Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Dark Shadows, The Road to Bloodline: In The Twinkling of an Eye


“I liked him.” “He was very likable.” “He wanted to kill you!” “He wanted me dead. Not the same thing.”

The Road to Bloodline starts to slow down a bit with 2015’s In The Twinkling of an Eye. Considerably less action heavy than last installment, this Penelope Faith penned tale downshifts nicely with a story of a returning Jessica Griffin (Marie Wallace) and Jackie Tate (Alexandra Donnachie) tangling with a sort of soul reaper named Nate (a icy, but cooly charming Ryan Wichert). Though the story itself is not quite as exciting as the pitch, Wallace, Donnachie, and Wichert’s performances really shine through, highlighting the range’s consistently solid roster of actors. Like, as a relative neophyte (I’m now on episode 75 of the original series, watching concurrently with my listening and soon to be reading), it is nice to know that even when I don’t love the story, the cast and the sound design of these audios will at least always be worth the listen. That may be where I’m landing with In The Twinkling of an Eye.

But please don’t let my semi-apathy toward this story dissuade you! There is plenty to love about this audio! Mainly, Marie Wallace and Alexandra Donnachie! Yes, after Jessica’s harrowing attack and recovery she is back behind the bar at the Blue Whale and Jackie is still trying to sneak drinks, and failing adorably. Both women return beautifully to the roles, giving us two women who have changed since the last time we saw them and attempting to readjust to a life post-Bloodlust. I have been kind of famously chippy in these reviews about how I haven’t felt like this arc has had any real text about how the characters have moved on after that epic serial, BUT Twinkling kind of gives me some juice in that regard! This is the first time it felt like a writer was expressly detailing how characters were moving on and while it doesn’t completely commit to it, the script at least, like Degrassi, goes there.

And the story actually isn’t half bad! Given a creeping, other worldly sound design by David Darlington, this script weaves another “Dark Shadows: What If?” tale, centered around the night Jessica was attacked. As both women get to know Nate, a new handsome, yet somewhat odd man hanging about the Blue Whale and in Jessica’s day dreams, they learn that it’s his job to escort souls to their final rest and he was suppose to escort Jessica’s soul to it’s reward that fateful night. But instead, he finds himself bonded (at least I think?) onto the soul of a cyclist who died in Jessica’s stead, due to Jackie not helping him in her rush to get to Jessica after her attack. It gets...a little squffy there for a bit, which is another ding against it, but the idea is a fun one and brings out some neat chemistry between our three leads. Couple that with the inch forward character wise for the women’s current state going into Bloodline and you have at least a passable good time.

I feel bad for sounding so down on this audio, but compared to the past ones so far, this one just seems like a filler episode, graced with some pretty good performances and half a great idea. There were plenty of filler episodes on TV and it was only a matter of time until I got to one here on the audio side of things. I still completely love Jackie Tate though. I am very glad she is still around and looking to keep causing trouble going into the next major serial. And what else can I say about Marie Wallace that hasn’t already been said around here? She’s a treasure! And we treat her as such. All in all, I think In The Twinkling of an Eye is a great “one and done” listen and nothing more. But am I wrong? Come tell me in the hottest new nightspot on Facebook, The CHS Drawing Room. Let’s pop open Roger’s GOOD sherry and talk some Big Finishverse, or whatever else Dark Shadows related you want!

NEXT TIME! Deliver us From Evil! The return of that ol’ rat fink Cyrus Longworth and murder tourist Alfie Chapman! Until then 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.

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