Tag Archives: love triangle

Episode 1132: An Armed Society

“How can love change in three days?”

Dr. Julia Hoffman crouches down to examine the body of a man beheaded in the late seventeenth century. “No pulse,” she observes. “No heartbeat. No respiration.” This comes as a surprise, for some reason.

The doctor has been hypnotically press-ganged into surgically reattaching this body to its long-lost head, so it can rise again and wreak a terrible vengeance on its numerous enemies, real or imagined. This impossible medical intervention must take place in a crumbling underground crypt in the middle of the night, without the aid of electricity or common sense.

“At least now we know where we’re starting,” Julia says. “We have a great deal of work to do, before we can start the operation.” Yeah, you can say that again.

Just like yesterday, today’s episode has crypt scenes at the top of the episode and the bottom of the episode, and in between is the soap opera storyline, with people flirting and breaking up and talking about their feelings. Dark Shadows is divided into two pieces right now, like a severed head cut from its body, which they’re trying to join together using Krazy Glue made by actual crazy people.

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Episode 1128: As Rome Burns

“While you’re at it, you pack your bags and get out of here, because you’re through!”

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The mystical severed head of deranged warlock Judah Zachery is missing, and his centuries-old corpse wanders the woods, drenching itself in the blood of the innocent. And somewhere in the dark future, the damned rise from the earth and advance on the great estate at Collinwood, toppling its towers and bringing the family to ruin and despair.

Can the accursed head and body be destroyed before they reunite, and begin a murder spree of unrivaled ferocity? Can the impostor time travelers staying at Collinwood unwind the chain of events that is even now leading the helpless inhabitants step by step towards an even greater horror to come?

And, more importantly, can this girl from a little mining town in the West find happiness as the wife of a wealthy and titled Englishman?

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Episode 1121: Quentuplets

“There was one night I concentrated very hard, and tried to reach you.”

So Quentin is still on Dark Shadows, which is a huge surprise to everyone except the people who watch Dark Shadows. There’s always a Quentin, and there always will be, even after there isn’t a Barnabas anymore. And decades later, when the show turns into an audio download, you click play, and what do you hear? Quentin. The guy has a portrait; there’s nothing you can do.

So this I guess is Quentin number three, who’s the identical great-uncle of the original Quentin, or the other way around, if you want to be strictly chronological about it. Number two was the Parallel Time Quentin, and number four is the Parallel Time Quentin of number three, and then there’s Quentin number five in Night of Dark Shadows, and on and on, tumbling through time in endless iterations. It’s Quentins, all the way down.

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Episode 1107: You Must Stop What Is Happening

“What happened to you in the future was the result of what’s happened here!”

Man, never underestimate the power of a soap opera instaromance. The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and vice versa, and the only people who get burned are the audience. Dark Shadows’ greatest flaw, except for all the others, is that they’re not very good at love stories, so characters tend to clump together haphazardly in corners.

Today’s for instance is fraud horoscopist Sebastian Shaw, who went on one date with Maggie weeks ago, and has now decided, on her behalf, that he’ll kill his vampire overlord Roxanne to spare Maggie from the series of vamp attacks that I’m not sure anybody ever actually told him about.

But who needs motivation when you’ve got silver bullets? It turns out there are armed astrologers in the Dark Shadows Extended Universe, although the gun control laws are particularly lax in Collinsport, and Sebastian probably just picked up his piece at the corner bodega, next to the Jarritos Mandarin sodas.

Then, unexpectedly, Roxanne is spared by the intervention of phantom entrepreneur Gerard Stiles, who apparates in silence in the secret chamber in the nick of time, and distracts Sebastian at the crucial moment.

Sebastian fires off two bullets in Gerard’s direction, which pass right through his intangible torso, and fall harmlessly to the floor. Apparently Sebastian doesn’t concern himself with collateral damage during hunting season; he’ll shoot at anyone.

But Roxanne is spared, anyway, because it turns out Gerard is actually the hero of the show. At least, he’s the only one who gets anything done around here.

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Episode 832: The Triangle Factory

“You don’t seem to be one certain age, the way others are.”

