Sunday, April 24, 2016

Turn of The Screw à la Collinwood

EPISODES 678-685

Hours of liquor tasting workshops
finally come in handy
Chris is apparently dying as our reliable family physician Julia has said so, but Barnabas and her take all the time in the world to help him. Instead, they go around collecting evidence to determine what may have caused him to be... dying. Following the lead that is the glass on the floor, Julia (the alcoholic anonymous), sniffs the drink bottle twice (one for business; one for pleasure) and is able to identify strychnine right away. Assuming it was a suicide attempt, Barnabas goes full drama queen once again reflecting back to his days as a vampire and how he too used to think about killing himself, when actually he friggin' should be helping the poor man dying on the floor and wait for throwback thursdays next time he feels nostalgic. At that same moment, Amy has a nightmare where she is led to Chris' cottage by Beth (who is finally saying some words; albeit still a bit on the obscure side) and witnesses her brother getting stabbed with an expression on his face as if killed by Samara. Oh, how I've missed Don Briscoe's ridiculous face-makings in extreme situations.
Samara visits Collinwood
In the dream, David admits having trying to stop Quentin, and Beth confirms this. Amy wakes up screaming. The next morning, still at the cottage, Barnabas and Julia assume the mysterious woman that led them there and disappeared must be a ghost. When Chris wakes up supporting a sexy stubble (Julia must have pumped his stomach or something), they go all "We don't judge you for trying to kill yourself" to which he simply says he neither did nor would, as he has them for support now. Aw. Upon learning David was the only visitor he had that day, a suspecting Barnabas has a talk with the boy but he can't learn much because David is one little witball, so he leaves with implied "I'm-on-to-you"s. 

Ghost fueled girl power
However it is Amy who is really onto David and boy, hell hath no fury like a little miss muffet scorned. Making sure her brother is alive, she confronts David like a firecracker and threatens to expose him as the accessory to a crime. David is not a turkey shoot either, so he covers the girl's mouth and twists her arm around, making her cry. Luckily, Liz is there for the save right on time as she always is and separates the two; my heart really aches for Amy. When David is sent to his room, Liz has a girl-to-girl talk with Amy, where the latter excitedly begins to tell the whole story (out of order and like a crazy person to be honest) but can't finish anyway because of Quentin's sudden appearance in the drawing room. As expected, he disappears when Liz turns around to look (sigh) and Amy understands talking about Quentin would endanger herself and the others. She goes back to David, ready to make a deal with Quentin to keep playing the game as long as no harm comes to Chris. That girl is feisty and I could eat her up.

The original "Stop playing with
your phone and do your homework"
Using the new authority granted to her by Liz to discipline David any way she sees fit, Maggie the supergoverness takes the old phone that the kids originally have been using to contact Quentin away from David in order to teach him a lesson. Once again Vicki is mentioned being the superior governess but Maggie can finally stand up for herself as she has that aforementioned full damn authority alright! As much as I like Vicki, I must admit Maggie does seem to be the better governess. She has both compassion and puissance, whereas Vicki was mostly hugs and marshmallows. Okay, maybe not, but we can all agree that she was way too easy to fool. At least Maggie was once a straightforward, no bullshit waitress of the best diner in town, so ain't no little boy gonna break her (Then again those countless memory tricks by Julia may have scarred her for life, so who knows). 
With his only way of communicating with Quentin is gone, David has no choice but to visit his secret room in the west wing to deliver Amy's negotiation offer, but not before Maggie spots and tails him. Seeing David go into the storage room, Maggie follows him there, only to find it empty for David has already sneaked into Quentin's adjoining secret room through the hole in the panel. Befuddled, Maggie leaves, trying to figure out for the next couple of episodes how the hell David has evaded her. David delivers Amy's message, right before falling under the possessive influence of Quentin. Possession stories are discomforting as they are, since it is practically a form of abuse and molestation; but it is extra repulsive when we have children in the middle of all that. Connotations of child abuse are not so subtle.

