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December 7-8, 2013
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The Harvest of Souls is an audio drama produced by Big Finish Productions, released in February 2014. A dark character study featuring Maggie Evans, it explores her state of mind following the devastating events of Beyond the Grave.
"My name is Maggie Evans, and this is the end of my story."
Collinsport is over. And, after recent events, Maggie Evans just doesn't care any more.
She grew up here, she fell in love here, she grieved here. But no more. Maggie wants out.
But there's a problem as this town won't let her go. Collinsport has unfinished business with Maggie.
Maggie finds herself trapped in the empty streets, pursued by an old friend who wants only one thing. To make her happy.
But Maggie Evans doesn't believe in happy endings any more.
A news broadcast plays:
- The producer of Beyond the Grave has confirmed that the show was intended as a different kind of drama, and nothing more...
- ...the Collinsport resident heard in the broadcast has been unavailable for comment. Good evening, you're listening to WLSN 91.3FM, and I'm James Moore with today's news. Collinsport continues to be in a state of emergency, following yesterday’s tragic events at Eagle Hill Cemetery. Those concerned about friends and relatives have been urged to contact the following...
At the Collinsport Inn, Maggie Evans turns off her radio. She talks to herself, lamenting over her sad state of affairs, including the recent death of Collinsport Sheriff Jim Hardy. She attempts to commit suicide by overdosing sleeping tablets. However, Gerald Conway enters, and realizing what Maggie has done, carries her out into the open. Upon reaching a jetty, he throws her into the ocean in a desperate attempt to save her life. Down in the watery depths, she encounters a strange creature. Floating back to the surface, she splutters out the brackish water. At the shoreline, Gerald meets up with her and invites her back to his current accommodation, the house by the sea.
Inside Gerald's house, Maggie finds some old clothes already laid out for her by Gerald as if she was expected, but she is reluctant to change into them. She informs him of recent events including that of Jim's death, but soon begins to feel sleepy, falling into a dream-like state in which she experiences the first time she met Jim when they were children.
Maggie awakes, and realizes Gerald drugged her. He claims honorable intentions. He implores her to look deep into his eyes. She immediately recognizes who he really is, none other than Nicholas Blair. He proudly announces that he has returned from the dead for her. She experiences another moment from her past with Jim occurring shortly after the death of her mother. Back with Nicholas, she is skeptical of his claims. Frustrated, she decides to go out for walk.
At the shoreline, Nicholas comes running after Maggie, which angers her. Suddenly, the strange creature that Maggie encountered earlier emerges from the water. He assures her it means no harm and claims it guards the town. Disturbed, she runs off. The creature, now alone with Nicholas, cryptically demands one more, but he talks it down.
Maggie continues running, as Gerald gives chase. She discovers the town is completely deserted and Nicholas is responsible. He reveals he has returned to make everyone happy. She experiences another moment from her past during her teenage years as a cheerleader, where she flirts outrageously with Jim. Back with Nicholas, he explains his connection to the creature Maggie encountered; she realizes it is a Leviathan. In another flashback to her past, Maggie writes in her diary:
- Dear diary, today has not been a good day. I had a date, an actual date; it was with this dreamy guy called Jim Hardy. He plays on the football team, and he's so tall, taller even than Joe Haskell. We were meant to meet after school, but the hospital phoned the school and the principal came to see me. It was about Pop, he'd been drinking, again. Like he always does, only he'd collapsed at the Blue Whale, They got him to the hospital and they had to do this thing, he had his stomach pumped, they pumped all his alcohol out of his stomach. They’ve told him he needs to stop drinking, otherwise he’ll die. He said he'll stop, but I don't believe him. He'll never stop. And I don't hate him, but I hate him for drinking, and not noticing that I miss Mom too. And now, I just want to run away. I used to want to go to Collinwood, the haunted house, the castle in the sky. But now I want to go further, so much further. I want to go all the way to the moon. Jim must hate me, and I bet he finds another girl, a pretty girl, someone fun and pretty and blonde like Carolyn Stoddard. I've been thinking whether I should dye my hair blonde. I could be someone different, not just sweet little Maggie Evans. I could have sex appeal. I got to go now. Pop’s calling for me. So, this is me signing off. Lots of love,
Nicholas states that his masters, the Leviathans, want Collinsport for themselves, for this is the place they originated. He reveals how he has sent everyone else away, he has left Maggie until last, and he must understand what Maggie wants in order to achieve happiness. She hesitates; he implores her once again to look deep into his eyes. She experiences another encounter with Jim from her past, this time at the Blue Whale, but Maggie soon snaps out of it, back with Nicholas, she isn't sure what she wants. They discuss the previous occupant of Gerald's body, and how he assumed control of it. Whilst Maggie decides, he offers to make her breakfast.
