Episode 389: It’s Complicated

“You see? I can be merciful. But next time, I will show you no mercy.”

Look out, everybody; Angelique’s mad at a toy again.

Yesterday, she thought she was making progress in her relationship with Barnabas, and by progress I mean they were kissing in a fairly serious way.

Barnabas promised to come to Angelique’s room later, but then he had kind of an emotional conversation with Josette, and all of a sudden, the relationship status updated again.

So Angelique is disappointed, and when she’s upset, she tends to say it with voodoo. Now she’s got Sarah’s doll, a handful of pins and a bottomless white-hot fury. You know, the Collins family really needs to stop leaving toys lying around; this is what happens.

389 dark shadows doll

So you remember how we met Sarah as a nine-year-old ghost? That means she must have died at around the age that she is right now.

This isn’t actually the incident that bumps her off, but it’s the moment when you realize that being related to Barnabas Collins is a high-risk occupation.

389 dark shadows pain sarah

A couple of pins go into the voodoo doll, and Sarah cries out in pain.

389 dark shadows smile angelique

And look how happy Angelique is! She’s having the time of her life right now, just jamming pins into a nine-year-old. The question of “is Angelique sympathetic” is pretty much permanently off the table as an option.

Yes, it’s upsetting when you get mixed signals from a guy. Torturing his little sister is not an acceptable response.

389 dark shadows sick barnabas sarah

On the other hand, it does get his attention. Sarah is Barnabas’ favorite relative that he hasn’t shot in the face yet, so obviously he’s going to be concerned.

Sarah wants her doll, Samantha, so Barnabas leaves the room to look around for it.

389 dark shadows thinks ben

Barnabas bumps into Ben in the hall, and fills him in on the news from the sickroom. This is an opportunity for a nice close-up on Ben, and some anguished thinks.

He’s become Angelique’s mostly-unwilling henchman over the last few weeks, so he’s got  a leg up on solving the mystery.

Ben (thinks):  I know who did this. It was her, it was that Angelique! This time, she’s gone too far. She’s gotta make Miss Sarah well again… or I’ll kill her!

Which is gorgeous. Thinks is a relatively recent invention on Dark Shadows; they only started using it about six months ago, and it’s still not as omnipresent as it will be later on. But this is why we have thinks, for awesome little monologues like this.

389 dark shadows search ben

Ben knows that Angelique must be sticking pins into dolls again, so he goes to her room and starts rummaging around. They don’t make a big deal about it, but this is actually a very brave thing to do. He knows that Angelique has a magical hold on him, and there are several different varieties of mayhem that she could commit at any time.

But here he is, putting himself on the firing line to save Sarah. I guess my point is that I really like Ben a lot.

389 dark shadows hiding angelique ben

But obviously, we can’t let him go around turning off plot points, so Angelique arrives in time to catch him. This isn’t going to look good on his annual performance evaluation.

389 dark shadows did i angelique ben

He tells her that he knows she’s responsible for Sarah’s illness: “You made it happen! You worked one of your spells on her!”

“Did I?” she says, with a twinkle in her eye. This may be her most openly psychopathic moment in the series.

389 dark shadows crazyface angelique

Ben tries to talk sense to her. It doesn’t go amazing. She turns on the crazyface.

Ben:  That little girl, she never did anythin’ to you. Why are you doin’ this to her?

Angelique:  I want Barnabas to suffer. I want him to come to me willing to do anything to make Sarah well again!

Ben: If he doesn’t come to ya — you won’t just… let her die, will ya?

Angelique:  I might.

389 dark shadows feelings angelique ben

Ben:  You are a witch. No wonder Mr. Barnabas don’t want ya!

Angelique:  He will want me, Ben. In time.

Ben:  If he knew what you were doin’ ta his sister, he’d — he’d hate ya!

Angelique:  He’ll never know. Besides, I may decide to let Sarah live.

389 dark shadows more angelique

So this is a great example of what’s broken about Angelique. Everything that she does is apparently in pursuit of love, but she really doesn’t understand how love works, on a fundamental level. She thinks this is how you go about getting it.