Meanwhile downstairs, Mrs Johnson is kinda, sorta made fun of by Liz for being afraid of the children when she is asked to take David's food up to his room. Actually the whole conversation is so amazing that I'll just go ahead and quote it verbatim:
Mrs J has no time for your bullshit
Mrs Johnson: (dramatically) Those two children are playing some kind of monstrous game. A game that's intended to scare us all to death.
Liz: (mocking) Mrs Johnson. All children make up odd games from time to time.
Mrs Johnson: I didn't say this was odd. I said it's monstrous and that's what it is.
Liz: Mrs Johnson, you're a mature woman. David's twelve years old. You mean to tell me you're actually afraid to be with him for anytime.
Mrs Johnson: (nodding unashamedly) You can have my head examined but that's the way I feel.
This can be one of my favorite scenes so far, right up there when Julia slapped Cassandra (#535) or Naomi smacked Reverand Trask (#438). Or Liz calling off her wedding to Jason and confessing killing her husband (#270). Anything with Joan Bennett, really! But Mrs Johnson is the real star here; the subject of poor woman's age and sanity has come up three times this week and she took it like a pro and threw it back like the sassma
ster she is. However, this couldn't get her out of the task ahead and she grudgingly goes up to David's room, where she jumps up and down with joy to see Maggie, who is going through David's clothes. Overjoyed that she wouldn't be alone with David, or with David at all for he is missing, Mrs J acts like Maggie is her favorite person in the world, whereas just a couple of weeks ago she had no problem whatsoever to openly compare Maggie to Vicki. Upon seeing David's Victorian era coat, she says David was wearing it the night she caught the two brats playing dress-up and Maggie begins to connect the dots back to the man Mrs Johnson said she saw in the cottage. Maggie asks Mrs Johnson not to tell Liz about David's absence because she wants to handle it herself. Of course, Mrs Johnson will be Mrs Johnson, and she somehow manages to throw a shade here and there before leaving, once again questioning Maggie's adequacy as a governess. When questioned by Liz, Mrs Johnson lies halfheartedly and runs into the kitchen to avoid further query.

David gets even-steven
David comes back from the west wing to find Maggie in his room, soap operatically positioned in the armchair. A showdown of sorts take place as Maggie, firm and not gullible, asks how the hell David has gotten out of the storage room without her noticing. The reason why I've been beginning to like David is that he is ready-witted and quite sharp, managing to evade every question. He not only always has something to say, but also does it dipped in wit. But Maggie wasn't born yesterday either. The verbal tennis match ends with Maggie grounding David, who in turn calmly threatens to get even, sending chills down Maggie's and our spines. Welcome back David the child-sociopath of the early episodes! And even he gets! With a sequence of creepy tricks of the gothic genre (lights going off, the old telephone ringing, the window blowing open), Maggie is terrorized (seemingly by Quentin) in her room. Mrs Johnson is the one to come for Maggie's help ("Well, when I told you I saw that man down at the cottage, you looked at me as if I were crazy". With that finally out, I am hoping for Maggie and Mrs Johnson becoming besties).

Attention to the hand
Set to show David who the boss is, Maggie heads back to the west wing when she can't find David in his room. All alone she walks through the dark, scary, spider webby corridors up to the storage room. She opens the door hoping to see David but BAM!! Quentin is standing there and looking at her menacingly. Naturally, Maggie screams and runs downstairs; lucky to find not one but three familiar faces: Carolyn, Chris and Liz (It did not escape my attention that Maggie used this opportunity to grab Chris' hand when she first came down. Is she gonna snatch him right under Carolyn's nose? Wouldn't be the first time, you know!). Upon hearing there is a creepy looking man in the closed up part of the house, Chris and Carolyn volunteer to go look for him. Ah, love. Makes you do crazy things. But not surprisingly, they can't find anyone. Meanwhile, Liz offers Maggie a stiff drink to calm her down; I like it when she is generous like that.
Quentin & Mr Juggins:
7 Differences
However, she doesn't really see how that man, who she learns Mrs Johnson also recently saw, would possibly have anything to do with David. To set it straight, they go to David's room (who has been there all along but just hiding) and question him. Being a notorious liar, he manages to dodge every accusation. He even offers to take them up there and show them where he was hiding when Maggie failed to find him. Of course, he isn't doing this out of the sweetness of his heart. When the two women and the boy go up to the storage room, they run into Mr Juggins the sideburn-donning, creepy looking, easy-to-mistake-for-a-man dummy. "Could this be the man you saw?" Liz asks, rather mockingly, which must have stung like a bitch, definitely more than running into Quentin himself. There is a chill in the air, not because of the ghosts roaming the halls or the thunderstorm outside, but because Liz has an intimidating left profile. Maggie hangs her head in shame and David smiles defiantly, for he was the one who put the dummy there after Quentin told him to.

