Episode 388: The Bad Ideas

“I may not know Miss Winters very well, but I can’t believe that she’s possessed by the Devil.”

Yeah, it’s been a rough couple of weeks for Barnabas. He was all set to marry his beautiful and affectionate fiancee, Josette, and then she left him at the altar to run off with his uncle and closest friend, Jeremiah. When they came back, Barnabas challenged Jeremiah to a duel, and then shot him in the face. Now he’s involved in hiding a runaway governess from a witch hunter. That’s a lot to handle.

So as we open today’s episode, he’s relaxing in his bedroom, while his ex-girlfriend Angelique rubs his temples. It’s very soothing, and he —

Wait. What?

Dude. Seriously. We’ve discussed this.

388 dark shadows face barnabas angelique

I don’t know how many times we need to go over this, but one of the key rules of life is: Don’t let the crazy lady touch you.

I know, Barnabas — it was spring break, and you were on vacation on a Caribbean island. She was the pretty blonde ladies’ maid who worked for your family’s business partners. You spent some adult time together. Now she’s showing up in your bedroom and acting crazy, trying to get you to admit that you’re in love with her.

This would be a good time to institute a one-sided retroactive restraining order. She needs to stay at least a hundred yards away from you at all times, and you need to start forgetting what her name is.

I know that’s going to be hard, and she’s not going to take it well. She’s going to call your friends to tell them what a jerk you are. She’s going to go through your mail, and break something that you own. There’s also a very good chance that she’s going to perform a voodoo ritual in your direction.

That’s why you’ve got to put some distance between you and the crazy lady, starting ten seconds ago.

388 dark shadows don't barnabas angelique

Or, as an alternative, I don’t know. Do this.

Angelique:  She deceived you, Barnabas. She deceived you with a member of your own family!

Barnabas:  Stop it!

Angelique:  Can’t you bear to hear the truth?

Barnabas:  I don’t want to talk about Josette.

Angelique:  Why not?

Barnabas:  Because I don’t!

388 dark shadows mature angelique barnabas

And the parade of maturity begins.

Angelique:  Why, because the subject is too painful? Because you still love her?

Barnabas:  No.

Angelique:  You don’t love her?

Barnabas:  No!

Angelique:  Do you hate her?

Barnabas:  Yes!

388 dark shadows go on barnabas angelique

Angelique:  Say it!

Barnabas:  But I —

Angelique:  Go on!

388 dark shadows hate barnabas angelique

Barnabas:  I hate her!

Angelique smiles.

Angelique:  In time, you will mean that.

388 dark shadows kiss angelique barnabas

Then you do some of this, and before you know it, it’s time for somebody to start killing your pets.

388 dark shadows choices josette trask

But if it wasn’t for bad choices, you’d never get a soap opera scene started. This is what soap operas are about — watching people make stupid decisions, and then arguing about whose fault it is. We’ve been doing that every day in the blog’s comments section, especially when I say nice things about Angelique.

This has been an essential part of drama from the very beginning; it’s why Oedipus Rex has a group of people standing off to the side of the stage, talking about what a fool he is. Tragedy has always had a comments section.

388 dark shadows handsy trask josette

So that’s why we end up with stuff like this. Josette is desperate to believe that she’s not responsible for the mess she’s made of her life, and she lets Trask talk her into an exorcism that gets unexpectedly handsy.

At this point, the Greek chorus launches into a twelve-part harmony on the subject of What the hell are you doing.

388 dark shadows barnabas trask josette

Because these are not emotionally mature people. Barnabas, Josette, Angelique, Jeremiah — nobody in this house has the ability to step back and reflect. They’re impulsive, and quick-tempered, and self-involved.

You could come up with a spirited defense of any one of them — she was bewitched, he was betrayed — but by this point, Dark Shadows is no longer in the business of giving easy answers.

