Episode 368/369: A Wicked Woman

“I am your servant. You are my master. That’s the way it is. That’s the way it is to be.”

Okay, let’s talk some more about The Crucible, the 1953 Arthur Miller play about the Salem witch trials. Everybody knows that The Crucible is the inspiration for the Collinsport witch hunt that’s coming up next month, but the influence goes even deeper than that, all the way down into the soul of Dark Shadows.

The play is a dramatization of the hysteria in 1692 Salem, Massachusetts. A group of young girls is found dancing in the woods, in defiance of the strict Puritan laws against dancing, music and anything that might be enjoyable. Horrified at being discovered, and desperate to find a scapegoat, the girls pretend that they’ve been seduced and tormented by witches living in the village. Directed by the eldest girl, Abigail Williams, they become a terrifying mob who accuse dozens of their neighbors. Guided only by the “spectral evidence” of the girls’ testimony, the court convicts and executes 20 innocent people.

Abigail is a terrifying figure in the play — self-centered and vengeful, taking a special delight in wielding the power that she’s suddenly acquired. Abigail was a servant of farmer John Proctor, and her tangled relationship with him is the emotional heart of the drama.

Over the last few weeks, the crucial new idea on the show is to introduce these narrative collisions, weaving characters from other fictional worlds into the story of Dark Shadows. There’s a beautiful woman from another story walking into the house today, and things are going to get ugly.

368 dark shadows vicki barnabas psychic

But let’s start at the beginning, because a lot happens today. We’ve traveled back in time with Vicki, who’s stuck in 1795 — back when Barnabas was alive, and waiting impatiently for his fiancee, Josette, to arrive on a ship from the Caribbean island of Martinique.

There’s a storm today, and Barnabas is pacing back and forth in the drawing room, looking out the window and worrying about Josette’s boat. Without thinking, Vicki tells him, “Nothing has happened. Your fiancee will arrive here safely.”

Barnabas’ face lights up. “You say that with such assurance, I believe you,” he says. “Are you psychic?” Vicki says no, but Barnabas is excited: “I’ve always wanted to meet someone who is. Are you sure you can’t tell the future?”

And, oh, Baby Barnabas, you’re so adorable right now that it’s hard to believe you’ll become the cold, vicious monster we’ve seen in 1967. He’s like a little puppy, instantly distracted from his worries by the idea that he knows someone with supernatural powers.

Realizing what she’s done, Vicki backtracks, and says that she can’t tell the future. Of course, she knows the legend that Josette committed suicide, throwing herself from the cliff on Widow’s Hill, but it’s probably not a good idea to share that with everybody right now. That kind of thing makes people nervous.

368 dark shadows angelique entrance

But here’s another distraction, knocking on the door. Josette’s aunt, Countess Natalie du Prés, has arrived for the wedding. Her coach is stuck in the mud, and her maid, Angelique, has walked through the storm to fetch help.

It’s a quiet entrance, but she’s the one character we’ve seen in 1795 who’s played by a new actor. We might want to watch out for this one.

368 dark shadows natalie barnabas entrance

The big entrance is reserved for Natalie, who marches in with a series of complaints. This is Grayson Hall, upping her game. The Countess du Prés is basically Julia with a French accent, a louder voice, and a bigger hat.

Natalie:  No, no, it is impossible! Josette wrote me from Paris, just before they left. She promised she’d be here last week. I cannot be here before them. Oh, it is a mistake!

Barnabas:  Of course it isn’t, Countess.

Natalie:  Obviously it is, there’s no one here to greet me.

Barnabas:  We’re delighted to have you.

Natalie:  Are you.

368 dark shadows natalie house

She sweeps into the drawing room to give the place a disapproving once-over.

Natalie:  So, this is the house where you expect my Josette to live.

Barnabas:  Father’s giving it to us as a wedding present, and then he and my mother are going to live in the new house, when it’s finished.

Natalie:  And take the furnishings with them, I trust.

