Episode 635: One Damned Thing After Another

“And then suddenly, he seemed to burst into flames!”

So then the whole show just goes to Hell. I mean, they did already. They went to Hell, and they talked to the devil. It happened last week.

635 dark shadows barnabas julia fate

So then Barnabas comes home, and he tells Julia that demonic carpetbagger Nicholas Blair has gone back where he came from. Barnabas saw Nicholas begging for his life on Widow’s Hill, and then Nicholas just burst into flames and disappeared, which is as good a way to end that story as anything else.

635 dark shadows barnabas julia sedative

So then Barnabas asks Julia how Maggie is, because when we saw her in the last episode, her soul was signed over to the Devil, and then she got electrocuted for a while, and now she has complete full-body amnesia. Julia says that Maggie will be all right, because Julia gave her a sedative, and she’s sleeping now. Barnabas asks if Maggie will remember what happened, and Julia shrugs and says, “We’ll see,” which says everything there is to say about Julia’s definition of “all right”.

635 dark shadows barnabas julia skeleton

So then Barnabas and Julia go downstairs to their secret basement murder lab, and they find that Adam the enormous Frankenstein man has left the house. Adam was pretty upset the last time they saw him, and Barnabas realizes that he may have gone to Collinwood, to carry out his latest threat to get even with Barnabas by hurting Vicki. This is exactly the same threat that Adam has made every two weeks since early summer, but Ron Sproat wrote today’s episode, which means that every woman in the cast is in clear and present danger.

635 dark shadows carolyn vicki sedative

So then Carolyn gives Vicki a sleeping pill, which is the second time somebody’s taken a sedative so far today. Carolyn says, “Why are you having so much trouble sleeping?” and Vicki says, “I don’t know,” and Carolyn says, “Are you nervous about something?” and Vicki says, “Maybe.” Earlier in the evening, Vicki was attacked by a vampire, plus her fiancee is currently in prison for a murder that he didn’t commit, but nobody can figure out why she’s having trouble sleeping. This must be one of those medical mysteries you hear about.

635 dark shadows adam vicki sneak

So then Vicki falls asleep, and Adam sneaks into her bedroom to kidnap her. Adam had a mate called Eve, but she was disappointing, so he strangled her and dumped her in a closet, and then he told Barnabas and Julia that he wanted another one. They tried to make another mate for him, but the experiment failed, and Eve’s body turned into a skeleton. Now he’s going to harm Vicki, because he doesn’t really have a lot of other storyline options to pursue.

635 dark shadows vicki adam tussle

So then Adam tells Vicki that if she screams, he’ll kill her, but she screams anyway, and Carolyn comes in to see what all the racket is about. This is a setback, but considering this is one of Adam’s plans, it’s actually going pretty well. Usually by now he’d be shot in the back, or pushed off a cliff, or stuck in the entrance to Rabbit’s house because he’d eaten too much honey. So far, this is above average for Adam.

635 dark shadows vicki adam slap

So then Vicki starts yelling about how Adam is trying to kidnap her, so he shuts her up the best way he knows how: he slaps her across the face, and drops her like a bad habit. It turns out Adam’s meathooks are made out of sedatives, just like everything else in this town.

635 dark shadows carolyn adam no use

So then Carolyn tries to talk sense to Adam, but it’s no use. If it was possible to fix this problem by talking about it, then it would have been solved eight times over by now. There’s no solution to this thorny little knot of a storyline; they can’t just relax and hug it out. It’s all yelling and slapping from here on.

635 dark shadows adam carolyn tussle

So then Carolyn grabs for the phone, and Adam grabs for Carolyn, and there’s a little tussle that ends pretty much how you’d expect. And I don’t want to get into the habit of saying too many nice things about Vicki, but dig the posture. She didn’t fall into the standard Feminine Death Heap, which I appreciate. As I said before, it’s a Ron Sproat script, which means every woman on the show today will be rendered unconscious at least once, so it’s nice to know that we’re not actually expected to enjoy the spectacle.

635 dark shadows adam carolyn choke

So then Carolyn says, “Adam, you wouldn’t do anything to me. You know you wouldn’t,” except that’s exactly what he does. He grabs her throat, and chokes her, and that’s the end of any positive regard that we could possibly feel for him, or this storyline. It’s nice to finally get that over with.

635 dark shadows adam and the knockouts

So then Adam is left with two unconscious women lying on the floor, which I think is a record for Dark Shadows, even by Sproat standards. Note that Carolyn has her ankles crossed, because she’s got a short skirt on, and she may be bad at predicting whether a Frankenstein monster is going to strangle her or not, but she’s no fool.

