Saturday, May 12, 2012

Experiment Blues

EPISODE 578-590

Ah, my first mobile entry. I'm at the airport waiting for a friend to arrive from San Diego and was torn between watching some more episodes or writing. Guess which I picked.

Who da--?
Soo, Tony was attacked by Adam at the Collinwood estate and knocked out by one of his famous man-killing blows (yes Sam Evans, unlike some characters I still remember you). Carolyn finds the young lawyer's body but wait-- who is that blondie pretending to be Carolyn?? I would have asked if I missed the announcement during the opening title. Apparently Nancy Barrett was sick the day of filming so had to be filled in by a one-episode wonder actress. Not that she was bad or anything but there are some characters that have to be portrayed by one and only performer. Carolyn is one of them; we can't do without her whiny little voice. I guess that's why the same trick didn't work with the character of Vicki. Yes fellas, in case you didn't know Alexandra Molte will leave the show soon. If I ruined it for anybody, well.. get over it I've known it for months. Do I still have readers btw?

Anyway, lucky for him Tony is alive and has no brain damage or anything. He didn't see Adam but fake-Carolyn knows better so she rushes to the closed-off west wing and confronts the Anne Frank monster. Adam doesn't deny anything, in fact he even asks if she loves Tony. Carolyn admits her attraction for Tony and leaves Harry Johnson in charge of Adam while she goes downstairs to talk to her uncle Roger about her mother's weird additions to her will. However, Adam somehow finds a way to break out of his room and run away, not able to take Carolyn's friendzoning anymore.

Right before Vicki dramatically
gives the ring back to Jeff.
While that happens, Jeff has doubts about working on the experiment because of the damage having a secret to hide does to his relationship with Vickster. On top of that, there's Angelique's power over him. He sneaks down to the lab and takes a peep at Julia's diary to learn about the procedure of transfering one's life force to a lifeless body, just as Angelique wishes to do. Julia catches him on the act and gets mad, probably because she has secret, girly entries about Barnabas in that journal. 
He manages to evade this situation but Julia keeps an eye on him anyway. But Jeff's overall situation gets to a dangerous point where Vicki breaks the engagement because it's obvious he's keeping things from her. Thank God Vicki didn't act naively victimized this time and took matters to her hand, although I'd say it's a bit passive aggressive for my taste. 

Jeff then tries to do the sensible thing and destroy the body. He'd have succeeded too if it weren't for Angelique's right-on-cue appearance to stop him. Some blood-sucking later, she convinces him to do the experiment asap without letting Barnabas & Julia know. By doing this, Angelique is willing placing herself in peril not only because Jeff isn't an experienced monster maker but also because Nicholas knows exactly what kind of interest she has in the experiment and tells her to forget it. She may be cursed to be pushed around by older men all her life but it never stopped her from acting out and ain't gonna stop now.

Night time lover
Meanwhile, Adam takes refuge at his new best pal Nicholas's house but the warlock isn't very happy with Adam's impulsive behaviour. He convinces him to go back to Collinwood and push Barnabas & co further about the experiment. Off he goes and first apologizes to Carolyn and nothing says I'm sorry like sneaking into one's room in the middle of the night and waking them like a creep. Carolyn is flattered by this (well, all good men are either taken or dead; she takes what she can and I don't blame her) and gives Adam a green sweater as a gift. Adam's surprise at the selflessness of the "gift" was rather touching, with all sarcasm aside. Then, waiting for Barnabas at the Old House (and probably having a sneak-peak of his bride-to be) he runs into Angelique. Both parties are surprised to see each other and Angelique makes up a lie to explain what she's doing there, making Adam go away. Let's hope Adam doesn't say anything about this encounter to Nicholas.

