Episode 385: The End of History

“I adjure thee, thou serpent — by the Judge of the quick and the dead, by thy Maker and the Maker of the world, by Him who hath power to put thee into Hell — that thou depart in haste from the flesh of this woman. Go out, thou seducer! Go out, thou transgressor, full of deceit and wile! Enemy of virtue! Persecutor of innocence! In the name of the Lord, I command thee to cast thyself back into the darkness from whence thee came, and where thy everlasting destruction awaits thee!”

For the last four weeks, we’ve accompanied Victoria Winters on an uncertain and frightening journey into the past, back to the year 1795. Sort of.

Because it certainly hasn’t been the 1795 that we expected, has it? We thought we were going to visit the 1795 where Jeremiah married Josette when he was an old man. Or the one where Josette and Jeremiah were very much in love. Or the one where Barnabas would have destroyed Jeremiah if he’d had the time. Or even the one where Barnabas gave Josette a special music box. Whatever happened to that music box, anyway?

So there have been a lot of inconsistencies piling up, impossible little gaps in time and logical sequence. It’s almost as if a really stupid and annoying person had traveled through time, and then done a lot of idiotic things, screwing up the timeline so badly that history isn’t working properly anymore. I wonder who that could possibly have been?

385 dark shadows natalie nathan duel

On the bright side, if there really are several alternate-timeline Jeremiahs hanging around loose, that would be great, because we’re going to need a spare. The Earth-616 Jeremiah just got shot in the face yesterday. Anthony George has already cleaned out his dressing room, so the outlook is fairly grim.

Nathan tells Natalie the latest news from the sickroom — Jeremiah is still unconscious, and the doctor isn’t optimistic about his chances.

Gritting her teeth, Natalie grips the bannister and insists, “Someone in this house wanted that duel to take place. Someone wants Jeremiah to die.”

Now, call me crazy, but I think she’s onto something. I’d suggest starting the investigation with the guy who shot him in the face.

385 dark shadows trask arrives

But there’s no time for fancy police work; there’s a knock at the door. Nathan answers, and here comes trouble.

385 dark shadows trask entrance

This is the Reverend Trask, who was invited by Abigail Collins to expose and exorcise the witch who’s been tormenting the Collins family. Here he is, and he’s everything that you could possibly want him to be.

So far, the 1795 sets and costumes have brought a whole new color palette to the show — warm reds and vivid greens, extravagant hats, jewels and embroidery. But Trask is dark and severe, dressed all in black, with heavy eyebrows and a deep, commanding voice. He’s clearly marked as different, and dangerous. Something new has been added to the menagerie.

385 dark shadows natalie nathan trask

Nathan is surprised to learn that Abigail has invited a witch hunter to the house.

Nathan:  Countess, may I ask by whose authority this gentleman has come here?

Trask:  By the authority vested in me by the Almighty!

Nathan:  The Almighty… Forgive me, Mr. Trask, but what church do you represent?

Trask:  I have my own congregation, in Salem.

385 dark shadows trask authority

Salem, of course. This would be one of those narrative collisions that the show’s become so fond of lately, where we grab somebody from another story and throw him on screen, just to see what happens. Reverend Trask is visiting from the famous Salem witch trials, by way of Arthur Miller’s 1953 play The Crucible.

We’ve already seen one of the Crucible characters; she’s been tearing the place up for weeks. In the episode that introduced Angelique, her first passionate scene with Barnabas was a note-for-note paraphrase of a pivotal scene from The Crucible, a heated confrontation between the protagonist, John Proctor, and the manipulative and dangerous Abigail Williams.

Abby’s mischievous fingerprints are all over this storyline — Abigail Collins got her name, and Angelique got the scalding-hot need for vengeance in her soul.

385 dark shadows trask salem

Now, I’ve been reading up on the Salem witch trials lately, in preparation for this storyline, and I might as well warn you that I plan on being completely insufferable about it. That’s just how things work around here.

So here’s a quick thumbnail of the Salem chronology. The trouble began in January 1692, when young girls in the village started having fits, and claimed that they were being attacked by unseen forces. The hysteria spread to more girls living nearby, who grew into an unruly mob known as “the afflicted children”.

