Tag Archives: bad medicine

Episode 1018: Diagnosis Murder

“What happened to you wasn’t the work of any form, or spirit.”

Dr. Cyrus Longworth, who isn’t that kind of doctor, enters Quentin Collins’ hospital room with a worried face and a clipboard. Earlier in the day, Quentin suddenly collapsed with agonizing chest pains that felt like he was a clay doll in the hand of an enormous crazy person, who was sticking a sharp pin into his heart. After about an episode, the pain suddenly ceased, and Quentin felt fine, as if nothing had happened, which I suppose technically nothing really had.

Unnerved, he went to the hospital for tests, which have turned out to be even more unnerving.

“The tests have proved most fascinating,” says Dr. Longworth, who seriously is not this kind of doctor.

“What is it?” Quentin smiles. “Don’t tell me I have some hitherto undiscovered tropical disease.”

Cyrus grimaces. “Well, if — if you had,” he stammers, “I would have known what to do.”

“What are you talking about?”

Cyrus gives his friend a grim look. “Quentin…” he says, “there’s nothing wrong with you!”

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Episode 1016: Fire Is Not a Friend

“Fingers of flame, make healthy again what I have diseased!”

Well, here we are, another week in Parallel Time, and the logic deficit is just as bad as ever. We’re four days into an utterly baffling plot arrangement involving a parallel triangle between Quentin, Angelique and Maggie, who are all married to each other and desperately unhappy about it.

Quentin’s first wife, Angelique — who’s dead, but pretending that she isn’t — wants him to fall in love with her again. But he’s already in love, sort of, with his second wife Maggie, who fled the house weeks ago so she could go upstate and make a movie. That left Angelique alone with Quentin to work her wicked wiles, but they don’t really have a hell of a lot of chemistry these days, and she’s getting desperate.

So Angelique keeps doing these supernatural middle-school science experiments, and then getting all angsty when they don’t produce the desired results, which are unspecified. First, she slipped Quentin a magic potion that was supposed to drive him crazy, and it worked. Unfortunately, he went entirely crazy, rather than the 60% crazy that Angelique was apparently budgeting for, and he slipped up to the attic to hang himself. She managed to talk him down, of course, because obviously she doesn’t want her weird magic spells to hurt the man that she loves.

Except here she is twenty-two minutes later, and she’s attacking him again, this time by sticking a silver pin into a voodoo doll and triggering a massive coronary. Then she heads downstairs, and finds exactly what she ought to expect — Quentin lying on the floor, and everybody else standing around, telling each other not to have hysterics.

“Quentin!” she cries, and rushes to his side, horrorstruck by the idea that he might die from the heart attack that she deliberately induced one minute ago. And then she spends the rest of the episode worrying about him, and wondering if maybe she could have handled this differently.

So I don’t even know what to say. The all-powerful living dead soap vixen at the heart of this storyline is hell bent on doing exactly the opposite of what she actually wants, and then she’s unhappy. What’s going on? How is it possible to be this bad at your job?

Continue reading Episode 1016: Fire Is Not a Friend

Episode 488: Pretty People in Terrible Trouble

“Well, so much for that little brainstorm.”

Today’s episode begins with another Great Moment in Monster Medicine, as Dr. Julia Hoffman injects some magic fluid into the patchwork Frankenstein that they’re planning to bring to life on Friday.

Looking on, Barnabas asks, “Why do you keep giving him these shots?”

Julia sighs, and says, “If he should begin to decompose, then he will be utterly useless to us.”

The logic behind injecting things into the dead is a little tenuous — the body doesn’t have a functioning circulatory system to move the fluid around. At this point, I think what we’re looking at is a rotting corpse with an exceptionally well-preserved shoulder.

Continue reading Episode 488: Pretty People in Terrible Trouble

Episode 467: Physician, **** Thyself

“Perhaps — in the mastery of science, in the mastery of modern medicine — you will find your best hiding place!”

Previously, on Dark Shadows — Barnabas Collins, knocked unconscious in a car accident, was brought to the Collinsport Hospital, and is now under the care of Dr. Eric Lang. Observing the patient’s lack of pulse and impossibly low blood count, noting the presence of two puncture wounds in Vicki’s neck, and blessed with the unique ability to add two and two, Dr. Lang identified Barnabas as a vampire, halfway through yesterday’s episode.

Dr. Lang confronted Julia with his conclusions, and insisted that they work together to treat Barnabas’ condition — and by the end of the episode, Lang surprised Barnabas by whipping open the heavy curtains and exposing his panic-stricken patient to the late-afternoon sunlight.

And now Barnabas is fine.

Continue reading Episode 467: Physician, **** Thyself

Episode 466: Welcome to the Hellmouth

“Doctor, may I see your neck, please?”

We closed our first week back in the 1960s with a tremendous car accident, which is either a metaphor for the chaotic process of change and renewal, or just another example of Victoria Winters destroying every single thing that she touches.

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Episode 436: Quivering with Emotion

“Why isn’t she here? Because she’s vanished.”

So I guess it’s true — you start out thinking that the past was a golden age, but then you go back for a visit, and it’s just one disappointment after another. Plus, after a while they accuse you of witchcraft and execute you.

Writing this blog every day has been my own uncertain and frightening journey into the past, back to my younger days when I watched one episode of Dark Shadows a day, in order and without fast-forwarding, because it was on television and DVDs didn’t exist yet. And the way I remembered it, 1795 was the perfect jewel of a storyline — tragic and hand-crafted and brilliant. I’d completely forgotten that it goes into unexcused overtime like this.

And here I am, sentenced to watch episode after episode about Vicki’s witchcraft trial, which is just spinning in circles and refuses to end. It seems like every witness gets to come back for a bonus round, with more accusations and objections and pointless sidebars at the bench. Well, I can’t take it any more; I’m going for the Backup Plan instead. Episode overruled!

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Episode 408: A Compromising Physician

“If you want to destroy someone, destroy me!”

So bat-bitten bad boy Barnabas Collins is upstairs dying, although it seems like more of an aerobic experience than you’d expect.

He’s standing at his bedroom door, calling for Josette. She’s already standing right next to him, so it’s not clear what else she can do to help. Apparently, this is what the show is like now, just sweating and yelling and chaos.

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Episode 371: Damn the Torpedoes

“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?

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Episode 242: A Mystery in Science

“Now, look here. There is no such thing as a mystery in science.”

You think you’re having a hard day? Try being Dr. Woodard for a minute. He made several house calls, examined the patient, asked questions, ran tests, played with his glasses and organized an impromptu blood transfusion. Then his patient was kidnapped right out of the hospital, and he doesn’t even have a diagnosis.

And now Burke comes into the office — without an appointment, thank you — and demands answers. This is what health care used to be like, just everybody scolding each other.

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