Episode 352: Disturbed Children

“This room could play an important and perhaps tragic part in your life, if you let it.”

Happy Halloween, everyone! Today’s episode aired on October 31, 1967 — not that you can tell from watching the episode, because they don’t mention it. But Carolyn seems to be getting into the holiday spirit — she wakes up early, walks downstairs to the foyer, stands in front of Barnabas’ portrait, and brushes her fingers across her brand-new gaping neck wound.

352 dark shadows carolyn david wakeup

But she doesn’t really have time to waste just standing around airing out her new accessories. As of last night, Carolyn is now the devoted servant of her vampire cousin, and like any new employee on their first day, she’s enthusiastic and eager to please.

Her first task: Discredit David. He’s been going around lately telling everyone that Cousin Barnabas has a coffin in the Old House basement, which has caused Barnabas a good deal of inconvenience. You can’t have that kind of thing going on.

So Carolyn goes up to David’s room, and she wakes him up, in order to tell him that she’s terribly worried about him. That’s probably a good sign that today is not going to be your day.

Now, this is a tricky assignment for Carolyn, because just a few days ago, she told David that she’d met the ghost of Sarah Collins, and she was convinced that David’s stories were true. Now she has to tell him exactly the opposite. How is she going to explain this obvious contradiction, in a way that he’ll accept?

352 dark shadows david carolyn denial

Oh, wait — I forgot. He’s a kid. You can tell him anything you want.

David:  Cousin Barnabas wants to kill me!

Carolyn:  Oh, David, that’s ridiculous! Barnabas isn’t capable of killing anyone. It’s only in your imagination.

David:  How can you say it’s my imagination? You saw Sarah. She told you everything I was saying was true!

Carolyn:  David, I’m afraid you’re not the only one with a vivid imagination.

352 dark shadows david bodysnatchers

It’s not a very good lie, really, but it doesn’t need to be. She tells him that if he keeps talking this way, Elizabeth will send him to a home for mentally disturbed children.

And that about wraps it up; item #1 is crossed off the to-do list. This is a remarkably effective smackdown, too — this is David’s only scene today, and after this, we don’t see him for another two weeks.

It wasn’t that long ago that David’s storyline was dominating the show, but they have an exciting new love triangle to focus on now, and they need to clear the decks. So for now, at least, the score is Hypnotized Blood Slaves: 1, Disturbed Children: 0.

352 dark shadows carolyn julia concern

The real focus of the show for the next couple of weeks is right here — the rivalry between Carolyn and Julia. And who saw that one coming? A week ago, they had exactly nothing to do with each other. Look at them now.

Carolyn:  You didn’t answer my question. I asked you what you were doing.

Julia:  I was just comparing these pieces of crystal from the chandelier in the west wing.

Carolyn:  Are you that interested in old chandeliers?

So I know that it’s probably super sexist to say this just because two women are having a disagreement about something, but: meow. I’m sorry, I can’t help it. This scene is clearly constructed specifically to push the “catfight” button.

352 dark shadows carolyn julia sorry meow

But nobody steps up to Dr. Julia Hoffman. Watch and learn.

Carolyn says that she thought Barnabas was going to help Vicki with the west wing.

Julia smiles, and speaks slowly, as if she’s talking to an idiot child: “Vicki asked me if I’d compare them, and I saw no reason to refuse her.”

“Oh,” Carolyn says, outflanked.

Julia cocks her head, and looks at Carolyn’s face. “You look tired,” she says. “Did you get much sleep last night?”

Meow! I’m sorry, I know. I’m only human.

352 dark shadows vicki crystal

And we might as well enjoy the low-intensity catfighting, because Barnabas isn’t on the show today, and honestly, it’s mostly filler. There’s a huge sequence here where Julia hypnotizes Vicki with the crystal, and it’s basically a word-for-word repeat of the hypnotism sequence that they did last week.

I enjoyed this scene the first time, because it was a strange, delightful surprise. We had no idea what Julia was going to do next. But this time, as soon as we see Julia holding the crystal, we know exactly what’s going to happen, and we have to run through the whole thing all over again.

This is an unfortunate tendency that crops up every now and then, when they don’t quite have enough story to fill the week — they make up a goofy, slow ritual, and then repeat it over several episodes, as if the repetition will make it more interesting. It doesn’t. It makes the audience contemplate self-harm.

My people — the Disturbed Children — we have a name for this kind of thing. We call it the Dream Curse. Someday you will learn what this means, and it will cause you pain. And you will pass it on to your own disturbed children, because that’s how life is sometimes.

Hey, I wonder if David ever managed to get back to sleep? Maybe we should go and check.