368 dark shadows natalie hat

And then she takes a step back, and sticks the plumes of her hat straight into Barnabas’ face. You don’t give a hat like that to Grayson Hall, and expect her not to use it.

368 dark shadows natalie warm

Naturally, Barnabas is desperate to please her.

Barnabas:  Josette will be very happy here.

Natalie:  You think so. Tell me, does it ever stop raining?

Barnabas:  Of course it does.

Natalie:  Is it ever warm?

Barnabas:  Well, it’s not as warm as it is in Martinique.

Natalie:  But the sun does shine, occasionally.

Barnabas:  Yes, it does.

Natalie, with a sigh:  I taught Josette to love color. There’s so little here.

Barnabas:  She loves me. As I her.

Natalie:  So… perhaps your love can make up for the barrenness of the world you’ve chosen.

It’s wonderful. And she likes Barnabas; this is an up moment for her.

368 dark shadows joshua natalie insults

The whole episode is like this. Joshua gives Natalie a gruff welcome; Natalie antagonizes him and makes a grand exit. Joshua barks at Barnabas, and mocks Naomi for drinking during the day. (“Perhaps they will be kind,” he says, “and merely think you ill.”)

Every scene just sparkles today, and all of this week, really. Traveling into the past has allowed them to reboot not just Barnabas’ character, but everyone’s.

368 dark shadows joshua natalie drink

In the course of its first year and a half, Dark Shadows has cycled through three different writing teams, and in all the transitions, the rough edges have been sanded off the main characters.

Roger, Liz and Burke — whose conflicts drove all the story in the first six months — have settled down, and become a group of amiable friends. Reborn as Joshua, Naomi and Jeremiah, they’ve got conflicts to play again, and it’s obvious that everyone on the show is re-energized, including the writers and the people responsible for finding wigs and big feathery hats.

368 dark shadows natalie tarot

And that’s not all; the music department has a new trick too, which shows up in the tarot cards scene.

Natalie has parked herself in the drawing room, laying out a set of tarot cards and explaining to a bemused Barnabas how the cards reveal the future to her. Meanwhile, in the background music, we get a taste of the new Dark Shadows sound.

Robert Cobert is the musician who wrote and arranged all the music cues for Dark Shadows, building a library of background themes and dramatic stings that were used over and over in a variety of combinations. The new mood of creative excitement has hit him too, and he’s just recorded a new set of music cues featuring his new toy, the theremin.

The theremin is an early electronic musical instrument which generates sound by detecting the proximity of the musician’s hands to two metal antennas. It creates a high-pitched, eerie whine that was used in every monster movie and flying-saucer thriller from the 1950s on. Now that Dark Shadows has turned into a non-stop monster movie, it was only a matter of time until Cobert unleashed some theremin on the soundtrack.

368 dark shadows natalie vicki theremin

The spooky new tracks were made for fortune-telling and spell-casting, so they’re a perfect fit for Natalie’s reign of tarot. She shows Barnabas the card representing him, and the one representing Josette — and then she spots a card and gasps, “The wicked woman!”

The Countess says the reading is over, but Barnabas wants to know what she saw. “There is a wicked woman in this house,” Natalie says. “That is what the cards tell us. The woman will bring grief… but the cards do not tell us who she is.” And then she turns and fixes Vicki with a look that tells us there’s more trouble on the way.

And the new music was created with that wicked woman in mind. On the 2006 CD set The Complete Dark Shadows Soundtrack Music Collection, all of the soundtrack cues are listed with their original numbers and titles, which they used when they were compiling the tracks for each episode. The most memorable tracks, both of which are used today, are cue 77: “Wailing Theremin (Angelique)”, and cue 80A: “Angelique’s Spook”.

368 dark shadows angelique wicked

Because Angelique — the Countess’ pleasant, smiling maid — is the wicked woman of the day. When everyone else is occupied, she sneaks up to Barnabas’ room and knocks on the door.

“Who is it?” Barnabas asks — and when he opens the door, she’s there on his threshold. “A ghost from your past,” she smiles, and then darts in and tells him to close the door.