Jeff sucks at monsterology
With Adam gone, Angelique and Jeff go on with the experiment. Obviously, even you and I can bring a dead body alive following the written instructions. So, Jeff pushes some buttons and Angelique starts making rather weird squeaks, as if someone's pinching the life force out of her. The lights start to pulse, the machines hum and we think Angelique got what she wanted BUT Barnabas appears at the stairs out of nowhere and interrupts the experiment. Then we go, whoa what will he do when he comes face to face with Angelique BUT this time Angelique surprises (and annoys) us by vanishing into thin air (vampire tricks). Jeff is shocked too but at least what he is doing is passed as him trying to get rid off the experiment, so Barnabas removes him from his post. Later that night deep in the woods, Angelique uses her charms again to sustain the rebelling Jeff. The man just can't get a break!

You know who else can't get a break? Maggie. 
Barnabas finally reveals her as the candidate for the life force supply. He claims to have considered everyone and she seemed to be the best one there; just cause she lives alone and nobody would miss her. Are we supposed to buy that Barnabas you pig? Carolyn was obviously off-limits because she is family and there is no way he'd let Vicki anywhere near the lab. And who he chooses? The girl he kidnapped and terrorized for months during his vampire days then got Julia to hypnotize to erase it all. Why didn't he consider Mrs. Johnson for example? Or that sassy nurse at the hospital? Thankfully Julia vocalizes our feelings for us when she says Barnabas can be very cruel. She even offers herself to be the life force but we all know it's just a futile attempt at trying to be with Barnabas on the "life force" level. Barnabas gave Adam his energy afterall, so it'd be like they are husband and wife through their avatars.. Too far fetched?

Things we do for love
Julia isn't the only one disturbed by Barnabas' choice either. Willie has been building this weird obsession for our waitress (ex- waitress? How come we don't see the diner anymore?) and he freaks out when he hears the plans in store for her. He pleads with Barnabas and Julia, to no avail. Apparently, the Old House is still run by patriarchy as always been and Barnabas' word is final. So, Willie acts out and almost stabs the dead body. But this body is meant to come to life because, Barnabas once again manages to stop the meddling. But Willie doesn't stop and tries warning Maggie this time, begging the girl to leave town. When she won't, she tells her life is in danger because of Barnabas which she doesn't really buy 'cause Barnabas is all gentlemany right? (WRONG!). This too doesn't stop Willie, he uses chloroform to put Maggie to sleep and kidnap her, right before Barnabas arrives at her place. At the sight of the empty bed, Barnabas goes eek at the thought of Adam killing his precious Vicki.

Whoa this entry has been way mobile than I anticipated and taken me to crazy places. It's been two days since my friend arrived and right now, I'm in a student lodge of a hospital, waiting for the same friend to have an oral exam (He's a student of medicine); I'm keeping my eyes open for their version of Julia Hoffman.

So where were we?
Willie had Maggie and he took her to the hidden chamber of the Collins Mausoleum. With Maggie's best interest in mind, Willie tries to reason with her about staying put until everything is resolved but he doesn't quite explain what that "everything" is and Maggie rightfully thinks he is a mad man. I dunno why Willie insists on staying loyal to Barnabas; but he doesn't give away his secret. Teh again he doesn't have to, because the more time Maggie spends in the mausoleum, the more she remembers about what happened to her under Barnabas' captivity. We even get to see a few flashback scenes (first time in the show) and they make us appreciate Julia's current hair style more. 

Vicki is passed out with ecstasy
after strangulation
Meanwhile, Adam doesn't take it well that the life source for the experiment has disappeared. Barnabas and Julia tremble as he roars and they don't hesitate to blame it all on Willie. However, Adam attacks both of them and hurries back to Collinwood to off Vicki, as he threatened that he would. He attacks Vicki in her room that night, choking the bejesus out of the girl. He stops before killing her but only barely. Eventually Vicki recovers but can't tell for sure if it was Adam because she didn't see him. Pfft, come ooon Vicki!

Carolyn storms in and blames Adam but Nicholas covers his ass by lying about Adam's whereabouts during the attack. Carolyn, naive as she is, buys this and even apologizes. Nicholas is also shocked to learn that Barnabas was considering Maggie for the experiment. By now, we  know he has his own agenda for her so hearing about Willie's interference gives him a bit of a relief. He, then summons Willie via magic and orders him to free Maggie.

