Episode 304: Scooby-Doo Must Die

“I don’t know what you’re thinking about, but whatever it is, I’m sure you’re quite wrong.”

So here’s something you don’t want to see on your doorstep first thing in the morning — Burke Devlin, all self-righteous and shouty. He gets right up in Willie’s face and says, “I have to see Mr. Collins.”

Willie says that Barnabas isn’t home; he left early this morning and didn’t say where he was going.

Burke shouts, “You’re lying! I saw him come into this house before sunrise this morning, and he never came out.”

Stunned, Willie says, “You’ve been spying on him?”

“Well, I’ve been watching him,” Burke says, splitting hairs.

Willie asks the obvious question. “Why?”

“Because I find Mr. Collins a very odd person,” Burke says, “and the same goes for you.”

So there you go — any last shred of sympathy that we might have had for Burke, tossed away in a weird moment of spiteful bitchery. As a general rule, if you’ve been standing outside behind a tree all night, waiting for a guy to come home, then you lose any right to call other people odd. It doesn’t matter if the guy you’re spying on turns out to be a vampire. You are part of the problem.

304 dark shadows burke willie yelling

So Burke pushes his way past Willie, and starts yelling “Collins!”  This apparently does not produce the expected results.

304 dark shadows willie burke maybe

He stomps into the drawing room.

Burke:  Where is he?

Willie:  I told you, I don’t know.

Burke:  If he’d left this house, I’d have seen him.

Willie:  Not necessarily. Maybe he went out the back way.

Burke:  Maybe.

And that’s it, you’re done. As soon as you say “maybe”, your tough guy scene is over. P.S. You didn’t win.

304 dark shadows vicki julia bonnet

Meanwhile, Julia’s in the Collinwood drawing room, idly toying with the bonnet that Sarah left behind a couple weeks ago, and she strikes up a conversation with Vicki about it.

Now, Julia is aware that the complex space-time event that we call “Sarah” is actually the ghost of Barnabas’ sister, and therefore this bonnet is kind of a clue that maybe you shouldn’t be drawing people’s attention to. It’s irresponsible, but Julia plays by her own rules.

Vicki finds the bonnet fascinating, obviously, because it looks like it comes from “the past”, but Julia points out, “This couldn’t be a family heirloom. It’s brand new.”

This raises several important questions, all of them headache-inducing. If this bonnet is made of real fabric and stitching, then it must be at least 130 years old; it couldn’t possibly look brand new. But if it’s a real physical object, how could it appear and disappear when Sarah does? If it’s not a physical object, then what are they holding? It’s bizarre.

304 dark shadows david julia bonnet

David comes into the room, and Julia invites him for a walk in the woods. Maybe they could find his little friend Sarah, and they could return the bonnet to her.

She gives the boy a huge, warm smile, and she honestly sounds like she’s pleased to spend time with him. Julia being friendly is way more scary than anybody else on the show being scary. Everything she says is a lie.

304 dark shadows david julia snipe hunt

So they head out on a little hunting expedition. David leads Julia to the spot where he’s most likely to find Sarah, but she doesn’t show. Julia tries to pump him for information, but he doesn’t have much to say.

304 dark shadows david julia hat gone

Then David thinks he hears a noise, so they get up and walk over to some nearby trees. David leaves the bonnet on a rock — and when they come back, the bonnet is gone. Sarah faked them out, and then apparently absorbed the bonnet back into the ghost dimension.

This brings up several questions, like How? and Why? and also: How? In that order.

304 dark shadows julia burke cigarette

Julia goes back to Collinwood, where she ends up in a conversation with Burke in the drawing room. They start with a nice long bit of cigarette acting, where nobody talks while they light up. Everyone’s been smoking like crazy on the show lately, and they have kids on the set. It’s a good thing second-hand smoke wasn’t dangerous back then.

Burke asks Julia what she thinks of Barnabas.

