Episode 694: The Surrender

“If I were a ghost, as I assume someday I shall be, I would not let mere words drive me away from my home.”

This morning, occult expert and exorcism consultant Professor Eliot Stokes woke up to the sound of a crow perched on his windowsill, muttering Russian slang words with the voice of a human child. Touching each of the eight protection stones that surround his bed, Stokes got up and went about his usual routine: selecting an amulet, sweeping away the animal bones that appear each night in his fireplace, and reading the news in the swirls of cream in his coffee.

The omens weren’t particularly favorable, although he made a mental note to brush up on his Russian. Apparently, by evenfall, he would do battle with a powerful energy source for the soul of a young person whose name begins with the letter D. The encounter would end in defeat, fire, and the irreparable loss of innocence.

Still, you never know, he mused, adjusting his necktie. You might get lucky.

693 dark shadows curtains burning

So here we are, post-exorcism, and it appears that angry ancestor Quentin Collins did not, in fact, depart in haste the confines of this house, as per request. What he did was lurk in a mirror for a while, and then set fire to the curtains. This is how Quentin expresses himself, through the language of property damage.

694 dark shadows stokes breaks mirror

Stokes grabs a nearby candlestick and smashes the mirror, which is the only sensible thing to do. That means another seven years of bad luck, but who would even notice in the Collins family. Just tack it onto the end of their tab.

694 dark shadows stokes roger scully

And then here comes Roger, a Scully in search of a Mulder, and he asks just what in the name of heaven has been going on here.

Stokes:  I just received an answer to an ultimatum I issued. Though, why should I be surprised? If I were a ghost —

Roger:  There are no ghosts in this house!

Stokes:  If I were a ghost, as I assume someday I shall be, I would not let mere words drive me away from my home. Even the words of the exorcism.

Roger:  I agreed to that because I hoped it would stop my sister’s concern. And I hope you will now stop this aimless eccentricity. Tell her that the ghost has gone!

But Roger has to know that’s not going to work. Telling Stokes to stop being aimlessly eccentric is like telling Miley Cyrus to stop sticking her tongue out. It just won’t happen, no matter how often you try.

694 dark shadows roger liz scully

Now, Roger is not actually a born skeptic. In the past, he’s found the idea of ghosts amusing, and he set up the seance that sent Vicki into the past. But the way that he’s barking at everyone today makes him sound more like Joshua, from the 18th century. Louis Edmonds is playing the wrong character.

But they’re enacting a specific ritual in today’s episode, and it requires the sacrifice of a skeptic. Today is the day that the Collins family abandons Collinwood, the most significant event we’ve ever seen on the show. They can’t go down without a fight.

694 dark shadows quentin david ghost

When the show began, the audience may have believed that Dark Shadows was the story of the Collins family, their friends, their servants and their secrets. But then the show traveled back in time for four months, keeping all of the current Collins family members frozen between two ticks of the clock. Everyone in the cast had a different name, and a whole new character to play. The only thing that stayed constant was the house.

And over the last few months, we’ve seen Collinwood exerting a magnetic pull on every character on the show. All the characters who lived off-property either died or went to a mental institution, with Maggie, Chris and Amy as the refugees who made it safely onto the estate before the drawbridge closed.

Elizabeth died, and then came back from the dead and showed up at the front door. Vicki died, and she signaled for help by appearing in a photograph taken of the front door. Jeff returned to the 18th century, and just last week, his new incarnation showed up again at the Collinwood front door.

Collinwood is a refuge, the only safe place in a world that has literally included an emissary of Satan building an army of the living dead, just down the street. The night has grown darker, and this house is the only source of light. It’s also the only permanent standing set, so if we don’t use it, then it’s kind of a waste of studio space.

694 dark shadows quentin roger broken

And now, the house is broken. David and Amy broke the seal on another mystery box hidden in the west wing, and let another dangerous creature loose to grab hold of the show, and shake everyone else off the screen.

Quentin appears anywhere he likes now — in the drawing room, outside the Old House, right in front of Roger, or anybody. You can’t hit him, and you can’t shoot at him. You can’t negotiate with him, or scare him, or bully him. He can strangle you with a curtain sash, or give you a heart attack, or send you tumbling down the stairs. The only thing you can do is die, or run away.

694 dark shadows roger we'll be back

So that’s what they do. They pack up some suitcases, and they turn out the lights. And for the first time since the late 18th century, the Collins family leaves Collinwood.

This is the house where Victoria Winters once lived. This is the house where the scary intruders were Burke Devlin and Jason McGuire. This is the house that Art Wallace built, where Ron Sproat and Malcolm Marmorstein spent their afternoons moving the Collins family around in lazy circles. They’re all gone now. Something new has taken over.

Collinwood belongs to the ghosts and the monsters now, to the mad, the cruel, and the aimlessly eccentric. Now it belongs to Sam and Gordon and Violet. Let’s see what they can do with the place.

Tomorrow: Exile.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

When David dashes from the drawing room through the foyer and out the door, the boom mic can be seen hanging above the foyer.

Barnabas, confused about who he’s addressing, says, “Now, Roger… now, David, tell him.” Roger replies, “He’s frightened! And you have made him responsible, you and the Professor.”

Tomorrow: Exile.