The girls started accusing people in the village of being witches, who sent their spectral forms to torment the girls and win them over to Satan. The trials began in May, led by prosecutors dedicated to finding and destroying the devils in their midst. More than a hundred people were imprisoned, and twenty people were executed between June and September.

Some of the people who were convicted and hanged were respected members of the church, and by October, support for the witch hunt started to drain away. The remaining prisoners were released by January 1693, and the people of Salem began to rebuild their shattered community.

385 dark shadows trask time

It’s a well-known story, with lots of drama and shouting, and thrilling accounts of supernatural horrors — the perfect inspiration for a Dark Shadows storyline.

Unfortunately, it happened in the 1690s, and they’d already established that Barnabas came from the 1790s. Trask is a hundred years too late. In fact, a witch hunter from Salem walking into Joshua Collins’ house makes about as much sense as Don Draper from Mad Men enlisting in the Civil War.

385 dark shadows nathan vicki serious

But here’s the thing that really doesn’t make sense: Nathan tries to warn Vicki that she’s in danger, and Vicki laughs it off.

He’s actually being very sweet here — last week, he warned her that she might need a friend one day, and now he’s come to help her out. He tells her that Abigail and the Countess are taking their accusations of witchcraft seriously, and they’ve called in a witch hunter to investigate.

385 dark shadows vicki laughs

And Vicki thinks this is hilarious. She actually giggles. She says that she’s not a witch, and she has nothing to fear.

There’s the paradox: Vicki is a governess, teaching history to a ten-year-old boy in New England. Obviously, she knows the story of the Salem witch trials, and she knows that innocent people were accused and hanged. She also knows that she’s alone in the wrong century, and even if the only result of this boondoggle is that she’s dismissed from service, she literally has nowhere else to go.

So either this is a universe where the Salem witch trials happened in the 1690s, and Vicki feels safe because she knows the witch hunts have been over for a century — or this is an alternate universe where the witch trials happened in the 1790s, and Vicki is an idiot. Actually, Vicki’s an idiot either way, but the point is that something is wrong with time.

385 dark shadows abigail time

Downstairs, Abigail is having her own chronological issues.

Trask:  We must have tangible evidence of an act of sorcery.

Abigail:  We have all the evidence you need; the signs are unmistakeable!

Trask:  Tell me about them.

Abigail:  My brother Joshua was standing right there, over a week ago, and Jeremiah was in the room with him, when suddenly, Joshua disappeared in thin air, and in his place was a large black cat.

Oddly enough, everything about that lunatic statement is true, except for the phrase “over a week ago”. By my calculation, Joshua was a cat for four days, tops.

The episode after Joshua turned into a cat took place later that night, and Josette aand Barnabas’ wedding was planned for the next day. Josette and Jeremiah’s honeymoon at the Collinsport Inn lasted a little over two days, and then Joshua reappeared on the day that the newlyweds returned home. At the time, Abigail told Joshua that he’d been missing for a week, but it can’t have been more than four days.

385 dark shadows abigail compression

That’s really common, though; soap operas always do strange things with time compression. Soap characters are always saying that something in a previous episode happened “the other day”, when it was actually earlier that morning in story time.

It’s not surprising that Abigail is extending the narrative time to fit the audience’s experience — we saw Joshua disappear a week ago, so it’s a week for Abigail.

But then Trask asks her how long Vicki’s been in the house, and Abigail says, “She was employed about two weeks ago as Sarah’s governess.” If anybody feels like calculating the number of days in story time, then go ahead; I’m pretty sure it’s been more than two weeks.

So, again, we’re seeing the chronology stretching and compressing, simultaneously. This storyline is destabilizing time; I’m actually getting a little worried about this.

385 dark shadows trask time unstable

I think Jerry Lacy’s in on it, too, because he says more words in this episode than it’s possible to fit into twenty-two minutes. Reverend Trask is just unbelievably great. I loved Jerry Lacy when he first appeared a couple months ago as hard-boiled lawyer Tony Peterson, and he’s even better here. He just talks, endlessly, and his delivery is so commanding that you can’t take your eyes off the screen.

Trask:  How long have you been in league with the Devil?

Vicki:  Now, you just stop this, because I’m not in league with anyone; I’ve never done a thing to harm anyone in this house!

