Friday, August 10, 2012

Dark Shadows Diary: Episode 3

Episode 3: Conspiracy Theory
June 29, 1966

Roger Collins has problems.

While DARK SHADOWS hasn't revealed the specific nature of those problems, he's clearly not a man that can be trusted. He demonstrated a cruel streak in the pilot, a character trait that's been dormant over the last two episodes. He's called his sister a "fool," his son a "monster." After fighting to keep Victoria Winters away from Collinwood, he was surprisingly welcoming of the new governess upon her arrival. He plays a good game, but if this episode reveals anything about Roger, it's that he's got a terrible poker face ... at least where Burke Devlin is concerned.

The established characters take some time to socialize in this episode, but the script also adds a new one to the mix: Bill Malloy. The head of the Collins shipping fleet, Malloy has taken an interest in Devlin's arrival, asking him to lay off his already troubled employers. His motives are uncertain (is "altruism" even a thing in Collinsport?) as is his knowledge about Devlin's business in town, but nobody seems happy to see him walk into the room.

Roger's anxiety about Devlin's arrival also prompts an opportunity for many of the characters to interact. In fact, most of the episode is conversational: Devlin talks to Joe Haskell, Roger talks to Maggie, Malloy talks to anybody who stands still for too long. It's a busy, talky episode, and it's a credit to the writers that the show has taken on an oppressive air of mystery without giving us the slightest clue as to what's going on.

Carolyn and Victoria also meet for the first time in a scene that begins awkwardly before exploring some creepy subject matter: Carolyn has a bit of a crush on her uncle Roger, and seems put out that she's got to settle for a common fisherman like her boyfriend, Joe. Victoria politely entertains this icky display of TMI before the scene mercifully segues into a tour of Collinwood. But strange things are afoot: a door mysteriously swings open behind the two as they discuss a painting of 17th century ancestor Isaac Collins. Carolyn rightfully refrains from calling the Ghostbusters, but seems concerned when Vicky finds one of her letters discarded carelessly on her bed. Will we meet the likely culprit, David Collins, before the end of the week?

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the unintentionally hilarious opening. The episode begins with some film of Roger driving up to the Evans home, with a careful cut to the "live" recording of him pounding on a door and shouting "Open up you drunken bum!" The door doesn't open, Roger walks away and we get the DARK SHADOWS opening credits. Had this been your first episode, you would have been thoroughly baffled about what you were watching. It was a little surreal, but I'd watch an entire episode of Louis Edmonds angrily knocking on random doors in Collinsport.


BT said...

Louis banging on the Evans' door and yelling is one of my all time favorites scenes of the whole series!
Makes me laugh every time.

dmontgomster said...

I'm going to have to go back and watch this just for Roger banging on the door!

As for Carolyn, I think the fact that her father had abandoned her left her with one giant father fixation, which caused her to have relationships with both Roger and Barnabas that teetered on being incestuous. (Uncle and niece flirted a little too much, and the fact that Barnabas put the bite on her in every time period and biting is vampire sex, well, he was was mixing it all up throughout the family tree!)

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