“If the Devil has blinded me, Abigail, I consider it curious that he lets you in on all his plans.”
You know, everybody likes to talk smack about Abigail Collins, but when you think about it, every single thing she says is exactly one hundred percent correct.
Let’s run through some of her pet theories.
Abigail believes that Phyllis Wick, Sarah’s real governess, was replaced by Victoria Winters in some unnatural way. This is true.
Abigail thinks that the clothes Vicki was wearing when she arrived were shockingly immodest. According to the standards of the 1790s, this is true.
Abigail thinks that Vicki’s lying when she claims that she doesn’t know where she came from, that Vicki has uncanny knowledge about the future, and that the world would be a better place with one less Victoria Winters in it — check, check and check.
She’s basically nailed it, all the way down the line. Is it too late to go back and make this a television show about Abigail?
Abigail’s even right about the cat. As the episode opens, Naomi is sitting alone in her room, working her way through the 10 Signs That You Might Have a Problem with Alcohol.
Behind her is a stray cat that apparently walked into the house one day, and so far nobody’s worked up the nerve to ask it to leave. The cat’s just sitting on an armchair, like it owns the place — although the cat’s actually an enchanted Joshua Collins, so I guess technically it does own the place.
Abigail comes in, and she has the normal, understandable reaction to finding a random animal squatting in your home — she chases it away.
Abigail: How can you allow that cat in this room?
Naomi: I didn’t know he was in here.
Abigail: Surely, even you know that that cat is a sign that the Devil is laughing at us!
Now, I’m a dedicated cat person myself — I’ve got two cats, and I love them both very much — but it’s true, they are a sign that the Devil is laughing at us. Personally, I don’t have a problem with that, so that’s where Abigail and I part ways, but I can’t fault her on accuracy.
But the real item on the agenda is Josette, who was just about to marry Barnabas, and apparently ran off with his uncle instead.
Naomi: I’m sure there’s some explanation for why Jeremiah and Josette left this house.
Abigail: Desire! That’s why they left. Desire for each other.
And, yeah, she’s right again. Abigail’s on a hot streak.
But what good is it having a baffling problem like this, if you can’t find someone to blame? Soon, Natalie joins the party, and says that she’s sure there’s an agent of the Devil in this house — the mysterious governess, Victoria Winters.
Naomi thinks they’re both being ridiculous, but it’s already been three and a half minutes since her last drink, and she needs to wrap this up. She agrees to question Vicki, and Abigail hurries off to the servants’ quarters.
Meanwhile, Vicki’s currently in her room, sitting on the bed with the cat. And can you guess what she’s doing?
Yes, of course — she’s reading the Collins Family History book that she brought with her from 1967. She’s turning the pages, and looking at the pictures of the people she’s living with now, and she’s reminding herself that she has to be extra super double-dog careful to make sure that nobody finds this book.
If anyone knows that she has it, it could have very grave consequences — for her, and for the entire space-time continuum — so it’s very important that she take it out and look through it at every opportunity, so she doesn’t forget about how secret it is.
I mean, honestly. Why doesn’t she just order a subscription to Witches’ World Weekly and get it over with?
Abigail tells Vicki that Naomi wants to speak to her. Vicki leaves, but Abigail stays behind to snoop around.
Abigail is under the impression that if she hangs out in Vicki’s room for a couple minutes, she’ll find some evidence that implicates Vicki.
And what do you know? She’s alone in the room for forty seconds, and the cat explodes.
When the smoke clears, there’s Joshua — back in human form, dazed, sitting on Vicki’s bed, with no memory of anything that’s happened in the last seven days.
I mean, you can say that Abigail got lucky here — she wasn’t in the room specifically looking for Housepets of Mass Destruction — but she’s got a damn good track record today.
And there’s another lucky strike a couple scenes later, when Natalie joins her in rummaging around through Vicki’s quarters. They find the strange 20th-century clothes that Vicki was wearing when she arrived, and there’s something in one of the pockets.
Abigail: A bracelet!
Natalie: Look at all these figures… all the signs of the zodiac.
Then they both gasp. We don’t get a close-up of the bracelet for some reason, so for now we’re just going to have to trust their eyewitness account.
Natalie: A devil!
