Widow's Hill Notes to Dark Shadows

Episode 17

EPISODE 17: Malloy informs Roger that the crash was caused by the removal of the car's bleeder valve, and gives an instructional lecture, complete with visual aids.

Vicki's opening narration informs us that there is no sound in Collinwood (I knew this was an old show, but I could have sworn it was a talkie). Not a creature is stirring, not even in the... kitchen (No, it's not Christmas yet).

In his bedroom, David has a nightmare, where he mumbles something about how he didn't mean to kill somebody or other. David nearly defenestrates himself before Liz comes in and stops him. (Doesn't she know it's dangerous to awaken a sleepwalker?).

At the office of kindly old Dr. Reeves, kindly old Dr. Reeves is telling Roger how lucky he is. Not only did he survive the accident, he even got to keep the same face! The last time Reeves saw a wreck this bad, the victim was played by a completely different actor after the plastic surgery.

By all rights, Dr. Reeves should be signing a death certificate now. In fact, he already did! When he saw the accident, he just assumed... well, never mind. If Roger makes a trip to City Hall, he can probably get himself declared alive again. When Roger sees his bill, he tries to take a poke at Doctor Reeves, and figures out why Reeves put both arms in a cast when they weren't broken.

Back home, David has another nightmare. Liz, who seems to live in a tea dress 24 hours a day, saves his bacon again. David clearly seems to have a guilty conscience about something, but or other, but with him it could be just about anything. David's bedroom window flies open by itself. Liz tries to explain that it was probably caused by an inequality in barometric pressure between the inside and outside of the house. David thinks that sounds kind of complicated. Couldn't it have just been a ghost?

Liz gives David a lecture about trying to get away from this fantasy life he's built up. Even watching TV would be better. Liz also asks David to try to give Miss Winters a break. She immediately has to rephrase that. Try to make life easier for Miss Winters. Be nice to her. Try to understand her. David insists that he doesn't hate Vicki. In fact, he wants to be just like her. Vicki is an orphan, and David would like to be one too.

Back at the office, Doctor Reeves starts talking about how this wreck reminds him of the one 10 years ago. You know, the one in which Burke Devlin was convicted for killing that man. Okay, that was a DWI, and this isn't. And in that one, a pedestrian was hit. And in that one, everyone in the car was untouched. But apart from that, they're practically similar. Roger wants to know what Reeves is trying to imply. What's the big idea bringing up that accident at a time like this? Reeves insists he's not implying anything; he's just a really gossipy old country doctor, and produces dozens of testimonial letters to prove it.

Malloy arrives at Reeves's office. He's had a look at Roger's wreck, and determined that this was no boating accident! According to Malloy, Roger's brakes were sabotaged. To make the show more educational, Bill even produces a crude diagram (the PowerPoint presentation won't be ready until tomorrow) showing how removing a car's "bleeder valve", will cause the brakes to give out after a few minutes of use. You see, the valve is supposed to regulate the flow of brake fluid, but when it's removed, the fluid just oozes out the underside of the car, making the brakes useless once it's gone. Roger wants to get a second opinion from another sailor.

Roger asks if the valve could have come off by itself. Bill says he's never heard of that happening, but since he'd never heard of a bleeder valve itself before today, that doesn't prove much. Roger is sure that Burke is the culprit, and is prepared to go thrash him within an inch of his life, until Malloy reminds Roger that Burke eats guys like him for breakfast. Roger's not only a wimp, he's a wimp with one bad arm. Roger considers challenging Burke to a Life-or-Death checkers game instead.

Back at Collinwood, Liz is telling David the story of how Isaac Collins came to America in 1690 and bought Collinsport (previously known as "The Unhappy Hunting Grounds") from the Indians for $24 worth of brandy. David seems less concerned with family history than with whether he'll be history when Roger returns. David asks Liz how she felt when her own father, Jamison Collins died 20 years ago. Liz says that she remembers being sad for days and days. Right up to the moment when the will was read.

Roger's car pulls up in the driveway, and David makes himself scarce. There was only one of him to start with, which is pretty scarce already, but he makes himself even scarcer. When he hears Roger coming, David runs for the hills, almost as though he were afraid of being Grounded For Life for doing something or other. (Does anyone know where this whole angle is leading? I'm completely stumped.)

Roger comes in and Liz asks how he is. Roger insists there's nothing wrong with him that a good stiff drink couldn't cure (so essentially, he's in the same condition he's been in his entire adult life). By waiting until Roger has the glass to his lips before she tells him about Burke being seen in the garage, Liz engineers a hilarious spit take.
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