Tales From the Darkside 221: Strange Love

This week's episode is about classy people. How can we know this? Who else but classy people smoke a cigarette in this manner:

Like I said, classy. Also, he's wearing a tuxedo while hanging out in his apartment while his (presumable) wife dances on the balcony in a gown. Pure class. Then she falls off the side, which is admittedly less classy. This development leads to the involvement of Doctor Carrol, perhaps the only doctor in town who's sitting in a private office in the middle of the night.

Two questions about this image. 1: What year is this taking place? He's got a cabinet full of glass medicine bottles, and his phone is ancient. 2: Are the classy guy and his wife vampires? Because he's wearing a cape over a tuxedo, which is basically code for 'I'm a vampire'.

He convinces the doctor to perform a house call, explaining that his wife Marie is old and set in her ways - not to mention terrified of hospitals! Doctor is immediately taken by Marie's beauty, then taken aback when he can't find a pulse. Yup, they're vampires. And the classy guy's name is 'Edmund'.

The doctor sets Marie's broken leg, and suggests that she be taken to a hospital to ensure that she heals properly. Edmund has a better idea, though - he'll press the doctor into remaining as their private physician indefinitely, using his super-strength to ensure that the doctor has no choice but to agree to his terms.

Finding himself prisoner of vampires, the doctor has no choice but to go along with their demands. Also, he lets us know, rather inelegantly in his dialogue, that it's 1935. Attached to the wall by a lengthy steel chain and collar, the doctor can do nothing but watch helplessly as Edmund and Marie go to sleep in their coffin built for two:

Which is just a fantastic visual. Bravo, production designer, bravo!

The next night the doctor is shocked to see that Marie is already on the mend. With her leg to injured to go out hunting, it's up to Edmund to provide for the both of them. This leads to some discord, as Marie prefers cat blood, but Edmund won't touch anything but human - and since she's not fit to go out, she'll take what she gets!

Once Edmund's gone, it's time for a little bonding between Marie and the Doctor. He's obviously smitten with her, what with her being beautiful and powerful, and she seems amused enough by him. Marie and Edmund have been married since the civil war, it seems, and she's going tired of some of his eccentricities. She puts the hard-sell on the Doctor, describing life as a vampire as an endless buffet of earthly delights. Really, who could say no to that sort of thing? Not that she's offering to turn him into a vampire. Not yet, anyhow...

After some sensual flirting Marie cuts the encounter short - Edmund has returned, blood in hand! Marie refuses it, and Doctor tries to back her up. Picking a fight with a vampire proves to be a laughably bad decision, however, and Doctor is quickly subdued, with only the intervention of Marie saving his life. She intervenes in a really passive-aggressive way, standing and then falling to make a point about her injured leg, and the doctor's necessity.

Two weeks later Marie's leg is completely healed, and Edmund is planning on eating the doctor for dinner. Part of the preparation involves a straight-razor shave, giving Edmund a chance to whet his appetite. Doctor is remarkably bold in the face of his coming execution, asking only for a last cigarette.

Marie tries to intervene one last time, demanding that the let the doctor go rather than killing him - they can always leave town, and no one will believe his stories! Edmund would rather kill the doctor and keep his house, thank you very much.

Marie has a better plan, of course - once Edmund has gone in search of dinner she and the doctor get it on - shown in a surprisingly artistically-framed shot.

Okay, the red sheet representing his imminent vampirization and the chain representing their bond are both really obvious visual cues, but still, this is the kind of storytelling I don't generally expect from a show whose budget is so low that 90 percent of the episodes have to take place in two small rooms.

Anyhoo, Edmund returns to discover that things have taken a turn. Doctor is now a vampire, and he and Marie team up to full-on murder the guy!

Yeah, no screwing around this time, folks.

With Edmund out of the way all that's left is for the two lovebird to retire in the piece of set dressing that I admired so thoroughly.


You know, maybe I've just watched too many of these, and I've lost my ability to think critically, but this has been two pretty darn good episodes of Tales From the Darkside in a row.

No, that can't be it - I've seen way more Criminal Minds episodes, and those are all terrible. So these really must be good episodes! And we haven't even gotten to the one I remember as being flat-out great! Man, I'm really looking forward to the rest of this series!

Oh, and Marie was Marcia Cross, from Desperate Housewives. Man, it was killing me where I'd seen her before. Guess I just didn't recognize her 20 years younger.

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