Monday, March 4, 2013

Dark Shadows Diary, Episode 69

Episode 69, "The Looking Glass War"
Sept. 29, 1966

Damn, it's been more than two weeks since I last watched an episode of DARK SHADOWS for this feature. It's not like I've been goofing off ... things have been podcast crazy for the last few weeks. There are three more episodes in the can (one of them is slated to go "live" tonight, so stay tuned) which should buy me some breathing room during the next few weeks.

Fortunately, not much has changed since I law visited Collinwood. When we left off, Roger was offering to sacrifice the career of Victoria Winters to his son in an effort to appease the little monster. But, neither Roger nor David make an appearance in this episode, conveniently postponing the proposition a little longer. Instead, we're treated to a revival of The Burke Devlin Show, which has been heavily revised since it last played Collinsport. Burke is now working to recruit another allay to his not-as-big-as-you-might-think roster of conspirators: Sarah Johnson, the former housekeeper for Bill Malloy.

I guess Victoria has outlived her usefulness as a spy, because Burke (eventually) proposes that Mrs. Johnson goes to work for the Collinses in order to find out how they might be involved in Malloy's death. Neither have reason to believe that Liz was involved, leaving only Roger as the likely suspect. Burke is so hellbent on revenge at this point that he'd rule out Jack the Ripper if it meant screwing Roger Collins, and his theory overlooks the man actually responsible for the murder: Collinwood caretaker Matthew Morgan. This is another example of the show's class issues. Burke fails to acknowledge Matthew as a legitimate player in this game because he sees the man as an underling, someone not in control of their own destiny. In a lot of ways, Burke (as well as the rest of the Collinsport elite) sees Matthew more as a commodity than a person. Victoria Winters, who is both a member of the show's elite and a commodity, almost dies because of this bigoted oversight, but we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Mrs. Johnson joins Burke in his hasty jump to conclusion that Roger killed Malloy, but for far more superstitious reasons. "I believe in signs and omens," she tells him, saying Malloy's corpse washed up on the shores of Collinwood as a sign than his murderer resides on the property. Mrs. Johnson is also a victim of the show's class struggle and naturally believes the Collinses are responsible for Malloy's death because ... well, they control the destiny of the entire town, don't they? A mere mortal couldn't possibly have joined the eternal game of gods and monsters that have been playing out for centuries at Collinwood.

The episode's B-story is a little tepid, but gives Joe Haskell something to do for the first time in weeks. Since his drunken intrusion at Collinwood a few episodes back, he hasn't had much to do by answer telephones and make quick appearances to remind people of his existence. Here, he's summoned to Roger's office at the cannery to find Carolyn waiting for him, instead. She tries to lure him away from work for reasons that are pretty plain, and she's blissfully unaware that some people have jobs and responsibilities that have nothing to do with "fun." She's pure, bratty ID in this episode, and grows increasingly pouty as Joe tells her repeatedly that he can't just walk off the job because she's in the mood for a quicky over brunch. She storms away from the cannery and makes a beeline to Burke's hotel room, where she momentarily interrupts his conspiratorial meeting with Mrs. Johnson.

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