“It doesn’t necessarily mean something.”
David and Amy, two young kids prowling the halls of the enormous haunted house where they live, are currently the subjects of an escalating struggle between two ghosts — Quentin, who wants to lure the children into a sinister scheme, and Magda, who’s trying to protect them. So far, we haven’t actually seen or heard either of these spirits, and there’s still a chance that this might all turn out to be one big misunderstanding.
The kids make their way through a secret passage to the west wing, where Quentin is silently urging them to go. Suddenly, a busted old grandfather clock tips over, and faceplants right in front of them with an unholy clatter.
This could be a symbol of today’s generation trying to avoid being trapped by the fears and prejudices of the past, but it’s probably not. Sometimes a child-endangering poltergeist clock attack is just a child-endangering poltergeist clock attack.
Continue reading Episode 644: Phoning It In
“I think the man I’m talking to is a ghost!”
Previously, on Dark Shadows: Dr. Woodard has discovered that Barnabas Collins is the kidnapper that everyone’s been looking for — and a member of the living dead. Armed with a journal which contains notes of Julia’s mad experiments, Woodard is planning to speak to the Sheriff, and expose the evil presence that threatens to destroy them all. But a bat appears at the window — and Dr. Woodard is horrified to see the vampire materialize in front of him.
And then… nothing, for three years. At least, that’s what it was like when I saw it.
Continue reading Episode 639: Vampire Excites Wives, Young Set
“Every day, he becomes more like a mortal man… and no mortal man can spoil my plans.”
Barnabas Collins, drained of blood and low on get-up-and-go, has fallen to the earth. His ex-wife Angelique has been all up in his neck recently, and he’s got to get away before she turns him into the living dead for like the third time in a row. So we’re in the middle of a tense low-speed chase through the woods, as he tries to drag himself to safety before the sun sets.
Girl governess Victoria Winters finds him, because they suddenly have some kind of deep mental bond, and why not? Vicki’s standard emergency protocol kicks in, which means that she parks herself eight inches away from the patient and hollers reassuringly at him.
“I have to get you to Collinwood, and then we’ll find Julia!” she cries, but he insists that won’t help.
He moans, “I want you to take me someplace where no one will find me,” and guess where that turns out to be.
She says, “There’s a secret door to the west wing of Collinwood, which no one’s used for years!” And, for Pete’s sake, didn’t he just say that they shouldn’t go to Collinwood? This television show may need to invest in a few more locations. You can’t keep treating the west wing of Collinwood like it’s Mexico.
Continue reading Episode 620: Sets and Violence
“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
“Woman loves man.”
The room is dark, and grim. The single window — if it even counts as a window — lets in stray slices of sunlight through a torn shade. The cobwebs are an inch thick, and there’s a large picture frame dangling at an odd angle from a beam, apparently supported mostly by dust and despair.
The room is more than just unused. It looks like a pack of timberwolves came through sometime around the Civil War, and it never really pulled itself together after that.
Also, there’s a monster in it.
Continue reading Episode 542: The Diary of Anne Frankenstein
“Enter Julia Hoffman, bearing flowers.”
INT. JOSETTE’S ROOM – DREAM.
Vicki, wearing a bride’s veil, is staring at herself in the mirror on the vanity in Josette’s room. Barnabas walks in, and tells her that she’ll be a beautiful bride.
Hesitantly, Vicki asks, “I will be a bride… won’t I, Barnabas?” He says that she will. She asks where Burke is, and Barnabas says, “He’s here, Vicki. Right here. Look on the bed.” She turns, and sees Burke’s corpse on the bed, covered in a shroud.
Which raises the question: What is the purpose of “love” in an open-ended narrative?
Continue reading Episode 346: The Shipping News
“Stop thinking like a woman, and start thinking like a doctor.”
Here’s a lesson from Supervillain 101: Don’t sacrifice your only henchman.
I know it’s tempting, but seriously, try to keep it together. Willie was kind of a pain sometimes — prone to backchat, and not fully committed to the corporate vision — but on the upside, he did the occasional perimeter check.
So here’s Dr. Woodard, leaving the Old House after a mutually threatening conversation with Barnabas. He bumps into Julia on his way out, and says good night. As soon as she enters the house, Woodard takes four steps over to the window, and helps himself to their conversation.
Barnabas really should have a more complex security protocol by now. This is not a new problem.
Of course, it’s not easy to keep things on the D.L. in a soap opera, because the format requires a level of exposition usually reserved for 24-hour cable news channels. It doesn’t matter if you’re hiding from the Nazis, and an SS patrol is walking by with sniffer dogs and infrared goggles. You’re a soap opera character, and you never stop talking.
Continue reading Episode 338: Think Like a Woman