635 dark shadows carolyn barnabas drag

So then Barnabas comes in and finds Carolyn unconscious on the floor, and he kind of hoists her up and drags her over to the window seat. Technically, the bed is closer, but the window seat is better for the blocking, and if we cared about Carolyn’s possible spinal cord injuries then we wouldn’t be hauling her around like a sack of potatoes in the first place.

635 dark shadows carolyn barnabas wild

So then Carolyn tells Barnabas that Adam kidnapped Vicki, and Barnabas rushes out to find him. This concludes our interest in Carolyn’s welfare for the day. I’m sure she’s fine.

635 dark shadows julia pacing

So then Julia is pacing around the Old House waiting for Barnabas to come back, and she hears the distinctive sound of her mad science equipment chugging away downstairs. She acts like she’s not sure what she’s hearing, but honestly it doesn’t sound like anything else on this earth, and we’ve all heard it too many times to ever forget it.

635 dark shadows julia adam choke

So then Adam comes up behind Julia and chokes her, because we have passed the point where this show has any relationship to human civilization as we know it. This is the third woman to be choked on screen in five minutes, which has definitely got to be an all-time record. They usually only have five or six actors on the show in any given day, so if there’s an episode where a guy chokes more than three different women, then he’s going to have to finish out the episode playing solitaire. This is not a scaleable scenario.

635 dark shadows julia adam sedative

So then Adam lets Julia go for a second, and she reaches for her medical bag, because she wants to give him a sedative. I swear to God I’m not making that up. She actually says, “You’ve been through a very grueling experience, Adam; I thought a sedative might help.” He says, “I don’t need a sedative,” which pretty much places him outside the bounds of Dark Shadows medical care.

635 dark shadows barnabas julia passed

So then Barnabas comes home, and finds Julia passed out on the stairs, which is the second time in a row that he’s entered a room and found an unconscious woman littering the landscape. Julia tells him that Adam is downstairs doing something unauthorized with the mad science machinery, and he says that Vicki must be down there too. And then he rushes off to check, because he’s really not that good at making sure people are okay.

635 dark shadows adam vicki skeleton

So then Adam is downstairs strapping Vicki to a lab table next to a skeleton with a wig on, and she’s pleading for her life, and Barnabas and Julia are standing at the locked basement door, screaming for Adam to stop before he kills somebody. And it occurs to me that if Maggie’s upstairs sleeping through this whole thing, then those must be some really powerful sedatives that Julia gave her. No wonder everybody wants some. Just imagine what you could do if you had a bottle of those, and no scruples to speak of. That’s how Julia lives.

635 dark shadows adam sadism

So then we get a big healthy slice of overcooked sadism, with Vicki screaming in pain and Adam just twiddling away on the mad science knobs. The scene goes on and on, until it’s obvious that everyone involved is thinking, isn’t this over yet? At one point, Adam just looks at the camera, and he sees that it’s on, and then he just keeps looking at it because he can’t believe that this is still happening.

635 dark shadows barnabas julia gun

So then Barnabas and Julia show up, having magically slid through the locked basement door by taking a shortcut through the eighth dimension, and Barnabas has a gun somehow, and he tells Adam to stop the experiment or he’ll shoot, and Adam laughs like a madman, and he finally tells Barnabas what he heard on Dr. Lang’s tape recorder all those months ago, that if Adam dies, then Barnabas will revert to what he was before, finally resolving a dangling plot point that goes all the way back to early May, back when Adam was fresh and innocent, and there seemed to be so much promise in this grab bag of lunatic plot contrivances, and now it’s all smashed to the ground and kicked to pieces, and everybody just keeps yelling and yelling and yelling and yelling and yelling.

635 dark shadows adam dies

So then Barnabas fires, and Adam is struck by the bullet, and as he falls, he pulls the big switch on the wall, and Vicki cooks to a frazzle, and Adam bleeds to death, and Barnabas becomes a vampire again, and Carolyn calls the police, and the police call the national guard, and the national guard surrounds the Old House with tanks and machine gun emplacements, and they order the entire cast and production team to stop making this insane mess of a television show.

And then, through the mist of the dry ice machine, we see a shower of sparks, and there’s Julia, rising through the sky in her secret personal gyrocopter that she kept folded up in her medical bag for just such an emergency, and as she rises, she scatters a fistful of sedatives into the open mouths of the stunned authorities, and everybody slumps into a peaceful doze as she steers her copter towards the setting sun, and she makes a break for it, grinning and waving cheerfully at the carnage she’s left behind, and at last, at long last, Julia Hoffman is finally free.