Adam:  A Monster of Deep Thoughts
(attention to green sweater)
He did this because he counts on the other plan: Adam, obviously guided by Nicholas, has a talk with Barnabas where he announces the new candidate for the experiment; the only person he wants to be husband & wife with but can't: Carolyn! Barnabas initially objects to this because she's family and all that jazz but Adam persuades him one way or another. He also makes the greatest observation that both Willie and him used to tremble under Barnabas' power and now both of them have disobeyed and overpowered him. Barnabas gets smaller and smaller in my eyes. During that talk, he tells Adam the details of his own creation, that he were to live within/as Adam. Adam doesn't fully understand that concept but once again delivers one of his philosophical punchlines when he says how could Barnabas hate himself so much as to wanna leave his own body and live as someone else. Deep stuff there! 
All jokes aside, small things like these makes me like Adam more and more.

Carolyn bewitched
Nicholas hypnotizes Carolyn into willingly wanting to participate in the experiment. She tells her uncle Roger that she's going to Boston for a few days to blow off some steam, which Roger finds rather a selfish act because of all the insanity going round with Liz and Vicki's attack. But she ain't going nowhere; Carolyn meets Barnabas at the Old House and declares her "decision" to join the experiment. Nothing Barnabas says to discourage her works; Nicholas' spell must have been so strong that Carolyn is able to conjure a reasonable answer to each of his questions. The body is ready down at the cellar; neither Julia nor Barnabas want to go through with it but they have no choice. They won't know for sure whether Carolyn will come out of it alive. They send her to rest upstairs when they start to do the final preperations.

Maggie remembers the good ol' times
As this is a soap opera working very closely with Murphy's Laws, it doesn't take too long for another thing to go wrong to put a halt to the experiment's process. This time it is Maggie Evans. Just when Willie was about to set her free now that Carolyn was willingly donating herself to the world of crazy science, Maggie has a revelation and she remembers everything from her missing weeks (from Barnabas' intention to turn her into Josette to putting her inside the very coffin in the chamber). She makes the biggest mistake of all when she says she knows Barnabas is "one of the living dead" and will go to the police. Willie freaks out, locks her in the chamber again and rushes to tell Barnabas the whole thing.

No escape from Adam's reign
Panic in the Old House crawls up like fire. Barnabas asks Julia to stop doing whatever she is doing and go hypnotize Maggie as if he's asking her to pick up the laundry. Obviously he wants everyone to forget the days when he was a vampire, especially himself. But before Julia and Willie leave for the cemetery, Adam walks in and gives them a hard time again. It's becoming a recurring joke that Barnabas & co have to explain Adam why the experiment isn't happening this time. But Adam ain't so understanding anymore. He knows Carolyn is ready, so he orders a total lockdown until he can walk out of there with his wife. 

Notes.. Notes.. Notes...

*Tony Peterson may have survived the attack but that was his character's final appearance. I don't know if he will get a resolution in the future like ("Oh, btw he died") or he'll just never be mentioned again just like Frank Garner. What is it with this show and its abrupt way of writing off lawyers!

*Speaking of disappearing characters, where the heck is David again? I can't even remember the last time I saw Vicki do actual governessing. People initially seem to come to Collinwood for one purpose but drift away from it eventually. Just look at Julia shamelessly avoid paying rent.

*It was fun to watch Vicki and Maggie have a girl-talk over coffee at the Collinwood garden. Both of their boys are Angelique's bitches and neither of them have a clue.

*So Angelique can use Nicholas' magic mirror to spy on people too? I wonder if the mirror is open to everyone or Angelique still has her witch powers.

*Adam's mate-to-be has her face covered in bandages so she won't get scarred like Adam. It doesn't make much sense but sure adds up to the mystery.