Burke:  Don’t you think he’s kind of odd?

Julia:  Odd? In what way?

Burke:  In almost every way.

Julia:  I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Burke:  Well, for one thing, have you ever seen him in the daytime?

Julia:  Why… yes.

Burke:  When?

Julia:  Oh, on several occasions. Why?

Then he gets all confused, and the conversation kind of drifts away.

304 dark shadows julia willie teamwork

But Burke mentions that he was questioning Willie earlier in the day, so Julia runs over to the Old House to confer with her co-conspirator.

Willie says that Burke asked him what kind of business Barnabas was in, and he had to say that he doesn’t know. Julia is disappointed.

Julia:  Why did you say that?

Willie:  Well, it seemed like the logical thing to say. I only work for Barnabas, why would he discuss his business deals with me?

Julia:  I wish you’d been able to think of a lie more convincing, something that would have put him off the track entirely.

But not everyone is blessed with Julia’s remarkable ability to come up with twelve lies at a moment’s notice. She says she has to do something, to keep Burke from getting more suspicious.

304 dark shadows willie julia unscooby

So this is an important little moment for the show, another milestone along the road to becoming the new-and-improved Dark Shadows. It’s the first time that we see Julia and Willie as a little team, strategizing about the best way to protect Barnabas.

Burke has appointed himself the leader of the Scooby gang, chasing down leads and spying on Barnabas’ house. But he’s being thwarted by Julia and Willie, and honestly, he’s pretty easy to thwart. All you have to say is “maybe he went out the back way,” and the Scooby gang goes home, defeated.

All of our sympathies are with Julia and Willie, because they’re funny, and fast on their feet. They’re the UnScoobies. Those meddling kids don’t stand a chance.

Tomorrow: Paranormal Activity.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Burke has a hard time with his lines in basically every scene that he’s in. His worst moments are in his scene with Julia, where he looks directly into the camera several times.

When David comes back from his walk and goes upstairs, there’s a loud squeak from the studio.

During the closing credits, a big puff of cigarette smoke blows past the camera. It happens just as Dan Curtis’ title comes up on screen.

Tomorrow: Paranormal Activity.

304 dark shadows burke camera

Dark Shadows episode guide – 1967

— Danny Horn

37 thoughts on “Episode 304: Scooby-Doo Must Die

  1. Thanks for bringing the tentative “existence” of Sarah’s ghost-bonnet. Stuff like that drives me to distraction!

    Also, Burke is such an insufferable butt. It’s awful because he’s RIGHT. Barnabas is strange and he definitely up to mischief, but man alive, Burke, back the heck off! A few episodes ago, he was hollering at Julia in the drawing room about Vicki’s obsession with the past, just attacking her mercilessly because he’s “right.” It was glorious when Julia shut him down simply by saying “I agree with you.” And good for Julia, because Burke is absolutely disagreeable.

      1. It was such a different world. I was a child then, and it seemed as if all the adults in the world smoked all the time. I always found it disgusting, and I’ve never had the urge to try it. But back then, I think they thought they looked debonaire.

        1. It’s actually one of the interesting parts of 1795, since cigarettes weren’t “invented” then or at least weren’t popular and since you didn’t “smoke cigars in front of the women” all the actors had to stop smoking on screen during the 1795 story. I think the on screen smoking petered out during the show, but I can’t really remember when. I do know that the trips through time meant they didn’t smoke on screen.

      2. Yes several of them including Barnabas smoke alot. Smoking was a thing at one time ago. All the old movies featured everybody smoking. I suppose it adds to the scenes and all. Burke’s character is really lame and Barnabas or Willie should just kick his ass. He wont come back.

  2. Secondhand smoke? Apparently David Henesy and Denise Nickerson were smoking off-camera. Who didn’t, back then?

  3. Wasn’t one of the main reasons Drunk Burke was fired was because he couldn’t remember his lines? Sober Burke makes Drunk Burke look like the Memory Game King.

