Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: NOVEMBER 23


Taped on this date in 1970: Episode 1160

Gabriel rises from his wheelchair to stop Daniel from altering the will. He has been able to walk for years, but feigned disability to give his father a reason to love and care for him. Daniel dies, and Gabriel begins to plot the new age of Collinwood. Edith swears satanic allegiance to Gerard, and afterwards, she and Gerard witness the impromptu reading of Daniel’s will. Desmond is shocked speechless by what he sees in it.

This is one of those episodes that, when we began the Daybook, I savored writing about. When the day came last year, I was terribly ill and the whole thing went kaput. Well, honey, I’m home. We talk a lot about Gordon Russell here at Daybook Command. Sam Hall, his dark twin and live-in, love-in maid of a writing partner, is tougher to capture. Russell is Noel Coward. He’s the bubbles in champagne. Witty, deft with wordplay, and poignant. On the other hand, Sam is known for his edgy, angsty gravitas. That sells him a tad short, though, and this episode is prime Sam Hall. The white hot core of it is the monologue that Gabriel gives to Daniel as the patriarch is in his death throes. It’s the reason I wanted to write about this episode, and it provides the opportunity for Chris Pennock to have what may be his finest moment on the series. It’s a monologue full of pettiness, weakness, and a vulnerable jealousy. At the same time, it is a cry for love that can be heard all the way over in Logansport. The audacity of the piece is singular. With Pennock, the energetic, insightful, risk-taker of the cast, it becomes perhaps one of the most unforgettably human moments in all 450 hours of programming that makes DARK SHADOWS. 

Is there more to say? Always. But that is so important, that it deserves to stand on its own.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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