Sunday, October 21, 2018

Review: Dark Shadows: Bloodlust, Episode 8


When there is no more room in Hell, the SPOILERS AHEAD shall walk the Earth!

“FEED, my love!”

Oh, dip, you guys. What I thought would be a table setting episode to solidify Volume 2’s new status quo quickly devolves into a further shaking up OF said status quo in Bloodlust Episode 8. Maggie Evans is the new Sheriff of Collinsport and the anti-monster panic that she stoked with her meetings has now graduated to full blown violence. There is also the little matter of Tom Cunningham now being a ticking clock to werewolf time as he shares Quentin Collins’ cursed bloodline. Oh, and somebody friggen shot Trask?! I have a weak heart, you guys, I might not be able to take this.

Click HERE to get the episode.
But I honestly have to applaud and admire writers Alan Flanagan, Joseph Lidster, and Will Howells for not letting listeners, or their cast, rest on their laurels. After last episode’s civic bombshell, the fallout is instantly rolling through the streets of Collinsport. I also have to applaud this story’s slightly controversial choice to basically make Maggie Evans the antagonist of this serial. Though Kathryn Leigh Scott certainly imbues Maggie with enough warmth and compassion to at least make her a compelling one. It is funny, last episode as she laid out her concerns (backed with reactionist barking from Ed), I said that at least on paper the platform was sound. But Episode 8 quickly shows how her good intentions are a very slippery slope toward small town fascism as she levels a curfew on the town (which again, isn’t an altogether horrible idea) and then doubles down on it by floating the idea for the town to take a BLOOD TEST to determine their humanity (Oh, Maggie, what you doin’, girl?).

Meanwhile, Quentin Collins has his own problems to deal with. Mainly that his ancestor, Tommy, is going to turn into a werewolf and he needs to get him somewhere safe. I like this development because it really gets David Selby active in a B-story that is directly personal to him. Selby’s best work on Dark Shadows has always been more intimate, family driven stories and it is nice to see Bloodlust taking advantage of this. I also really dig this because it further ups the stakes beyond the central mystery. Collinsport doesn’t just have a serial killer on the loose, but it also is about to have a werewolf stalking through the streets and that is my kinda extra. I am all about gilding the lily when it comes to monsters.

Other big story feints this time around are happening around the edges of Collinsport. Harry and Amy Cunningham have a sweet heart-to-heart as he recovers in the hospital. The script also makes sure to make him and Cody’s relationship explicit, which I think is brilliantly refreshing for the hetero-heavy nature of the cast. Collinsport is woke, y’all. We also get check ins with Kate and Frankie, in which new convert to vigilantism Rhonda Tate, blows apart Kate’s alibi for the murder of Melody Deveraux. It is really nice to see that the writers aren’t letting that plot thread go loose amid all the other new ones that have been introduced. And did I mention that someone shot TRASK?!

This development might be the biggest one of them all this episode. For one, his random shooting really speaks to the paranoid, panicked town that the writers have made Collinsport into. There is another throwaway line early in the episode that a man was stabbed simply because someone said he didn’t have a reflection. It is a nice bit of world building from the trio and one that adds extra punch to this Dallas-like plugging of a lead character. But, perhaps most dangerous of all, it finally spurs Angelique back into full villain mode. After the apparent death of her servant, she swears vengeance on the town and allows Barnabas to freaking feed from her, driving them both into a mad sexy sounding Blood Union. God have mercy on Collinsport, but hey! Angelique/Barnabas Shippers rejoice!

So, obviously a lot to unpack here, but Bloodlust Episode 8 makes it look easy thanks to it’s consistently stellar production values and dynamic cast and story. I said above that this episode was shaking up the show’s status quo, but now that I think about it, this installment might be aiming to break it as it moves characters into situations that will create the most delicious tension. Couple that tension with a couple of truly juicy unsolved mysteries and some soapy drama and you have something really special. And that is exactly what Bloodlust is turning out to be; really special.

NEXT TIME! Episode 9! Angelique and Barnabas aim to paint the town red. Be seeing you. 

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.  

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...