Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: February 23


Taped on this date in 1970 

 Although Carolyn always expected a grand wedding, she realizes that all she wants now is Jeb. They marry in the drawing room, with Liz as witness and a reverend who looks like John Tesh. Jeb flaunts convention by refusing to name where they will go or for how long they’ll be away. In reality, he is escaping Angelique’s shadow curse. Sky Rumson visits Barnabas, angry that he is now the vampire slave of Megan. Through this, Barnabas learns that she is sleeping somewhere in the East Wing of Collinwood. He instructs Julia to keep working on Megan’s cure while he searches for her resting place. Meanwhile, Jeb is increasingly paranoid about his shadow as he leaves with Carolyn. In the East Wing, Barnabas discovers an occupied room that should be as empty as the rest of the area. Instead, he finds Elizabeth and Hoffman, now a maid, arguing about whether or not the room should be prepared for the new mistress of if it should remain the property of its owner. It’s clear that the owner is dead, but Hoffman insists she will return. The room shifts and is suddenly abandoned. He has gained his first glimpse of parallel time.

For a show that could crawl at a pokey pace, DARK SHADOWS moves breathlessly when it decides to, and this episode is panting. For Jeb, things are just a matter of time, and in some ways, waiting for the end is a strange cruelty for both him and Carolyn. During the wedding, I was struck that it was a rare appearance of a Christian clergyman who wasn’t trying to kill someone. They cut away during the actual vows, but I just imagined what was going on, on a cosmic level, as Jeb took his vows to the Judeo-Christian God. For one thing, what strange bedfellows. What brought us to this? A shikse. To many, the most potent and forbidden power in the universe. She alone truly brought down the Leviathans. So many mothers’ warnings were correct. But beyond that, it really is a bullhorn reading of the Riddle of Epicurus. You’d imagine that the Leviathan Messiah, pledging himself in his love to the God of the Bible, would be shielded from Shadow Assassins. But no. I would have thought that God might have protected him, if only for bragging rights. Sorry, Jeb. Yes, somewhere, Christopher Hitchens is looking up and smiling, I guess.

Just remember, Tina Fey is wrong. Women are no stronger than the rest of us poor slobs. Shikses, however? Whole other story.

We also glimpse Parallel Time. With this, more than anything, I can feel DARK SHADOWS growing full circle, to where we were when I began nearly a year ago. The scars of PT are fresh enough that I can still recall how profoundly disappointing -- and time consuming -- it truly is as a storyline. This is the first place where I feel like the breath of creativity was seeping from the balloon. Yes, yes, I know you have a movie to make, but if ever the rules of, well, anything didn’t apply, it’s now. What would you have done with PT, Gentle Reader? In her fanfic, Adriana Pena looked at their dark, fascist politics. I would have sent Barnabas into a world of vampires, where humans were both the ultimate prize and a daywalking threat. I can hear knuckleheads in the peanut gallery clearing their throats to tell me why that wouldn’t have worked, but I have a newsflash… neither does what’s here. DARK SHADOWS has few cheerleaders more athletic than I. Still… I am also not its Dr. Pangloss. I also dread it a bit because I know this is where Don Briscoe made his final exit. I still contend that he had everything necessary to the the breakout star for the 70’s.

 Behind the scenes at DS, all were gearing up to shoot HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS. About 23 days out as I see it. Also, Guyana became a republic, and the Catholic Church thumbed its nose at convention and, upstart revolutionaries that they are, allowed women to give out the host at worship ceremonies. It’s all too much for me to handle.

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