Trask:  You have tried, and you have succeeded! You have carried out the Devil’s instructions since the day you arrived here!

Vicki:  That’s ridiculous!

Trask:  You have used your spells, and potions, and incantations to inflict bodily harm and cause mental aberrations!

385 dark shadows trask marvelous

Oh, it’s just marvelous. I could quote Trask all day, and I think I will.

Vicki:  I’ve done no such thing! Why won’t you listen to what I’m saying?

Trask:  You caused the disappearance of the master of this house through an act of black magic!

Vicki:  No!

Trask:  You have used your trickery to sow the seeds of deception and hatred among the members of the Collins family — a God-fearing people who would never willingly do the Devil’s bidding!

One of the great things about Trask’s dialogue is that you keep thinking that he’s about to finish a sentence, and then he just tacks on another clause. That last line sounded like it was supposed to stop in three different places, and it just kept going.

385 dark shadows trask plenty

Here, have some more; there’s plenty.

Trask:  You cannot resist the will of God for long, girl! You cannot hide your evil ways from me. I have seen too many others like you — poor, wretched creatures, their bodies alive with an evil spirit that is beyond their control!

385 dark shadows trask possession

Trask:  You cannot help what you are. You have lost your free will. It is not you we must punish.

385 dark shadows trask commands

Trask:  It is Satan — for he has reached out and taken wanton possession of your body! Satan possesses and commands, and poor earthly flesh obeys.

385 dark shadows trask hand

Trask:  But the hand of God will intervene. The hand of God will cleanse your body of the seeds of evil Satan has planted there! Get down on your knees, and pray to the heavens for your salvation!

It’s fantastic. Jerry Lacy is single-handedly inventing a new style of Dark Shadows acting, which is like regular acting but six times louder.

385 dark shadows trask vicki tree

And then — somehow, somewhen, in an alternate timestream that cannot possibly be our own — the episode ends with Trask tying Vicki to a tree, and spending a full minute performing an exorcism at the top of his lungs, shouting so loud that they could probably hear him on The Edge of Night, two channels over.

385 dark shadows vicki trask trick

It’s a trick. It has to be. This couldn’t possibly have happened. There’s no way, even in 1967, that they could broadcast this on afternoon television as a Friday cliffhanger, and the network still let them come back on Monday to make another episode.

And that trick — this impossible chrono-synclastic infundibulum, rippling backwards and forwards through time, mashing up history and culture and common sense — it’s still just as powerful today.

Because here I am, on a Friday in May 2014, writing about the 1967 version of the 1795 version of 1692. And when I hit publish a minute from now, this blog post will embark on its own uncertain and frightening journey through time, to catch up to you — on Saturday, or next week, or next year, or however long it takes to make contact with you. And that’s finally happened, right now.

It’s time travel, that’s the only explanation. This show, and this blog, traveling together every day, compressing and expanding the days and weeks and decades, all at the same time. It’s no wonder that the linear course of events has collapsed; I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Truly, these are the end times. And, lucky for us, they’re just beginning.

Monday: Make Like a Tree.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

During Trask’s interrogation, he repeats part of a line. He tells Vicki, “Get down on your knees, and pray to the heavens for your salvation!” She objects, and he says, “Don’t you understand, girl, you must not resist, you must pray to the heavens for your salvation!”

Abigail ties a handkerchief around Vicki’s head as a gag. She has a hard time getting it tied around the back, and the dialogue between Abigail and Trask slows down when it’s clear that it’s going to take her a minute to finish. Finally, Vicki obligingly bites down on the gag to make sure it stays in her mouth while Abigail fixes the knot.

While everyone is engaged in gagging Vicki, Natalie stands up and says, “Why must you take her out of this house?” Trask responds, “Her presence will still be felt, if she remains here!” Natalie hesitates, and then says, “I — I don’t understand!” There’s no response from Trask to this line; Natalie has skipped ahead in the script. After four seconds of silence, Natalie moves on to, “Where will you take her?” Trask replies, “To the woods, away from those she could bring harm to! Then I will put her to the ultimate test!” Now Natalie’s back on track, and she says, “But I do not — I do not understand!”

The tree that Vicki is tied to shakes and wobbles.