Tomorrow: The “I Have a Dream” Speech.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

The first blooper today is a good one; you should go check it out. After the opening titles, Carolyn goes to David’s room and wakes him up. Just as she’s saying, “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” the camera starts to roll to the right — as if they’ve parked it on a steep hill, and forgot to put the parking brake on. So our view drifts over to the right, until it hits the edge of the set, and they manage to get it under control again.

In the first scene of act 2, a fly lands on Carolyn’s head, and stays there for the rest of the scene. We first see it when she tells Julia, “Barnabas asked me to help him, and that’s the way it’s going to be.” The camera cuts to Julia for a couple of lines, but when we cut back to Carolyn, the fly is still exploring her hair-do. It crawls around to the back of her head. Amusingly, in the next shot she makes a dramatic exit from the room, with the fly visibly tagging along on the back of her head.

After Carolyn goes upstairs, there’s an obvious flm splice — the ugly scar of a rare moment of actually doing a retake. Vicki walks up by the drawing room door, and Julia says, “Oh, Vicki…” And then there’s an awkward edit, which makes it look like Vicki instantaneously stopped, pivoted and teleported forward a couple of steps. If that’s what an edit looks like in 1967, then we should be thankful that they just kept the cameras running most of the time.

Tomorrow: The “I Have a Dream” Speech.

352 dark shadows carolyn portrait

Dark Shadows episode guide – 1967

— Danny Horn

28 thoughts on “Episode 352: Disturbed Children

    1. Oh, why did I even bring it up. Now I’ve just made everyone sad. How about this: You will never forget about the Dream Curse, and you will never remember it. Now try to find the center of this crystal. Etc.

  1. I stumbled upon your blog last night and I’m really enjoying your reviews. I’m going to start reviewing DS myself soon, although not with quite the detail that you provide, unfortunately. Excellent job!

      1. Danny,when does the DS portrait, man with mustache make his first appearance? LOVE♥ your recaps. Have done NOTHING else for days except read them. Thank you.

          1. I meant like the Afghan, there is a portrait of a man with a mustache, that is hung on walls all over Collinsport, from present to past to parallel time. He looks to be from the late 19th century. Thanks for answering, fyi. I also would like to add the same blue sheets are used in various boudoirs also from century to century. So anachronistic! I will try to find episode the portrait is in. This is my 3rd , time watching the full DS series. Prob with a break of 20 years in between. It’s amazing what I remember and have forgotten. I am am at episode 1160, so reading your fabulous blogs is helpinge extend journey number 3. Thankyou again

            1. Oh, I don’t think I know about that portrait — I’ve never noticed it! Can you tell me an episode number where I can see it? I do love the reused props.

              1. Hi Danny, I don’t have an episode number for the portrait, I know he is in the antique shop of Phillip and Eve, during the Leviathan debacle, and that was not my first sighting of him. Sorry im so vague.Such trivia fascinates me too. Have great day 🙂

                  1. I know the portrait the poster above is referring to. The man in the portrait looks like he belongs on a box of Smith Brothers cough drops. There actually is a connection to Nicholas Blair with this portrait. After Cassandra makes her exit and Nicholas decides to take up residence in a house nearby, they wind up renting him one of the Collins houses by the sea. When Roger accompanies Nicholas to show him the house, the portrait is there in the front room, on the far wall behind the sofa. I think that is the portrait’s first appearance, and can indeed be spotted in numerous episodes after.

                    1. It shows up at dr. Stokes. House also. It does disappear for a while but comes back in a different frame, square instead of round, in 1840. There it is intermittently on the drawing room wall. The guy def looks like a Smith bro. Thanks for confirming.:-)

                    2. The portrait can also be seen in 1840 in the courtroom during Quentin’s trial for witchcraft. When they show camera angles from the front of the witness stand or the prosecutor’s table, it is there on the back wall just to the left of the door. And, indeed, there is a gold-embossed addition to the bottom that makes the frame look square, when before it was round.

  2. So much, if not all, of the series’s “camp” reputation (and camp in a derisive way not in a glorious Grayson Hall scream or Grayson Hall as Magda way) comes from the Dream Curse/Adam storyline, I think.

  3. “So I know that it’s probably super sexist to say this just because two women are having a disagreement about something, but: meow. I’m sorry, I can’t help it. This scene is clearly constructed specifically to push the “catfight” button.”

    Never apologize for telling the truth.

  4. The director missed a trick here. They could have really played up the vampire slave angle by having Nancy Barrett eat that fly in Act 2.

  5. I love Nancy Barrett as the laser-focused, enthusiastic vampire slave. I am loving the whole Barnasbas/Julia/Carolyn thing.