When I first started the blog last year in July, my original plan was to finish the series before yesterday. It didn't happen obviously, life got in the way and my fast watching turned into slow-but-sure watching. I don't mind having more episodes on my hand actually and I am not even half way there yet so YAY!
It was also weird to see the countdown clock go by so fast.. I mean, one day there are 100 something days, the next it's already over. I may have to take it down now that the film is out.
As I mentioned before, the film doesn't open here until June 15th or something. I WILL try to avoid spoilers but honestly, I realized that I don't care much for the film anyway, especially after the rude remarks by some cast members concerning the original series (but everybody is entitled to their opinions of course). For all I know, this film and the series are two different pieces of work and should be watched with that in mind. I have been getting lots of visitors from my "Dark Shadows The Beginning recap" video on Youtube, that is good cause people do wonder what the original is like - although I am not sure many people stay to read my words as it's easier to watch a recap video. Although it wasn't my starting point, I hope the show gains new viewers because of the film.
So until mid-June, I'll keep hanging out at the original Dan Curtis town of Collinsport! :)

PS. Unfortunately, my friend didn't pass the oral exam.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bite Marks Everywhere

EPISODES 561-577

My brother did a bad thing by introducing me to the game Aliens vs Predator. I'm a huge fan of the Alien franchise but I was initially hesitant towards the game. But it is first person shooter I said, I can't compete against the game geeks I said, then shortly afterwards found myself killing the aforementioned aliens and predators hour after hour and with great joy. I'm not that great yet but hey, newbie here! And all of this has absolutely nothing to do with Dark Shadows but I'm telling this because after the speed and the rush of a killing spree, watching a slow going soap opera doesn't immeditally come to your mind. 

So now that the futile excuses for ignoring the show and the blog is out of the way, let's get back to business.

Can I keep him? Can I, can I?
The last time we saw her newly born vampiric presence, Angelique was sinking her fangs into Joe Haskell's not-so-smooth neck . Once the "affair" is over, Nicholas comes back and we find out it was the duo's collective plan afterall and not an attempt to run away on Angelique's part. They let the young man go, only to have him come over once the night sets in again. Joe tries to fight the she-vampire's influence and I hoped that he would since he is stronger than Willie in that department but it was no good. He stops going to work and ignores Maggie, which is totally out of character for him. Barnabas suspects something is odd and he should have seen the signs as he himself caused many people the same thing in the not distant past but for some reason, he just doesn't. Pfft, ex-vampires! 

Joe bumps into Willie one night at the cemetery where the latter happens to rob a grave matter-of-factly (nah, actually he was pretty freaked about it) but knowing it is for Adam's "Project: Wife", Nicholas convinces Joe to warn Barnabas instead of going to the authorities right away. Joe doesn't know anything about the experiment and Barnabas doesn't know that Nicholas knows and is secretly pulling the strings to keep it going. As for me, I carry the burden of knowing it all. It's a curse, a curse I say.

Too bad for Tom, Maggie
doesn't speak gibberish
By the way, in a turn of events we find out that the man who got attacked by Angelique in the woods, Tom Jennings, is actually Joe's cousin. That family must have had really good genes (ask Angelique, she tasted them both). When he regains his consciousness, Nicholas and Angelique freak out, fearing that he may talk. He does actually try to talk but Maggie can't really decipher what he means when he goes "". That night,  Joe is made to leave the window open in Tom's hospital room, letting in Angelique to finish the job she's started.

When Tom dies and Joe orders him to be buried as fast as the speed of light, Barnabas and Julia suspect something's up. They dig up his grave to destroy him in case he got all vamped up but they find the coffin empty. That didn't really make sense cause it was a fresh grave with no signs of crawling-out but it's also possible Tom's body wasn't placed in the coffin in the first place. But long story short, the town has a new vampire and it's a boooy. And this boy, decides to come after Julia of all people.