Abigail: The Prince of Evil himself!
She drops the charm bracelet like it’s a poisonous snake.
Abigail: I must send for the Reverend Trask. He’s very good at dealing with witches. I will write him tonight; he will come from Salem immediately!
And honestly, at this point, I am absolutely convinced that Abigail is correct, and she’s the new protagonist from now on.
I mean — a bracelet with the signs of the zodiac, and a figure of the Devil? I know that Vicki’s from the 20th century, but I used to be from the 20th century, and I never had a Satanic charm bracelet. What the hell?
So, yeah. This is ridiculous; we have got to put a stop to this nonsense. Bring on the witch trials.
Tomorrow: The Newlywed Game.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
In the beginning of Act 1 and Act 2, the scene begins with the cat relaxing on the furniture — the armchair in Naomi’s room, and the bed in Vicki’s room. In both scenes, Abigail knocks on the door, comes in, and reacts with disgust to the cat’s presence. But both times, the cat is startled by the knocking, and runs off the set. The camera has to just focus on the actors, who pretend that the cat is still sitting there.
There’s a nice Drunk Naomi moment when she’s talking to Abigail: “I’m sure there’s some explanation for why Jeremiah and Jer– and Josette left this house.”
Tomorrow: The Newlywed Game.
— Danny Horn
33 thoughts on “Episode 382: A Witch in Time”
Natalie and Abigail made a strange team, as in theory, both women should detest each other. Natalie also regularly practices the Tarot. Although, I don’t know if the intent is to demonstrate aristocratic hypocrisy. Abigail at least is not a hypocrite. She lives a life of no joy and is suspicious of anyone else who does. She’s not that different from her brother Joshua.
I did find that strange – I think even Trask skirts the issue of Natalie’s tarot cards. I think it’s definitely a status thing – Abigail and Trask would be understandably wary of accusing someone like the Countess due to her wealth and position.
Abigail’s failing is that, despite being correct in her assumptions, she is blinded by her fanaticism and inability to show compassion, and therefore unable to use common sense or logic to get to the bottom of the situation. Joshua at least will prove he’s more of a rational thinker and ultimately demonstrates compassion.
True, Abigail insisted she is always right but he is correct in that Abigail is right there is a witch she just had the wrong person.. As for joy, both Abigail and Joshua have a cooler temperature so they may be less unhappy in life than Naomi is. Joshua changed because of death, finding out his son is a vampire and a blackmail by Nathan Forbes.
Yeah, they’re strange bedfellows for sure. That relationship is going to get even more complicated when Reverend Trask shows up in a few days.
But I think it’s worth noting that Natalie is also correct in almost everything she’s saying here. There really is a witch in the house, who’s specifically targeting Barnabas and Josette’s relationship. Vicki does know about the future, and when Natalie talks to her about it, Vicki lies.
There’s even a moment in this episode when Natalie accuses Vicki of moving her tarot cards around when she was out of the room, and Vicki claims that she didn’t. But she did, and Natalie’s instincts are pretty reliable here.
The witch hunt is going to get out of control soon, but for now, I can’t really fault Natalie for believing what she does.
Natalie’s character makes no sense to me.
On the one hand, she’s an acidic aristocrat, sort of the 18th century Auntie Mame to Josette, someone who has seen the world twice over and looks down on everyone else. On the other, she’s just as much a superstitious lout as Abigail. Yet she dabbles in the supernatural herself with her handy Tarot cards.
And while the witch hunt is about to practically burn down the estate, no one considers motive. Why would a stranger target Barnabas and Josette?
It seems that the motive – as rationalized by Abigail and Trask – really comes down to “she’s the devil’s servant so she does bad stuff”. But yeah, I’m with you on that.
Vicki’s motive would be the same as Angelique’s — she’s in love with Barnabas and wants to do anything possible to get him. Her initial behavior around Barnabas — as if she knew him — was strange and unseemingly familiar. She later suggests that Barnabas and Jeremiah weren’t close (what did she hope to gain by saying that out loud?) and now, lo and behold, Jeremiah and Barnabas aren’t that close. If I were Jeremiah, I’d be suspicious of Vicki. Angelique’s has a stronger alibi — she is close friends with Josette and possesses a functioning brain stem, which helps greatly in avoiding implication in witchcraft.
