“I don’t think it’s very healthy, living in this house.”
Mrs. Johnson must be an angel in human form, that’s the only way you can explain it. I don’t care how many wings they’ve shut down — Collinwood is a mansion, and as far as we know, she’s the only person taking care of the whole place. She cleans all the rooms, cooks all the meals, and monitors the radio for plot-relevant air disasters. Plus, four months ago, Mrs. Stoddard held a wedding in the drawing room, confessed to killing her first husband, and asked the local sheriff to dig up his body in the basement, and Mrs. Johnson wasn’t even invited.
And now she has to deal with this nonsense. She walks into Julia’s room, and finds her standing on a chair, trying to take the drapes down.
So, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the situation is that Barnabas has decided that instead of killing Julia, he’s going to drive her insane, using a spell that he learned from an Indian mystic who knew the secret magic number of the universe. I’m serious. That’s the current storyline.
So far, that plan is actually going pretty well. Julia’s been seeing visions of Dr. Woodard, who keeps pointing out that she murdered him. I can understand how that would be upsetting, although I’m not sure why she’s taking it out on the decor.
By the end of the scene, Julia is actually hearing Dr. Woodard’s voice inside her head. I’m going to strip the Woodard lines out, so that we can take a look at this scene from Mrs. Johnson’s point of view.
Julia: I know it wasn’t him, of course, but it was so real… It frightened me. I just have to keep remembering that it was only a dream.
Then Julia turns.
Julia: Mrs. Johnson… did you hear that?
Mrs. J: What?
Julia: That! Did, did, did you hear anything?
Mrs. Johnson helps Julia onto a chair.
Mrs. J: Oh, there, there… you’re ill.
Julia: You shouldn’t have! I won’t listen to you!
This storyline is exploring some new frontiers in etiquette, namely: How crazy can a house guest be, before you start carelessly leaving train schedules around, and talking about how nice Boston is at this time of year?
Then we have a Carolyn/Tony date scene, which I will now quote from at length, because it’s a great scene and why the hell not.
Tony: This is not exactly what I had in mind to end our evening. I half expect Roger Collins to come running out of the house, ordering me off his property.
Carolyn: He won’t, I can guarantee it. I enjoyed dinner.
Carolyn: Very much.
Tony: You know, I believe you.
Carolyn: Don’t you usually?
Tony: You know the answer to that.
Carolyn: Hmm. A firm no. You make it very difficult for a girl.
See what I mean? So cute. He’s only been on the show since Tuesday, and he’s kind of my new favorite character. Carolyn needs a guy to interact with who isn’t a) related to her and b) the living dead.
They start kissing, so I guess the “maybe you just like trouble” attitude is wearing off.
Tony: Well, now… This is more what I had in mind.
Carolyn: Why didn’t you do it, then?
Tony: I’m a slow starter.
But then a dog howls, and Carolyn breaks away from him, looking off into the distance. She collects herself.
Carolyn: Are you… busy tomorrow? We could have lunch.
Tony: You mind if we finish tonight first?
Carolyn: I’ll pick you up at your office.
Tony: Will you.
Carolyn: I have to talk to you about Julia Hoffman, your favorite client. I’m very worried about her.
Tony: I’m very worried about you. Come here.
It’s because he’s funny, really. He’s sarcastic, and he challenges her, and he doesn’t accept her nonsense. In other words, he’s the opposite of Burke, and we’re actually sorry for him when his date is interrupted by an urgent text message delivered via howling dog.
But it’s good that they’ve figured this out; creating romantic chemistry is an important skill for a soap opera. If they ever decide they want us to start paying attention to humans again, this is how they should do it.
Meanwhile, in Julia’s room, the drapes are gone, but she’s still not happy. Now there’s a white coat on the floor, with Dr. Woodard’s nametag on it. Horrified, she reaches for the coat, and a rat on a string scampers out and runs across the room.
