Tag Archives: secrets

Episode 1038: The Spy Who Loved Me

“I thought I had removed the life force completely, but apparently not.”

The vampire rises from his crypt, murder on his mind. Someone has intruded on his private sanctum, and she must be destroyed.

“So you’ve found me out!” he growls. “It will be the last thing you’ll ever do.”

She backs away. They always do — the doomed ones, the prey — scuttling towards the wall, squeaking, searching for the magic words that will make this nightmare stop coming true. And then the interloper says the one improbable thing that could flip the script on the oncoming train wreck.

“No, Barnabas, it’s me!” she chirps. “It’s me, Julia! I’m dressed this way for a reason!”

Continue reading Episode 1038: The Spy Who Loved Me

Episode 1024: The End of Love

“Do you think that what’s happened in this house has deranged my mind so much that I’ll accept your outrageous lies?”

You are asleep, said the voice in the portentous dream. But you hear me. Follow my voice. Follow… Follow… Follow… Follow… Follow…

To be honest, Maggie was already following just fine after “Follow” #3, but voices in portentous dreams usually have a script they need to stick to; a lot of this is automated.

Come in, Maggie, said the voice, as Maggie approached a door. Come into this room, and learn the secret. So Maggie came in.

The table holds the secret, the voice continued. Underneath, beside the ornament. Push the button. Maggie reached the table and found the button, which opened a small oblong compartment.

There before you lies the secret, said the voice in the portentous dream. If your secret is complete, you may wake up now. If you would like another secret, you may select from the following options. Please listen carefully, as our menu has recently changed.

Continue reading Episode 1024: The End of Love

Episode 971: The Cleanup Crew

“Whatever it is that’s drawing you there, I hope it doesn’t harm you.”

Roger Collins wakes up, somewhat the worse for wear. He’s in a hallway, and his head hurts. He tries to take stock of his surroundings, but these particular surroundings are difficult to stock-take. Why is he on the floor?

A friend is standing nearby. He looks up at her, and moans, “Julia, what are you doing here?”

“Elizabeth said I could come and see the architecture in the east wing,” she chirps. “It’s very interesting.” Roger tries to assimiliate this information into his current worldview.

The problem is that he’s got a couple big holes punched in his memory card, one labeled Killer Octopus from Outer Space and the other Oh My God That Nice Woman from the Antiques Store Is a Vampire. Between them, that pretty much sums up everything that Roger’s experienced in the last couple of months; everything else is just make-believe visits to Bangor-on-Business, which is imaginary.

He tries to narrow down the problem, and lands on location. “The east wing?” he scowls. “Did you say the east wing?”

“Yes, Roger,” she says.

He shakes his head, and exclaims, “Well, what am I doing here?”

“Well, now, Roger, I’m sure you have a very sound reason,” Julia says, as she helps him to his feet, “but blows on the head have a way of making people forgetful.” Then she pats him on the arm, and encourages him to go talk about it somewhere else.

Continue reading Episode 971: The Cleanup Crew

Episode 889: It’s From the Past

“You mustn’t touch this, Julia. It happens to be very old.”

Barnabas was boring, is the problem. Around this time last year, they wrapped up all of his storylines — Angelique was banished back to Hell, Adam ran away, and all the other villains just burned or fell to powder. At last, Barnabas was triumphant — free from his vampire curse, surrounded by friends and family, universally respected and trusted. It was a nightmare.

With nothing else to do, he became Barnabas the butler, a facilitator for other people’s story progression. The show always faces a crisis when they don’t know what to do with the star attraction, and their usual response is to visit a different time period. When “toxic Barnabas” was getting too hot to handle in November 1967, we went back to his origin story, and when “tame Barnabas” ran out of story potential in March 1969, the show packed him off to 1897.

Barnabas is at his best when he’s on the defensive, struggling and scheming and making terrible mistakes. His trip to 1897 put him on the back foot immediately — no allies, a vampire once again, and generally confused about what he was even supposed to be doing. He had to ingratiate himself with a whole new family, and learn everybody’s secrets without letting on about his own.

And it worked! Even a month-long vacation didn’t diminish his charms; his miraculous return gave the show its all-time best ratings. But now he’s heading back home, where the outlook is even more drab than it was before he left: Quentin’s evil spirit is gone, and Collinwood is more or less at peace. The immediate future looks even more butlery than before.

So the writers, in their infinite lunacy, have decided to dodge the butler problem by making Barnabas the bad guy again. Instead of a happy homecoming, they’re giving him a mysterious new agenda, which splits him away from his friends and family.

It’s a risky idea, with the potential to squander all the good will that they’ve built up with the audience. But what is Dark Shadows except a string of terrible ideas, which sometimes turn out to be amazing?

Continue reading Episode 889: It’s From the Past

Episode 817: A Night in Casablanca

“If he dies, the whole future of the Collins family will not be existing!”

