“We know you were destroyed by some evil force! Now is your chance to destroy it!”
It’s a situation that only happens in long-running serialized narrative. The main character has run away, never to return, and she didn’t even bother to make up a decent excuse. “I’m going to go and live with my husband’s past-life doppleganger,” Vicki said. “If you need to reach me, I’ll be in the 18th century.”
So what can you do? You hire a new governess, and you move on with your make-believe life. The Collins family has lost their lost princess, and to take her place, they’ve found Maggie Evans, a waitress with no experience in education, and a gaping hole in her LinkedIn profile that she can’t explain.
It hasn’t been an easy transition for Maggie, because the process of Vickification involves stripping away all ties to her old life. In fact, on the night that she was offered the governess job, both her fiancee and her house were torn to pieces by a wild animal. I don’t know how you arrange for an onboarding process like that, but it definitely made the point. Her father and her fiancee are gone, her home is destroyed, her memory is wiped clean, and she has become Vicki.
But that interpretation assumes that there’s only one Maggie, and one Vicki. It’s more complicated than that. There are actually four Maggies, and most of them are Vicki.
Continue reading Episode 682: The Four Maggies
“I am not dead, as you can plainly see.”
Aunt Em had just come out of the house to water the cabbages when she looked up and saw Dorothy running toward her.
“My darling child!” she cried, folding the little girl in her arms and covering her face with kisses. “Where in the world did you come from?”
“From the Land of Oz,” said Dorothy gravely. “And here is Toto, too. And oh, Aunt Em! I’m so glad to be at home again!”
Continue reading Episode 662: This Is the Night
“If you want tomorrow to happen, you will see me now.”
Dark Shadows fans don’t like Betsy Durkin. This is an established fact; ask anyone.
The Dark Shadows audience is unbelievably tolerant when it comes to acting styles — we have to be, it’s a survival skill — but it seems like nobody in the world has a nice thing to say about the actress hired to replace Alexandra Moltke as girl governess Victoria Winters. She doesn’t look right, she doesn’t feel like Vicki, she’s not a good fit for the role. And it seems like the producers agreed, because Betsy only appears in ten episodes, and then they cut her loose. She’s bad at Vicki.
Except that this is not actually the case. Betsy Durkin is fine. There are some serious irritants who pop up on Dark Shadows over the years — like Harry Johnson, who’s in today’s episode, working as hard as he can to ruin his scenes. Betsy is nowhere near that level. Betsy is fine.
So let’s see if we can figure out why fans dislike her so much, as the recently reconstituted sexy vampire boy Tom Jennings climbs in through the window and tries to murder her.
Continue reading Episode 631: The Goat
“Oh, I know you’re going to say it’s none of my business, and it isn’t. Except that I’m making it my business!”
Recasts are always tricky on soap operas, by which I mean that they usually turn out to be an alien shapeshifter or some other kind of hoodoo from the notworld, feeding off the audience’s precious life essences for its own malign purposes. Recasts are not to be trusted, and should be handled with extreme caution.
So when we hear the announcement over the credits — “The part of Victoria Winters will be played by Miss Betsy Durkin” — we are on alert. Hackles are raised.
Continue reading Episode 630: Vicki Ruins Everything
“Well, of course it’s necessary; we can’t have prowlers on the place, attacking people.”
Carolyn and Tony are reunited, at last. They were torn apart by the weird, mad woman who married uncle Roger, and who seemed to delight in luring Tony away from Carolyn’s side. But the witch has melted away, as witches do, and with a little time, the betrayal fades, the harsh words forgotten. They’re just two kids — funny, and headstrong, and good-hearted — finding their way back to each other.
But it’s wrong. It’s all wrong! Can’t you see it? Something terrible has happened to Carolyn. Some dark new creature has crawled inside her skin and is making itself at home in her flesh.
Continue reading Episode 578: The Understudy
“How odd it is that I should feel this urge on this night.”
I hope everybody’s excited, because today’s the day that we’ve all been waiting for. It’s Experiment Day!
Yes, after weeks of build-up, we’ve finally reached this historic episode — the day that Barnabas regenerates.
Continue reading Episode 485: A Huge Naked Dead Guy
“I do not need you now! Can’t you understand? Go back to your grave!”
Last week, Angelique needed yet another stick to hit her rival Josette with, so she called poor dead Jeremiah from his grave, and sent him off to haunt his widow. Now, he’s showing up at the house when Angelique doesn’t want him, like a stray cat that somebody fed once, and now it comes by every day to beg for scraps.
The witch tries to send Jeremiah away, saying that she doesn’t need him now. But he just laughs, and stumbles toward her.
Which brings us to today’s topic: How does “the dead” work?
Continue reading Episode 396: Dialogue of the Dead
“I didn’t say I believed it, but Dave did. And he’s dead.”
You know, we’ve been spending a lot of time with the monsters lately; we should probably check in with the good guys while we still have some.
Yesterday, Barnabas and Julia murdered Dr. Dave Woodard, because he’d found Julia’s notebook that described her efforts to cure Barnabas of being a vampire. Julia prepared a hypodermic with a drug that would make it look like Woodard had a heart attack. She chickened out at the last minute, but Barnabas jammed the needle into Woodard’s arm, and the doctor died.
This has caused a great deal of inconvenience for everyone, because earlier in the evening, Woodard had called Sheriff Patterson, and made an appointment to share some important evidence. So now the Sheriff is wondering whether Woodard was killed to conceal that evidence.
Naturally, this raises an important question, namely: Why do you need to make an appointment to bring the Sheriff crucial evidence about an unsolved murder and kidnapping? What else was on his schedule today?
Continue reading Episode 342: Shadow of the Bat
“The thought of what he might be frightens me as much as it did you.”
Well, there are books here, that’s something that I know. There are books on shelves, and they’re dusty, so this is probably an interior set. That’s a place to start.
The walls are made of stone, with big stone columns, and there are plaques on the wall that look like gravestones. Lots of cobwebs, naturally. Very dark, very shadowy.
There’s an old man with glasses who’s carrying a book. He shuffles over to the wall with the gravestones, peers at them, and then looks at all of the other walls, as if he suspects they might be up to something. Then he shuffles over to the bookshelves, and puts down the book that he’s holding.
I’m trying to describe this scene for you in as much detail as I can, because we’re currently one minute into this episode, and I have absolutely no idea what we’re looking at.
Continue reading Episode 337: Time to Kill
“A patient’s fears are always real, because they’re rooted in the only ultimate subjectivity.”
Today’s episode opens with David in his bedroom, looking into his crystal ball and calling for Sarah. And since nothing interesting is going to happen for at least the next four minutes, I might as well tell you about the strike.
Continue reading Episode 335: The Shadow He Casts