Widow's Hill Notes to Dark Shadows

By Graeme Cree

Horror / Humor

Episode 21

EPISODE 21: Vicki tells Liz and Carolyn she believes Burke is innocent of whatever it was that got him sent to prison.

In the seldom-seen Collinwood kitchen, Carolyn and Vicki discuss the meaning of life while doing the dishes. Vicki has Roger's accident in mind, and calls it cold-blooded... attempted murder, but hedges her bets by refusing to say that Burke was the one responsible. Granted, Burke was seen in the garage with a wrench just before the bleeder valve fell off the car, but maybe he was tightening it and didn't tighten it enough... or something.

Carolyn wants to know what a bleeder valve even is. It sounds like some kind of spigot for a vampire. Vicki explains that it's a little doohickey that controls the flow of brake fluid. And when it falls off, all the gunk oozes out and the brakes don't work. (Vicki is trying to explain it in layman's terms, but it's more like Lame-Man's terms.)

Unfortunately, it appears that the valve was removed by Burke Devlin in the garage with a wrench. Or Colonel Mustard in the Conservatory with a Candlestick, or something. Carolyn wants to know why Vicki suspects Burke. Vicki tells Carolyn the whole story, about meeting Burke at the Inn, and seeing him in the garage with a wrench. When Carolyn learns that Vicki actually got to go up to Burke's hotel room the night before, she starts contemplating an attempted murder of her own.

At the Inn, Malloy arrives in Burke's room while Burke is having breakfast, to grill him about the accident. Burke denies that he's a cereal killer, as he dives into a bowl of Fruit Loops.

Malloy isn't hungry, but Burke feeds him a line anyway. Burke insists that he has no grudge against the Collins family. Okay yeah, maybe he did once make a threat, 10 years ago, to come back and destroy them all. Or something like that. But that was back when he was a dumb kid who watched too many bad movies. In fact, if Bill wants to make a trip to Blockbuster, he'll find that the entire speech Burke made after his conviction was lifted verbatim from a movie called The Midnight Strangler.

But that was back before Burke realized that even life in prison was better than living as a poor working slob in a town run by the Collins family. Malloy finds this reasoning hard to argue with. In fact, the way Burke puts it, Bill almost wants to get revenge on the family himself, and he hasn't even gone to prison.

Now, was that all? Burke says that if Bill has any other questions, feel free to call his office, and the secretary will deny them for him. Bill asks if that includes questions about a certain Wilbur Strake. Burke tells Bill to get back in there! He'll deny that one himself!

Back at Collinwood, Carolyn and Liz find a letter in the mail for Vicki from the Foundling Home. Liz thinks that's very nice. Maybe Vicki is boring them with stories about Collinwood for a change.

Vicki and Carolyn discuss the accident. Carolyn feels that if Burke is responsible for it, then so is she, for bringing Burke to Collinwood in the first place. Vicki is impressed by Carolyn's selflessness until she realizes that Carolyn is just hoping to share a cell with Burke.

Vicki retaliates with (what else?) yet another Foundling Home story, this time about a mean nurse who told her that her parents were coming to get her, and how she always fell for the story even though she knew it wasn't true. (The story has nothing to do with the current situation, Vicki just likes telling it.)

In the Drawing Room, Liz is on Line 1 telling Constable Carter about the attempt on Roger’s life, while on Line 2 she's on telling a reporter from the Collinsport Star that it was a simple auto accident, and nothing more. (As you can tell, this isn't Liz's first crisis.)

Carter says he'll be over in two episodes to investigate. Carolyn says she hopes that the Police will just bury the case like they usually do, but Liz insists this time is different. Burke is guilty, and to prove it, Liz methodically eliminates all of the other major characters as suspects, and even some of the minor ones, like Mrs. Hopewell, and the Gossipy Lady on the train in Episode 1.

Liz renews her plea for Carolyn to leave town before the really nasty business with Burke starts. You know how sensitive Carolyn is. Remember how she cried in school when the other girls taunted her by saying she lived in a haunted house, and her mother was a witch? And remember how even foreclosing their mortgages and tossing their families out in the gutter wasn't enough to console her?

Vicki's letter turns out to be the letter Miss Hopewell mailed in Episode 6 (talk about slow delivery!) warning her about Wilbur Strake.

She shows it to Liz and Carolyn. Liz is troubled that a Private Eyeball should be asking questions about Vicki's past, but Carolyn can't make heads or tails of the letter (maybe they foreclosed the mortgage on her school a little too early).

But Carolyn is kind of thrilled to hear that that Strake guy who was asking questions recently was actually a spy, and might have been looking in their windows and everything! Carolyn thinks it would be great to be a spy, and have a bra phone and a lipstick cannon and all that stuff. Carolyn asks why Liz gave her a name, instead of a number, like that "99" woman on TV. Liz says if Carolyn doesn't knock it off, her number is going to be up.

Back at the Inn, Malloy and Burke are still talking. Burke admits to knowing Strake, but denies anything sinister about it. Burke says he often sends Strake out to check areas where he's interested in buying property. There's a cannery for sale in Logansport that Burke is interested in acquiring. In fact, it's only on the market at all because the Collins family put the Logan family out of business. (The Collins's really made the Logan's Run.)

Malloy says that's all very well, but if Burke is interested in the Logansport Cannery, then why did Strake ask so many questions about the Collins family? Burke explains that as a former proletariat himself, he hasn't got much experience in oppressing them, and wanted to learn from the experts.

When Bill leaves, Burke calls Dan Curtis, and asks him to start casting a new character named "Bronson", and have him meet Burke in Bangor in Episode 27.


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