“What have I become? How can I do things I do?”
Overall, it’s been a tough week for the women of Dark Shadows. Angelique was killed, Vicki’s in jail, and Josette probably shouldn’t be making any long-term plans.
1968 was the year they coined the phrase “Sisterhood Is Powerful”, which is good because these girls could use all the power they can muster. Today’s episode is practically a nature documentary about the lust, greed and hunger that’s making the pre-liberated ladies of Collinsport an endangered species.
Continue reading Episode 414: That Thing You Do
“You see? I can be merciful. But next time, I will show you no mercy.”
Look out, everybody; Angelique’s mad at a toy again.
Yesterday, she thought she was making progress in her relationship with Barnabas, and by progress I mean they were kissing in a fairly serious way.
Barnabas promised to come to Angelique’s room later, but then he had kind of an emotional conversation with Josette, and all of a sudden, the relationship status updated again.
So Angelique is disappointed, and when she’s upset, she tends to say it with voodoo. Now she’s got Sarah’s doll, a handful of pins and a bottomless white-hot fury. You know, the Collins family really needs to stop leaving toys lying around; this is what happens.
Continue reading Episode 389: It’s Complicated
“They aren’t ideas, and I’m not imagining things.”
Well, it’s Friday, so we might as well talk about cliffhangers.
Over the next couple of months, the Dark Shadows writers are finally going to get the hang of how the show is supposed to work, and a crucial part of that is learning how to create episode endings that get people to come back for the next episode. That’s especially important on Fridays, when the cliffhanger needs to last us all the way to Monday.
High-quality cliffhanger construction is a very specific skill, and as the writers develop it, a cynical observer might start to wonder if the structure of the entire narrative is being twisted in order to service the audience’s bottomless hunger for bigger and bolder thrills.
In other words: Does this entire twenty-two minute slice of television exist only to set up a surprise twist in the last sixty seconds?
There are two answers to that question, which are as follows: a) Yes, it does, and b) Which is awesome.
Continue reading Episode 330: Twenty-two Minutes
“Maybe, maybe! What assurance have I with maybe?”
Okay, it’s Monday, which means that it’s time to check in with our lunatic premise of the week. Unfortunately, the current scenario is so far outside the limits of normal televisual narrative that a thumbnail summary just sounds hopelessly tangled.
Here, I’ll show you. All last week, young David was trapped inside the secret room in the Collins mausoleum. He was brought there by a mysterious little girl named Sarah, who he doesn’t realize is the ghost of one of his 18th-century ancestors. She showed him the trick of getting into the secret room, so that he would see the empty coffin where Barnabas, who David doesn’t realize is a) Sarah’s big brother and b) a vampire, was chained up for 170-odd years until c) Willie let him out.
But Sarah didn’t show David how to get out of the secret room, so he was trapped for a week, until she suddenly turned up again and showed him the hidden door mechanism. As David left the mausoleum on Friday, he ran straight into Barnabas.
Now Barnabas thinks that David knows that he’s a vampire, but he doesn’t, although David does know that Barnabas thinks that David knows more than he’s saying that he knows, which he does. There, that’s you all up to date.
Continue reading Episode 316: The Big Bad
“It’s more than a little peculiar. I’d say it was very peculiar.”
Okay, let’s get started; it’s the middle of the night, and there’s a lot of plot mechanics to get through.
On Friday, Sarah the apparently-friendly ghost lured young David to the Eagle Hill cemetery for some kind of necromancy play-date. She disappeared, and he went looking for her in the secret room hidden in the Collins mausoleum. You know, like they always do on soap operas.
Meanwhile, Sarah’s vampire brother Barnabas and his blood-slave servant Willie are also looking for the little ghost, at her final resting place — the Collins mausoleum. Startled, David closes the door, and hides inside the coffin in the secret room.
The mausoleum is apparently empty when Barnabas enters, but he wants to check the secret room. Willie opens the panel.
Barnabas walks in and poses with his hand resting on the coffin, which is kind of superb. This is supposed to be high drama, but it’s actually a plot point from a farce, with everybody piling into the secret room. I’d give anything to have the Marx Brothers show up and start ordering hard-boiled eggs.
Continue reading Episode 311: A Tomb of One’s Own