Tag Archives: amnesia

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Episode 971: The Cleanup Crew

“Whatever it is that’s drawing you there, I hope it doesn’t harm you.”

Roger Collins wakes up, somewhat the worse for wear. He’s in a hallway, and his head hurts. He tries to take stock of his surroundings, but these particular surroundings are difficult to stock-take. Why is he on the floor?

A friend is standing nearby. He looks up at her, and moans, “Julia, what are you doing here?”

“Elizabeth said I could come and see the architecture in the east wing,” she chirps. “It’s very interesting.” Roger tries to assimiliate this information into his current worldview.

The problem is that he’s got a couple big holes punched in his memory card, one labeled Killer Octopus from Outer Space and the other Oh My God That Nice Woman from the Antiques Store Is a Vampire. Between them, that pretty much sums up everything that Roger’s experienced in the last couple of months; everything else is just make-believe visits to Bangor-on-Business, which is imaginary.

He tries to narrow down the problem, and lands on location. “The east wing?” he scowls. “Did you say the east wing?”

“Yes, Roger,” she says.

He shakes his head, and exclaims, “Well, what am I doing here?”

“Well, now, Roger, I’m sure you have a very sound reason,” Julia says, as she helps him to his feet, “but blows on the head have a way of making people forgetful.” Then she pats him on the arm, and encourages him to go talk about it somewhere else.

Continue reading Episode 971: The Cleanup Crew

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Episode 911: Is a Joke

“I might be able to forget that I’m dead.”

Dr. Julia Hoffman is hard at work, treating a stubborn case of soap opera amnesia with her own unique mix of hypnosis, lies and trespassing. At the moment, she’s sneaking into the west wing with the late Quentin Collins, Collinwood’s Public Enemy #1.

Nine months ago, Quentin’s ghost walked these halls, driving the family out of the house and into a refugee camp for rich people at the mansion next door. But things change, and now — thanks to some timely intervention and a huge dollop of suspension of disbelief — he has survived, permanently preserved. Seventy-two years after his averted assassination, Quentin Collins walks the earth, alive and alone.

But just at the finish line, he was struck down by a speeding car, and in all the excitement, he lost his memory. Now his misremembered friend Julia has the difficult task of piecing him back together.

So she’s got him upstairs in his old room, and she’s playing his chart-topping theme song, hoping to reawaken his shattered sense of self. And now we’re watching somebody urgently waiting for someone else to remember the Song of the Summer.

Continue reading Episode 911: Is a Joke

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Episode 910: Epistemology of the Portrait

“Look, I’m really not someone who lived a hundred years ago.”

We’ve got it all wrong, of course. We usually do.

An understanding of virtually any aspect of modern Western culture must be not merely incomplete, but damaged in its central substance to the degree that it does not incorporate a critical analysis of the structured binary opposition between the signifiers “Quentin Collins” and “Grant Douglas”. The only way to properly understand these meanings is to deconstruct the assumptions and knowledge systems that produce the illusion of singular meaning.

Quentin Collins understands that. I understand it, too. The rest of you are just going to have to catch up.

Continue reading Episode 910: Epistemology of the Portrait

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Episode 909: Another Alias

“Can you see the center of the stone? Because beyond that center is another center.”

Take Quentin Collins, please. Take away his wardrobe, take him away from his family, and take him out of context. What do you get?

Well, you get David Selby in a bathrobe, which is still better than most of the available alternatives. But then what?

Continue reading Episode 909: Another Alias

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Episode 905: Waiting for Quentin

“The room will undergo a change.”

And then the door opens, and a wristwatch walks in.

See, there’s this mystery man in town who we’re not sure who it is, but he’s tall and dark-haired and possibly sideburned and it’s supposed to be Quentin. Last week, we saw him — or parts of him, anyway — watching Megan and Carolyn through the antique shop window, and then sneaking into Collinwood to silently check out the furnishings. We got a hint of sideburns when he was looking in the window, but the rest of the time, we just saw his trenchcoat, his shoes and his watch. I can’t explain the watch.

So it’s time-tossed werewolf vagabond Quentin Collins, of course, the reckless idol of American youth, who we last saw three weeks ago, at the tail end of the 1897 time-travel storyline. Quentin left Collinsport to search the world for the magical portrait that keeps him alive and young, and now that Barnabas and Julia are back in the present day, obviously he needs to join them again, and resume his leading role on the show.

