“Something kept you from disobeying the book!”
So we’re killing Julia again, apparently, that’s still a thing that people on Dark Shadows say they’re going to do.
David and Elizabeth are going over their secret evil world domination plans, and they’re doing it in a hallway, for some reason. “Barnabas asked me to remind you,” David says, “that Julia Hoffman is your responsibility.” David is thirteen years old.
She tenses up. David asks, “What are you going to do about her?” and Liz takes a moment to think. Then she says, “KILL her!”
That’s the right answer, so she gets a big closeup and a dramatic sting, followed by the opening titles. That’s how you know that your staff meeting is a success.
Continue reading Episode 918: Too Big to Fail
“You can’t let sentimentality make you careless!”
For the last six weeks, Barnabas Collins has been behaving oddly, even by eccentric millionaire standards. He’s been freezing out his friends, and striking them with cars. He’s revoked his Murder Club membership by warning his family that werewolves are dangerous. He’s appeared unbidden in other people’s dreams, and he’s arranged for the remote involuntary circling of dates on calendars.
But we finally have an explanation for everything. He was being sarcastic!
Continue reading Episode 915: The Walkback
“I found a way to transcend time. But you have found a way to suspend time!”
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called… well, there’s some dispute about that, actually.
It’s the night after Christmas 1969, and young David is browsing through the good book. He shoplifted an ancient devotional almanac stuffed with prophecies, long-term weather predictions, household hints and prayers to the Elder Gods, and apparently it’s not okay to read ahead. David has been possessed by the villains of the current storyline, like he ever does anything else.
“This shall be followed by a period of ten days,” he reads. “And as darkness settles on the tenth day, there shall come forth another manifestation. And due homage shall be bestowed by all who believe.”
So he tells his aunt Elizabeth, who’s also a devotee, and they rush over to the antique shop for some late-night homage bestowing.
Continue reading Episode 913/914: Death and Taxidermy
“I am the keeper of the book, and the protector of the baby.”
Sitting alone in his hotel room, waiting for his daughter to call, itinerant sperm donor and faux-father Paul Stoddard finds his attention drawn to a calendar hanging on the wall. Then he finds his hand drawn to a pen lying on the desk. Then a circle finds itself drawn around December the 4th.
As the pen falls from his nerveless hand, Paul says to himself, “What made me do that? December 4th! What does it mean?”
What it means, I’m sorry to say, is that the pen is yet another convert of the bewildering demonic cross-time conspiracy that’s currently wreaking havoc in the Collinsport small business community. We knew about the antique shop, of course, and I’ve long had my suspicions of the local Orbach’s, but I thought at least they’d have the decency to leave the school supplies out of this. Those monsters!
Continue reading Episode 898: Executive Child
“Don’t get mad at me, Quentin. I just don’t like when you do terrible things.”
INT. COLLINWOOD — NIGHT.
We hear a young boy’s voice, as we pan across the foyer. “Are you sure that’s all you want me to do?” he wheedles. “Are you telling the truth?”
We move through the open drawing room doors to find young David, communing with an impossible shred of hatred and regret which has clawed its way out of the unseen, a forgotten trespasser bespoiling the surface of the earth. It’s just standing there, in the drawing room. It’s the damnedest thing.
Continue reading Episode 685: A Fish Called Ezra
“We just pretend things, that’s all.”
Let’s review the current state of affairs. The children have been spending time with an older relative, playing a mysterious game. The kids were excited when this began, but now they’re scared and confused. What they do with the older man is a secret, and they know that he’ll hurt them if they tell anyone about it.
So what we’ve got is a surprisingly intense storyline about fantasy-metaphor child sexual abuse. If these characters had feelings, I’d be really worried about them.
Continue reading Episode 679: The Not Happening
“I fear the séance didn’t put an end to what’s been happening here.”
The Turn of the Screw opens with a group of devoted thrill-seekers at a week-long house party, entertaining each other with ghost stories. Griffin has just finished telling the story of a young boy waking his mother up in the middle of the night, because a dreadful apparition had materialized in the bedroom, and he wanted her to see it. That is the beginning and end of that story, as I understand it, but it sounds like it was the hit of the evening, so hooray for low standards.
Unable to cope with his seething jealousy of the master raconteur, a guest named Douglas tries a bit of casual oneupmanship:
Before we scattered, he brought out what was in his mind.
“I quite agree — in regard to Griffin’s ghost, or whatever it was — that its appearing first to the little boy, at so tender an age, adds a particular touch. But it’s not the first occurrence of its charming kind that I know to have involved a child. If the child gives the effect another turn of the screw, what do you say to TWO children — ?”
“We say, of course,” somebody exclaimed, “that they give two turns! Also that we want to hear about them.”
Obviously, this is setting a bad precedent. It’s only a matter of time before Griffin comes up with a ghost story involving four children, and then Douglas ups the ante to a half dozen, until finally there’s a story about thirty-five children, each with his or her own personalized specter, and the bottom falls out of the ghost story market. This is not a scaleable business model.
Continue reading Episode 647: The Wire