Episode 387: Truth or Dare

“Just how does one go about sensing an evil spirit? I’ve always been curious about that.”

We take you now live to the Old House drawing room, where an argument is already in progress.

Trask:  Miss Winters was bound securely to the tree. She could not possibly have freed herself. Someone must have untied those ropes for her.

Joshua:  Are you suggesting, Reverend, that it was a member of this family?

Trask:  I am saying that whoever helped her escape is also in league with the Devil, and that can mean only one thing. We are dealing with a coven of witches!

And that’s what Dark Shadows is like these days. Zero to sixty.

387 dark shadows time angelique trask

Today’s episode is written by Gordon Russell, who joined Dark Shadows about four months ago, and he’s really matured. In his first couple months on the show, he was working with Ron Sproat, who taught him some bad habits, including aggravating recap scenes, and characters acting like goldfish.

And look what Russell’s doing now! We’re forty seconds in, and we’ve already got a coven of witches breaking out in the drawing room.

So far, almost all of the 1795 episodes have been written by Russell and Sam Hall, who joined the team a little over a month ago and is the best thing that ever happened to Dark Shadows. Over the last four weeks, Russell and Hall have stripped the show down to its essentials — eccentric characters, unrequited love, high-stakes plot points and lots of surprises.

It was only a few months ago that Dark Shadows episodes just walked in circles. Now they sprint right out of the gate.

387 dark shadows question joshua

So let’s get right into it, because Trask has an ambitious agenda. He wants to start his investigation by interviewing everybody in the house, because apparently this is the only house in the entire world.

Joshua agrees to let the Reverend proceed, as long as he keeps the investigation under control and doesn’t expose the family to scandal.

387 dark shadows talk andre joshua

Andre objects, saying that the whole idea is ridiculous and barbaric. He doesn’t believe in witches, and he’s outraged that Joshua would subject his guests to this kind of interrogation.

Joshua replies that strange things have been going on in the house, and — whether there’s witchcraft involved or not — he wants to get to the bottom of it.

387 dark shadows steeple trask joshua

Trask turns, and steeples his fingers, which is like the witch hunter version of revving his engine.

Trask:  Perhaps the gentleman has a very good reason, Mr. Collins.

Joshua:  What do you mean by that, sir?

Trask:  Refusal to cooperate could mean many things. A desire to protect oneself, or to shield someone else.

And look at his sly little face. This is his favorite thing to do in the world.

387 dark shadows principle joshua andre

Joshua turns back to Andre.

Andre:  The Reverend is implying that I might have something to hide.

Joshua:  Do you?

Andre:  Don’t be absurd.

Joshua:  Then what harm can there be in answering a few, simple direct questions?

And there you go; that’s the question that opens the door to confusion, panic and despair.

This is always the modus operandi when people start looking for witches, Communists, perverts, terrorists and other subversives. Anyone who objects to the proceedings is viewed with suspicion, so there’s no reasonable check on the prosecutors. Before you know it, we’re counting the bodies and making plans for a memorial.

387 dark shadows innocence angelique nathan

But, as always, Angelique is several steps ahead of everyone else. She needs a patsy to take the fall, and the obvious candidate is Vicki, who isn’t smart enough to get under cover.

When Angelique sees Nathan smuggling food out of the house through the servants’ entrance, she knows exactly what’s going on. Nathan and Barnabas are keeping Vicki hidden in the new house, to keep her out of Trask’s reach until things blow over.

387 dark shadows steeple trask angelique

But things don’t blow over with these two around. Each of them is incendiary enough as a solo act. When they’re together, they get along like a house on fire. Have you ever seen a house that’s on fire?

Angelique shows up a minute late for the appointment, explaining that she was out walking in the woods.

Trask is intrigued. Note the steepling.

Trask:  Why were you walking in the woods?

Angelique:  I have no reason. I went to get some air.

Trask:  Were you alone?

Angelique:  Yes.

Trask:  Why? Do you always go walking alone in the woods?