The rat on a string moves too fast for me to get a clear screenshot, but I assure you, it’s fantastic. It makes high-pitched squeaky sounds, just like the bats that we’ve seen hovering at the window. It’s such a simple, inexpensive bit of crazy that it makes me wonder why they bother to make television shows that don’t have rat on a string. We need to start telling more people the secret magic number of the universe.
So obviously now Julia tries to tell Mrs. Johnson about the rat, and you can pretty much fill in the blanks yourself. Julia says there was a rat, and Mrs. Johnson says where, and Julia says it came from under the white coat, and Mrs. Johnson says what white coat, and so on.
And so it ends the only way that it could possibly end — with Julia going to the Old House to confront Barnabas. That’s what this week is really about — these two monsters facing off against each other, and what that’s doing to the people who live nearby. Carolyn, Tony, Mrs. Johnson — they live in the shadow of this titanic struggle, and it will consume them all.
Barnabas’ tactic here is possibly the craziest thing he’s ever done. He tells her that Dr. Woodard’s ghost has been haunting him, too.
Barnabas: I’m afraid I’m developing a conscience, Julia. We’ve shared so much — secrets, plans, some of them disappointing to us both, and the treatments… I don’t think you realize how depressed I was when they didn’t work.
Julia: You turned on me then.
Barnabas: I turned on everyone.
Julia: Not Carolyn.
Barnabas: I needed her.
Julia: Not Vicki.
Barnabas: Josette is dead. I am no longer the romantic that I was. I realize now that I cannot re-create Josette any more than I can summon a ghost. Josette has no desire to see me. Otherwise, she would come back.
She’s not buying it.
Julia: You’re lying. You’d never give up that dream of Josette.
Barnabas: You will not permit me to change?
Julia: Oh, Dave Woodard didn’t come into this room. I don’t believe a word of it.
Barnabas: So, he’s your ghost. Your guilt is so obsessive that you want to suffer alone.
And somehow, he manages to get to this.
Barnabas: I owe you so many apologies. Perhaps, some time, I will be able to make them all, but one I must say now. You offered me nothing but the best of yourself… and I chose then to ignore it. I made myself live in a lost dream world; I cannot do that anymore.
Barnabas: Will you help me… Julia?
Julia: I — I want to help you.
Barnabas: I care for you, Julia. I need you.
It’s unbelievable. He’s going there.
Julia: I… I’m all mixed up. When I came into this house tonight…
Barnabas: Don’t think about why you came. Tomorrow, we will spend the evening together, we’ll sort it all out.
Barnabas: You won’t be afraid now?
Julia: I have only one fear… that when I see you tomorrow night, I will find you changed again.
Barnabas: That will not happen.
Julia: Good night, Barnabas.
When Julia leaves, Carolyn comes in — she’s been listening to the whole scene from the other room. She says, “Barnabas, that was very cruel of you. She really loves you. You shouldn’t have done that.”
She’s right. That crossed a line. Barnabas and Julia are now on a collision course. They’re the most interesting, most passionate characters on the show, and the audience loves them both — and they are absolutely determined to destroy each other. This storyline just can’t continue.
They’re going to have to resolve this story somehow and move on, and it’s starting to look like the only way to do it is to set the show on fire, watch it burn to the ground, and then start over again.
Guess what happens next week.
Tomorrow: Crazy Lady on the Loose.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
This might have been scripted and not a blooper, but it’s amusing that Carolyn doesn’t know the story of Cinderella:
Carolyn: I just had this feeling that I should come home.
Tony: Like Cinderella, at midnight?
Carolyn: Yes. At the first stroke, I’d turn into a pumpkin, or whatever she did.
When Tony and Carolyn kiss, someone in the studio whistles in appreciation.
As Tony says his final line to Carolyn, there’s some studio noise — a bang, some footsteps — and then the camera jiggles up and down a bit.
When Julia has “thinks” about what Mrs. Johnson must have thought about her, a fly lands on her forehead. She brushes it away.
