Friday, September 21, 2012

Dark Shadows Diary, Episode 27

Episode 27, "Unreasoning Hatred"
Aug. 2, 1966

DARK SHADOWS has been in a bit of a rut for the last few weeks. The "new" has finally worn off, and that initial exhilaration of meeting the characters (and watching them meet each other) is fading. The show has figured out what it wants to be, and whenever that happens DARK SHADOWS gets a little ... dull.

But, I was prepared for this. It's been a crazy week for me, and I haven't been able to post these updates as often as I'd like. Even though I don't have a schedule to follow for these "Diary" entries, it hasn't stopped me from worrying that my interest in the pre-Barnabas Collins days of the series was waning. The truth is I've mostly been busy, but right about now somebody really needs to kill Bill Malloy. I've got nothing against the character, but DARK SHADOWS could benefit from some honest bloodletting right about now.

So, with a plate of ginger snaps and a shot (or two) of absinthe in hand, I fired up Episode 27 and returned to Collinwood.

I was a little concerned that Joan Bennett had picked an inopportune time to take a day off. Following the previous episode's last-minute zinger, it was important that Liz be a part of the process of dealing with the new plot development. When the episode begins, though, she's nowhere to be seen. Vicky, alone, is searching Collinwood for David, who's gone missing just as he's been revealed to be the likely culprit behind his father's car wreck. The evidence, a bleeder valve removed from the brakes of Roger's car, has gone missing, making the boy's guilt anything but definite in the eyes of his aunt Liz.

Carolyn returns home (without those packages we last saw her with) and reminds Vicky that it's not necessarily bad news that David is missing. Vicky drops some not-so-subtle hints that a potential murdered is running around the mansion, and Carolyn quickly deduces she's talking about David.

Just as I was ready to write off Bennett from the episode, she emerges mysteriously from the locked door to the west wing (just as Vicky and Carolyn are talking about ghosts.) She's been searching for David in the closed-off area of the mansion, because everyone knows that's just the kind of place David likes to hang out. Vicky can't explain how the bleeder valve was taken from her locked dresser, but Carolyn solves that puzzle, too. She steps away from the scene for a moment, returning with the keys to her own dresser ... which also match the locks to Victoria's. Inside, she finds the copy of Mechano Magazine and turns to a "well thumbed" feature on brake maintenance. Liz continues to cast doubt on David's alleged guilt but stops short of calling Victoria a liar. Instead, she logically points out that nobody really knows what kind of car part Victoria found in David's room. It's not necessarily a bleeder valve.

The B-story takes us away from Collinsport to Bangor, Maine, where Burke Devlin continues to plot against the Collins family. We finally meet his shadowy agent "Bronson," who looks more like Mr. Peepers than Mr. Majestyk. It wasn't until late in the episode that I recognized the actor playing Bronson was Barnard Hughes of The Lost Boys, Tron, etc. Was this guy born old? (In 1987, there was an almost-but-not-quite reunion of the two actors in this scene. Mitch Ryan, who plays Burke Devlin, was the villain in the first Lethal Weapon movie, which featured a theater marquee advertising a screening of The Lost Boys. That totally useless bit of trivia was brought to you courtesy of my OCD, which has been aggravating friends and loved ones for several decades. But I digress.)

It's fitting that Bronson looks more like a businessman than a vigilante, though, because Devlin plans on launching an assault on the Collinses finances and not a Death Wish-style shooting rampage. Bronson is supposed to be the face of this hostile takeover, while Devlin watches quietly from the sidelines. There's a brief bit of tension when it's revealed some paperwork about the plan might have been sent in error to Devlin's Collinsport hotel room, but neither I nor the show can work up much interest in this plot twist.

More interesting is that Burke learns via a telephone call that the sheriff searched his hotel room while he was out ... and that David was also caught trying to sneak into his room.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Oh, Aunt Liz. Dear, sweet, trusting Aunt Liz.

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