Episode 275: The Last Normal Day

“Then it’s over! It’s all over!”

So, you know that blackmail storyline where Liz had to do everything that Jason said, because otherwise she’d go to prison and her daughter would hate her forever?

Well, guess what? Liz finally told everybody that she killed Paul, and now she’s going to prison, and her daughter hates her forever.

275 dark shadows liz fine

But not really. It turns out that Liz never killed Paul in the first place, and Carolyn would have forgiven her even if she had.

Carolyn spent the night wandering around outside, in clear violation of Collinsport’s recent curfew. She’s given it a lot of thought, and now she’s ready to stand by Liz through the trial. Except there won’t be a trial, because there was no murder, and the entire four-month storyline was a complete waste of time.

The story did answer a couple of long-time questions — why Liz didn’t leave the house for 18 years, and what happened to her husband — but unfortunately it answered them in a way that didn’t lead to any new story ideas. Thank goodness there’s a vampire living next door, or we’d have to jump start the whole show again.

So there are a couple scenes of Liz and Carolyn processing the whole experience, and then the sun sets on the last normal day that Collinsport will ever see. From this moment on, Dark Shadows is all about the spooks.

275 dark shadows jason breaks in

So let’s go over to the haunted house, where Jason is stirring up trouble for the last time.

He’s broken into the Old House to steal Barnabas’ chest of jewels. The box was lying  on the table in the drawing room when Jason came in through the window at the end of yesterday’s episode. That must have been a mistake, because in today’s reprise, the box is gone.

Jason looks around for the box for a longer time than you might expect. The scene goes on for so long that the “sneaking around” music cue ends, and they have to start it all over again.

275 dark shadows loomis abuse

Willie finally notices that someone’s wandering around the house, and he tells Jason to leave. Jason responds in the usual way — smacking Willie, and twisting his arm until he admits that the jewels are in the basement.

Man, Willie gets smacked around more than anybody else on the show; he’s the Dark Shadows punching bag.

275 dark shadows willie jason

Desperate to save his old friend, Willie says that Jason can’t go downstairs — Barnabas is in the basement.

Jason:  Come on, Willie, give me credit for some little intelligence.

Willie:  He’s down there, you gotta believe me!

Jason:  I don’t care if he’s down there or not, I’m not leaving until I get what I came here for.

Willie:  I gotta tell ya. It’s the only way I can stop you. Barnabas — he isn’t alive.

Jason:  What?

Willie:  He can walk at night, but he’s dead!

Jason:  Have you lost what little brains you have left?

Willie:  You go down there, he’ll kill you, or worse!

Obviously, Jason ignores him. If people went around listening to warnings, you’d never get a monster movie started.

275 dark shadows jason basement

Although you’d imagine that even the most stubborn skeptic might pause for a moment if they walked downstairs and saw this kind of setup. Huge candlesticks, spider webs, and a coffin in the middle of the room.

I don’t know if I’d jump straight to “okay, so Barnabas isn’t alive,” but I’d probably be a little more careful than Jason is. He can’t understand why there’s a coffin in the house, so he decides that Willie must have hidden the chest of jewels there.

275 dark shadows jason hand

But guess what? He didn’t. So Jason opens the coffin, the vampire strangles him, and I never have to watch another blackmail episode ever again. Hooray!

Monday: Crime Scenes.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

There’s a film insert of Carolyn walking along the beach. When she enters Collinwood, she’s not wearing the same clothes that she was wearing in the film clip.

When we see Barnabas’ hand reaching out of the coffin at the end of the episode, he’s got the ring on his left hand again. We’ve seen the ring on his left hand when he first came out of the coffin in episode 210, and when he was walking upstairs in episode 239.

Behind the Scenes:

For the first time, the opening voiceover doesn’t begin with the words “My name is Victoria Winters.” Alexandra Moltke does the voiceover today, but starting tomorrow, it’ll get passed around to any of the actresses who are in the episode that day. It’s a subtle change, but it’s another milestone along the road to rebranding the show as Barnabas’ story.

The reprise of the previous day’s cliffhanger is almost always done as the first scene, before the opening titles. This episode is very unusual; it picks up the reprise in the middle of act 2.

This is Dennis Patrick’s last episode as Jason McGuire. Patrick returns to the show in late 1969, playing Paul Stoddard. Paul’s resemblance to his best friend Jason is never mentioned. Patrick also appears in the 1970 spinoff film House of Dark Shadows, playing Sheriff Patterson.

Alfred Dillay is the stand-in for Barnabas’ hand at the end of the episode; Dillay was also the stand-in for Barnabas’ shadow in May. These two episodes of Dark Shadows are Dillay’s only credits on IMDb.

Monday: Crime Scenes.

275 dark shadows jason wink

Dark Shadows episode guide – 1967

— Danny Horn

18 thoughts on “Episode 275: The Last Normal Day

  1. This time around, I thought about the similarities between the human vampire, Jason, and the supernatural one. Interesting juxtaposition.

    1. Well a hard head makes a soft ass. Willie warned Jason. And Barnabas, not having good days wasn’t about the bullshit, moreover having his home invaded by a drunk. He got what he paid for.

  2. Happy Day that I found your blog. Your wit and humor make the recaps of one of my all time favorite shows that much more enjoyable! Thank You!

  3. I was genuinely sorry to see jason go. He was a fun character, and dennis patrick was great.

    I found the pre-opening of the coffin scene rather darkly comical Jason usually knows whats what, all the time, but he never saw this coming, and was hell-bent on opening it. And how often do we get to hear someone say’ i’m going to open this coffin and you’re not going to stop me!’

  4. Are you sure that AM did the opening speech? Sure sounds like Nancy Barrett to me…

    Favorite line – Carolyn’s “…it’s over, it’s finally over…” AMEN, sister. Can I get a Hallelujah?

    Jason pauses in his roughing up Willie to keep his cap on his head – above all, no costume malfunctions! And when Barnabas starts in strangulatin’, the hat falls off anyhow.

  5. I thought it sounded like NB too. Figured AM got a couple of days off because shes not in these next couple of episodes.

  6. I liked seeing Jason get his just deserts. But, I have to say, I liked Willie’s version “OMGGG!!!!THERE IS A VAMPIRE IN THIS COFFIN!!!!” better than Jason’s.

  7. What was the point of having Liz drugged up at the beginning? I don’t see what that contributes to the story. Kudos, as others have said, to Dennis Patrick as Jason McGuire. He was a real pro and I’m going to miss him. And it was NB not AM doing the opening narration. For AM this is rather like going into the office and being told to start training someone else on all your jobs and by the way have you updated your resume lately.

  8. I wish the writers and producers of DS had done a hybrid mix of “normal” soap story lines with horror plots. From this point forward the pace is faster and more interesting, but IMO it just wasn’t sustainable.

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