“Slow agonizing death is the worst kind, you know!”
It’s three days till Christmas 1970, and here we are in the dying days of Dark Shadows, a show that has specialized almost exclusively in dying days since its ratings peak in October 1969. Don’t tell the 1970 audience, but between you and me, the show only has 15 weeks left to run, which means, if my recent posting schedule is any guide, that this blog will shudder to a stop somewhere around the middle of 2075.
So we should get back to The War for Dark Shadows, the ongoing struggle to define what kind of story Dark Shadows becomes when it’s not a half-hour daytime soap opera anymore. This battle has been raging for decades in books, movies, comic books and the hearts of children, and there’s a lot of it, so we’d better buckle down and start taking this seriously. I mean, those deck chairs aren’t going to rearrange themselves.
Continue reading Episode 1172: The Deck Chairs
“There will be a knock on the door, a man will enter, and before he leaves this room, I will know where my body is.”
So here we are, having a nice conversation with Roxanne of all people, when the door opens and in walks Lamar Trask, descendant and undertaker. This Trask is just as judgey and accusatory as all the others, and he has an old letter that he claims will prove once and for all whatever it is that he thinks he’s talking about.
Barnabas tells him to put his letter away and stop bothering people, but Trask insists. “Evil has many faces, Mr. Collins!” he announces, and then the camera pulls allllll the way in for another one of those terrible too-close close-ups that they’ve been doing for the last few months. It’s been happening since the 1995 storyline, and I have to admit it’s killing me.
Continue reading Episode 1124: We Had Faces
“What can that portrait have to do with time?”
She doesn’t jump, not this time. Barnabas knows that if he approaches a cornered Josette on Widow’s Hill, then she’ll jump to her death, because that’s what she did last time. So he sends her aunt Natalie as a neutral party, to get Josette to back away from the precipice.
Once everyone’s on dry land, Barnabas says that if Josette stops trying to kill herself, then he promises not to murder her. This is actually not an unusual arrangement, for gothic romances. She agrees, but only if he comes back when he says that he will. Then he gets delayed, so she gets fed up, and she takes poison and dies.
I don’t really know why Josette’s spirit drew Barnabas and Kitty back a hundred years into the past, just so that she could kill herself all over again; it seems unprofessional, and self-defeating. But I think after two successful suicide attempts, Josette DuPres has made it clear that she would prefer not to be alive. We really need to start respecting that point of view.
Continue reading Episode 886: The Sacrifice
“I beg for your understanding and mercy! Please, grant me another life-giving flame!”
Laura Collins is dead, mostly. In fact, she’s died several times, up to and including just last year, but each time, she’s been revived by an Egyptian sun god, who keeps her alive using an eternal flame that she keeps in a magical urn. If the flame goes out, then Laura dies. Except now it’s gone out and she’s still walking around, so explain that.
Continue reading Episode 737: The Sacred Bull
“And there it was… a MYSTERY BODY!”
The story so far: I began writing this blog two Labor Day weekends ago, starting with Barnabas emerging from the mystery box in episode 210. Now it’s Labor Day weekend again, and by some cruel trick of time, my journey into the past has reached the halfway mark.
This is the midpoint between episode 210 and the end of this uncertain and frightening television show, and to mark the occasion, I should probably say something profound and clever about this episode that sums up what these last two years have taught us about vampires and storytelling and character development and natural selection and chromakey and why you should never give a gun to an actor, even an unloaded prop gun, because honestly, they will find a way to hurt themselves.
Unfortunately, it turns out that I don’t have very much to say about today’s episode, except that this is the one where, for one tantalizing moment, it looks like Quentin and Barnabas are about to kiss.
Continue reading Episode 720: Halfway
“But last night, she sent me a message… from the past.”
The morning of a new day at Collinwood. Plans have been made to take two children away on an extended trip. But there are unseen and evil forces at work within the great house — forces that have possessed both children, and decreed that — oh my god, Vicki, WHAT IS IT NOW?
Continue reading Episode 659: Gone Girl
“I’m beginning to feel that there’s no answer, except to submit to the dream.”
Okay, stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
Continue reading Episode 531: The Interpretation of Dreams