Thursday, November 1, 2018

Review: Dark Shadows: Bloodlust, Episode 12


Legend has it that it was written by the Dark Ones. Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. Roughly translated, The Book of the SPOILERS HEAD…

Happy Halloween, fellow monsters! Welcome back to my exhaustively fun coverage of Big Finish’s Dark Shadows: Bloodlust, coming to you live from the center of a massive, and probably blasphemous Halloween party that is currently engulfing the Society HQ. Thankfully someone decided to use my “office” as the coat room so I pilfered a platter of shrimp from the buffet and a sixer of Old Peculier from the bar and decided to get some goddamn work done around here.

Click HERE to get the episode.
And since it is a very special night for us heathens, I decided to do something very special for this particular column. Both for sake of expediency and doing something fun with the penultimate entry. As I have been listening to this sprawling serial, I have been keeping a standing note file on my phone. Like a real time diary of my thoughts on the episode, as I listen, just to give me a rough idea of what I want to write about in this rambling Lovecraftian missives. I might publish the whole thing, if it isn’t deemed too “self-indulgent” (what does that even mean, GERALD ON THE SECOND FLOOR), BUT I thought it might be fun to just give you wonderful readers a look directly into my party addled mind about this thing we all love so dearly. Or I will asked to clear out immediately upon filing this. Gotta roll that dice though.

A bit of housekeeping before I hit play. When we last talked, the wonderful Call of Cthulhu party this serial has gathered was marching toward Collinwood to confront David and Carolyn, who are either in league with or being controlled by the zombie hand of Count Pitofi! Meanwhile, Ed Griffin is tired of the Collins family and aims to end them once and for all using the business end of a shotgun! Madness! Intrigue! Monsters! Hitting play NOW! (And follow along if you like by downloading the episode NOW at for barely a tuppence! Or is it a shilling? I don’t really know how money works).

  • I really cannot go on enough about the new theme tune and incidental music. David Darlington and his team have really outdone themselves with this score. It is so wholly it’s own thing while also being so obviously inspired and informed by Robert Cobert’s original scores and cues. God, I just love love love it. I would buy a score album of this in a heartbeat.
  • I have also really, REALLY enjoy  the choice of getting a different character to narrate the opening. It gives it that same reverence toward the show that the score has but also gets us interacting more with the larger cast, it is a really cool choice. I could and would listen to Lara Parker speak for hours.
  • OH HELL, this one is even doubling down on it! Having Angelique AND Maggie bring us into this episode. And who says fan service doesn’t work?
  • "I can’t keep losing people.” It is nice to see Maggie really recognizing just how badly she has screwed this up. Kathryn Leigh Scott is really bringing it throughout this story.
  • "As an opening gambit, calling me “creature” isn’t the most inspired…” But Lara Parker is just right there with her. I really love this new humbled Angelique. She is the Emma Frost of the Dark Shadows Universe.
  • A Maggie/Angelique team-up is a potential winner.
  • I also love how effortlessly the writers will just seed through some like crazy lore. Had I known these were so accessible I would have started them up ages ago.
  • Pitofi has been mad since 1797. That is a Batman level grudge.
  • But he’s afraid to sleep! Does he have a Freddy?
  • I still can’t get over the fact that Carolyn is now just throwing around magick. She has come a long way from leaving her accessories around hotel rooms just to have excuses to see people.
  • "You’ve made one fatal assumption.” “What’s that?” “That I WANT to help you…”. I love that even in the face of total destruction, Angelique will make time for a vicious burn.
  • "Nobody was supposed to get hurt!” That’s what everyone thinks, Maggie. Angelique straight up calling out her species-ism is also Very Very Good.
  • Jesus Christ, Scott and Parker are incredible scene partners. This scene in the cave is a dazzling display of their talents and white hot chemistry.
  • "Go back FURTHER!” I am almost in tears here, guys.
  • This episode seems a lot more focused that the previous installments. We have been on Maggie and Angelique for a while now. Usually we would have seen another character grouping by now. I am not mad at it.
  • HOLY CATS THE END OF THE SUPERNATURAL?! Bloodlust’s stakes have stakes!
  • The hook that only a supernatural creature can cast the spell ending all supernatural creatures is also a delicious twist. I sincerely love that this whole serial has been one big moral conundrum as much as it’s been a supernatural mystery. Like, it has gotten into themes of race and discrimination and mob mentality, I was NOT expecting that.
  • Nobody lashes out like Angelique Bouchard.
  • "This was murder by tyranny!” Where is the lie though?
  • Oh, God, she summoned Trask’s dead body to lay at Maggie’s feet. Now she is showing him his WOUNDS! This took some TURNS, y’all…
  • Man, I never thought in a million years I would care for Isaiah Trask but here we are... 
  • "I...I keep thinking I am doing the right thing…”. Maggie’s heart will always win through. Her having this major fall (and hopeful turn upward) is really one of the show’s most masterful strokes.
  • Angelique is having Maggie help dress Trask’s body. That seems a fitting punishment.
  • "They’ve given up on God.” “Or He’s given up on us…” That should be Collinsport’s town motto.
  • Scott retelling the poem from her father’s funeral is heartbreaking. The power these actors and characters still have is uncanny. 
  • I love that Maggie keeps trying to appeal to Angelique as a woman. It is a neat microcosm of he show’s balance between the mundane and supernatural.

