“Anyone who would do a thing like that is capable of anything.”
Today’s episode opens with — guess who? — Angelique, the villainous lady’s maid, who has basically just walked up and pulled the show out from under everyone else. This storyline was supposed to be about Victoria Winters, girl governess, and her uncertain and frightening journey into the past. But Vicki is off screen today, quietly governessing somewhere, and Angelique takes center stage again.
And, naturally, Angelique is — guess what? — talking about herself, and how great her plans are. She’s recently acquired an unwilling sidekick, the heavily indentured Ben Stokes, and his primary duty appears to be standing by as Angelique delivers a spontaneous TED talk on the subject of how awesome she is.
Continue reading Episode 374: The Wedding Presence
“If I ever leave this place, it will be in my own carriage.”
The first day at a new job is always a trying experience, even if it’s 1795 and you don’t have to switch to a new email address. Ben Stokes just met Angelique earlier in the day, and now she’s cast a spell on him, and made him her slave. So now he probably has to fill out a W-4 form, and give her a cancelled check to set up the direct deposit.
But Angelique has no time for onboarding; she’s got some ambitious first-quarter deliverables. We’d better get started.
Continue reading Episode 373: The Devil Wears Prada
“Joshua Collins can think up a whole lot of ways to be cruel to a man.”
Vicki has mysteriously traveled back in time, from 1967 to 1795, and now she has to fit in, because she doesn’t know how to get home. She’s actually doing remarkably well, under the circumstances. Personally, I’m not sure what I’d do if I suddenly found myself in the wrong century; I don’t really have a backup plan for that. I’ve just tried to stay in the century that I’m in, and so far, it’s worked out okay. So Vicki does earn some respect, just for getting up in the morning and dealing with whatever year she happens to find herself in.
That being said, it’s Vicki, and she’s an idiot. So, obviously, when she meets a Collins family servant who looks like the guy who kidnapped and tried to kill her with an axe last year, she doesn’t say, “Aha, here’s another person from 1795 who coincidentally looks like someone that I used to know; I should play it cool and introduce myself.” Nope. She backs up against the wall and shouts, “Stay away from me!” and then she screams and screams and screams and screams and screams.
Continue reading Episode 372: Another Country
“I do not understand any more than you do.”
Okay, here’s a health tip: If you ever have an overnight layover in Martinique, don’t make out with the crazy girl.
Seriously. The girl is out of her mind. At the moment, she’s got a handkerchief wrapped around the neck of Barnabas’ wooden toy soldier, and she’s choking the life out of it. This is apparently going to teach Barnabas a lesson about treating people with respect. It might also partly be about leaving a tip for the maid when you check out of a hotel. It’s kind of an abstract lesson.
Now, this was an unusual Friday cliffhanger, because we know that Barnabas became a vampire, so he couldn’t have died from action-figure-based asphyxiation. Or maybe he could have. There’s a serious question raised today, which is: How does time travel work?
Continue reading Episode 371: Damn the Torpedoes
“You, and one handkerchief, are all I need to make him regret what he’s done to me.”
Vicki has traveled in time — she’s trapped in 1795, and so are we, for the foreseeable future. We’re here to learn the secret history of how Barnabas became a vampire, and how he lost Josette, the woman that he loved.
In the last episode, we met Angelique, a beautiful young maid who works for Josette’s family. She had a love affair with Barnabas in Martinique, before he knew that the wealthy Josette returned his affections. Josette is traveling to Collinsport for her wedding to Barnabas… but Angelique isn’t done with him yet.
Continue reading Episode 370: A Woman Scorned
“I am your servant. You are my master. That’s the way it is. That’s the way it is to be.”
Okay, let’s talk some more about The Crucible, the 1953 Arthur Miller play about the Salem witch trials. Everybody knows that The Crucible is the inspiration for the Collinsport witch hunt that’s coming up next month, but the influence goes even deeper than that, all the way down into the soul of Dark Shadows.
The play is a dramatization of the hysteria in 1692 Salem, Massachusetts. A group of young girls is found dancing in the woods, in defiance of the strict Puritan laws against dancing, music and anything that might be enjoyable. Horrified at being discovered, and desperate to find a scapegoat, the girls pretend that they’ve been seduced and tormented by witches living in the village. Directed by the eldest girl, Abigail Williams, they become a terrifying mob who accuse dozens of their neighbors. Guided only by the “spectral evidence” of the girls’ testimony, the court convicts and executes 20 innocent people.
Abigail is a terrifying figure in the play — self-centered and vengeful, taking a special delight in wielding the power that she’s suddenly acquired. Abigail was a servant of farmer John Proctor, and her tangled relationship with him is the emotional heart of the drama.
Over the last few weeks, the crucial new idea on the show is to introduce these narrative collisions, weaving characters from other fictional worlds into the story of Dark Shadows. There’s a beautiful woman from another story walking into the house today, and things are going to get ugly.
Continue reading Episode 368/369: A Wicked Woman
“I can’t let you leave here. The evil in you may return in another form.”
You know the scene at the end of The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy wakes up, and she’s delighted to discover that the ruby slippers have carried her home, and she’s surrounded by her family and friends? And everybody is super thrilled that their beloved Dorothy is alive and safe at home? Well, this scene isn’t like that at all.
Today, Vicki wakes up and finds Mrs. Johnson, the friendly housekeeper, sitting by the bed. Except she’s not Mrs. Johnson, she’s not friendly, you’re still trapped in the nightmare, and she hates you.
Continue reading Episode 367: Making History
“Something happened during the séance… something unnatural.”
A long time ago…
Vicki is confused. That’s not a particularly startling development, because she generally goes around in a state of ongoing bafflement, but this time she has a good reason.
The last thing she knew, she was sitting in the Collinwood drawing room, having a perfectly ordinary séance with her employers, just like anyone might at the end of an average day at work. Then a ghost started speaking through her mouth, and now she’s standing outside the Old House, and it’s a bright, sunny day.
As she approaches the house, Barnabas Collins opens the door, and he’s young and alive and engaged to Josette, and it’s the past.
Continue reading Episode 366: The Phantom Menace
“Do you want to stop it, Barnabas? Must you stop it?”
Hey, remember the Collins family? I could’ve sworn that there used to be a television show called Dark Shadows, about this rich family that lived in a big house on a hill.
For months now, the Collins family has been squeezed off the screen by a vampire, a ghost, two doctors, a lawyer, a marionette bat, and so on. Being a living human being with the last name Collins used to mean something in this town.
Well, they’re sick of it. One way or another, they’re going to get the Collins family back to center stage where they belong.
Continue reading Episode 365: Closing Time
“I know there’s good, and there’s evil, because I learned it from you.”
It’s been five months since the ghost of Sarah Collins first appeared to Maggie, back when Barnabas was running a compulsory youth hostel in his basement for pretty girls who remind him of his dead girlfriend.
Since then, Sarah’s been spotted by pretty much everyone, and we’ve learned that she’s the spirit of Barnabas’ beloved little sister.
Barnabas’ memory of loving Sarah is the one completely unselfish human quality that he’s displayed during his lengthy reign of terror. Over the last five months, Sarah has provided aid and comfort to his victims, but she’s never appeared to him directly.
And now — just as he’s about to strangle Julia, just as this storyline appears to be stretched to its breaking point — here she comes.
The question for today: Is this incident big enough to spark the seismic change that this storyline needs, in order to stay relevant and interesting? The answer to that question: Hell, yes.
Continue reading Episode 364: Boom Goes the Dynamite