“But actually, I did not come here to discuss the dead.”
It’s another one of those mysterious messages that Quentin’s been finding lately, scattered around his mansion. They’re cryptic little postcards from beyond the veil, signed by an old, extinguished flame, and they’re starting to get to him. They say things like “Joanna is dead and you are responsible,” which is upsetting, and they have these impenetrable adamantium wax seals that can only be opened by experts.
This time, the wax seal is even more troublesome than usual, and he’s really struggling with it. Quentin’s been opening his own mail for years now, it shouldn’t be this big of a deal, but the paper is determined to resist his advances. It must be some kind of trick judo paper that uses the attacker’s strength against him; the seconds are ticking by, and he’s still wrestling with it. He lunges at the seal one last time, and still it eludes him, and that’s when David Selby mutters “Oh, shit,” on network television.
Continue reading Episode 1133: Low Clearance
“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.
Continue reading Episode 1050: The Fault in Our Stars
“You should try drinking before lunch, Mother, it makes the day just sort of float along.”
It really takes something to shock the people in this house. People can kill each other, jump out of windows, they can curse and hate each other, and nobody seems to mind. But to be a morning drinker — that shocks people!
Continue reading Episode 1049: All the Secrets
“Go on, go out! You’re protected by my indifference!”
A month ago, I declared that we had reached The End of Love — for Parallel Time at least, if not the whole series — because this months-long storyline revolves around protecting and maintaining one romantic relationship, which isn’t worth all this trouble.
According to how much the characters talk about it, we’re all supposed to care about volatile one-percenter Quentin Collins and his marriage to the parallel Maggie Evans, who isn’t even a governess so I don’t know how she got on the show. The main storyline is about the mostly-dead sorceress Angelique, who’s plotting to separate and destroy the couple by fair means or foul.
But Quentin and Maggie’s relationship has negative rooting value; they have nothing in particular in common, and by this point, they each believe that the other is in league with the Devil. Quentin can’t have a single conversation with his wife that doesn’t end in shouting and small arms fire. I’m just going to assert right now that if the end of this story involves Quentin and Maggie reunited, I for one am not going to consider that a happy ending. These people do not belong together, and the only good thing about them being married to each other is that at least they’re not able to marry anyone else, and ruin even more lives.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that love is dead, in Parallel Collinwood. Maybe we were just looking in the wrong direction.
Continue reading Episode 1047: The Invention of Feelings
“I have the feeling that perhaps all of us are leading a different life in that room.”
Yesterday, eccentric millionaire Barnabas Collins had a strange and frightening experience, namely: watching an episode of Dark Shadows that he wasn’t in.
He was poking around in the deserted east wing of Collinwood, opening doors and closing doors and hunting for a coffin — you know, typical Dark Shadows stuff — when he suddenly came upon a room where Elizabeth and Julia were dressed up in other people’s clothes, and talking about other people’s problems.
We’re meant to be intrigued by this strange desert otherworld, so they made use of that great guarantor of television mystery: the unheralded pronoun.
“I’m cleaning out her clothes,” says Liz. “You will not touch her clothes,” says Julia. “It will be their room,” Liz proposes. “It is hers; it will always be hers,” Julia counters.
She is dead! She’ll be back! and back and forth they went, acting for all the world as if proper nouns were prohibited by law, and then they slammed the door and ran away into the night, giggling.
It’s a good gag, if you can pull it off. Other people have trolled Barnabas in the past — like all gloomy and self-involved people, he is particularly susceptible to trolling — but I don’t think anybody’s ever done it by just standing around in a room and pretending they don’t notice him. They’re breaking new ground in the field of Barnabas-bothering.
Continue reading Episode 970: A Less Rational Explanation
“You killed Paul, you killed the sheriff, and now this!”
But enough with the fancy writing tricks. Who feels like watching Dark Shadows today?
Continue reading Episode 950: Flappy Bat for the Win
“Do you think me mad?”
Dark magic-dabbling attorney Evan Hanley was murdered yesterday, the not very innocent victim of an undead prison guard who was magically brought to life by an insane sketch artist, working under the instructions of a mad old wizard who wants to dispose of his pet assassin. I hope the Collinsport police don’t have a lot to do right now, because there is going to be all kinds of paperwork to complete on this one.
Now that rough beast, its hour come round at last, is slouching towards Collinwood, where I’m sorry but he’s going to have to take a number, and wait his turn.
Continue reading Episode 879: Old Business
“We have both faltered, Edward, and a mad child has finally done our work for us.”
Kitty: Ah! Good evening, Edward.
Edward: Good evening, Kitty.
Kitty: What a dump!
(Edward ignores her.)
Kitty: Hey, what’s that from? “What a dump!”
Edward: How would I know?
Kitty: Oh, come on, what’s it from? You know. What’s it from, for Chrissake!
Edward: What’s what from?
Kitty: I just told you. I just did it. “What a dump!” Huh? What’s that from?
Edward: I haven’t the faintest idea.
Kitty: Dumbbell. It’s from some damn Bette Davis picture, some goddamn Warner Brothers epic.
Edward: Kitty, I can’t remember all the pictures that came out of Warner Brothers.
Kitty: I’m not asking you to remember every goddamn Warner Brothers epic. Just one. Just one single little epic, that’s all.
Continue reading Episode 852: Who’s Afraid of Violet Welles?
“Where have you been? To Boston, for some new finery?”
Honestly, what can be done to rid this town of Josettes?
We kidnap them, we shoot them, we hang them, we throw them off a cliff onto the rocks and the raging sea, and they always come back — sighing, fretting, and making a nuisance of themselves. The problem, really, is that the Collins family insists on hiring governesses, which is a Josette-heavy industry.
The latest Josette is named Kitty. It turns out she was a governess once, and she married her employer, Lord Hampshire. Her husband is dead now — suicide, obviously — and the child is nowhere to be seen, which is all par for the course when you let a Josette into your house. Ruin and devastation, as far as the eye can see.
Continue reading Episode 849: Here Today
“She travels with a certain Timothy Shaw, a man who for a short time had the use of my hand.”
If you remember yesterday’s episode, and there’s no particular reason why you should, then you’ll recall that Quentin Collins is currently engaged in a medium-stakes game of chicken with the legendary Count Petofi. Quentin wants the mad Count to free his buddy Barnabas, who’s currently encased in a carbonite coffin with nothing but a dated copy of Ladies’ Home Journal for company.
To understand Quentin’s plan, you need to keep in mind the location of the following characters: a) Johnny Romana — King of the Gypsies! — who’s searching in the woods for b) Magda Rakosi, gypsy fugitive, who’s being sheltered by c) Beth Chavez, Collinwood domestic. If d) Count Petofi doesn’t release e) Barnabas Collins into f) Quentin’s custody by 12:45am, then f) Quentin has instructed c) Beth to bring a note to a) King Johnny, explaining the whereabouts of d) Petofi. But to make sure that d) Petofi doesn’t mess with c) Beth, f) Quentin has lied to d) Petofi, claiming that the note is actually in the possession of g) Angelique, who doesn’t actually have anything to do with this whatsoever.
Continue reading Episode 825: The Watched Pot