“And then, all of a sudden, for no reason, I started to get afraid.”
Today, we begin with a recap of Maggie’s dream sequence from the last episode, which is how you know what a great dream it was. I don’t know if other shows would bother to do a recap of a dream sequence, but on Dark Shadows they sure do.
Maggie wakes up screaming, and she calls Joe and begs him to come over. The next thing we see, Joe and Maggie are walking into the Blue Whale together, and he orders a couple drinks.
They sit down, and she starts telling him about the dream. Joe is surprised: “A dream?”
Yeah, Joe, a dream. What were the two of you talking about in the car on the way over here? She didn’t say anything about why she was upset until you’re all the way inside the Blue Whale and sitting down?
Then she describes the whole dream that we just watched, for the second time, about three minutes ago. No fair doing a double recap in the same episode! I call a foul.
Sam and Barnabas come in, taking a break from the portrait sitting. Maggie is startled when she sees Barnabas, and spills her drink. Even more unnerving is the torrent of Fridspeak that’s about to uncork.
Sam: Maybe I should do all my painting at night. I seem to work a lot better then.
Barnabas: Yes, the night… It always seems to allow one to be more in touch with himself. With what he truly is.
Well, sure. What?
Maggie and Joe get up to dance; Barnabas stares at her, and talks to Sam about how extraordinary she is. He goes on and on about it.
Barnabas: Maggie does seem capable of bringing out the best in oneself.
Sam: Well, if I didn’t know you better, I’d think you were getting interested.
Barnabas: Interested? Of course. Involved? Of course not.
What? You know, every once in a while, when Barnabas speaks, you can almost figure out what he’s supposed to be saying. It’s the darnedest thing.
But he kind of has an excuse, because backstage, things are getting even more confusing. I mentioned last week that they were filming six episodes a week to make up for the time they lost during an actors’ strike. They’ve been doing that since Barnabas was introduced, but this week, they also started filming episodes out of order.
So, looking at the taping dates — they shot episode 227 on Monday, 228 on Tuesday, and then they taped today’s episode (225/226) on Wednesday. You can kind of tell. The actors are lost.
This taping schedule gets a lot worse over the next month, with amusing results. Everybody loses their place, and the characters start referring to events that haven’t happened yet.
In fact, a few weeks from now, we’ll even see two actors reading through a script while they’re on camera. See if you can guess which two. Hint: They’re both in the Blue Whale right now.
Burke comes in and sits down with Sam and Barnabas, and it’s like watching a game of dialogue chicken. These are the three actors on the show with the worst grip on their lines, all sitting together, and nobody can figure out who’s supposed to talk first.
Burke lights a cigarette. Barnabas toys with his glass. Sam scratches his nose. Then Burke and Barnabas both start speaking at the same time. It’s beautiful.
Burke warns Barnabas about trusting Willie, but Barnabas assures him that it won’t be a problem. He says, “I’m the last man in the world to have anyone near me who even contemplated the thought of violence. Serenity is my favorite emotion.”
What a weird character. Even for a vampire, he’s a weird character.
Eventually, the party breaks up and everybody goes home, cause we have a big scene coming up to end the episode: Barnabas enters Maggie’s bedroom while she’s sleeping.
It’s a huge scene, absolutely crucial to the storyline, so it’s kind of a shame that every single thing about it goes wrong.
Here’s the top five list of how they screw up the scene:
#1. To start with, this was supposed to be the big Friday cliffhanger. But they had that pre-emption a few weeks ago, so everything shifted ahead a day, and this episode aired on Monday.
#2. Frid put his fangs in upside down. Seriously, he actually did. He’s talked about it in interviews. He must have done it about a second before he opens the French windows, because you can tell from his expression that he’s just realized that there’s something unexpected going on in the mouth area.
#3. He comes into the room, and stands over Maggie’s bed. On the left side of the screen, you can see the second camera peeking into the shot.
#4. They try to do an artsy shot of Barnabas holding the cane, so that it looks like the wolf’s head has come to feed on her. But they have the girl in focus instead of the cane, so it doesn’t look like much.
#5. And finally, we get to the big payoff for the last three weeks — Barnabas opens his mouth, and you can see his vampire fangs!! Except, as I said, he’s got them in upside down. So it just looks like he’s smiling. The end.
Tomorrow: Sick Day.
More Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
Barnabas cleans up Maggie’s spilled drink with a handkerchief. Joe gets up to help, but Barnabas tells him, “No need, Willie.”
Behind the Scenes:
This episode has a double number (225/226) to correct for the pre-emption a few weeks ago. They wanted the Friday episode numbers to end in 5 or 0 — so rather than skip a number, they would have a double-numbered episode. It happens every once in a while.
Barnabas’ wolf-head cane is a reference to Larry Talbot’s cane in the Universal 1941 movie The Wolf Man, as seen below.
Tomorrow: Sick Day.
— Danny Horn