The rat on a string effect needs to be done at the right moment, when they’ve got the correct camera on Julia. She hesitates, looking over to someone in the studio to make sure that it’s the right moment to bend over and pick up the white coat.
In the credits, for the second day in a row, Jerry Lacy’s name is misspelled: “Jerry Lacey”. They get it right tomorrow.
Tomorrow: Crazy Lady on the Loose.
Dark Shadows episode guide – 1967
— Danny Horn
27 thoughts on “Episode 359: Love and Death”
I often wonder what the situation was like at Collinwood before Mrs. Johnson came along. When they hire her it sounds like they hadn’t had cleaning staff in a long, long time (18 years!). Did Matthew cook all the meals and clean? Can’t really picture Liz cooking. Or Roger. Did they order out all the time?
Maybe that’s why David was so angry when the show began; he was making people sandwiches all day. You wouldn’t want Matthew near the food.
Danny – really love your DS site – Right now I’m watching the pre-Barnabas episodes and in these early shows Matthew Morgan (George Mitchell played him at that time) was actually a competent cook and even served Vicki homeade muffins when she strolled to his home on a ‘fact finding’ expedition. However Vicki got the heave ho from Matthew when he found out Liz had no idea that Vicki was ‘having tea’ with the caretaker.
Yes, it’s hard to be a snob when you’re unclogging your own toilet. Collinwood would be Grey Gardens without at least one servant, possibly more.
And, of course, we don’t know who maintained the Old House during the periods when Willie is away.
TV shows do this a lot, especially on workplace programs. An actor will leave and is not replaced or is replaced by a character performing a different role. So, who is the mayor’s secretary now? Is he answering his own phone?
Thank you, Danny! These are literally the high point of my day. Well, maybe not every day, but many days. Your summaries always make me smile, and often make me spit coffee at the computer screen. Well done!
Thanks, I’m glad you like them!
Deb me too. I am late in the game, but Danny has me cracking up with this blog. I laugh all day at work and I am hooked!
Just want to say how much I’ve come to appreciate Clarice Blackburn, one of DS’ unsung players. She’s in high form in just a week or so as Abigail Collins, going all Old Testament on clueless Vicki.
There is a youtube interview with Clarice. She was very talented and she wrote for One Life to Live and a couple others while doing DS. She was so versatile and pretty. She said the part for Mrs. Johnson required you to wear the wig wam with a bun in the back. She got the job. She succombed to cancer as well. Great actress!
I don’t know why Barnabas doesn’t ever have that thought for real. He could have at least some contact with the real Josette, but while she appears to people to warn them about him, she never appears to him. Sarah seemed pretty disgusted with him too. It might at least inspire some thinks. 🙂
My goodness do I enjoy this run of shows from Dr. Woodard’s encounter with Sarah up to the seance.
Couple of thoughts. I agree with the Mrs. Johnson fans. It’s amazing how a small role in a good actors hands can be so effective. I often think about how different the show would be with some recasting and my favirite would be with CB as Julia Hoffman. I am certain she could pull off the range of emotions necessary.
As for Jerry Lacy, still not feeling him. He is trying too hard to be Bogey wo having the charisma to pull it off. The lines are much better, his acting not so much.
Barnabas is really being a pimp now. He’s got Julia swooning even after the emotional beatdown he’s put her through recently (Baby this hurts me more than it does you!), and when Carolyn tries to put her 2 cents in, he basically tells her to go to bed. He is the Bat Daddy!!!
Yes. Barnabas and Julie are really doing the mind screwing now. Barnabas cannot get Julia though. She is too smart for him. Still he is wrong as all get out.
Howling canines as vampire text message. I like it. It reminds of the remark by the marshal on “Justified” that barking bloodhounds are a hillbilly’s doorbell.
