Episode 266: Jump Start

“The sea is my grave. My grave is the sea.”

At the beginning of today’s episode, Vicki’s introductory voiceover tells us that Liz is dreaming about her own death, and I don’t blame her one bit. We’re starting on a full week of Liz/Jason blackmail episodes, so I can see how things might seem pretty hopeless.

You can tell that today is going to be an action-packed barn burner, because we start out with a dream sequence that involves a woman in her nightgown walking around in the woods. At least, I think that’s what she’s doing. There’s so much vaseline on the lens that there’s hardly any lens.

266 dark shadows widows

In Liz’s dream, she walks up to the cliff on Widows’ Hill, where a trio of wailing, spectral widows are screaming her name. She steps off the cliff, and the ghosts appear, watching her fall.

266 dark shadows liz brushing

So that’s kind of a downer, and Liz is appropriately downcast when she wakes up.

She sits down at her vanity, stares into space, and aimlessly pushes a brush through her hair. It’s the saddest hair-brushing scene of all time.

266 dark shadows one o'clock

But sourpuss governess Victoria Winters can’t stand to see anyone relaxing, so she barges in and starts asking stupid questions.

Vicki:  Are you all right?

Liz:  Of course, why?

Vicki:  Do you know what time it is?

Liz:  No.

Vicki:  It’s one o’clock!

Okay, so it’s one o’clock. Big deal. That happens every day.

Vicki:  Have you been asleep all this time?

Liz:  Asleep? Yes.

Vicki:  Well, that’s not like you, you’re generally up and around so early. Are you sure that everything’s all right?

Well, she was all right, until a shrill governess came into the room and interrupted her hair-brushing. Now she’s going to have to start all over again.

266 dark shadows go away vicki

Liz assures her that everything is fine, so Vicki runs through the list of everything that she thinks Liz ought to be agitated about.

Liz:  I’ve decided not to worry. Things have a way of working out.

Vicki:  I don’t understand.

Liz:  Please tell Mrs. Johnson not to bother about lunch.

Vicki:  All right.

Vicki walks toward the door, but then turns back.

Vicki:  Are you sure you’re going to be all right?

Liz’s suicidal ideation may actually be a perfectly natural response to living in the same house as Victoria Winters for a year.

266 dark shadows mrs johnson liz

Liz leaves the house, and walks up to the top of Widows’ Hill, where she gazes out over the water and dreams of a peaceful existence unimpeded by governesses. Then Mrs. Johnson, the housekeeper, tracks her down. Poor Liz just can’t get five minutes away from the domestic staff.

Liz:  Oh, Mrs. Johnson. You startled me. What are you doing out here?

Mrs. J:  I came looking for you. I was beginning to be worried.

Liz:  Why?

Mrs. J:  Well, do you know what time it is? It’s coming on to be seven. You’ve been outside for hours.

People keep walking up to Liz and telling her what time it is. They should just give her a wristwatch and let her keep track of it herself.

266 dark shadows mrs j

Liz starts telling Mrs. Johnson the story of the three widows, who each threw themselves off this cliff when their husbands died at sea. She starts with the story of Rachel Comstock, whose husband and five sons were all drowned.

Liz:  When they told her the news, she could only say a few words, over and over again: The sea is my grave. My grave is the sea. And so it was. She came to this place one night, carrying six white roses. Six — for every man who was lost. She threw them into the sea, and then jumped to her death.

Mrs J:  I’ve heard that legend before. It makes my blood run cold.

Liz:  Abigail Tolliver was the second to die.

Wow, you’re not easy to talk to today.

266 dark shadows mrs j vicki

Then the episode kind of drifts out to sea. Liz goes back to Collinwood, has a scene with Jason and then goes upstairs to rest. Reminder: There’s a vampire living next door. Do we need to follow Liz around through her entire day?

Mrs. Johnson tells Vicki, “I think something’s the matter with Mrs. Stoddard.” Yeah, I’m getting that impression. Maybe someone should go upstairs and tell her what time it is.

266 dark shadows my grave

In her bedroom, Liz hears the widows calling for her. She looks out the window, and says, “The sea is my grave. My grave is the sea.”

Cut to a little film clip of the sea just so you know what it looks like. The end.

Tomorrow: The Least Torment.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

In Liz’s dream, we hear the widows wailing her name, but it’s just a pre-recorded audio track. When the widows appear, they’re just standing there; they’re not even pretendng to scream.

When Liz walks downstairs into the foyer, the camera dolly hits something and the camera shakes.

Liz bobbles a line when she’s telling Mrs. Johnson the story of Rachel Comstock: “Her five sail — sons, all of them sailors, were lost at sea too.”

In the final scene, the widows are calling Elizabeth’s name. When she reaches the window, the audio cue cuts off after saying “El –” and then starts up again when they cut to another camera.

Behind the Scenes:

The three Widows were played by Joy Nicholson, Bridget O’Donnell and Marin Riley. The trio appears in three episodes this week. Besides the aforementioned Rachel Comstock and Abigail Tolliver, there was also Margaret Findley. She’s probably no relation to Madame Janet Findley, who showed up at Collinwood in December 1968 with an incredibly eccentric dance routine, but you never know.

Nicholson also appeared as a Blue Whale customer in one episode. Riley is the returning champion; she played one of the Widows in December 1966, and rescued Vicki from being killed by caretaker Matthew Morgan.

Tomorrow: The Least Torment.

266 dark shadows sea

Dark Shadows episode guide – 1967

— Danny Horn

9 thoughts on “Episode 266: Jump Start

  1. You see this in “Restless,” one of the major Buffy dream episodes–people speaking over shots of them not speaking. Okay, it might not have been on purpose on DS. I’m wondering if it was as eerily effective?

  2. I’m more won over by this episode and storyline in general that you were, but your take on it is hilarious.

    I noted the Widows Legend has now changed. It used to be there had been two women (including Josette) who jumped and they were waiting for a third. Now there are three women who jumped (none of them Josette) and they are waiting for a fourth.

    My high school memory of them beckoning Liz was spookier than how it turned out watching it yesterday, but I still liked it.

    I do like how this storyline has been, up to now, a “natural” storyline of homicide/blackmail, but the supernatural is now coming into play toward the end with the widows sensing Liz’s torment and the possibility of making their trio a quartet.

  3. Poor listless Liz was so lethargic she could only answer in the form of a question.

    “It’s a beautiful day outside.”

    “Is it?”

    “Mr. McGuire was looking for you.”

    “He was?”

    “I told him I’d be a witness at the ceremony.”

    “Did you?”

    “Carolyn and Buzz were talking about getting a marriage license.”

    “Were they?”

    And later, when Mrs. Johnson finds her on Widow’s Hill…

    “You’ve been out here for hours.”

    “Have I?”

  4. Longtime reader, here visiting the past due to stalled production in the future.

    I have to say it’s a testament to both the show and this blog that I can’t stop reading. I just came in to get some screenshots for my new computer, and I’ve been unable to stop. I always say, “I’ll stop on Friday’s episode,” and I just can’t.

    Also, I’ll give some love to this spooky, moody episode. Is this the one where she writes the date of her death in her diary?

    1. Jason, I’ve been binging on DS today, too. I got Collection 2 from my library, but I read the hilarious blog for the episode before watching. So funny and fun!

  5. “Liz’s suicidal ideation may actually be a perfectly natural response to living in the same house as Victoria Winters for a year.” – You absolutely crack me up!

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