Proletarian revolution starts here
Later that night, Maggie is gloomily hanging out in the drawing room while everyone else is asleep. Everyone but Mrs Johnson. When Maggie tells her about the man she saw, Mrs Johnson feels a) happy because this proves she isn't crazy; b) scared because he is in the house now; c) lesbian because Maggie looks seductive in that blue, fluffy nightgown helpless because they are only ones who know what is going on and can't convince Liz otherwise. I am really, REALLY loving their scenes, bonding and comforting each other. I knew some bff action was coming their way. Mrs Johnson believes the children are wicked but Maggie thinks they are innocent and need their help. They exchange goodnights and head to bed (unfortunately, not together), but not before Maggie gives one final "And Mrs Johnson. Lock your door" for the sake of it. Geez, girl. You'll give the woman a stroke. That night, Maggie has a nightmare à la Elm Street where she goes to the storage room to confront Quentin, but gets strangled with a red shawl instead.

Mrs Johnson climaxes
Next morning, Maggie fills Barnabas in on everything that went down and he believes her right away on the first try. It's a big relief for Maggie and also us; finally there is someone in the house who doesn't try to rationalize it when a strange thing happens, especially after all the scary shit that went down (curses, witches, spirits, fuckin' time travel, Buzz). Barnabas doesn't keep this info to himself and does the most logical thing to do: Bring Professor Stokes in. Suddenly, some people started to get smarter in this house. Stokes believes Janet Findley, the medium he sent here couple of weeks earlier and ended up dead (well, shit happens), didn't die a natural death even though it looked like a heart attack. So, as it the Collins tradition in every 100 episode or so, it is SEANCE TIME AGAIN! This time participants are Stokes, Barnabas, Maggie and despite practically begging not to be involved, Mrs Johnson (they were ones who got close and personal with Quentin afterall). It was about time they popped Mrs J's séance cherry, and as one would expect, the whole thing was hilarious. And as if it wasn't enough, the spirit of Madame Findley picked her of all people to be her human-speaker. Mrs Johnson moans and utters some words like "Children. The Panel. The room." instead of saying "You know guys while I was looking for the malevolent spirit, the children led me to the west wing. There I discovered his secret room by going through the panel" but yeah yeah, the wi-fi connection is and has always been slow between the two worlds. Luckily, Mrs Johnson finishes the story by screaming "AND HE KILLED ME" before collapsing, at least proving there is something evil inside the house. We haven't seen Mrs J ever since, I hope she is dealing okay with the séance hangover.

Consenting adults try hypnosis
The next morning Barnabas tells Julia about previous night's hoopla and try to decipher the dead medium's message: He believes children are either in some kind of danger or they know who the murderer is. Or worse yet, they are the murderers. They hope it's either number one or two. Later, they visit Chris hoping to learn more about this mysterious ghost looking out for him. He says he doesn't know, and it turns out to be true when Julia hypnotizes him (with his consent, probably the first time we see Julia using work ethics) with hopes of uncovering something buried, yet fails. Chris finds it hard to believe in ghosts. An odd statement from a man who happens to be a werewolf every now and then. Outside, Beth appears to Amy and asks her to do something (again, not speaking), and it turns out to be to get an old doll of some kind from the west wing, which Amy embraces and starts playing with. I still don't get how the kids are able to go in and out the west wing without having the bejesus scared out of them.

The estate of Collinwood
is one big graveyard
A little bit later, Beth finally appears to Chris in the woods and points him to a spot on the ground. Chris does the most sensible thing to do to a guardian angel and shouts "You are the one. You are the woman!" at her face. Naturally, she disappears and Chris goes and gets Barnabas. The two man dig the earth where she pointed and discover a child size coffin of 50-70 years (Barnabas shows off his expertise on the coffins; and he should know). It is a saddening sight. When they open it up, they find the remains of an infant and a silver pentagram necklace. Ohh, the plot thickens. They speculate that it must be a protection against a werewolf, which proves there must have been another one before Chris, which proves his condition must be connected to it. They take the necklace and bury the coffin back, not knowing Quentin is watching them. Another easy paycheck day for David Selby.

Possession stands for what exactly?
Back at the house, David grabs a book from the library (why the hell is there a book titled "Ghosts and Exorcism" in the Collins' collection I am not sure, but then again they have always been a bit morbid) and Carolyn comes in and tells him it's a weird choice for a bedtime reading. David is ready to open up about what has been scaring him, but right on cue, Quentin the ever silent, the ever present, the ever buzzkill ghost appears and David shuts up. Later when they meet in Quentin's room, David first rejects whatever it is Quentin has asked him to do this time, but the music starts playing and David falls under the man-ghost's influence once again. You know, I can't unsee the child abuse metaphor even if I want to now and it is unsettling. It is also supported by the fact that they always cut away once Quentin starts to possess them.

