“Oh, Peter — what a fool I’ve been!”
Fade in on Josette Du Prés Collins, who wakes up happy and refreshed, with a song in her heart and a brand-new neck wound.
Her boyfriend Barnabas stopped by for a bite last night, and they had a long talk about love and change and eternity. Then one thing led to another.
And it’s a strange thing to say, but this is actually a familiar scene on Dark Shadows by now. We’ve already seen several previous versions of the hypnotized heroine, as she smiles her secret smile, and joins the Sisterhood of the Scarf.
You know, I’ve heard that there are other soap operas on the daytime schedule that are about people falling in love, overcoming obstacles, getting married and starting a family. I wonder what that would be like?
But here comes Josette’s aunt, the Countess Natalie, with a breakfast tray and a fresh supply of bright chatter. She starts to open the curtains to let in the morning sun, but Josette stops her — she doesn’t want the light to come in.
The scene follows the established pattern of the hypnotized-heroine genre. The girl is dreamy and distracted, and she doesn’t talk much, which violates all known soap opera law. The concerned relative asks what’s wrong, and the girl says that nothing’s wrong. Then she makes some weird excuse.
You always know you’ve reached the break point of the scene when the girl uses the concerned relative’s name, as in: “Aunt Natalie, I thought you knew me. Don’t you see that I’m all right?” Then it’s all over, except for the furrowed brow, the disturbed exit, and a fade out on the girl brushing her hair, or listening to a music box, or whatever the hell it is you do while you’re waiting for sunset.
Still following standard operating procedure, the concerned relative is determined to get to the bottom of things, which in this instance means that she makes a beeline for the Collinsport Gaol. Oh, great; it’s another one of these.
Time-traveling girl governess Victoria Winters is currently in jail on suspicion of witchcraft, which isn’t actually against the law, but just try having a conversation about it with any of these people. Vicki should be brushing up on defense strategy, but instead she’s spending her time meeting with the witnesses for the prosecution and saying incriminating things. Vicki is an idiot.
The dumb thing she’s been doing lately is telling everyone who stops by about the Collins Family History book that she brought from the future, which explains how and when everybody in the family dies. (On the whole, the answers tend to be: suddenly, and tomorrow.)
Natalie wants to know what’s happening to Josette, so Vicki cheerfully tells her all of the legends about Josette’s impending suicide.
Vicki: She was very calm that day. Serene and happy, and she hadn’t been for some time. It was a cold, stormy day. And she lost a ring. That was the first thing that went wrong.
Natalie: What ring?
Vicki: It was a gold ring, with a black onyx stone in it.
Natalie: She has no ring like that.
Vicki: Are you sure? Because she was very upset about losing it. After that, everything started to go wrong. Glass shattered, and doors blew open, and couldn’t be closed again. And a great sound was heard, echoing through the house. That’s all I know.
And honestly, at this point, even I think that Vicki must be a witch. “Glass shattered”? Is that supposed to be a riddle? Who wrote down “glass shattered” in the family history?
So Natalie walks out, even more convinced that Satan is speaking through Vicki, which he might be, for all I know.
When she’s gone, Peter Bradford — Vicki’s jailer, lawyer and court-appointed love interest — expresses his concern. Why does she keep saying incriminating things?
Vicki explains that she just can’t get her mind around the fact that these people believe in witches; nobody does in her time. Peter asks what she would think if someone from the future showed up in 1968, claiming to know everybody’s fate.
She thinks about it for a moment, and says that she would think the “time traveler” was mad. Peter says, “So does the Countess.”
And Vicki is thunderstruck, as if this is the first time that’s occurred to her in the entire four weeks that she’s been in prison, with absolutely nothing else to think about.
“Oh, Peter,” she says. “What a fool I’ve been!” So at least we’re getting somewhere.
Peter strikes a noble pose, as if he’s the hero of the story, instead of the guy standing in the background who doesn’t know what to do with his arms.
He stares into the distance, and talks about her returning to her own time. He asks if she has any family. She says that she was engaged, but her fiancée was lost in an airplane crash.
Peter assumes a puzzled expression.
Peter: A what?
Vicki: Airplanes. They fly.
He shakes his head.
Peter: A kind of bird?
Vicki (chuckling): No. It’s a machine.
Peter: A machine…
Vicki: With an engine. They… I can’t explain it. I don’t understand it myself, but you ride in them, through the air.
Then Peter does something that we’ve never seen him do before. He smiles.
Peter: You know, for the first time, I’m beginning to think you are crazy. You ride in them? I think you dreamed up those… bird planes.
Vicki: No, Peter. Oh, there’s so much that you don’t know.
Peter: I wish you didn’t think anything about where you came from.
Vicki: Sometimes, I wish that too.
Peter: I wish you’d stay here. Forget all about going back to your own time.
Vicki: …You almost make me want to wish that.
And then he just goes ahead and kisses her. They embrace, and he murmurs, “You’re just a girl… I’ll make you forget the rest.”
Now, I have to say that I don’t really like either of these two people, either as television characters or as presumptive human beings, but I have to admit that’s a cute scene. We don’t get a lot of meet-cute romance on Dark Shadows, and this is kind of adorable.
I don’t like them, individually or as a couple. But I like the bird planes.
Meanwhile, back at the other romance that I’m not really that invested in, Barnabas enters Josette’s room through a secret panel, about which apparently there is one.
Josette wants to run to his arms, but he walks upstage and strikes a moody pose, as if this is anything but a blood-thirsty booty call.
Once again, Barnabas tries to explain The Life That You Would Have If You Are With Me, and once again, Josette says that she doesn’t care and doesn’t even want to hear about it. Basically, he’s slipping her a supernatural date rape drug, which is not particularly heart-tugging. As far as I’m concerned, they could move on from this storyline any damn time.
But according to Vicki and her magic book of plot points, we’ve got a few steps between here and — let’s face it — Friday, and the first one involves a ring. They get that one over with, and next I guess we have to keep an eye out for glass shattering.
So it’s going to be kind of a long week, here at Dark Shadows Every Day. Please send more bird planes.
Tomorrow: Confining Women.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
In the teaser, when Josette tells Barnabas that her feelings wouldn’t change if she left Collinwood, you can hear people shuffling around in the studio.
The teaser is a reprise of the last scene of Friday’s episode, but there are a few differences. Josette’s wearing a different nightgown, and Barnabas bites her on the left side of the neck, instead of the right side.
Behind the Scenes:
The Petofi box has returned to its usual spot at Collinwood, in the second-floor hallway outside Josette’s room. It was last seen in Jeremiah’s room in the Old House. We’ll see it again in the drawing room in episode 441.
Tomorrow: Confining Women.
— Danny Horn