Angelique:  I have waited for this moment all day long.

He backs away, and she teases him.

Angelique:  You do not remember?

Barnabas:  I remember.

Angelique:  I waited in my room. You didn’t come. So here I am.

He doesn’t respond.

Angelique:  I have not your pride. I have no reason for pride.

368 dark shadows angelique barnabas hold me

She rushes to his arms.

Angelique:   Oh, hold me!

Barnabas:  Angelique…

Angelique:  After you left our island, I would wake up at night, hearing you say my name. Did you think of me at all?

Barnabas:  Yes… I did.

Angelique:  Oh, tell me! Hold me tight and tell me.

368 dark shadows barnabas angelique no

He says, “No!” and breaks away.

Angelique:  Well, you do not think me pretty anymore?

Barnabas:  Yes, of course you are. But, you see… it was a mistake.

368 dark shadows angelique love me

Barnabas:  It’s my fault, I know. It was my weakness to…

Angelique:  Love me?

And look at her face. This is not a healthy long-term plan.

368 crucible soft word

Let’s go back to John Proctor and Abigail for a minute, because this scene with Angelique and Barnabas is a direct lift from The Crucible.

Abigail, a servant girl who used to work for John, finds a moment to be alone with him.

Abigail:  Give me a word, John. A soft word.

Proctor:  No, no, Abby. That’s done with.

Abigail:  You come five mile to see a silly girl fly? I know you better.

Proctor:  Put it out of mind, Abby.

368 crucible no

Abigail:  John — I am waitin’ for you every night.

Proctor:  Abby, I never give you hope to wait for me. I’ll not be comin’ for you more.

Abigail:  You’re surely sportin’ with me.

Proctor:  You know me better.

368 crucible clutch

Abigail:  I know how you clutched my back behind your house and sweated like a stallion whenever I come near! It’s she [Proctor’s wife] put me out, you cannot pretend it were you. I saw your face when she put me out, and you loved me then and you do now!

368 dark shadows barnabas angelique glad

And now back to our TV show, already in progress.

Angelique:  Today, when you opened the door, I thought you were glad to see me.

Barnabas:  I was.

Angelique:  You are honest now?

Barnabas:  Yes.

Angelique:  Then you are glad I am in this room!

Barnabas:  Josette is coming…

Angelique:  She’s not here yet!

Barnabas:  But she’s going to be!

368 crucible softly

Abigail:  I have seen you since she put me out; I have seen you nights.

Proctor:  I have hardly stepped off my farm this sevenmonth.

Abigail:  I have a sense for heat, John, and yours has drawn me to my window, and I have seen you looking up, burning in your loneliness. Do you tell me you’ve never looked up at my window?

Proctor:  I may have looked up.

368 dark shadows barnabas angelique cold

Angelique:  You’re so different here! You’re as cold as that wind outside your house.

Barnabas:  I am not cold, but I want to be. I have to be!

Abigail:  You are no wintry man. I know you, John. I know you.

368 crucible 2

Abigail:  I cannot sleep for dreamin’; I cannot dream but I wake and walk about the house as though I’d find you comin’ through some door.

Proctor:  Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I’ll ever reach for you again.

Barnabas:  I didn’t know that we were going to be married then. To be honest, I thought I was in love with Josette, but I didn’t realize she was in love with me.

Proctor:  Wipe it out of mind. We never touched, Abby.

Barnabas:  But now that we’ve written, you and I… well, it’s impossible.

Abigail:  Aye, but we did.

Proctor:  Aye, but we did not.

Angelique:  Are you sad about it?

Barnabas:  Well, what good will it be to admit that?

368 dark shadows barnabas angelique maid

Barnabas:  We both have different roles to play now.

Angelique:  And what is mine? The Countess’ maid?

Abigail:  Oh, how I marvel how such a strong man may let such a sickly wife be —

Angelique:  You know me as I really am! I am no one’s servant but yours!

Proctor:  You’ll speak nothin’ of Elizabeth!

Angelique:  I am your servant. You are my master.

