“What do you think I am, Mr. Collins, some sort of travel agent for time?”
“I will find the secret to time,” Barnabas says, because that’s a thing you say.
Girl governess Victoria Winters has gotten herself into another scrape. Her new husband turned out to be the lawyer from her witchcraft trial in the late 18th century, because that is a thing that happens. On their wedding night, he disappeared into the time vortex, and she followed, traveling back to the night she was hanged as a witch, because that is a thing you do.
So guess what, she’s getting hanged again, and everyone’s terribly worried about it, except it happened 170 years ago, so it’s kind of a done deal. But try telling Barnabas that.
“When it happened the first time,” he says, “there was nothing I could do to save her, but now I will!” Julia asks how, and Barnabas says, “By going back — by reliving those days when I first lived!”
So we’re already off to a roaring start on this episode, which is at least ninety percent people saying ridiculous things about time.
For example: “I will banish all those years between then and now! And I will be with Vicki, at her side, tonight.” And that is exactly what he does.
You see, because of his own unique nature, the barrier of time and space is no wall to Barnabas Collins. Or, at least, that’s what he seems to believe.
Julia cries, “You can’t simply will yourself back into the past!” She’s trying to talk sense to him. This never works. Barnabas just says, “How do you know that?” and then you’re left standing there, looking foolish. Nobody said this was going to be on the test.
But this is Julia, who has an answer for everything. “Because we’re part of the time we live,” she insists. “It’s the only time that exists for us!”
And then Barnabas starts meanwhiling.
“Part of my life is being repeated right now, this minute,” he says. “This house stands in another century, as well as in this one.”
Julia has no response to this. There’s nothing you can say to somebody who’s meanwhiling.
“My father walks into this room, calling for my servant Ben… I can almost see them, hear them… Over and over again, they play out their lives. Only I escaped, and I can thank Angelique for that.”
Julia sighs. If his crackpot theory is correct, then that means they’ll be having this conversation over and over, preserved and repeated for all time, like it’s a scene on a DVD, or available on YouTube for $1.99. And what are the odds of that?
“Barnabas,” she says, “what good will it do to go back there? You can’t change history.”
He says, “Why not?” and I suppose the guy has a point. Why not, indeed?
So they do what pretty much everybody did in 1969 when they had a really difficult problem on their hands, namely go over to a friend’s house and ask him for some magic leaves.
Of course, you can’t just go, ask for the stuff and then leave. There’s always got to be some introductory palaver.
“I don’t like it,” Professor Stokes says. “It’s too straightforward, somehow. Ghosts are seldom so precise.”
Barnabas exclaims, “Professor, Vicki is not a ghost! She left this century alive!” And if you can find any sense in that particular statement, you’re welcome to it.
Stokes ends up shouting, “What do you think I am, Mr. Collins, some sort of travel agent for time?” It’s a pretty tense scene, because at any moment, one of these people might suddenly remember that they’re a grown-up.
Barnabas points out that Professor Stokes gave herbs to Jeff Clark, which got him in touch with his past self.
Professor Stokes says, “Mr. Collins, naturally I’ve devoted a great deal of thought to that rather amazing evening,” and then get a load of this.
“Now, I’m convinced that there actually is a Jeff Clark, roaming about this planet at this very moment. His body was possessed by the spirit of Peter Bradford. When that spirit returned to his own time, he returned the borrowed body to wherever he took possession of it. I know it’s a rather complex explanation, but I’m sure it’s the true one.”
And that’s the guy who isn’t trying to score herbs tonight.
And the great thing about that moment is that they just came up with an entirely new time travel concept to add to the pile, and they don’t even need it right now.
When Vicki traveled back to 1795, she displaced Phyllis Wick, who came and sat in Vicki’s seat while she was away. When Angelique used a spell to send Eve back for a brief visit, Eve’s body disappeared from the room, and reappeared when she was done.
Now Stokes is postulating another method — grabbing a dude off the street, and walking around in his body for a while — and I can’t recall anybody even asking. At this point, they’re just making up loopy time travel theories to fill up a spare minute of screen time.
Finally, Stokes reminds Barnabas that it was Vicki’s choice to go and do whatever it was it turns out she went and did.
“She is a romantic,” Barnabas sighs. “She thought everything would change, but she — she never planned on being trapped in her own history. I know her well enough to know that.” And I guess we’re just going to have to take his word for it.
Monday: Greatest Hits.
Today’s illustrations came from the following stories:
- “Return for Revenge” from Dark Shadows #3 (Nov 1969)
- “Superman’s Greatest Feats!” from Superman #146 (July 1961)
- “No Witnesses in Outer Space!” from Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane #81 (Feb 1968).
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
In the teaser, Barnabas trips over the word “Carolyn”, and makes kind of a meal of it.
At the end of Barnabas and Julia’s scene in act 1, there’s a door opening and closing sound effect, and then a clatter from the studio. A few seconds later, there’s also a loud squeak. There’s also a clatter when David and Amy discover Peter’s grave.
Celebrating the cancellation of their Boston trip, Amy says, “Barnabas said he would never take us away.” She means, “Quentin said Barnabas would never take us away.” David is so confused that he stumbles over his next lines.
Barnabas tells Julia, “Professor Stokes sent, and helped Peter Bradford back to the past.”
Back in April 1968, Vicki found Peter Bradford’s tombstone, and it had the wrong date on it. It said he died on April 3, 1795, when it should have been 1796. This time, they’ve corrected the error by drawing a “6” on the gravestone with a black magic marker.
Barnabas urges Stokes, “Professor, you must help me get her — get me back to her tonight.”
There’s a lot of coughing in the studio. There’s one cough after an act break, just as the shot of the empty grave appears, and then there’s several brief coughing fits when Barnabas and Stokes argue about the herb. Then, when Barnabas says that he’s from another century, Julia pretends to cough in order to distract Stokes’ attention. It sounds like there’s a real epidemic going on at ABC Studio 16 today.
Amy asks, “What are you going to do, Barnabas?” He responds, “I’m not sure. But I know one thing I’m going to do. And one thing you’re going to do — you’re going to go find Mrs. Johnson, and wash your hands, and have your dinner.”
Barnabas insists that Vicki is being hung “tonight”. She was actually hanged at dawn.
Why would they carve a tombstone that says “Victoria Winters, hanged as a witch in 1796” and then bury her in the cemetery next to her lover, who was hanged for murder? In the Salem witch trials, the accused witches were buried in shallow graves near the gallows, because they were considered unfit for Christian burial.
Monday: Greatest Hits.
— Danny Horn