“Are there dead people in that building?”
Well, there she goes again. Girl governess Victoria Winters has vacated the premises, dashing off to the 18th century to set a world record for the number of times you can get yourself hanged. She was ashes, she was memory, she was a dream that never came true, and there’s a very good chance that she just created an alternate timeline where Dan Curtis had a dream about Phyllis Wick.
Winner and still protagonist Barnabas Collins and perpetual runner-up Liz Stoddard were live on the scene when Vicki clicked her heels three times and fell backward into the time vortex. Now they’re standing around in the drawing room, trying to process the unprocessable.
“It’s beyond our understanding,” Liz says, “like death.”
Oh, great. Here we go.
“We don’t understand death, do we?” she continues. “Because we can’t. We can only wait for it, knowing it will reach out for us, when it’s ready.”
Yup, that tears it; she’s gone all gloomy again. This is why they never did a blockbuster remake of the Elizabeth Stoddard story.
Continue reading Episode 651: Mother’s Little Helper
“There’s a way that you can call people from the dead. I’ve seen them do it downstairs a lot.”
Christopher Jennings, handsome and mysterious bad boy with a heart of gold and a secret sorrow, comes over to Collinwood to collect his little sister, who he’s struggling to care for. Their parents are gone, and the more reliable twin brother has recently died, and now it’s just Chris and Amy, trying to make their way in the world.
Also, Chris just murdered a guy last week for walking into his hotel room at the wrong moment. I guess everybody has a different way of coping with stress.
Continue reading Episode 640: Bad Wolf
“You will live, as I live — as one of the damned!”
Fall 1968 is a rough time for the Dark Shadows writers, because they’re stuck with a convoluted storyline that just won’t unconvolute. So they’ve embarked on the Great 1968 Wrap-Up, where they shed all of the characters, actors and plotlines that are surplus to requirements, which is practically all of them.
In this time of turbulent change, we turn to the old traditions for comfort. I mean the really old traditions, like dressing up in animal skins and making blood offerings to Asmodeus.
Continue reading Episode 632: The Owl, the Raven and the Bat
“What kind of life do you lead, Mr. Jennings?”
Two weeks ago, Dark Shadows entered a period that I’m calling The Great 1968 Wrap-Up, a long overdue narrative house-cleaning. Soap opera storylines are always a bit of a tangled web, but if you’re not careful, the structure becomes so dense that it collapses in on itself, and becomes a dangerous gravitational singularity.
- Barnabas Collins isn’t a vampire anymore, because his life force is shared with
- Adam, a Frankenstein monster who’s trying to start a family with
- Eve, a female monster who’s animated by the life force of
- Danielle, a French Revolution-era murderess, who’s madly in love with
- Peter, the 18th-century lawyer who’s traveled through time to follow
- Vicki, the Collins family governess, who was just left at the altar by
- Jeff, who’s discovered that he’s actually a reincarnation of
- Peter, and he’s not very happy about it.
Obviously, that’s a complex set of facts and relationships for the audience to keep in mind, especially because the one thing that absolutely everybody knows about Dark Shadows is that it’s the story of Barnabas Collins, who yes he is a vampire, what are you even talking about that he’s not a vampire anymore?
So that’s the level of mess that we’re dealing with here. We’re currently two weeks into this massive clean-up project, and we’ve now reached the stage where they’re just strangling cast members and leaving them in the closet.
Continue reading Episode 627: Bad Moon Rising
“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’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
“We will relive a moment out of the past.”
Willie finds Barnabas pacing around Josette’s room.
“I knew you’d be up here,” Willie says. “You’ve been spending a lot of time up here.”
“I’ve been thinking about many things,” says Barnabas, but he’s got a guilty look on his face, like a teenager when Mom asks why he’s been spending so much time in the bathroom lately.
Continue reading Episode 277: Around the Sun