Episode 515: When Adam Attacks

“Pop, there’s a madman in here — a maniac!”

On June 17, 1968, at approximately 3:30pm, an unidentified Caucasian male suspect entered the Evans cottage. Mayhem ensued. Police are looking for a tall, dark man with a limited vocabulary and an even more limited wardrobe. But, hey, who isn’t?

515 dark shadows maggie willie cower

It’s important that we get these facts straight, because we’re going to be talking about it for most of the week. After more than a month of basically just wandering around, our Frankenstein monster jumps into what is probably the longest extended action sequence we’ve seen so far on Dark Shadows.

Adam was brought to life by Barnabas and Julia in an ill-advised burst of mad science, and he’s spent most of his time being tragic and misunderstood. Now, he says those magic words that we’ve been waiting to hear — “KILL MAGGIE!” — and he finally becomes the unstoppable force of fury and destruction that he’s been destined to be.

515 dark shadows adam slap

Well, maybe. The show is struggling right now to figure out what to do with Adam. He begins this particular contretemps by shouting “WILLIE BAD!” — he’s still using the classic Quest For Fire syntax — and smacking his former captor across the face.

Trying to reconstruct the events after the fact, I can’t quite recall what makes Willie so bad. The worst incident that I can recall is that Willie did a weird Tennessee Williams monologue, and then ate some of Adam’s dinner. He wasn’t a very good babysitter, sure, but that’s not necessarily worth a fatal beatdown.

515 dark shadows adam confused

They’re still playing the “Adam is confused” card, although it’s not clear what he’s so confused about. He’s been treated in a fairly consistent way. When he’s calm, people are generally nice to him; when he’s enraged, people hit him with sticks. Even a newborn Frankenstein man ought to be able to piece that puzzle together.

515 dark shadows maggie adam girl

But then there’s the girl-touching thing. They’ve been road-testing the idea of a Beauty and the Beast plotline, first in an extended sequence with Carolyn, and now with Maggie. I can’t say that it’s going very well.

The tricky part is that after it all blows over, you need the girl to say, “He was so gentle, really, like a confused child,” because obviously every girl wants to date a confused child. The problem is that the gentle behavior mostly consists of staring into the girl’s eyes and touching her hair without permission, two seconds after she’s seen him knock somebody to the floor with a snarl. He’s not exactly a dream date, unless you like being manhandled by a menacing 6’6″ ex-convict. Actually, that doesn’t sound so bad.

515 dark shadows adam jacket

By the way, doesn’t he look nice today? Adam jumped off a cliff last week, tearing up his clothes and his face pretty badly, but he seems to have spontaneous healing powers that include his wardrobe.

I think that’s a new turtleneck, too — it used to be black, and now it’s gray. I wonder where he got it from. Somewhere in Collinsport, there must be an unconscious, naked basketball player, and I vote that we go and look for him.

515 dark shadows adam needs food

The problem is that they’re really struggling to figure out what Adam wants at this point. He’s just a mess of contradictory impulses. He wants to hurt Willie, he wants food, and he wants to look at shiny things, pretty much all at the same time.

It’s not clear what you can do with him, except spin him around and see if he damages somebody. Still, there’s no way the audience will ever be able to forgive him if he hurts someone we like. If he’s going to seriously injure somebody, then they need to find a character who isn’t very likeable or interesting.

515 dark shadows sam victim

So let’s bring in today’s victim, Sam Evans. Recently, David Ford asked the producers to make his character blind, so he could read off the teleprompter and not have to learn his lines. This brilliant strategic move seems to have backfired, because he has to wear dark sunglasses and he can’t really read through those lenses very well anyway. I think everyone recognizes that it’s time for Sam to go, up to and including the audience.

Still, there’s a chance this might work out okay. Since going blind, Sam has become a magical charity elf who can soothe the savage beast. He speaks calmly to Adam, and it looks like he might be able to solve this crisis.

515 dark shadows maggie hammer

But Maggie’s scared for her father, so she grabs a nearby hammer and gets to work. Adam is supposed to grab her arms, but she actually manages to clock him on the head once, so I hope that’s a Nerf hammer.

515 dark shadows sam adam friend

Sam manages to get between Adam and Maggie, and tries to open negotiations.

Sam:  Adam, don’t you remember? You remember who I am. I’m your friend. Now, you wouldn’t harm me, would you?

Adam:  FRIEND!

Sam:  Good. Now, repeat after me: Maggie.

Adam:  MAGGIE!

Sam:  Maggie is my friend.

Adam:  MAGGIE IS… NO!

Sam:  Adam!

Adam:  MAGGIE! KILL MAGGIE!

Sam:  Adam! Repeat after me!

Adam:  KILL MAGGIE!

515 dark shadows adam cane

Things deteriorate fairly quickly from there. It’s your standard enormous corpse-monster vs. blind guy cage match, which ends pretty decisively with a knockout punch. Adam heads outside for an anguished “Adam afraid!” moment, and then there’s nothing to do but call the villagers and tell them to round up some torches and pitchforks.

Tomorrow: The Unimmured.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

The opening voice-over says, “A chain of events has been set into motion, and they will end in a burst of violence and a sudden death.” The death in question isn’t actually very sudden; Sam is hurt today, but he doesn’t die for another three episodes.

Willie was wearing a light gray jacket in the last episode; today, it’s a brown jacket. The episodes are being taped out of order right now, and this episode was actually recorded two weeks after the last one. (Episode 514 was taped on May 27th, and episode 515 on June 11th.) So it’s not surprising that they couldn’t remember what Willie was wearing. Also, nobody cared that much.

Willie tells Julia that Adam “broke into the Evans Cottage tonight, and he may have killed Sam Devans.”