Also: How did Trask tie Vicki to the tree all by himself? There’s no way he could have done it single-handed, unless Vicki was extra cooperative.

Salem Witch Trial Trivia:

The character of Reverend Trask is modeled on two important figures from the actual Salem witch trials. Reverend Samuel Parris was the reverend in Salem Village, and the “afflictions” started in his house — his daughter Betty and his niece, Abigail Williams, were the first children who started having fits and accusing people of witchcraft. Parris was an active participant in the witch hunt, and encouraged it in his sermons.

Cotton Mather was an influential Boston minister whose 1689 book Memorable Provinces, Relating to Witchcraft and Possessions was an important source of inspiration for the 1692 witch hunt. When the “afflicted girls” would go into their fits, they would identify the witch’s spirit that was attacking them. When local ministers were asked to advise about the appropriate way to conduct the trials, Mather encouraged the use of this “spectral evidence” as grounds for presumption of guilt, even if the accused witch was a good Christian actively denying the charges while the girls screamed their accusations. Mather wrote quite a bit about the trials in the years after, and never apologized for hs role in convicting innocent people.

Trask’s line to Barnabas in this episode echoes Mather’s defense of spectral evidence, even when it’s used against apparently innocent people: “The Devil does not always appear to us in the face of evil, Mr. Collins. He sometimes appears in the guise of innocence and purity.”

There’s another Salem reference when Trask first questions Vicki in her room. She tells Trask that she knew he was coming, and Trask asks how she knew. She doesn’t want to get Nathan in trouble, so she says she doesn’t know. Trask seizes on this as evidence of diabolical clairvoyance.

A similar situation actually happened in March 1692. Ann Putnam accused Martha Corey of sending her spectre to torment her. She was asked what the spirit was wearing, but she couldn’t describe the spectre’s clothes. When the authorities visited Corey, she challenged the accusation, saying, “Did she tell you what clothes I have on?” This coincidence was taken as evidence that Corey’s spectre had really been there when Ann was being questioned.

Okay, one more. There actually was a Trask peripherally involved in the Salem witch trials — John Trask, who testified against Bridget Bishop in April 1692. Trask’s wife Christina had killed herself in June 1690, by cutting her own throat with a pair of scissors. Bishop was accused of bewitching Mrs. Trask, and forcing her to commit suicide. Bishop was the first person executed during the witch hunt.

Monday: Make Like a Tree.

385 dark shadows trask vicki beginning

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

51 thoughts on “Episode 385: The End of History

  1. This is the episode where the 1795 bleep got real – for Vicki, for viewers.

    Trask, as you say, is unlike anyone we’ve ever seen on DS – and he’s frightening. His manhandling of our heroine and tying her to a tree for the night is an unnerving Friday cliffhanger that seems to come out of nowhere. What a way to end the week. This show is flying off the rails.

  2. Let’s imagine you were watching DS in early November, took a trip for a few weeks or had jury duty or something and returned to… a completely different show. My God, there were three Friday cliffhangers in three days! Barnabas challenges Jeremiah to a duel! Barnabas shoots Jeremiah in the face (actually nowhere near, but the series insists on it so…)! The new guy ties up our heroine to a tree!

    Oh, and yes, Vicki is an idiot. I say that a lot but there’s no other explanation. Either idiots are writing the series (and that’s clearly not true given the stories of late) or she is almost intentionally painted as an idiot.

    What was interesting about this episode is that Vicki laughs off danger as if she has no known enemies (she does) and as if she is here in this house at this time under perfectly rational reasons. Aside from the opening monologue, there is nothing in her behavior to indicate she’s on a strange and terrifying journey to the past.

    Compare her to say Barnabas from earlier this year. Routine matters created tension because Barnabas responded to them sanely. Someone wants to see him during the day. Someone wants to search his basement. All normal things that no normal person would worry about but Barnabas, unlike Vicki, did not suffer from short term I’m not normal amnesia.

    So, again, the episode is written as if Vicki is obviously an idiot. It wouldn’t be hard for to have her see Trask arrive and freak out — just like Richard Kimble would freak out if he saw a police car. She could run to Forbes for help and he could laugh off Trask as a threat, and the tension would be that Vicki couldn’t tell him why she’s worried.

