“I would not let them be together in life… and they shall not be together in death.”
So far, there have been lots of surprises in the 1795 flashback storyline — some of them pleasant, and some not so much. I think the most disappointing surprise has been the characterization of Josette. She’s supposed to be the heart of the whole story, but as I’ve talked about this week, there’s not much there to hang on to.
Josette is basically just a spoiled rich girl. She never shows any real maturity, or makes any difficult decisions. She’s the blank slate that other characters write on — and not just the supernatural characters. There was that episode where Reverend Trask talked her into a weird, borderline-sexual exorcism ritual, and he didn’t use hypnosis. He just told her what he was going to do, and then he did it.
So, standing here at the precipice, the real tragedy is that Josette’s tragedy doesn’t feel like much of a tragedy. It’s the end of the girl as we know it, and I feel fine.
Continue reading Episode 425: Jump Street
“What if last night happens all over again?”
Today’s episode begins with a reprise of yesterday’s strange anti-cliffhanger, where the psychotic monster who’s been terrorizing the people of Collinsport for the last nine months talks his best friend into driving a stake through his heart.
“No matter what you are, no matter what you done,” Ben tells the vampire, “you’ve been my friend.”
“Think of it this way, Ben,” Barnabas says. “You’ll be performing an act of friendship. My destruction will be the only way to save me, my only salvation.”
Barnabas also tells Ben to make sure he helps Vicki escape from jail. After that, Ben should take some money and start a new life, somewhere far away from here.
Ben says he’ll never forget Barnabas, and Barnabas adds, “If you do remember me — remember what was good about me, as I hope others will.”
And oh my god, can you stop micromanaging this whole experience? I’ve never seen someone backseat driving their own suicide like this.
Continue reading Episode 417: Too Soon
“I am unaccustomed to explaining things, sir!”
Ben Stokes has an axe to grind. I mean, literally — he’s standing in the woods near the Old House, sharpening his axe with a grindstone.
“She’s a witch, that Angelique,” he thinks. “A man like me can’t fight a witch. But I’ve got to. Mr. Barnabas… he’s the only friend I got. She says she’s doin’ everything cause she loves him. If only I could figure out some way I could help him, without her knowin’ it.”
Ladies and gentlemen, there he stands, the unwilling henchman — forced to follow the deranged monster’s commands, but openly struggling the whole way. This is such a common theme on Dark Shadows that it must be coded deep down in the show’s DNA.
So far, everyone that we’ve seen under the vampire’s spell — Willie, Maggie, Julia and Carolyn — have all had the guts to stand up and question what he’s making them do. And not just once, but over and over, even at the risk of their lives and immortal souls. There are no sell-outs or collaborators on Dark Shadows — only underground resistance fighters who haven’t figured out which way is underground yet.
Now we’ve got Ben, the spell-charmed slave of a sinister soap vixen, and he’s desperate to spare his friend. But then a huge floating witch head appears, and starts giving him orders. Looks like recess is over.
Continue reading Episode 378: Resistance Is Useful