The rolling credits were crooked in the last episode. Today, they’re still crooked, but in the other direction.


Behind the Scenes:

Josette’s ghost is played by Natalie Norwick, who appeared in episode 512 as the ghost of Ruby Tate. We’ll see her again as Josette’s ghost in January.

Tomorrow: The Unimmured.

515 dark shadows crooked

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

13 thoughts on “Episode 515: When Adam Attacks

  1. There seem to be several other people around Collinwood who are aiding and abetting Adam’s existence while he hides out from the law. There’s a local tailor who mends his clothes, there’s the owner of the local laundromat where Adam gets his clothes regularly washed, and then there’s a local barber who sees that he’s always clean shaven and his hair neatly combed as well as clean.

    Actually, it is easy to see why Adam would take such a disliking to Willie. When you think about it, Adam is a bohemian at heart and his values can be distilled down to three simple things: food, friendship, and music. Willie had been actively denying him on two of those three areas, and more important, Willie is associated with the person Adam now hates more than anyone and wants to kill.

    As for the Sam Evans character, I wonder whose decision it was for David Ford to leave the show, his own or the producers or perhaps by this point a bit of both. Because after his departure, the writers don’t seem to know what to do with the Maggie Evans character, as a lot of her screen time was devoted to interactions with her father and who after he is gone seems to spend quite a bit of time just puttering aimlessly about the cottage without anything to do before she is finally reinvented as the new governess of Collinwood. She must have been hitting the books in between orders at the diner to have picked up all that education to qualify for the position.

    Sadly also, it means there won’t be much use left for the Evans cottage set, at least not in present-day time, which I always liked, as it always provided a charming contrast to the “storm-tossed milieu” of Collinwood. Speaking of storms, in all the times that the Evans cottage was shown, was there ever a thunderstorm outside? They would do a scene at Collinwood, where it would be all thunder and lightning, then the scene would shift to the Evans cottage, where everything would be calm. It seems that it only ever stormed over Collinwood. Perhaps that explains all the ghosts and craziness as well as the Collins of Collinsport.

  2. I always liked the dynamic of the Evans Cottage – I hated what they did to Sam and Maggie – I’m watching the beginning episodes again and can’t believe the difference in character of Maggie between Episode 1 and this one – pre-Barnabas Maggie would have decked Adam with a frying pan instead of cowering in fear. I NEVER bought the idea of Maggie as a Vicki-wannabe governess at Collinwood putting up with Liz’s haughtiness, Carolyn’s attitude or Roger’s arrogance, especially after how he coerced her father Sam into taking a bribe to cover up vehicular manslaughter.

    1. By the time Maggie became governess at Collinwood, Liz, Carolyn and Roger had all evolved into sympathic and in Rogers case funny, versions of their earlier characters. Maggie was a tough talking waitress for like 5 minutes. How did she become a governess? How does anything happen on this show,? I bought the ticket, and I adore the ride, even when i don’t. 😄

      1. True – it’s quite a feat for a show to garner this much attention almost fifty years after it first aired. I wonder how many of today’s shows they’ll be talking about fifty years from now…

        1. Another thing to miss about the diner is the prices: 2 hamburgers and 2 cups of coffee for only $2.50.

          There’s a blog spot called “Cooking in the Shadows” dedicated to listing, by episode number, every reference to food and every food item served at the Collinsport Inn coffee shop and elsewhere.

          According to this blog, the last item ordered in the diner was in episode 195 when Jason McGuire asks for a slice of lemon peel for his coffee.

          http://mhowardds.blogspot.com/

          1. That’s awesome. I was always fascinated by the food items in the diner – and who cooked them! Did Maggie/Susie do everything? There only seemed to be one person there at any time. Did she pop in the back to grill the burgers and fry the eggs? Wash the dishes? Bake the lobster rolls?

            In retrospect, Barnabas would have been better off going after Susie than Maggie. She never spoke, just nodded, so she wouldn’t have given him any trouble and he could have soliloquized to his heart’s content.

        2. Correction: Barnabas does stop in for a cup of coffee, which he doesn’t drink, and purposely leaves his cane there so that Maggie will have to venture to the Old House to return it. Also, after one of the early attacks she is behind the counter unable to hold up a pot of coffee with her weakened condition.

          But it seems that after Mitch Ryan’s departure, and after the departure of the Burke Devlin character, there seems to be no longer a need to show the diner, as the Blue Whale becomes the principal public spot where plotlines converge for discussion and recap.

  3. Yow, the beginning was shockingly violent. Far more so than Carolyn’s kidnapping, because Adam clearly didn’t want to hurt anyone. Now he does.

    Willie does have chemistry with Maggie and this ep definitely sold that ship. He does his best to distract Adam from attacking Maggie, even at clear risk to his own life. But then he started lying to Maggie. He definitely lost points there.

    Karlen’s acting in the old house/coffin room was terrific. The mix of fright, horror, confusion and irritation was spot on. Willie’s exasperated, “WHAT?!?” is particularly priceless (when Julia won’t leave and instead starts asking about the wall being bricked up). His scramble up the stairs at the end was excellent too.

    As far as Julia, I also thought her portrayal was excellent and quite convincing. I think this is the best scene she’s had so far. Less is more.

  4. Sorry, I believe Julia is smart, but I wasn’t sold on how neatly she figured out that Barnabas was behind the wall. But that’s more the writers’ fault than Grayson’s. Yeah, I meant “writers” plural. I figure they all had to sign off on Julia figuring it out all at once.

  5. I think Willie remains too much of a creep to excuse Maggie for not being more wary of him than she is. He just wants to shtup her.

    Is this the first time Adam has had a think? “Adam afraid” is not spoken out loud.

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