Category Archives: Sam Hall

Episode 1058: When I Am Not With You

“Do you know how the world is? It’s so very light when I’m with you.”

Roxanne is terrible. Dear god, she is terrible.

I’m hard on Barnabas love interests in general; I don’t actually like Josette all that much, either, which I know is a controversial stance. I appreciate her role in the story — obviously, she’s crucial — but when Josette and Barnabas are together, they don’t talk about anything but love. His relationship with Vicki was neutered and unimportant — in that case, he was really just a third-wheel spoiler between Vicki and Jeff. The parade of Josette lookalikes were kind of fun, but only when they were Rachel and Kitty and Maggie; as soon as Josette took over, they got boring again. Really, the only story-productive relationships that Barnabas has are with Angelique and Julia, and everyone else is an also-ran.

But Roxanne is so far beyond anything we’ve seen before. Roxanne is toxic.

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Episode 1054: Another Day in the Desert

“We should leave this house, and let it stand deserted!”

Today’s situation report: Roger, who killed Angelique, has killed Liz, and is hiding her in Angelique’s room, while Angelique is hiding Julia, who killed Julia, in the basement. I literally cannot make it any plainer than that.

We’re currently living in the end times of Parallel Time, a rickety storyline staggering towards a finish line that’s been buried in the sand like the Statue of Liberty in an ape movie. Almost everyone is dead, and the cast list is getting shorter by the day. There are three more murders coming in the next two episodes, as everyone settles whatever scores they have left, without the assistance of law enforcement or common sense.

Collinwood of Parallel Time is a post-apocalyptic landscape, where War Boys and Smokers and Postmen deal out frontier justice from their supersonic speedcycles. And we can’t count on the main characters to help, because one of them is locked in the basement, and the other one is busy trying to half-wake a comatose girl using electricity and face-touching. I know what Tina Turner said, but we do actually need another hero, and if anyone has one, please direct him or her to Parallel Collinwood immediately.

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Episode 1050: The Fault in Our Stars

“I must learn your secret — how to bring you half alive!”

It’s 4:00 on another summer afternoon, and Dr. Julia Hoffman is mixing drinks. “Nothing for me, thank you,” Elizabeth says, and the doctor replies, “Are you sure, Mrs. Stoddard? You usually like a cocktail before dinner.”

It’s not a typical situation for someone with a medical degree and her own sanitarium, but Julia’s currently on vacation in a parallel dimension, solving other people’s problems. She’s murdered her alt-universe double — Collinwood’s housekeeper, Hoffman — and taken her place, in order to revive a black-magic-afflicted coma victim and destroy a wicked witch. Now she’s hopping back and forth between making beds and exploring the outer limits of human consciousness, just like every other woman in 1970.

She’s a housekeeper, a bartender, an impostor, a spy, a murderer, a blood specialist, a henchperson, a mad scientist, a dear friend and an all-purpose lunatic. I don’t know she does it; it just goes to show that women really can have it all.

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Episode 1044: Weekend at Barney’s

“No, she is not! But her spirit is.”

“But we can get to Angelique through her!” he says, and she says, how? which seems like a fair question.

“If we control some of her condition — slightly! — Angelique will collapse,” he says. “Then — well, we can control her then, and she can do nothing! That will give us time!”

So that’s the plan, I guess; all we have to do is control some of her condition, slightly. We finally got that all figured out.

Continue reading Episode 1044: Weekend at Barney’s

Episode 1043: The Heat Death of the Universe

“We cannot ignore the fact that that hairpin was your mother’s.”

So, for starters, it’s not a dream. I know what a dream sequence looks like on Dark Shadows, and that isn’t what this is. Carolyn’s eyes are open, and she’s sitting on the couch. This is some kind of wide-awake Chromakey phenomenon that they apparently have in this parallel band of concurrent time when they want somebody to think about something, but they don’t have time to put her to bed.

In this weird green-screen memory mashup, Carolyn sees Angelique lying dead on the floor, after her murder at the infamous seance that Carolyn did not attend. And lying on the floor next to the remains, there’s the head of a hatpin. That’s the whole thing, not a lot to shriek about.

But Carolyn shrieks like she’s being attacked by parallel pig weasels, and Julia comes running.

“I remember it now!” Carolyn cries. “I know who murdered Angelique!” But the dream only told her something that she already knew, and it’s not a very interesting revelation. Also, it wasn’t a dream.

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Episode 1039: Barnabas, Julia and the Lady in the Back Parlor

“It never ends, does it, when one begins to unravel evil?”

Angelique’s dad owns a lady that he keeps lying on a table in the back parlor with a sheet over her, and about 95 percent of her life force is being projected, apparently through WiFi, to keep Angelique upright. This is an approach to grief that Kübler-Ross never saw coming.

But Angelique’s dad is some kind of brilliant crackpot voodoo science futurist, like Nikola Tesla running a psychic hotline. It’s all done with injections and candles somehow. I don’t know how he landed on this lady in particular.

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Episode 1038: The Spy Who Loved Me

“I thought I had removed the life force completely, but apparently not.”

The vampire rises from his crypt, murder on his mind. Someone has intruded on his private sanctum, and she must be destroyed.

“So you’ve found me out!” he growls. “It will be the last thing you’ll ever do.”

She backs away. They always do — the doomed ones, the prey — scuttling towards the wall, squeaking, searching for the magic words that will make this nightmare stop coming true. And then the interloper says the one improbable thing that could flip the script on the oncoming train wreck.

“No, Barnabas, it’s me!” she chirps. “It’s me, Julia! I’m dressed this way for a reason!”

Continue reading Episode 1038: The Spy Who Loved Me

Episode 1034: Mistakes in Justice

“I tried slapping her, and telling her there was no such person as Alvah.”

And so, as Sabrina sinks slowly in the west, we wonder: is there any other version of this story we could pay attention to instead?

I mean, the current storyline on Dark Shadows basically entails Barnabas struggling to save fake Maggie from fake Angelique, as they fight over an imitation Quentin made of straw and food coloring. Sabrina is gone and Julia is on the ascendant, but still, it’s Parallel Time and there’s only so much I can deal with. So how about today we turn to an equally ersatz band of time, and see what’s happening over at the Paperback Library?

Dan “Marilyn” Ross is currently pumping out Dark Shadows novels at the rate of 159 pages a month, and honestly they’re just as canon as anything else, so we ought to keep an eye on them just to make sure they’re not hurting anybody. The current installment as of May 1970 is #17 in the PBL Gothic series: Barnabas, Quentin and the Avenging Ghost, the second book to use the “Barnabas, Quentin and…” construction.

The cover blurb says “Barnabas and Quentin join forces against Collinwood’s ghostly killer,” which isn’t strictly accurate, in that they don’t join forces, it’s not necessarily Quentin, there isn’t a ghost, and nobody gets killed. Besides that, it’s fine.

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Episode 1030: A Room of One’s Own

“Will you feel the pain when this enters his body?”

Well, once again it looks like London Bridge is falling down; that’s today’s headline. We’ve got Maggie all locked up in a basement, so if anybody’s looking for her, then that’s where she’ll be. You can’t let these governess types run around loose for too long, or they get into mischief.

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