Episode 620: Sets and Violence

“Every day, he becomes more like a mortal man… and no mortal man can spoil my plans.”

Barnabas Collins, drained of blood and low on get-up-and-go, has fallen to the earth. His ex-wife Angelique has been all up in his neck recently, and he’s got to get away before she turns him into the living dead for like the third time in a row. So we’re in the middle of a tense low-speed chase through the woods, as he tries to drag himself to safety before the sun sets.

Girl governess Victoria Winters finds him, because they suddenly have some kind of deep mental bond, and why not? Vicki’s standard emergency protocol kicks in, which means that she parks herself eight inches away from the patient and hollers reassuringly at him.

“I have to get you to Collinwood, and then we’ll find Julia!” she cries, but he insists that won’t help.

He moans, “I want you to take me someplace where no one will find me,” and guess where that turns out to be.

She says, “There’s a secret door to the west wing of Collinwood, which no one’s used for years!” And, for Pete’s sake, didn’t he just say that they shouldn’t go to Collinwood? This television show may need to invest in a few more locations. You can’t keep treating the west wing of Collinwood like it’s Mexico.

620 dark shadows vicki barnabas room

So where do they end up, after going through this secret magic door that no one’s used for years? Adam’s room! This is the place where they spent the whole summer pretending that it was completely isolated and abandoned, while a long line of visitors filed in and out, up to and including the exact person that Barnabas is currently trying to hide from. Everyone has used this door. I’m surprised Mrs. Johnson isn’t here dusting right now.

I mean, they moved one of the walls and put the bed in a different spot, but it’s the same damn room. I spent too much of my life staring at that tore-up window shade not to recognize it now. I know this room better than the house I grew up in.

620 dark shadows vicki barnabas wall

But they did rearrange things a little bit, so here’s Vicki leaning against a little slice of brick wall that doesn’t appear to be attached to anything. In fact, if you look just past the bricks to the right, you see that there’s wood paneling on the wall. Who builds little brick outcroppings in front of the wainscoting?

Once again, Dark Shadows is engaging in conceptual interior design, assembling a room entirely based on what they want the shot to look like.

620 dark shadows angelique barnabas hut

And this isn’t the only architectural oddity we’ve seen lately. Two days ago, Angelique was keeping Barnabas in a space that I’m not sure I’m able to describe.

620 dark shadows barnabas hut

This little hideaway combined stone walls, occasional brickwork, a wooden support beam, what looks like a dirt floor strewn with boulders, and that wall on the left that doesn’t appear to be anything in particular. I guess this is what they mean by mixed-use development.

620 dark shadows nicholas angelique hut

And the mystery deepened yesterday, when Nicholas demanded some answers from Angelique.

Nicholas:  Where is Barnabas Collins?

Angelique:  I left him in a hut.

Nicholas:  Where?

Angelique:  In the woods, between Collinwood and the Old House.

So — really? For one thing, I don’t know how that black-box theater space counts as a “hut”, but never mind about that.

The real problem is that Angelique told Barnabas that they were “near the sea, far away from anyone who may want to find you.” I’m not sure how the woods between Collinwood and the Old House counts as far away; it’s the busiest thoroughfare in town.

620 dark shadows mobile home

Even Nicholas appears to be living in a mobile home. Here’s today’s opening voiceover:

A moonless night at the great estate of Collinwood, and a secret drama takes place — a drama which, if known, would shock and horrify every member of the family. For Barnabas Collins has disappeared, the victim of a vampire, and the two who know fear for his life.

This night, a lonely figure waits, shielded by the trees, staring at the most mysterious house on the property. She is positive that somewhere in this house is the answer to all of her questions.

Well, I have a question — Nicholas’ house is “on the property”? As in, part of the Collinwood estate?

I swear, these people need to go outside their corridor once in a while. It’s too hard to maintain a suite of hideouts within easy walking distance of the people you’re trying to hide out from.

So I think it’s clear at this point that the current storyline is just running in circles. It’s time to wrap this up, and find a new place to play. I wonder what’s in the east wing?

Monday: Better Than Medicine.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

When Barnabas falls to the floor unconscious, the camera pulls back and reveals that Angelique has been watching him through the magic mirror. At that moment, there is a ton of studio noise — people walking around, moving things, creaking doors. Something squeaks, and something knocks against metal.

Barnabas tells Angelique that Nicholas will be “angry enough to come to our coffins with a hatchet, and a mallet.” He means a mallet and stake.

The set design gets even shabbier when we see Adam enter the west wing room — the hall outside is now just a couple of plain beige walls.

Monday: Better Than Medicine.

620 dark shadows dan curtis

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

14 thoughts on “Episode 620: Sets and Violence

  1. I’m pretty sure the stone grid that Barnabas is leaning against in “the shack” is actually the flagstones that at one point lined the basement floor of Collinwood. You know the one Elizabeth hid the non existent corpse of her husband under.

  2. In the picture of Nicholas and Angelique (6th one down) what is he holding in his hand – a yellow flower? Also it seems like the Collins family owns many real estate holdings along the Maine coast – when Vicki and Burke wanted to buy the Seaview property, lo and behold it belonged to Liz..Roger conveniently has the House by the Sea vacant and available for Nicholas – they supposedly own several ‘farms’ as well as empty plots of prime oceanfront real estate. As the show goes on all of the sets begin to show significant wear and tear – I wonder if alot of the sets were damaged when the show moved from one NY studio to another.

    1. Yeah, he’s holding a flower in that scene, and he rubs it on Angelique’s face at one point. It doesn’t mean anything in particular, if I remember it right — he’s just using it as a random prop to gesture with.

    2. I could easily see the Collins family owning a bunch of properties all along the coast and possibly much of Collinsport, since their business built the town. I think it literally was “Collin’s Port”, because of their fishing and shipping as far back as 1690 something.
      My family owned four houses, on three farms, mostly close together, except for the house that was twenty miles away, but we were just farmers, nothing like the Collins’s. We rented out three of the four houses.
      The Collins family would have owned more land than anybody in the area. I’m sure they were landlords, off and on, and rented out the extra houses, here and there.

  3. When Nicholas steps out into the night, he pins the yellow flower to his lapel, for his date with Maggie.

  4. When he slaps her with his ring hand, the blocking with the sound effect was so good, that I had to watch it three times to see if it went awry.

    Lara really sold this scene, one of the best.

    Of course, any Nick and Angie scene IS.

  5. Angelique, post-feeding, with blood on her chin; is this the first time we’ve seen that kind of gore? I’ve always assumed she was quite a delicate eater, given that she’s been wearing the same gorgeous snowy-white gown for weeks, all the while noshing on the local hunk population (and Barnabas), without the aid of a very understanding dry-cleaner.

  6. Yup, we definitely have a pregnant governess on our hands now. No wonder Roger was so upset.

    Some interesting religious overtones here today. “The cross, all I need is the cross…” Hmmmm.

    1. Yes, a weirdly Christian turn, here in the middle of the series. (This episode was numbered 620 because of the preemptions, but was actually the 613th of the 1225 episodes produced, so Angelique’s command to Adam to steal the cross marks the exact midpoint of the series.)

  7. If I wasn’t so far behind in the blog, I would do screen grabs of Adam’s scars as it seems some days (like today) they look deep and fresh.

    Adam pushing Barnabas to take the cross was hilarious! Unintentional slo-mo.

    Another drinking game that could be played on DS, is taking a shot every time Julia says, “Please, no questions.” The first game I proposed several episodes ago was a shot very time anyone says a variation on “You must!”

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