Monday: The Missing Link.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

In act 1, when Barnabas and Julia open the iron door to go down into the basement, there’s a quick glimpse of one of the studio lights overhead.

Carolyn clearly hands Vicki one sleeping pill, but says, “Here, take these.” At the end of their scene, Vicki says, “I think those pills are beginning to work.”

In act 3, Barnabas and Julia are standing at the locked basement door, peering through the grill and calling to Adam. They’re clearly not sure whether the camera is on them or not, and Julia looks surprised when Barnabas says a line. After a moment, he decides they’re not on camera anymore, and he does a quick nose-cleaning.

As the end credits begin, Jonathan Frid walks past the Old House drawing room set. We can see his shadow pass by on the right side, then his arm, and finally a glimpse of his face as he realizes what’s happening and ducks out of the shot.

Monday: The Missing Link.

635 dark shadows barnabas julia adam gun

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

38 thoughts on “Episode 635: One Damned Thing After Another

  1. “Nicholas Blair is dead!”

    “He’s gone?”

    “Where the goblins go….”



  2. “Oh, good grief! They caught me picking my nose on camera and it’s going to go on the air. I can’t believe I’m on this crazy TV show.”

    “Don’t worry, Mr. Frid, it’ll only air once and no one will remember.”

    “Thank God.”

    “Yeah, it’s not like the series will have a — no pun intended — ‘eternal life’ in syndication, and later be released in full on a revolutionary format that will allow fans of all ages — some not even born yet! — to watch every episode and document every flub from the comfort of their own home. And what are the possibilities of someone writing about this particular episode on an invention called the ‘Internet’ and posting a ‘screen cap’ of you going for the gold? So, really, just calm down and we’ll see you tomorrow morning. We might have a script by then.”

  3. The vision of Julia escaping in her own personal Gyrocopter is one the single most hilarious things I’ve ever read. Thank you!

    1. She flew to off Italy, where she starred with Clint Eastwood, in “A Fistful Of Sedatives”, “For A Few Sedatives More” and finally “The Good, The Bad, And The Sedated”.

      1. Then she teamed with Terrence Hill for “They Call Me Sedated.”

        If any single character would and could purposely escape from the show, and succeed, it would be Julia.

        I still wonder about that wig on Eve’s remains. Were they worried the audience wouldn’t realize whose skeleton it was without it, or did the set dressing and prop people just feel it was necessary to gender the skeletons? (Or Eve had incredibly durable hair, symbolic of the follicle full frolics to come.)

        1. If only they had had a Phyllis Diller fright wig or something where the hair stood straight up, on Eve. I also wish that when Adam is doing the “experiment” on Vicky, towards the end, Eve’s bones should have sat upright and shrieked, with arms flailing about, before exploding.

          1. It’s always the same skeleton and they don’t want you to notice the scotch tape holding on the skull cap!

  4. When this originally aired, I loved the ending (Adam reaching for the switch as the music thunders, “DUNT-DUNT-DAHHHHH!!:!) because it was so Dark Shadows, i.e. so ludicrously contrived. Had I never seen DS in reruns, I would have sworn it was Alexandra Moltke on the table, not BD. Just as my memory tells me David Selby appeared in the final episode.

  5. Ah, memory. Since I initially watched the DS from age 5 through 8 (from 1968 to the end in 1971), my memories of it are, not suprisingly, a bit of a jumble. I remember writing down in a journal sometime during the late 1970s (before syndication hit) an entire list of disconnected moments that remained vivid in my mind. I should dig out that journal to see how accurate some of those memories were. (I know one of them was the zapping of the body of Eve into a wigged skeleton. Yee-hah!)

    1. Oh, I would love to see that if you still have it. It would be really interesting to see what stuck with you as a kid.

      I’ve still got the notebooks that I kept whiile I was in high school and watching reruns, going from late 1897 until mid 70PT, and “young Danny” may make an appearance here and there if I wrote anything especially silly at the time.

      1. Well, two moments I’m postive are on the list:
        1) Barnabas walling Trask up alive. I remember I watched this episode over a friend’s house. His mother wandered over, saw what we had chosen as our TV viewing entertainment, and… I was really afraid she was going to turn the set off right then and there, but fortunately she just shook her head and kept walking. So everytime you make a comment in your blog post about something totally inappropriate slipping out on the daytime airwaves, I just have to smile. 🙂
        2) David rigging some wire at the top of the stairs to trip his dad. Hmmm… now why did that stick in my young self’s mind?