    1. I don’t think it was so much that Mitch Ryan forgot his lines (which did happen) but more that he would simply show up on set drunk. And then one day when he didn’t show up at all, he was fired.

  4. Ron Sproat episodes seem to write a lot of ‘bounceback’ lines, when one character says something, and the other character just repeats the same thing, as a question. It’s something that especially irritates me with interviews on news programs. And on DS, it just takes up time. The other thing that takes up time is the need for characters to repeat their lines (“We’d better be, Doctor. We’d better be.”)

  5. Burke Devlin must die should have been the name of this show from this point on. From his creepy kissing, ever notice how much Vicki seems to push him away when he’s coming in for a smooch, to his petulance, he really has become annoying. It is funny but I think he has made Barnabas the good guy, by being such an ass.

    1. He did. Going after Barnabas was not cool in my mind. He had no reason, other than he thought him different. However, he had no right to go and demand his house be searched, or making phone calls to London. How absurb! People like that you have to get in their face and read them correctly from the beginning.

      1. Yes – all what you said, Renee, plus his audacity of asking Doc Woodard to see Maggie’s medical files, etc. First Woodard correctly refers to doctor-patient confidentiality, but then he goes ahead and discusses Maggie’s case anyway. Augghh!

      2. I completely agree that this Burke is a total loudmouthed lout. But as a character, he has plenty of reason to go after Barnabas aside from Barnabas just being “odd,” as Burke says in this episode. Burke legitimately suspects Barnabas had something to do with Maggie’s kidnapping. As a character, he’s been concerned about Maggie’s kidnapping since it happened (though it’s not entirely clear why), but now, if he suspects Barnabas is the “maniac,” then he is legitimately worried about Vicki going near him (aside from his stupid concern about Barnabas influencing Vicki’s “obsession” with “the past”).

        1. IIR, Maggie always treated Burke well when he returned to Collinsport. Also he was friends with Sam before he went to jail, so he probably knew Maggie as a kid. He actually likes Maggie, so he would care about her being kidnapped.

  6. Burke is just ugh. Every episode I wait with lessening patience for him to get bitten. Twice. In the face.

    Also, he looks like Captain Scarlet. It’s been driving me crazy trying to work out who he reminds me of, but since moving to colour, his oddly shellacked appearance finally clicked.

    (Complex space/time event! Obscure Who references F – as the kids say – TW!)

  7. Can you say, Tipping your hand? Burke attacks his enemy at their strong points and announces that he suspects something before he even knows what he suspects. Meanwhile, Burke has been keeping his suspicions to himself when talking to hoped-for allies like Vicki. It doesn’t help that he can’t figure out whether Julia is friend or foe.

  8. I love how Julia offers to look after David and then promptly books it back to the old house as soon as Vicki and Burke leave. Worst babysitter ever!

  9. What an episode! Crammed full from start to finish with solid plot points pivoting on both Sarah, Burke’s edging closer to Barnabas “discovery” and Full Reveal to Vicki.

    Solid work once again from Willie bookending the episode. When Burke brings the interrogation right to Willie’s doorstep, Willie gives it right back to him full stop. I love the sense of urgency in which Karlen delivers his lines. He really knows how to drive the pace in a scene amidst a plethora of actors that could certainly revisit CUE PICK UP 101 at their next available opportunity.

    Danny’s citation of Vicki as the “occasional governess” is really in full swing here today. She pawns David off on Julia twice in 20 minutes. Mrs. Stoddard should really dock her pay for such negligence.

    And Julia Prop Watch Continues: Five in one Episode!!! Julia Prop Watch #5 and #6, the Sarah bonnet and her gloves, respectively. Has anyone ever put on gloves more majestically or pulled on them with greater allure? And I thought between her and Vicki they were going to positively dismantle the bonnet. I’m glad Sarah “stole” it back. There would have been nothing left of it by the end of the episode otherwise.