Abigail:  She is blackening my name in the village!

Angelique:  That’s the way it is.

Abigail:  She is telling lies about me!

Angelique:  That’s the way it is to be.

368 crucible proctor

Barnabas:  No, Angelique!

Proctor:  Do you look for whippin’?

Abigail:  I look for John Proctor that took me from my sleep and put knowledge in my heart!

368 dark shadows angelique we will see

Abigail:  And now you bid me tear the light out of my eyes? I will notl I cannot! You loved me, John Proctor, and whatever sin it is, you love me yet!

Angelique:  You will see!

Then Abigail and Angelique turn, and leave the room together.

And the world burns.

Tomorrow: Time Travel, part 1: a pre-emption Thanksgiving special!

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

An anachronism: Barnabas asks Vicki if she’s “psychic,” a word that was introduced to the English language in the 1870s. (See the Psychic article on Wikipedia. Thanks to Kerlin4321 for pointing this out!)

When Joshua is bullying Barnabas, he fluffs a line: “How will you ever get through life, if you put importance to… the really unimportant things?”

Joshua asks Naomi what they’ll do if Josette turns out to be like the Countess. Naomi stresses the wrong word in her reply. The line should be, “If she is, what?” — but Naomi says, “If she is what?

In the last scene, when Barnabas says, “Who’s there?”, the front of a camera enters the frame on the right.

When Angelique says, “I am your servant; you are my master,” there’s a lot of studio noise. You can hear people walking around, and something squeaks several times.

Behind the Scenes:

This episode has a double number — 368/369 — because tomorrow’s episode is pre-empted for Thanksgiving 1967.

This is the last episode for a while that only exists as a kinescope copy. There’s six more after this; we’ll see the next one in June 1968.

This was actress Lara Parker’s very first professional acting job — which is remarkable, considering how universally popular she is among Dark Shadows viewers, and how important Angelique becomes. She had a husband and two young children in Norfolk, Virginia, but she wanted to follow her dream of becoming an actress, so she spent three weeks in New York auditioning.

Parker described her audition with Jonathan Frid in The Dark Shadows Companion:

“I had been told that Angelique was a witch, and I felt I had to do something demonic, but there was no mention of witchcraft in the scene. Then, at the very end of the audition, I had an inspiration. I turned to the camera and looked deeply into the lens. I knew Angelique was a woman scorned. I smiled a wicked little smile, and thought to myself, ‘Hell hath no fury greater than mine!’

“I was very lucky. The camera man zoomed into my eyes, and I got the part. Thus began one of the greatest adventures of my life.”

Parker will be on the show for 269 episodes, all the way up to the final episode in April 1971. She appears in every time period and present-day storyline, usually playing Angelique under various aliases. For her first two years, she actually kept the fact that she had a husband and children a secret from everyone on the show, fearing that she would be judged for being a working mother.

A props note from Prisoner of the Night: “Barnabas’ room in the Old House is redressed from Roger’s office at the cannery in 1966. Two props from Roger’s office are visible. The barometer, which will hang in the study of the Collinwood of 1967 onward, is on the opposite side of the door at stage left from where it was in the cannery office. Beside the barometer is the tall black desk from Roger’s office, which will also be in the Old House drawing room from 1967 onward, as well as the apartment of Professor Stokes in 1968. Beside the fireplace at stage right are three items that were seen in the Old House drawing room of 1967: one of the two identical pink-red easy chairs, and to the left a small round side table and a three-pronged candle holder which seems to have strings of pearls suspended from the holders. In the Old House drawing room of 1967, the side table and candle holder were to the right of the chair.”

Tomorrow: Time Travel, part 1: a pre-emption Thanksgiving special!

368 crucible abigail

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

44 thoughts on “Episode 368/369: A Wicked Woman

  1. Excellent episode. One of the things I love about the 1795 storyline is how the actors not only play different characters, but also, for the most part, diametrically opposite to what we’re used to. So Joan is now playing a weak, submissive character with Louis in the dominant role; Joel Crothers is no longer the nice, reliable guy but a scoundrel, etc. And it’s obvious that the actors are loving it and welcome the change (and definitely up to the challenge).