Look at Julia give herself away
He attacks her one night while she is working on the experiment and reminds us that Julia's scream is a thing of beauty with a twist of a herd of goats in the slaughterhouse. As it happens with every vampire bite victim, Julia tries to hide her marks, stays in during the day and be vibrant once the sun sets. At nights, she meets up with young Jennings in the woods to have her blood sucked, that minx. But Barnabas is quick to solve this one out and with a quick move removes the scarf around Julia's neck to expose her fresh wounds. Speak of sexual tension! She admits the whole deal and Barnabas offers to keep her locked up in Josette's room to keep her away from the vampire. She even gets to sleep in Josette's bed, how flattering is that?

Two girls; one coffin
Meanwhile, sick that she had no air time in the last twenty episodes or so Joan Bennett Liz runs away from the Windcliff Sanitarium and ends up in Collinsport, only to run into Tom Jennings and his fangs in the woods (what's with him and the old women?) but she's saved by an unsuspecting Roger at the last minute. I'd been wondering what the hell happened to Liz's curse of emoness now that Angelique/Cassandra the witch is dead. Well, Barnabas' vampirism went on in the past so why shouldn't this one right; so yeah it's still intact and she's still obsessed with death. Of course having two crazy older women around creates some scenes of  menopausal hilarity. Julia runs away again to find her master's coffin in a crypt; Liz follows her. Julia asks what she's doing there, Liz wonders if the coffin is for her, Julia says get out get out get out (worst get outs I've heard since Dawn); it's just a big riotin' funhouse.

No Grande Finale for Mr Jennings
During the ordeal with Julia's escapes and all, when Barnabas seems only concerned with the experiment's slowness, Willie points out the fact that Barnabas is "acting like a man who's secretery is missing" after which Barnabas finally admits caring for Julia (and he'd die before letting her know; or maybe Julia would die with joy, I'm not sure). So he decides to find Tom's coffin and finish him once and for all. After a silver-bullet shooting attempt and a hand to hand fight, Barnabas finally gets to him during the day like a sneaky bastard. We didn't get to see if Tom's body went poof or became this bloody mess True Blood style but once it was done, Julia's neck wounds disappeared and the influence was lost. 

When Barnabas leaves the crypt, Nicholas hides the coffin, leaving behind a freaked out Liz claiming that she saw her own casket. For the sake of keeping the vampires a secret, Barnabas and Julia lie that there was no coffin which makes Liz look all the more crazier. But they both know that there's someone besides themselves covering up the secret and they're dying to know who. Bring the ANGELIQUE IS ALIVE revelation already!!

Meanwhile, Joe's state creates some friction between him and Maggie, to Nicholas' pleasure. Whenever Joe and Maggie have a big fight, he shows up and we can't really blame Maggie for being attracted to his fatherly attention, especially after her father. Actually, yeah we can! Shame on you Megster, Joe is a neat fella!

Lovers fighting the mental fight
But, Angelique's influence over Joe somehow diminishes and he actually manages to fight the urge to go to her. Of course, Nicholas doesn't miss the opportunity to rub it on her face and no sweet voiced pleading will work: She got herself into this mess and she'll get herself out. So Angelique tries her best to summon the Haskell-man. Joe, in the meantime, begs Maggie to keep him in the house no matter what he does or says. He even gives her the licence to knock him out if the sitch gets out of control but we all know Maggie's too kind for that (which reminds me, wasn't she kind of a tough chick in the first couple of episodes? I guess Barnabas broke her for good). Anyway, instead of tying her fiance to the bed (and I imply nothing kinky here), she gives him a sleeping pill and lets him sleep on the couch. But Angelique finds her way into his head  and gains her influence again. Joe sneaks out just in time for Nicholas to check "if everything's ok". You know, I kinda like Nicholas but he'd better not mess with Maggie any longer!

Barnabas sneaks into Nicholas' house to find any clue that will prove his suspicions about him, but instead he runs into Joe. They both have an awkward time explaining to each other what the hell they are doing there. Angelique, while listening to the current of lies, tries hard to stop herself from making her grand enterance and attack Barnabas. Her fear of Nicholas holds her back.