    The question then becomes: Can Burke truly chew gum, smoke cigarettes and deliver lines at the same time? Apparently from his botched lighting of Julia’s cigarette and then forgetting to light his own, the answer is no. The camera mercifully stays on Julia while he can get his lit and continue with the scene. And then we are treated to breathy, smoke-exhalations from BOTH Julia and Burke–something you just don’t see on television anymore. Julia Prop Watch #7, #8 and #9 hits a triple slam when she manages to balance, at one point, a pencil, a book and a cigarette all at the same time. Meanwhile, Burke is looking full-on at the camera/teleprompter to somehow manage to stumble his way to the next line.

    Roger Watch: Been suspiciously MIA now for well over 3 weeks. Must have been contractually “on vacay” because he hasn’t even been mentioned. His work at the cannery must be really keeping him busy.

  10. Another thing that is driving me crazy: does anyone have CARS around here? I think Caroline is the only one I ever hear coming or going in a car (or with Buzz on the motorcycle). Does Barnabas drive? When and how did he get his license? With having to be “away on business” so much during the day, it’s a shame they didn’t have Uber or Lyft then for him to be able to move around that way. They should really address that at some point. Maybe Willie has a car……………………….

    1. We saw and heard cars quite often in the pre-Barnabas episodes. We know early Willie had a car from his initial exploits, so I assume he still has it now. Burke often mentions driving Vicky into town, and they seem to frequently take “drives along the coast.” And Barnabas will notoriously drive in the Leviathan story line.

  11. They’ve apparently packed away the coffee shop set for the time being, forcing Burke and Vicki to have their morning coffee in a dingy bar.

  12. Barnabas told Jason that he has a car, but I don’t think Barnabas really does.

    Just as in this episode, David claims he’s going upstairs to get his stamp collection, but then never returns with it. If he does have one, that seems surprisingly normal for David.

    1. The business of no one seeming to drive at Collinwood really is odd–cars provide major plot mechanics for the characters and yet people seem to move around without them for the most part.

    1. I think Julia carrying her purse here is a function of its time. I know that when I was a kid in the 1960s, my mom could barely leave the house without her purse.

  13. I’m clearly in the minority but I’m okay with Anthony George as Burke. But I’m Team Anyone who’s living in the reality based world and sees Barnabas for the scoundrel he is. Even if it is a death wish for the character, if not the whole show, I love to see Barnabas’ ass get busted. Truth’s gotta still mean something; know what I mean.
    A.G. as Jeremiah is a whole ‘nother story. The guy’s death pose was more animated than any of his living scenes.

    1. I agree with you, Marsha. I don’t get all the Barnabas love. His character is definitely interesting but he is cruel and selfish, even going back to his pre-vampire days, when he cheated on his “one true love” with a servant. Not cool!

  14. In a way, Burke’s stupidity in this episode lessened my wish that Barnabas had bitten him. When Burke was a rich, powerful, unscrupulous guy who knew how to get other people to do his dirty work for him, it seemed logical that Barnabas would try to take him under his control. Not only could he force Burke to funnel his money to him, but with his shady connections Burke could get Barnabas everything he needed to establish himself beyond suspicion, even a photo ID (with a lookalike posing for a UK passport photograph.) But if Burke is such a clumsy oaf that he personally spends the night hiding behind a tree waiting to see Barnabas going in and out of his house, it’s easy to disregard what Barnabas might have gained by enslaving him and to assign him to the same category as Sheriff Patterson.

  15. Watch Kenneth Branagh’s “A Midwinter’s Tale” (which travels under many A.K.A.s) to see an amusing scene about actors and smoking in the 1990s. Most actors have smoked. It’s a nervous job, it’s something to do with their hands; and they smoke the way fashion models do, as an appetite suppressant. The camera adds ten pounds to you, “they” say. How many of us can afford that?

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