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
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.
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.