Episode 415: Closing the Loop

“Live! What a mockery I make of that word.”

Okay, let’s get this over with. As we begin today’s episode, Barnabas’ little sister Sarah is currently alive. Stay tuned for more updates on this developing situation.

415 dark shadows fate sarah barnabas

Because we’ve known all along that Sarah isn’t going to get a lot taller than this. When we first met her, she was a ghost, which isn’t an occupation that has a lot of long-term career prospects.

In fact, there’s only three things that we knew for sure would happen when we embarked on this flashback to 1795 — Sarah would die, Barnabas would be chained up in a coffin, and something about Josette, I forget exactly what. She lives a long and fulfilling life, surrounded by friends and family? No, that’s not it. It’ll come to me.

415 dark shadows outside sarah

Anyway, after what I’d assumed was a seven-months-long murder mystery, we find out that Sarah dies from being outside, which is a bit of an anti-climax.

Plus, we saw a couple days ago that the Eagle Hill cemetery is actually just a few steps away from the front door of Collinwood, so she’s basically going to die from being out on the front lawn. It’s kind of like if you watched Lost for six years, and it turned out that the Island was a cork.

415 dark shadows feels barnabas ben

So Barnabas feels bad, obviously, although to tell you the truth the whole thing could probably have been solved with a sweater. But just go ahead and try telling Barnabas that any given event in human history was not actually about him.

Barnabas:  Ben, it’s my fault. She’s lost because of me. She followed me from Collinwood.

Ben:  You went to the house?

Barnabas:  Only because I had to see Josette. Just see her!

Ben:  Anybody see ya besides Sarah?

Barnabas:  No, I didn’t go in. Sarah saw me from a window, and she ran out. As soon as she saw me, I turned and ran.

415 dark shadows napkin barnabas ben

Yeah, I know. Vampires, right? They’re ridiculous.

Ben:  Did she follow you to the mausoleum?

Barnabas:  I don’t know. I went out there, but I didn’t go in.

Ben:  Where did ya go?

Barnabas:  I went to the village.

Ben gives a little disgusted sigh, and I can’t blame him. In the middle of a crisis, with his little sister hot on his heels, Barnabas decided to go down to the wharf for some takeout.

And Barnabas didn’t even get to feed off the first girl that he approached; she ended up falling off the dock and drowning. He showed up at the mausoleum later with blood all over his face, which means that he must have gone and killed a whole other prostitute before heading back home. Plus he apparently doesn’t know how to use a napkin. Dude is a mess.

415 dark shadows turn barnabas

But the golden rule of Barnabas is that the worse he behaves, the more self-involved he becomes.

“Don’t turn away from me, Ben,” he gulps. “I’m not responsible for what happened to me.”

Ben says, “I know that,” but he’s just being polite. Barnabas is, like, all the way responsible for what happened to him. But you can’t talk to him when he’s like this.

415 dark shadows light barnabas ben

Ben says, “You’d best come back to the mausoleum. It’s gettin’ light.”

Barnabas takes this as a cue for one of his dramatic interludes, so he looks off into the distance.

Barnabas:  Light! She knows me well, my wife. To put a curse on me that I must live eternally by night… Live. What a mockery I make of that word. For I am dead… and nothing lives, except the hatred inside me.

Luckily, at that point Ben interrupts him, because Barnabas could keep going like this for another eight minutes. “Hatred! How can I feel anything else, with this curse upon me. Curse!” And so on.

415 dark shadows dying sarah naomi

In the end, they don’t actually spend a ton of time on Sarah getting sick and dying. She was only trapped in the mausoleum for one episode, and by the middle of today’s episode, she’s caught pneumonia and she’s on her way out.

The actual bedside scenes are a bit slow, but this is lightning fast compared to six months ago. David was trapped in the secret room in the mausoleum for a whole week, and at the end of that sequence, he returned home and just went on with his life.

In this episode, we’ve got a dying child, which under normal daytime soap opera rules should be a five-star all-hands-on-deck red alert, with a clip-show retrospective and a fantasy gates-of-Heaven dream sequence.

But the kids are sidelined in the 1795 storyline, where the adults have a hard enough time getting through the day without shooting a blood relative in the face. Sarah’s ghost was in 29 episodes back in 1967, and she’s only in 8 episodes alive. Plus, we haven’t even seen young Daniel Collins so far; David Henesy ends up off the canvas for three months. We never see Daniel and Sarah together at all.

415 dark shadows guard ben millicent

The episode ends with a lengthy changing-of-the-guard sequence. Millicent tells Naomi that she can watch over Sarah, and then Ben arrives to relieve Millicent. When the coast is clear, Ben ushers Barnabas into the room.

415 dark shadows end barnabas sarah

In the end, we close the loop on Sarah’s death, with a very sad little reconciliation scene. She croaks out, “I love you, Barnabas. I always will.” And then that’s it.

Get some rest, kid. You deserve it. See you in the 60s.

 Monday: Stone Cold.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Barnabas has a nice bit of Fridspeak for Ben: “I want you to keep continuing to look for Sarah.”


