“I am the keeper of the book, and the protector of the baby.”
Sitting alone in his hotel room, waiting for his daughter to call, itinerant sperm donor and faux-father Paul Stoddard finds his attention drawn to a calendar hanging on the wall. Then he finds his hand drawn to a pen lying on the desk. Then a circle finds itself drawn around December the 4th.
As the pen falls from his nerveless hand, Paul says to himself, “What made me do that? December 4th! What does it mean?”
What it means, I’m sorry to say, is that the pen is yet another convert of the bewildering demonic cross-time conspiracy that’s currently wreaking havoc in the Collinsport small business community. We knew about the antique shop, of course, and I’ve long had my suspicions of the local Orbach’s, but I thought at least they’d have the decency to leave the school supplies out of this. Those monsters!
Continue reading Episode 898: Executive Child
“I’m a monster! I have no choice but to kill!”
Megan is alone, on the display floor of her antique shop. Her husband left to buy cigarettes a few moments ago. The room is dim, and cluttered with scattered relics.
Megan is worried. Earlier today, she was suddenly overcome with the unshakeable feeling that someone is coming to kill her. She’s correct; somebody is actually coming to kill her. It’s been a weird day.
What follows is a five-minute solo spaz attack of epic proportions. When I was younger and less discerning, I thought of this as The Worst Scene In Dark Shadows. I’m not sure what I think about it now. I’m still trying to work that out.
Continue reading Episode 897: You’re the Worst
“We have both faltered, Edward, and a mad child has finally done our work for us.”
Kitty: Ah! Good evening, Edward.
Edward: Good evening, Kitty.
Kitty: What a dump!
(Edward ignores her.)
Kitty: Hey, what’s that from? “What a dump!”
Edward: How would I know?
Kitty: Oh, come on, what’s it from? You know. What’s it from, for Chrissake!
Edward: What’s what from?
Kitty: I just told you. I just did it. “What a dump!” Huh? What’s that from?
Edward: I haven’t the faintest idea.
Kitty: Dumbbell. It’s from some damn Bette Davis picture, some goddamn Warner Brothers epic.
Edward: Kitty, I can’t remember all the pictures that came out of Warner Brothers.
Kitty: I’m not asking you to remember every goddamn Warner Brothers epic. Just one. Just one single little epic, that’s all.
Continue reading Episode 852: Who’s Afraid of Violet Welles?
“We’re all on the same side, aren’t we? My side.”
I address myself and those here with me to the powers of darkness, he said.
I call upon the flame to summon you, he said.
I call upon the raven and the viper and all the dark creatures of nature to draw you like a rising mist from out of the darkness of the earth, he said.
And he said it over an active hellmouth that spews out vengeance-vowing fire demons on the regular. What could possibly go wrong?
Continue reading Episode 711: Let’s Twist Again
“It’s been my experience that death causes as much ill-feeling as life.”
Time-tossed vampire Barnabas Collins is stuck in the year 1897, lost behind enemy lines on a ghost-hunting recon mission. For all he knows, he’s here to stay, so he’s trying to make friends with the locals.
At the moment, he’s in the Collinwood study with Edward, the putative head of the household, in front of an open casket containing Edward’s grandmother. The old lady spent the last several decades telling everyone that she had a family secret that she would pass on just before her death, but it turns out that’s a tricky deadline to plan around. Now Barnabas is the only one who knows the secret, which was: Don’t let Barnabas get out of his coffin and hang around Collinwood. So that worked out great.
Grasping at straws, Edward harangues Barnabas for a while, begging him to tell the secret, but Barnabas just stonewalls and that’s pretty much all they can do.
Frustrated, Edward grouses that Edith even kept the location of her will a secret. She left instructions with Judith in a sealed envelope, and now they have to find it.
And that’s the last time anybody mentions the secret. From this moment on, the story is all about finding the will. It’s the most blatant MacGuffin relay race handoff you’ll ever see.
