Episode 253: Alive and Someplace

“Why are you so frightened of me? It’s I who should be frightened of you.”

Well, Maggie’s still being held captive in her prison cell in the Old House basement, and she’s finally changed out of the wedding dress. Her new look is a lot more subdued, just some shapeless dark robe.

So that goes straight to the top of my list of Scenes I Wish We’d Gotten to See — Maggie changing her clothes in the cell. Do you think Willie brought her the robe, and asked her to return the wedding dress? Did he have to remind her to give back the diamond necklace? That must have been one of the Great Awkward Moments in History.

253 dark shadows barnabas cell

Today’s episode was written by playwright Joe Caldwell, and he’s constructed a little farce plot for the day.

We open with Maggie getting a visit from Barnabas, who’s in his Ironically Polite mode. When he opens the door, she cries out and backs away. He smiles.

Barnabas:  But I don’t understand. Why are you so frightened of me? It’s I who should be frightened of you. You tried to kill me.

Maggie:  I know what you were going to do to me. You wanted to make me like you are.

Barnabas:  Only so that we could share eternal happiness.

He’s talking softly to her, with a gentle smile, as if she’s just being unreasonable.

When she insists that she’ll never be Josette, he sighs, “I’m afraid that I no longer have the patience to discuss it. The only thing I want to hear from you is that in the future, you will be more willing to cooperate.”

I just want to take a second to underline how incredibly weird this conversation is, especially for daytime television. These are early days, but you can already see how far this show has managed to drift away from any connection to sanity.

253 dark shadows barnabas maggie ring

It seems like a hopeless situation, but Maggie is smart and brave, and she’s still spitballing escape plans.

She asks Barnabas if he’ll do her a favor — she has a ring that her father gave her, and she’d like Barnabas to arrange for him to find it somewhere, to comfort him when she’s gone.

Obviously, Barnabas sees right through this transparent plan, and he responds with some angry Fridspeak:

Barnabas:  Do you think I’m a fool? You’re asking me to send your father an absurdly obvious signal that you’re still alive, and someplace, and that the search will be intensified?

He leaves her cell in a huff, like he’s been insulted.

253 dark shadows vicki david

Over at Collinwood, David’s finished his lessons, and wants to go play outside.

As usual, Vicki’s fretting, and she says, “I really don’t like the idea of you going outside at all.” Which is strange, because if I was her, I wouldn’t be able to think of anything else.

253 dark shadows maggie willie

Willie comes downstairs with Maggie’s dinner, and she decides to try out the ring scheme on him. She tells him she’s grateful that he stood up for her the other day, and offers him the ring. They have a cute little scene, where he’s basically hypnotized by the shiny object.

253 dark shadows david doo

Meanwhile, David’s been let off the leash for a minute, and naturally he runs straight for the Old House to check in with Josette. He doesn’t even knock, he just goes right for the doorknobs.

The doors are locked, for once, so he walks over to the window and lets himself in. What is the matter with this child? He’s a criminal mastermind.

253 dark shadows david willie

David follows his typical World’s Noisiest Intruder plan, strolling through the house and yelling Josette’s name as loud as possible. But Willie’s been brushing up on the security protocol, and he makes a quick intercept.

They do a little Abbott and Costello routine, as Willie shoos him out of the house:

David:  You can’t throw me out!

Willie:  Now, you just watch me.

David:  Let go of me, or I’ll tell my cousin!

Willie:  You do that.

David:  I’ll tell my father!

Willie:  Good luck!

David:  Just a minute! Wait!

Willie:  OUT!

And finally Willie just picks the kid up, and throws him out the door.

253 dark shadows david ring

Outside, David finds the ring, which Willie dropped in their scuffle. He calls to Willie through the door, but Willie just tells him to go away.

253 dark shadows barnabas ring

So here’s the adorable farce moment.

When David gets back to Collinwood, Vicki spots the ring, and asks where he found it. As she’s trying to read the inscription, Barnabas comes to visit, and he recognizes that it’s Maggie’s ring.

Barnabas explains that the ring is part of a set that he’d asked Willie to sell in town, so Vicki gives it back to him.

253 dark shadows j face

Finally, bringing the whole thing full circle, Barnabas returns to Maggie’s cell. She’s got her J-face on, and she’s pretending to be engrossed in the music box.

253 dark shadows cell barnabas

Barnabas shows her the ring, and ta-da! He’s keeping it.

So we’re back at starting position, but everybody got a little chance to be smart and sarcastic today, and I’m going to chalk it up as a win. Good hustle.

