“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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Danny Horn