“Counselor, I do not need you to tell me the laws of this state that I am honor-bound to withhold!”
A death, a dream, a Trask yelling witchcraft — yep, just another episode of Dark Shadows.
Today, Trask finds Quentin kneeling over a dead body, just like he did in episode 1156, a little over a week ago. Then Gerard casts a spell that sends Daphne a sexy dream, just like episodes 1146, 1151 and 1158. And Desmond says that the evidence against Quentin is circumstantial, just like he did yesterday and the day before, and for all I know he’s going to say it again tomorrow, and every day for the rest of our lives.
Man, I wish something would happen today that we haven’t seen recently, and I’m sure I will never regret making that wish.
Continue reading Episode 1162: The Tribulations
“We must not be emotional about his death.”
On Friday, Julia and Dr. Lang performed the experiment to free Barnabas from his vampire curse by transferring his life force into a Frankenstein monster. It went about as well as any DIY project, which is to say: It ran for about three minutes, and then ended in confusion, ruin and despair.
Lang had a heart attack mid-experiment and fell over onto one of his buzzing machines, and then something shorted out with a pop and a puff of smoke, and then there was electricity and life force just flying all over the place, and there was an earthquake and a flash flood and the box of scorpions tipped over and the sun got in my eyes and I think we need a do-over.
Continue reading Episode 486: If They Both Live
“How odd it is that I should feel this urge on this night.”
I hope everybody’s excited, because today’s the day that we’ve all been waiting for. It’s Experiment Day!
Yes, after weeks of build-up, we’ve finally reached this historic episode — the day that Barnabas regenerates.
Continue reading Episode 485: A Huge Naked Dead Guy
“Julia! Why am I leaving the room, Julia?”
So it’s been a rough ride, this returning to the present day. Deciding to do a lengthy 18th-century time travel story was a leap into the unknown, but once they’d started, they had a general outline to work from. They needed to turn Barnabas into a vampire, get Josette to jump off a cliff, kill pretty much everybody else in the cast, and hang Vicki as a witch. That was a plan that they could execute, if you’ll pardon the expression.
But returning to 1968, the writers face another weird challenge. They’ve decided to pretty much reboot every ongoing storyline that they had — hastily wrapping up, reversing or straight-up ignoring all of the old story threads.
This is a very unusual move for a soap opera. These last five weeks have basically been the equivalent of a season premiere, a narrative structure that even night-time shows weren’t doing in the late 60s. Dark Shadows has changed some core relationships, introduced new characters, and brought back Angelique as this season’s Big Bad. Structurally, this is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but thirty years early and from the monsters’ point of view.
Continue reading Episode 484: Chekhov’s Gun
“I should go to Collinwood, and drag her from the house, and BURN her!”
So, what do you do with a guy who just refuses to understand what kind of story he’s in?
I’m not talking about a Mulder-Scully dynamic, where the tension between belief and skepticism is the whole point of the series. I’m talking about a guy who’s standing smack in the middle of a spook show, and he can’t get his mind around the fact that there’s a witch who’s trying to kill him, even though she’s already openly attacked him using her magic powers. I’m talking about a guy who needs to have the situation explained to him over and over, plus he’s obnoxious and a terrible actor and he shouts all the time.
All right, it’s Lang. I’m talking about Dr. Eric Lang. He’s driving me crazy, and he’s got to be stopped.
Continue reading Episode 482: Witches Be Crazy
“He will not be a monster then — unless, of course, you consider me one. I’m sure you do.”
Julia Hoffman has seen too much.
Yesterday, Julia went into Dr. Lang’s secret murder lab without permission, and found the monster that he’s been assembling out of corpses and bits of string. She knows that the monster still needs a head, which means one more person has to die to finish the project. This is dangerous knowledge. Julia must be stopped.
Now she’s locked herself in Lang’s parlor, and she’s calling the police. She’s also screaming and sobbing quite a bit. Barnabas and Lang are banging on the door, desperate to stop her. Lang has pulled his gun — he’ll kill to protect his experiment, if he has to.
In a last desperate bid to halt this disastrous chain of consequences, Barnabas shouts through the locked door to his hysterical friend.
“Julia, remember!” he cries. “Remember someone!”
Continue reading Episode 481: Remember Someone
“Why do you have me strapped to this table?”
So, Jeff’s crotch. All right, let’s start there.
Continue reading Episode 479: Face/Off
“This coffin. What does it mean?”
Vicki and Jeff peer through the door to the secret room in the Collins mausoleum. Entering the cramped space, they find a closed coffin in the center of the room.
“This coffin,” Vicki sighs. “What does it mean? Does it mean something to you, Jeff?” This is their first date, by the way.
Continue reading Episode 469: Dr. No
“You keep talking about secret rooms, and guns. It bothers me for some reason.”
And now, another tableau from our pageant of Great Moments in Fictional Health Care.
Victoria Winters was in a car accident the other day, and escaped entirely unharmed. But she’s been cooped up in a hospital bed for episode after episode, and she doesn’t even have a magazine.
She says to her doctor, “You are going to release me today, aren’t you?” The doctor smirks, and says, “Now, why be in such a hurry?”
So apparently this hospital encourages able-bodied patients to stay longer. Even for a vampire soap opera, that requires more suspension of disbelief than anything else on the show. I thought we were back in the 20th century.
Continue reading Episode 468: The Odd Couple
“Perhaps — in the mastery of science, in the mastery of modern medicine — you will find your best hiding place!”
Previously, on Dark Shadows — Barnabas Collins, knocked unconscious in a car accident, was brought to the Collinsport Hospital, and is now under the care of Dr. Eric Lang. Observing the patient’s lack of pulse and impossibly low blood count, noting the presence of two puncture wounds in Vicki’s neck, and blessed with the unique ability to add two and two, Dr. Lang identified Barnabas as a vampire, halfway through yesterday’s episode.
Dr. Lang confronted Julia with his conclusions, and insisted that they work together to treat Barnabas’ condition — and by the end of the episode, Lang surprised Barnabas by whipping open the heavy curtains and exposing his panic-stricken patient to the late-afternoon sunlight.
And now Barnabas is fine.
Continue reading Episode 467: Physician, **** Thyself