Tomorrow: The Summer of Love.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

When Willie’s throwing David out, you can hear someone cough in the studio. It happens right after Willie says, “What are you talking about?”

Fridspeak Moment #1: Barnabas tells Maggie that he wants her to listen to the music box.

Barnabas:  You will allow this to help you pass the time?

Maggie:  I’ll try.

Barnabas:  You need more than try.

Maggie:  Yes.

Barnabas:  Well. And this time, I will see… and have methods for you… so that you will succeed.

Fridspeak Moment #2: Barnabas’ slick exit line in the last scene:

Barnabas:  I congratulate you on the improvement in your attempts, but I’m sure you’ll realize if I don’t offer my sympathies on their lack of success.

Tomorrow: The Summer of Love.

253 dark shadows maggie cell

Dark Shadows episode guide – 1967

— Danny Horn

10 thoughts on “Episode 253: Alive and Someplace

  1. I’m now longing to hear a conversation between Jonathan Frid and Helen Hayes.

    At a party, Helen Hayes took a deep breath and declared, “Anyone who wants my piano is willing to it.”

    To which George S. Kaufman replied, “That’s very seldom of you, Helen.”

  2. The scenes with Maggie and Barnabas are sensational. How exciting it must have been for the folks at the show to realize they were truly onto something by now.

  3. There is so much going on here that even Dan Curtis probably stood back at the end of the day and said, “Hell yeah……………….”

    It seems that Willie really THREW David out of the house fairly roughly. If this was today, someone would be calling Child Protective Services. Liz and Vicki would definitely have some ‘plainin; to do.

    Also, there’s a huge McGuffin in this episode as the finding of Maggie’s ring, and the journey it goes on for the next 15 minutes are interesting and yet, the ring winds up getting tossed by the plot and storyline wayside. I originally thought that the ring finding its way back to Sam (vis a vis Vicki) would have given them some really good circle-the-wagons-around- Barnabas trajectory. But, alas, it was not to be. Barnabas reclaims the ring and I don’t believe he ever even gives it back to Maggie. Finders keepers and then some.

    Monsieur Frid’s line delivery is nothing short of stellar–even when he’s winging it as he so often is forced to do when the teleprompter is not exactly conveniently located. I’ve been there, let me assure you. You can pause. You can struggle for the line. But there’s always the best recourse which is to JUST KEEP TALKING AND MAKE IT UP AS YOU GO ALONG.

    Liz knows this better than anyone (best hand-wringer in the business, bar none).

  4. I thought “New Willie” wasn’t interested in money. Remember he turned down the $500 from Jason a while back. Now he supposedly enthralled with a ring that’s worth much less than the necklace she offered him a few days ago.

    1. yes, but Willie has a mad weakness for jewels. he just can’t help himself. it’s not about the money. it’s about the glittery.

    2. And although Willie eventually “came to his senses” (or stayed out of his senses), Maggie did entice him momentarily with the wedding necklace too.

  5. The scene between David and Willie marks a definitive break from the pre-Barnabas show. David’s great concern is that Barnabas and Willie are “hurting Josette.” By which he means that he can no longer sense the presence of the ghost of Josette. On the contrary, the name “Josette” now refers to something horrible and that horrible thing is a part of Barnabas’ story.

    In the first 42 weeks, the ghost of Josette had been the principal supernatural element in the show. Serene, mysterious, uncanny, the ghost fit perfectly into that series, which was something like 99% atmosphere and 1% story. And Josette came out of the background at two key moments, leading the rescue of Vicki from Matthew in 126 and informing the family of the danger Laura represents to David in 149 and 170. And of course when Barnabas first meets David in 212, David tells him that Josette protects the family.

    So when Barnabas starts his rampage, regular viewers would at first be waiting for the ghost of Josette to make its move and stop him. By the time David sees the Josette-ified Maggie in 240 and 241, we know that the imperturbable Josette of the first 42 weeks is not coming back. If we do see Josette’s ghost again after we’ve seen Maggie in her wedding dress, it could not have the lightly amused smile in its voice with which it told Vicki not to be afraid of Matthew; it could return only as a terrifying spirit of vengeance. By the time David and Willie finish their confrontation in this episode, the show has told us that the protecting ghost won’t return at all.

    1. Last scene of the episode as Barnabas “congratulates” Maggie on her ingenuity with the ring, his lines read like one of the Sean Connery era Bond villains. Rather cracked me up.

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