Thursday, October 18, 2018

Review: Dark Shadows: Bloodlust, Episode 6


Ah! Listen! The SPOILERS AHEAD of the night! Vat music they make!

“We are The Trinity and we will protect ourselves.”

Volume 1 of Dark Shadows: Bloodlust comes to a thunderous conclusion in episode 6. The town of Collinsport is ready to boil in the wake of the newest attacks. Attacks that have taken the life of Andrew Cunningham and landed poor Jessica Griffin in a coma. And to complicate matters further Quentin Collins is back in town, his arrival unfortunately coinciding with the attacks. Everything is primed to explode and whether she meant to or not, Maggie Evans just might have lit the fuse. Episode 6 really feels like a real deal conclusion and though we still have a whole other volume to cover in the coming days, but this episode really sticks the landing for this first part rocking the very foundations of Collinsport and the fandom that loves it.

Click HERE to get the episode!
Before we proper start though, I must apologize for the lateness of this installment. We were hosting the annual sister city barbeque with delegates from Innsmouth, Mass. One of their aldermen, who smelled weirdly of cod, had a few too many Old Peculiers and accidentally knocked out wi-fi for the town overcooking a chicken on the Society’s lawn. It was a mess but the mayor of Innsmouth apologized profusely and left like a oppressive amount of crab dip so everything is comin’ up Justin!

But enough civil politics, BLOODLUST! So when we last talked, Quentin Collins had just swept back into Maggie Evans’ life and whoever (or whatever) is attacking citizens had struck again. Writers Joseph Lidster, Alan Flanagan, and Will Howells waste little time capitalizing on these developments. First up is David Selby’s naturally powerfully integration into the cast. The script does a nice job of contextualizing his inclusion, dropping hints about his relation to Amy and his standing among the town, pre-Bloodlust. This attention to context and continuity, especially around bigger characters, is really a key selling point for this serial for me. I was really worried going into this that I would be somewhat lost, being as how most of my Dark Shadows knowledge comes from the show and film entries. But Big Finish has really gone the extra mile to make these both accessible and entertaining and it really really encouraging to see.

But seriously, holy crow, David Selby rules. Each original actor has really shined throughout this serial, and Selby is no exception. Though he may be older, Selby’s newfound wizened timbre of his voice really hones the edges of menace and charm that he used so well back on TV screens. His inclusion also really amps up the tension in the town and finally, THANKFULLY, gives Maggie Evans some more time in the spotlight as his main foil. We all know how great Selby can be and he doesn’t disappoint here, but finally hearing Kathryn Leigh Scott get some meaty material to chew on was a real joy. Which makes her unfortunate positioning as the woman who may have doomed Collinsport all the more tragic.

Yes, after all this time of people warning Maggie that her meetings at the Blue Whale would lead to some sort of anti-monster mob...her meetings at the Blue Whale transforms into a full tilt mob. This is the major set piece of the episode and the production staff smartly build and build up to it making it hit all the harder. While I am not the biggest fan of poor Harry being pressured into revealing Angelique’s lair, mainly because he’s precious and I don’t want anything bad to happen to him, this turn toward violence led by a grieving Ed Griffin instantly raises the stakes even more than they already they already were, pitting all the normals of the town against the heaviest hitters of the franchise, including a certain vampiric and Bryonic nerd that we all love.

Big, deadly things are in store for Collinsport and I don’t think everyone can survive it. But that is seriously half the fun of this serial. Especially now that the whole monster gang is back together and such delicious plot threads have been introduced. For example, Harry might be a monster and Tommy is fur sure one, cursed by Quentin’s curse! The Trinity has once again gathered and God help Collinsport.

NEXT TIME! We begin Volume 2! Barnabas is back and he sounds proper pissed!   

Justin Partridge has always loved monsters and he thinks that explains a lot about him. When he isn’t over analyzing comics at Newsarama or ranting about Tom Clancy over at Rogues Portal, he is building Call of Cthulhu games, spreading the good word of Anti-Life, or rewatching Garth Marenghi's Darkplace for the dozenth time. He can be reached at the gasping Lovecraftian void that is Twitter @j_partridgeIII or via e-mail at Odds are he will want to talk about Hellblazer.    

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