You know, when I started this blog back in April 1967, I figured the format was one episode a day, no more and no less. I would talk about the whole episode from start to finish, and I didn’t let stuff dangle over the side to pick up tomorrow. If there wasn’t a theme or a problem or a story that I wanted to tell, then that’s just how it went — so there are a bunch of posts back in the 200s that ended with “and that’s a really boring cliffhanger, see you tomorrow”.  They had a lot of boring cliffhangers back then.

Eventually I realized, wait a minute, this is my blog and I can write it any way I want, so now I jump around a lot more, pulling things from different episodes together if it helps whatever point I’m trying to make. I think that’s made the blog better, and I get to have more fun without stressing out about the rules.

But that style means that I don’t really spend a lot of time talking about cliffhangers, which is a shame, because they’re incredibly important on Dark Shadows. This is a show that doesn’t just have an exciting story beat at the end of every episode — they build to a suspense moment every six minutes, just to get you through the commercial break. So I should really treat the cliffhangers with more respect.

And yesterday’s cliffhanger is a top-of-the-line nailbiter. Secret werewolf Quentin Collins is locked up in a jail cell, which happens to be in his own basement for some reason. The sinister Reverend Trask has learned Quentin’s dreadful secret, and they’re going to stay down here until the full moon rises. Once Quentin transforms into a slavering man-beast, then Trask can head for the police station and alert the authorities. I guess some people just live for tattling.

So the episode ends with the two of them on opposite sides of the bars, waiting for moonrise. Although now that I think about it, that’s basically the same cliffhanger as the day before, when Trask found Quentin manacled to the wall, and told him they would wait until moonrise. Yesterday, they just said, well, it’s not quite dusk yet, and then they moved locations and said, this time it’s really dusk. So maybe I shouldn’t bother trying to respect the cliffhangers after all.

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Episode 346: The Shipping News

“Enter Julia Hoffman, bearing flowers.”

INT. JOSETTE’S ROOM – DREAM.

Vicki, wearing a bride’s veil, is staring at herself in the mirror on the vanity in Josette’s room. Barnabas walks in, and tells her that she’ll be a beautiful bride.

Hesitantly, Vicki asks, “I will be a bride… won’t I, Barnabas?” He says that she will. She asks where Burke is, and Barnabas says, “He’s here, Vicki. Right here. Look on the bed.” She turns, and sees Burke’s corpse on the bed, covered in a shroud.

Which raises the question: What is the purpose of “love” in an open-ended narrative?

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Episode 343: The Apparatus

“I wonder what I’ll be like, as a human being?”

Okay, now we’re talking. Right out of the gate today, the first thing we see: dark red liquid bubbling in a glass jar. It’s connected with tubes and wires to a bunch of other equipment, and there’s a grinding motor noise that indicates that there’s some kind of complicated machinery at work.

Backing up a step, we see Dr. Julia Hoffman in a pale blue lab coat, squinting at equipment and making adjustments. She’s in a basement room, with brick walls, exposed timbers and huge cobwebs. The doctor uses a pair of tongs to grab chunks of dry ice, and she drops them into a huge bubbling cauldron.

That cauldron is full of more dark red liquid. It’s a bubbling cauldron of blood. This is mad science, we’re actually watching mad science.

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Episode 299: A Human Life

“I’d do almost anything to continue… but I won’t sacrifice a human life.”

It’s evening at the great estate of Collinwood, and governess Victoria Winters is standing outside on the terrace, alone in the moonlight. Then the peace of the night is shattered by the vampire, Barnabas Collins, approaching silently behind her.

Except it’s not shattered at all, really. Vicki is standing there, and Barnabas walks up behind her. Instead of doing something semi-normal like saying, “Hello, Miss Winters, what a lovely night it is, don’t you sometimes think that we would all be better off if we never had to see the harsh rays of the sun” or whatever, he chooses to approach silently, and reach out to touch her somewhere in the shoulder/neck region.

This gives her the opportunity to spin around with an alarmed shriek, and then we crash into the titles.

Continue reading Episode 299: A Human Life