Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: OCTOBER 12


Taped on this day in 1969: Episode 871

Kitty Soames embraces Barnabas as if she were Josette. Poltergeist activity that may be Jeremiah ends up jarring Kitty back to her senses, and Barnabas realizes that Kitty may be love’s greatest adversary. Barnabas explains to Quentin how Angelique created a mirror duplicate of him -- in a mirror -- to be staked by Edward while his real form was slowly cured of vampirism by Julia and then Angelique. A powerless Charles is confronted by Quentin, but their conversation becomes moot when Petofi enters, forcing Charles to throw the I Ching wands. This time? The 49th hexagram. When Charles sees the future (October 28, 1969), Petofi finally has the road to tomorrow. Nothing can stop him!

Three years ago on this day, Roger was futzing around with an incriminating pen. That was the hottest action in the casino. Now? We have full-force, Blofeld-by-way-of-Marvel insanity. To the layman, the question is, “My God, how will this possibly appeal to housewives?” But the optimist in me is heartened that an interesting story, theatrically told, with an emphasis on people over effects, is universally appealing. Although this episode is lead-lined with exposition, the world of the soap opera is one in which exposition can be the most satisfying form of payoff. 871 satisfies richly. Does the mirror shtick make complete sense? No. But they at least mention Doppelgangers prior to this, and we officially get Our Barnabas back, finally reuniting the band. On top of that, we get Josette back in a big way. Again, more payoff. That story move teeters on the verge of, “Man, this again?” but never plunges over the edge, instead delivering in the most sincere way the series ever would.

Jonathan Frid’s sober take on the Doppelganger adventure provides believable footing for this incredibly fanciful outing to rise, and Thayer David’s melancholic interpretation of Quentin trapped keeps the story’s humanity at the forefront. Thanks to that, Lara Parker and David Selby cast spells and gloat over imagined victories with a rabid enthusiasm native to 1890’s melodrama. Well done. Roger Davis, on the other hand, makes a lot of noise, but I’m unsure how deeply he connects with the text on this one. Selby’s final skull, as Petofi contemplates the future, is perhaps the wildest moment of acting on the show, and pretty much eclipses all other memories.

Also, let’s keep score. Barnabas is human again for the third time. He’ll remain so until the Leviathans make the mistake of thinking the powers of the Nosferatu are a curse.

On this day in 1969, the Soviets launched the Soyuz 7 spacecraft. 

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