    The other thing I liked about 1795 is that we finally have some genuinely evil characters on the show. Angelique, Abigail and Trask (and possibly Nathan) are all horrible people and really beyond redemption. This makes for a welcome change from past antagonists like Burke, Matthew and Barnabas who manage to gain the audience’s sympathy from time to time (Laura Collins is debatable). Admittedly, audiences may have felt some empathy for Angelique at the beginning but that soon changes.

    1. I think Reverend Trask is less mustached-twirling than his 1897 counterpart, who I would agree is “beyond redemption” (however, Lacey plays him so well, he’s a joy to watch). He’s an interesting character because he only has “power” through the biases and prejudices of most of the main cast. Even Joshua thinks he can cure Barnabas by “sending for the Reverend Trask.” He is a fanatic but actually believes his nonsense, unlike Gregory Trask who doesn’t blink when hiring someone to kill his wife.

      Abigail is likewise blinded by her own prejudices. There are legitimately awful things happening in the Collins home and she zeroes in on Victoria Winters as the scapegoat and never relents. Her conclusions are never logical but they aren’t without a basis in reasonable concern. If you combine Angelique’s skullduggery and intelligence with Vicki’s cluelessness, it’s a short walk to the noose for her. (I do presume that Angelique had to work harder to frame Phyllis Wicke, who didn’t pop up out of nowhere while wearing odd clothing and spend far too long confusing people with people from her past.)

      Nathan is truly corrupted by money and greed. There are flashes of humanity that diminish with time. The worst you could probably say about him originally was that he’s an opportunist whose friendship with Barnabas was based solely on the latter’s status as a Collins. However, I think it’s more interesting to think that Barnabas and Nathan were truly good friends at one point. Once Nathan saw an opportunity to win the lottery with Millicent, all bets were off.

      Angelique is an almost Shakespearan villain. Her tragic flaw is her consuming love for Barnabas and refusal to accept that he “wronged” her and move on. She’s well written in that her actions are all justifiable from her own perspective. She’s not a plot device or an inhuman monster.

      1. I love this analysis and find it utterly fascinating. However, I would ask, have you not defined a monster by noting how she justifies all her own actions? I see Angelique as DS ‘s greatest monster because she has not one shred of empathy for anyone. She sends Josette to her death with laughter. She creates a curse that causes Barnabas to feed on presumably hundreds of innocents, one that has the added bonus of guaranteeing the death of anyone who ever loves him. Sarah Collins dies because of her.

      2. When Angelique places the spell that causes Josette and Jeremiah to fall in love and get married the reaction of the ‘re-booted’ Barnabas is to force Jeremiah into a duel to the death. This one’s on Barnabas not Angelique.

      3. I agree with what you say – though I haven’t got to Gregory Trask yet so can’t compare ; )

        I guess my point is that when you look at the antagonists in the 1795 storyline, they’re far more aggressive than the ones on the show to date (with the exception of Laura Collins, who shares similar traits with Angelique). And you bring up a good point which I thought was also brilliant – the fact that Trask and Abigail are right, there IS a witch in Collinwood, they’ve just targeted the wrong one. And their fanaticism and blind hatred are what ultimately distance them from the viewer and for me, make them unredeemable. But I think your assessment of Nathan is right, and the character does show signs of regret at various points but is eventually consumed by his greed.

      4. The fact is that for all his fanaticism Trask is honest (even in 1968, when his spirit is summoned, he takes a detour to warn Vicky, whom he once persecuted, that she may be in danger).

        Makes you think why Barnabas did not try to convince Trask that the real witch was framing Vicky,taking advantage of her confusion. It was worth a try, if nothing else showing that Angelique had motive enough for it. Instead his “solution” is to try to kill her. It is a bad precedent that even as a human he thinks that the solution to his problem is killing someone, instead of coming with a smart idea. But then smart ideas were not his forte… Serioulsy,sometimes I think that he was channeling Baldric.

