Tag Archives: trickery

Episode 940: Those Whom the Gods Would Destroy, They First Give an Ascot

“We’ll have to use trickery, or force!”

“I think it would be appropriate that we seal our agreement with a drink,” says Barnabas, which is the sneaky code that fictional people use for I am about to poison you.

So he goes into the back room of the antiques shop, which has no functional furniture except for a flat surface that’s holding a decanter and two glasses. This is the alcoholic equivalent of the radio on Gilligan’s Island that only has news reports about Gilligan’s island related material.

Barnabas pours out two glasses of whatever liquid that happens to be, and then adds a generous measure of deadly nightshade that he’s carrying around in an inside pocket for just such an occasion.

Stepping back out into the open air, Barnabas hands the poisoned drink to Jeb Hawkes, the negasonic teenage warhead currently threatening everything that he holds dear. Jeb proposes a sinister toast and raises the glass to his lips, and then we go to the opening titles.

When we come back, Jeb gulps down the poison and says mmmm, yummy, and he doesn’t die or get sick or even notice that anything’s amiss, and everyone just forgets about it, because Jeb is the new hotness and shut up.

Continue reading Episode 940: Those Whom the Gods Would Destroy, They First Give an Ascot

Episode 856: The Switcheroo

“Do you think I’m fool enough to leave the power of the Hand in that body?”

Over the last ten months, mercurial trickster Quentin Collins has been just about everything it’s possible for a Dark Shadows character to be. Lover, scoundrel, zombie, ghost, mortal enemy and loyal friend, brother, father, uncle and antihero, black sheep and white knight, victim, villain, werewolf and wife-killer, teen idol, trading card, day player, pop star and devotee of the dark arts, he has seen and done and been it all. In a fiercely competitive narrative environment, he’s adapted to every new situation, the undisputed champion of 1969.

Now, a powerful wizard sits alone in the back room of his crummy old basement lair, calling on the fire and the air and the water and the earth — and hey presto, with a wave of the wand and a puff of smoke, Quentin Collins changes his mind again.

Continue reading Episode 856: The Switcheroo

Episode 759: Kill Me Maybe

“What you saw consumed in flames was an exact replica of me.”

“Get me a mirror,” Angelique says, out of the blue. “A full-length mirror.” This is her idea of a security system.

This week, the Dark Shadows A-Team has united against Laura Collins, a phoenix firestarter who’s returned to Collinwood to turn her children into fire demons. Barnabas, Quentin, Angelique and Magda are on the case, each of them distracting Laura from her mission just long enough for another one to plan a new attack.

This is a new team that’s just emerged this week, and Angelique has stepped into the role of tactical expert. It’s a surprisingly natural fit, considering her dismal track record — remember, this is the woman who cursed the man she loves with a spell that kills everyone who loves him.

But in this context, it makes sense for Angelique to step up. Barnabas is terrible at making plans, Quentin is impulsive and reckless, and Magda is the loosest possible cannon. So when the woman says “get me a mirror,” the appropriate response is: one mirror, coming right up.

Continue reading Episode 759: Kill Me Maybe

Episode 443: Fan Club

“I lose track of time. The days are all the same here, and no one ever bothers to tell me what day it is.”

He is dead, alas! Reverend Trask is dead. The world is a little duller now — noticeably quieter — and we’re down another antagonist, which poses a real problem. We’ve been shedding characters like crazy as we approach the end of the 1795 storyline, and here’s the point where the cast really starts to look thin.

As we’ve seen recently, Barnabas has taken on a new role as the monster who hunts other monsters, kind of a cross between Godzilla and Dexter. That story structure turns out to be very productive for the show over the next couple years, but in order to work, you need an opponent who’s in the same weight class.

Angelique and Reverend Trask were both Barnabas-sized problems, and it was satisfying to see him take them on. Now that they’re gone, the only villain left is Nathan, who’s more of a charming con man than a threatening monster.

But he’s the best that we have to work with, so over the next week, we need to turn Nathan the adorable rascal into Nathan the predator.

Continue reading Episode 443: Fan Club

Episode 405: Ever After

“You will never rest, Barnabas… and you will never be able to love anyone… for whoever loves you will die!”

Angelique’s eyes flash, and she says, “You have made a great mistake, Barnabas!” and then the world turns upside down.

Because today is Curse Day! We’ve been on this uncertain and frightening journey into the past for two months, and it’s all been leading up to this. Which is weird, because Dark Shadows is a soap opera, and soap operas aren’t supposed to have “leading up to” moments.

Continue reading Episode 405: Ever After

Episode 394: Rules of Engagement

“You are either in league with Miss Winters and the Devil, or you’re just a schemer.”

Here’s a question that you probably haven’t given a lot of thought to: What do you do when you walk into a bedroom in your house and find that an avenging poltergeist who might be your recently deceased brother has trashed the place, shredding the appointments all the way down to a licked splinter?

Well, I’ll tell you what you’d do if you were Miss Abigail Collins. You’d walk into the middle of the room, and say, “What has happened here?” And then you’d walk over to the only chair in the room, pick it up and put it back on its feet.

This is why I love Abigail. She walks fearlessly into the bleeding heart of chaos and fury, sizes up the situation, and says to herself, I’m gonna need that chair in a minute.

Continue reading Episode 394: Rules of Engagement

Episode 385: The End of History

“I adjure thee, thou serpent — by the Judge of the quick and the dead, by thy Maker and the Maker of the world, by Him who hath power to put thee into Hell — that thou depart in haste from the flesh of this woman. Go out, thou seducer! Go out, thou transgressor, full of deceit and wile! Enemy of virtue! Persecutor of innocence! In the name of the Lord, I command thee to cast thyself back into the darkness from whence thee came, and where thy everlasting destruction awaits thee!”

For the last four weeks, we’ve accompanied Victoria Winters on an uncertain and frightening journey into the past, back to the year 1795. Sort of.

Because it certainly hasn’t been the 1795 that we expected, has it? We thought we were going to visit the 1795 where Jeremiah married Josette when he was an old man. Or the one where Josette and Jeremiah were very much in love. Or the one where Barnabas would have destroyed Jeremiah if he’d had the time. Or even the one where Barnabas gave Josette a special music box. Whatever happened to that music box, anyway?

So there have been a lot of inconsistencies piling up, impossible little gaps in time and logical sequence. It’s almost as if a really stupid and annoying person had traveled through time, and then done a lot of idiotic things, screwing up the timeline so badly that history isn’t working properly anymore. I wonder who that could possibly have been?

Continue reading Episode 385: The End of History