Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Dark Shadows Daybook: FEBRUARY 13


Taped on this date in 1970: Episode 958

A spectral, cloaked figure haunts Collinwood. (As usual.) Meanwhile, Roger and Quentin finally meet, and Roger readily accepts Quentin’s fabricated origin story. Amy does her best to out Quentin, but he is untarnished. Eventually, the oddly distanced behavior from his family forces Roger to confide his paranoia to Quentin, who rewards him by disclosing the truth of the Leviathans.

958 is a better world. It’s a world of small dramatic payoffs. Of villains with schemes. Of unlikely characters oozing strange menace. Of relationships forged. Most importantly, it’s a world where people actually talk to each other… and take chances built on trust. That last part doesn’t sound much like DARK SHADOWS, but there it is. Perhaps the characters are showing hard-earned instinct and a willingness to gamble. Perhaps the writers were just trying to wrap up the story. Doesn’t matter. When you’re looking for a DARK SHADOWS episode where the words, “To the Batmobile!” could be heard at any point, your search ends here.

"Get in! There's no time to explain!"
Quentin’s return is actually handled, rather than brushed aside, and he returns the favor of trust for Roger. David Selby has paid his dues, and rather than have each character endlessly squabbling with each other, lines are drawn and alliances are made, and it’s damned refreshing. They may also be fast-tracking Quentin to be the leading man and hero. Parallel Time had not yet begun, and yet the first movie was only a month or two away from beginning filming.

Elizabeth returns as something between a Bond villain and Aunt Bea. Joan Bennett’s arch sense of control and barely contained condescension make her an ideal heavy, and it’s a shame this was explored so infrequently on the show. Likewise, I’m not sure that Denise Nickerson ever really played anything other than a villain, and she really pours on the “good evening, Mrs. Cleaver” here. She was reportedly a precocious, salty character off camera, and so the vaguely insincere nature of Amy’s sweetness actually rings true. It has become a world of insincerity and paranoia. But this is no longer a soap opera, despite the longing glances and sentimental music stings. Somewhere along the run, it went from the comic book of 1897 to full-fledged anime.

On this day in 1970, a man-eating tiger is reported to have killed near New Delhi. Yes. A man-eating tiger. Also, it’s Terry Crawford’s birthday!

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