Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dark Shadows Diary: Episode 2


Episode 2: #1 at The Blue Whale
First aired June 28, 1966

First impressions are important. In the pilot, we're introduced to Elizabeth while she's brooding in the drawing room, and meet Roger as he's pouring a glass of booze. The writers held true to those aspects of these characters with a cartoonish sense of fanaticism throughout the run of the series, even if both were softened a bit over the years.

In the second episode we're introduced to Elizabeth's daughter, Carolyn, who was only hinted at in the pilot. We meet her tramping it up at The Blue Whale, dancing with any guy in the bar who's not her boyfriend. In her defense, Joe Haskell is sitting only a few feet away from his girl and doesn't have much interest in "dancing," if you catch my drift. Joe is the series' hero for the first few years, though the writers took sadistic glee at underlining his impotence at every turn. He's powerless to protect Maggie from Barnabas Collins later in DARK SHADOWS, and here he picks a fistfight with some guys over Carolyn that Burke Devlin has to break up. DARK SHADOWS doesn't have much use for heroes.


Speaking of introductions, we also get our first taste of the jukebox at The Blue Whale, which boasts a few dozen tracks on its playlist but only seems to play the same three songs over and over. But that's OK, because they're pretty good tunes. It beats the crap usually found in jukeboxes.

Carolyn isn't the most likable person in the episode, finishing a distant last even behind her uncle Roger. After intentionally antagonizing the men at The Blue Whale, she goes home to whine to her mother about how she wants more from life than being rich and living in a mansion. I wouldn't go so far to say she's spoiled (because Collinwood isn't the warmest, most nurturing place in the world) but she comes off a little bratty.

It's strongly hinted throughout the series that Victoria and Carolyn are sisters, and the two characters seem to be running parallel to each other, if in opposite directions. Carolyn needs to escape the shadow of her family to find out who she really is, while Victoria thinks she'll find her true identity by getting closer to the Collins family. It's an interesting dynamic.

Vicky's answers won't come easily, though. The more time Victoria spends at Collinwood in this episode, the more isolated she becomes.While strolling the grounds alone (wearing a trenchcoat and looking a little like Bjork meets Inspector Clouseau) she finally meets Roger, who lays on the charm as they chat at the edge of the (as yet unnamed) Widows Hill. He's all "Please call me Roger" until she makes the mistake of mentioning Burke Devlin's name. After that, he gets grabby and runs away to parts unknown. Victoria returns to the mansion to find Elizabeth doing her best Robert Smith impersonation while playing piano in the dark.

Victoria has yet to meet her new charge, David, but we've been warned of his troubled presence since the pilot. Will he finally make an appearance in the next episode?

Trivia: Elizabeth says the painting hanging over the fireplace in the drawing room is of her great-grandfather, Jeremiah ... which is impossible, given that Barnabas Collins blew his brains out before Jeremiah had a chance to reproduce. I'll chalk this error up to Elizabeth's own confusion. There was a great deal of intentional misinformation concerning the events of 1795, so it's understandable if facts about that era of Collins history are a little murky.

2 comments:

Maester Pycelle said...

Well done. I am enjoying reading your interpretations. It's almost as good as having someone watch these episodes along with me, as I do each night. Currently I'm up to episode 865.

cynthia curran said...

They changed the information later on.

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