Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dark Shadows Diary: Episode 10

Episode 10: "The Burke Devlin Show"
July 8, 1966

David's back! Hide the matches and keep an eye on your wallet.

I'm not sure I want to know what David's been up to during the last few episodes. I'm not even sure I want to know what he's been up to in this episode: toward the end, Liz awakes from a nightmare in the drawing room to find David standing nearby, covered in dirt. He's also holding a seashell for an added David Lynch-ian quality, and doesn't explain where he's been or how he got so dirty. It was a pleasant surprise to find out those stains weren't blood. It's just one in a series of misadventures David gets into during this short, 22-minute block of entertainment.

It begins innocently enough, with the child playing with a toy robot in the hall of Collinwood. He quickly finds himself hiding from his father in the drawing room where he overhears a conversation that cements his distaste for his father: Roger tells Liz the boy should be institutionalized. Liz responds by dropping a bomb powered in equal parts by exposition and venom: Roger only recently returned to Collinwood after a lengthy absence, leaving town shortly after Burke Devlin went to prison. Liz has allowed him back in the mansion only because she wants the child near and informs her brother that his continued presence at Collinwood is contingent on shutting the hell up about institutionalizing David.

But that's not all David has heard. After Roger finds him hiding in the room, David tells him he once witnessed his parents arguing about Burke Devlin. Roger responds by manhandling the boy and demanding to know what else the child overheard.  It's pretty obvious that David signed up for Team Devlin this episode, but I have a feeling Burke isn't going to to sign off on that particular trade so easily.

Meanwhile, Burke has staged an elaborate one-man play at the Collinsport Inn to convince Carolyn that he means her family no harm. We still don't know what his master plan is, but it doesn't really matter. The Collinses are so frayed around the edges that a stiff breeze could shatter their already flimsy family ties. His mere presence in Collinsport might be enough to send them over the edge.

Still, Burke feels the need to outsmart an 18 year old. It's interesting that he assumes Carolyn will automatically read a letter he not-so-carelessly leaves on the couch of his hotel room (which she does), which suggests he's familiar with the family's attitudes toward personal privacy. Burke also staged a fake telephone call about a business venture that's supposed to convince Carolyn his visit to town has nothing to do with her family. His vaudeville routine works like a charm. Not only does the ploy convince Carolyn that he's all Go Team Collins! but he receives an guided invitation to Collinwood, as well. The episode closes with Carolyn inviting the family enemy into the mansion, and re-introducing Devlin to her aunt, Liz.

The Collins kids are even more screwed up than the adults. When a vampire is the most well-adjusted member of your family, you know you've got problems.

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