    But instead, she’s just a passive dolt.

    1. Yeah, passive is a great word for Vicki. A protagonist is supposed to make choices, but at the moment I can’t think of a single plot point that she initiates in the entire run of the series. Things just happen to her.

    1. Nope; he’s just Reverend Trask. The 1897 version is Gregory, and the 1840 model is Lamar, but this one apparently doesn’t need a first name.

      1. Maybe that is his first name. People keep asking about his church and he evades the question; perhaps he’s just named Reverend, rather than being one.

        1. Many fans have made “Orville” canonical as this Rev. Trask’s first name. Apparently Jerry Lacy jokingly called him Orville, and in the audio drama Bloodline, his name is revealed as Orville Vilorus Trask.

  3. By the way, I didn’t have space for this, but my second favorite quote in this episode is “Now, you just stop this, because I’m not in league with anyone.”

  4. In my ideal version of 1795 PT Angelique falls in love with Nathan Forbes (perfect match), Barnabas marries his true love Josette, Millicent becomes a younger version of her crazy Aunt Abigail, and Jeremiah/Burke sweeps Vicki off her feet and keeps her in the past living happily ever after. I think Vicki would have fit in better in this time period (not-withstanding Trask). When Vicki originally had the role as audience identification character there was something more logical in having a (halfway) sane character relate to the extraordinary events around her (Crazy David and Matthew Morgan, the Ghosts of Josette, the Widows, and Bill Malloy and ‘firestarter’ Laura Collins). Since that role as narrator was taken away from her, the show has now assumed the feel of the inmates taking over and running the asylum!

  5. To defend Vicki – oh, God, did I just write that? Ugh Ugh Ugh Slap me already – I get the sense the character has yet to fully accept her circumstances. (See: All related notes on Vicki is an Idiot by other posters.) There’s a big part of Vicki that still thinks she’s having a wonderful, elaborate, crazy dream, and that Mrs. Johnson will gently rouse her with a nice cup of tea.

    Not after today.

    Not in her wildest nightmares could she imagine somebody like Trask.

    Monday spoiler: Angelique practices voodoo on a plant. Hysterical!

  6. Well, if you are talking history, let us not forget that Josette goes shopping for her trousseau in Paris in 1794. The writers know about the French Revolution. They mention about France being a Republic. And no one says “Josette, if you go to Paris, you’ll end up on the guillotine.”

    You know that would make for a VERY interesting storyline. Headless Josette…

  7. Trask reminds me immensely of Christopher Lee as Dracula, especially the hair and the black clothing. Don’t know if this is deliberate but it works as a nice foreshadowing of vampire tales to come.

    Also, not sure I buy the whole Vicki screwing up history angle, mainly because she actually hasn’t done anything! Barnabas’ engagement to Josette and his affair with Angelique happened before Vicki’s arrival and it’s safe to say Angelique’s vengeance would have occurred regardless of Vicki’s presence. To date she’s had very little interaction with the Collins family and really hasn’t affected any of their decisions. Not that I’m complaining. Because she’s an idiot.

    1. Well, I’m really talking about Vicki destroying the whole structure of cause and effect, so the timey-wimey changes are reverberating back and forth, affecting things further back in the past than the “now” of this episode.

      According to episode 345, there was a version of the past where Jeremiah was middle-aged when he married Josette, and Barnabas first met her when she arrived at the house, already married. Then 20 episodes later, Vicki shows up in 1795, and Josette is coming to marry Barnabas.

      There’s no in-story way to reconcile these two versions. The writers just changed their minds when they started working on the 1795 storyline. That’s just a thing that happens in serialized narratives. So I’ve decided it’s more fun to blame Vicki.

      1. Danny, can you point to the DS bobblehead and let us know where the bad governess hurt you? 🙂

          1. Brilliant! I must commend you on your screengrabs. They are so beautifully cherry-picked, it’s like something ‘The Daily Show’ would do – if it were covering DS in 1967.

              1. Your forget the “clueless look” – usually occurs at the end of a scene. She has the look as if she is the only person in the room who didn’t get the joke.

      2. That’s the only way I’ve made peace with the James Cameron “Titanic” movie. Te only way it makes sense is if Rose & Jack are actually time travelers who throw everything off a little bit, so it’s CLOSETO but not really accurate.

