Episode 247: I’m Someone Else

“No, I can’t be Josette Collins. I’m someone else.”

It’s been two months since we were introduced to Barnabas Collins, and we’ve gotten to know a lot about him, including his hobbies, his diet and his refreshingly straightforward approach to dating.

But you can’t say that you really know a guy until you’ve seen the dungeon in his basement. That’s gonna happen today.

247 dark shadows sheriff patterson

But first, let’s get an update on the search for Maggie, courtesy of Sheriff George Patterson, the law enforcement equivalent of Droopy Dog. What do you have for us today, George?

Patterson:  Nothing. Sorry. My men have double-checked and triple-checked each other. We’ve looked everywhere, we’ve talked to everyone. I don’t even have a suspect. Nothing.

You’ve talked to everyone? That’s a lot of people to talk to. I’m amazed that you have time to show up on my television and tell me about it.

Patterson:  Not even the FBI can come up with anything. They sent a lot of stuff over to the lab for analysis, but… nothing.

Wait, what? How did the FBI get involved? And if they didn’t find anything, then what the hell did they send to the lab? Now I know less about this case than I did five minutes ago.

247 dark shadows burke touch 1

Spending any amount of time with Sheriff Patterson will make you start to question the value of human life, so it’s a welcome distraction when Burke comes over for another round of Sam-fondling.

The first thing Burke does is touch Sam on the shoulder, like you do when you walk into someone’s house. It’s just good manners.

247 dark shadows burke touch 2

The sad-sack cop finally clears the room, and one second later, Burke’s hand is on Sam’s shoulder again. He’s insatiable.

Burke asks if Sam’s been eating since Maggie disappeared, and offers to take him out to dinner. He says, “We can knock your pet hate: pop art.”

That’s a pretty sweet invite; I can’t even remember the last time a guy offered to knock my pet hate.

247 dark shadows burke touch 3

Sam moves across the room, and Burke swiftly moves into position behind him for another shoulder-rub. You know, it’s possible that Mitch Ryan is just drunk again, and he needs to keep a grip on Sam to help him stay upright.

Guys, get a room! You’re actually already in a room, and you need to get another one.

247 dark shadows sam pipe

All of this shoulder-contact cheers Sam up a bit, so he decides to go over to the Old House and work on Barnabas’ portrait some more. Sam brings along a pipe which I personally don’t recall ever seeing before, but all of a sudden he’s acting like it’s his prized possession.

Obviously, Willie’s not thrilled to see Sam show up at the Old House, since his kidnapped daughter is currently wandering loose in the house. Willie hustles Sam out the door with the painting and easel.

As Sam is leaving, he puts his pipe down on a table and forgets about it. Then there’s a big close-up on the pipe. Very subtle.

247 dark shadows maggie pipe

And here comes Maggie, just walking down the stairs as usual. Why are they still letting her roam around the house? This free-range kidnapping is very inefficient.

She finds her father’s pipe on the table, and seems to recognize it. Then she drifts back upstairs, and who knows what the hell she does.

247 dark shadows willie coffin

But now it’s time for our first visit to the Old House basement, which is filled with cobwebs and secrets. Oh, it’s delicious — straight out of Dracula, with spooky stone walls, and steps designed to throw your servant down from.

And look at those huge carved bannister things holding fat drippy candles! I don’t even know what those are.

247 dark shadows barnabas coffin

As Willie watches, the coffin lid creaks open, revealing Barnabas. And will you look at that! That’s a Shakespearean actor there; he’s played Richard III. Now he’s on daytime television, lying on his back in a coffin and trying to have a conversation.

So the director has a problem here: It is absolutely impossible for a grown man to sit up in a wooden box and clamber out of it, and still retain his dignity. They’ve clearly just tried it during the dress rehearsal, and found out that it doesn’t work.

247 dark shadows willie throat

So here’s their first pass at the problem. Barnabas asks Willie to come closer, and grabs him by the throat.

247 dark shadows barnabas wakes up

And then Barnabas just lies there, on his back, with his hand clutching Willie’s throat, asking for an update on the day’s events. The theory seems to be that Barnabas won’t look as silly, if he holds on to Willie’s throat and speaks in a threatening growl.

This is not successful. It looks crazy.

Seriously, even if you haven’t watched any other episode, go and watch this scene on Hulu. It’s the most amazing thing.

247 dark shadows maggie thinks

Meanwhile, Maggie’s upstairs and still on the loose. She looks at the pipe, making acting faces as we hear her interior monologue.

This is what they used to call “thinks” on The Goon Show. I believe it’s the first time that it’s ever been used on Dark Shadows. Over the next few months, “thinks” will become a staple of the DS house style, and this first example is appropriately bonkers.