389 dark shadows cure angelique barnabas

So here’s part two of her cunning plan. Barnabas tells her that Sarah is ill, and the doctor doesn’t know what they can do.

Angelique says that she had a similar illness when she was a child, and her mother brewed a special herb tea that took the pain away. She offers to brew the tea for Sarah.

389 dark shadows anything barnabas angelique

And then she does this.

Angelique:  If I should cure Sarah, you would be very grateful to me, would you not?

Barnabas:  I’d be indebted to you for the rest of my life.

Angelique:  There is one way in which you could repay that debt.

Barnabas:  I’d give you anything you want.

Angelique:  There is one thing I want more than anything in the world.

Barnabas:  If you’re able to cure Sarah, I’d give it to you.

389 dark shadows wife barnabas angelique

Angelique:  I want you to make me your wife.

Barnabas:  My wife?

Angelique:  Yes. If I should cure Sarah, that is the payment I would ask.

And he agrees. That’s how crazy his life is these days; saying yes to this bargain actually makes sense to him.

389 dark shadows triumph angelique

Now, you might recall that a couple of weeks ago, Angelique said the following:

Angelique:  I would never put Barnabas under any spell to gain his love. Oh, I could have him that way, yes. But he would not be truly mine. No — he must turn to me of his own free will. Oh, I could have him that way, yes. But he would not be truly mine. No — he must turn to me of his own free will.

But here she is, basically buying his love for the price of curing Sarah. It’s not super clear what the difference is between casting a spell on him directly, and casting a spell on someone that he cares about.

Either Angelique’s getting a lot more desperate, or the guy who wrote today’s script doesn’t fully understand how Angelique works. We’ll get more information on that question tomorrow.

 Tomorrow: The Princess.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

The teaser cuts off Naomi’s last line, as she’s calling for Barnabas.

When Ben is searching Angelique’s room, somebody in the studio coughs. This has been a problem all week.

You can see a time-traveling Raggedy Ann doll on the toy shelf in Sarah’s room. The first Raggedy Ann doll was produced in 1915. (We’ll see that doll again at Windcliff for Amy Jennings’ introduction, in November 1968.)

 Tomorrow: The Princess.

389 dark shadows raggedy naomi

 Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

21 thoughts on “Episode 389: It’s Complicated

  1. Yup, Glenn Close only cooked a bunny. Angelique goes for the kid. She wins the psycho girlfriend sweepstakes.

    See, Barnabas, what happens when you don’t keep it in your pants?

    1. I think Glenn Close did take the kid (Michael Douglas’ daughter) for awhile but it was only for an ice cream cone and a roller coaster ride.

  2. She is not buying love, but getting him into a position when after some sex and cuddling, he might remember why he found her attractive… She is positioning herself for a whole re-conquest…

  3. This might just be most grim episode of DS ever. I’m surprised ABC aired it.

    Kids are always in jeopardy in TV. That’s a given. But torturing a 9-year-old girl, vowing to keep her on the brink of death – this is ghastly, ghastly stuff for the middle of the afternoon.

    I wonder if George R.R. Martin was a fan of the original DS. His “Game of Thrones” certainly picks up on this sensibility, how adults make kids suffer for their own ends, and runs with it.

  4. What a witch bitch! Using a child to coerce a man into marriage is just downright dirty pool.

    But WTF is wrong with Barnabas here? I understand he loves his sister more than anyone else in the world. He told us that often enough as a scary vampire in 1967. I also understand that they used a lot of herbal remedies back in the 18th Century when medical science was still basically leeches and prayers and a whole lot of pain. BUT with all the accusations of witchcraft flying around, why doesn’t it occur to Barnabas that this is slightly odd? Angelique knows just how to cure Sarah’s ailment and it works immediately? And, more importantly, why would an even halfway decent woman use a child’s life as a bargaining tool? They are playing Barnabas at the level of Vicki “I Don’t Understand” Winters in these scenes. At this level of intelligence it makes one wonder how he survived even a week as a vampire.