Six months ago, the show was all about Good People and Bad People — Jason was a crook and a liar; Elizabeth was noble and trying to protect her family. 1795 is the storyline where they finally stop spoon-feeding us, and we get the opportunity to make our own decisions. And lo, the internet forum is born.

Tomorrow: It’s Complicated.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Barnabas coughs into Angelique’s hair during their clinch in Act 1.

Tomorrow: It’s Complicated.

388 dark shadows reverend trask

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

21 thoughts on “Episode 388: The Bad Ideas

  1. This is when I remember the advice to a conflicted couple in “Northern Exposure”: “Move away from each other. Preferably to opposite sides of the planet”

    But if people made smart decisions you would never have a story. Or rather, you’d have a story that would be over in five minutes.

    But at least Angelique is not going to cook a pet bunny…

  2. OK, Danny. I’m up to the challenge. I’m going to say something nice about Angelique.

    She’s no Vicki Winters.

    There. I hope that helped.

    Aside: I really love the moment between Barnabas and Josette when they’re alone. Barnabas is prideful and wounded and Josette is ashamed and has no idea what to do to make it better. Nice acting from JF and KLS.

  3. Everyone in the Old House seems incredibly non-chalant about the fact that Jeremiah is lying around on his deathbed and could go at any moment. I think it’s audacious of Barnabas to be tripping the light fantastic with Angelique when he should be at his uncle’ s side trying to make things right with Jeremiah before he dies.

    1. Yeah, everybody is pretty chill about that. In yesterday’s episode, Josette walks into her interview with Trask with a cheerful smile on her face. They only worry about him when they’re in his bedroom.

  4. I also presume a duel is perfectly legal and Barnabas is not at risk of prosecution? Yes, the Collins family can pull strings but that’s not even referenced.

    Or have they already pulled out the “cleaning his guns” cover up?

    1. The Aaron Burr/Alexander Hamilton duel was in 1804, so dueling was still legal in 1795. It was probably still somewhat respectable.

      I’m just catching up now, but better late than never?

      1. I believe the Burr/Hamilton duel was fought in New Jersey precisely because dueling was already illegal in New York. (New Jersey jokes must have been as popular in 1804 as they are today.) Andrew Jackson, who lived further west, was still dueling well into the 19th century. One of my favorite lines in American history is attributed to Senator William Benton(I think?): “Andrew Jackson is a great man, sir. I shot him, sir.” And that made sense in its day.

  5. Angelique is takjng mean to a whole new level here. As for Barnabas, I totally get it. At first he’s able to find solace in Angelique, I mean cmon she’s hot. But after seeing Josette and for a second thinking she might still have feelings for him, he realizes he really still loves her. Besides other than just insisting they should be together, Barnabas really doesn’t know how far Angelique has gone to get him back.

  6. I’m laughing at this, but I know people who have made similar bad choices, including some family members. Maybe I can blame it on witchcraft

  7. Angelique is flirting with the chance of being discovered. (Greek chorus here) She claims she believes that Victoria is a witch but practically in the same sentence denies that Josette could ever have been under a spell. What spells does she want people to think Vicki has cast? Having it both ways, are we, Angelique? She wants Barnabas to come to her of his own free will, but she tricks him into promising to marry her in exchange for saving his sister’s life. So she does not want sincerity, really, does she? And all the while, if anyone asks: Who benefits? From the terrible things that happen to people Barnabas loves? It is Angelique, obviously.

    Rooting for Trask here. He might be wrong about who the witch is, but he is right that Josette has been bewitched. Could his laying on of hands remove whatever evil has been done to Josette? Maybe not, or maybe the placebo effect is all that is needed. In either case, I felt Barnabas was wrong to stop Trask from performing the ceremony. Might have helped. However, Barnabas was being protective of Josette in spite of himself, I think. Everybody is conflicted except Trask. Even Angelique is confused in her motives but less so than most everybody else who is quite confused.

