“It was then that I noticed that we all have a strain of despair.”
“I receive a letter every three days,” says Quentin Collins, “and I receive it at one out of two times.”
I’m going to pause on that line for a second, because Quentin is about to say something ridiculous, and it needs a little room to breathe. He’s explaining to his friend Gerard about the letters that he receives every three days, from a dead woman.
“Either in the afternoon,” he continues, “when I’ve just gone to visit the estate manager, or exactly half an hour after that, when I’ve finished my last walk around the grounds.”
Gerard nods. “Someone knows your habits very well,” he says, so he must comprehend that line a lot better than the rest of us. Those two times are basically indistinguishable to the human eye.
Quentin means half an hour after midnight, of course, which you’ll understand once you see the next scene, where Quentin tries to lay a trap for the letter-leaver at twenty minutes after twelve. Or, if you don’t understand it then, then maybe you will on a third or fourth viewing, for example while you’re writing a blog post about it. That is the kind of attention that Dark Shadows demands.
Continue reading Episode 1146: A Dark Horse
“I know your feeling. Everyone I love must die, too.”
“How dark it is!” says the unresting spirit of Julianka. “I do not like death at all!” She was only killed a few hours ago, so she hasn’t had a lot of time to get used to it, but here she is, already submitting her post-mortem Yelp review. I guess even dead people get impatient sometimes. That’s kind of comforting, in a way.
Continue reading Episode 798: Everyone You Love Must Die
“David Collins is nobody that exists.”
Back in ’97, Samuel Taylor Coleridge awoke with a splitting headache and a magnificent idea. Grabbing a pen and ink, his hands shaking with inspiration, he scribbled the first words of his masterpiece.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
David Collins is dead!
“That can’t be right,” Coleridge frowned, and scratched out the last four words, passing them along to the next available dreamer.
And so the crossed wires uncrossed, and the message wound its way from 1797 to 1897, whispering itself into Jamison Collins’ receptive ear.
But just imagine: if that mixed message had been traveling in the other direction, young Jamison could have become one of the great poets of his time.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
This is what Jamison got instead.
Continue reading Episode 767: Elegy for David C
“I just wanted to make sure that you weren’t dead.”
Dawn has not yet come to Collinwood. You can tell, because they’ve got the establishing shot up, and it’s dark blue. They’re playing the sub-theme music cue, and somewhere in the studio, fading film star Joan Bennett is standing in front of a microphone.
“Dawn has not yet come to Collinwood,” Joan says, in a world-weary tone which indicates that she’s one sentence into a three-sentence introduction, and it’s not going to get a lot better from here. “The earth hovers between night and day, as though terrified to bring into being the days and nights that lie ahead.”
And it’s amazing, watching it now, to think that there was a time when it was okay to open a television show like this. They don’t take practice swings like this anymore. When your show starts, you start the show.
“But time is indifferent to terror,” says Joan, and you have to admit she has a point. “And the earth obeys the primal command creating nights and days, creating the moment when fear no longer stalks… but stops to strike.”
In other words: it’s October 1967, and you don’t have a remote control. If the earth obeying primal commands isn’t a stop-the-presses level event for you, then you’re going to have to get up, walk across the room and do something about it.
Continue reading Episode 348: Mission Accomplished
“Terrible things happen, and no one seems to do anything about them.”
At the top of today’s episode, the ghost of Sarah Collins appears in David’s bedroom, and tells him that Dr. Woodard was murdered.
Sarah says that she doesn’t know all the details, but it was horrible, and “it shouldn’t have happened the way it did.” David asks who killed him, and Sarah says that she can’t tell him. Then she disappears.
This is all standard operating procedure for Sarah, who is powered entirely by narrative convenience, and always gives David exactly enough information to set up the next scene. Usually, I would complain about that, except that the next scene is unbelievably sad and beautiful, and it makes me want to cry.
Continue reading Episode 344: Haunted