But Vicki possibly being in love with Barnabas is never brought up (from what I remember, though I could be wrong) even at the trial. The attack is primarily she’s out to destroy the Collins family because she’s the devil’s pawn. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I would suspect her too because she acts like an idiot, but the belief seems to be she’s doing all this just to be evil and not working to a specific end like Angelique is.
That’s actually consistent with the way the real Salem witch trials happened. The “afflicted girls” accused people of tormenting them with no motive beyond doing the Devil’s work.
Natalie would later describe Angelique as having been an “uninteresting child,” which demonstrates how bad people are successful — by fading into the background and being beneath suspicion.
Vicki, however, is an idiot, and Angelique has not actually attempted to frame her yet, which might arouse our sympathy. She is overtly hostile to anyone who might aid her (Lt. Forbes) and clueless around potential enemies. Even Abigail did not target her out of outright malice. She showed up at the house dressed insanely and behaved like a lunatic… and proceeded to continue doing so.
Nicholas Blair will later remark about Cassandra Collins that she had managed to alienate everyone and made no allies, unlike Nicholas himself. It is not that different from Vicki here. Naomi’s faith in her seems like a symptom of the DTs rather than compassion. If there was one moment to show a reason for the family to trust Vicki, that would help.
Note that defending Vicki solely on the grounds of “there are no witches and Trask is a fraud” results in denying the obvious: There is a witch. And all evidence points to Vicki. In a way, priggishly rejecting the supernatural and fantastic are arguably elements of both Barnabas and Joshua’s tragic flaws.
Barnabas shows that he is genius material in not wavering in his jostility to Trask because “there are no witches” even when he finds out that Angelique is one.
So what does he do? Swallow his pride, and run to Trask, apologize to him, and tell him that the real witch is using a deluded woman as a pasty? Get on his good side and tell him that Angelique has a motive?
Nahhh… That’s the smart thing to do. He’ll just poison her…
Even as a human, it seems that Barnabas’ idea of solving a problem involves killing…
Clarice Blackburn played the hell out of Abigail Collins.
I think it’s hysterical that the first place Joshua the cat runs to when he’s chased out of his wife’s bedroom is into the room (and onto the bed) of the new governess. The writer’s must have been having some fun with that scene.
Those comments about cats made sure that Abigail lost the sympathies of a lot of the audience. How can she say those things about my sweet Snookums???
The charm bracelet of astrological signs is not a stretch at all. The standard pickup line in the 60s was, “What’s your sign?” I’ve seen bracelets like these. It wouldn’t be hard for Abigail to be shocked at Capricorn, Aries, or Taurus (goat, ram, and bull) since they all have horns. I even saw a pendant on a vintage necklace that is Aquarius the water-bearer who is depicted with a trident, so there’s a pitchfork for Abigail. You’ll probably think Vickie is too square for that sort of jewelry, but it could have been a gift from Carolyn.
That sounds totally plausible..despite breaking new ground in daytime television, Dark Shadows was ultimately a product of its tumultous times..
That’s what I assumed it was, a goat or something that could be mistaken for a goat if done poorly enough like on a cheap bracelet, like a poorly rendered bull. The devil is often symbolized by an image of a goat.
If I remember right, the bracelet that they do shoe briefly has the glyphs for the astrological signs rather than animals or people. Capricorn looks like a V with a curlicue off of the right point. Aries looks like tight V with the points curled out. So the reasonable choice for a “devil” symbol is the one for Taurus, an oval with two horns coming out of it. It’s easy to anthropomorphize as a head with two horns coming out of it. Vicki is an idiot for not burying her clothes, bracelet, and “history” book!
Oh man, if Lieutenant Forbes had been around in the 1960s, you just know that would have been one of his pickup lines.
I enjoyed the Joshua/Naomi there. He’s a tyrant, but there’s clearly some degree of love there.
A shame that the writers don’t put a couple of ‘in-jokes’ into the next few episodes with Joshua; he could be talking to Barnabas and suddenly be utterly fascinated by a bird outside the window, or make a sudden swipe at a ball of yarn while Abigail is knitting, or declare to Naomi that he doesn’t care for the dinner menu, as she’s not serving fish. I bet Big Lou would have got a real kick out of that! 🙂
The blowing up of the cat is absolutely sublime melodrama; it so matches virtually everything else that is happening currently that there could have been no other possible resolution for it than to become feline fricassee.
