“It must be what’s been happening.”
Okay, so you know how once in every generation somebody in the Collins family needs to spend a night locked up in the spooky old room behind the magic door, and in the morning they’re either dead or they’ve gone irretrievably insane? Well, it turns out there’s a third option.
Eldest son Morgan Collins has undergone the ordeal, and during that surprisingly uneventful evening, he located a secret locked door that was hidden behind basically nothing, so why nobody had ever noticed it before I don’t know. Behind that door — easily accessed by banging on the cheap seventeenth-century padlock with something heavy, like one of the excess vases cluttering up the place — was a whole other part of the house, a secret passage with a set of stairs leading to who knows where.
Morgan apparently explored this secret-behind-the-secret area, and experienced I’m not sure what, which by morning had him sitting quietly in a chair, unharmed but in an odd mood. Now he’s walking around telling everyone he’s not Morgan, and making insulting remarks.
I feel like we were more or less promised some kind of supernatural upheaval after spending a couple episodes just waiting around until they opened the door again, and this doesn’t quite live up to their side of the bargain. But at least we don’t have a white-haired Morgan cringing and babbling about the Woman in White, so let’s go ahead and consider this a win.
Continue reading Episode 1224: Other People’s Problems
“Let there be light — because I am tired of eternal darkness!”
Man, Jeb is such a rebellious teen that he still feels burdened and put-upon, even though there is literally a worldwide organization devoted to worshipping him as a god, which is actively working to make him the emperor of the Earth.
Continue reading Episode 953: Walking Around and Pretending to Have a Plan
“I don’t understand any of it — or maybe I’m afraid to.”
She had these golden yellow protuberances all over her head, that was the first thing I noticed about her.
I mean, it’s called hair, obviously I know that now, but I was only three weeks old, and I didn’t know all the words for human components yet. I just liked the way that they fell around her face, these tiny tendrils, golden and moist, like she’d dominated a thousand jaundiced worms and made them cling to her head, shaking and sweeping every time she moved, always dancing, sighing in ecstasy at their chance to serve her. She looked like the queen of clotted fluids, empress of all the seeping things that pool in clumps. But she wasn’t, obviously. Not yet.
Continue reading Episode 945: My Sweet, Sweet Moves
“Well, you can think that way if you want. You’ll only be joining an ever-increasing mob!”
So I like the Leviathan story, is apparently what’s happening. Looking back over the last month of blog posts, I’ve devoted a lot of them to things that I like about the storyline.
It’s silly, obviously, and they have no idea what to do with the monster or the conspirators. For once, the writers have a clear idea of where they want to be in four to six weeks, but from day to day they’re stumbling around from one thing to another, and they cover up plot inconsistencies by having the characters say “yes, that was a prophecy, we totally meant to do that for reasons that we would rather not explain at this time.”
But Dark Shadows storylines are always silly and riddled with holes, and there’s a lot to enjoy in these early days of the Leviathans. They’ve brought Liz’s ex-husband Paul back, continuing an important early story thread that we assumed they’d just forgotten about. The resolution of the “Payment Due” mystery last week was clever and thrilling. There’s a tight focus on Barnabas, Julia, Carolyn and Liz — four of the best characters on the show, who didn’t always have a lot to do during late 1968 and early ’69. I don’t believe in Megan and Philip, and I think the story’s use of Quentin is entirely inadequate, but there are lots of things to like, and I’d say on the whole it’s a net positive.
This is somewhat remarkable, because the reputation among Dark Shadows fans is that the Leviathan story is terrible and show-destroying. That may turn out to be true, as we get further into it — but right now, it’s worth pointing out that there’s a lot here to love.
Continue reading Episode 908: Jim Henson’s Gaslight Babies
“They’re like an organization — they’re evil, Liz! Terribly evil!”
They blew into town a month ago, and started making noise. A bunch of trouble boys, call themselves the Leviathans. There’s something squirrely about ’em, I know that much.
It’s all tied up with the Stoddard family, up on the hill, especially Carolyn. These guys have plans for Carolyn, big plans, and by the time they’re done, they’re gonna give the human race a sock in the kisser.
Continue reading Episode 906: Little Caesar
“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
“Do you think I’m fool enough to leave the power of the Hand in that body?”
Over the last ten months, mercurial trickster Quentin Collins has been just about everything it’s possible for a Dark Shadows character to be. Lover, scoundrel, zombie, ghost, mortal enemy and loyal friend, brother, father, uncle and antihero, black sheep and white knight, victim, villain, werewolf and wife-killer, teen idol, trading card, day player, pop star and devotee of the dark arts, he has seen and done and been it all. In a fiercely competitive narrative environment, he’s adapted to every new situation, the undisputed champion of 1969.
Now, a powerful wizard sits alone in the back room of his crummy old basement lair, calling on the fire and the air and the water and the earth — and hey presto, with a wave of the wand and a puff of smoke, Quentin Collins changes his mind again.
Continue reading Episode 856: The Switcheroo
“Your involvement with this man-beast has placed you completely at my mercy!”
So let’s say you walk into a guy’s bedroom, and you find your brother-in-law manacled to the wall, while his gypsy girlfriend is pointing a gun at him, which is loaded with silver bullets. The gun is loaded, I mean, not the girlfriend or the brother-in-law. Well, they probably are too.
Naturally, you’re going to jump to several conclusions, all of them entirely justified, but the question is: What are you going to do about it? Saying “Pardon me” and quietly leaving the room is not really an option. This is a situation that requires a response.
Basically, you can either a) make for the exit and try to put as much distance as you can between you and whatever the hell is going on right now, or b) grab the gun, tell the gypsy to beat it, accuse your brother-in-law of being a werewolf, pistol-whip him into submission, drag him down several flights of stairs by the collar, throw him into the jail cell which is built into the basement of your house for no earthly reason, lock him up, and then summon the police to your little homemade slice of Abu Ghraib, so they can congratulate you on your heroism and community spirit. Those are the only two possibilities. P.S. The smart money is on option a.
Continue reading Episode 831: Crash of the Kaiju
“Where would you go, with all that power in your suitcase?”
Once upon a time, there was a television show called Dark Shadows, and I swear to God it is getting crazier every day. We have now entered the phase of the show where absolutely anything is on the table.
For example: a man who collects magical artifacts is visiting a wolf man and a gypsy witch in their haunted house, when suddenly they rip off his hand and discover that he’s actually a mad god from a fairy tale kingdom that nobody knows how to spell. And then the conversation starts to get a little weird.
Continue reading Episode 801/802: You’re a Crook, Captain Hook
“I regard anyone who tries to choke me as an enemy.”
Okay, the story so far: The Dark Shadows writers have decided that they want to stick around in the 19th century for a while, because the 1897 storyline is fun and popular. Plus, it’s got great characters, not counting the ones that they’ve murdered recently, which is most of them.
So we’re currently four days deep into the 1897 Relaunch week, where they start staffing up again for another few months on this uncertain and frightening journey into the past. So far, we’ve met Aristede, a dangerous, dark-eyed rogue from the Arabian Nights, and we’ve seen the latest reboot of Angelique.
Today, another mysterious stranger strolls into town, and he’s even more mysterious than the last one. We’re going to see a lot of mysterious strangers over the next month or so; it’s like an epidemic or something.
Continue reading Episode 794: Victor and the Wolf