Maggie (thinks):  “I’m… someone else! I’m someone else!”

She looks at the pipe.

Maggie (thinks):  “I know this. I know what it is! It belongs to someone… Someone I’ve got to find! I’ve got to take it to someone. I’ve got to take it there!”

It’s a good thing she got to use “thinks” for that speech; imagine saying all that nonsense out loud.

247 dark shadows maggie window

Then Maggie just walks right out of the Old House, which is an appalling lapse in the security protocol. The next thing we see, Sam’s at his house, working on the portrait — and Maggie is there, right outside his window!

Which is possibly the most exciting thing to ever happen on television. I know that I’m just gushing at this point, but that is a seriously great way to end an episode. No apologies.

Tomorrow: Damsel in This Dress.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

At the end of act one, as Burke and Sam leave the house, the music cue plays twice.

When Sam comes to the Old House, he puts the pipe up to his lips several times as if he’s smoking it. It’s clearly not lit, and then he just puts it down on a table. So why was he sticking it in his mouth the whole time?

Tomorrow: Damsel in This Dress.

247 dark shadows maggie sam

Dark Shadows episode guide – 1967

— Danny Horn

10 thoughts on “Episode 247: I’m Someone Else

  1. when willie is going down into the basement, there is a clock chiming (gonging?) but it goes on and on about 16 times i think. what the heck time IS it supposed to be??! lol

    1. A few years ago I wrote up some synopses of the pre-Barnabas episodes, and one of them contains this paragraph: It’s the middle of the night. [I don’t know what time it is–I can’t read the clock–but this is the same night of the accident, and Roger got home at three, wasn’t it? The clock strikes eleven before it’s cut of for the credits–hasn’t it already been eleven o’clock tonight? It was eleven when Carolyn was supposed to be at the movies with Joe. The nights are long in Collinsport.] Anyway, whatever time it is, Elizabeth is still awake, wandering around the drawing room.

      Either there’s something wrong with time at Collinwood, or there’s something wrong with that clock. Odds are fifty-fifty.

  2. It’s interesting — from the way that Barnabas only moved one arm in the coffin, and the menacing but very measured gait with which he went up the stairs at the end, I simply assumed that when a vampire first wakes up at sunset, he isn’t quite his full robust self yet. He’s a bit stiff, so to speak. 🙂 Hadn’t occurred to me that they shot it this way because of how silly he’d look perched on the edge of the coffin as he swung his legs over. The scene actually worked for me, because I read it as “Barnabas can scare the bejesus out of someone even when he’s just woken up and doesn’t have his full faculties yet. Dude doesn’t even have to get off his back to take charge.”

  3. Oh my – both of those Burke/Sam images look a little… NSFW. (Sidebar: it’s childish I know, but the show is stuffed with unintentional innuendos that keep me giggling like a loon – especially since Willie came on the scene. So far, my favourite is Burke inviting Woodard for a drink a couple episodes back: “I want to see how you make out”…)

    Speaking of Woodard, is that his office lamp by Sam’s easel? Collinsport’s lighting store must have very limited choice.

    (Oh, not that it matters much as, it’s pre-Barnabas, but Old Willie has a Think or two while staring at Barneys’s portrait… it’s neither as fun or bonkers as Maggie’s, though.)

  4. Man, the basement scene is all kinds of triggery from an abuse standpoint, both being abused and having to watch others (e.g., older siblings) being abused. So don’t read this if you’re sensitive to such triggers.

    Look at John Karlen’s eyes, his posture and jerky motions, his breathing. So many things Karlen just totally nails in this scene. Walking on eggshells because you don’t want to make any noise that might be objectionable. You don’t clench your fists because that would be defiant. You stand up straight and try to lock your knees to stop them from shaking, and despite the sick clench of dread in your chest, you try not to breathe too loud or blink too much or look too scared because if you do, he will give you something to be scared of. You have to force your body to move, and it doesn’t want to go. You try not to babble but you have to at least try to answer, to explain how you could have been so stupid and disobedient. You remember other times he pinned you to the wall by your throat, and you didn’t know if he would stop, and you don’t know this time either. You want to show him that you’re paying attention, you understand, you agree, you’ll do anything, you’ll do as you’re told. Never mind that sometimes you can’t, and anyway it’s not like he needs a reason, does he? Even though it’s better when there was a reason, when you did something wrong, because then at least you deserved it, and maybe next time you won’t be so stupid.

    Anyway. Yeah. This scene worked for me because we see that Barnabas is just that scary to Willie. The accelerating crescendo of music as Wille descends and the coffin opens really ramps up the fear factor. The scene has a perfect ending: Barnabas says Willie can never escape, and we know Willie believes it when he replies, “I know.”

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