  • Maggie is revealing her abnormality! She could maybe cast the spell!
  • "Maggie Evans, you are indeed a monster...because you are HUMAN!” Maybe the monsters inside us were the friends we made along the way. Wait…
  • "So once again, you find yourself out of harm’s way…” Angelique has Maggie’s freaking number this episode.
  • Maggie is still hung up on Joe. Gag.
  • "I don’t pretend to look confused every time a man falls into my life.” CALL THE BURN UNIT.
  • God, Maggie can’t get over herself long enough to just LISTEN to Angelique.
  • Trask is getting a proper (ish) burial at sea. That makes me happy.
  • "This town does not deserve to have him buried in its soil.” This episode’s script is friggin FILLED with stellar dialogue. 
  • Holy crow, they are REALLY gonna kill all the monsters in town. I am aghast.
  • I really love how this story has gone out of it’s way to humanize Angelique. She starts as like this booming, stock baddie, but she morphs into a truly engaging and sympathetic female lead. It is a really tremendous use of Lara Parker’s range. Same with Scott, this episode is pretty much just a out and out showcase of them both.
  • ”I can’t imagine it would hurt more than life.” That is a big mood right there, people.
  • ANGELIQUE HAS TO CUT OFF HER FINGER FOR THE SPELL?! That is gnarly. Even for Dark Shadows.
  • “I need to know that we are together! I need to know that there isn’t any other option!” Growth, Maggie!
  • Angelique just revealed that she blinded Maggie’s dad. And Maggie FORGAVE HER?! FORGAVE HER FOR EVERYTHING?! I AM LEGIT CRYING.
  • David and Carolyn are confirmed under the control of Pitofi, which is a comfort. But Maggie and Angelique are getting closer to what his plan is!
  • ”He wants the end of...EVERYTHING!” oh man, that’s brutal.
  • ”He loved it when I spoke French.” Whoops, crying again. I hope I don’t get tears on the coats.
  • NOW PARKER AND SCOTT ARE SINGING! God, I can’t take this much longer…
  • ”Let’s show Count Pitofi what happens when he crosses Maggie Evans!” “And Angelique Bouchard…” The Coven is strong!
The theme tune is playing and I am wracked with sobs because of the soaring script and performances of Episode 12. That was far more low-key than I was expecting, being that it was prelude to the finale, but man, was it ever satisfying. Lara Parker and Kathryn Leigh Scott are treasures and we should appreciate them every single day. Thank you for indulging me and I will return soon with a review of the 13th and final installment of Dark Shadows: Bloodlust.

NEXT TIME! The Finale! Collinsport Vs. Count Pitofi for the fate of ALL REALITY! Be seeing you! And Happy Halloween!

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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