Back at the house by the sea, Nicholas serves Maggie the meal. He delights in his ability to play the perfect host compared to all his nefarious schemes of the past. He explains how he has convinced the entire town to leave without the use of force, by simply giving them what they wanted in life. He invites her to take hold of his hand so she can experience the happiness he has offered the rest of the town. They find themselves reenacting the lives of Barnabas Collins and Julia Hoffman, who have seemingly moved on; happy to forget the town called Collinsport, they are in a version of reality where the events that led to Jim's death never happened. Back with Nicholas, Maggie is overwhelmed by the happy emotions she experienced. She realizes that if she accepts Nicholas offer, she experience her life over again, correcting the mistakes. He presents her with a music box. He proceeds to tell her a story about the Leviathan tree, the oldest tree in the world, cherished by the Leviathans, which was chopped down to create a staircase once located in Collinwood. The remains of which were fashioned into the box capable of granting one's dreams. Nicholas' dream was to return. He implores Maggie to let it realize one of her dreams. She's with Jim, playing the happy couple. She's the doting wife sending her husband off to another successful day at work. Shortly after he leaves, a knock at the door brings news of his death. She cries out. Back with Nicholas, he apologies that her dream ended badly; he has no explanation as to its failure, much to Maggie's wrath. Desperately, he declares his love for her. She refuses his advance, rejecting his offer; she'd rather be alone. She leaves.
Days later, Maggie hasn't seen Nicholas or anyone else about. She experiences another memory from her past, where she encounters Jim, having had not seen him for years, they talk, but he awkwardly makes his excuses and leaves. She remembers Jim's death. Nicholas appears, snapping her back to reality. They discuss her affection for Jim and decide to explore the world together via the magical properties of Nicholas' Leviathan box. Over the next few weeks, they visit a range of foreign locales including the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, London, France, Berlin, Venice. Relaxing on a beach, she remarks on Nicholas' miraculous transformation from evil super villain to hero. As Nicholas excuses himself for a moment, she encounters Jim, unfazed; he reveals he's dead. She realizes her dream holiday must end soon. He encourages her stay in the dream. She knows she can't, and she vows never to forget him. They kiss, and with that Jim vanishes forever. Nicholas returns, and she instructs him to take her home.
Back in Collinsport at dawn, Nicholas and Maggie observe the Leviathans as they prepare to take over the town. He vows to stay with her forever. He couldn't be happier. However, she bids him farewell, revealing they are in his dream, not hers; she implores him to enter the Leviathan box so he can have his dream with another version of Maggie Evans. He agrees, and everyone who was sent away is returned. She thanks him for saving her as he, along with the Leviathans, is absorbed by the box and he rejoices in his heroic deeds. Maggie throws the box into the ocean.
- My name is Maggie Evans. I live in Collinsport, the town at the end of the world. I woke up today, and I could see its people getting on with their lives. Just another day for them. And yet, everyone looks as though were woken from a dream, a dream something better. A clever woman once said, that in all history which has held billions and billions of human beings, not a single one ever had a happy ending. She's dead now so I guess she knows. The best we can do is to try and make people’s lives a little better. But I, I know I've made everyone’s worse, I brought them back from their dreams, back into the real world. I did it in order to save the world. To put Collinsport back on the map. But should it be here? As I look around the café, I’m not sure I did the right thing or not, but I think I did. Sabrina's back from the hospital, she's eating pie and telling someone how proud she is of Amy. Both are making an effort to smile. Cathy Turner is back from her vacation. She's taken a cup of coffee out to her car and is sitting with her dog. She looks so tired. Collinsport is waking up from a long dark night into a long grey day. Everyone's looking up at the sky, hoping that at any moment the sun still will finally come out, and maybe it will. So I guess life goes on, because where there’s life there’s always the hope that today is going to be a better day.
