Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dark Shadows Diary: Episode 12

Episode 12: "Things That Can't Be Said"
July 12, 1966

This has been a moment long coming: an episode of DARK SHADOWS that goes absolutely nowhere.

Momentary stagnancy is a necessary evil for a daytime drama. If you move too quickly, you'll begin to shed your audience because they can't keep up. Move too slowly, though, and folks will figure out they can regularly skip episodes. Factor in the fluid, endless nature of daytime television (that doesn't have a traditional "seasons") and you've got a format that's incredibly difficult to pace.

DARK SHADOWS has found its groove and is cheerfully beginning to explore its world. That means we'll occasionally have to suffer through episodes like this one, filled with long conversations that do nothing to move the story forward.

The bulk of this episode is spent with Victoria and Roger dueling over her relationship with Burke Devlin, and with Maggie Evans demanding answers from her father, Sam, over his recent panic attacks. We learn nothing new from these conversations. Even the characters learn nothing new: Maggie still has no idea why Fake Sam Evans has turned into a sweaty mess during the last few days, and Roger remains unconvinced that Victoria isn't some kind of spy in the employ of Burke Devlin.

We go round and round with a lot of ideas from the previous episodes. Roger still wants Victoria to leave, allegedly for her own safety. He also makes the same proposal to Fake Sam, an idea the drunken artist was already contemplating. We also get a re-run of the show's mythology, as Roger explains (again) that Jeremiah Collins built Collinwood and was not such a nice guy. I think the writers later split the concept of this ancestor into two characters. The Jeremiah Collins we neet in the 1795 flashback is a pretty decent fellow while his brother, Joshua, is an asshat. It's hard to imagine Jeremiah banning widows from grieving on the cliff, but Joshua? That kind of behavior is right up his alley.

There are still a few moments of weirdness in this episode. Carolyn goes looking for Roger and finds her uncle and Victoria having a chilly conversation on the edge of Widow's Hill. "What you you doing here? Planning a suicide pact?" she asks, unaware of how fucked up the question is. Carolyn also suggests Victoria pay an evening visit to the violent, disgruntled Matthew Morgan to ask him questions about her possible relationship to the Collins family, which won't go down in history as one of the best ideas ever.

When Roger learns that Devlin is in the drawing room with his sister, he looks as though he pees a little. His first instinct is to get the hell out of the house, but changes his mind and decides to confront is enemy. As he reaches for the handle to the drawing room door, he triggers the closing credits (which seem especially sensitive to major plot developments.) I have a funny feeling, though, that something will interrupt Roger's efforts to enter the room in the next episode, thus delaying the important plot development for a few more episodes.


Melissa said...

That the modern Collins family gets their history a bit wrong always seemed perfectly natural to me; it's probably a combination of Joshua's whitewashing and village gossip that filtered back over the years.

cynthia curran said...

Well, Joshua never told anyone that he almost took Barnabas to the silver bullet.

cynthia curran said...

Joshua, is an asshat. It's hard to imagine Jeremiah banning widows from grieving on the cliff, but Joshua? That kind of behavior is right up his alley.

He was just a hard man not that he totally lacked morality. He would not have tried to do what he did in the Barnabas situation if he lacked morality.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...