“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.
So Burke pushes his way past Willie, and starts yelling “Collins!” This apparently does not produce the expected results.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Julia: Oh, on several occasions. Why?
Then he gets all confused, and the conversation kind of drifts away.
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.
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.
— Danny Horn