    Each Barnabas victim — Willie, Maggie and Carolyn — has had a different reaction to the attack, especially Carolyn.

  6. It’s rich that David gets upset at Carolyn for breaking her promise and going to the old house to do some investigating, when it was just a week or so back that David broke his promise and went to the old house to do some investigating.

  7. It would have been interesting to have had a female writer for this Carolyn/Julia battle for Barnabas. The lines written for both don’t really have the venom or fire you would really see in a true middle aged vs younger woman tete-a-tete. Nancy I think would probably have cleaned Grayson’s clock if the words were stronger especially since her facial expressions are much more varied than Grayson’s constant look of frustration.

  8. That post-hypnotic suggestion: you will remember this but you will also forget, do you understand? No, nobody in or out of a trance could understand! Good thing Dr. Hoffman clarifies here that “your subconscious” will remember but your conscious mind will forget.

    Since we are in the plot doldrums for a while, I have noticed things about costume changes and their colors. No, bear with me, this is really interesting. To me, anyway.

    Episode 350 is in color, 351 and 352 are not. (Since I had only a B/W TV in 1967, I have never seen 351, my first DS episode, in color.) We know from 350 that Carolyn is wearing a blue skirt with a lighter blue top when she is ravaged by Barnabas. In B/W it looks like she changes, in 351, into a dark, blackish business-like dress with a very light scarf when she gets up at dawn to worship Barnabas’ portrait. (A couple of episodes she goes through this ritual at beginning and/or end of episode.) Fortunately for those of us who care about the colors of her clothes, she wears this dark dress through the next couple of episodes so we get to learn that her business dress is dark blue and her light scarf has a pinkish pattern. Vicki’s outfits are also worn over B?W and color episodes so that we get to find out the colors of her clothes, too.

    This issue of Carolyn’s costume changes becomes more interesting in episodes 357 to 358.

  9. Ok…this is really bugging me now and I’ve got to get it off my chest. Vicki is doing the narrative at the opening of this episode. She’s intimating—to us the audience—of the latest supernatural heat that’s been slightly turned up on the burner. So…does this mean that Vicki knows of the Collins secrets like we the audience do? Makes me think what else does she know? Does she know even more than we do if she’s filling us in on what’s going on? Is it just me, or when characters in a show narrate the opening of the story to the audience (e.g., “previously on Grey’s Anatomy” or ER or whatever) it’s kind of breaking the 3rd wall in a way, isn’t it? Vicki is consistently one of the more clueless and naive characters on DS. For her (or any of the DS characters for that matter) to be reporting to us in narration some of the show’s most secretly nefarious facts almost as they’re happening (and at times about to happen) really makes no sense if you think about it.

    1. By this time in the series, the opening narrations are no longer spoken in character. Once they stopped “My name is Victoria Winters,” the idea was that they were more general narrations. However, there are numerous episodes–like this one–where this tends to be violated as the narrator speaks in the first person (“we,” “us,” “our”). (And it’s the fourth wall, not third. 🙂 )

  10. Is it me or is this the NOISIEST television set on record? There is always someone dropping something, clearing their throat, coughing, fires breaking out, rapacious flies and other wild anomalies. It’s as much fun to watch the show for these things as it is for the show’s actual content and acting.

    Great to have the Collinsport Fly return for a guest appearance in this episode. I still don’t think anything will top the Willie/Julia/Barnabas fly from a few months back. But I think there are other fly appearances coming in the future?

    The catfight and the dialogue and the deliveries between Julia and Carolyn are really spectacular. Both women are truly at the top of their game here.

    Yes, the hypnosis rehash is wearisome and adds a completely loony trajectory to the proceedings. You would think that Vicki would run like hell when she saw Doctor Hoffman walking around and carrying a crystal in her hands. I am sure they went psychedelic again with the special effects so it’s a shame that we only have this episode in black and white.

    If David doesn’t return for a couple of weeks, we can certainly allow him the opportunity to reclaim his school life and whatever else a talented 10-year old probably has going on. He has been really fantastic in the show the last few months.

    Finally, the long delay before Vicki enters from the kitchen is fantastic, and then accented by the fact that the door issues a huge SQUEAK as she comes in (I think she knows she missed the cue), but the jump splice edit is so disjointed. I had to run it back a couple of times to make sure that I knew what I had just seen. I wish someone would put together a blooper reel of just these kind of moments. My favorite was Roger on the landing a few months ago trying to get the door to open to go offstage (I think it was Roger).

  11. When you are under vampiric mental domination, you have to walk up and down stairs very carefully without moving your arms. Nancy Barrett is enjoying herself, though, you can tell.

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