Thursday, May 2, 2019

Dark Shadows: Bloodline, Episodes 7-8


Reverse the polarity of the SPOILERS AHEAD flow!

“Oh God, Harry...what have we forgotten?”

Welcome back to the Collinsport Historical Society’s coverage of the ongoing Bloodline! Now celebrating the start of it’s second volume with episodes 7 and 8! Though if you’ll indulge me a quick apology before we start for the lateness of this missive. Here recently a few days of severe thunderstorms have wracked what I am now calling The New House, just down the road a bit from The Old House, and kept me from even showing my face around the office.

Which is a shame because I hadn’t gotten to see the wonderful reaction to the newly resurrected Collinsport Historical Society Podcast, of which I was honored to have played a small part in bringing back from the grave. That podcast, by the way, is still available on iTunes and Spotify. Just as available as I am now! Talking the Big Finishverse and the aftershocks of the Time Quake that has just recently rocked through Collinwood! Let’s chat, shall we?

First up, we have episode 7, written with an epic audacity by Aaron Lamont. “Previously on” Bloodline as you’ll recall, the wedding of Amy Jennings and David Collins was interrupted by...David vanishing. Both from the service and the memories of those in attendance. But episode 7 reveals that the situation is far more dire than that. That it wasn’t just David who was taken. But also Tom Cunningham! Who now finds himself facing down “Past” versions of his family and friends in 1767! Returning to the time of Blood & Fire! Which is VERRRRY interesting for us tin-foil hats who like to look into stuff too much.

But my semi-baseless theorizing aside, this is a truly ballsy way to kick off the second volume and a gambit that more than pays off. Not only do we get to see Michael Shon shine a bit more, beyond his comedic sensibilities, but also a whole heap of “1700s” fun with all our Big Finish favorites. In particular Alexandra Donnachie, who gets to do some fantastic accent work as a housemaid of “Anchor House” in this timeline. If you’ll also allow me a bit more foil hat conjecture, Lara Parker returns to the show here, under the name PETERSON! And Lamont plays it coy as to if this is “our” Angelique, last seen sacrificing herself to the void for Collinsport in Bloodlust, or another past version, but the choice to have her referred to as “Peterson” is enough to give me at least a bit of pause. Maybe I’m thinking too much into it due to being cooped up by the rain, but dollars to donuts, this means SOMETHING down the line.

But this episode really is a blast, as it establishes jusssst enough of the extent of the time travel shenanigans as well as dangles a major hook as to the “why” behind it, too. But it stops just short of playing it’s whole hand, which is fantastic for us who love a good serial. 

And then, Will Howells goes and doubles the hell down on all this fallout with episode 8! Flashing back slightly for a chilling personification of Barnabas’ hunger, Howells starts to deal with the direct repercussions of David’s disappearance and how the Collins, Jennings, and Longworth-Jennings are dealing with it! Solidifying the remaining cast, Howells starts to pool the efforts and talents of “those left behind” to try and make sense of it all. All while “Uncle Barney” is gasping to chomp some necks. This ongoing problem of Barnabas’ lack of potent potables has been one of this serials best B-plots and episode 8 finds it getting even better, as Howells starts to ratchet up the tension some more; while also putting another “fan favorite” into Barnabas’ teeth range.

But the real goose for this sauce is the investigation into the “time-nappings”. Neatly folding Christopher Pennock’s Cyrus and Lisa Richard’s Sabrina into the main cast, Howells gets everybody snooping around Collinwood trying to find clues to establish records of the missing folk. All while cutting to teasing glimpses through the veil of time to where our missing characters are. It seems the full list of the “missing” also includes Jackie, Lela Quick, AND Willie, tossed into time right alongside David and Tom. We don’t get a solid date for where Willie and Lela are (but Howells’ makes up for it in Lela’s case with a hilarious scene of flim-flam where she escapes a Villerous or Villeous Trask? I couldn’t quite get a handle on the name, but it was a ball to hear Jerry Lacy back in the mix). He does let slip, however, that these flashes we have been getting about Jackie on trial for murder are taking place in 1820! So there is that.

Even without all these little bits of forward movement on major plots, episodes 7 and 8 of Bloodline would still be triumphs. Just due to the pure audacity of the start of this second volume. Dark Shadows rarely ever go to tell “big” stories on TV and if they did it was always in their own special, limited way. But here? Big Finish continues to swing for the goddamn fences with this and episodes 7 and 8 are (for now!) the best examples of their commitment to scope and making this new serial feel like an “event”. Now we just have to figure out where Willie is. I would die if something ELSE happened to him. Until next time, be seeing you.

(Editor's note: Episodes 5 and 6 of Bloodline are available HERE.)

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.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Trask said his name was Orville, a definite nod to Jerry Lacy who has been joking about that for years.

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