“Wherever I am, I’ll be laughing at you, Vicki Winters, and don’t you forget it.”
In the Old House drawing room, Willie is lighting some candles as Barnabas comes downstairs.
“You’ve been up there a long time,” Willie says.
Barnabas replies, “I wasn’t aware of time.”
Then the guy who wasn’t aware of time looks out of the window, and says, “The sun sets, and the sun rises. If only night could become eternal, the blackness with us always.”
In other words: Ladies and gentlemen, will you please put your hands together and welcome back our returning champion, Barnabas Collins!
Looking back from today’s episode as a vantage point, it’s amazing to think that the writers ever thought that the vampire story would be a short-term distraction, and that the Liz/Jason blackmail story was the core of the show.
After all that sound and fury, it turns out that the blackmail story didn’t actually produce any meaningful story or character development. The blackmail was an empty threat, and that’s it; everyone goes back to starting positions.
Meanwhile, the vampire story is just getting started. Barnabas’ attempts to turn Maggie into his dead girlfriend failed, but he’s ready to move on and try again.
But look who’s lurking outside the window — it’s Jason! He’s been thrown out of Collinwood, so he’s come over to the Old House to see if he can stir up some trouble before he leaves town.
And did he ever pick the right time to stop by; Barnabas and Willie are having one of their regular staff meetings, where they review their progress and set goals for the next quarter.
They start by reviewing old business. Willie asks Barnabas what went wrong with Maggie.
Willie: I don’t see how you can change a person into someone else.
Like all ambitious crackpot bosses, Barnabas has a theory.
Barnabas: Take the right individual, place her under the proper conditions and circumstances, apply the required pressure, and a new personality is created.
Willie: Well, isn’t that what you did with Maggie Evans?
Barnabas: I was too hasty in the selection of the subject. Miss Evans, unfortunately, was not the right individual. She didn’t possess enough of the tender qualities of Josette Collins. Everything was done properly, but she couldn’t respond.
So there you go, it’s that simple. They just didn’t do enough market research and user testing.
I’ve made my selection with great care, and I will condition her gradually. For that reason, I want you to go and bring me the jewel chest. I wish to select a gift.
One thing that makes Barnabas interesting, and potentially redeemable, is that he doesn’t think of this process as feeding off human souls. In his mind, he’s the star of a mildly unusual season of The Bachelor, and there are dozens of potential Josettes vying for his attention.
Also: “I want you to go and bring me the jewel chest” is possibly the most pimpin’ thing that anybody could ever say. He might actually have a shot at this.
As Barnabas is making his selection from the jewel chest, Willie says that he knows that Barnabas’ next target is Vicki. Didn’t they establish that a couple weeks ago? I assume they’re going over all of this again just in case anybody standing outside the window is curious.
Jason is still out there, by the way, listening in on this lunatic discussion. He’s vaguely interested in the revelations about Maggie’s abduction, but his main concern is that jewel chest.
A little while later, Willie is outside prowling around with a flashlight for no obvious reason. Presumably, he’s walking the perimeter, trying to discourage the exact thing that just happened in the last scene when they weren’t looking.
Security is still a major problem at the Old House.
Anyway, Jason tells Willie that he’s leaving town — but before he goes, he’d like Willie to grab him a couple handfuls from the jewel chest. He indicates that he knows what happened to Maggie, and what’s going to happen to Vicki. Willie says he’ll meet Jason at the Blue Whale later.
While Jason’s waiting at the Blue Whale, Vicki stops by, looking for Carolyn. There’s supposed to be a curfew in Collinsport these days — young women aren’t supposed to be out alone at night — but apparently Vicki is above the law.
She directs some stern looks at Jason, who tries to defend himself. After a while, he starts to believe his own story, saying, “Given half a chance, I could have made Liz a happy woman.”
Jason doesn’t really have much reason to care what Vicki thinks of him, but this is a nice moment for him to choose not to warn her about Barnabas’ plans for her.
When Willie arrives, Jason is literally rubbing his hands together in anticipation of the delicious jewels he’s about to receive. But Willie’s only brought one little brooch; he says he couldn’t get away with taking more.
Jason isn’t satisfied, so he strolls back to the Old House, opens a window, and lets himself in. I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to go very well.
Tomorrow: The Last Normal Day.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
When Barnabas is looking through the jewel chest, he completely loses track of his lines.
Willie: Do you think a piece of jewelry will buy whoever it is you want?
Barnabas: Nothing can be bought… but the next Josette… (looks at the teleprompter) … I have in mind… not even with the entire contents of this chest. Perhaps that’s why I’m so attracted to her.
Tomorrow: The Last Normal Day.
— Danny Horn