Episode 354: Haunted House of Cards

“In order to be his bride, you must die.”

Julia looks up from her book. “Carolyn?”

“Yes?” Carolyn says, sorting the mail.

“Is it really necessary to follow me around?”

Carolyn shrugs. “Is that what I was doing?”

Julia gets up from her chair with a sigh. “Well,” she says, “You came into the dining room while I was having my breakfast. I went for a walk, and saw you in the distance. Then I went into the study for a moment, and you wandered in. And now, here you are.”

In other words: We’re not going to get a lot accomplished on the show today. So we might as well relax, and have some fun.

354 dark shadows julia carolyn circles

Because they’re wonderful, these two. I had issues with yesterday’s episode, and I’ll have very similar issues with today’s, because we’re really just stalling until Friday. But I have no issues with the runway competition currently underway in the drawing room.

Carolyn:  I went to the study to get a book, and I came in here to put the mail on my mother’s desk. Isn’t that all right with you?

Julia:  (another heavy sigh.)

Carolyn:  Or do you think I should be restricted to certain rooms in my own house?

Carolyn is phenomenal. She’s been fantasy-metaphor raped, by the way. A lifeless ghoul pretending to be her cousin attacked her, drank her blood and took up residence in what used to be her immortal soul, but if they feel like playing that as a comedy, then that works for me.

354 dark shadows carolyn roger liz

And Nancy Barrett is clearly having a good time. This is the best material she’s had in months. She gets to be funny, and scary, and secretive.

After Julia goes upstairs, Liz and Roger come into the drawing room, and they tell Carolyn that they’re sending David away to Boston for a little while. Liz wants to make sure that Carolyn’s okay with the decision — a few days ago, she was convinced that they shouldn’t send David away.

Liz:  You even said that some of the things he was saying might not be in his imagination.

Carolyn:  Of course they’re his imagination. They must be.

And she gives a dramatic eye roll.

Vicki’s going to Boston with David, and Roger suggests that Carolyn join them. Now she gets a moment to play desperate, trying to come up with an excuse to stay here and keep helping Barnabas. She’s all over the map, and it’s really fun to watch.

354 dark shadows vicki julia crystals

And then the bad thing happens. Julia gets a moment alone with Vicki, and darn it if she doesn’t pull some pieces of crystal out of her pocket. That’s your cue to go and get a sandwich, or maybe take up gardening.

Because this is the third time they’ve done this scene. Julia used one of these crystals to hypnotize Vicki last week, and then take her over to the Old House to plant a subliminal fear of Barnabas in her subconscious. They did the second round just two days ago, and now we’re doing it again; an eight-minute sequence smack in the middle of the episode that involves walking over to the Old House, standing in front of a coffin, and talking really slowly.

354 dark shadows vicki julia resist

“In order to be his bride, you must die,” Julia says, showing Vicki the coffin in the Old House basement that Barnabas plans for her. Vicki protests that she’ll never be his bride.

Julia says, “You must resist him — no matter what he says, no matter what he does. You must resist his will.” Yeah, cause you’re clearly amazing at that.

354 dark shadows carolyn trenchcoat

But Carolyn has followed them, wearing an outstanding trenchcoat and acting super sneaky. Seeing that is almost worth the whole sequence. Except it isn’t.

354 dark shadows barnabas carolyn

But now we’re going to get somewhere. Carolyn tells Barnabas about what she saw.

“So, Julia has finally turned against me,” Barnabas says. “I never thought her capable of being so foolhardy.”

Carolyn grins, like the mad woman she is. “Are you going to kill her?” she asks.

Barnabas grimaces. “Perhaps. Or perhaps, she will meet a worse fate. Much worse!”

Okay! Finally. It took us all week, but we got there at last.

Tomorrow: Julia Hoffman Must Die!

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

At the very start of the show, Barnabas and Carolyn are standing in the Old House foyer. The camera is shooting from lower down, to keep the tiny Nancy Barrett in shot, and you can see the top of the set and the studio lights.

Roger asks Liz why Vicki would object to leaving Collinwood. Liz says, “Because they know — she knows that they’ll notify her if there’s any news about Burke.”

