Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Dark Shadows: Bloodline, Episode 4


Grok it, Reader-Bots! Spoilers Ahead!

“You call him...Barney. Harry called him Uncle Barnabas. 

He wants to be ALL those things! He wants a family! He wants to live here, and see the sunlight again, but he’s CURSED! He’s a VAMPIRE! We must never forget that, Jackie!”

Click the image to get Dark Shadows: Bloodline!
Stag night in Collinsport comes to an explosive conclusion in Bloodline episode 4! Written by Aaron Lamont, he of Beyond the Grave and the recently Scribe Award nominated The Lover’s Refrain, this fourth episode just leans right the hell into some of the best soap opera narrative turns making them sing once again for Dark Shadows. But better than that, this episode really finds the serial as a whole picking up. Really working the resolutions of episode three’s cliffhangers and then doubling down on them in grand fashion with even BIGGER ones! While Bloodlust was more of a slow burn mystery, Bloodline, at least by this episode’s dynamic metric, is really looking to be more of an “event”. And why the hell shouldn’t it? It IS Amy and David’s wedding after all. Let’s get into it.

Addressing the absolute biggest cliffhanger first, Jackie is NOT DEAD! Which is great because I would have been gutted if the wonderful Alexandra Donnachie left us this soon. Though she WAS somewhat attacked by Barnabas (which mortified him, Julia’s words, not mine), she merely fainted. And who wouldn’t, being accosted by a hunger starved vampire?! This obviously leads to more sass from Jackie and a tense heart-to-heart with Julia that new Dr. Hoffman, Julie Newmar, digs into with aplomb. That pretty much rounds out Jackie’s involvement in this episode, but I am still really enjoying the continued focus on the “younger” cast members. Plus the extra bonus of the hungry Barnabas and Andrew Collins’ performance of such is a real dark treat of a plot simmering behind everything else.

Because the REAL affair of this episode is the dual bridal shower/bachelor party of Amy and David! Which goes about as wonky as you would assume it would! I spoke in my last review about how Bloodline has been a bit more conveniently “operatic”. Meaning that it’s kind of going back to the well when it comes to certain plots. Plots like Viv coming back to “reconnect” with Harry. Well, everything that happens during these scenes just continues to prove my point as Viv continues to seemingly undermine the incoming marriage of David and Amy, using Harry as a pawn to do it! Pretty tried and true stuff, right? But I really appreciate it here! It is really low-key, emotional stakes. A welcome change of pace after all the murder and mayhem of Bloodlust. I like that this serial so far is just about the hassle of planning a wedding and how awkward it is when your parents come to visit you. I can relate, Bloodline.

We even get a brand new Burke Devlin for our troubles! Voiced by noted voice actor and impressionist Adam Hall, Burke joins the festivities along with Kathryn Leigh Scott’s Maggie, having literally driven her out of ...And Red All Over just “days” before. Scott is always a welcome presence in the Big Finishverse as far as I’m concerned and hearing her instantly lock back into the role of “governess” to a completely drunk Amy Jennings and Rhonda Tate (Lachele Carl REALLY getting to let loose in this episode to great effect) warms my heart. Hall’s Burke is also wonderfully uncanny. Not only does he capture Mitchell Ryan’s swagger and booming cadence, but he also makes for a pretty damn good Burke! One who naturally commands a scene and charms in more intimate one-on-one interactions with other characters. I’m starting to think Big Finish has access to some kind of Time Lord science or has made some pact with the Dark One in regards to how well they can recreate the personas of certain characters.

My glib attempt at dork humor aside, Episode 4 really impressed me and I think you are all going to be further sucked into this tale. This serial continues to be everything you could want from a Dark Shadows “event” series. Even without the episode’s, shall we say, “explosive” cliffhanger. I will say no more, readers, but I WILL be back here to talk to you once the next episode rattles off the wires. Until then, how about you meet me in the CHS Drawing Room over on Facebook and we can talk theories over some healthy portions of the Good Brandy, if ya know what I mean? We can talk Barnabas’ hunger, why Viv Bell is out to ruin everything, and why is Ed Griffin such a friggen jerk?! It will be a fun time for all. 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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