Sherlockin' Barnabas
Examining the pentagram in the drawing room, Barnabas notices an inscription that says "'To guard you from the wrath of Cerberus", which is amazing 'cause who doesn't like Greek mythology subtly integrated into any story? Carolyn recognizes the jeweler's mark and identifies it as belonging to Mr. Ezra Braithwaite, the third and last generation craftsman in a line of jewelers providing the Collins family their much needed silver. Barnabas calls him up while David watches and eventually filches the pentagram right under Barnabas' nose, as Quentin has ordered. On top of that, he manages to get out of this one, even though he was the only other person in the room and Barnabas even apologizes to him for assuming he stole it. Barnabas must be having one of his slow days (it was the 60's, the acid was the thing; we are not shaming him for experimenting).

Barnabas supporting local businesses
Lacking the real thing, Barnabas visits Mr. Braithwaite in his shop with a drawing of the pentagram. The man is very old and eccentric. He has two glasses: One pair to see people; the other for things (like all of us, really). He almost has a memory of making the necklace and promises to look through his books to find out. Later, he gives Collinwood a call to let them know that he has found out who it was made for, but unfortunately it is David who answers the phone and before he can summon Barnabas, Quentin intervenes and takes the phone from his hands. When David protests, Quentin chases him up the stairs looking creepy as ever. Right after the opening credits, we see them talking in the drawing room, so once again we have been denied to witness whatever it is Quentin does to those kids. Anyway, Quentin must still be resentful towards Amy because he disappears right after she joins them (what is he, 7?). Amy is the mature one here and she figures whatever it is those two are doing must be something Chris would be harmed at the end of. She warns David not to trust Quentin, and he agrees by saying he doesn't like the game anymore.

Amy must have remind Barnabas
of his own sister Sarah
Enter Liz, getting ready to go to the airport to pick up Roger who is finally coming back from Boston doing devil knows what, while his sister has been resurrected, his niece got attacked by a werewolf and his son has been possessed by ghosts galloping around the house like there is no tomorrow. Liz wants to take David with her but meets much resistance, because he wants to make sure Quentin behaves. Amy almost blurts the whole thing but the clock strikes conveniently and Liz has to go. Jeez! Then, Amy and Barnabas have a heart-warming talk about their good old (offscreen) friendship at the Windcliff Sanitarium but Amy still can't bring her tiny self to admit who she is afraid of. QUENTIN! IT'S QUENTIN!!1!

Ezra is a little too fond of silver
Meanwhile downstairs David welcomes Mr. Braithwaite in, who has come up with his ledger to tell Barnabas about his discovery. David leaves the old man admiring all the iron Collins' have alone in the drawing room, to have Quentin prey on him. And right on cue, Quentin appears behind the hidden panel (appearing out of thin air like a regular ghost must not be dramatic enough for him) and approaches the man. Poor old Braithwaite has his "things-glasses" on, so he can't make out Quentin at first and even assumes he is the friend Barnabas has mentioned.
Quentin plays with his
prey first
Noticing this, Quentin has some fun and pretends to listen with a smile on his face while Braithwaite goes on and on about how the pentagram was one of the first pieces he made, and it was ordered by Miss Beth Chaves and charged to Count Quentin Collins. After he's done reading, Mr. Braithwaite switches back to his people-glasses and casually identifies the man as Quentin Collins. After a pause that actually seems like a whole minute, he realizes that it is impossible and yells "You're dead! You're dead!" as Quentin comes closer and closer... During that, David has actually gone up to Barnabas' room to tell him about Mr. Braithwaite's arrival but got caught up in his cousin's never ending speeches. When he finally manages to interrupt him and tell the news, they run down to the drawing room to find Mr. Braithwaite sitting in a position with his head hanging down, now practically screaming I'm dead. Right on cue, he drops to the floor like a single raisin as the ex-vampire gently touches him. As Barnabas yells David to stay away and call Julia, Quentin is already in the west wing, with the ledger.

Notes... Notes... Notes

- Chris is one of my favorite characters now. He's nice but edgy; secretive and overall cool to watch. I really enjoy watching Don Briscoe's performance and was sad to learn he had a tough life.

-Julia has been reading about the werewolves and apparently there are two ways you can be one: By a bite or a curse. We know Chris' thing is a curse but not sure how he got it. How is he related to Quentin, Beth and the dead baby we will see, I hope. It is also a bit hypocritical of Julia to suggest they will have to expose Chris if they fail to help him, while that was never an option for Barnabas. Unrequited love has blinded her.