When Vicki and Julia are talking in the drawing room, Carolyn comes by to tell them that she’s going into town for a while. There’s some loud studio noise; it sounds like something falls over.

Barnabas pronounces the word “foolhardy” with a T sound — “foolhearty”.

Carolyn is in the hall, listening to Vicki and Julia talk in the Old House basement cell. When Julia turns to leave, we can see Carolyn dashing past the window grate to hide, and she’s clearly in Julia’s line of sight.

Behind the Scenes:

Roger urges Carolyn to go to Boston with David, saying, “I’m sure Aunt Catherine would arrange for you to go out to dozens of parties while you’re there.” This is the only time on the series that we hear of Aunt Catherine, or any present-day Collins family members who live outside of Collinsport.

There’s a 2012 Big Finish audio play called A Collinwood Christmas, which features a character named Catherine Collins, but she’s the wife of Jamison Collins, and Roger and Liz’s mother. So if that was supposed to be a Dark Shadows nerd reference, then they got it wrong anyway. But I suppose it wouldn’t be a Dark Shadows project if you got everything right.

Tomorrow: Julia Hoffman Must Die!

354 dark shadows carolyn blooper

Dark Shadows episode guide – 1967

— Danny Horn

21 thoughts on “Episode 354: Haunted House of Cards

  1. I must admit to taking some kind of masochistic glee whenever Vicki is hypnotized. If she wasn’t such a bubblehead they wouldn’t be able to get away with it over and over and over again. Mind you, she does look adorable in that blue dress with the yellow ribbon.

  2. Great recap. Glad you share my love of the trenchcoat. I recall back in 1999, someone on the DS usenet boards referred to Carolyn in this episode as “Secret Agent Dawn.”

    I’m not sure if you were aware of the storyline’s progression when you made the drug allusion in the 351 recap, but they are definitely depicting Carolyn as an addict, who will do anything for her “fix” — lying, stealing, abandoning friends and family — at the cost of her prior interests and allegiances.

    There’s even an upcoming scene when her “dealer” pimps her out for his own purposes. It’s a chilling scene.

    It’s interesting that the writers would mention an “Aunt Catherine” — unless it’s a HIMYM style use of the word (and Roger and Liz don’t seem to have many close friends), the only aunt Roger and Liz have is Nora Collins, who’s introduced during the 1897 storyline. Of course, she’d be in her 80s by this point and not likely to arrange many parties for Carolyn. The writers obviously aren’t thinking of her, as she doesn’t exist yet, but just doing the math, any aunt of Roger and Liz would be elderly. They sound like they’re talking about someone closer to Carolyn’s age, or just a few years older, so a sibling of Roger and Liz, who clearly doesn’t exist.

    Compared to most families, the Collins are remarkably small in number, but I suppose vampires, witches, and werewolf relatives will prune the family tree.

    1. Catherine could technically be the sister of Paul Stoddard or Laura Murdoch, although both of those marriages ended so disastrously that it doesn’t seem like the in-laws would still be part of the family.

      I like the idea of seeing Nora in her 80s. I’m still waiting for the Magda / Nora / Charity Trask sitcom spinoff.

  3. Maybe Aunt Catherine is Aunt Nora’s younger lesbian partner (in a “Boston marriage”) — a madcap Auntie Mame type??

  4. I’m not sure exactly what “Secret Agent Dawn” refers to, but considering when this was made, Carolyn in her trenchcoat made me thing of “Agent 99.”

  5. My assumption would be that “Aunt” Catherine is more likely a friend than a relative, although even if she is a relative, she wouldn’t need to be a literal aunt (since Barnabas isn’t literally pretending to be their Uncle). I do like the idea of her being a sibling of Paul or Laura, with maybe Paul or Laura being the black sheep (or bird) of the family and so they still manage to be friends with the rest of the family. Assuming Laura had any other family.

    I like how Julia says they’re going to a place Vicki has “never been” and then the very next thing she says refers to the last time she was there.

    1. Ed-Only 5 years later that I am reading this. But it is true that Vickie never went to the room where her new accommodations (her coffin after Barnabas turns her) are. The room she did go to was the cellar basement room where Barnabas sleeps. So the writers are spot on there.

