Friday, August 24, 2012

Dark Shadows Diary: Episode 11

Episode 11: "The Future"
July 11, 1966

After two weeks on the air, DARK SHADOWS is officially a cake. The ingredients have been assembled, mixed and baked, and it looks like the pageant of character introductions is finally behind us. It's reached the point where it can relax and begin to explore its concept.

Well, there's one key ingredient missing from the recipe. We still don't know why Burke Devlin went to the Big House, but we finally know how long he was there: five years. I saw these episodes 20 years ago on the Sci-Fi Channel, so I already know Devlin went away on a felony drunk driving conviction. If five years seems a little light for killing someone, it's about 60 times as long as the conviction received by Motley Crue douchebag Vince Neil for doing the same thing in 1984. But this isn't a treatise on America's flawed judiciary. This is a Dark Shadows blog, so lets stay on point.

Devlin has a revenge boner for the Collins family, but is staging a lengthy piece of performance art to convince everyone he's let bygones be bygones. Nobody wants him around, but they stop just short of explaining why. It's pretty clear Devlin got fucked hard by the Collins family a decade earlier, but we still don't know who is feigning innocence, and who is legitimately clueless. Besides Victoria and Carolyn, that is.

Devlin and Liz Stoddard spar for the entirety of this episode. Devlin walks around Collinwood as though he's getting ready to buy the place, and surprise! He asks Liz how much she'd be willing to sell the dump for (he suggests Collinwood is worth about $250,000, which seems ridiculous.) Liz is a bit more wily than her daughter, but seems inclined to believe that Devlin doesn't have a beef with her family. She's not the type to take anything for granted, so I think she doubts his intentions out of reflex. And because she's not an idiot.

Collinsport is so gossipy that even the innkeeper (whose name is Mr. Wells, thank you very much) has a stake in social politics. Fake Sam Evans wanders into the inn looking for his daughter, and is as drunk as Thomas Jane on Tuesday. The innkeeper, thinking of Maggie's feelings, forces Sam to absorb some black coffee before seeing Maggie, plying him with trivia about Carolyn's recent visit with Burke Devlin. I think it's worth pointing out that both of these characters meet untimely demises later in the series. The innkeeper is killed by a werewolf, while Sam is murdered by a Frankenstein. Spoiler alert and shit.

Dark Shadows has assembled such a broad cast of characters that it's easy to forget that many of this episode's players don't actually appear on screen. Victoria Winters narrates the show's opening (and wrongly says Collinwood is "almost" 130 years old) but gets no screen time. Maggie, Joe and Roger are also mentioned throughout the episode but don't appear. Given enough time, DARK SHADOWS will develop a roster of characters second only to THE SIMPSONS. Right now, though, things are pretty cozy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

5 characters per script/episode. Apparently the budget didn't allow for any more than that. It must've been an interesting challenge for the writers as they tried to smoothly pace out the storylines for this show. Didn't always work though since things often seemed to draaaag out alot.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...