Well, it’s another August afternoon, and everybody on Dark Shadows is down in the basement, wasting a perfectly nice day. I can remember a time on this show when people would take a walk in the woods on sunny days, and have genial chats with little girls who they didn’t realize were ghosts. It was awful; I hated those walks. Turns out all the cool stuff was happening in the basement. Take that, mothers of America!

Continue reading Episode 817: A Night in Casablanca

Episode 805: It’s In His Kiss

“You can’t burn murder, Trask, or drown it, or even poison it. You can’t kill murder.”

Spirit of Joe Lidster, I invoke and conjure thee! Co-producer of the Big Finish Dark Shadows audio dramas and co-writer of Dark Shadows: Bloodlust, I call upon the raven and the viper and all the dark creatures of nature to bring you here, so that we can watch an episode of Dark Shadows together.

Danny:  Hello, are you there?

Joe:  Yes, hello!

Danny:  I’m currently speaking to you through my fireplace. Are you okay in there? Is it hot?

Joe:  It is a bit hot. The reception’s good, though, for a fireplace.

Continue reading Episode 805: It’s In His Kiss

Episode 791: Sign the Paper

“No, Judith — you’re not mad, you’re just… burdened.”

Reverend Trask is comforting his distressed wife. “Now, Evan here has a paper that will lift a great deal of that burden from you, as soon as you sign it.”

But Judith is too upset to focus. “I can’t read anything right now!”

“There’s no need to read it, Judith,” her husband explains. “Just sign it.”

She says that she needs to talk to her brother Edward first, but the Reverend and his lawyer-accomplice shake their heads. Edward, they say, is dead. He’s not, actually — at least, he looked okay, the last time I saw him — but Trask and Evan seem pretty sure about it.

“Why can’t I remember?” Judith cries. “What’s happening? Everything is going to pieces, I want it to stop!”

“Judith, it will stop,” Trask says, “when you sign the paper.”

“Sign the paper,” Evan agrees.

Judith turns to look at Trask’s dead wife Minerva, who’s just sitting there, glaring at her with undisguised loathing.

“She keeps staring at me,” Judith mutters. “She’s watching me, and waiting. What is she waiting for?”

Trask insists, “Judith, sign the paper. That is the only way I can make you stop seeing this phantom that doesn’t exist!” He picks up the pen, and puts it into her hand. “Sign the paper, Judith. Sign the paper!”

Now, I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but I’m starting to get the feeling that they want Judith to sign the paper. This has all the earmarks of being one of those sign-the-paper parties.

Continue reading Episode 791: Sign the Paper

Episode 746: The Love Lives of Unhappy People

“Barnabas is dead. He locked me in a room, and then he died.”

Jenny’s mind skips like a stone on a lake, skimming across the years. She is paralyzed with joy, she is radiant in tears.

At each point, she experiences that moment more deeply than you’ve ever felt anything. Every memory is available to her, in its most devastating form. She is more alive than you could ever be. This offer is available for a limited time.

Continue reading Episode 746: The Love Lives of Unhappy People

Episode 715: The Secret of the Mysterious Clue

“I see a night of terror! I see strange screams, muffled sounds!”

Rachel Drummond, plucky girl detective, climbs the stairs to the Collinwood tower room. According to legend, no one has set foot in this room for a hundred years, but something’s happening up there — something sinister.

As she climbs, Rachel reviews the case. She came to this big spooky mansion as the governess for Edward Collins’ two young children — but nobody is willing to say what happened to their mother. “My wife is not dead,” Edward said. “She is away. She is going to stay away.”

But Rachel’s seen a light in the abandoned tower room, which is impossible. She’s seen the maid bring a new doll into the house, but the children say they never received it. And every time she asks a question, everyone tells her that some things are better left unanswered.

They can’t put off Rachel that easily. There’s a mystery hidden in this house — something sad, and dangerous — and she’s going to get to the bottom of it. The idea that this is none of her fucking business does not seem to have occurred to her.

Continue reading Episode 715: The Secret of the Mysterious Clue

Episode 511: Séance Fiction

“Look, I’m not carrying anybody’s will but my own, and I’ll prove that to you!”

A summer crush is always fun, isn’t it? As we’ve been heading into June 1968, I’ve talked about nothing but Professor Timothy Stokes, occult expert and storyline accelerator. Over the last week, Stokes has taken the lead in five straight episodes — completely taking over the Dream Curse storyline, and sticking his nose into the Adam plot as well — and he’s done it using the sheer power of being smarter and more interesting than anyone else. He’s clearly a Dark Shadows star in the making.

But sadly, this is actually his peak moment for a long time. After one more episode later this week, Stokes is going to fade back into the chorus for a while. He has a little run of episodes in mid-July, and another in October, and besides that, he just pops up periodically over the next year. He doesn’t make it into the top tier of essential characters like Barnabas, Julia, Angelique and Quentin, who must have a major role in every storyline. So what happened?

Continue reading Episode 511: Séance Fiction