Continue reading Episode 708: Will Power
“I don’t know how you came back, and I don’t care!”
As we’re settling into this 1897 time travel story, the thing that’s really remarkable is how much the writers have learned about setting up dramatic conflicts within the core Collins family.
It’s early 1969, and by this point in the show, the present-day family has been entirely nerfed. All of their secrets have been exposed, explained and apologized for, and any future story-driving difficulties have to be imported from the outside.
Last year, we spent some time with the 1795 family, and they were actually pretty well grounded too. Naomi was a drunk, Joshua was a grouch and Abigail was a fanatic spinster, but they were a functional family who would have carried on pretty well, as long as they could avoid having sex with pretty French vengeance demons.
But the Collins family of 1897 is absolutely out of their goddamn minds. At the start of today’s episode, Judith walks into her dying grandmother’s bedroom, and finds her brother Quentin strangling the old lady, and demanding to know the family secret.
This is the second time in two straight episodes that Judith enters a room and interrupts Quentin in the process of murdering a family member. She doesn’t even have that big of a reaction, she just shoos him out the door and gets on with her day. That’s how insane this family is; a murder attempt means nothing to these people.
Continue reading Episode 705: Prisoners of Emily Post
“It is so complex that no one could do it before you. Now, think about that.”
For the last several weeks, Adam’s been threatening to kill Vicki if he doesn’t get his way. At press time, he hasn’t gotten his way, so it’s probably best if he just kills her now, and then we can all move on.
So he sneaks into her room while she’s sleeping, and just reaches out and strangles the life out of her. She doesn’t scream, or even struggle very hard. She just kind of sighs and breathes heavy for a second, and that’s it. Vicki was an idiot.
Continue reading Episode 586: The Invisible Woman
“Did someone ever look at me, as I now look at you? No… or I would not be alive now.”
We open the week with a fight to the death between the already-dead, as ex-vampire Barnabas Collins battles with still-vampire Tom Jennings, in order to free Barnabas’ best friend, Julia, from Tom’s hypnotic spell.
It’s a crucial step in Barnabas’ development from villain to hero, a Jungian transformation of the psyche. Barnabas is both prince and dragon here — wrestling with his own demons, confronting and rejecting the darkness in his own soul. It’s also one of the goofiest things you’ll ever see on television.
Continue reading Episode 571: Raising the Stakes
“We were just having a little family argument.”
This hasn’t been an easy week so far, either for the Collins family or for the Dark Shadows audience. They’re wrapping up this phase of the Barnabas/Josette storyline, and after all of the build-up, it doesn’t really feel like anything.
This week, we’re seeing two of Dark Shadows‘ less successful attempts at creating a soap opera supercouple — a pairing that endures for years and offers unlimited story potential, as they overcome obstacles and always find their way back to each oher. On Monday, the show officially unveiled Vicki and Peter as the brand new star-crossed, century-hopping romance, and now we’re heading straight for a pivotal moment in the epic story of Barnabas and Josette.
Now, I don’t know how you feel about the situation, but personally I couldn’t care less about those couples. They could jump off a cliff for all I care, and lucky me, guess what happens next.
Continue reading Episode 423: Twisted
“The point is that I am in danger!”
It’s another relaxing evening at the Old House, and Julia tells Barnabas that she has another treatment ready for him. She’s trying to discover a cure for his vampirism, which would be hard enough even if she had a fully compliant patient. But Barnabas is feeling cranky, and when he’s cranky, he tends to get a little strangly.
Here’s his problem: young David is convinced that there’s something spooky hidden in the Old House, and a couple episodes ago, Julia caught the boy tugging on the locked basement door. She didn’t tell Barnabas about the encounter, because she knew he would freak out about it.
Yesterday, Roger mentioned the incident to Barnabas, and guess what? He’s freaking out about it.
Continue reading Episode 332: Safe? Safe!