Nicholas' chroma key magic mirror
Remember how Cassandra and Nicholas had Doctor Lang's tape but couldn't make much sense of it? Well, Nicholas thinks of a way to gather more information and uses his magic mirror to question Willie in his sleep. Poor, weak-willed Willie recites everything he knows about the previous experiment, including Barnabas & Adam's life force bond. This is the information he needs: If he can control the person that will give her life force to this female creature, he can control the creature itself. His main intention is to create an army of living-dead and rule the world. But this new bit of information gives Angelique an idea.

Jeff doesn't like Barnabas'
science project
As this is happening, Jeff sneaks into the Old House (my, what's with the sneak in and out overdose recently) to find out if Adam is connected to Barnabas as he's been suspecting. And to his horror, he finds the new experiment lying on the operating table down at the cellar. Then Barnabas appears out of the dark shadows and charismatically announces "Yes Mr Clark, we're going to create another one." Jeff flips, then Barnabas admits how Adam is threatening to kill Vicki and everyone else and eventually Jeff finds himself working on the experiment, just like he did with Adam.

It's funny to see Adam visit the makeshift lab every now and then and ask how the experiment is coming along like a manager. It's also funny to see Barnabas & co tremble when they try to negotiate with him. Only Jeff was ballsy enough to call out Adam to tell how ugly he is, which almost cost him his life if it weren't for Prof. Stokes.

Angelique's boy toy #2
One night when Jeff is working on the "body" (now everybody is an MD), he gets visited and bitten by Angelique. Now that he is her slave, she asks him to hurry up the experiment and let her give the life force that's required to animate the corpse, so she can be free of the curse just like Barnabas. Jeff can't resist her and says he'll help. And now that he's Angelique's bitch, Vicki and Roger observe the change in him. Especially when he refuses Roger's job offer. Still, aww @ Roger for being a sweetheart to Vicki and her fiance.

Bad day for a lawyer
As warlocks and vampires and man-made creatures roam the town, Liz has to deal with her own demons in the shape of morbid thoughts. When she has a nightmare of being in a coffin, she has the frightening notion that she'll be buried alive. When her lawyer (hello Mr Garner) doesn't return her calls on the account that she's a crazy woman, she sacks him (bye bye Mr Garner) and hires the local lawyer Tony Peterson. She adds some weird stuff to her will, such as being buried a high-tech coffin that I am not sure was in existence then. Or now. On his way out, Tony runs into Carolyn and they have a talk about their brief but tempestuous history. Adam witnesses the whole talk and when Carolyn leaves, attacks the man; knocking him out cold!

Is he dead? Will Liz's will go unnoticed? Will Carolyn cry?...

Notes.. Notes.. Notes..

*Hurray for the sassy black nurse not letting Nicholas in!

*Adam's sarcasm cracks me up. One day you're a bundle of meat sewed together, the next day you're outwitting the girl you love with clever remarks and talks of Freud. Seriously, how weird is that Carolyn learns about Freud from Adam.

*Tom Jennings, the brief vampire had a habit of doing funny faces (crooked eyes, weird mouth movements etc.) during his attack scenes. I think he got lesson about not taking his role seriously when he got killed off.

*Joe, because he's too manly for scarfs, uses a turtleneck sweater to hide his bite marks.

*Is it my imagination or has it recently been mentioned that Windcliff is Julia's hospital and not just a hospital she works in? So, she's basically rich and still stays at Collinwood?

*I remember reading and watching Lara Parker's interviews and she talks of Angelique being this sensual character. Up until now, I've thought that was her wishful thinking cause both Angelique the witch and Cassandra had been rather cold, mean and frigid characters. But now I understand why: This Angelique, as a vampire, uses her sexuality to lure men into her trap whether it's the using of her voice or the way she dresses. Needless to say, I like this Angelique the best so far. But I've spotted one big mistake: She has a reflection!!! And it's not just a tiny goof that they missed, they positioned her right in a mirror! Tsk tsk~

*On a very irrelevant note, I just LOVED the fierce Pumyra from the new Thundercats series!!!