    1. Valerie. The one thing about Barnabas is that he is a serial lousy decision maker. Yes, you wonder how he survived a week as a vampire.

      Let’s see. In 1795 he was caught and chained

      In 1967 he had Julia to run interference for him, and then he met Dr. Lang.

      In 1897 he was discovered and had to escape a lot, and thaks to Angelique he survived.

      In the Leviathan episode he had again Julia and Quentin to run interference for him.

      In PT he seemed to have learned a thing or two, but still, Julia had to come run interference for him.

      In 1840, he is almost caught but saved by Angelique..

      Left to himself he would have had a VERY short career as a vampire.

    2. So the whole thing about the pre-Barnabas vampire was his naivete. He was a sheltered rich kid-sorry, but those are the hard facts-under the thumb of his father, leading a privileged life. All this real world stuff hit him like a ton of bricks. But for somebody like that, he sure knew how to use a gun to kill Uncle Jerry (Jeremiah) when push came to shove. Go figure.

  5. I was doing some searching on voodoo practices in Martinique and found one called ‘quimbois’ which was defined as the ritualistic use of plants and roots used in spells. Natalie, Andre and Josette lived and ran a sugar plantation in Martinique and should have been aware of the superstitions and supposed practices of witchcraft on the island. Natalie especially should have made some connections between the goings on at Collinwood and how these events coincided with the Dupre’s arrival into Collinsport.

    1. Also I can’t believe that Angelique was with the Dupre’s for years and never caused any problems that they were aware of before. Angelique seems like a born troublemaker..

      1. True, Joanne. She did brag to Ben about how she stole Josette’s other fine hats – and beaus. Barnabas was just one of many.

        1. I guess Josette’s other beaus couldn’t hold a candle to Barnabas as far as Angelique was concerned 🙂

  6. And like I think Barnabas mostly wanted the symbol of Josette and didn’t really know much about the real Josette, I think Angelique mostly wanted Barnabas as symbol and a path to being a rich lady rather than actually caring beans about him as a person. If he had said yes, I think Angelique would have offed him within a year.

  7. Rather than agree to marry Angelique he should’ve worked out a compromise! Angelique will brew the curative tea and when she’s done she can have the tea bag! 😉

  8. I think the wttiers made a mistake. They should have just had Barnabas fall for Angel questions as greatfull for him saving Sarah, not the coercion. Then they could be happy for a few days only to have it all blow up when he discovers her as witch. Would have added an element to Barnasbas instead of making him look like an idiot.

  9. This is definitely one of the more sinister episodes in the canon when the witch it deliberately inflicting pain on a 9-year old girl with 3 stick pins in a doll that seems more than remotely voodoo-esque. And to think it’s the Christmas season no less. What a rollicking holiday season the show provides careening from one dastardly situation to the next. There is certainly no time for St. Nick in these proceedings.

    Also, I know a doctor made a brief appearance back when Barnabas had his Angelique-imposed shooting pains and throat contortions, but if ever there was a time for the doctor to be present (apparently he came and left between scenes not being able to provide very much care for his patient–again), this is that time. When you review how many medical situations this household has endured in the past two months, anyone would have to wonder if there wasn’t, in fact, a witch at work here.

    There is almost a black comedy riotous aspect to Angelique’s line to Barnabas when she says to him, “I think I might be able to cure her.” This is the quintessence of black irony, isn’t it?

    The scene between Ben Stokes and Angelique again provides some of the best drama for the show. The two are simply fantastic together.

    Overall, this is a top-notch episode. All the other soaps always LOVED the Christmas season to showcase the family’s and children and the home decor and holiday eggnog between characters. Even the schemers in every soap were given the day off. Not so here at DS-Land where we continue to have pins stuck into the effigy of a 9-year old girl.

