“Only the spirits of those that we’ve killed would dare to harm us this way!”
They all lay in stone houses in their great city of R’lyeh, preserved by the spells of mighty Cthulhu for a glorious resurrection when the stars and the earth might once more be ready for them.
The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.
But not today, obviously. They’re busy today.
Continue reading Episode 959: Do No Harm
“You killed Paul, you killed the sheriff, and now this!”
But enough with the fancy writing tricks. Who feels like watching Dark Shadows today?
Continue reading Episode 950: Flappy Bat for the Win
“We became friends in the past. Please, let us be friends now.”
Mrs. Rumson arrives at her palatial beach mansion on Little Windward Island, and greets her husband of six months, the handsome publishing magnate. She’s found peace at last, after so many years of struggles and schemes. She’s going to go straight, she said, and everyone laughed. But she’s on the level, this time. The dead past will bury its dead.
But nothing ever stays dead, not on this show. At least, not with Dr. Julia Hoffman around.
Continue reading Episode 924: Pretty Woman
“How can ‘they’ possibly hear you or me, when we are both dead?”
Hey, remember when Barnabas wanted to turn Vicki into a new version of his lost love Josette, but he wanted her to come to him willingly, without having to use his hypnotic vampire powers on her? Yeah. I think we’re going to have to circle back and review that one again.
Because Vicki made the tactical error of actually going and having her own life outside of Barnabas’ immediate sphere of influence, and she met another guy. That made Barnabas get all bitey, and now he and Vicki are going away together.
But — and this is something I never thought I would say — Vicki is doing something interesting here. She’s agreeing to go, because she’s been hypnotized, but she doesn’t look happy about it.
When Carolyn got bit, she got a dreamy look in her eye, and she was super excited to be Barnabas’ new blood slave. All she could think about was how she could be helpful to Barnabas. Vicki’s affect is more like she agreed to go on a trip with someone that she isn’t that crazy about traveling with, but she promised to go and the tickets are non-refundable.
Continue reading Episode 465: The Best of All Possible Worlds
“That’s the first time you’ve ever called me by that name.”
Not very much previously, on Dark Shadows: Two days ago, David gave Carolyn the antique toy soldier, which he said would protect her. Then she was visited by the spirit of Sarah Collins, and she realized that the wild stories David’s been telling might actually be true. There, that’s your background on Carolyn’s character arc for the week — steadily building an awareness that David’s “fantasies” might be real.
So it’s a bit disappointing when David walks into the drawing room at the top of today’s episode, and hands Carolyn the toy soldier again.
David: I came to bring you this.
Carolyn: A toy soldier?
David: Yes. You should have it with you all the time.
Yeah, good question. I have several “why” questions of my own, starting with: Why doesn’t David climb up on a chair and smack her upside the head?
Continue reading Episode 350: Grumpy Old Man
“Strange… It never occurred to me that being human would make me become the man I was.”
Man, talk about a senior moment. For the last three months, Julia’s been working on a revolutionary new medical treatment to cure Barnabas, and make him human again. It turns out he should have asked her to be more specific.
Continue reading Episode 349: Secret Aging Man
“When that time comes, and it will be very soon, my dear Josette will come to me quite willingly.”
Burke Devlin is dead. We might as well get that out of the way.
We’re about four seconds into the episode, and a breathless Mrs. Johnson runs into the drawing room to tell Elizabeth, “I just heard a report on the radio. They said Mr. Devlin’s plane went down over the Amazon.” Apparently, Mrs. Johnson listens to the Top 40 plot-point station from Gilligan’s Island, and the drive-time news roundup covers South American business-class mishaps.
They can’t find the body, so if you’re familiar with soap opera narrative tropes, you know exactly what happens next: Vicki and Barnabas are at the altar, and the justice of the peace says, “Should anyone present know of any reason –”
Then the doors swing open, and there’s Burke Devlin — shaggy hair, unkempt beard, torn clothing, deep tan, possibly accompanied by a macaque. He’s just in time to stop the wedding, and reclaim the woman that he stayed alive for.
So, to be clear: Not gonna happen. Burke’s dead, he never comes back, and you can feel free to forget that he ever existed.
Continue reading Episode 345: Rest in Pieces
“I must insist, I think this is a great deal of nonsense.”
We’ve seen a remarkable change in Barnabas’ character this week — not necessarily a change in his core values and moral system, but certainly a change in the way that he’s being presented. But as striking as that change is — killer ghoul on Monday, perky party host by Friday — he actually isn’t the only villain-school dropout in the room.
In fact, all four of the male characters in today’s episode have played the heavy in past storylines. When Dark Shadows began, just a little over a year ago, Roger was an unsympathetic absent father and possible murderer, and Burke was a ruthless businessman intent on revenge against the Collins family. And it was only a few weeks ago that Vicki and Carolyn didn’t feel safe in the same house as Willie Loomis. And yet here they all are in today’s episode, chatting away, like a happy group of friends.
There’s actually a tendency over time for soap opera characters’ personalities to drift a bit, usually in the direction of becoming more like the actors who play them. This is partly a result of the hectic schedule of soap opera production, which requires a round-robin of writers and producers to keep the story going, sometimes over decades. After a while, the actor is the only person who’s consistently been paying attention to what their character is supposed to be like.
And in Barnabas’ case, nobody has any idea what his character is going to be. The original plan was that Dr. Woodard would rescue Maggie from the Old House weeks ago, banging a piece of wood through Barnabas’ undead heart along the way. But the vampire got a reprieve, thanks to the fan mail that’s been pouring in, so they’re just making it up as they go along.
This isn’t an arc. They don’t have a plan. There is literally not a single person on the Dark Shadows production staff who has any idea what’s going to happen next.
Continue reading Episode 280: Costume Drama
“We will relive a moment out of the past.”
Willie finds Barnabas pacing around Josette’s room.
“I knew you’d be up here,” Willie says. “You’ve been spending a lot of time up here.”
“I’ve been thinking about many things,” says Barnabas, but he’s got a guilty look on his face, like a teenager when Mom asks why he’s been spending so much time in the bathroom lately.
Continue reading Episode 277: Around the Sun