(in order of appearance)
- Barra Collins as James Moore
- James Lawrence as James Balthazar
- Kathryn Leigh Scott as Maggie Evans
- Colin Baker as Gerald Conway / Nicholas Blair
- Jonathon Marx as Jim Hardy
- Ryan Wichert as Leviathan Voices
- Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins (archive clip)
Background information and notes
- It features no opening narration or opening theme music, however an arrangement of the theme does play under a speech given by Maggie.
- Jonathan Frid makes a brief cameo via the use of clip from The Night Whispers.
- A teaser for the next release, The Happier Dead, plays over the end credits:
- Next time on Dark Shadows. Amy Jennings has always been unlucky in love. She loved her parents and they died. She loved her brothers and they died too. But now a love of books has brought Amy Jennings to Salem state and there she has met a young man called Simon Turner. Yet something is about to disturb their romantic bliss, for Amy Jennings has a bad feeling in her gut, one that will soon become impossible to ignore.
- This story takes place after Beyond the Grave. The opening scene states those events took place on the previous day, including the death of Collinsport Sheriff Jim Hardy. A clip of which features.
- Sabrina Jennings was hospitalized in The Flip Side. James Balthazar her doctor, who makes his first appearance in this story, was mentioned in that story.
- The radio station WLSN 91.3FM, and its presenter James Moore, were previously heard broadcasting in Beneath the Veil.
- British tourists Alfie Chapman and Emma Finney are mentioned, who featured prominently in Beneath the Veil. Their whereabouts are currently unknown.
- Gerald Conway featured prominently in The House by the Sea in which he became permanently possessed by the spirit of Nicholas Blair. He also made appearance in Beyond the Grave. Nicholas reveals that the cause of Gerald's death was a heart attack.
- Maggie quotes her mother: "Night Princess. Hope The Sandman gives you sweet dreams." The Sandman previously appeared in Clothes of Sand.
- In Maggie's dream, she is married to Jim Hardy. However, she is informed of his death by Verne Haggerty.
- Carolyn Stoddard mentioned having met Gerald to Maggie, whom she met as recounted in The House by the Sea.
- If Maggie's dream is anything to go by, Jim Hardy had aspirations of being a Sheriff as a young child. He's also heard playing with a boy called Tony, possibly Tony Peterson.
- Jim sings the nursery rhyme One, Two, Three, Four, Five which appeared as a recurring motif in Beneath the Veil, The Lucifer Gambit and Beyond the Grave.
- Catherine Turner, aged 46, is divorced, she works in the Cannery's admiration department, reads romance novels, and owns a dog.
- The song The Better Side is heard, and Jonah Rooney appears in a flashback, both of which featured prominently in The Flip Side.
- Nicholas mentions how he once attempted to create an army of the undead. As seen from 551 to 633/634.
- During a scene where Nicholas and Maggie experience a version of Barnabas and Julia, "200: Barnabas Music - String Start To Woodwinds" plays as background music. During the scene where Nicholas presents Maggie with the music box "2: String Start - To Woodwind Pattern - Poignant - Maggie Evans" plays. Both track were composed by Robert Cobert, and feature on The Complete Dark Shadows Soundtrack Music Collection
- Nicholas describes how the stairway into time was created from the Leviathan tree, the oldest tree in the world. The remains of which were fashioned into the Leviathan music box. In Curtain Call, Joshua King speculated that an ancient force was connected with the stairway’s construction.
- Happy endings, as created by the Leviathan music box for several character are mentioned:
- Maggie's time as a blonde is mentioned, referencing her sudden hair change from blonde to brunette between 12 and 20. Actress Kathryn Leigh Scott had initially been made to wear a blonde wig for the role; when the change occurred it was not commented upon.
- Maggie hopes she will find Joe Haskell again. In Return to Collinwood, set in the year 2003, it is revealed Joe regained his sanity and married Maggie, but died ten years previous in a boating accident.
Bloopers and continuity errors
- When does this take place? At the start, the news broadcast says the events of Beyond the Grave took place the previous day, but later Nicholas seems in indicate that it's still the same night: "The events of tonight were all my masters needed."