  10. The “I want you to make me your wife” high point of the scene between Barnabas and Angelique is exquisitely done. The scene has a natural back-and-forth flow leading up to her turning on the delivery of that line and really nailing him with it is one of the best scenes the two of them have ever had together. Angelique’s psychopathy and Barnabas-driven obsession is the fuel that is driving the entire narrative of the show right now. What happens when they leave 1795? You can’t take Angelique with you.

    Doesn’t it seem like we have been in December, 1967, forever?

  11. As I am writing this now, it is the 4th of July, 2020, and my girlfriend and I have just watched this episode on the Decades ChanneI. I can safely say this will no doubt be one Independence Day I will always remember–although not for the reasons anybody could have envisioned a year ago on this day. I hope everybody who is still following this wonderful blog stays safe and well.

    Hilarious comment by Danny; “Sarah is Barnabas’ favorite relative to hasn’t shot in the face yet.”

    This is the second time a character has threatened to kill a child to get what he or she wanted. For Barnabas, it would have been safety, since he erroneously thought that Sarah had told David his secret; for Angelique, it was Barnabas’ love, or at least a promise of commitment to her in exchange for making Sarah (whom she is prepared to kill at any time well again.

    She is proving to be every bit as ruthless and as cruel as Barnabas, the 1967 vampire could be. I agree with Danny that, even though she had been wronged by Barnabas, her deliberately putting his little sister’s life in jeopardy is downright evil. What’s more, the thought of playing God with a human life (and a child’s life at that) seems to appeal to her. She smugly tells Ben that she may just decide to not spare Sarah’s life after all. That’s similar to the the earlier episode in which Barnabas told Willie he broke into Dr. Woodward’s office and stole his blood sample, in order to protect both he and himself. But he is quick to remind Willie he might not be so inclined to bail his ass out again. “I may, but then again, I may not,” he tells him. It’s interesting to see the 1795 Barnabas in the reverse situation and having to beg for a change.

    1. This is actually the third time in the series, not second, when an adult threatens/intends to kill a child to get what he/she wants. The first is Laura Collins, the Phoenix, who is entirely intent on killing David (so that he can be resurrected with her).

  12. Like Barry, I loved the scene in which Ben stands up to Angelique in defense of little Sarah and tries, to no avail, to kill her. Thayer David plays Ben as a man of simple integrity and conviction, but is defeated by the evil forces around him. The character’s pain and panic as his heart nearly explodes under Angelique’s power are very convincing.

    In addition, her warning Ben after she halts her spell, with “See? I can be merciful. But next time I will show you no mercy” reminds me of another 1967 Barnabas-Willie confrontation. When Willie tries to talk Barnabas out of murdering Maggie, he tells him that she doesn’t deserve to be killed, that it wouldn’t be fair. Barnabas insists that he will decide what is fair and what isn’t, and who deserves what. During that same exchange, Willie pleads with him to show Maggie some mercy. He answers, “Mercy. There was a time when I begged others to show me mercy. It was in their power to do so. They chose not to. And now, I choose not to.” Even though Barnabas is rationalizing his actions (as always!), you can at least understand where he’s coming from as his voice is full of sorrow and bitterness when reliving these painful memories. Despite that fact, he is blaming others and refusing to accept responsibility for his own decisions, another character flaw of his.

    Angelique’s warning to Ben isn’t as complicated, but perhaps a little more disturbing. This is a power play of hers, plain and simple. Coupled with her earlier, casual remark that she may or not decide to spare Sarah, it’s clear that we are dealing with a true sociopath here, who, arguably, acts with more malice than vampire Barnabas, in his worst moods, ever did.

  13. Dale, Like you, I’ve been re-watching these episodes on Decades and then reading Danny’s blog afterwards. Angelique’s obsession and insanity comes through powerfully in these episodes. Lara Parker is very impressive as is Thayer David. One plot point that bothers me is that Ben was very much aware of Angelique’s power and should have realized he couldn’t attack her head-on. Announcing his intentions was not a good plan! At the least he could have tried to hit her over the head from behind. Ben is a very sympathetic character in this story line, and it ranks with his later rendition as ancestor Timothy Stokes.

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