“You know about leaves and everything. Well, I know who’s dead, and who isn’t.”
Okay, let’s see where we are. Yesterday, Dr. Julia Hoffman — the noted blood specialist and dangerous lunatic — managed to convince a vampire that she should hang out in his haunted mansion and purge his arterial system. She seems to feel that somehow this will be beneficial for humankind, and who’s going to argue with her?
Well, I guess Dr. Woodard will. It’s been a whole two episodes since the last time he came over and said sensible things to Julia, and here he is again. Apparently he thinks that it’s “unethical” for Julia to abandon her patient, Maggie, in the middle of a very delicate and intense course of treatment.
He’s right, of course. In fact, we learned yesterday that Julia is planning to ensure that Maggie’s amnesia will be permanent, in order to protect the monster who abused her.
Unfortunately, if Woodard succeeds in getting Julia to take more responsibility for Maggie’s treatment, then the story gets less interesting. So, on behalf of the entire audience, I would like to shake his hand, tell him he’s one hundred percent correct, pin a medal on him, and then send him out to play in traffic.
But as we’ve seen, Julia can talk her way out of anything. In this case, she chooses the most fiendish weapon in the liar’s arsenal. She tells him the truth.
Julia: I believe that Maggie Evans came face to face with the supernatural, in a way that frightened her beyond anything you or I can understand. I can’t convince her that what terrified her doesn’t exist, because I know it does exist!
Woodard: Are you, a scientist, telling me that the supernatural exists?
By the way, yes, they call it “the supernatural”, and then they just carry on as if that’s a single specific thing that you can have a conversation about. Apparently “the supernatural” is the new “the past”.
Along the way, Julia picks up a scary new tactic.
Julia: If I’m right — medicine is about to break through the ultimate barrier between life and death. You realize that the doctors who helped make that breakthrough will go down in history.
Woodard: Between… life and death?
Julia: Dave, when you were in medical school, didn’t you dream of making some major contribution? Well, that could happen now, for both of us.
Woodard: But Julia, I’ve got to know a great deal more than I know now!
Julia: And you will! I’ll tell you, because I need your skill and knowledge, to help see me through.
Woodard: Well, I’ll help you any way that I can.
It’s fantastic. She could get him to do anything. So that’s another mark in the win column for the monsters.
Meanwhile, David’s playing in the woods, and guess who he runs into? The supernatural. It’s just sitting there, crying.
This is the ghost of Sarah Collins, who we haven’t seen for a couple weeks. She’s the vampire’s kid sister, and she befriended Maggie when Barnabas was holding her prisoner. Now, Maggie’s hidden away in a sanitarium, and everybody thinks that she’s dead.
David asks why Sarah’s crying, and she says she’s lost her friend.
Sarah: Her name was Maggie. She’s lost, and I miss her.
David: Well, Sarah, I’m sorry that you miss her so much, but… if it’s Maggie we’re looking for, well, we better not look any more. Here, why don’t you help me look for different kinds of leaves?
Personally, I’ve never tried that specific method of cheering up a grieving person, so for all I know, maybe it works. I’ll try it out and let you know how it goes.
Sarah asks why she should stop looking for Maggie, and David breaks it to her that Maggie’s dead. Sarah chuckles.
David: What are you laughing about?
Sarah: She isn’t dead at all! She’s just lost!
David: Everyone else says she’s dead.
Sarah: Well, everyone else is wrong.
David: How can you be so sure?
Sarah: You know about leaves and everything. Well, I know who’s dead, and who isn’t.
So that’s that. Sarah seems to have some kind of weird ghost sense that’s shorting out at the moment: “Sometimes I almost know where she is, but then it all fades away, and I begin to cry again.” I could probably come up with some kind of crackpot theory to explain how her ghost senses work, but really they’re just making it up to fit whatever’s convenient for the episode. And that’s how “the supernatural” works.
So all of that is rather far-fetched, but it’s practically a documentary compared to what happens next.
Julia and Burke are talking in the Collinwood foyer when all of a sudden Vicki bursts through the door and announces, “The most wonderful thing has happened. I’m in love.”
Burke has been dating Vicki for several months, so at this point I guess nothing fazes him; he just stands there and asks her what the hell she’s talking about.
And she says, “It’s with a house. I found the most enchanting old house in the world — it’s on the end of the North Road, by the sea. I must have passed it hundreds of times, only this is the first time I’d ever really noticed it. Burke, it’s like it was just waiting there. Just for me.”
Okay, let’s do a quick review of Vicki’s financial affairs.
Victoria Winters: Left at a foundling home as a baby. Apparently not adopted. Left the orphanage a year ago, when she became a live-in governess for a ten-year-old boy who appears to be doing his Introduction to Botany homework with a ghost.
In other words: She lives in a mansion, but she has exactly no money. She’s probably renting the clothes she’s wearing right now. So while admittedly I don’t have any specific data at my fingertips about the Maine real estate market during the summer of 1967, I’m pretty sure she can’t afford a house, no matter how they may feel about each other.
She goes on.
Burke: Vicki, what’s this house like?
Vicki: The house is very old. It faces onto the sea. In fact, it’s almost part of the sea. And there it sits, like a dowager queen, waiting for the ocean to bring her beautiful gifts from all over the world.
Spoiler alert: She’s going to keep talking about this house for the rest of the week, and on into next week. This will take the place of what otherwise would be an interesting television show.
Vicki: It was wonderful. Finding it, and standing there, and listening to the sea, and feeling that I really belonged there. And the house knew it. And the sea knew it. And I knew it, too, and we were all very happy there together.
It’s awful, and depressing. We’ve been having so much fun lately, with Julia and Barnabas and the supernatural. And now this idiot girl runs onto the screen, babbling about some random house that she can’t afford, and the show comes to a complete stop.
There’s a whole other scene after this, about David bringing Sarah back to the house, but she disappears before anyone else sees her. It turns into another Snuffleupagus sequence, except she left her bonnet behind on the floor.
But why bother? Vicki’s in love with a house. Apparently that’s a plot point.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
When David leads Sarah into Collinwood, he doesn’t shut the front doors all the way, and you can see a gap between the two doors. Everyone who touches the doors today seems to have some kind of trouble; at one point, Vicki has to slam them shut.
Behind the Scenes:
This is the first episode written by Gordon Russell. Over the next few months, two of the show’s three writers will be replaced. Joe Caldwell and Malcolm Marmorstein will leave, and are replaced by Gordon Russell, and Sam Hall, who starts with episode 357. Russell and Hall become a writing team that takes them through the end of this series, and then on to another soap opera, One Life to Live.
— Danny Horn