Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dark Shadows Diary, Episode 38

 Episode 38: "Ghosts in the Basement"
Aug. 17, 1966

You can practically hear the creative gears grinding behind the cameras during this week's episodes. Now that the whole "Who failed to kill Roger Collins?" mystery has been ... well, "resolved" isn't the right word. But it appears that storyline is behind us, and the show is treading water as it decides on where next to head.

With the introduction of Thayer David to the cast in today's episode, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Matthew Morgan will play a key role in the next storyline. Morgan is the second actor to play the character and replaces George Mitchell, who wasn't all that memorable in the role (despite being one of the only actors on the show to attempt a "New England" accent.)

Morgan catches Victoria snooping around the forbidden basement and politely scolds her for disobeying Liz's bizarro rules. He also verifies that the crying we heard last episode was Josette, and that she's a common presence around Collinwood. Victoria overplays her hand, though, by asking one too many questions about the mysterious locked room in the basement. It's actually kind of hilarious that Josette seems to be actively screwing with Liz by luring Victoria into the basement ... especially when you consider what the room is later revealed to hold.

Carolyn bumps into Burke at the town's only restaurant. In case we haven't picked up on the show's literary nods, we see Burke is reading THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (specifically a chapter titled "The Trial.") Carolyn turns up the flirting to 11, but that's beside the point for now, because Liz does something so cruel that I had trouble believing what I was seeing.

She brings Matthew into the drawing room and tells him that HE was responsible for Roger's accident. At least, that's the story she asks him to support if anyone asks any more questions about the incident. "Thank you, Matthew. You're a good friend," she tells him, clearly not understanding the definition of the word "friend." Morgan, being nothing more than her lapdog, goes along with the plan, and immediately rats out Victoria's basement detective work.

On a roll, Liz confronts Victoria in the basement and adds a few more threads to her tapestry of bullshit. She claims the sounds Victoria heard was wind blowing through blah blah blah. "I think that should end our discussion," she concludes, before backpeddling minutes later after hearing Roger took a call earlier that morning from one Ned Caulder. "You mean he was up when you heard that sobbing sound?" she asks Victoria. It's time to make your damn mind up, Liz.

Carolyn seems to have come to terms long ago with living in a haunted house. She gleefully admits there are ghosts at Collinwood, but is too wrapped up in her machinations for Devlin to give Victoria much time.

She passes the baton in the Restaurant Conversation Relay to Morgan, who wanders into the restaurant as Burke is finishing his meal. He doesn't mince words and bluntly threatens to kill Burke is he makes trouble for Liz. By all rights, that should have been the episode-ending "sting," but instead the writers opted to end on an anti-climactic note: Liz offers Victoria the key the basement room, hoping to end her amateur sleuthing once and for all. Victoria declines ... which is a singularly odd way to end a Friday episode. "Come back next week when you'll see ... well, we really know know what you're see. But it will be awesome!"


Melissa said...

Considering how things turn out with the locked room, Josette's actions could be interpreted as helpful in the long run.

MissSpottyJane said...

I think Josette's trying to passive-aggressively drive Matthew Morgan out of his mind.

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