  8. Joanne and Stephen: I feel exactly the same way about the complete indifference to Jeremiah’s being literally on death’s door and virtually no on is even referencing it. I mean those of us here certainly know that the actor himself has left the building but we can assume that ’67 audiences weren’t tipped off as to exactly when an actor was leaving a show and on what day. For all the ’67 audience knows, Jeremiah could still rally and be back on his feet by tomorrow.

    And I also agree that the duel is left equally non-discussed. Are there no legal authorities in these parts that could at least show up and inquire as to what transpired that one of these gentlemen is upstairs struggling to stay alive? As much as I am sure we all love the completely bonkers way the narrative has taken flight in 1795, there are moments when there are these beautiful set-ups and then, bam!, we’re on to something else entirely. The dramatic moment of the plot suddenly feels rushed, which is bizarre when you think of the many months when there was nothing but endless recaps and concentric plot circles. Maybe they just weren’t sure how long they were going to do 1795 and kept thinking “Hey, we have to go back to the present era at SOME point…”

    Does anyone have any background on a couple of things at this point in the show:

    1) What were the ratings doing about now?

    2) How long did they plan on staying in 1795?

    3) Where are we in the 1795 arc? About half-way?

  9. Barry: I’d say we are only about 1/4 through, with roughly 3 1/2 more months to go yet. The 1795 storyline ran from late November, 1967 to about mid-April, 1968.

  10. I, too, am surprised about the overall lack of urgency about Jeremiah’s condition. If the other characters mention him at all, it seems almost like an afterthought.

    Also, as some others have pointed out, there’s no mention of any official inquiry or investigation into the circumstances surrounding the duel–no police interrogations, no official inquest, nothing. On the other hand, Joshua Collins grants Trask, a mere self-proclaimed minister and religious fanatic, full authority to interrogate members and guests of his own household, lay hands on them, and even abduct and bind to a tree a young woman, all because he suspects her of witchcraft. What’s wrong with this picture?

    1. The lack of urgency around Jeremiah is odd, although I’m not sure how close he was to Joshua and running off and marrying Josette may have put him in the “got what he deserved” category for the family.

      I actually find the whole lack of official inquiry pretty realistic. The wealthy and powerful have gotten away without being examined all through history. See currently any of the celebrities who are being charged with sexual assaults that have (allegedly) been going on for years. Plus dueling was legal, so the officials had nothing to look at there. Trask was vouched for by Minerva, Joshua’s sister. She gave him credibility, whether he deserved it or not. If you think it’s odd, I’ll note that from 1981 until the end of the Reagan Presidency all decisions were run by Nancy Reagan’s ASTROLOGER.

      Basically, the town folk pretty much followed the “if the crazy rich people at the top of the hill want something, they get it”. I find Joshua being unable to stop Viki’s execution a bit dicey, but by that time the town had bought into the idea that witchcraft was running rampant and if Joshua suddenly and for no discernible reason wanted her free, well she had probably cast a spell to make him think that. The ball was rolling and nothing could stop it.

      1. Thank you, Percys. You make a good point about dueling’s legality back in 1795, hence, the lack of an official inquiry or investigation in Josuah’s death. Also, the money and privilege the Collins family enjoyed no doubt covered (or covered up?) a multitude of sins.

  11. I still find it AMAZING that when they launched 1795 the writers knew, at the very least, that they had to square off and explain ALL of the Collins Family Mythos that the audience had already been told about: Josette going off the cliff, the passing of Sarah, the beginning of the Barnabas curse, etc. It was no doubt going to take awhile to set-up and process through ALL of those individual story lines and yet they seem to pull it off in about 4 months. Yes, there are some inconsistencies along the way but props to them for getting it done. Most soaps would take over a year to even begin to tackle such complicated plot mechanics as these.

    1. I agree, Barry. A D S writers (I forget which one) at the annual convention once said that they all loved the idea of having Victoria Winters visit 1795 because of all the story possibilities that scenario offered. It gave them much more story to work with, he explained, and it did.

  12. So this episode is where we find what attracted Barnabas to Angelique in the first place.

    She gives great head

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