    2. Much of Angelique’s backstory, like how she honed her abilities and her employ in the DuPres family, is filled in by Lara Parker’s novel Angelique’s Descent, which was adapted as a talking book for Big Finish read by Lara Parker. The last section covers the more Angelique-centric plot beats of this current storyline, filtered through Angelique’s perspective of events.

    3. Maybe this’ll change once we get back to the future, but going by his actions up to this point I’d say 1967 Barnabas is pretty damn irredeemable…

  2. While the original dynamic of the Angelique/Barnabasa story did come from The Crucible, later we may see their story as a variation of the Rusalka/Ondine/Little Mermaid one. A supernatural creature who wants to love a human, but it all goes south when he proves fickle. I did get to see the taped version of Rusalka with Renee Fleming (who has an uncanny resemblance to Lara Parkter), and it hit me. It did not help in the last act when the man dies, after kissing her, and she mourns him, in a white flowing nightgown, among the mist…

  3. Okay, let’s stop for a moment and think about another aspect of this particular storyline that is somewhat mindblowing, especially when looked at in the context of today’s soap-viewing audience and what they will or won’t accept.

    Not only have we gone back in time, but suddenly, viewers are watching the same actors who played brother and sister in 1966 playing a husband and wife in 1795! Imagine, for a moment, that overnight, viewers of DAYS OF OUR LIVES were asked to accept Greg Vaughan and Alison Sweeney — aka twin siblings Eric and Sami Brady — as new characters who were husband and wife.

    I suppose the closest thing we have currently would be “The Llanview Three” on GENERAL HOSPITAL, who went from playing McBain, Todd and Starr to Silas, Franco and Kiki. But interestingly, when GH made that move, the three new characters were, in essence, exactly the same as the ones the actors had previously portrayed. They were even put into the same basic relationships (Sam being involved with McBain/Silas; Carly with Todd/Franco; and Michael with Starr/Kiki). PLUS there was a period of weeks where the characters were off the canvas entirely.

    Here, literally in the span of a few days, the viewer is seeing the actors go from siblings Roger and Elizabeth to spouses Naomi and Joshua!

  4. I hate to burst your bubble, Danny, but there are still some black & white kinescope episodes to come — I believe the last one is sometime after episode 1000, but my memory could be cheating…

  5. Is this the episode where Natalie quips, “Precisely why I live in Martinique” when Joshua states France has “followed our example and become a republic”? One of my all-time favourite scenes. And I do love that hat.

    If memory serves there are some black & white episodes in 1897, and a sepia one as well…? Unless better copies have been found since I watched on SciFi.

  6. Love the build-up to 1795, and love 1795 more. I do have one thing I wish they had considered: To me, just simply going back to 1795 is mind-blowing enough for a week’s worth of shows. I wouldn’t have minded seeing a little of Nathan and Abigail — let us think they will be Victoria’s main problems.

    I would have held Angelique and the arrival of the de Pres clan back for week 2 of 1795 and let her first major act of witchcraft be on the Friday cliff-hanger of week 2.

    I would have reserved week 1 for Victoria, Nathan and the Collins clan, and explored the Joshua/Naomi/Jeremiah/Abigail dynamic some more.

  7. Ironic that Countess du Pres gets the line about ‘so little color here’ in an episode that only exists as a b&w kinescope.

    I remember how I felt watching this for the first time; suddenly all those people who had been starting to get dull and stale (Liz, whose blackmail had wrapped up – Roger, swanning about without anything like a plot – Barnabas, with his weekly “(insert name here) knows too much! They…must…DIE!” – Joe & Maggie, the wholesomely nearly platonic romancers – even Julia was spinning her wheels), now here they all were, with totally different dynamics, characters, costumes, it was suddenly fascinating.
    And I really thought that it was finally going to be ‘right’ for Victoria Winters, that all her talk about The Past that led up to this was premonition that she belonged here, she would get her man back (kinda) and have some happiness, maybe even have Jeremiah build Seaview House for her to kind of bring that thread into the pattern.
    Guess that’s why I don’t write soap operas…

  8. Parker judged as a working mother by whom? my mother was a working mother, she could have observed the rules and not worked, but we were all addicted to regular meals and a house at that point. Parker even looks great in B and W look out Vikki my eye is roving .