-While on the subject of werewolves, even though Barnabas made it sound like Cerberus was only a random guard dog at the gates of hell, it was actually a huge three-headed beast. Now that we know there was another werewolf back in the town's history, it would be cool if Chris was one of three people who are affected by a curse, forming a symbolic Cerberus through time.

-It is funny how Liz is right back at her game again, with no lasting after effects of being dead. With no mention of the whole thing, one would assume she only went to Bangor for a couple of days.

- Occasional black and white episodes give me a nice feeling of nostalgia and an opportunity to see what the show would have looked like if it never gone multicolor during less gothic and more exciting, full fledged supernatural stories.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cry wereWolf!

EPISODES 666 (oooh)-677

This morning I woke up from a dream where I was running in the woods to stop Angelique from leading a line of childrens' spirits deeper into the woods for some evil intentions, after a warning I had from Josette's ghost, so I said it's time to go back to the blog 'cause it's apparently calling out to me in my dreams now. 


Death of a Countess
Natalie the Vampire Slayer and her sidekick Nathan are stopped by Barnabas' loyal servant, Ben, right on time before they could kill the vampire (Although I remember perfectly well that the previous episode ended with the ominous sight and sound of the hammer coming down on the stake; that is one big retcon, if you ask me). Nathan shoots Ben, but the man is built like Jason Voorhees. Not only he is unaffected by the shooting, but he also goes on and kills both Nathan and Natalie with his bare hands, although to be honest the latter was more like an accident. Who knew people tended to die when you cover their mouths to keep them quiet for so long? All in all, the history has been changed but no worries, these "accidental" deaths had no effect in the present, which we cut to right away:

Julia and Willie are restlessly waiting in the Old House for Barnabas' return from the past (Very casually as if he's just gone out to buy some groceries). Sick of waiting around, they visit the cemetery and notice that the graves of Peter and Vicki have vanished. Julia takes it as a positive sign that Barnabas is changing history, just the way he intended. Still very casual. But then again, dealing with vampires, witches, warlocks, Frankenstein monsters and other otherworldly beings eventually makes one rather indifferent to the et cetera. Anyways, Julia cries out into the night for Barnabas to return, but his coffin is still empty.

Back in 1796 for what I hope will be the final time for God's sake, Ben fills Barnabas in on the itsy bitsy murders of Nathan and Natalie. The vampire tells him to get rid off the bodies; then, make up a lame story to tell his father Joshua about their whereabouts. As his final order, he tells Ben to chain him in his coffin for his time travel ticket has almost expired. Too bad for him, he reappears in the present time right after Willie checks his coffin and leaves the mausoleum. Barnabas is stuck in his coffin, gasping for air and letting us have a great view up his nostrils.

Waiting on the other side
But not all odds are against him. Back in the Old House, the weeping ghost of Josette appears to Willie, mysterious and weepy as ever, and vanishes. Then, he hears the heart-beat sounds emitting from Barnabas' portrait, just like he did when he first found Barnabas in episode 210 and saved the show from cancellation. Taking it as a sign, he and Julia rush off to the cemetery and whoa what is that, there are suddenly chains around the coffin??!! They break the locks and open the lid rather cautiously for Barnabas may have come back as a vampire. And there he is, barely alive and no fangs. A Happy Snoopy Dance and a heart warming reunion later, the trio are almost caught red handed by Carolyn and Amy who happen to be in the neighborhood bringing flowers to the dead. They hide in the secret chamber until the girls leave. Not so much drama or suspense there.

Peer pressure &
Maggie lies a little
Once back at Collinwood, Amy is bullied by David into "playing the game", and Carolyn catches, scowls and grounds him (in that order) despite both his and Amy's protests that it was a misunderstanding. It is unsettling how Amy repeatedly covers for David's ancestrally-possessed-ass. Seeing how Carolyn is a likely obstacle in their evil evil plans, David says they will have to "play the game with her", and by now we know they don't mean they are gonna invite her for a make believe tea party. First, they play cute and win over Maggie's trust that night when she catches them together in David's room. Maggie, trying so hard to fill the void of governess-ing Vicki left when she started a brand new life in 1796, opts to trust and cover for them against Mrs. Johnson's prying, who has nothing whatsoever to prove, so she sticks to being her (neurotic) strict self.
Later, when they make sure that everyone's asleep, they sneak into the west wing through the hidden panel in the drawing room, wearing the same 1800's clothes. *cue Quentin's theme* Amy, now calling herself Beth, claims they are in her room and the two once again recite the almost-100-year-old dialogue between Quentin & Beth. Amy as Beth curiously says she is afraid of "them. I'm afraid of both of them." They mention a man and a woman who hates Quentin, and Amy mentions the woman having powers/curse. Uh-oh. What did happen there in 1897? But before we can learn more, the possession is interrupted by Mrs Johnson, who has followed the children's voices through the west wing (but what she was doing there in the first place, I do not know. Maybe she has a secret room there where she goes to chill and get shitfaced once in a while, after a day of heavy work; and that would be well deserved, that woman looks after a whole mansion by herself).
She is shocked to find children in such demode attire, hangin' out like two creeps in candle light. Sliding back to their child-selves, the kids shamelessly make fun of Mrs Johnson's age by pointing out she must have forgotten how cool the game of dress-up is. Well, sorta. Mrs. Johnson, not having been born yesterday (as pointed out by the kids), does not buy this story, shoos them away and is certain there is something up with those creeps-for-kids and that scares her. Unfortunately when she shares this with Maggie, the only thing she gets is a hinted "you must be crazy" and a "maybe you should retire". Okay maybe not in so many words, but there was definitely a mocking quality to Maggie's tone. Boy, is that girl trying too hard to be the governess of the year.

