Set only in Collinwood, Monday’s episode, number sixty-six in the series, is a study in minimalism with four actors in the cast and only two sets in use. It’s just as well that they save a little in the budget to start the week, given how Dan Curtis is planning something big for Friday.
You’d figure David and Carolyn would be downstairs with all the raising of voices this evening in both the Collinwood foyer and drawing room over Burke’s unwanted presence there, but as noted above the week’s budget also calls for a slight cutback in realism. We’ll check in with the little monster and the belle of the ball as the week moves on. Today is for voicing suspicions in the death and disappearance, and subsequent washing ashore and pushing away, of Bill Malloy – specifically, on whether it’s reasonable to consider whether both Roger Collins and Matthew Morgan have been working as a team.
There is also ample room in today’s episode to explore the lonely plight of Victoria Winters’ upbringing in the foundling home in New York, with Mrs. Stoddard’s obvious pangs of guilt on full display but who is nonetheless unable to reveal the maternal truth the viewer by now is certain she has been keeping from the young governess. Sadly, today’s episode thus represents yet another lost opportunity in the story of Victoria Winters.
Continue reading “Episode 66: A Killer Alibi”
“Liz, before you go in there I want you to remember one thing… I’m your brother.”
Welcome to part 2 of What It Means to Be a Collins of Collinsport, in which the matriarch of the great house on the hill sets about once again diverting the sheriff from bringing suspicion in through the front door, this time if not so much to save the neck of her brother Roger, then at least to keep the threat of scandal from making another visitation upon the Collins family name.
For Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, it’s actually rather busy work, stepping forward to quash the sheriff’s line of questioning to keep the good name of Collins off the bad news of local headlines. Imagine all the sedatives it must take, just to go on being the matriarch of Collinwood.
“In my busy workaday life as a notorious recluse, there are those times when I just can’t function as smoothly as I’d like to, when all the ghosts of Collinwood get to be just too great a burden to bear. That’s why I take NerveAyd. Puts those pesky ghosts back in the closets and corners where they belong. NerveAyd; it’s the next best thing to a frontal lobotomy.”
First the sheriff comes up to Collinwood because Liz’s nephew is suspected of causing a near-fatal accident after loosening the brake valve on his father’s car, then just three days later the sheriff is back to question her brother, for the second time that day, because of another fatal car accident from ten years ago that someone else in town thinks Roger may have been responsible for.
What is it with this family and vehicular homicide? Things are so crazy around here that it would make for quite a soap opera, if it weren’t one already.
Like sludge through the sewer pipes, so are the Ways of Our Wives.
Continue reading “Episode 59: Oh, Brother”
It was in episode 45 that Bill Malloy stormed into Roger’s office at the cannery to present an ultimatum: either go to the police and confess his guilt for wrongfully sending Burke Devlin to prison on a manslaughter conviction ten years ago, or let Sam Evans reveal that he’s the only thing standing between Roger Collins and a prison sentence.
This option was reiterated in episode 46 when Bill showed up at Collinwood at ten that night, during which time Roger practically admitted to Malloy that Burke was not guilty but that because it was a long time ago and Burke was now a rich man, Bill should just let the matter slide for the sake of the Collins family.
So when in episode 47 Malloy fails to show up at the meeting he arranged between himself, Roger, Burke, and Sam in Roger’s office for eleven on the dot, Roger begins to relax; just after midnight, he’s positively buoyant as he returns home and strolls into the drawing room for a late brandy before turning in. You have to wonder why in those moments he would seem so carefree. Despite that Bill didn’t show up for the meeting, surely the ultimatum regarding Roger and going to the police would still stand the following day.
So here it is episode 48 and the next day; Bill Malloy has evidently disappeared, and people are starting to ask questions. Now it looks like Roger will have to face a threat even more terrifying than the police – his sister Elizabeth.