Angelique:  Well, yes, but —

387 dark shadows pounce angelique trask

He springs toward her like a panther, ready to pounce.

Trask:  What is there about the woods that makes you want to be there alone?

Angelique:  I don’t know!

Trask:  There’s something about the woods that fascinates you. That draws you to them. Isn’t that right?

Angelique:  Well, I never thought of it in that way before.

Trask:  Perhaps there is someone you go there to see. Someone… like THE DEVIL HIMSELF!

387 dark shadows devil angelique trask

Now, a direct attack like that might work on a simpleton like Victoria Winters, girl governess, but come on. Angelique is a mythopoetic trickster-figure, like Anansi, Bugs Bunny and Julia Hoffman, and she knows kung fu.

Angelique:  Oh, no! I go walking in the woods alone!

Trask:  Everything must have a reason! And you have not given me one.

Angelique:  It is not to communicate with the Devil! He has never tempted me, and he never will!

Trask:  You mean he has tried?

387 dark shadows eyes angelique

She turns the eyes to full brightness. It’s hardly even fair.

Angelique:  Well, he tries to tempt everyone, does he not?

Trask:  But you are too strong for him, is that what you’re trying to tell me?

Angelique:  The Devil knows that my loyalty is to my God.

Trask:  Is that what you’ve told him?

Angelique:  I’ve never seen him. I go to the woods alone because it is quiet, and peaceful, and I long to be close to — to communicate to God.

387 dark shadows graven trask

Trask:  By your own admission, you have not even been baptized. How can you ever hope to be close to God?

Angelique:  Sometimes, when I’m alone, I feel that I am. Sometimes I close my eyes, and I hear voices, and I see images.

Trask:  Graven images!

Angelique:  Oh, no!

387 dark shadows judo angelique

Here’s where the Bugs Bunny kung fu action really kicks in. She sinks to her knees.

Angelique:  Oh, you must believe me! I long to be a child of religion, to feel a part of it!

387 dark shadows crazyface angelique

She turns on the crazyface.

Angelique:  And I do feel it! Now! At this very minute!

Trask:  What are you talking about, girl?

387 dark shadows revival angelique

She closes her eyes. She’s single-handedly creating a one-woman revival movement.

Angelique:  I began to feel it a moment ago! Closer to God than I have ever felt in my life!

Trask:  Open your eyes!

Angelique:  No! I begin to see something! My whole body is filled with a strange sensation!

387 dark shadows responsible angelique

Now she plays to his vanity and self-importance.

Angelique:  It must be religion! And, Reverend, you’re responsible!

Trask:  Tell me what it is you see.

Angelique:  It’s becoming clearer. Oh, I’ve never felt this way before in my life!

387 dark shadows prepare joshua

Obviously, Joshua is deeply baffled. Nobody ever tells you to prepare for something like this, busting loose in the middle of your living room.

Joshua:  What is it, Reverend? What is happening to the girl?

Trask:  She is either a complete charlatan, or she is indeed having a spiritual revelation.

387 dark shadows large angelique

Trask is fully hooked at this point; now she’s just reeling him in.

Trask:  Tell me what it is you see. Describe it to me.

Angelique:  It’s a house… a very large house. And it’s new. There’s no one there.

387 dark shadows collinwood joshua

Trask:  Do you know of such a house, Mr. Collins?

Joshua:  Yes, Collinwood. It’ll be the family’s new home when it’s completed.

Angelique:  There’s no one there. But I hear voices! A man and a woman are speaking!

Trask:  How far is Collinwood from here, Mr. Collins?

Joshua:  It’s on the hill, overlooking the ocean, about fifteen minutes walk from here.

Trask:  I should like to go there, at once.

387 dark shadows smile angelique

So I don’t know if you’ll ever find yourself in that position — but if you are, now you know how to handle it. Stay tuned for The Dating Game.

Tomorrow: The Bad Ideas.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

The first scene begins in the middle of a conversation. As the scene starts, Trask is clearly looking towards the camera, waiting to get his cue.