  8. I know this isn’t popular opinion but I still feel sorry for Vicki..Originally she only came to Collinwood to find her family and teach David to be a better person. At this point in the show neither of those goals had been realized and her fiancee just died. Also Julia had been hypnotizing her with the ‘hallucinogenic chandelier crystals’ and she probably still thought that this was all a bad dream..

  9. from what I’ve heard of being accused of and tested for being a witch, I’d say being tied to a tree overnight is a tiptoe through the tulips. it sure beats dunking or pressing!

  10. I’m gonna have to stand up to a degree for Miss Victoria Winters. She showed a lot of spunk in this episode, at least some of the time.

    I actually liked her calling out Trask for what he is and slapping him. I just wish she had continued to stand her ground.

  11. I command thee to cast thyself back into the darkness from whence thee came,

    I’m fairly sure it should be from whence thou came, even though I have no idea how olde English works.
    I’m going to guess that it comes from much reading of the King James version. It’s embedded into my brain as much as regular English is.
    I had a friend whose cousins are from Poland and who laugh at her Polish because it’s wrong and she doesn’t know why but Strangely I do because I studied it from a book so I know about case (yuck!). That doesn’t mean I can really speak it and it was several years ago. It’s a very difficult language to learn if you do not learn it by osmosis, the way we learned English.

    Vicki really is an idiot here and it frustrates me. Generally I argue with people when they say that Vicki is an idiot because I like Vicki and generally she’s pretty smart. Unfortunately it’s 1790 and she’s a school teacher in New England and she should know better and she doesn’t. So yes she’s an idiot here. It makes me sad.

    Also I wish that Angelique would do terrible things to the Reverend Trask but of course she won’t. And let’s not forget that Angelique has decided that she will not have Barnabas come to her by force – must come of his own free will. Except of course that she will force him to come to her anyway. So what’s the point?

    1. You know about case? So thou is the subject and thee is the object/dative. The sentence does sound odd, it would more likely have been something like “from whence came thee” or something. But thee is correct there. It would be thou if he had started a new sentence and said “thou camest from the darkness and thou needst must return hence!” Oh, if only they had pulled all the stops out. But that would be an earlier form of English than 1795. And then again, so were the witch trials, so why not?

      1. Wow. I don’t think I know enough about it in English. I fought with it in Polish for about 10 months before I gave up (but that was 31 years ago, and I gave up). And I probably know nothing about it in Olde English. Hmmm..
        It would be odd to hear someone get grammar right on TV. I’m forever hearing supposedly intelligent characters saying things like “with Jim and I”

        1. Yeah, we mostly don’t pay attention to case in English, because we have lost nearly all of our inflections, and we either use them unconsciously, or incorrectly because we have forgotten the meaning. Like in the example you are giving above – one of the few remaining inflections, where I is the subject and me is the object/dative. (As in, I gave it to you, vs, you gave it to me). I can’t understand why we dropped those other inflected pronouns, because they make meaning clearer. Imagine knowing what people meant without adding a whole lot of little extra words or just having to know the context? We had a way or expressing whether we meant a single You as a subject (thou), object (thee) or possessive (thy), or plural subject (you), object (ye) and possessive (your). There was the second person, which is sometimes still used, as One, ones. At one time there were even dual pronouns (I guess we still have We, Us, but there was a full set). But all that nuance got ditched in favour of the words You and Your. And many times we struggle to convey what we mean when we say “You”!

          That’s why the only grammatical errors that really drive me nuts are the ones that mess up the meaning – such as misusing your/you’re, its/it’s, using the apostrophe to make a plural – things like that. They actually make things harder to understand, so they’re more than just a spelling error. Spelling errors for the most part are no problem, just variation. And a lot of so-called grammatical errors are also vernacular variations which are perfectly good and meaningful. Vernaculars simply have variant rules to standard forms, but rules nonetheless. They’re just as valid. End of rant.

        2. Just a historical note…what is being spoken in the 1790s historically is what is called Modern English (what we still speak today, though obviously there have been changes), which started in the latter 14th century. Prior to that was Middle English (think Chaucer; starting around 1150), and prior to that was Old English (which would be virtually unrecognizable to most people these days).

