Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dark Shadows Diary, Episode 59

Episode 59, "Lies, Damned Lies and Tide Charts"
Sept. 15, 1966

In THE REPUBLIC, Plato described the need for something he called "The Noble Lie" to maintain order in society. Plato described a fictional culture made of specific classes, such as The Rulers, the Auxiliaries, Farmers, etc. Each of these classes contained a unique "metal" in their bloodstream/souls that determined their lots in life.

The "Lie" in this society is that these metals were put in place by God and could not be changed. These metals also prevented people in different social classes from intermarrying or climbing the social ladder. This lie was necessary, he argued, to keep the masses happy and maintain a stable society.

Naturally, the people at the top of this ladder had the most to gain, and probably perpetuated the lie more than anyone else. We can argue the relative noblity of this lie, but I mention it here because "The Noble Lie" is something Roger Collins probably appreciate. The lie Roger told that sent Burke Devlin to prison was an effort to protect his family and preserve his own comfortable existence. Devlin might also have been sacrificed to continue the prosperity of the town. Had a member of the Collins family been prosecuted for manslaughter, or even convicted, it would surely have had an impact on the local economy. The Collins family is, after all, the primary employers of Collinsport.

Since then, though, Roger has told so many lies to cover for his first deception than nothing he says can be taken at face value. Even when he's telling the truth, it's usually a falsehood. Collinsport's fragile social structure is sitting precariously on a foundation of lies.

Unfortunately for the Collins family, the town's social structure is obliged to pull at the loose threads of this tapestry and tempt its own doom. Sheriff Patterson arrives at Collinwood in this episode to speak to Liz and Roger (mostly just Roger) about Bill Malloy's suspicious-looking death. The "evidence" so far doesn't point to foul play, he says, but you have to overlook a great many things to think a man slipped and accidentally drowned himself while taking a walk on the beach just before midnight.

Malloy, we learn, suffered a blow to the head, but it's inconclusive if the injury happened before or after his death. Also, his watch stopped at 10:45, which is the kind of clue that might matter in a Sherlock Holmes story but doesn't really mean shit in real life. Roger is a little put off by Patterson's questions, but changes his tune to offer as much "help" that he can in the case. He also advises Liz to keep her trap shut (phrasing it as "Remember that I'm your brother,") not because he did anything, but because he's spun so many lies that he could probably be successfully prosecuted for any crime the cops wanted to pin on him.

His frustration with his potpourri of lies comes to a boil when he confesses to Liz that he murdered Malloy, and then admits he only said THAT to see the look on her face. Asshole.

Patterson gets a little help from Collinwood's favorite sociopath, David, who again steals his every scene. Disappointed that the sheriff isn't arresting his father, he presents Patterson with tide charts of his own creation to help him figure out where Malloy was murdered. When Patterson leaves, David and Roger share a long, scary and hilarious look that summarizes their adversarial relationship better than words.

The show has been foreshadowing the climax of this story arc almost from the very beginning. David is more interested in the end of this story than anyone,consulting ghosts, tide charts and his crystal ball to learn the identity of the town's resident murderer. But, like his father, the junior-grade Doctor Doom has burned so many bridges with lies that nobody is paying him any attention.

If you're interested in pursuing David's newfound hobby, here's a website devoted to tide charts in Maine. They don't appear to have an app for tracking the journey of Bill Malloy's body, though.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Roger really does take after his Great-Uncle Quentin, doesn't he?

It's totally our loss that David Henesy decided not to pursue acting as an adult.

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