Episode 559: Everything You Deserve

“I specialize in human relations.”

Also, Nicholas is in love with Maggie.

Sorry to spring it on you like that, but it’s that kind of storyline. Nicholas Blair is some kind of evil wizard man, and so far we haven’t had any indication that he’s looking for a girlfriend. In fact, he’s been mocking Angelique relentlessly for having human emotions. And yet, here we are.

It’s not at all clear why Nicholas has chosen Maggie, either. He seems to have fallen in love at first sight, during a chance encounter at Collinwood. Maggie’s very pretty and very nice, but they don’t have anything in common. I’m not even sure that he’s human. He might as well fall in love with a puppy.

But there are four pretty girls on the show, and three of them already have a storyline, which leaves Maggie at a loose end. She’s got a dull job, she’s happily engaged to Joe, her alcoholic father has died, and it’s been a year since she was kidnapped by anybody. If Nicholas needs a human weakness, then it might as well be Maggie, I suppose.

559 dark shadows maggie nicholas interesting

After all, a television audience is willing to accept absolutely any lunatic plot contrivance that comes along, as long as it makes the show more interesting.

“Interesting” can mean a lot of different things — romantic, surprising, thought-provoking, sentimental, heartbreaking — but the most direct route to interesting is funny. I will now demonstrate.

559 dark shadows joe nicholas funny

Maggie’s fiancee, Joe, was recently hospitalized after a violent encounter with a rogue Frankenstein. Maggie is expecting him to come home tomorrow, but he’s been released early, and it’s a delightful surprise when he shows up at the door.

But Joe is less delighted to find a random unchaperoned dude making himself at home in Maggie’s house. Nicholas proceeds to do everything in his power to make Joe uncomfortable.

Nicholas:  I’m very pleased to meet you, Mr. Haskell. Maggie has told me a great deal about you.

Joe:  Oh?

Maggie:  Mr. Blair’s been coming here to see some of Pop’s paintings.

Nicholas:  Yes, there’s one in particular I’ve been trying to get her to sell me, but I’m afraid she’s reluctant to part with it.

559 dark shadows joe maggie interrupted

Joe and Maggie try to have their happy reunion scene, but Nicholas insists on butting in.

Maggie:  Joe, why didn’t you give me a call to tell me you were leaving the hospital?

Nicholas:  Why, yes! I could have driven Maggie to the hospital, and picked you up.

Joe (trying to ignore Nicholas):  I wanted it to be a surprise.

Nicholas:  Well, you certainly did surprise her.

559 dark shadows joe maggie smile

At this point, you can see that Kathryn Leigh Scott is battling desperately to avoid cracking up. Humbert Allen Astredo is being so smooth and funny that she’s getting the giggles. She tries to disguise it as a smile for Joe, not at all successfully.

559 dark shadows maggie giggles

Nicholas:  If I’d known it was going to be such an occasion, I’d have brought along a bottle of champagne.

Maggie:  Well, I have some sherry in the kitchen.

Nicholas:  Splendid! I certainly think that this occasion calls for a drink, don’t you, Maggie?

She does. Going for the sherry lets her duck off screen for a minute and get herself back under control.

559 dark shadows joe nicholas straight

So now Joe is left to deal with Nicholas on his own. Joe is the straight man in this scene, so to speak, and his job is to look handsome and get annoyed. He does both of those very well.

Nicholas:  You look remarkably well for a man who’s just had a severe head injury.

Joe:  They tell me I have a hard head.

Nicholas:  And a little bit of luck, I gather.

Joe:  Yes, I’ve always had that, too, when I’ve needed it.

Nicholas:  I’m sure you have. One doesn’t come across young ladies like Maggie every day.

Joe:  No, one doesn’t.

559 dark shadows joe nicholas crush

Joe tries a more direct approach.

Joe:  Tell me, what do you do, Mr. Blair?

Nicholas:  Do?

Joe:  For a living.

Nicholas:  Oh, yes, of course.

559 dark shadows joe nicholas crack

At this point, Joel Crothers is having trouble suppressing a smile, too. Humbert wins the scene.

Nicholas:  Well, you might say I’m… a consultant.

Joe:  Oh? What kind of a consultant?

Nicholas:  Well, I specialize in human relations.

Joe:  That doesn’t tell me very much.

Nicholas:  No, it doesn’t, does it?

559 dark shadows maggie grinning

Maggie comes back in with the sherry, still just barely on this side of stifling a laugh. It’s a good thing they’re thirty seconds away from the commercial break; she wouldn’t be able to make it through a whole scene like this.

559 dark shadows nicholas toast

But Nicholas is keeping things chill.