Wouldn't be a soap without a
troubled couple
Meanwhile during that whole ordeal, Carolyn and Chris Jennings have been making moon eyes at each other under the moonlit terrace and flirting in a very delicious soap-operatic manner where Carolyn is the love-struck young girl and Chris is more the "I am scared of my feelings because I may hurt you" type. Well, being a werewolf and all, this time it is a bit justified. And Carolyn, after her mother's not-so-death death, has become very mature in every way and automatically inherited her mother's generosity. She offers Chris the cottage that was previously used by Matthew the psychotic handyman and Laura the the psychotic phoenix. Well, after a brief consideration, the cottage is now inhabited by a psychotic werewolf. But, before that-- 

-- Mrs Johnson, who has been assigned to clean up the place to much dismay because she thinks the cottage is evil and should be burnt down for what went down with Matthew Morgan (and for some reason, she forgets to mention Laura; which makes me wonder if she had some sort of secret affair with Matthew back then to harbor such bitterness), recruits her annoying son Harry (different actor; same annoyance, and thankfully final appearance before he drifts into limbo) to set up the place for Chris. Timing is perfect for David and Amy to give poor Mrs. Johnson a lesson for meddling with their sicko game the night before. First, David tells Maggie how jumpy Mrs Johnson has become recently and implies she is going slightly coo-coo, to prepare her for the coming storm.
Mrs J is harrased by a ghost
with a serious case of sideburns
Then, when Harry leaves his mother alone in the cottage (after some amazing mother-son bickering that makes me almost sorry for Harry's disappearance), the kids lock her in and Quentin makes his silent but deadly appearance as he out stares Mrs Johnson into delirium. Maggie and the kids hear her screams and run for help, but the boogeyman is nowhere to be seen when they arrive. Once again, Mrs Johnson's craziness is implied but regardless she warns Maggie the kids and their "game" are somehow involved in this. Wow, give the woman some credit. She solved the case in like two episodes.

Carolyn's beauty tip: Maybelline
with a tint of Pentagram
From here on, the series snowballs into a werewolf drama: Chris moves in to the cottage and finally starts to interact with his sister Amy, who has been flung into the dark shadows of Collinwood after Tom's death and forgotten since. Feeling the impending danger, Amy sees the pentagram star this time on Carolyn's face, who in turn looks in the mirror and acts as if the girl is talking about a ice cream smudge that just isn't here. Right on cue, under Quentin's invisible orders David and less hesitatingly Amy, make up a plan to send Carolyn to Chris' cottage right when he is turning into a werewolf. The kids don't know anything about the wolf-man roaming the estate; they just do what Quentin tells them to do. However, their plan misfires when Maggie volunteers to go and saves her skin only briefly, when Chris manages to send her away right before changing. Carolyn suspects the kids are up to something (but that's mostly because they randomly declared how they wished she would go, instead of Maggie; practically announcing her as their least favorite person in the house).