Behind the Scenes:

This was Sharon Smyth’s final appearance on Dark Shadows. At a 1989 Dark Shadows Festival panel, Smyth explained, “I stopped doing the show because ghosts are not allowed to age, and I was rapidly growing — I was becoming prepubescent, and ghosts are not allowed to do that when they died young. That was the main reason.”

Sharon did some commercials and print ads after this, and then she retired from acting and went back to being a regular kid. She got married and had kids, and that’s pretty much all I know about her. She has a cute personal website, and she has a lot of fondness for her Dark Shadows days. I do, too.

 Monday: Stone Cold.

415 dark shadows barnabas sarah

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

20 thoughts on “Episode 415: Closing the Loop

  1. I guess becoming a vampire also unleashes your inner ‘drama queen’ – Angelique probably didn’t see this coming when she placed her curse on Barnabas.

    While it would have been nice to see Sarah actually forgiving 1967 Barnabas and saying good-bye to David I guess at that time she didn’t feel that Barnabas had done anything to absolve himself of his past deeds and she wasn’t ready to forgive him yet. When he finally did things that would have earned him her forgiveness Sharon Smyth would have been several years older and may have changed her physical appearance so the audience wouldn’t have recognized or remembered her. However I really liked Sarah – even when she did some questionable things I believed her intentions were good. Also Sharon Smyth was a very likable child actor (not some stage brat like others who will not be mentioned at this time) who seemed to grow up to be a gracious lady.

    1. Let’s say that Barnabas was a drama queen with an addiction to loopy plots who was cursed to become a vampire on top… The mixture is quite intriguing, and at some point you realize that vampirism might be the least of his problems…

  2. There is the looming question of Barnabas’s age during 1795. Although in 1967, he’s depicted as a wordly man of around Roger’s age, he comes across much younger in 1795 — perhaps even early 30s.

    It is unlikely that he’s much older because he would have fought in the war. Yes, he’s rich but even Joshua fought, and Barnabas has childhood memories of the period.

    If Barnabas is early 30s and Naomi was late teens when he was born (certainly probably), then she would have been around 40 when Sarah was born — not impossible.

    The 1991 series made Jeremiah Barnabas’s brother, as it hadn’t established the TV series’s uncle backstory. Not only does it make the age similarity more reasonable, it also adds another sibling to the Collins family, so there’s not such a gap between Barnabas and Sarah (miscarriages and stillbirths were common at the time, of course)

      1. The 1991 series made Jeremiah Barnabas’s brother, as it hadn’t established the TV series’s uncle backstory. Not only does it make the age similarity more reasonable, it also adds another sibling to the Collins family, so there’s not such a gap between Barnabas and Sarah (miscarriages and stillbirths were common at the time, of course)

  3. I too would have liked to Sarah when she finally forgave Barnabas and if they were going to Chromakey her in anyway she could have been a different girl (after all evne more than usual for a soap opera people change faces all the time) and they could have used the real Sarah’s voice maybe.

    1. Yes, a modern-day reconciliation scene with Barnabas getting Sarah’s forgiveness would’ve been a most welcome and heartwarming event.

  4. I always hoped Sharon Smyth would appear as another character whom Barnabas could recognise as Sarah’s reincarnation, but it was not to be.

    I’ve heard she’s actually one of the nicest actors at festivals & events, as well.

  5. Barnabas’s monologue today was both touching and ridiculous. “She knew me so well” by denying me the sun. Really? Did Barnabas have a love of the sun unique to other human beings? Can the rest of us shade-loving-moon-jockeys not possibly understand how someone could love the sun as much as Barnabas?

    But I (unlike Danny) am somewhat sympathetic to Barnabas’s appeal to sympathy and his status as continual victim to Angelique. Yes, DS plays fast and loose with the rules of vampirism, but the notion that the vampire is trapped by his ( or her) need for blood is not uncommon to the trope. I thought Barnabas also communicated some endearing hesitance before his first victim took a long walk off a short pier. But like all fans I’m totally amoral in my allegiance and the show only goes on as long as Barnabas can keep doing his thing.

  6. Poor little Sarah.

    Sad that her death was so easily preventable, too.
    The ONE time someone really could have benefitted from having the Collinsport Afghan, and it’s probably draped on a settee over in 1970 Parallel Time.

  7. It’s like as if the writers have suddenly thought “Oh no, we have to kill Sarah off! We needed Angelique to threaten to kill her before as a connivance to get her own way, so she of course couldn’t die then, but we can’t leave 1795 with her still alive!” So they quickly wrote this up and rushed it through. It does end up seeming a little off-hand…”oh, and by the way, Sarah died”…but they’ve used it to up the stakes against Victoria, show us the ramifications of the curse, and it seems to drive more of a wedge between Joshua and Naomi. On top of all this, Ben is suddenly now sympathetic where before everyone was suspicious of him, scared of him, or looked down on him. Sarah treats him like a friend, and suddenly all the women of the house are kind to him.

  8. Sarah’s death – One of my favorite Dark Shadows moments. I get misty-eyed every time I see it. BTW, that’s how you make your monster sympathetic – you make the audience feel his pain.

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