“No, I didn’t see anybody. But that’s why it must be her.”
Two days ago, Vicki took herself on an unauthorized tour of the Old House, with stops at the drawing room, Josette’s bedroom, and points north. She tells young David that she saw Josette’s portrait, which she knows he’s been dying to see. Then she sends him out to play, saying, “I don’t want you to go near the Old House — you’re not to pester your cousin anymore!”
Like all ten-year-olds, David has an instinctive hypocrisy detector, so naturally he ignores her and makes a beeline for the Old House. He peers in the window, and sees Maggie wearing Josette’s dress, crossing the drawing room with the music box in her hand. Then the front door opens by itself, and he rushes inside to see Josette.
So: What the hell? This is not acceptable security protocol for a house that has a captive girl in it, for at least five reasons.
#1. The captive is wandering around the house with no escort.
#2. She’s allowed to walk past the open windows.
#3. There are open windows.
#4. The door is not just unlocked; it opens by itself, which is the opposite of locked.
#5. Now a noisy child is strolling through the house, shouting for Josette at the top of his lungs, and there is no first responder.
I mean, honestly. What is the point of keeping Willie as a housekeeper-slash-butler-slash-blood-slave if he can’t even keep the middle schoolers out of the living room? Might as well put up a sign and sell tickets.
David makes his way upstairs to Josette’s room and yells at the portrait:
“Josette! I know you’re here! I just saw you; I know I did! Why do you seem so far away? Even when I look at your picture, you seem gone! Why is that, when I know you’re here! I just saw you downstairs! Oh, please, Josette! I’ve missed you!”
And here’s an idea for brightening up a dull afternoon: Go break into somebody’s house, walk upstairs, stare at a picture and holler that entire speech at the top of your lungs.
You’ll probably get a rather chilly reception from the homeowner, and that’s exactly what David gets here as a stone-faced Barnabas enters the room.
But David is used to this kind of situation; he’s a pro. Observe the technique.
Barnabas: What are you doing here?
David: Hi, Barnabas.
Barnabas: I said, what are you doing here?
David: (shrugs) Nothing.
Which is pretty chill, considering the circumstances.
But Barnabas is a cool customer too. David explains that he saw “Josette” through the window, so Barnabas sits him down on the couch, and says, “Now, David, do you have a habit of peering through other people’s windows?”
That’s a bold move, framing this as a privacy issue rather than a kidnapping-slash-blood-slaving situation.
And it works! David apologizes, and Barnabas brings him home, where Roger scolds the boy and sends him to his room.
Barnabas and Roger go into the drawing room and chat about Maggie’s disappearance. Barnabas asks some leading questions, and finds out that Dr. Woodard has some samples of Maggie’s blood.
Then Roger says, “How strange — the interrelated actions around one single event. And some of them seem so far from the center as to have no relationship at all.”
“I’m not sure I follow you,” Barnabas says, and I couldn’t agree more.
Roger explains, “Well, Maggie Evans disappears. And included in that intricate pattern that surrounds her disappearance, David renews his search for the portrait. The two don’t have any relationship to the other, actually, but yet, at the same time, they have a direct relationship. Don’t you find that interesting?”
Not really. What the hell are you talking about?
Meanwhile, David takes a moment with Vicki to keep babbling on about how he knows that Josette was there, but she was different somehow. He’s like a terrier with a sock; he just can’t let it go.
Amazingly, Vicki allows him to go to the kitchen for dinner under his own power. I wouldn’t take my eyes off that kid for a hot second; who knows what he could get up to.
Obviously, as soon as Vicki turns away, he gets his coat and makes a quick exit.
David returns to the Old House and just walks straight in the front door, which is still not locked. And what does he see? Maggie, still wandering around holding the music box! Unbelievable.
Well, I’m through giving them advice. If this is the way they want to run their abduction, then there is simply nothing I can do to help.
Monday: Mrs. Snuffleupagus.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for
The music cue right before the opening titles isn’t played in time; the sound wobbles as it comes in.
Behind the Scenes:
Maggie is still silently wandering around with her face covered by a veil, so this is Dorrie Kavanaugh again, standing in for Kathryn Leigh Scott. We’ll see Kavanaugh next as Phyllis Wick, in November.
Monday: Mrs. Snuffleupagus.
Dark Shadows episode guide – 1967
— Danny Horn
9 thoughts on “Episode 240: Open House”
LMAO at your exasperation — and with mine — with all the security issues at the Old House. Despite all that, somehow, this is such a genuinely creepy, enchanting and engrossing moment in the show.
In the previous episodes (the previous night), much was made of leaving Sam’s unfinished portrait of Barnabas at the Old House. Sam and Joe even discussed whether to take the easel, and Sam said it would be best to leave it there for the painting to sit on. The portrait is nowhere to be seen in this episode. I would assume Barnabas would have wanted to keep the portrait in the drawing room since he was so insistent on keeping it.
The Old House, and indeed Collinwood, has security even worse than Luthor Mansion or Star Labs.
Why do they have her stand-in? Was it so they didn’t have to pay Katherine for an entire show?
She has no lines. If they were using KLS in the part, they would have to pay her salary – a stand in would be much less expensive. I mean “more cost-effective”.
You got it. Speaking parts cost more, and why have a lead bother to come by when all she does can be done by a double? I tend to think that’s why they kept her veiled all that time.
Roger refers to some past bad blood with Sam Evans. Forgive me for just coming in, as many do, around Barnabas’ arrival- just wondering what that was all about?
Wouldn’t it be cool if Dorrie Kavanaugh really were playing Josette’s Ghost in this closing scene? Next, brainwashed Maggie could enter carrying an identical music box. David would go back to Collinwood and tell everybody he saw two Josettes at the Old House.
That would be great. It would also have been a nice touch, though not one that anyone would have caught onto at the time, if they had used Rosemary McNamara instead of Dorrie Kavanaugh. She had been the ghost of Josette a couple of times, including the one time we caught a glimpse of her face.