Episode 316: The Big Bad

“Maybe, maybe! What assurance have I with maybe?”

Okay, it’s Monday, which means that it’s time to check in with our lunatic premise of the week. Unfortunately, the current scenario is so far outside the limits of normal televisual narrative that a thumbnail summary just sounds hopelessly tangled.

Here, I’ll show you. All last week, young David was trapped inside the secret room in the Collins mausoleum. He was brought there by a mysterious little girl named Sarah, who he doesn’t realize is the ghost of one of his 18th-century ancestors. She showed him the trick of getting into the secret room, so that he would see the empty coffin where Barnabas, who David doesn’t realize is a) Sarah’s big brother and b) a vampire, was chained up for 170-odd years until c) Willie let him out.

But Sarah didn’t show David how to get out of the secret room, so he was trapped for a week, until she suddenly turned up again and showed him the hidden door mechanism. As David left the mausoleum on Friday, he ran straight into Barnabas.

Now Barnabas thinks that David knows that he’s a vampire, but he doesn’t, although David does know that Barnabas thinks that David knows more than he’s saying that he knows, which he does. There, that’s you all up to date.

316 dark shadows barnabas david cane

David wants to go home, but Barnabas blocks his way and asks all kinds of perfectly ordinary non-creepy questions like, “Is there something inside the mausoleum that fascinates you?” and “Do you know what happens to little boys who lie to their elders?”

It’s supposed to be menacing, but it’s all a bit stagey, kind of Bond-villain meets the Big Bad Wolf.

The best part is when Barnabas asks why David went into the mausoleum, and David says, “I got cold, so I went in there and tried to get warm.” Barnabas points out that it’s colder in the mausoleum than it is outside, and David says, “I know, that’s why I came out again,” which is a fairly devastating stalemate.

316 dark shadows barnabas david burke

Finally, Burke shows up, and everyone gives everybody one meaningful look each, and then it’s back to the house.

This is the problem with these Sproatnapping storylines. Yeah, keeping David locked up in the mausoleum killed some time, but now it’s a week later and they still have to come up with something to do, so what was the point?

316 dark shadows roger david thoughtful

Back at home, Roger tries to quiz his son about his ordeal, but doesn’t get very far. David chews on a thoughtful sandwich and changes the subject.

Roger:  I would like to know what you were doing in that mausoleum.

David:  I already told you.

Roger:  Well, that answer didn’t make very much sense. A mausoleum is hardly the place to go to get warm.

David:  I never thought about that. Barnabas is mysterious, isn’t he, father?

Roger:  Let’s get back to what happened to you.

David:  You know… we don’t know anything about him. He just showed up one night.

It’s a great moment. It’s like the “logical explanation” spell was suddenly broken, and David just realized how bizarre his life is.

316 dark shadows willie barnabas maybe

Meanwhile, over at Crazytown central, Barnabas is pacing around the Old House, trying to psyche himself up to kill a ten-year-old. Get used to this conversation; you’re going to be hearing a lot of this for the rest of the week.

Barnabas:  We know he went out to look for Sarah in a secret place. That could be the secret chamber of the mausoleum. If he got in, Sarah had to help him, and she probably explained everything to him.

Willie tries to reassure him.

Willie:  Maybe she didn’t tell him anything.

Barnabas erupts into pure, anguished Fridspeak.

Barnabas:  Maybe, maybe! What assurance have I with maybe?

And that’s pretty much how things are going to go for a while. Sorry, I know I promised on Friday that Barnabas was going to murder David, but it looks like that’s been delayed. Maybe tomorrow.

Tomorrow: The X-Files.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Barnabas is usually keeping one eye on the teleprompter, but it’s especially noticeable in his scene with David in the graveyard. He looks directly into the camera twice during close-ups.

Roger tells Vicki, “I can’t understand it. He couldn’t have traveled very fast — very far in these woods.”

Barnabas says to Willie, “He didn’t have to tell me. I knew it by the way he looked at me… and by his lies in answering my questions.”

Tomorrow: The X-Files.

316 dark shadows barnabas window

Dark Shadows episode guide – 1967

— Danny Horn

10 thoughts on “Episode 316: The Big Bad

    1. Yep. One of my favorite exchanges of the pre-Barnabus eps:

      DAVID: I wouldn’t lie to you.

      MATTHEW MORGAN (Thayer David): You lie to everyone.

    2. Makes me wonder just a little bit if David isn’t actually somehow related to the queen of lies, half-truths, and misdirection …eh, Julia? 😉

  1. During the scene in David’s bedroom, we see the Major Matt Mason Deluxe Action Set, in all its polypropylene glory, behind David. The Space Crawler mounts atop the station, and its towing cable functions as a winch.
    And I am green with envy.

    1. Ah, you beat me to it…by about three and a half years. The presence of the MMM set means that David is now officially a Really Cool Kid despite whatever dorky things he may do in the future. I’ll bet Barnabas and Willie don’t have anything this cool to play with.

  2. My favorite scene is the first appearance of the creepy Barnabas looking out the window. It really is a classic scene, which I assume the directors liked also because they cannot get enough of it later on.

    1. Well he is not getting any daytime sleep and doesnt quite know what to do with himself. It is his own making however. He is learning though.

  3. It seemed to me that there was a moment in the Barnabas/David scene where both actors forgot their lines, or didn’t know who was supposed to speak next.

  4. I just need to complain about something: The caretaker obviously isn’t tending to the grounds of the cemetery. And Willy has managed to polish the door knockers to a high gloss, but he can’t clear those dead vines off the house? Details, friends…details.

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