Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dark Shadows Diary, Episode 71

Episode 71, "Something Fishy"
Oct. 3, 1966

Ever wondered how commercial fishermen get their sardines out of their boat? Victoria Winters does, and Roger's answer (which involves a large, sucking hose) is predictably gross, though for once it's unintentional. Her question kicks off a half-marathon of fishing trivia, revealing along the way that the Collins family used to butcher whales before moving on to harvesting significantly less intelligent sea creatures.

Fucking sardines. THIS is what we get after last episode's ghostly bombshell. The conversation takes place inside the diner at the Collinsport Inn during a quick field trip to the Collins Cannery. We've seen a lot of different faces of Roger, and in today's installment we get Smooth Roger, the ladies man and all-around charmer. He's invited Victoria to take a day off from educating his son so that she can get a closer look at the family business. Sounds legit.

Naturally, Roger's got ulterior motives. While gallivanting around town, the duo just happen to wander into the sheriff's office (marked outside with a sign that reads "police") so that Victoria can provide Roger with an alibi for the time of Bill Malloy's death. Roger's kindly deception contrasts sharply with Burke's rage in this episode, which masks nothing. Burke scrapes together a few kind words for only Victoria in this episode, but stops jut short of calling her a whore after learning she vouched for Roger with Sheriff Paterson. "You certainly do get around," he shouts at her across the diner.

This is Burke Devlin at his most unlikeable, and points to a sharp change in tone from the series from recent episodes. While we still spend the episode trapped in the quagmire that is Bill Malloy's maybe-murder, everything else has been exaggerated. Roger's deception is not deceiving anybody, and his continuing claims of innocence in Malloy's death are just making him look more guilty. Unlike his predecessor, the ham sandwich-loving Constable Carter, Sheriff Patterson makes it known that his services aren't for sale to the Collins family. And, on paper, it looks like Victoria is being duped by everyone around her, but Alexandra Moltke's body language tells a very different story.

Meanwhile, Burke's antagonism has been ratcheted up to a hilarious degree. After leaning Roger took Victoria on a tour of the cannery, his first response is "Did he show you where they cut the heads off they fish?" It's delivered with the glee of an especially cruel child. The episode ends with a scene outside the front door of Collinwood that underlines Burke's ambivalent role as series villain. After escorting Victoria home, he makes it clear he plans to barge into Collinwood and (again) make an ass out of himself. He balks at the last minute in unspoken deference to Victoria's feelings, but departs with a threat: "I'll be seeing you again. And maybe when the world does crash, I'll be able to save a small piece for you to stand on."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, this was a comedown after Ghost Josette's formal debut, but at least no one witnessed her descend daintily from the painting to launch into her spooky exercise regimen all over the grounds. Imagine if Vicky had seen her. We would have gotten at least three episodes of discussion centered around the sighting, or purported sighting - as with the body of Bill Malloy at Lookout Point, but even more improbable and easily dismissed - with 400 cue cards of drawing room dialogue from Joan Bennett. And speaking of Mr. Malloy, while the ghost does change the tone of the show for one shining moment, it's back to the grind for THIRTY more episodes with the unremitting Bill Malloy mystery. Matthew Morgan's crack-up could not come too soon.

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