  12. I certainly should have thought of this earlier, but does later day Barnabas (post1795) remember that he had previously met Victoria Winters and does that ever impact the storyline? Her full name was spoken out loud today in front of B. He should remember her. She certainly hasn’t changed any.

  13. Good lord, it continues! You wrote this in May 2014, writing about the 1967 version of the 1795 version of 1692 – and I’m reading it in January 2017, which is a version of Berlin in 1939! Well, hopefully not that last part. Still entertaining, though! The blog post, I mean, not January 2017.

  14. Remember when we had to sit through endless minutes while Carolyn, Roger or Vicku used to recap the previous days episode to whoever they were sitting next to in the Blue Whale? This is insanity on steroids how the show has taken off and I’m guessing it has to do with DC feeling like let’s just throw everything we have at them and see what sticks.

    I can’t criticize any of the storylines, it all makes sense. At this point we don’t know if Barnabas is going to continue trying to woo Josette, now that Jeremiah is out of the picture. Maybe the music box will be his peace offering. As for Vicki, she’s kind of playing with the cards she’s dealt. She won’t run because she’s not a witch, but she won’t back down because she’s a modern woman. Probably not the smartest thing to do but hey, she is Vicki. Btw, she must be into bondage by now, having been tied up and gagged so often.

  15. Finally. Someone who’s willing to talk about the fact that there are incredible continuity breaks in how Barnabas first thought of Jeremiah , and how he thinks of Jeremiah during the flashback. The fact that the writers just basically threw out the Jeremiah hatred drove me nuts. And none of my other friends that watched the show with me either as children or again as laughing adults ever understood why that was so infuriating. Yes I know that happens on soaps all the time. This one just got to me. Don’t get me wrong I like where it ended up. Barnabas all remorseful about shooting him in the face. I just wish they hadn’t gone the hate direction earlier. And of course, they hadn’t thought up Angelique yet, so none of the bad things that happened to Barnabas could be blamed on her in episodes 279 through 281. Sorry for joining the party of this thread so late but I’m watching those episodes now. And also since this post has a lot of Trask explaining in it. I love all the Trask’s except for the butler. Jerry Lacy is amazing.

  16. It is July 1, 2019. I have traveled back in time to read your blog about 1795 Dark Shadows, as I am watching 1897 Dark Shadows.

  17. Over three years since anyone has posted here and I hope that I am keeping Danny’s blog theory of time-travel alive and well. What an extraordinary post from start to finish. It is an absolute joy to have such nuanced discussion, incredible back-story (on Salem, The Crucible and witch trails in general) and incisive aspects of the episode brought to light.

    Jerry Lacy truly brings the heat in what has to be a real feat of memorization–because I firmly believe he came in having memorized about 90% of his dialogue. He’s just that tight with it all. He is an actor’s actor, and is only going to use that teleprompter when he absolutely has to.

    The last scene with Vicki tied to the tree and Reverend Trask exhorting his exorcisms upon her is so…………….like ecclesiastical rape fantasy stuff that, like Danny states, it is completely unbelievable that they were ever able to get ANY of this past Standards and Practices. I marvel at each and every episode during this period as to what they are literally going to do next.

    Finally, Danny–this: “….shouting so loud that they could probably hear him on The Edge of Night, two channels over.” I am ALWAYS going to call out some of the absolute drop-dead, spot-on, bring-up-the-bodies one-line masterpieces in this blog and THAT is, without a doubt, one of the best.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you–we are in troubled times right now (please note the date stamp of my blog entry) and each and every day feels more and more precious, and frightening. To be able to come here and seek refuge—and get a laugh like that line–you will never know how much I truly appreciate your great work, Danny!

    1. Well, Barry, I hope you’re still reading the blog or getting emails informing you about new posts, but I’m the latest time traveler, it seem now. I am writing this as of June 30, 2020, and I agree with you that these are indeed troubled times. Like you, I look to this blog for much-needed diversion and escape into my childhood, when I first watched DARK SHADOWS as a kid.

