Episode 561: The Big Sleep

“Don’t try to understand. Just submit to your needs, as I do.”

He should’ve known the dame was trouble when she opened the door.

“Please come to my house at seven,” the note said. Joe Haskell had just met Mr. Blair the night before, and didn’t like him much, but he was curious about the invite, so he came. He thought he’d get an apology, or an explanation, or at the very least a drink.

Instead, he found a blonde. A blonde that would make a vampire bite his way through a garlic-soaked casket in the middle of the afternoon.

561 dark shadows angelique joe trust

The blonde tells Joe that Mr. Blair had to go out for a few minutes, but he’ll be back soon. He believes her, like a sap.

Joe:  Who are you?

Angelique:  My name is Angelique. I’m supposed to be Nicholas’ secretary.

Joe:  Well, aren’t you?

Angelique:  No. Not really.

Joe:  Well, who are you, then?

Angelique:  If I tell you the truth… can I trust you?

561 dark shadows angelique joe chump

So I guess we’re doing The Maltese Falcon today. We talked last month about how much Nicholas’ relationship with Angelique feels like Sydney Greenstreet bossing Mary Astor around, and now they’re just straight up doing a Maltese Falcon scene.

She needs his help desperately, she says. Nicholas is holding her prisoner, keeping her here against her will, and she can’t break free.

561 maltese falcon help me mr spade

Here’s the original, for the sake of comparison.

Brigid:  You’ve got to trust me, Mr. Spade. Oh, I’m so alone and afraid. I’ve got nobody to help me, if you won’t help me. Be generous, Mr. Spade. You’re brave. You’re strong. You can spare me some of that courage and strength, surely. Help me, Mr. Spade; I need help so badly. I have no right to ask you, I know I haven’t, but I do ask you. Help me?

561 maltese falcon sam spade

Now, in the movie, this is the reaction she gets:

Sam:  You won’t need much of anybody’s help; you’re good. It’s chiefly your eyes, I think, and that throb you get in your voice when you say things like, “Be generous, Mr. Spade.”

But that’s because The Maltese Falcon is entirely dedicated to being a showcase for Humphrey Bogart, the coolest person who ever lived. Pretty much every exchange in the film is somebody trying to put something over on Bogart, and then he gets to make fun of them, smack them in the face, take their gun away, and/or send them to prison. That’s what happens in literally every scene in the movie.

561 dark shadows angelique joe playing

Today’s Dark Shadows has a different kind of pleasure in mind. Joe Haskell is a sap to end all saps, a top-to-bottom Boy Scout who falls for this act like he’s been training for it his whole life.

Angelique:  Would you protect me?

Joe:  Sure, if it comes to that.

Angelique:  Am I really going to escape? Am I really going to be free?

Joe:  Oh, now, look… come on, now, don’t cry.

The focus of the Maltese Falcon scene is always on Bogart — Mary Astor, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet each enter the stage to do their dark routine, and then we turn to Sam Spade for his cynical rejoinder. The fun is all about building up a particular threat, and then watching Bogart overcome it, in a surprising way that peels back another layer of the story.

But Joe is just a Nice Guy, reacting just the way any Nice Guy would, in this awkward and puzzling circumstance. We’re not watching Joe here. We’re paying attention to the dame.

561 dark shadows angelique joe relieved

And she doesn’t even need to go through all of this rigmarole. Brigid wanted Sam to take the fall for her; all Angelique needs is eight seconds alone with Joe’s jugular vein.

She’s just going through this routine for the fun of it, because she’s been watching The 4:30 Movie, and she wants to show the audience how clever she is. We’re supposed to be on her side, sharing in the weird sadistic joke, as she plays Joe for a fool and then sinks her fangs into his warm, throbbing throatflesh.

We’ll get into the awkward and uncomfortable aftermath of this — specifically, asking the question, What the hell is wrong with us that we like watching somebody get violated like this — but that’s tomorrow’s problem. For now, let’s just enjoy ourselves as the hungry hell-beast rests her head on Joe’s shoulder, and starts to feed.

Tomorrow: He’s Just Not That Into Being Supernaturally Controlled By You.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

In Friday’s episode, Willie backed up against a pillar in the drawing room of the Old House, and the pillar wobbled. He does exactly the same thing again today, in the first scene of act 4.

When Joe and Barnabas stare at the ringing telephone in Joe’s apartment, a fly buzzes around, and lands on the phone.


