Audio - Dark Shadows: Kingdom of the Dead, Episode 3

Episode 3 cover

With spoilers for the previous episodes, Susan Omand returns to the Kingdom of the Dead for episode 3 of the Dark Shadows audiodrama...

It’s a stormy night when Maggie Evans returns to Collinwood with Quentin after being freed from the clutches of Doctor Rankin. With the identity of the orderly from last time revealed as David Collins, the last born of the Collins family, he has also joined them at the house. A scream from the drawing room attracts their attention and they find the body of an unknown woman has been “torn apart” by some kind of animal. Quentin requests that Maggie gets taken back to the Inn by Willie Loomis and David says he’s a doctor and will help examine the body.

Meanwhile, Susan Griffin meets Angelique in the Old House on the estate, where Angelique and Barnabas got banished to by Quentin. Barnabas has summoned Susan to the house but dismisses her again when he sees Angelique. Susan is, however, carrying “a gift” she found outside that was wrapped in black ribbon and Barnabas asks her to leave the box and go. Angelique asks Barnabas if he realises the consequences of having Susan under his power and Barnabas says she will be useful as she has the ear of the town, and of Quentin, so they may learn what Quentin and Seraph are planning, as they still believe them to be working together. They open the box and discover masks and an invitation to a masquerade at the town hall the next evening from a Mr Charles Evans. Charles Evans is the name that Seraph is going by, using Maggie as a relation, and Angelique persuades Barnabas that they need to go to the party to see what he’s up to.

Maggie has returned to the Inn and Willie encourages her to rest, saying goodnight. Ed Griffin then surprises Maggie saying that his mistress, meaning Angelique, sent him. In the meantime, David and Quentin are examining the woman’s body in the drawing room when there’s a knock at the door and the sheriff arrives but the body has disappeared when they return to the room. The sheriff understands that Collinsport isn’t “your usual beat” so take the disappearance in his stride and says there isn’t a case to answer. Back at the Collinsport Inn, Ed asks Maggie what happened at Windcliff but she refuses to answer. He then says that her uncle Charles has been asking after her but she denies having an uncle Charles, even though he is there at the house, running the Inn while she’s been away.

Quentin pours David a drink and they talk about the family. David spots a gift that has mysteriously appeared on the table and they open it to discover they too have masks and an invitation from Charles Evans to the masked ball.

Reverend Trask and “Charles Evans” are talking about the ball when a knock at the door reveals Maggie who immediately starts asking questions. Charles starts to come up with things from Maggie’s past that he couldn’t possibly know unless they were related in order to make her believe he is her uncle and she falls under his spell. Ed and Susan meantime meet up at the bar, both having returned from their meetings, and find they have also been invited to the masked ball, “an enchanted evening”.

Quentin goes to visit Angelique, demanding to know what they are playing at by creating the dead body at Collinwood using witchcraft. Angelique denies all knowledge and works out that someone else knows about Quentin’s curse. The next morning, Quentin goes to see Seraph. Quentin asks about the dead body in the drawing room but Seraph denies it. Later Maggie and Willie are talking about the ball and Maggie says she doesn’t want to go but Willie persuades her and offers to take her.

That evening, the ball is in full swing and the guests are presented, firstly Ed and Susan Griffin, then Quentin and David. Elsewhere, the Reverend Trask prays for guidance and a knock at the door reveals Doctor Rankin, claiming to be lost. In the meantime Barnabas and Angelique have arrived at the ball then Maggie and Willie turn up and Maggie panics when she spots Barnabas. Willie persuades her it’s ok and goes to speak to Barnabas. They agree to a truce for the evening.

Back with the Doctor and the Reverend and she is spinning a tale about how Quentin “wronged” her and stole a soul from her. She goes on to question the Reverend about his fear, in order to feed from it. Angelique feels the disturbance but brushes it off. Charles Evans/Seraph and Quentin discuss the evening and Seraph persuades Quentin to dance with Susan Griffin but all Susan can think about it why Barnabas hasn’t summoned her. Quentin catches on to this and deduces that Barnabas is using Susan to get to him. As the men squabble over her, she leaves and a scream is heard from outside. Susan has discovered another body, the same woman as in the drawing room at Collinwood before, this time with vampire like bite marks at the throat, although Barnabas has been with other people the whole time.

Who is taunting Barnabas and Quentin about their secrets? Is Doctor Rankin back for a reason? And why did Seraph organise the ball?

I’m kind of getting used to the flitting around format of this audio drama, with lots of separate strands of story developing in parallel throughout each episode. However they all came together at a single point this time, so much so that it felt like a conclusion, even though I know there is still one episode of the story arc left to go. That isn’t a bad thing, as the final battle between Quentin and the Doctor was a real high point and very cleverly brought together in the writing and I also really enjoyed the twists with the body appearing to both Quentin and Barnabas in different forms. I must also mention the wonderful acting of Lysette Anthony, relishing her role as the evil Doctor Rankin and plaudits too to the sound designers for the wonderfully spooky echo they added to her voice as she was summoned to the fight by Angelique. It really added to the feeling of tension. As I say though, there didn’t really feel like a cliff-hanger ending this time, as we wait to see what Seraph’s final moves are going to be, so I’ll be interested to see if the final episode can maintain that air of suspense and how Seraph’s story will conclude.

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