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

11 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.

  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?)

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