the one person who could have helped me — who could have kept me alive — was murdered.”

“What was the third thing?”

“Ah. That — that was the worst. The one person in this world that I truly loved turned against me. After that happened, there was practically no time left for Quentin Collins.”

So that was extremely informative, as prophetic dreams go. It’s not the thing I would have done, if Quentin showed up in one of my dreams, but I suppose people have different priorities.

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Episode 796: Death and Taxes

“I have a small nagging wonder at your even being here.”

When we last left Quentin, he was strapped to a table under a slowly descending swinging axe, not at all in danger of being brutally killed. Quentin was trapped in this entirely non-lethal predicament by Aristede, who rigged up some “Pit and the Pendulum” machinery, and then left him here to not die.

The clock was not winding down and time was not running out, and the pendulum was not inching ever closer to our hero. It was inching, yes. I will concede the inching. But towards what?

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Episode 795: The Pits

“You have never been willing to admit to yourself that I might have feelings.”

Aristede smiles, as he tightens the straps around Quentin Collins’ wrists. So far, the plan is working out just fine. The razor-sharp axe is suspended by a rigged-up pulley system that allows it to slice in a nice, clean arc. The gears are timed to lower the axe slowly, inch by inch, until it reaches the helpless body strapped firmly to the wooden table. And Quentin will be trapped, watching the blade as it descends inexorably in the direction of down. Unfortunately, it’s still uncertain at what point this turns into anything but a crafts project.

Aristede wants the Legendary Hand of Count Petofi, a powerful artifact that Quentin does not have. And there’s nothing that Quentin can do to help Aristede obtain it, especially not when he’s tied down to this horological murder machine.

The big idea appears to be that Aristede is going to go to Angelique, who actually does have the Hand, and tell her that Quentin only has thirty minutes to live. As the pendulum swings closer to Quentin’s midsection, Angelique will gladly give up the Hand in exchange for her friend’s life.

Now, obviously, he could achieve exactly the same results by just locking Quentin up in a closet and telling Angelique anything he wants. That would have saved him all that time and expense, and probably two trips to Home Depot. This just looks like a whole lot of hassle to me.

Continue reading Episode 795: The Pits

Episode 794: Victor and the Wolf

“I regard anyone who tries to choke me as an enemy.”

Okay, the story so far: The Dark Shadows writers have decided that they want to stick around in the 19th century for a while, because the 1897 storyline is fun and popular. Plus, it’s got great characters, not counting the ones that they’ve murdered recently, which is most of them.

So we’re currently four days deep into the 1897 Relaunch week, where they start staffing up again for another few months on this uncertain and frightening journey into the past. So far, we’ve met Aristede, a dangerous, dark-eyed rogue from the Arabian Nights, and we’ve seen the latest reboot of Angelique.

Today, another mysterious stranger strolls into town, and he’s even more mysterious than the last one. We’re going to see a lot of mysterious strangers over the next month or so; it’s like an epidemic or something.

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Episode 793: The Puppeteer

“Can’t you tell what I’m doing? I’m choking you.”

Quentin lights three black candles, and we get the spooky summoning ritual music. “Oh, hidden spirit,” he chants to nobody in particular, “climb out of the pits of Hell, if that is where you be!”

He’s trying to reach Angelique, the sorcerous soap vixen, because sometimes things really are that bad.

“Hidden spirit… Make your presence known to me!”

His face was shredded by a legendary artifact called the Hand of Count Petofi, and just when he hoped to use the Hand again to cure himself, an intruder showed up and snatched it away.

“You are needed! NOW!”

But it’s no use, Angelique doesn’t show up. Last time he tried to call on her, she flew out of the fireplace on demand, but this ritual is a bust. That’s how bad things are for Quentin right now; his most desperate prayers go unanswered.

Magda tells him that they might as well give up, and run away. She rushes to the door, opens it — and finds Angelique, who’s just standing there on the porch. She didn’t hear Quentin’s summoning ritual or anything; she just happened to be coming by anyway. Angelique is a baller.

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Episode 792: Dances with Wolves

“I would laugh, if there was any laughing left in me!”

Quentin Collins returns to the Old House on the Collins estate, empty-handed in several senses of the word. Earlier in the evening, he went to his friend Evan’s house to retrieve the legendary Hand of Count Petofi, a magical artifact that may have the power to release him from a terrible curse. But he returns without it, and his gypsy friend Magda is crushed. She was the one who put the terrible curse on him in the first place, but they’ve made peace with each other, and now they’re bonded together in a way that only two people who wear too much makeup can be.

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Episode 791: Sign the Paper

“No, Judith — you’re not mad, you’re just… burdened.”

Reverend Trask is comforting his distressed wife. “Now, Evan here has a paper that will lift a great deal of that burden from you, as soon as you sign it.”

But Judith is too upset to focus. “I can’t read anything right now!”

“There’s no need to read it, Judith,” her husband explains. “Just sign it.”

She says that she needs to talk to her brother Edward first, but the Reverend and his lawyer-accomplice shake their heads. Edward, they say, is dead. He’s not, actually — at least, he looked okay, the last time I saw him — but Trask and Evan seem pretty sure about it.

“Why can’t I remember?” Judith cries. “What’s happening? Everything is going to pieces, I want it to stop!”

“Judith, it will stop,” Trask says, “when you sign the paper.”

“Sign the paper,” Evan agrees.

Judith turns to look at Trask’s dead wife Minerva, who’s just sitting there, glaring at her with undisguised loathing.

“She keeps staring at me,” Judith mutters. “She’s watching me, and waiting. What is she waiting for?”

Trask insists, “Judith, sign the paper. That is the only way I can make you stop seeing this phantom that doesn’t exist!” He picks up the pen, and puts it into her hand. “Sign the paper, Judith. Sign the paper!”

Now, I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but I’m starting to get the feeling that they want Judith to sign the paper. This has all the earmarks of being one of those sign-the-paper parties.

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Episode 789: My Wife and My Dead Wife

“In effect, we are going to create — a thing!”

Reverend Trask has only been married to his new wife Judith for three days, and already she’s defective. She seems to have picked up the idea that she’s actually Trask’s first wife, Minerva, and she’s determined to punish the people responsible for her murder, namely: Trask and his associate, Evan Hanley. This is not the kind of reliability that Reverend Trask expected; I hope he remembers where he put the warranty.

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