Episode 338: Think Like a Woman

“Stop thinking like a woman, and start thinking like a doctor.”

Here’s a lesson from Supervillain 101: Don’t sacrifice your only henchman.

I know it’s tempting, but seriously, try to keep it together. Willie was kind of a pain sometimes — prone to backchat, and not fully committed to the corporate vision — but on the upside, he did the occasional perimeter check.

So here’s Dr. Woodard, leaving the Old House after a mutually threatening conversation with Barnabas. He bumps into Julia on his way out, and says good night. As soon as she enters the house, Woodard takes four steps over to the window, and helps himself to their conversation.

Barnabas really should have a more complex security protocol by now. This is not a new problem.

Of course, it’s not easy to keep things on the D.L. in a soap opera, because the format requires a level of exposition usually reserved for 24-hour cable news channels. It doesn’t matter if you’re hiding from the Nazis, and an SS patrol is walking by with sniffer dogs and infrared goggles. You’re a soap opera character, and you never stop talking.

338 dark shadows julia barnabas feels

Obviously, the first item on Barnabas and Julia’s agenda is What Does Woodard Know. Barnabas has been playing Threat Whac-A-Mole for the last two months solid, and I think it’s wearing thin on all of us.

But then the conversation takes an unexpected turn toward the feels.

Barnabas:  Dr. Hoffman, my existence has been won at great cost. It is very precious to me.

Julia:  It’s… very important to me too, Barnabas.

This is incredibly peculiar. Today’s episode returns to the Julia Hearts Barnabas theme in a big way, and I’m not sure why.

Julia’s crush on Barnabas makes a lot more sense later on in the series, when they face some challenges together as a team, and he starts acting in a more positive and less selfish way. At the moment, however, he’s the guy who strangled Julia twice in the last month, including just a week ago. This brings up some serious questions about what she’s looking for in a life partner.

338 dark shadows julia barnabas reactive

And frankly, he hasn’t been a particularly romantic figure lately. With all these Whac-A-Mole plots, he’s become entirely reactive, just bouncing from one threat to another — Burke, Maggie, David, Willie and now Dr. Woodard.

Worse, he’s hardly even done anything about these threats. Looking back at the last couple months, Barnabas has only taken real action twice.

First, there was the bat attack in David’s room, which was phenomenal. But the only other positive action he’s taken lately is when he complained to Vicki about Burke, and got her to stop Burke’s investigation. That was an effective way to solve the problem, but when you get down to it, it’s just tattling.

Most of the time, Barnabas has just been standing around in the Old House, fretting. The monster has become a whiner. It’s not super attractive.

Barnabas used to be a guy who made plans. I mean, sure, his plans were psychotic,  but at least he had a reason to get up in the evening.

338 dark shadows julia barnabas talking

And then he says this.

Barnabas:  He knows you’re a doctor. He knows, therefore, that something in this house interests you medically.

Julia:  Oh, I don’t think you should assume that.

Barnabas:  Stop thinking like a woman, and start thinking like a doctor.

Which is crazy. Now, I don’t need to get into a feminist critique here, because it’s almost 50 years later, and everybody reading this blog understands how patronizing that is. But the weird thing is that even with my hypothetical 1967 worldview plugged in, I don’t really understand what he means.

After all, he’s the one who’s being emotional right now. She’s actually fairly blasé about the whole situation; if he dropped the subject, she’d just head down to her basement laboratory, and start messing around with make-believe chemistry.

338 dark shadows woodard listening

But they’ve come up with some new material, which is nice. Barnabas is suddenly worried about the notes that Julia’s been keeping about her experiments.

Barnabas:  I want you to destroy them.

Julia:  Destroy them? Why?

Barnabas:  Why do you think? I don’t want him to find them.

Julia:  He couldn’t possibly find them. They’re locked in a strongbox in my room.

That’s a pretty skillful little bit of writing, because it’s new information, for Barnabas and for us. Usually on a soap opera, when there’s an eavesdropping character, everybody has to start using “As you know” statements, where you go over your entire plan one more time, including full names and zip codes.

338 dark shadows poor barnabas

Then there’s another dramatic tone shift. Barnabas says that Woodard mentioned his sister, Sarah.

Julia:  What did you do?

Barnabas:  I looked at him as though he were mad, utterly mad. Then I felt myself growing pale, and I forced the blood back into my cheeks, so that he wouldn’t suspect how near to panic I was.

Julia rests her hand on his shoulder.

Julia:  Poor Barnabas.

