“I think that’s where I’ll go for my honeymoon. I think I’ll go crazy!”
It’s the next morning, and Carolyn is rummaging in Jason’s room. Apparently, this is one of those episodes that features people rummaging. She finds a locked journal, cuts it open, and scans the pages. Then Jason enters the room, and finds her there. Rummaging is not for everyone.
But today is a happy occasion for us all, because after weeks of swimming in circles, the grand day has arrived — Elizabeth and Jason’s wedding day.
Jason definitely has a sense of occasion, and he takes this opportunity to tell his soon-to-be daughter-in-law a few home truths about the new regime.
Jason: I expect you to get married, and leave Collinwood.
Carolyn: Are you telling me to leave my own house?
Jason: I’m telling you to leave my house.
So that’s exciting, yeah? The gloves are coming off today, we’re doing actual story beats in every scene.
This episode was written by Joe Caldwell, currently the best writer on the show. He wrote the tightly-structured “Exit Strategy” episode, and Julia’s comedy-of-manners intro last week. The other writers tend to get bogged down in recap, but Caldwell is much better at finding and exploiting the drama of the situation.
Carolyn: What will you do if I don’t go?
Jason: Why, then I’ll ask Mrs. McGuire to make the request personally.
Carolyn: She’d never do it.
Jason: No? You thought she’d never allow me into Collinwood, didn’t you? And yet I’m here. And then you thought she’d never marry me, didn’t you. But she is. You think she won’t ask you to leave? Don’t be ridiculous.
Ouch! Score one for McGuire.
The scene ends with a lovely shot that uses the rarely-seen double backacting technique. Two actors having a conversation with their backs to each other. It’s phenomenal.
Jason: Oh, and Carolyn, by the way… No doubt the wedding will be too moving for words, so I’ll say it now.
Carolyn: Say what?
Oh snap! So Carolyn responds to this emotional upheaval in the typical soap opera manner, which is to roll down to the local bar and order some adult beverages.
Joe is there, and they have a very soap opera argument, which includes the extremely soap opera outburst: “Don’t tell me what I need!”
And then Joe goes and does something very dangerous: He tells her that her mother is getting married, and there’s nothing she can do about it.
You don’t say a thing like that to Carolyn Stoddard. She says, “Isn’t there?” and then she starts making plans.
Carolyn walks out of the bar, and literally the very next thing we see is her opening a desk in Collinwood and pulling out a gun.
Yes. She is.
In the drawing room, the judge has arrived, and the wedding guests are standing around awkwardly and trying not to look at each other. A wedding is a very traditional soap opera event, and usually it’s an occasion to bring lots of characters together in the same room and watch them all spark off each other.
This is one of the very few on-screen weddings on Dark Shadows, partly because they can’t afford to build a church set, and partly because engaged characters tend to get strangled or imprisoned or shot with a crossbow before the blessed event can take place.
Carolyn is doing her part to enliven the proceedings, carrying her firearm in a stylish beaded clutch purse that matches her outfit.
Jason looms up behind her, and says, “I’m sure you will have — other plans, later on?”
“Yes,” she says. “I have plans.”
Liz comes downstairs, and takes her place next to the groom. Carolyn grips her concealed weapon, as the judge begins the ceremony.
Judge Crathorne: Do you, Elizabeth Stoddard, take this man, Jason McGuire, to be your lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?
Liz: … Death?
Jason: Answer “I do,” dear.
Judge: Say simply, “I do.”
Liz: I… I…
Liz snatches her hand away.
Liz: I — no!
Liz: No, I can’t!
Jason: Calm yourself.
Burke: Leave her alone!
Liz breaks away, stands at the front of the room, and says ten words:
“I killed Paul Stoddard! And that man was my accomplice!”
BOOM! And the world explodes. See you Monday.
Monday: I Killed Paul Stoddard.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
When Carolyn goes through the clothes in Jason’s dresser, most of the shirts are clearly brand new, with pins and cardboard in the collars.
When we see Carolyn’s hand taking the gun from the desk, it’s actually a stand-in, because Carolyn just stepped out of the Blue Whale set. The stand-in is wearing the outfit that Carolyn is going to wear for the wedding. But then they cut to a shot of Carolyn’s face, and you can see that she’s still in the turtleneck that she was wearing at the Blue Whale.
Behind the Scenes:
There are 9 speaking parts in this episode, including a line for the usually silent Blue Whale bartender. This is very rare, because the episode budget usually only stretches to 5 or 6 actors. This was balanced out for the week by the episodes on Monday and Thursday, which had only 4 actors each.
Katherine Quint was the stand-in for Carolyn’s hand, taking the gun out of the desk drawer, and holding the gun during the wedding scene. Quint was also seen in seven episodes during 1966 and 1967 as a Blue Whale customer. Her only other acting credit is for a 1966 beach party movie called Disk-O-Tek Holiday.
Judge Crathorne was played by House Jameson, who only appears in two episodes — this one, and Monday’s. Jameson also played John Phillips in The Edge of Night and Dr. Bert Gregory in Another World, and had guest roles in many TV shows, including The Phil Silvers Show, and Car 54, Where Are You?
The green tortoise lamp shows up in Jason’s room today; it was seen last week in the Evans cottage and in Julia’s office at Windcliff. (Thanks to prop-spotter Prisoner of the Night.)
Monday: I Killed Paul Stoddard.
— Danny Horn