Nicholas:  I should like to propose a toast — to your future, Joe. May it bring you everything you deserve.

559 dark shadows maggie joe justified

So there you have it — a two-minute scene that absolutely justifies whatever plot contrivance they’re trying to put across. Sometimes, it really is that simple.

Tomorrow: Messing Around with Dead People.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Angelique can be seen reflected in Nicholas’ mirror. Julia discovered a year ago that vampires don’t appear in mirrors. But this is Nicholas’ magic blue Chromakey mirror, so it’s possible that different rules apply.

When Vicki is talking with the disembodied voice of Nicholas, she steps on one of his lines.

After Nicholas leaves, Maggie says to Joe, “Well, isn’t he a nice man. Isn’t he?”

Tomorrow: Messing Around with Dead People.

559 dark shadows angelique mirror

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

16 thoughts on “Episode 559: Everything You Deserve

  1. Nicolas’ quote about specializing in ‘human relations’ reminded me of the BS job title that Jason Maguire made Liz create for him at the Cannery – ‘public relations’ manager. Jason and Nicolas both possess that certain smarmy but endearing quality of being able to dazzle others with their gift of gab and ‘snake oil salesman’ personalities.

    1. “Die-rector of Public Relations” was the official title Jason gave to his job of keeping up appearances. Jason surely had the gift of gab, but it was a source of great frustration for Dennis Patrick over the endless lines of dialog the writers gave him to weave in that colorful Irish brogue he brought to the role, as he was burdened by the monumental task of memorizing all those lines.

      Humbert Allen Astredo was at one time a stand-up comedian, so that might explain why other actors in today’s episode are cracking up in his presence–he did have that comedic quality to his delivery.

      There’s a Tumblr page devoted to Astredo with one humorous poster which reads:

      For Collinsport Mayor

      The More Dapper
      of Two Evils


  2. Are there any other DS bloopers where one or more cast members succumb to laughter?

    Love this! And I totally adore seeing Nicholas fall in love as only an emotionally inexperienced demon or warlock can: fast and fatally.

    Plus Maggie is more interesting than a puppy and almost as cute to look at (as long as she isn’t wearing that scary quilt skirt).

    Btw, who were the other three pretty girls to whom you referred? Caroline and Vicki and … ?

    Hmm. Would’ve been rather cool if Nicholas fell for Julia, stirring righteous Joe-like jealousy in Barnabas! (Never mind. Just tried clenching my eyes closed to imagine it and can only picture Julia squinting at Nicholas in confused disdain while Barnabas stares at her with intense curiosity).

    1. Ah. Hmm. Yes; well …in my defense, Angelique is …she’s in a … very distinctive class apart from the “pretty girls” like Vicki and Carolyn, right?

      In a matriarchical fantasy society filled with Dark Shadows’ female characters it would be like …Julia is the intellectually romantic Green Queen and Angelique is the selfishly evil White Queen …Mrs. Stoddard is the sleepily kind Purple Queen…oh and Eve/Danielle Roget is the stupidly evil Red Queen.

      Then there are the comparatively dull and ineffectual princesses: Carolyn, the clever and occasionally bold Yellow Princess…Vicki, the inescapably stupid and naive Blue Princess…Maggie, the pleasant and swiftly adaptable Quilt-Skirt-Wearing Princess…umm…or something like that.

  3. I have a custom which I do not always follow, but if it’s evening and I’m watching DS, and somebody drinks a sherry or a brandy, I will join them. (I have both.) I do not apply this rule to wine, either white or red. That’s just me. It is more pleasant, I have found, to drink with Roger or the Professor, but whoever will do.

  4. When the disembodied voice of Nicholas was talking to Vicki, why didn’t she notice his hat and gloves on the table in front of her? Who else in Collins Port wears a derby hat with gloves?

    (Answer: because it’s Vicki.)

  5. I think the mirror/ChromaKey effect deserves more attention. That was a rather sophisticated stunt for a low-budget soap opera in 1968 and they pulled it off quite convincingly, Angelique blooper aside.

    I don’t think Maggie has a job at all. If she ever went back to work after she escaped from Windcliff then I missed the reference. I believe someone else has commented that the coffee shop/diner set doesn’t even exist anymore by this point in the series.

    In addition to her other troubles Maggie is stuck in another bad outfit today. It’s not as bad as the quilted pants but it’s not anything you’d want to be seen wearing in public, either.

    1. Maggie may not have needed a job. Her dad had just died, so it’s possible he had a nice life insurance policy naming Maggie as his sole beneficiary. It’s also possible he had a homeowners policy that paid off the remaining balance left on his mortgage. This would have left her with the chance to take some time off for awhile.

