Tag Archives: poison

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.

Continue reading Episode 1107: You Must Stop What Is Happening

Episode 940: Those Whom the Gods Would Destroy, They First Give an Ascot

“We’ll have to use trickery, or force!”

“I think it would be appropriate that we seal our agreement with a drink,” says Barnabas, which is the sneaky code that fictional people use for I am about to poison you.

So he goes into the back room of the antiques shop, which has no functional furniture except for a flat surface that’s holding a decanter and two glasses. This is the alcoholic equivalent of the radio on Gilligan’s Island that only has news reports about Gilligan’s island related material.

Barnabas pours out two glasses of whatever liquid that happens to be, and then adds a generous measure of deadly nightshade that he’s carrying around in an inside pocket for just such an occasion.

Stepping back out into the open air, Barnabas hands the poisoned drink to Jeb Hawkes, the negasonic teenage warhead currently threatening everything that he holds dear. Jeb proposes a sinister toast and raises the glass to his lips, and then we go to the opening titles.

When we come back, Jeb gulps down the poison and says mmmm, yummy, and he doesn’t die or get sick or even notice that anything’s amiss, and everyone just forgets about it, because Jeb is the new hotness and shut up.

Continue reading Episode 940: Those Whom the Gods Would Destroy, They First Give an Ascot

Episode 849: Here Today

“Where have you been? To Boston, for some new finery?”

Honestly, what can be done to rid this town of Josettes?

We kidnap them, we shoot them, we hang them, we throw them off a cliff onto the rocks and the raging sea, and they always come back — sighing, fretting, and making a nuisance of themselves. The problem, really, is that the Collins family insists on hiring governesses, which is a Josette-heavy industry.

The latest Josette is named Kitty. It turns out she was a governess once, and she married her employer, Lord Hampshire. Her husband is dead now — suicide, obviously — and the child is nowhere to be seen, which is all par for the course when you let a Josette into your house. Ruin and devastation, as far as the eye can see.

Continue reading Episode 849: Here Today

Episode 836: Murder, She Wrought

“I thought killing him would help me release from loving him. But it didn’t.”

Terror stalks the great estate at Collinwood this night, just exactly as it has for the last 189 nights in a row. The terrifying specter of Quentin Collins still rules the silent halls, while the family is couchsurfing at the Old House, waiting for it to blow over. Young David is still leaking get-up-and-go, teetering semi-permanently on the brink of death.

Hoping to resolve this difficult problem, Barnabas Collins used an ancient Chinese divination technique to contact the spirit of Quentin, and negotiate a cease-fire. It’s now six months later, and the problem has not been resolved in even the tiniest way. I think Barnabas needs to step aside, and let somebody else take a crack at it.

Continue reading Episode 836: Murder, She Wrought

Episode 823/824: The Deadly Tambourine

“I could kill you a dozen times over in five minutes!”

Count Petofi doesn’t play by the rules. He’s a maverick, a mad god who could murder you, show you visions, and then pick your pocket in six directions. He’s bad news. He answers to no one. He could change your shorts, change your life, change into a nine-year-old Hindu boy, get rid of your wife. His outer casing is made from a metal ten times stronger than Earth steel. He’s strong enough for a man, but made for a woman. He will stop at nothing. He will kill you. He has probably already killed you.

But you show the guy a tambourine, and he goes to pieces. Go figure.

Continue reading Episode 823/824: The Deadly Tambourine

Time Travel, part 6: One Giant Leap

“SHUT UP I WILL HEAR NO MORE!!!”

Today’s episode of Dark Shadows did not air on July 21st, 1969, because over the weekend, a couple of crazy kids from the Kennedy Space Center went and landed a rocket ship on the entire moon. This amazing stunt was picked up by the press somehow — I guess they had viral videos back then — and there was continuous commercial-free coverage of the event on all three networks for 34 straight hours.

The Eagle landed on the moon on Sunday afternoon Eastern time, and on Sunday night, Neil Armstrong was the first person to step onto the surface of the moon. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left the moon on Monday afternoon, and at the time that Dark Shadows would have been on the air, the Eagle was approaching Command Module Columbia to prepare for the return trip to Earth.

ABC got hammered, by the way. All three networks were showing basically the same thing, but CBS had Walter Cronkite, who was that most elusive of creatures, a respected television news anchor. They also had a scale model of the lunar module, and a seven foot long conveyer belt so they could simulate what it would look like for the astronauts orbiting the moon. But mostly they had Cronkite, for 32 of the 34 hours of coverage. Apparently his keepers at CBS wouldn’t let him sleep.

So CBS got a 45 share of the viewing public, NBC got a 34 share, and ABC had a 14 share. Each network invested 1.5 million dollars to broadcast the mission, and they couldn’t run commercials in case something blew up or they found a moon monster. So ABC lost a lot of money, and everybody was watching Cronkite anyway. They might as well have showed Dark Shadows.

I wonder, on that sunny Monday afternoon, if there were any kids staring at the scale models pretending to dock with each other, and thinking, Come onnnnnn! They just ripped off Count Petofi’s hand on Friday! Enough already with the moon! I probably would have thought that, but I’m bad at priorities.

Continue reading Time Travel, part 6: One Giant Leap

Episode 773: The Persecution and Assassination of Minerva Trask as Performed by Tim Shaw Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade

“My father won’t let her be dead!”

Okay, quick recap: Reverend Trask wants Evan Hanley to get Tim Shaw to kill his wife. No, not Tim’s wife, Trask’s wife. Tim doesn’t have a wife. Apparently, Evan does have a wife, but we never see her, so who knows. Look, it doesn’t matter whether Evan has a wife.

The point is that Reverend Trask has future plans that do not involve Minerva Trask as an active participant, so he needs her out of the way. Enter Satanist lawyer Evan Hanley, who’s worked up some kind of weird juju where he can hypnotize a guy into killing somebody by licking his fingers. I mean, the guy licks his own fingers, and then they play cards, and whoever plays the Queen of Spades gets poisoned. End of recap.

Continue reading Episode 773: The Persecution and Assassination of Minerva Trask as Performed by Tim Shaw Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade

Episode 613: Joe Haskell Must Die

“Then why didn’t that someone give him the medicine?”

Man, after a solid week of sifting through the Danielle/Eve/Jeff/Peter boondoggle, it’s nice to get back to a simple, straightforward hypnotized rape victim flip-flop murder-revenge conspiracy. I mean, some of us still appreciate the classics.

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Episode 520: What Dead People Do

“And for your own reasons, you remained silent. You remained silent for reasons.”

Roger is pacing in the Collinwood foyer when Julia enters, bright as a button.

“Good morning, Roger,” she chirps. “Such a beautiful morning, I decided to go for a walk before breakfast.”

Yes, she’s currently engaged in a life-or-death struggle with an undead sorceress. But this is Dr. Julia Hoffman, and she does not give a shit.

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Episode 510: Some Enchanted Evening

“Do you still believe we cannot gain help from the dead?”

Professor Stokes steps to the phone, and places a call. “Julia, thank goodness it’s you,” he says. “You must come here immediately.”

“What’s wrong?” says Julia.

“I’m afraid I’ve just killed a man,” Stokes says, and then the opening titles kick in.

See, I told you that Professor Stokes is amazing. Can you believe this guy? This is how he starts an episode.

Continue reading Episode 510: Some Enchanted Evening