    1. My mom worked too and for the same reasons, but in the sixties she was the only working mom in the neighborhood. The other moms were civil, but definitely judgmental in that polite back-handed way. Not very many people would have approved of Ms. Parker leaving her kids in Virginia to act in a soap opera in NYC.

  9. Best exchange of the episode is between Barnabas and Natalie…
    ‘That is the sign of infinity.’ ‘You mean I’m going to live forever?’ ‘Would you like that?’ ‘Of course.’ Also…the DS Is A Dan Curtis production popped back up at the end credits today.

  10. I am really enjoying this blog. The comparison of Barnabas and Angelique with John Proctor and Abigail was especially interesting; this never occurred to me before. It reminded me that a version of “The Crucible” aired on CBS in 1967; it starred George C. Scott, Colleen Dewhurst, Melvyn Douglas, Fritz Weaver, and, would you believe, Tuesday Weld as a very blonde Abigail. An influence?

  11. Just watched some of this video and realized the cast also contains Thayer David and Clarice Blackburn!

  12. Nice to see that the blue candles in the Old House have dwindled to only one that I can see. I presume that they were originally blue so that they looked white for the black and white cameras. Then, when the show went color, they looked spooky in the house Barnabas “restored.” Now the white candles help to make the house look like it is lived in by people who are actually alive.

    Joshua’s political opinions are interesting. His radical rejection of Old World nobility stands beside his conviction that he is entitled to his status as leading citizen of Collinsport. America at this point was more of a meritocracy than Europe. Her wealthy had not been wealthy for centuries in 1795. (In terms of land holdings the wealthiest American could not hold a candle to the landed classes of England.) Joshua barely tolerates the fact that his son has brought French countesses with their airs into his house. He confronts them with their dinosaur status. Most interestingly, he considers the new French republic to be the equivalent of the American one, which hints – and I might be reading in too much because I don’t trust “Dark Shadows” to get its history right most of the time – that Joshua is a Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican rather than a Federalist. The former were slower to recognize it when the French Revolution turned into the Reign of Terror. The latter always distrusted the French Revolution.

    Naomi is kept in her place by Joshua but I like the way she resists. She has her own mind, and even though Joshua is insincere when he says that she is entitled to her opinion, she does not seem to need anyone to tell her that.

  13. Finally – the beautiful Lara Parker arrives. I was lucky to meet her a couple of years ago at a book signing – a truly delightful woman.

  14. Just a little plea from me. Some of us are watching DS for the first time and are following this wonderful blog as the episodes unfold. Can folk refrain from talking about future plots please? It kinda spoils things. Thanks!

  15. I have to admit that the timeline change and complete rebooting of the show for the 1795 era gave me pause for the first couple of days. Well, after today, I can see that not only is EVERYONE rising to the occasion but that the fusion of great writing with awesome acting talents is already paying HUGE DIVIDENDS.

    Not knowing in what capacity Grayson Hall (and others) were going to be utilized, I was delighted to see her breeze through the door as the Countess Natalie du Pres with her French maid Angelique. You can just see Grayson chewing through her lines with an insouciance and abandon that solidifies her standing as the show’s greatest actress. She is a delight from start to finish and what a complete switcheroo from the recent histrionics of Julia Hoffman.

    Danny: Natalie’s “reign of tarot,”………………well, once again, being a bit of a wordsmith and lexicon-loving pun-dit myself, I was completely ROFL. You are a force to be reckoned with in and of yourself and this blog should be elevated to the widest platform available so that many, many others can share in your genius.

    Also, the immediate and total immersion into a juicy plot of scorned love from Angelique to Barnabas and how quickly it is established and portrayed is the hallmark of great writing talent from Sam Hall and the rest of the writing team. We barely have time to familiarize ourselves with this new world when the plot is already hatched and the anticipation for the next development by the audience is at fever-pitch. It doesn’t get any better than that.

