“Some people see pink elephants. He saw Sarah Collins.”
Young David has been running around for the last couple of weeks telling everyone some inconvenient truths, like for example that his cousin Barnabas is dead and sleeps in a coffin in his basement. This has not been the rocket sled to popularity that you might expect. Eyebrows have been raised.
But David has an adult ally, at last — Dr. Dave Woodard, who’s finally realized that something weird is going on. Unfortunately, the actor who plays Woodard just left the show unexpectedly, and the part has been recast in a hurry. Let’s see how it goes.
Dr. Woodard has returned to the Eagle HIll cemetery, to see the Collins family mausoleum. He meets the ghost of Sarah Collins in the crypt, and things get appropriately cryptic.
Sarah: I knew you were going to be here.
Woodard: How did you know that?
Sarah: The same way I know everything else.
Now, I’ve had mixed feelings about this sort of thing. There have definitely been episodes where Sarah feels like a real little girl, especially when she interacts with Maggie. But there have also been times when her choices just don’t make any sense. Why did she bring David to the secret room to see the empty coffin — thereby putting him in danger — and then leave him trapped there for two days? Sometimes she’s a real character, and sometimes she’s just plot contrivance.
Today, they need to deploy Sarah carefully — they want to keep the plot moving, but not too fast. Woodard is on the path to learning the truth about Barnabas, but we’ve got a whole week to get there, so Sarah can’t just let go of all her secrets at once. The struggle here is to find a way to present that as a conflict for the character.
Sarah sits down, perching herself on her mother’s coffin. By the way, are mausoleums usually hands-on like this, where it’s okay to sit down on the graves? I don’t have a wide experience with mausoleums; maybe they’re supposed to be more like IKEA showrooms than I’d assumed.
Sarah: I’m mad at David.
Woodard: Because he told your secret?
Woodard: I think he had to tell it. Can you understand that?
Sarah: Because he was afraid, just like Maggie was afraid?
Woodard: That’s right.
Sarah: Do you know why Maggie and David are so frightened?
Woodard: No, I don’t. Sarah, I’m hoping that you’re going to be a very good little girl… and tell me.
Woodard leans forward anxiously. This is starting to look a lot like a “Kids Say the Darndest Things” segment on Art Linkletter’s House Party, if they didn’t pay the lighting bill and if Art Linkletter was replaced by someone who’s even more irritating.
Because he’s awful, this new Dave Woodard. Just unacceptable. Look at how he keeps leaning closer to Sarah, as if he’s going to get the information faster if he puts his ear right up to her mouth.
Dude is indicating all over the place. I’m going to need 20 cc’s of Stanislavski, stat.
Woodard: It is your flute that David found, isn’t it?
Sarah: Of course.
Woodard: We didn’t believe him when he told us that. In fact, many people don’t believe anything that David says. They think he tells lies, and is very sick.
Sarah: I was sick once.
Woodard: Sarah, when was that? How long ago?
It’s not easy to describe Woodard’s vocal performance here; the best I can do is “quiet hollering”. This should be a moment of spiritual astonishment, as if the rules of the physical universe have changed into something unrecognizable. Instead, he’s acting like he found this girl lost in the supermarket, and he’s trying to find out her mommy’s name so he can announce it over the loudspeaker.
Here’s another annoying thing that he does.
Woodard: When you were sick, something happened, didn’t it?
There’s a pause. Sarah has forgotten her line. And just at the wrong moment, he tries to fill in for her, and ends up talking over her.
Sarah: Did David —
Woodard: David told me that.
Woodard: Yes, he did.
He did a similar thing yesterday, with Elizabeth. She said, “Let’s hope that we’re closer to a situation now than we were before,” and he corrected her: “A solution, I’m sure we are.”
This is not a helpful way to behave. It looks like you’re shaming the other actor for messing up their line. He needs to stop doing that.
They get into some true or false questions.
Woodard: Sarah, look, you’re all alone on the earth, aren’t you?
Woodard: It must be very lonely for you at times.
Woodard: But not when you’re with David. When you’re playing with David, you’re not lonely, are you?
Woodard: Well, if they put David away, then you’ll be all alone again, for a very long time. You wouldn’t like that, would you?
Your honor! Counsel is leading the witness.
And then he says the weirdest thing of all.
Woodard: Then, if you please me, I’ll promise that no one will put David away.
That’s what he says. I listened to it twelve times to make sure. Clearly, that can’t be the scripted line, but I have no idea what it could have been. “If you please me?” That sounds super not correct.
Anyway, she shows him how to get into the secret room, and he says, “One more thing that David didn’t lie about.” Which I guess is a sentence.
At a certain point, she just stops talking, and then the rest of the scene is a monologue as he figures out what the room is for. This is not a pleasant thing to watch; it does not please me. He keeps stammering and indicating.
Woodard: No, no… This coffin wasn’t always empty. Someone was buried here. I know that now. Yes… someone that wouldn’t stay dead. Someone whose desire to return to life was so strong, they had to wrap him in chains!
That’s actually a nice line, but at this point, he’s burned through all of my goodwill. And apparently Sarah feels the same way, because she skedaddles as soon as he turns his back.
So we’d like to thank Sarah Collins for being our guest on tonight’s show. After the break, we’ll be back with more Late Night with Dave.
Tomorrow: Time to Kill.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
When Vicki opens the door at Collinwood for Dr. Woodard, you can see a camera at the right side of the frame. This happens again a minute later when Julia comes in.
Woodard goes seriously off-book for a minute when he’s talking to Julia in the study:
Julia: Dr. Fisher is a good psychiatrist; he believes that David is hallucinating. Surely, you have to give some credence to Fisher.
Woodard: Yes, and to Sam Evans, but you keep dismissing the fact that Sam saw the child.
Tomorrow: Time to Kill.
— Danny Horn