        1. Yes – young pre-Barnabas David was pretty scary when he tampered with the brakes on his father’s car (both Roger and David committed crimes which they attempted to pin on Burke Devlin). Danny did you ever hear of another incident in which Jonathan Frid paid money from his own pocket to re-shoot a scene in which he did something potentially embarrassing – must have been pretty bad to trump his nasal session.

      2. This is something I’m sure we’d all like to encourage. We want to know what “young Danny” had to say.

        I was only 10 when Angelique first appeared, but I remember that she was really scary. I always thought Lara Parker’s real gift was that she actually made me believe she could cast spells. I knew TV was fake, but still….
        I was too young to understand “loving the villain” and yet, she was always the one person I most wanted to see, despite how scary she was.

  6. Lara Parker ALWAYS played EVIL so delightfully carefree, what a smile she has!!! In retrospect I’d liked for that aspect to have been been utilized to better advantage (CHESHIRE CAT like dissolves on just her smile @ key plot points just before cmm. break) come to mind. L.P. did project believeability into her characterizations…Definitily EMMY material. P.S. In 1930 it was imagined by the 1960s that an AUTOGIRO (see W.C. Fields’ conveyance in ‘INTERNATIONAL HOUSE’-Paramount c.1932) would replace the family car. PARALLEL TIME anyone?

  7. Now I feel like I have to re-watch this episode, out of sequence. (Instead I just checked my database.) I always assumed Barnabas knew about another entrance to the basement. He didn’t know about the secret exit from the cell, but it’s unlikely the house wouldn’t have had two entrances to the basement, given what we’ve been told about it.

    Of course, the narrative demanded it, so it happened, whether it would make sense or not. I recall having quite the difficult time designing a working model of The Old House for my Sims 2 Collins family.

  8. Another blooper–When Barnabas and Julia come down to the basement after mysteriously figuring out how to open the door that they had just said was hopelessly locked, Julia is wearing a trenchcoat, which she was not wearing earlier when they were upstairs.

  9. Barnabas did know about the secret panel in the cell. Recently we saw Barnabas use it to answer Angelique’s call, after he clocked Willie with a bottle. So Barnabas grabbed a gun and Julia grabbed her coat before they headed to the cliff-bottom hidden entrance to the basement cell.

  10. At least they’re letting Robert Rodan go out with a bang. This is the best performance he’s turned in during his entire run.

    About halfway through the lab scene, when poor Betsy was moaning and groaning on the table, I imagined her thinking “Ya know, that bit part in Cactus Flower wasn’t such a bad deal after all.”

    Frid with his finger up his nose is just…too perfect. We’ve had Fridspeak, now we’ve got Fridpick.

  11. I figured Julia’s gyrocopter would be equipped with her hypnotising medallion to control those around her, should she ever run out of doctor’s little helpers. Also, Barnabas really is the boogie man!

  12. I bet if they could’ve reanimated Eve’s skeleton the first thing she would’ve said is, “Does this wig make me look fat?!”

  13. Barnabas picking his nose must be the greatest moment on DS thus far! But this was one of the worst episodes! I couldn’t believe how much violence Adam was imposing on all the women in his life! It makes me wonder why they think women in the audience would’ve wanted to see that. Or men for that matter. But as I wasn’t born until 8 years later, I don’t know from 1968.

    Adam’s scars look especially infected today. And when he was having the thoughts of all the women yelling at him grabbing at his head, it would’ve been hilarious had his head fallen off LOL

  14. I assumed Julia’s suggestion of a sedative was foreshadowing (also Nicholas’s heart slowing of Adam in the previous episode). When Adam was going crazy in the basement she could have given the sedative to Barnabas which in turn would sedate Adam.

  15. Absolutely love these episode descriptions. Cracks me up every time. Rarely a week goes by that I’m not watching or reading about DS TOS.

  16. Of all the DS episodes that could be said to be a hot mess, and there have been plenty, this has got to have been one of the hottest.

    I do have to give props to Betsy D. for sustaining her screaming in the lab for as long as she did. That had to have been as tiring for her as it was for me.

    Dear Lord, I’m so sick of Adam. He can’t be sent into Prof. Stokes’s room of no return soon enough.

  17. Full marks to Robert Rodan on this one — he’s completely going for it. This is not a guy who’s just seeing out the last bit of his contract, he’s going to go out ACTING, and revelling in getting to play a complete straight-out psychotic collapse. I always admire it when the cast go for the “lunatic ambition” end of the spectrum…

  18. I don’t know which was more disturbing: Barnabas’ grin at witnessing Nicholas’ final destination in the previous episode, or seeing him dig for a snot rocket in this one.

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