Andre objects to being questioned about witchcraft, saying, “I am a civilized man, sir. I come from a civilized country, where such childish notions were cast out centuries ago!” France was actually still hunting witches for decades after they stopped having trials in the United States. The US appetite for witch trials petered out shortly after the Salem trials concluded in 1693, but the last person to be executed for witchcraft in France was Louis Debaraz, in 1745. Europe’s last known official trial was the Doruchów witch trial in Poland, in 1783.


Behind the Scenes:

This episode debuts a new set — the servants’ entrance at the back of the Old House. In Angelique’s conversation with Nathan, she makes a point of noticing that he’s leaving the house through the servants’ entrance. But up until now, the servants have always used the front door, including Ben in episode 381, and Riggs in episode 383.

Tomorrow: The Bad Ideas.

387 dark shadows spider joshua trask

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

21 thoughts on “Episode 387: Truth or Dare

  1. I always rather liked Trask’s cape and hat.

    When a series hires someone to play their very modern-day hardboiled Bogart character, can they really predict that he’ll ultimately make his mark on the show as the fanatic witch hunter? It’s what is amazing about DS.

    Just earlier this year (!), before Barnabas arrived in April, when Vicki was a more active protagonist, she would ultimately face off against someone like Angelique, but this scene today demonstrates that Angelique is on an entirely different level. Only Julia would ever play on it (and deliver a classic slap in the face). This marks the moment when Vicki can only ever be a patsy or victim.

  2. There was a 1975 film called Race With the Devil that was about 2 couples that witness a satanic ritual while road tripping throuh Texas in a motor home. Interestingly one of the couples were played by Peter Fonda and Lara Parker. It was interesting to see Lara Parker playing against type as someone battling the witches. I think she also played a witch in an episode of the Night Stalker TV show back in the 70’s.

  3. “France was actually still hunting witches for decades after they stopped having trials in the United States. ”
    Good Point, the writers of Dark Shadows didn’t do their research.

  4. I think it would have been kind of awesome if the hunter of fake witches, actually managed to trap a real witch completely by accident in his single mindedness. 🙂

  5. Even though I don’t know the famous story “Rain” very well, the Angelique / Trask scene, where she “gets religion” to get on his good side, makes me think of it. In fact, if he had continued acting suspicious of her, she would have had to follow through with it for who knows how long. Or maybe she would’ve done what the Sadie Thompson character does in Rain,” and discredited the religious figure by seducing him!

  6. Historical accuracy aside, Andre is excellent at the start of the episode. A great moment for David Ford.

    And indeed, it’s nice that a number of people are standing up to Trask. Forbes, Barnabas, Andre, Natalie (once she realized he would go too far).

  7. I am REALLY starting to dislike Angelique. It’s one thing to be evil for love. Now she’s just being a bitch. I get it, she’s trying to push Vicki into the fire to save herself, but couldn’t she have just cut out the magic for awhile until Trask is satisfied everything is ok. Guess the writers have an evil plan for Vicki in mind.

    1. So accused witch Victoria Winters has the alleged power to turn a human being into a cat, but Trask thinks she needs the help of a of a coven of witches to untie herself from a tree?

  8. Angelique’s pretend “spiritual revelation” cranked up the ick factor. I could just see how things could have taken a different track. A few more shivering women kneeling before him, and Trask might have found himself leading a cult of such devoted ladies. Although Trask is currently sincere in his beliefs, I think he could be corrupted by the flattery of a seemingly vulnerable women who would appeal to his vanity in that only he can set them upon the path to righteousness..

    He’s already arrogant enough to walk into the Collins family and try to take over despite having no real church credentials. If Angelique had needed to, I think she could have pushed him over to fully deluded cult leader status. (If her master really is the devil as future episodes imply, she would have gotten extra gold stars for corrupting a true believer, which makes me inclined to think that Angelique serves only herself when she can do so.)

