Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: NOVEMBER 7


Taped on this day in 1969: Episode 889

Barnabas emerges from the Leviathan altar and gives a relieved Julia a chilly greeting, zealously protecting the Naga Box. However, she knows he’s lying about using the I Ching to return, and now she’s on the scent. That enticed nose leads her right to Eliot Stokes, whose meaty musk relaxes her into asking him to track down Charles Delaware-Tate, whose painting she now possesses. Secretly, she thinks it might help Chris Jennings, whose former lover, Sabrina, is now a patient of Stokes’. Stokes, naturally, is having success where all have failed. He is coaxing speech from her formerly frozen lips as easily as he could a passionate kiss. But Sabrina knows that Chris is the werewolf, and if that secret is revealed, his life will be in dire jeopardy.

For a storyline that arguably spelled the (temporary) creative decline of the series, the Leviathan sequence gets off to a cracking start. Starting with Barnabas’ return to Collinwood, you can feel the burst of creativity and risk that was surging through the production. From that stupid pen, three years earlier, to Barnabas stepping out of a pagan altar and reciting an apocalyptic incantation: DARK SHADOWS, we hardly knew ye. I think if the show had jumped over the interminable, embryonic stages and simply brought us to Jeb Hawkes, unfettered and in full career, perhaps things might have fared better. But that’s unfair. As I said, this story starts more dynamically than any other in the series. If you want a cruel and cold Barnabas, here you are. Whether he’s doing it to save Josette or not, to see him in the service of a larger evil is to see the writers giving both Jonathan Frid and the character license to not give a damn. When a relationship is tenuous, there is always that fear that a long journey will somehow change a friend or lover, and Julia contends with a bit of both, here.  Instead of seeing her heartbroken, we see her galvanized into action. How refreshing and appropriate. But the entire episode is propulsive, and instead of each sequence being about fitting three minutes of story progression into ten minutes of dialogue, the moments here advance the plot and characters at a rate that matches any nighttime program. Chris Jennings has had it with the padded room and Stokes’ mojo takes Sabrina Stuart where no Hoffman has gone before. Speaking of which, how long are they going to keep Eliot in the dark? Why don’t Julia and Barnabas just bring him in on secrets like Chris Jennings? Clearly, he’s not going to run for the silver bullets. 

On this day in 1969, authorities were unable to stop Yoko Ono and John Lennon from releasing their second album in the UK. 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...