Continue reading “Episode 48: The Case of the Vanishing Man: Part 1, Questions and Theories”
After having run away from home, David Collins has been safely returned to Collinwood, accompanied by the man David had sought to frame for the crime of attempted murder.
Burke Devlin holds the key. The missing valve from Roger’s car that David had planted in Burke’s hotel room is in his pocket. With David under fierce interrogation from his father, Burke waits for the right moment to step in and present the evidence, concocting a story intended to absolve both he and David of any suspicion of guilt.
By this point everyone at Collinwood knows that it was David, and not Burke, who was responsible for the accident that nearly killed Roger.
To an already tense and uncomfortable situation the element of confusion has been added, where both Vicki and Roger are compelled to question what they thought they already knew for certain.
But this act of interference cannot forestall the inevitable. The simmering cauldron of anger, fear, and lingering resentment is set to boil up to a breaking point, an eruption that will push to the limit the father and son relationship between Roger and David Collins.
Continue reading “Episode 31: Breaking Point”
Victoria Winters is searching for her past. Having been raised in a foundling home in New York, she has taken a job hundreds of miles away in Collinsport, Maine, as a companion and governess to a nine-year-old boy only because of the anonymous letters that would arrive each month at the foundling home containing fifty dollars in cash for her care beginning when she was two years old. Because the postmark on the envelopes was from Bangor, only fifty miles away from Collinsport, now eighteen years later she thinks that by taking on this position she might find out something about her mysterious past, something more than the surname she was given because of the season of the year she was left on the front steps of the foundling home in a cardboard box, with only a ten-word note and a first name.
Two days after having stepped off the train in Collinsport, a letter sent special delivery has arrived from the foundling home detailing a visit they received from a private investigator wondering why she was hired to work for the Collins family and by whom.
No one wants to know the answers to these questions more than Victoria Winters herself, but to her dismay none of the people around her care to even discuss the matter. The only interest in her letter comes from someone who has no reason to be even remotely curious – the young boy she tutors.
Continue reading “Episode 25: People Management”
To many Dark Shadows fans, the notion of the Collinsport police in general and the sheriff in particular is something of a joke, given how in later years of the show the town seems to be run by the vampires and assorted monsters and ghosts who predominate at any given time.
But the beginnings of Dark Shadows are a different matter, with its leanings toward more of a sense of realism. Here in the early days, police are competent and thorough; any criminal in their midst would have cause to worry, especially if the perpetrator in question is a nine-year-old boy who’s guilty of attempted murder.
Episode 23 is our introduction to Constable Jonas Carter, the only sworn officer of the law in the history of Dark Shadows who ever solved a crime.
Continue reading “Episode 23: Doing a Little Digging”
One of the big, lingering disappointments for many Dark Shadows fans is the lack of a story resolution for Victoria Winters.
This question is the basis for the very beginnings of Dark Shadows, the meaning of which is spelled out in the opening narrative that launches the first episode: Who am I? And now, in her first full day at Collinwood, the hope that she may be able to find out something about herself – her past, her origin – is enough to convince her to stay on at her new job, despite having just endured what she later recounts to Carolyn Stoddard as “the most frightening night of my life.” Because if she goes, all she will have is the ten words written about her on a piece of paper when she was left at the foundling home: “Her name is Victoria. I cannot take care of her.” So she has decided to keep searching, hoping, waiting.
Continue reading “Episode 6: Searching, Hoping, Waiting…”
A door slams in the night, and newly arrived governess Victoria Winters, sitting up in bed reading a book, is understandably alarmed as she turns her head with wide-eyed concern to place the sound. She has journeyed hundreds of miles up the coast from the orphanage where she was raised, having accepted a job that she hoped might lead her to find out about herself, the true identity of her origins. But instead all she has found in the three hours or so since her arrival are the strange and unpredictable turns in temperament that come from those who hold within themselves hidden fears, deep despair, or desperation. Not to mention closed doors that seem to open by themselves.
Continue reading “Episode 4: Avoiding the Pain”