  9. I have been noticing that when Lara Parker narrates the intros – as she does in this episode – she whistles between her teeth. Haven’t noticed it in her dialogue, but then I have often noticed that when people in the public eye whistle between their teeth, others tend not to notice it. It might be something like recognizing witches. One notices their traits most when one becomes attuned to them.

    Trask is a delicious villain. I believe Lacy has said he enjoyed this role very much. I think we are seeing the obvious again. Angelique has appealed to Trask’s vanity and succeeded. It was all she needed to do, and she has already risked drawing too much attention to herself.

  10. The addition of the Reverend Trask in the proceedings has certainly upped the game for all of the other actors, in terms of polish and performance. The opening scene positively crackles as the house interrogation begins. Even Andre duPres comes off on point and actually has cadence, rhythm and depth to his work here. Who knew?

    And Nathan Forbes? What a randy, lecherous kind of character for Joel Crothers to get to play. It must have been great fun for him and what an upgrade from the hapless, business-as-usual Joe he’s been stuck with for the past year and a half.

    There is discussion between Trask and Angelique about goings on at Collinswood wherein she is steering them all clearly towards finding the “witch” Victoria there. They say that it is a 15-minute walk over to the “new house.” I always thought it was just across the way, no longer than a 5-minute walk but perhaps they do need that kind of distance to keep the theaters of action complete and distinctly separate. Just seemed like a 15-minute walk was pretty far.

    One of the duller cliff-hangers we’ve seen in some time: Reverend Trask: “The food is quite fresh.” I mean, it’s clearly obvious that Vicki is hiding in there–go ahead and discover her already! That’s a much more obvious ending than picking up a fresh piece of bread.

  11. The scene in which Angelique claims to be hearing voices may have been inspired by the accounts of the trial of Joan of Arc. More likely, though, it was suggested by the “spectral evidence” offered by the hysterical girls at the Salem withcraft trials.

    I agree that this episode features one of David Ford’s better performances. I felt like
    shouting, “Right on, Andre. Tell him, ‘I ain’t answering shit!'”

    What I don’t understand, though, is why the DuPres family is still living at Collinwood. The wedding between Barnabas and Josette never came off, and the man Josette married instead, Jeremiah, is dead, so do Andre and his sister Natalie have any real reason to hang around?

    1. Sorry for the typo in the previous post. That should have been “Joan
      of Ark.” Speaking of mistakes, at one point, Trask addresses Lt. Forbes as “Mr. Collins.”

      The biggest mistake, though, is committed by Vicki, who still can’t help shooting herself in the foot by talking too much. It usually happens when she blurts out what she knows about the Collins family’s past and future.In this episode, she tells Forbes about how she thinks she was whisked away from 1967 to 1795 due to some glitch in the space-time continuum. Forbes tells her he doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but that she shouldn’t let anyone else hear her speaking that way. How right he is! Vicki still can’t get it through her head that these are dangerous times, and that talking about things like that is the quickest way to become the guest of honor at your own necktie party.

    2. I’m thinking Andre and Natalie are being moral support for Josette. Joshua is a careful man and he wants to make sure that the Josette Jeremiah marriage didn’t produce an heir to the Collins estate. Plus had Josette been pregnant, that child would have brought Andre’s considerable estate into the Collins family. It’s practical to keep Josette around and “happy” and Natalie and Andre help with the emotional support part.

      1. Good points, Percys. I’m glad that you, Barry, and I are keeping this blog alive and well in the year 2020. My girlfriend and I are currently watching the 1795 episides on the Decades Channel.

  12. Trask: “Either the girl is a complete charlatan, or else she is experiencing a genuine spiritual conversion.” His first guess was right, but to he thought that he was somehow responsible for Angelique’s having “seen the light” appealed to his pride and blinded him to the truth, as she knew it would. Angelique was certainly a shrewd reader and nsnipulator of human nature.

      1. Dale: I am worried that you are catching up to me! LOL

        I took a week off for vacay and haven’t watched an episode in awhile. I think that before long you and I may be blogging about an episode on the same day, which would be pretty cool.

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