Behind the Scenes:

We see Joe’s apartment for the first time today; it’s a redressed version of the same set that we’ve seen as Burke’s apartment, and Tony Peterson’s. It’s even got the same room number, 24. The layout of the furniture is quite different — this was Tony’s living room, with a desk and a couch. Joe’s got his bed in this room.

During the closing credits, we can see one of the green-shaded lamps on the desk in Joe’s room, and a rarer species — a yellow-shaded lamp of the same design — on the bedside table.

Also, the multi-colored Afghan — usually seen on the couch at Maggie’s place — has migrated over to Joe’s bed today.

Tomorrow: He’s Just Not That Into Being Supernaturally Controlled By You.

561 dark shadows angelique joe bite

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

15 thoughts on “Episode 561: The Big Sleep

  1. Perhaps my favorite cameo of the Collinsport Fly. In Joe’s apartment the camera has a close up on the ringing telephone, and Barnabas asks Joe, “Well aren’t you going to answer your phone?” Instead, on cue and with the perfect timing of a seasoned pro, the fly lands right on the white center of the rotary dial, but has evidently not been trained in secretarial skills.

    There’s a YouTube clip dedicated to the numerous appearances on the show of the Collinsport Fly. The clip has a length of 5 minutes, 34 seconds.

    Since Joe is now afflicted from the bite of a vampire, and has tainted blood, what if the fly bites Joe? Does it then become a vampire fly as a result, after filling up on vampire blood? And could it then infect others? The Collinsport Fly does have a curious immortality, which lasts for the entire run of the show.

      1. I remember way back when Carolyn broke into Tony’s law office (on some fool’s errand for Barnabas) and was caught in the act. In the scene where Tony first caught her he had on a raincoat – in the reprise of the scene the following day he had on the raincoat plus the Bogart hat – it was so obvious when you watched the episodes back to back.

        1. Yes, Tony was supposed to be a Humphrey Bogart character. The problem is that such a character would be a super competent character, and would end the storylines in two days… I could see him running Barnabas to ground, while delivering acid quips. And when Julia says that she bitterly regrets, he would answer “Regrets and a buck will get you a cup of coffee”

          1. I think Tony “talked” like Bogart but “walked” like a gentleman. It wouldn’t be that difficult to imagine him in Joe’s predicament and behaving the same way. Quentin, especially in the last half of 1897, is more a “noirish” character because he’s basically marginally better than the bad guys but he’s still capable of skullduggery. And the unreliability is part of the appeal. We’re uncertain as to how he’ll react. Maybe he will kill Charity Trask to keep his secret. And so on.

            Bogart, especially in THE MALTESE FALCON, is not as dark a character as Mike Hammer in KISS ME DEADLY, for example. We get evidence that he’s “not as crooked as he pretends to be.” But he’s still pretty callous and even fools around with his partner’s wife. That’s not Tony. Although I wish it had been. When he originally meets Cassandra Collins, he responds like any heterosexual male. Both in noir (and most soap operas), he would have pursued her despite her marriage to Roger (a guy he loathed anyway) or his mild interest in Carolyn (who he thought was keeping things from him anyway). Instead, he’s simply “put in a spell.” No, I would have loved to have seen a Peterson so taken with Cassandra he would have willingly tried to kill Stokes, especially if Cassandra convinced him that Stokes was trying to kill her. Then Peterson would be more like Fred MacMurray in DOUBLE INDEMNITY.

  2. Lara Parker is doing a great job as a vampire. She seems to like being a vampire more than Barnabas.

    She’s thrilled to have Joe Haskell’s neck right now.

  3. The famous afghan, which is identically similar to one that appeared on the old Roseann show, is also identically similar to one that my mother (born 1918) had. If I could, I’d include a picture of it here. I presume this type of afghan was mass-produced by in the US, but when precisely, and where was it sold?

  4. That afghan was in a lot of my relatives’ houses back then. It was a crochet pattern, and ot seemed like everyone was making them in the late 60s and early 70s.

  5. I have this useless but fun (to me anyway) idea of remaking the “Maltese Falcon” using the cast of DS just as they were in 1968. Jerry Lacy is Sam Spade, Thayer David is Kasper Gutman, Grayson Hall is Joelene Cairo (I’m particularly pleased with myself for that casting idea), John Karlen is Wilmer, maybe Lara Parker is Brigid O’Shaunessy, Kathryn Leigh Scott as Effie (Spade’s secretary), and Clarice Blackburn or Joan Bennett as Mrs. Archer. And so on. I haven’t forgotten Jonathan Frid or Louis Edmunds, just haven’t settled on parts for them. They would be interesting for example as the two police detectives or district attorney who hound Spade or either one could be Miles Archer.

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