      1. Dale, I’m right here with you, buddy, just about 30 episodes ahead of you and you are catching up to me fast! LOL

        One of the things I wanted to comment upon that you mentioned recently was Joshua turning into the cat. It seems to me that would have been a great plot point for all of them to discover at some point and have it be more fuel for the fire to convict the “witch,” Victoria Winters. It is completely discarded as a plot point once it’s over (like so many others) and they simply move on. That’s a shame because it could have provided some real steam for events to come.

        1. Hi, Barry! I agree with you about the need for expanding the “Joshua-transformed-into-cat” storyline. After all, Joshua was not only the family patriarch, but the head of a company that was providing the major–if not the ONLY–source of taxable income and employment for the entire town. Thus, whatever affected Joshua affected the whole community

    2. “ To be able to come here and seek refuge…”

      I too am in the future, October 2020. I have noticed your similar comments since I started reading the 1795 posts and share your gratitude for the escape this blog has provided. These are, as you’ve noted, dark, dark days. I’m glad to find kindred spirits (no pun intended) such as you and Dale U. here in the future.

      1. Thank you, Emily–so glad that you, like some others here, find the same enjoyment and escape from this blog in this most troubled year.

  18. The absence of the music box is particularly egregious because it was so central to the storyline for so long, and it would have been very simple to write a quick scene showing Barnabas giving it to Josette as a gift. Apparently Sam and the other writers just plain forgot about it.

    My enthusiasm for Jerry Lacy is limited but I agree he did a fantastic job today with all that complicated speechifying. That it came during a run of episodes when virtually everyone else is stumbling over his or her lines makes it just that much more impressive.

  19. Reverend Trask was indeed Jerry Lacy’s signature role. I liked him as Tony Peterson, but Trask gave Lacy the opportunity to really strut his stuff as an actor.As Danny mentioned, he later played two other Trasks as well, but this one, I think, was his most memorable one.

    LIke William, I, too, admired VIcki for standing up for herself by refusing to cooperate with Trask and slapping him in the face as well. Even the Countess, to an extent, empathized with Vicki, as she admitted to Abigail, in private,that if he had treated her in that manner, she might have reacted the same way as Vicki had. I just think Vicki should have revealed that Nathan Forbes had warned her about Trask’s coming to Collinwood to interrogate her. Instead, she just let everybody else think she had must have had supernatural knowledge of his visit beforehand when she blurted out she knew he was there to ask her questions.

    I also thought it was interesting that Nathan, scoundrel that he was, showed some conscience and integrity in trying to warn Vicki to escape while she still had the time. As he explained to her, “I’ve seen these fanatics before. I know how they work.” Evidently, this was the type of man that even Nathan, scoundrel and opportunist that he was, had no use for.

    Finally, Abigail got it wrong when she described the “Joshua cat” as black. It was most assuredly not.

    1. I too wondered why Vicki didn’t just tell them that Nathan Forbes warned her of Trask’s arrival, but I think I have a decent answer. At this point, I think Vicki truly realized that she was in danger, and admitting that Nathan tried to help her would put Nathan at risk of protecting a witch. I know I’m suggesting that post-Barnabas Vicki is actually thinking (I stress post-Barnabas because she actually a couple working brain-cells before the vampire appeared), but I think it’s a good explanation.

  20. I am also a newbie to this blog, as I have recently found myself with a lot of time on my hands. If Victoria Winters had ever been sent on an uncertain and frightening journey to the future, she couldn’t have done better than the summer of 2020.

    “Dark Shadows” first aired when I was in high school. On a family trip to Salem I was thrilled to find myself in Trask Square, and we all clamored to be photographed next to the sign. I wonder if this real-life Salemite inspired the evil reverend’s name?


  21. Greetings from 2020! I grew up in Salem MA and am loving this storyline! I’ve been enjoying your blog daily since starting DS with episode #1 during quarantine.

  22. Oh Vicki, Vicki, Vicki. As heartening as it is to see her display some spirit, that is not the appropriate response to accusations of satanic activity. As we will see, the correct answer is to fall to your knees and loudly wail for forgiveness and redemption; and if you can, finger someone else.

  23. November 2021 here! Watched DS as a kid, then started from the beginning about 6 years ago but never got further than Maggie’s abduction. Started over again a little while back (again from episode 1) and have been watching 5 episodes a night before bed. This is my first time seeing the 1795 storyline. This blog is amazing!

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