Carolyn screams;
Liz dreams
The kids' plan failed but that doesn't mean Carolyn is out of the woods yet. Same night, she goes to visit her mother, whom she believes to be not exactly dead, in her mausoleum after totally ignoring Maggie's bona fide advice to "let it go". What she doesn't know is that not only the werewolf is out and about on her trail (and for some reason making a quick visit to his twin brother Tom Jennings' grave) but also her mother is trying to speak and warn her of the danger from her tomb. Yes, our poor Elizabeth is indeed dead on the outside but alive on the inside thanks to Cassandra's curse and she seems to able to feel what the heck is going on outside. After two episodes worth of Carolyn causally walking the grounds from Collinwood to the cemetery and to Chris' cottage (which is mysteriously empty and ruined during Chris' lupine transition), the werewolf finally catches up with her and she hides in her mother's mausoleum as every fetal-regressive child should. Elizabeth fights the catatonia to push the special button placed in her coffin as her daughter fights the monster right outside; and finally she manages to do so and the bells start to ring all over, grabbing Barnabas & Julia's attention. They arrive and save Carolyn just in time before she becomes werewolf food, and Barnabas beats the wolf-creature with his wolf-headed cane, making it run away. Carolyn, scarred on her cheek, is positive that her mother is alive but opening of the coffin and one of Julia's famous pulse-checkings prove otherwise. Or is it?

Matriarchy returns to Collinwood
Elizabeth, being an elegant woman of taste and style, shows up at Collinwood in her gorgeous red dress (they buried her in that?) only minutes later, when Barnabas & Julia duo are treating Carolyn's wound in the drawing room. I guess, she must have thought rising up from a grave wasn't graceful enough so she needed to make a proper entrance. Way to go girl! She is naturally shocked from the whole experience of being.. um.. deadish and warns the other three about Cassandra, who Barnabas says shouldn't be a concern anymore. Interestingly, Elizabeth says she indeed felt the witch die in flames (making an awesome cross-time reference to when Angelique died burning in Collinwood when Barnabas last visited that timeline only recently, and how Liz was able to feel it in her dead-state was just great). She is taken upstairs to rest and isn't seen again for a while. Boo hoo, for bringing back our favorite matriarch only to send her offscreen again. But we got more werewolfy stuff in our hands so we forgive (but not forget).

So, there is a "wild animal" on the loose, going around attacking people and understandably folks are scared. Barnabas, being the brave gentleman of the house he is, grabs his rifle-gun and his cane (he is smart; me like Barnabas) and goes werewolf hunting; and not surprisingly runs into the creature right away. First, he shoots him, but as we already know by now the bullets have no effects on the werewolf! Understandably mad and vengeful, the werewolf attacks the camera Barnabas, only to meet his silver tipped wolf headed double dong cane. It retreats like a puppy (with some nice action stunt sequences up and down styrofoam rocks) and Chris wakes up somewhere in the woods next morning, blood on his shirt.

Donna's dead body had more
screen time than her alive one
It is repeatedly established that there is a mysterious bond between Chris and his sister Amy, who once again gets worried during Chris' werewolf hours that Julia has to calm her down by talking a little more firmly than usual ("Amy, Amy listen to me, Amy listen to me. Stop this Amy!) and then lie to her when she can't find Chris in his cottage. There is definitely no doubt that Julia and Barnabas are a team now: She is Scully to his Mulder. Watson to his Sherlock. Bertie to his Ernie; long gone are the days of routine strangulations and hello hours of working together, fighting supernatural beings. Barnabas, having seen the monster up close and connecting it to the moon's phases along with Chris' accompanying strange behaviors (and tons of other evidence), figures out Chris is a WEREWOLF! Well done, Barnabas. But while the two are taking their time and not jumping to conclusions ("Speculation is a dangerous game" Julia remarks dramatically), Chris goes on and kills Carolyn's one-episode-wonder friend Donna who happened to be in Collinwood and was about to dry hump Chris' leg before he attacked her. Who was the friend? Why didn't Carolyn pull her weave off as it was obvious the bitch was causally flirting with her man, we'll never know. Has Dark Shadows suddenly gone feminist? Apparently not, since the only non-villain female character who has shown bit of casual sexual interest (albeit a bit pushy) has just got hacked. Oh, well. 

"Try not to shed so much next time
you turn into a werewolf, son"
Carolyn identifies the body at the morgue (or more likely in a random room in sheriff's station); she says Donna was a friend through a mutual so she won't be grieving much; oh and Sheriff Patterson and his office are back. What a lovely throwback. However, the Sheriff now knows Chris was the last person Donna was in contact with, so decides to call him in for an interrogation and locks him up (to give him time to make a believable story, which I think is illegal). Meanwhile, feeling gloomy and relating Chris' situation to his own vampiric times, Barnabas believes the man is not guilty of his actions, so he and Julia locate the evidence (a bloody shirt and Donna's purse, which, hilariously Grayson Hall tries very hard not to see before her cue) and get rid of them. Barnabas, then, calls the Sheriff and vouches for Chris' whereabouts on the night of the murder, just before Chris is about to confess being the murderer. Seeing how his ass is saved the last minute with lies about heavy drinking and such, he chooses to keep quiet.

