Widow's Hill Notes to Dark Shadows

By Graeme Cree

Horror / Humor

Episode 8

EPISODE 8: Vicki calls the Foundling Home to try to confirm whether or not she was recommended to Liz.

In the Coffee Shoppe phone booth, Vicki asks if this is the New York operator. The operator asks who wants to know?? (That sounds like a yes.)

At Collinwood, Liz comes across the notes for future narrations Vicki plans to deliver. Most of it wretchedly bad stuff, about how the stygian darkness presses against the crest of Widow's Hill as though it were alive. Steinbeck she ain't. Carolyn comes in, and tells Liz that Vicki went to town. Carolyn also wants to know why Vicki was hired at all. Rudolf Hess gets out more than Liz does, so why would she bring a complete stranger into the house?

Liz points out, with perfect logic, that David needs a governess, and nobody who had heard of him would take the job. Liz and Carolyn have enough work already. Roger's idea of parenting is to turn on the television. Vicki's not a perfect stranger (nobody's perfect). A friend of Roger's at the Foundling Home recommended Vicki as someone who was warm and compassionate, yet also clueless enough to not uncover any of the secrets of Collinwood.

Carolyn mentions the rough life Vicki has had growing up in the Foundling Home. Liz doesn't want to hear it from Carolyn, as she knows they're eventually going to hear about every minute of it from Vicki. More than once, most likely. Carolyn says that's okay. Vicki is in town calling the Foundling Home now. Maybe she's boring them about us. The spit take Liz emits upon hearing this segues beautifully into the shot of the waves crashing on the beach in the credits.

At the Coffee Shoppe, Vicki gets through to Miss Hopewell at the Foundling Home, who asks how she's enjoying life as a Maine-iac. She hopes Vicki isn't coming back to New York!... Er, because she doesn't want her to lose that great new job she got, of course. They chat a bit. According to Miss Hopewell, New York is going to color next week. Vicki says Maine will still be black and white, for the foreseeable future.

Vicki gets to the point. She wants to know if anyone at the Foundling Home had ever heard of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard or Collinwood before she got the job offer. It seems that Miss Hopewell answered this question back in Episode 1, so the whole scene is padding. She answers it again. No, nobody ever had. Oh, but this is a coincidence. Right after Vicki left, a new soap opera premiered on ABC, and it features a character named Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. The main character is an orphan girl who tells boring stories.

Back at Collinwood, Carolyn is talking to the portraits again. Would you believe the workers at the Cannery wanted to take a day off this year too?? And they tried to use Jeremiah Collins' birthday as an excuse! That's just sick!

Meanwhile, Liz is fretting over whether bringing Vicki here was such a smart move. Carolyn wants to know what's the big deal about Vicki calling the Foundling Home? Carolyn doesn't want Vicki sent away, as she's the only sane, albeit clueless person Carolyn has to talk to. Liz says what about Joe Haskell. He's nice. Carolyn says yeah, but you can't very well talk to him about makeup, lingerie, and checking out guys.

Speaking of Joe, he shows up, with a bouquet of flowers for Carolyn. Sweets for the sweet... Wait no, that's candy. Joe is in a good mood because he's been promoted! Mr. Malloy has taken him off the boats, and given him a nice, cushy office job, where he'll be working as a checker. Carolyn wants to know what that is. Somebody who checks the tuna as it goes into the cans? Joe explains no, his job is to play checkers with Mr. Malloy. (You didn't think the front office did any work, did you?? Why did you think Joe was so anxious to make it there all these years?)

Best of all, the promotion comes with a raise! Twenty-five bucks a week! In 2013 dollars (just to pick a year at random), that amounts to $180.24! With money like that, Joe can afford the down payment on the boat he wants next year! (He estimates some time around Episode 200.) Best of all, he can afford to get married! Sly dog that he is, Joe starts reading love poetry to Carolyn. "My love is like a grey, grey rose." (It'll sound better once the show goes to colour.) This announcement puts an end to the festivities. Carolyn, who as you'll recall, is the only woman in the world with a fear of commitment, isn't too sure about that part. For one thing, how far is a $25 raise going to go in taking care of her? Carolyn spends more than that each week on socks alone.

Liz comes in, wanting to know what the hoopla is about. Carolyn explains that Joe asked her to marry him, but she said no. Liz is upset, but understanding. After all, this is the era of liberation. Maybe Carolyn doesn't want to spend her life sponging off a man. Maybe she'd rather go to the Big City, and be a successful, independent career woman, like Mary Tyler Moore. Carolyn says no, actually she was hoping to stay at Collinwood, and sponge off Liz instead of Joe.

Carolyn also says she objects to Liz trying to run her life. It's obvious that Joe got that promotion just to try to get Carolyn married and out of the house. Joe tries to offer his opinion, but Carolyn tells him to shut up. This doesn't concern him. Carolyn hopes Liz is better at lying to Vicki than she is at lying to her, otherwise this is going to be a really short series.

Carolyn storms out, and runs into Vicki herself in the Foyer. Vicki gives back Carolyn's car keys, and asks if she knows the number for Dentbusters.

Back in the Drawing Room, Joe is upset, and asks Liz what it is that makes Carolyn run away every time he mentions marriage? Liz says she can't imagine. Joe talks about how great it would be. Their own little two-room apartment. A life of cooking, cleaning, watching after the kids... Liz says "Hang on, I think I've spotted it."

Oh, by the way, Joe mentions that back in Episode 3, a man named Burke Devlin tried to bribe him $2375.48 for information about the Collins family. It was exactly the amount he needed for the down payment on his boat. But he turned it down. Nobody can bribe ol' Joe, no siree! Liz tells Joe he has her heartiest thanks. ("That's it, huh?")

Carolyn returns, in a bad mood. It seems Vicki brought her car back from town, and dented the fender. Worst of all, it's going to cost $2375.48 to fix! Joe tells Carolyn he thinks he knows how she can get the money, if she doesn't mind spying on herself.

Liz goes up to see Vicki. So, what was the idea going into town, huh? Vicki tries to claim she just went there to soak up the local colour, but the show hasn't got any yet. Vicki admits she called the Foundling Home to try to find out who might have recommended her to Mrs. Stoddard. She wasn't snooping or anything, you understand. She just wanted to thank whoever it was that helped her get this great job. Liz tells Vicki that she likes her, and thinks this relationship can work. But only if Vicki doesn't try to pry into things that aren't her business. In short, "We can tuna, and we can can you too."

Back in the Big Apple, Miss Hopewell is dictating a letter to Vicki. Today, Vicki's old roommate Sandy started asking some rather probing questions about Vicki. It wasn't until they found the real Sandy tied up in a broom closet, that they knew they had an imposter on their hands. The imposter turned out to be a private detective named Wilbur Strake, but he was adopted before they could find out who hired him or why he was there. Can Vicki shed any light on who this man is? Preferably in 100 words or less for a change?


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