Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dark Shadows Diary, Episode 63

Episode 63: "Strangers in the Night"
Sept. 21, 1966

Conrad Bain died Monday, news that didn't start to make the rounds until yesterday afternoon.

Bain, of course, was in a handful of episodes of DARK SHADOWS. His credits at the Internet Movie Database say he appeared in four episodes, but two of them were fairly notable. He was one of the actors in the first episode (where he welcomed Victoria Winters to Collinsport at the local inn) and made his exit from the show a few years later at the hands of a werewolf. There were almost 600 episodes between his last two appearances, but his involvement in the show was enough to get him invited to take part in cast discussions from time to time.

Bain's third appearance was mentioned here not too long ago as part of this feature. So, it's not that surprising when his name was the first thing I saw as I fired up the DARK SHADOWS: THE BEGINNING DVD on my laptop to watch another episode this morning. The funny thing is that the disc should have begun where I left off, at the credits of Episode 62. Instead, it skipped backward over a full episode to begin fully on Bain's credit for episode 61.

I posted a screencap of Bain's cast credit on the site's Facebook page. I post a lot of weird shit over there and people sometimes can't tell when I'm joking. But it happened. I'm not suggesting we call out Mulder and Scully or anything. My laptop is a piece of junk held together by good will and duct tape, so buggy behavior isn't unusual. But it was a pleasant coincidence.

None of that has anything to do with today's episode, though, which spends a lot of time moving its chess pieces around the board for dramatic effect. A few characters venture into new territory in this episode, the most significant of which is Maggie Evans making a visit to Collinwood. The waitress has had enough of the Burke/Roger/Sam intrigue and stormed up to Collinwood to demand an answer from Roger Collins about the strange goings on.

"I've lived in Collinsport all my life but I've never been within a quarter mile of this place," she tells Liz, who seems to be the mansion's appointed greeter for virgin sacrifices. After all this time, it's weird to see two characters on a show who've never met, especially one as economical as DARK SHADOWS. But Liz hasn't left the house since before Maggie was born, while Maggie has never been offered an invitation to Collinwood. So it's fun to see the two spar. It's not the greatest dialogue ever written, but it's interesting to watch two people act simultaneously aggressive and defensive without any idea of how the other might react.

Liz, naturally, wins the duel. Maggie is outclassed, but also makes the mistake of showing her hand by telling Liz "I'm so confused I don't know what is true and what isn't anymore." She's prepared to leave without having addressed her concerns to Roger when Carolyn makes a surprise appearance.

I say "surprise" because Carolyn has spent the entire episode at The Blue Whale whining about Bill Malloy's death. She bumps into Matthew Morgan there, who's throwing back a few mugs of liquid courage before dealing with Burke Devlin. He's plotting some gambit that's supposed to end all of Liz's troubles but won't say what (I suspect it has something to do with putting his giant, cat-strangling hands around Burke's neck, though.)

When Carolyn doesn't get anything but the most cryptic answers from Matthew, she returns home and barges in on Liz and Maggie's scene. I'm anticipating a lot of melodrama in the next episode.

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