I move the moment where Barnabas tells Carolina to come here. They purposely compared it to when Tiny said “Come Here”. The fade out on Barnasbas after hypnotizing Caroline is the creepiest the show has been in a bit. Great momento by Frid.
I thought that “Come here.” line was a tribute to Bela Lugosi’s “Come here.” command to Van Helsing in the 1931 Dracula movie classic.
Me, too. Although in the movie, Lugosi holds his hand in a beckoning position, whereas as Barnabus hold his as if it’s to be kissed.
I mean to write, “…whereas Barnabus holds his as if it’s to be kissed.”
I have come to believe that someone was hired to actually DISRUPT the show daily when they began shooting scenes. I have never heard such a cacophony of clatter as what happens on this set. Sneezes, bumps, coughs, cat calls (??!!) and miscellaneous aural sensations seem to occur with a kind of quotidian regularity.
But the headline for me here today is: THE RETURN OF THE COLLINSPORT FLY. We simply do not talk enough about THE FLY. Apparently it has quite a run of its own in the series. (Of course, nothing will top the absolute best fly sequence of all, which we have long since passed in episode #291). The Dark Shadows Wiki Fandom Page actually lists over 30 appearances by THE FLY.
I think you can find it here:
And to think both THE FLY and THE RAT appear in the THE SAME SCENE. Does it get any better than this???
Great work again by Mrs. Johnson who I hope eventually gets to reveal a little bit more about herself. She’s always having to serve in such a reactive role.
I still do not understand if Dave Woodard’s lab coat and the rat are real or part of some weird Barnabas powers that have never really been fully explained. I mean, when dogs howl or bark now, half the cast starts looking all wild-eyed and half-crazed. We’ve never really gotten the rule book on that, either.
And the last scene with Barnabas apologizing and being Mr. I Am Really In Love With You Guy seems a bizarre turn to be sure. I think Julia fell for it. I kind of miss Julia being in control of things more, This new simpering, whimpering Julia takes a little getting used to.
One thing is for sure: the addition of Sam Hall to the writing staff has certainly ushered in a refreshing change of pace. There is a sense of truly not knowing what each episode is going to contain or where it is headed when you start. That’s one of the best compliments anyone could ever give a writer.
If Barnabas really wants to terrify Julia and mess with her sanity, he should invoke the ghosts of all three Dr. Woodard actors to haunt her at once.
I hope Barnabas has finished talking about Barbados. If Jonathan Frid ever had to say ‘Barbados’ and his own character’s name in the same speech, the Frid-speak mangle would be epic.
So Barnabas is aware that Julia loves him and this is what he does about it. He was being totally honest a few days ago when he said he was loathsome and evil.
Great scene, though.
One of the reasons I never saw Barnabas/Julia as a romantic couple. Little brother/big sister worked, but Barnabas was so awful to Julia here. Plus I always knew that, in the end, he would always go after shiny, young, compliant women leaving Julia in the dust.
Julia deserves everything that she gets. I never bought into the character or perhaps Grayson Hall’s interpretation of her. When she first confronts Barnabas in her bedroom, she is a little bit too much cat who swallowed the canary. Considering the situation, the only real behavior that makes sense for the character is fear,because you are dealing with an unknown supernatural entity who has powers that don’t yet know or understand. Also where is the wonder, the fascination of discovering something you have never encountered before, and close up! Grayson Hall is too smug, too self confident in the face of a vampire who obviously intends to kill her! It could be the directing, but the way this is played never worked for me. This is supposed to be an intelligent woman of research. She is too immersed in jealousy, spitefulness, pride and ego in her encounters with Barnabas right from the beginning.
so Danny now i’ve come along and read this twice. and both times, broke out laughing multiple times.
There’s so much background noise in some episodes, you’d think Spike Jones & His City Slickers are rehearsing on a adjacent stage.
I like Dr. Woodard’s “name tag” made with one of those old plastic label makers (I thought I was pretty cool with mine when I was eight years old). Saving pennies for the new 1795 costumes, I suppose.