Abigail is so darned good in these episodes. Even her histrionic hand gestures are a sheer delight to watch. She has been definitely practicing in front of a mirror somewhere.
So if we are basically watching the beginning of the Barnabas storyline, then the elimination of Jeremiah by Barnabas in a duel–is that ever mentioned in the pre-1795 run-up to all of this? I am not sure I ever remember that particular thing being monologue-shopped by Barnabas, furtively looking out the windows at Collinswood as the teleprompter paragraphs went gliding by.
Does that mean this whole 1795 thing will climax with Josette throwing herself off of the cliff at Widow’s Hill?
About the cat exploding, I liked not only that we got to hear that other-worldly screech again, but that it occurred after the cat was already gone. So, maybe it was Joshua screeching this time? Too bad we couldn’t have seen that.
Barry, I’m new to DS, and I kinda like how the the real past is slightly different than how Barnabas tells it. He would be motivated to eliminate or give a softer version of events to his 1967 relatives. He certainly doesn’t want them to think of him as a killer, of any kind, in any century. I think it’s a little cheap to just say the writers hadn’t thought of it yet. Perhaps they hadn’t, but they are professional writers who can think ahead. Perhaps 1967 Barnabas is telling his relatives HIS version of the turbulent past. I buy it. It’s great.
I think indeed it is entirely safe to say that the 1967 writers hadn’t thought of any of this yet. There was no inclination or plan at all in the early Barnabas days to move the show into 1795. (And at the time, Barnabas was to be a temporary character who was to be killed off.) Any explanation for Barnabas (and anyone else) telling different stories earlier is fine and fun, but it’s retconning.
So how are we to interpret Joshua’s sudden reversion? Angelique’s spell just “wore off?” There’s no indication that she did it intentionally, at least not yet.
And the poor cat doesn’t even get billed in the closing credits despite the fact that he’s at least as good an actor as Alexandra Moltke.
Barry: I’m not going to reveal any spoilers regarding the upcoming twists and turns in the 1795 storyline, but, no, the 1967 Barnabas never mentioned the duel between himself and Jeremiah. That was because the writers had not thought that far in advance yet. Of course, as Danny and some of the other bloggers have explained, they completely rewrote the Barnabas-Josette-Jeremiah triangle once Vicki ended up back in the past.
That cat obviously could not take direction. Of course, their independence is one of the reasons why we cat owners love our felines.
The scene in which the cat changed back into Jeremiah was actually pretty well done. I’m just surprised that neither Abigail or the Countess put two and two together and figured out that, during that brief time, the cat and Jeremiah has been one and the same. Abigail claims it was seven days, but it wasn’t that long.
Sorry, should gave read, “Josuah and the cat had been one and the same.”
I thought Abigail had taken those indecent garments away to burn them. And hasn’t the old busybody seen that Collins Family History yet? It was literally the ONLY thing Vicki had with her. Guess she was too busy undressing the unconscious girl, examining her for “The Devil’s Mark”.
All the retcon works rather better in the 1790s than in any of the other time warping that goes on in Dark Shadows. The backstory hadn’t been fleshed out too much, and the excuse for the differences could be put on Vicki. But it must have been confusing to people who’d heard about this “vampire show” and onboarded, or someone who’d missed a couple weeks!
Abigail did take Victoria’s clothes to be burned, but there is a scene shortly after when Jeremiah explicitly tells Victoria he will retrieve them and give them back to her.
I know Victoria has to be careful and act more like an employee/servant–and despite her “dumbness” about everything does seem to be doing more of that lately–but I would have loved to have seen her pointing out the fact that ABIGAIL was the one in the room when the cat turned back into Joshua and implicating the old busybody as being the witch.
Did anyone else find it odd that as soon as Joshua returns from being a cat no less for over a week everyone seems completely unconcerned? No one asked him where the hell he was for the last week or seems interested at all in the fact that he was a cat. Maybe they just don’t believe Abigail? He just waltzes back in the house and it’s business as usual.