    And having Roger/Joshua being played as this cantankerously curmudgeon skinflint is even more satisfying than ever as the future exchanges between he and Elizabeth/Naomi are going to be stunning to watch.

  16. “There is a wicked woman in this house,”“That is what the cards tell us. The woman will bring grief… but the cards do not tell us who she is.”

    Natalie and Angelique have just arrived at The Old House and the Tarot Cards are already warning Natalie about a witch in the house. Didn’t Natalie ever do a Tarot reading while in Martinique? Why didn’t the cards warn her about the witch in the house there?

    and something squeaks several times.

    To me it sounded like the noise made by the Martian spacecraft opening in Orson Welles’ 1938 Mercury Theater broadcast.

    1. Yes, very good point, Kosmo13. Also, Natalie tells Barnabas that the cards speak of a wicked woman in this house. So, wouldn’t Barnabas clue in that it might be Angelique, as she is the one who comes into his room to seduce him? Barnabas is a bit nieve as a living man.

  17. Though I’ve seen today’s episode at several times over the years, I was taken aback this time by how many cards the countess lays out on the table. Would so many cards have been typical for a Tarot reading? If so, I don’t see how she could have told which cards referred to whom or what.

    1. Yes, such a large layout was period appropriate, as are the Tarot cards themselves, coming into fashion in France for fortune-telling.

  18. I can understand, after watching these first episodes of the 1795 storyline, why Naomi drinks. Being married to Joshua could make anyone drink their troubles away.
    On a positive note, the cast seems refreshed and energized with the change. And the addition of another lovely woman to the cast adds the finishing touches.

  19. Kuddos to all plot/character points above. Excellent scholarship!

    I would like to point out something nuanced about the costume design. Putting the block colors and lack of texture and pattern aside (typical for 1960s)…. i looked at fashion plates from 1795. The younger ladies fashions, as well as the Countess, are pretty close to the fashions from 1795. The super high waist and cropped jacket, narrow skirts and long sleeves are all period correct. Hat size and scope depended on class, so the Countess’s large hat is also period/character correct. Abigail’s puritan browns are also very nice for period/character/and local, ie. the Americas, instead of France or England. American fashions were much much less ornamental than their European counter parts, especially after the Revolution.

    At first I was put off by Naomi’s gown, with it’s open neck, 3/4 sleeves, and eschelle (the bows descending in size down the CF of her bodice). I thought her gown looked much earlier, like 1770. Well, considering her age, Joshua’s heavy handedness in the marriage (probably doesn’t want to spend money), and that they are in Maine (and most fashions from this period had to come from Paris or London, especially for the upper class) it is appropriate for her to be dressed in slightly older fashions. Just a minor costume note, but as one who works on period films in the wardrobe department, it caught my eye!

    The white candles look so nice, don’t they?

    P.S. I know that many people have been complaining about spoilers on this blog. You might have to just accept the fact that people who have seen DS before are excited and want to elaborate on all they know, including spoilers, are going to go for it. For this reason, I, a newbie to DS, watch the show at least 20 episodes ahead of what I’m reading. Every now and then I read the blog for the episode I just watched. But, as a rule, I watch way ahead! That way, nothing is spoiled for me!

    1. of course, where are the mens’ hats? At least Barnabas would have his hat with him, as he has just come inside with the Countess. Very strange that the men have no hats at all!! oh well…..

  20. One more quick note about period etiquette. Angelique curtseys to Roger as he leaves the room, as one from the servant class would in those days. Earlier, as Vicki is leaving the room, she doesn’t curtsey to Naomi, who walked right by her. But, Vicki wouldn’t know to do that, so good directing. However, I find it strange that Roger would not bring up her lack of etiquette, especially being a servant. It would be grounds for firing at least. I realize he’s all into them all being equal, but I don’t think those social customs would have disappeared that quickly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s