  6. 9;02 into the episode, as Carolyn is going out the front door, a studio camera is seen in the shot. It is blocking the view of Barnabas’ portrait.

  7. Roger gets to wear a turtleneck instead of his usual tie. He hasn’t been so casual since Christmas 1966. In 1967 that was considered oh so groovy. Vicki wears a pretty blue dress except that it has red and yellow at the collar and on the wrists. Some may like the trim. I don’t. Carolyn’s coat has big reddish lapels that make it hard for her to be inconspicuous, but standout lapels were very fashionable in the late ’60s.

    Watch Carolyn’s head go by the barred portal in the door. She can’t be bothered to lower her head. You mean Carolyn didn’t graduate from Camp X spy school? Say it ain’t so!

    (BTW, does anybody ever clear the cobwebs off of anything in the basement of the Old House?)

  8. The costume color palette really resonates in this episode. Everybody looks fantastic in their chosen colors and, of course, Roger can rock a turtleneck as well as he can a houndstooth blazer.

    The bitchy banter between Carolyn and Julia is reaching fever-pitch in this episode and with Carolyn donning the trench coat to traipse along and follow Vicki and Julia, the Sam Spade-esque detective work is top-rate. I wish her private eye would have actually have busted them in the coffin room instead of waiting to relay the information to Barnabas–that would have been infinitely more fun.

    Julia Prop Watch #27: Those crystals are getting rolled out almost as much as the music box used to! We’ve seen hella lot of them this week! Which brings up the whole hypnosis thing. Has anyone ever used the hypnosis aspect like this before in a soap opera? I think EDGE OF NIGHT did something with hypnosis for a major plot line on their show in the mid-70’s with a character named Phoebe but that’s really reaching back and just keep feeling that the use of it here seems somewhat ludicrous.

    The cobwebby nature of the downstairs coffin room at the Old House–as meticulous as Barnabas is, do we really think he would allow the basement to look as shabby as it does? (I realize that these are purely rhetorical questions btw).

    Another nagging question is this: if Julia has finally fulfilled her “research” mission, maybe it’s high time for her to get out of Collinwood and head back to Windcliff. Its amazing what an “open door” policy that Elizabeth and Roger utilize at Collinwood which results in an awful lot of houseguests from month to month. (Of course, we wouldn’t have much of a show without people staying at Collinwood, now, would we??)

    1. Actually, Julia does discuss the possibility that she intended to leave the following week in one of the episodes while talking to Vickie (and Carolyn walked in on it, got pissed). I don’t remember whether this one or one of the ones after which are near it.

    2. My theory is the Collinsport has such a limited number of rooms, that people from out of town working for/with Collins family just stay at the house.

  9. Major agreement on Carolyn’s trench coat, although I think Nancy Barrett could wear just about anything and look great in it.

    If Julia really wants to turn Vicki against Barnabas, she’ll tell her that she’s getting a second hand coffin originally built for Maggie Evans.

    The writers seem to be giving Frid a rest after the strenuous “old man” story arc. His appearances in the last two episodes are little more than cameos filled with hackneyed “Snidely Whiplash” dialogue (“She’s just signed her own death certificate!”).

  10. Carolyn grins, like the mad woman she is. “Are you going to kill her?” she asks.

    Carolyn looks as though her next line should: “if you do, can I watch?”

  11. Gee, Vicki, isn’t it strange that every time you see Julia she wants to show you chandelier crystals, and then you lose like an hour of your memory?

  12. That gray coat with orange collar and lapels is a seriously classic look that would be perfect even today. And the red double breasted coat dress on Joan Bennett is one of the top three looks for her. She looks amazing. Frid’s gray suit is immaculate. Wardrobe gets A+ here.

  13. Good grief how many times can Vicki fall for the chandelier crystals bit! Julia’s been carrying them around forever; she should just make earrings out of them. And Barnabus spared all expense with Vicki’s coffin; apparently he doesn’t believe in spoiling his brides. Better than a refrigerator carton I suppose.

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