Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dark Shadows Diary, Episode 72

Episode 72, "Crazy on You"
Oct. 4, 1966

Carolyn is back, big as life and twice as crazy.

I've been willing to give her the benefit of the doubt until this episode. It can't have been easy growing up in a place like Collinwood, even though Carolyn has a lot of actual "growing up" to do. I've seen her as the Marilyn Munster of the family, the relatively normal beauty in a house full of monsters. She's got both nature and nurture working against her, so it's understandable when she behaves badly.

After this episode, though, I've decided she's just a crazy as the rest of them. She kicks off today's "story" (and there's precious little actual story in this episode) by barging into Victoria's room and acting like her cousin David on a Redbull bender. She hurls a lot of veiled insults Victoria's way, belittling her status as an orphan and insinuating that the governess is a woman of loose morals. When she finally gets to the point, she reveals she's angry because she believes Victoria went on a date with Burke Devlin. "What did you talk about? The price of sardines?" she asks Victoria, an interrogation technique that would probably impress Popeye Doyle.

She doesn't let Victoria get a word in edgewise, and neither does Liz. Carolyn leaves Victoria's room and makes a quick pitstop in the foyer on the way our the door, where she rats out Victoria to her the elder Stoddard. Granted, none of her facts are correct, with the exception that Victoria did, indeed, leave the house earlier that day.

Liz acts just as irrationally toward Victoria, threatening at one point to fire the governess for her imaginary transgression. Her with a stream of criticism doesn't allow for Victoria to mount a defense for herself. Meanwhile, Carolyn smugly makes a telephone call to Burke's hotel room before heading to town.

Mrs. Johnson is haunting the diner at the Collinsport Inn, giving Maggie a hard time and generally making everyone uncomfortable. Between singing the praises of her late employer, she orders a tuna sandwich but demands a do-over from Maggie, this time with "fresh" mayonnaise. Despite being only 45 years old, the former housekeeper refers to herself as "an old woman" and makes a lot of gross comments about the late Bill Malloy that suggest she's got a ton of unresolved issues. Also, she mentions having a daughter, which presumably means she's for TWO children (the loathsome Harry Johnson being the other.)

All of this leads to one of the show's two best character moments. Carolyn wanders into the diner (presumably to on her way to score some kind of touchdown/field goal/homerun or whatever in the non-existent contest for Burke's affections) and interrupts Maggie's awkward moment. Carolyn stops to explain to her who Mrs. Johnson is, which spurs the waitress to momentarily drop her perky work voice to respond "I know who she is." For a split second you can practically see that line of dialogue dripping off the screen.

The other moment is a lot more colorful. Victoria's finally been pushed too far by her troubled employers and gets her back up during her final argument (this episode) with Liz. She tells her, in no uncertain terms, that's she tired of their shit and will quit on the spot if they don't get their collective acts together. This is in the middle of an apology delivered by Liz for doubting Victoria's earlier story, an apology Vicky throws back in her face. Liz's change of heart was inspired not by Victoria's character, but by Roger's validating her explanation for leaving the house.

"There comes a limit, even for me," Victoria says. "Fire me if you want to. Either that, or begin trusting me." I like to pretend she delivered that line with a snap of her fingers.


Anonymous said...

As awful as Carolyn behaved in this episode, I too was feeling fed up with Vicky's constant referencing of the foundling home. I was thankful somebody finally told her to give it a rest, even if it had to be Carolyn in the middle of an escalating Burke Devlin tantrum.

Melissa said...

Burke showing Carolyn how it feels to be strung along was a big turning point for her.

Chad Moore said...

I adore Victoria's confrontation with Elizabeth. Very well acted by both Alexandra and Joan.

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