Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dark Shadows Diary, Episode 90

Episode 90: "Psychopathy 101"
Oct. 27, 1966

Part of me is beginning to resent how David Collins softened as DARK SHADOWS progressed. I'm not sure there was a future for a character as amoral and damaged as he's depicted in these early episodes, but David presented the kind of lingering conflict rarely seen on television. Having a child that's a psychopath/sociopath is a tragedy that keeps on giving, and this version of David offered an endless opportunity for drama ... even after vampires became common visitors to Collinwood. I'd like to have seen this version of the character grow up and eventually take the reigns of the estate.

While he's not actually in this episode, David even makes Roger a more sympathetic, dynamic character. Roger's not wrong in his assessment of the child's menace, even if his lack of compassion for his son is distasteful. In a way, he's to be admired for surviving putting up with the boy's deadly shenanigans for as long as he has. I mean, David Collins is legitimately dangerous. Consider this gem of dialogue, which shows him limply struggling with his own lack of conscience.

VICTORIA: "You said, and I think I'm quoting you pretty closely, you said 'I hate you.' You said 'If you die, I won't even come to my funeral.' You said 'I hope you stay in that locked room for the rest of your life.'"
DAVID: "Did I say that?"

VICTORIA: "You certainly did."

DAVID: "I didn't mean it. Not all of it."

VICTORIA: "Really? Which part didn't you mean, David?"

DAVID: "Well ... if you died, I would come to your funeral."

VICTORIA: "I suppose that's something. Why would you come to my funeral?"
DAVID: "Because I like funerals."
This kid would have spooked Wednesday Addams. And he's just getting warmed up.

Victoria Winters has wisely decided that her best course of action is to leave Collinwood. Usually, most of the town would have turned out to help her pack. So many people have told her to leave that it would bust the budget to have them all on the same episode: David, Roger, Maggie, Burke, Carolyn ... Bill Malloy actually came back from the dead to tell her to piss off.

Just to make things more confusing, many of those same characters lined up in this episode to now ask her to stay.  I'm not sure if I admire or pity Victoria's gumption, but both her patience and my own got stretched to the breaking point in this episode.

This feature was actually written last Thursday. Just as it was finished, the platform used to create this website momentarily went offline. When it righted itself, this post reverted to the last time I'd saved it, which was less than half-way finished. Now, almost a week later, I've forgotten some of the episode's finer points. Here are the significant plot beats: For reasons I didn't understand, Carolyn and Victoria went snooping around the West Wing for clues to Victoria's ghostly visitor. Victoria found a ledger with the name "B. Hanscombe" on it, I made some snarky comments about the show's Scooby Doo-esque habit of running the characters around dead-end plot points and asked the question, "Who would want to steal a clump of old seaweed?" It was brilliant, I assure you.

But none of that really compares to the episode-ending revelation about David. Expecting some sort of reward for NOT locking the door to the West Wing while Victoria and Carolyn were away, he makes a desperate plea for the governess to stay. He admits he loves Victoria and storms off, leaving Carolyn more shaken than Victoria. Carolyn says she's only ever heard David admit to loving anything once, and that was a kitten he used to have. A kitten he later drowned.


Anonymous said...

It is a shame how Barnabas mellowed out the rest of his family. I would have loved to have him afraid of what his relatives might do next.

The old David would not have run screaming that Cousin Barnabas had a coffin in the basement, he would just rig an incendiary device to it, to see what might happen.

MissSpottyJane said...

The episode where David first said he'd never go to her funeral is one of my favorites. It is too bad that he mellowed out after Barnabas showed. Their meeting on the stairs of the old house might be one of the best scenes in the whole series, and it promised more fun than ever got delivered.

Anonymous said...

When he saw his Mother burn herself alive, trying to take him with her, he learned how lucky he was to have people that actually loved him at Collinwood.
So, he dropped the bad attitude and got off of everyone's backs.
But, Quentin brought back his resentment for his Father and his possession made him more dangerous than ever before...even torturing Elizabeth psychologically.
He was also a danger to everyone when Michael commanded it.
Let's also remember that his ancestor was possessed by Petofi for a while.
And Gerard also caused him to be dangerous.
A little...but not much...

Anonymous said...

"For reasons I didn't understand, Carolyn and Victoria went snooping around the West Wing for clues to Victoria's ghostly visitor."

Vicky wanted to show Carolyn the seaweed to make a believer of her, and in general, give her a tour of the room where it all happened to give Vicky's experience the weight it deserved. I think she was still somewhat miffed that she wasn't really missed by the family while she was locked in there. The seaweed was gone by the time the two visited the room.


burkedevlin said...

The old David was spooky, in the reality based sense. They shouldn't have go so strongly into the supernatural that they forgot how scary the real world can be, and I would say more so if done right.

cynthia curran said...

What anonymous said about David is true, He became too much a paw for the supernatural characters in the series.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...