“Then I have reason to hate you. Because if you do not love her, you’ve ruined all our lives for nothing.”
So, it turns out there’s no such thing as magic after all. Angelique doesn’t cast spells; she’s just a superstitious girl who plays make-believe voodoo games. The “visions” are just dreams; the “enchantments” are just bad choices.
Josette and Jeremiah didn’t break Barnabas’ heart because they were under a spell. You can’t blame the magic rose water, or the spiked hot toddy. They’ve both been walking around saying things like “we couldn’t help it” and “we didn’t know what we were doing”, and Barnabas treats those excuses with the frozen contempt that they deserve.
And then Barnabas asks the one devastating question that they simply can’t answer, the question that blows the whole family to pieces.
But let’s start at the beginning, with the guns.
Yesterday, Jeremiah and Josette came home from their impromptu honeymoon, and told everyone that they got married. It didn’t go over that well. Barnabas challenged Jeremiah to a duel — and since he’s currently holding his gun upside down, I’d say there’s a better than average chance that he won’t even survive long enough to get up out of that chair.
I’d say this was a good opportunity for Angelique to learn not to screw around with other people’s feelings, but it’s Angelique and she never learns anything.
It’s a super intense episode today; everybody’s boiling over with drama and tension. So it’s kind of a shame that not a single person knows their lines today. It looks to me like they had Anthony George’s going-away party last night, and it ran kind of late.
Barnabas: You still believe in love?
Angelique: Why not? I enjoy believing in it — just as you enjoy your self-pity. And you must enjoy it — or you would not be willing to fight a duel!
Barnabas: I must!
Angelique: Yes. You must do something.
That was not the correct cue. In fact, I’m pretty sure that was his line. Barnabas looks at the teleprompter, trying to catch up.
Barnabas: I… will be… not sit here, accepting this! Hating to be with anybody because I know whoever it is will be thinking, poor Barnabas! I will not be poor Barnabas. I won’t even think of what’s right or wrong. I must move! Act! I must… do something.
It’s a great scene, very dramatic. I wonder what the script was like?
But they manage to pull themselves together, just in time for one of the big questions.
Angelique: Do you think she will marry you if he dies?
Barnabas: I know she would not.
Angelique: And yet… you would have her.
It’s a gorgeous moment, just pure, undiluted soap opera heartbreak.
And then David Ford comes in, which is always a mistake.
Andre: Yesterday, you loved my daughter.
Barnabas: Don’t ask me how I feel today.
Andre: I have more tact. But if you loved her, some small part of her wishes happiness for her.
Barnabas: How can you say that?
Andre: Because it’s troom.
That’s not a typo; that’s exactly what he says. “Because it’s troom.” It’s the most clearly articulated “troom” you’ll ever hear in your life. If you ever need to explain to somebody how to say the word “troom”, this is the example you should use.
Then it’s over to Josette and Jeremiah. Luckily, they haven’t given him a pistol to play with, because Anthony George has a history of hazardous gun acting. But he’s got his embroidered leaf jacket on, and he’s asking difficult questions.
Josette: We didn’t really love each other. Don’t deny it, Jeremiah. For a moment, we shared a kind of madness, but it wasn’t really love. We don’t really know each other.
Jeremiah: You still love him?
Josette: If I did, I wouldn’t even admit that to myself.
It’s a good moment. Then he gets up, strikes a dramatic pose and reads off the teleprompter. Seriously, it’s like an epidemic today.
Jeremiah: You must stay out of this.
Josette: But how can I stay out of something that I started?
Jeremiah: We ran away without considering the cost. We both knew without thinking that eventually we would have to pay. The payment is simply due sooner than we expected.
Josette: You want him to kill you.
Jeremiah: Perhaps that is the cost.
Josette: You want to die?
Jeremiah: It is not what I want. It is what Barnabas wants.
It’s gorgeous, right? Somehow, going to 1795 has given the writers the confidence to pull off mid-century American drama on afternoon TV. It’s like a production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, where everyone has head injuries and can’t quite remember what they’re supposed to say.
Jeremiah: What do you want me to say? That I’m sorry?
Barnabas: How sad, if you are.
Jeremiah: I am sorry. I am.
Barnabas: Then I have reason to hate you. Because if you do not love her, you’ve ruined all our lives for nothing.
And then Barnabas asks the big question, shooting a hole through their flimsy excuses.
Jeremiah: I should have gone away. I tried, when I realized what was happening.
Barnabas: Why didn’t you come to me then?
And… that’s a good point, actually. Why didn’t they come to him?
It’s not like they were under Angelique’s spell the whole time. The incidents would only last for a few minutes; they were constantly coming to their senses and fighting off the enchantment. They had several explicit conversations about being confused and scared by their feelings, and determined to resist them.
So why didn’t they tell Barnabas? It would have been awkward, and painful, but they had plenty of time to warn him before things got out of control. He could have helped. They could have figured out what was happening, together. But Jeremiah and Josette kept it secret.
Angelique has some good tricks, but she’s not all-powerful, not by a long shot. Her spells worked because she tapped into Josette and Jeremiah’s flaws — pride, cowardice, a reluctance to face the problem directly and take responsibility for it.
In his last moment before Barnabas shoots, Jeremiah closes his eyes, and accepts his punishment. He finds the strength to love Barnabas again. If Barnabas was strong enough to do the same — to remember that he loves Jeremiah, and might even forgive him someday — then Angelique wouldn’t have any power at all. Maybe she never had any in the first place.
Tomorrow: The End of History.
(More) Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
In the teaser, Josette tells Andre, “Please don’t joke with me now.” Andre responds, “Well, to ask as old a young man as I to change is impossible.”
After that, he makes a sarcastic crack to Josette, and then completely blows his line:
Josette: I just don’t want any more ill feeling between them.
Andre: Well, you should have thought of that before you married Jeremiah.
(She looks at him.)
Andre: I’m sorry, that was not necessary. Well, I do not, uh, maintain to be the greatest, uh, thinker in the world. Naturally, I have some irritation over knowing that — not knowing what happened in your mind when you left, when you ran away.
Barnabas and Jeremiah agree to walk ten paces, turn and fire. But there isn’t enough room on the set for ten paces; they both manage about five and a half.
After the duel, when Barnabas kneels down next to Jeremiah, you can see the edge of the burlap representing the forest floor.
Behind the Scenes:
This is Anthony George’s last episode on the show. We’ll see Jeremiah again, but from here on it’s all body doubles and fill-in actors.
In a 1995 interview for TV Collector magazine (quoted in the excellent Barnabas & Company: The Cast of the TV Classic Dark Shadows), George said, “I was the romantic lead in [Dark Shadows]. I hated it. I couldn’t have hated anything more. I was really put off by television. It was almost like a stigma to do soaps [in those days]. When I was first asked… I should’ve said, ‘Nope, I’m not going to do that,’ because it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. But my thought was, maybe I should do this in order to get to where I really want to go. The end result was that I never really got to go where I wanted. But I’ve had fun and I’m not bitter about it. I’ve had an awful lot of friends in the business and friends that I’ve had for 30 or 40 years. I’m grateful for a lot of things.” In the 1970s and early 80s, George appeared on two more soap operas — Search for Tomorrow (as Dr. Tony Vincente), and One Life to Live (as Dr. Will Vernon). He also had guest roles on Wonder Woman, Police Woman and Simon & Simon.
Tomorrow: The End of History.
— Danny Horn