Episode 453: Born to Run

“How did this blood get on your arm?”

Hey, who’s up for a good old-fashioned teens on the run story? And it’s genuine old-fashioned, too; you can’t get more old-fashioned than the 18th century.

Unless it’s the 17th century, I guess. Or any of the other ones. Anyway, let’s ride.

453 dark shadows gun peter vicki


Action EXPLODES across the small screen as our lovestruck runaways make their escape from — hey, watch where you’re pointing that gun!

For Pete’s sake. Actors and their guns; I don’t know what to do with them. It’s amazing that anyone survives from one episode to the next.

And these two already have more bullet wounds than they need, thanks to Peter’s foolproof jailbreak scheme, which involved handing the gun to Vicki for two seconds.

So things went awry, obviously. He should know that you don’t hand Vicki anything more dangerous than a pool toy. It was only a matter of time until she shot herself in the shoulder, which was not an amazing strategic move. That’s lesson #1 for any future crime sprees: The shooty end points that way.

But somehow they’ve managed to stumble all the way out of town without being apprehended, probably because the show can’t afford to pay any actors to play police officers.

453 dark shadows vacation nathan daniel

Meanwhile, back at Collinwood, Lt. Nathan Forbes is apparently taking an in-office vacation day today. He showed up for work, but he’s decided not to act if he doesn’t have to, and he mostly doesn’t have to. The character has pretty much everything he wanted — he’s married the occasionally wealthy Millicent Collins and successfully gaslighted her into a nervous breakdown, without even breaking a sweat. True, he still needs to figure out a way to get control of the money, which is in her little brother’s name, but how hard could that be?

Right up until the marriage, Nathan was a happy-go-lucky comedy scoundrel. But we’re getting close to the end of the 1795 flashback, and all the other villains are dead, so now Nathan has to play the role of the heavy, and he doesn’t seem to be enjoying it much. Frankly, Joel Crothers looks disappointed and bored.

453 dark shadows eyebrow nathan

And that’s a shame, because this would be a really good time for him to remind the producers that he can be a lot of fun. We’re about to go back to the 1960s, where Crothers plays Maggie’s square boyfriend, Joe, who wears turtlenecks and gets excited about cake.

He’s been so much fun as Nathan, sexy and scheming and resourceful, just a perfect soap opera character. But that’s about to come to an end, and he’s not going to get another chance like this again — at least, not on this show, and I think he knows it. He looks like he’s updating his resume in his head.

453 dark shadows holster peter vicki

Anyway, back to Bonnie and Clyde, who have made their way to the Old House. This is a weird choice for a hideout, but they don’t have that many sets to choose from. Their options are either the town’s only bar, somewhere on the Collins estate, or just go back to the jail and hide out in Vicki’s cell.

It’s not like it matters, because Peter’s using his gun hand to close the latch, so it’s only a matter of time before they exterminate themselves. I’d imagine that somebody tried to explain holsters to Peter at some point, and he thought they were just kidding.

They’re in the house for less than twenty seconds before somebody finds them. Luckily, it’s Ben, who wants to help them, but seriously, you guys need to get better at hiding. I just don’t know what to do.

453 dark shadows hiding peter ben

So, here’s the current state of the dialogue.

Ben:  What are you doing here? What do you want?

Peter:  We need your help, Ben.

Ben:  “We”?

Um, yeah. “We” meaning me and the bleeding girl who is practically in your direct line of sight.

453 dark shadows we peter ben

Peter says, “I brought Miss Winters here,” and indicates Miss Winters.

Ben turns his head slighty and says, “Miss Winters!” It’s just that kind of episode today. Nobody is any good at anything.

453 dark shadows flame peter vicki

Ben examines Vicki’s wound, and Peter, watch what you’re doing with the open flame, okay? I’m serious; somebody needs to baby-proof the Old House.

453 dark shadows gun vicki

Young Daniel comes over and knocks on the front door, calling for Ben. Startled, they have to find a hiding place in a hurry, and again with the gun. Peter is really not going to be satisfied until he seriously injures someone.

453 dark shadows csi daniel

Ben opens the door and tries to shoo Daniel away, but this kid doesn’t shoo easily. He walks in and starts talking, and he’s in the house for about thirty-five seconds before he notices Vicki’s torn, bloody sleeve sitting there on the armchair.

453 dark shadows blood daniel

He spots a trail of blood on the carpet, and follows it…

453 dark shadows ta-dah daniel vicki

… Right to the secret room behind the bookcase where Vicki and Peter are hiding.

So I don’t even know how to talk about the things happening in this episode. Every single scene is about somebody who tries to do something and is instantly foiled. Ben tells Daniel to leave, so he can bring Vicki to a new hiding place — the secret room in the Collins family mausoleum. But Daniel was watching them as they left, and he follows them to the mausoleum.

