Monday, October 15, 2012

Dark Shadows Diary, Episode 37

Episode 37: "Innocence in a Dressing Gown"
Aug. 16, 1966

It's Roger's turn to lurk in the shadows of the drawing room. His concerns (voiced in the previous episode) about the end of the family line weren't limited to just Carolyn and David's "issues." He's also worried that his conspiracy to send Burke Devlin to prison ten years earlier also threaten the family (i.e. "Roger.") He gives Sam Evans a call, and we see he's also brooding in the dark.

Roger can't believe that Sam is going to willingly paint Devlin's portrait. He's concerned Sam can't keep a secret and will spontaneously blurt out "WE TOTALLY FRAMED YOU!" during one of their sessions. Even though it's 1 a.m., Roger insists Sam call Devlin NOW to cancel the contract, because that wouldn't look suspicious at all.

And Roger has enough suspicions to power a small town for a decade. As soon as he's finished speaking with Sam, he turns to find Victoria standing in the doorway. She says she came downstairs to find something to read, which he doesn't believe, sarcastically calling her "innocence in a dressing gown." He wastes no time threatening to have the governess dismissed, but Victoria stands up for herself. She tells Roger that Liz has no intention of standing for that kind of nonsense and gets downright sassy with him. I half expected her to end the conversation with a zorro snap.

And Maggie's back! The character's still a few months away from getting anything resembling an interesting story arc, and (for now) is still playing keeper for her alcoholic father. She's not nuts about the idea of Sam pointlessly staring into the darkness at 1 a.m., sober or otherwise. When she wakes the next morning, though, things get weirder. Sam gives her a sealed letter and asks her not to open it. "The one thing I hope is that you never have to read it," he says, which doesn't make his request any less creepy. Also, he asks her not to open it unless "something" happens to him. Cue theremin.

David Ford chews the hell out of some scenery as Sam, and gets a brief monologue about "ghosts" and "souls" that underlines the show's theme with about as much subtlety as a gorilla using Sharpies to fill in a WHEELIE AND THE CHOPPER BUNCH coloring book. But it's a fun scene.

The Collinwood ghosts make a return this episode, too. Phantom crying can be heard coming from somewhere downstairs, and I'm going to go ahead and say it's Josette. It seems like her M.O. (it also sounds like Kathryn Leigh Scott providing the voice, who will later play Josette, both living and dead.) Victoria, possibly looking for something to read again, comes downstairs and loudly asks "Who is it? Who's there?" She's answered with more crying. For once, the sounds don't stop as soon as an actor enters the scene.

Victoria follows the sounds to the basement, specifically to the locked room that Liz has been so protective of (is Josette intentionally trying to cause problems for Liz?) Roger finds her "snooping" and, even though he grew up in Collinwood, calls bullshit on her claims of "strange sounds" ... even though he warns her she'll probably hear them again.

But, wild moods swings run in the family. Moments later Roger apologies for his behavior, prompted by Victoria's threats to complain about his behavior to Liz. In a performance that would impress David, he pours on the charm and flattery that quickly changes Victoria's attitude. They're friends again, thanks to one of those writing shortcuts that occasionally make Victoria look like a moron.

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