Audio - Dark Shadows: Kingdom of the Dead Part Two

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Susan Omand returns to the Dark Shadows as she visits the Kingdom of the Dead: Part Two in this audio drama from our friends at Big Finish...

“The great house of Collinwood has had many masters in its time”

Barnabus and Angelique settle again into Collinwood, Quentin having been consigned to a living hell at the end of the last episode. Angelique tells Barnabas that she could only save one and, given the choice again it would always be him. Barnabas wonders what is to come, if Quentin will seek revenge. This is soon answered as the door bursts open and in walks ...Quentin! And he’s not happy.

Quentin has escaped and holds Barnabas and Angelique fully responsible for what happened and banishes them both from the house. They realise that Quentin has made a deal with Seraph to escape and, as a condition of that freedom, Seraph is in Collinsport itself.

Seraph meanwhile is at Eagle Hill, having appeared to the Reverend as “an angel.” He asks about the fourth person who crossed between life and death, a woman important to Barnabas, a woman called Maggie. The Reverend explains that Maggie was there the previous night with Willie. Seraph says they must find her. Maggie is in Windcliff Sanatorium. Talking to an orderly who has brought her supper, Maggie finds out that with Dr Rankin in charge, Windcliff has changed and that she, Maggie, may not belong any more as the orderly says she doesn’t “have the dream”.

The Reverend is in the bar chatting to Ed and Susan Griffin, looking for Maggie Evans, and Angelique and Barnabas are back at The Old House on the Collinwood Estate, also looking for Maggie. They surmise that Willie must be protecting her. Ed and Susan convince the Reverend that they don’t know where Maggie is, even though they know she is in Windcliff, while Angelique and Barnabas have an argument after which Barnabas goes out to feed, with a warning from Angelique to avoid Maggie and Quentin, for his own safety.

Back at Windcliff, Maggie is still talking to the orderly and finds out that he considers himself, and her, both to be patients of Dr Rankin, something that Doctor Rankin creepily confirms. The Reverend and Seraph have reached the Collinsport Inn in their search for Maggie but Seraph cannot sense her. The Reverend explains about how the hotel works and Seraph believes then that he is home and Maggie will understand him. At the sanatorium, Doctor Rankin explains to Maggie that treatment is needed, that “fear is weakness Miss Evans” and that the Doctor will cure her fear.

Out looking for food, Barnabas meets a streetwalker who stops to chat and flirts with him, saying she wants to meet a handsome stranger, be taken walking by him and then to be killed by him. She then morphs back into Seraph.

Quentin meets Willie at the Blue Whale. Willie asks for his help with Maggie as she knows about Barnabas. Quentin agrees to help him but to wait til the next day.

Dr Rankin meets with Maggie to start her treatment, hypnosis. The doctor asks if she is in danger and presses Maggie for more information. Maggie gives up Barnabas’ name.

Back at the Blue Whale, the Griffins discuss Quentin, and Quentin, quite drunk, explains that he had to leave suddenly after the boat sank. The Reverend returns at that point, offering salvation.

Maggie is suffering through her “treatment” with the Doctor, being put through the memories of Barnabas and the fact that she thinks he wants to kill her. Barnabas is suffering too though, at the hands and words of Seraph. Seraph is then attacked by something and Barnabas goes after Maggie, who screams in the treatment room as the Doctor tells her that she has nowhere left to hide and that Barnabas will find her.

The Reverend talks to Quentin at the bar about “the last days” of Collinsport which are at hand because his Angel, Seraph, told him that judgement awaits. The Reverend then collapses as Seraph tries to get him to set him free.

The orderly looks in on Maggie at Windcliff to say there’s someone to see her. In the meantime, the Reverend recovers enough to see a vision of the Lorelei with Quentin trapped aboard but not drowning. The reverend proclaims that he should be dead, Quentin lunges for him and then gets thrown out of the bar. Maggie’s visitor is Angelique, who says that the orderly should not be trusted as he is using magic. Angelique also tells Maggie that they must talk because Maggie’s life now depends on it...

What does Angelique tell her? What’s the power that Doctor Rankin has over the patients? And what will Seraph try next?

As the second part of the story, this episode added greatly to the foundations in part one, although the multiple strands were still quite difficult to follow. However, I found myself getting more involved with the characters and their parts in the complex tale this time but I think it is imperative to listen to the parts in order and fairly close together so that you maintain the impetus of the plot. And there is momentum as the tension builds up a lot, as does Maggie’s part in the story, which started as a quite confusing and superfluous story in the first part I felt, as she becomes pivotal to the part of the plot set at Windcliff. The episode ends with a couple of big character reveals, one of which is completely unexpected, so I’m intrigued to see where that will lead next time as it seems with the writing that incidental characters in one episode become the lynchpin of the next. The acting was superb in this episode, maybe even better than last time as they seemed to settle into the story better and the sound design and music were used incredibly effectively, adding to the suspense and creating their own jumpy moments. I’m getting more keen to listen to the next one now and find out what happens, especially to Seraph as I haven’t decided about him yet.

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