“Roger’s tension is increased. Learning about Burke’s meetings with Vicki, he…once again…probes, endlessly wanting to know every word that was spoken between them…feeling, more and more, that Vicki and Burke are united to harm him” (Shadows on the Wall, p. 50)
That was supposed to have been the aftermath of the brake valve caper which led to Roger’s accident back at the end of the third week.
It is now Friday October 7, 1966, and Dark Shadows is airing an episode that concludes its fifteenth week on the air. Roger spends the first half of today’s episode admiring the view from atop Widow’s Hill, when Vicki, herself out for a walk with a view, happens upon Roger there: “Not planning to jump, are you?” She reiterates the line Roger startled her with back in episode 2, and here today Roger offers a belated but good-natured apology.
That’s Art Wallace for you, always reprising an earlier situation but with none of the story resolve such repetition might bring about. In yesterday’s episode, David was sneaking into Burke’s hotel room just like in episode 29. In episode 73, David stole away from Collinwood into town and Collinsport Inn to visit Burke but stopped in at the restaurant downstairs for a sundae, just like in episode 28.
Two weeks from now will have the run of episodes 81 to 85 where David locks Vicki away in a secret room in the closed off wing of the house, on the pretext of having something important to show her – not a filigreed fountain pen, which is a prop and product of the TV series itself along with the indeterminate side avenue into mystery and suspense with the death of Bill Malloy. These will be the final week of episodes written by Art Wallace. What should be happening right around now with today’s episode between Roger and Vicki according to the series bible is more tension:
“Roger’s pressure on Vicki is heightened. Playing on her unsureness, on her growing tension, he tries to get her to leave. Roger and David….almost seem to be working as a unit in their constant harassment of Vicki. They make the legends of the old house seem alive as they surround her with constant reference to the horrors that live with them” (Shadows on the Wall, p. 55).
Instead we have a dead plant manager, a silver filigreed fountain pen found on a beach, and up until this afternoon a prime murder suspect who on this fine day tosses pebbles instead of governesses over the edge of Widow’s Hill, all because too many ABC affiliates across the country thought it would be a great idea to fit Dark Shadows in at 10:30 am instead of 4 pm where it belongs.