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.

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