  6. “Also, Nicholas is in love with Maggie.

    “Sorry to spring it on you like that, but it’s that kind of storyline. Nicholas Blair is some kind of evil wizard man, and so far we haven’t had any indication that he’s looking for a girlfriend. In fact, he’s been mocking Angelique relentlessly for having human emotions. And yet, here we are.”

    I think there’s a possible explanation for this. By the end of the 1960s, the legends of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and the Holy Grail had been in vogue for decades. New York theater people like those involved in Dark Shadows would of course have been keenly mindful of Lerner and Loewe’s CAMELOT, which was a hit on Broadway from 1960 to 1963 and which appeared as a feature film in 1967. As part of that fashion, bookstores generally would carry paperback translations of Thomas Malory’s 1453 LE MORTE D’ARTHUR and of selections from the romances about the Holy Grail written in the years 1175-1225 on which the legends of Arthur and his group were based.

    Nicholas is a representative of the Devil. In Malory (especially Book 14, verses 9 and 10,) we see a theme that recurs in several of the Grail romances, that Lucifer fell from Heaven because he had conceived a passion for a mortal woman.

    In fact, many of the themes of the Grail romances show up in DARK SHADOWS. The title of the novel on which the musical CAMELOT was based is THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING, harking back to a legend that King Arthur only appears to be dead- he is in suspended animation, confined to a coffin in a hidden tomb, awaiting a hero who will revive him and restore his dynasty. There are many many such figures in the Grail romances and in similar legends in Norse and Celtic myth. Obviously vampires like Dracula, Barnabas Collins, and Mamuwalde* represents a dark inversion of this legend, as do figures like The Mummy of the Universal and Hammer horror movies.

    One of the more interesting of the Hidden Kings in the Grail romances is Amfortas. As the tale is told in Heinrich of Turlin’s THE CROWN, Amfortas was a king who was wounded, paralyzed and confined to a hidden coffin because of a wound he received from a sorceress he disappointed in love, the mighty Orgeluse. Sir Gawain found Amfortas and restored to him both his strength and his ability to die. Barnabas’ transformation into a vampire at the hands of Angelique recalls the wounding of Amfortas; his reemergence as a mortal man under the ministrations of Dr Lang recalls Amfortas’ restoration by Gawain.

    After he is restored, Amfortas yields his kingdom to Sir Percival, marking the end of the original dynasty of the Grail. Barnabas’ attempt to replace himself with Adam, whether Adam has the face he actually has or Peter/Jeff’s face, an attempt which will eventually lead Adam to ask him “How can you hate yourself so much?,” brings this self-effacement to mind.

    After his abdication, Amfortas’ wound reappears and seems to make him a leper. Again, Barnabas’ eventual return to vampirism, accompanied as it is by all the Grail-inflected imagery of the Leviathans, may have echoes of this story.

    The dynasty of the Grail appears in several of the romances in connection with the figure of Joseph of Arimathea. This Joseph of Arimathea is very different from the man of the same name who appears in the New Testament. There he is a Jewish elder, a member of the Council, and a secret disciple of Jesus. In the Grail legends, Joseph is a pagan knight, who was never Jewish and is never quite Christian. He comes to be associated with Simon Peter and with Jesus’ other fisherman followers, and is known as The Rich Fisherman or the Fisher King. His dynasty rules over the Grail itself and all of its heads are known by these same titles. Again, that the Collinses are supposed to have derived their wealth from the Atlantic fisheries of Maine is not only historically plausible, since the first prosperity of upper New England came from the cod industry, but also mythically resonant, as it would make them a line of Rich Fishermen.

    There is more. For a series of writings that appeared in northwestern Europe around the turn of the twelfth century, the Grail romances are startlingly cool to the whole idea of Christianity. There are no good guy priests, and the Christian imagery overlaid on the stories is so inconsistent with the traditions of the church that it must be deliberately opposed to it. Indeed, Sir Percival explicitly renounces the whole idea of serving God on his way to attain the highest honors. For its part, the church repaid the compliment by declaring that there was no such thing as the Holy Grail and denouncing the whole cycle of the romances. That the only identifiable representatives of organized Christianity in the show are the Reverends Trask, and that it is in general, as Danny says, “one of your more Satan-friendly TV shows,” is at least consistent with a connection to the Arthurian stories.

    Also, when the various knights are initiated into the mysteries of the Grail, their first response is usually an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. Again, this connects us to DARK SHADOWS, where most of the characters seem to be torn between a desire to return to the past and a desire to reinvent it.

    *Also known as “Blacula.”

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