When we saw the mystery man last week, they made a big deal about his wristwatch for some reason. He kept putting his wrist next to things — a portrait, a doorknob — and holding it there, while the camera zoomed in for a close-up. Quentin was never particularly attached to timepieces, as far as I recall, but I suppose he’s had seven decades to pick up a new hobby.

In Friday’s episode, the silent mystery man walked into the antique shop, and the first thing he did was hoist his wrist up in an awkward position, and leave it there so the camera could give us another thrilling wristwatch shot. I don’t know, maybe it’s a metaphor for something.

Continue reading Episode 905: Waiting for Quentin

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Episode 633/634: All Our Dead Have Turned Into Skeletons

“Your powers, Mr. Blair. Where are they now?”

Okay, so that happened.

Nicholas Blair, who we might as well call the Big Bad until something Big Worse comes along, has realized that he’s going to be transferred back to the home office in the Netherworld pretty soon, and if he wants to hold on to his girlfriend Maggie, then he needs to put The Ring on it.

So he does what any young lover would do, namely: drug her champagne, carry her downstairs to the bloodstone circle, and recite a romantic selection or two from the Malleus Maleficarum.

Yesterday’s episode is the example that I cite whenever I’m trying to explain how unbelievably weird Dark Shadows can be, because it’s pretty much the furthest they ever go in this particular direction. Not because it doesn’t work (although it doesn’t, really) — just because at this point there is literally nowhere left to go.

You’ve just shown America’s children how to perform a Black Mass. The only thing you can do after that is run away, screaming You’ll never catch me alive! and laughing maniacally.

Continue reading Episode 633/634: All Our Dead Have Turned Into Skeletons

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Episode 612: Reflections on the Golden Eye

“The trouble, I guess, is that soaps are rather subterranean.”

Here’s a story that isn’t true:

In some ways the situation wasn’t unusual for a soap opera. A girl and an older man, in the process of eloping, had been hurt in an auto accident. However, the condition of the still-unconscious male patient baffled the examining doctors at the hospital. Although he had suffered only a minor head wound and was breathing normally, his veins were almost empty of blood and no heartbeat or pulse could be detected.

The treatment — massive transfusions — was already underway when the patient’s personal physician and a friend arrived at the emergency ward. “What do you think will happen to him?” asked the friend in a desperate whisper. “Who can tell?” was the M.D.’s equally tense reply. “After all, no one’s ever given massive blood transfusions to a vampire before.”

And then “a burst of eerie music is followed by a denture-adhesive commercial, and one more episode of Dark Shadows comes to a cliff-hanging conclusion,” except it didn’t happen that way.

Continue reading Episode 612: Reflections on the Golden Eye

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Episode 610: Inexplicable You

“We’ve both lived before, only you’ve came back looking the same, and I’ve come back looking different!”

Now, if I were to say to you that today’s episode of Dark Shadows involves a French Revolution-era psychopath named Danielle Roget, who’s recently been reincarnated as a Bride of Frankenstein monster so that a demonic magician can breed her to an inhuman creature that’s sharing a life force with an ex-vampire and create a new race of beings dedicated to serving Satan, and that she looks out the window and sees the guy who’s waiting for the Collins family’s governess to get ready for their date, and she realizes that he’s actually the unwitting reincarnation of a lawyer that the governess fell in love with when she traveled back in time and was on trial for witchcraft, then how would you react?

Yeah, I thought so. I’m sorry. I just don’t know what else I can say.

Continue reading Episode 610: Inexplicable You

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Episode 524: Dead Man Walking

“What’s impossible is that you can’t remember something that just happened a minute ago.”

Well, that was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it? It’s been seven weeks since the last time we saw Jeff Clark, going all the way back to early May, before Adam the patchwork Frankenstein man was even a guy.

Jeff’s been in Portsmouth all this time, apparently, trying to track down information about his past. It didn’t go that well, by which I mean that he came back and now he’s on my television show again.

Continue reading Episode 524: Dead Man Walking

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Episode 468: The Odd Couple

“You keep talking about secret rooms, and guns. It bothers me for some reason.”

And now, another tableau from our pageant of Great Moments in Fictional Health Care.

Victoria Winters was in a car accident the other day, and escaped entirely unharmed. But she’s been cooped up in a hospital bed for episode after episode, and she doesn’t even have a magazine.

She says to her doctor, “You are going to release me today, aren’t you?” The doctor smirks, and says, “Now, why be in such a hurry?”

So apparently this hospital encourages able-bodied patients to stay longer. Even for a vampire soap opera, that requires more suspension of disbelief than anything else on the show. I thought we were back in the 20th century.

Continue reading Episode 468: The Odd Couple