Which is possibly the most surprising thing that could have happened in this scene, outside of a gas main exploding. Did anybody see a “poor Barnabas” coming?

338 dark shadows julia barnabas emo

And then he just goes full-on emo.

Barnabas:  Yes, poor Barnabas… forced to deny one of the two things in this whole world that matters to him most.

338 dark shadows julia barnabas upstage

He turns, and walks upstage.

Barnabas:  Wherever you are, little Sarah, forgive me for having denied you, for not being able to look at him and speak the truth. Yes, Dr. Woodard, Sarah Collins is my sister… and the dearest creature that ever walked this Earth.

And there you have it — Barnabas Collins, master of the mood swing, dazzling us once again with the variety and intensity of his feelings.

So, what the hell. Things are going to get pretty dark by the end of the week, so this is probably a nice moment to take a breath, rest your hand on the monster’s shoulder, and — just for a little while — think like a woman.

Tomorrow: The End of Everything.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

In the final scene in Dr. Woodard’s office, he tells Julia, “Yes, I’ve given much too time — much too much time and thought to this Sarah Collins business.”

There’s also a moment when he opens a desk drawer and dramatically pulls out a piece of paper. It’s obvious that the single sheet of paper is the only thing in the huge drawer, which is amusing.


Behind the Scenes:

Also in this episode: Liz invites Vicki and Burke to live in the West Wing of Collinwood after they’re married. Burke jokes, “What about strange old Collins skeletons — any of those tucked away in the closets?” As we’ll see in December 1968, there really is a skeleton hidden in the West Wing…

Tomorrow: The End of Everything.

338 dark shadows woodard wow

Dark Shadows episode guide – 1967

— Danny Horn

6 thoughts on “Episode 338: Think Like a Woman

  1. This is an interesting period for the show because, as you point out, Barnabas is transitioning from the mysterious villain to the brooding anti-hero, romantic lead. Even before Burke Devlin is written off the series, he starts to come across as the Javert/Gerard antagonist pursuing our protagonist Barnabas rather than a white hat pursuing a bad guy. Our sympathies are now with the devil.

    However, they can’t really have their romantic lead killing people (at least not yet*), so he exists in a holding pattern. Once Julia Hoffman arrives, even his diabolical plans for Maggie, Willie, David, and Burke are all mostly rooted in self-preservation. He wants to become human and marry Vicki. That’s a dramatic (and far more appealing) change from his original plans for Maggie, which was to kill her and make her a vampire. You get the impression that he cares for and understands Vicki more than Burke does.

    Unfortunately, we don’t get an actual antagonist again until Angelique in 1795, so Barnabas and Julia have to function as both for roughly three months. (As of episode 291, Barnabas’s plan shifts to one that is not overtly evil — he just wants to be human and loved.)

    *The irony is that once Barnabas is the clear protagonist during the 1897, 1970, 1970 PT storylines, he kills far more people than he does during this static period. He’s arguably the Big Bad with the lowest body count (Jason Maguire and Dave Woodard). The former is hardly an innocent and the latter is treated with more moral weight than, say, the death of Carl Collins or Dirk Wilkins.

  2. I think his plans for Vicki are still pretty grim — he says “I want her to come to me as Josette.” It’s not super clear what that means, but it doesn’t sound healthy.

    I totally agree that Barnabas seems to appreciate and understand Vicki better than Burke does. Burke was constantly criticizing Vicki for having feelings that he didn’t approve of.

  3. The scenes with Julia and Barnabas in the old house look how green they are, her clothing, his smoking jacket, the curtains, the walls .

  4. Stuff is getting a little cra-cra. Is Julia really falling for Barnabas, she does touch him, I believe for the first time other than during a medical procedure, a usual tell of a woman’s interest. She even admits it to Woodard, although knowing Julia, this is probably a ploy. What is more interesting is Barnabas’ compliment about her being the most brilliant student in her med class, and her apparent pleased reaction. Is Barnabas now trying to charm her to get her to do his bidding and possibly agree to offing Woodard, or is he succombing to her powers of seduction. Of course this could all be just the writers trying to make the series more like the other soaps and give the viewers what they are used to.

    1. She does touch Barnabas but I think her comment was sarcastic and another round where she has the upper hand. She likes watching him squirm. He crushes her heart at every turn.

  5. Julia is definitely crushing on Barnabas. She looks so hurt when Barnabas says that Woodard is foolish to imagine that he and Julia could be an item.

    Also, again with Vicki as idiot. She knows that Woodard is anxious to see Burke but she doesn’t tell Burke that Woodard came by looking for him. More important things are going on in Vicki-world.

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