Chris opens up
But Barnabas is up at his cottage, waiting for him in the dark, dramatically situated in an armchair with his back turned and all. He admits that he knows Chris' secret. After a dun-dun-duuun moment and a brief history recap of Chris' werewolfness of 7 years; Barnabas takes him to the Collins Mausoleum and keeps him locked in the secret room during the night. The following morning, Chris wakes up happy realizing he didn't kill anyone else. Barnabas lets him go, without giving a proper answer as to why he is helping Chris at all and why on earth is there a frigging empty coffin in the secret room anyways (which Chris, as the werewolf, totally ripped apart btw)? Do you know how expensive those 1700's coffins are, Chris?

Beth points
Meanwhile, Barnabas and Julia are not the only ones covering up Chris' ass mess. Something about their diabolical plans must have disturbed the ghastly relationship between Beth and Quentin, that the former appears to Amy in the woods and warns her (by wailing and pointing, as we know by now ghosts aren't good at just coming out and saying whatever the hell is on their mind) about Chris. Not only that, but she also possesses the girl to get rid off other evidence that would give away Chris' identity as a wolf-individual (I think this is more politically correct to call them nowadays). Quentin and through him David, doesn't like the fact that Amy is pooping over their plans, so they decide to kick her out of the whatever freaky club from hell they had, and keep her out of their plans. Amy, being the cutesy loyal friend, is sad but doesn't give away David's secret. The kids continue to mentally torture Mrs Johnson by simply staring at her while she is dusting, which was overall an amazing scene (I am the president of Mrs Johnson Fan Club). Desperate, she tells Barnabas about the whole costume fetish thingie the kids have going on and how she is sure it is related to the scary man she saw in the cottage. Barnabas doesn't act like she is crazy (at least to her face; here, learn some manners Maggie), actually he takes it seriously.

Quentin is a bully &
Beth mourns over Chris
Quentin summons David to his secret room in the west wing and tells him (without speaking of course) to poison Chris with strychnine. There is actually a bottle of strychnine with a label that says Strychnine. I am kinda shocked that David knows what it is, as he recognizes the poison, rejects the idea and runs away. He figures that is why Quentin kicked Amy out of their "game" for she would oppose to the killing of her own brother, who also happens to be her only living and sane relative. The next day, David goes over to Chris' cottage to hang out with him and have some soda (maybe he just wants to see what the hell the big deal with Chris is all about; which I too wonder, why the hell the ghost of Quentin wants to get rid off Chris so much, and also why Beth does not on that matter), a scene that is reminiscence of David's friendship with Burke. The guy seriously needs a father figure. Which reminds me, where the heck is Roger?! After Chris politely kicks David out, lid of Chris' liqueur bottle opens by itself and an invisible force, which I assume to be Quentin, pours down the poison in it. So, he could do it all along but wanted David to do it? That is sick, mister! That night, unaware of the danger waiting him, Chris gulps down a glass, that drunkard. As he collapses, the crying ghost of Beth awakes Julia from her sleep (always fun to see Julia in a nightgown) and leads her into the woods. Barnabas, returning from the loo I assume, mistakes Beth's blonde figure for Carolyn and also tags along. Realizing the mysterious woman is leading them to Chris, Cher and Bono Julia and Barnabas rush to his cabin to find Chris, as Julia medically puts it, DYING!


So, it appears that I am back after four years of absence. Just in time for the series' 50th anniversary! Totally a coincidence by the way. I always felt bad for stopping watching the show rather abruptly but knew in my gut that I would eventually go back to it. And now that I have, I also decided to revisit the blog because Dark Shadows meant Dark Shadowed to me. Where was the fun in watching the series if I wasn't gonna bitch about the things Angelique would do or laugh over something Julia does or Mrs Johnson says. 

Actually this post was started in 2012 (including my dream of Angelique and Josette, which I still remember), then briefly continued in 2013 but mostly written recently. It was very hard for five minutes before I slipped back to that "voice" and the rest came very easily. But I also think four years is a long time, people change and I will eventually find my new "voice".

To conclude, I am not sure where blogging or even blogspot stands now in this day and age of follower obsessed fast social media interactions. It is nice to see some Dark Shadows sites (especially the wonderful The Collinsport Historical Society ) is still up and running, and doing amazing things. I know I am not ambitious here, I will write as I keep watching at my own pace but if you ever happen to drop by here, maybe some old fellow fans that we used to interact or new, feel free to say hi!

I have found going back to Collinwood a strangely familiar experience.