Then Daniel goes back to Collinwood, and Nathan asks where he’s been. Daniel tries to play it cool, but now Nathan is the crime scene investigator, and he immediately spots the bloodstains on Daniel’s sleeve.

453 dark shadows mausoleum peter ben

So everyone is bad at hiding anything, and Peter is still waving that gun around, and then Vicki falls asleep and the episode is over. The end.

Tomorrow: Mission: Impossible.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Vicki dreams about a man strangling Daniel. At the last second, as the camera pulls up from Daniel to reveal Nathan’s face, Daniel crosses his eyes and makes a silly face.

Also, why is Angelique’s portrait still hanging in the Old House drawing room? (Thanks to prop-spotter Prisoner of the Night.)

Tomorrow: Mission: Impossible.

453 dark shadows dream daniel

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

20 thoughts on “Episode 453: Born to Run

  1. I read somewhere that Joel Crothers really wanted the role of Quentin Collins and was very unhappy when he didn’t get it. Roger Davis must be warming up for Alias Smith and Jones.

    1. I read that, as well, and I always thought Crothers was too well-known as Joe to convincingly play another major character. Forbes worked in 1795 but Quentin’s initial storyline is in the present day, so either everyone would have just ignored his resemblance to Joe (something that didn’t happen until the middle of 1897 when actors were recycled without any acknowledgement) or would have kept mentioning it as part of the “mystery.” Neither option is compelling. No, Quentin — much like Angelique, Nicholas Blair, and later Gerard and Daphne — is one of those characters who needs a new actor. It provides a freshness to the series.

      And Selby as Quentin was another example of “lightning in a bottle.” Crothers had been on the series for three years and never connected with audiences in the same way.

      1. I agree totally – unfortunately Crothers would always be thought of as ‘good ol Joe’. Initially he was Carolyn’s doormat and then he ended up assisting Maggie in caring for her blind father before being carried off in a straight jacket to the nut house after witnessing his cousins Tom and Chris Jennings transform into Universal Monsters virtually overnight. The role of Nathan Forbes was too little to late to allow him to become an integral part of the show at that point.

        1. The episode where Joe Goes Nuts (658) is one of my favorites (and my favorite Don Briscoe episode). Crothers gets some nice moments with Lara Parker during his “vampirism as alcoholism/closeted homosexuality” metaphor storyline.

  2. Joel would have not worked at all as Quentin. David Selby was and is Quentin. Adrian Paul would have cast as Quentin in the revival if it had made it to a second season.

  3. Would Joel Crothers have enjoyed playing Quentin? The Quentin character starts out as an evil spirit and doesn’t have his first line of dialogue for the longest time. All Crothers would have been doing for the first month was standing around making scary faces. Very likely he might have gotten quickly bored with playing spooky.

    David Selby’s arrival may well have saved the Barnabas character. That is, Jonathan Frid has commented on how relieved he was when Selby came along to carry the show’s popularity as the new star, because he felt that up to that point he was being used rather indulgently. With Quentin now the star, the pressure was off of Frid, and this may have kept him from growing disillusioned with the role of Barnabas, which he did eventually of course, but which might have happened sooner if not for Selby being cast as Quentin, because for the previous two years the show had been all about Barnabas–after all, his character was the reason they started the 1795/time travel storyline in the first place.

  4. The way that the characters handle guns on this show is just CRAZY. I think that Frid may have been one of the few actors who ever handled a real gun. Last time that I watched the werewolf hunt storyline, he was actually carrying his rifle so that the barrel pointed at the ground. Everyone else waves their firearms around as though they were umbrellas or spatulas. CRAZY!.

  5. Loved Vicki’s reaction to being dragged into the Old House secret room by the Matthew Morgan lookalike!
    A nice nod to 1966 continuity without any unnecessary exposition.

  6. My favorite actor/gun moment is in “Plan 9 from Outer Space” in which one of the nincompoop cops scratches his forehead with the muzzle of his revolver. A Darwin Awards candidate for sure!

    1. I was just thinking of “Plan 9” as well! And as Cop Nincompoop was scratching his head with his gun, he also makes the astute observation regarding the dead man on the ground: “…and someone’s responsible!” “Plan 9”: So bad it’s good! ;-D

  7. Firearms of 1795 were pretty much ‘one-shot’, weren’t they? With a time-consuming reload process. Chances are that the gun is empty, but still! Just tuck it under your belt, Pete! Preferably pointed at your crotch, so if it doesgo off, there won’t be any Bradford descendants.

  8. Wasn’t that secret room on the other side of the fireplace before? Also I thought Vicki got shot in the shoulder, not the arm which is where Ben is bandaging her.

  9. Vicki’s wound: Peter and David (tomorrow’s and next week’s episodes get lumped together here) have and will manhandle Vicki’s supposedly injured arm. And Vicki doesn’t wince. I think only Ben and Naomi make allowances for Vicki’s injury, and only Ben coaxes her into wincing as if her arm really hurts.

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