694 dark shadows quentin owner

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

31 thoughts on “Episode 694: The Surrender

  1. Quentin appearing to Roger in the drawing room. That is a genuinely spine-tingling moment. More so than when he appeared to Mrs. Johnson in the cottage. Even more so than when Maggie saw him in the west wing or in the study. Because Mrs. Johnson is nervous and edgy by nature anyway, and Maggie as we know has that post-hypnotic stress disorder from not being able to recall a significant chunk of the summer of sixty-seven. That shuddering moment when the camera whips to the left to reveal Quentin standing there proud and terrifying and Roger shocked in his tracks is because Roger represents the skeptic in the audience–the sane, rational, disbelieving holdout who in that one instant has just had all his sanity, rationalism, and disbelief destroyed in less than a double-take.

    So we are truly with Quentin now, we are willing to be scared. We no longer have a choice.

  2. Honestly, THE most oh my god episode in the series. Really the final scene with Roger and the empty house is….. somebody give me the word I’m looking for!!!!

    1. The final scene is one of my favorites, and when you watch it, it’s hard to imagine that Quentin, in just a few months, becomes a dashing leading man rather than an outright sinister villain or that his eerie theme music would be considered “romantic.”

  3. Roger does seem more like Joshua in this episode — but superficially. Joshua was proud and haughty but he was ultimately sensible. The key to Roger, I think, is that he’s the antagonist or the “spoiler.” He is vital to providing life to scene by ensuring that everyone isn’t just standing around agreeing with each other or providing recaps. (His absence during the Gerard/Daphne haunting in 1970 is keenly felt.)

    A good example is the costume party seance at the Old House in 1967. Without Roger, it couldn’t have taken place. Burke by that point was too stiff and dull to support it, and while Carolyn might lightly suggest it, she didn’t have the force of will to push forward against Barnabas’s clear objections. Later, with the seance that sends Vicki back in time, Elizabeth is the one who wants it to occur, so Roger can then fill the role of “spoiler” (mocking the whole thing).

  4. Roger the Goldfish. I’ll accept his sudden scepticism because it leads to the great reveal scene, and his threat as they abandon the house. I wonder what was going through the minds of the young viewers in 1969.

    1. I don’t think Roger and Liz are goldfish in the way that so many characters were in earlier episodes. They’re people in deep denial about the nature of the world in which they find themselves. That’s what makes their scenes powerful in the two or three weeks leading up to this installment. They refuse to believe in ghosts, and so they think they are protecting the children from Maggie, Mrs Johnson, Julia, and Barnabas when those characters talk about what’s going on. In fact, they are enabling Quentin’s abuse of the children. When Liz and Roger break down and face facts, they relieve us from involvement in that terrible situation. They also stun us, especially if we’ve been watching from Episode 1, because we’ve seen the immense price each of them has paid to avoid dealing with unhappy realities.

  5. Personally, I love Stokes’ casual mention that he fully expects to be a ghost some day. That’s not just an awareness of mortality.

    That’s our Professor all over. He knows that the dead that need to rest and be watched over by a frightened caretaker are the dull ones, those who have no ambition. For those with powerful wills and personalities (and really, it’s practically the only explanation for Angelique’s return as a ghost), death is no more than a brief inconvenience which you just brush off. I also like the sudden “Oh, of course, no wonder it didn’t work” reaction, and as Danny has pointed out, he just plans to keep on trying.

  6. Roger being confronted by Quentin’s ghost is just as satisfying as Julia taking Vicky to see Barnabas in his coffin. My only regret is that Vicky will “never remember” it.

  7. By far one of the most haunting and unsettling endings of a DS episode ever filmed: Quentin’s total conquest of Collinwood. This is one of the most complete victories a villain has had on the show so far. The closest we had come so far was Angelique’s curse of “everyone who loves Barnabas will die,” but Joshua’s escape prevented that. The show will never reach this level of depressing and bleak again until the flash-forward to the post-apocalyptic world of 1995.

    1. Joshua escaped, as Barnabas intimated, because he was incapable of the kind of passionate love that Angelique was capable of recognizing as love. For example, Naomi’s parental love was passionate and she paid for it, while Joshua’s was cool – not to say cold. Interesting idea, that the effects of a curse are limited by the imaginative limitations of the person who fashions the curse.

  8. Episode 694. I think this will go down as my favorite episode. Love the last scene with Liz/Roger and the camera panning all the empty rooms of the mansion.

    The werewolf/Quentin story has been all I had hoped it would be. I know there are lots of good moments coming up in the first half of 1897, but I’ve really enjoyed the ride the past few months. I’m sorry this phase of the show is coming to an end.

    1. I enjoyed these episodes leading up to this. I thought it was cool how they brought Quentin in. Roger is just funny to me. Louis Edmonds was the best!

  9. I agree that this is truly one of the great DS episodes. However, it’s too bad that the limitation on the number of actors per episode was still in play for this one. We don’t see Maggie and Amy leave the house. There is no mention of Mrs. Johnson, Carolyn, or Julia. Wouldn’t it have been even more effective to see ALL of the residents abandon the house en masse?

  10. One thing I noticed when watching the end of this episode. The final montage of Collinwood rooms while Quentin’s theme plays, it reminds me of the ending of John Carpenter’s Halloween. Michael Myers’ theme is playing while you see different locations from the movie. I wonder if John Carpenter took inspiration from this?

  11. About boom mics (“Mic Shadows”): In the world’s puppet theater – I think particularly of Japanese puppet theater – it is often the case that the audience can see the see puppeteer plainly manipulating the puppets in the clear. Yet we overlook this, and just focus our attention on the puppets. I find myself skipping over notes about visible mics. I don’t notice them half the time – maybe more than half the time. My disbelief is suspended while I am watching the show. Not to say I don’t notice other glitches, but this one, not so much.

    Flubbed lines are something I notice, and we do expect characters in plays to speak more coherently than people do in real life. (For one thing, if characters spoke the way real people do, we would not understand them an awful lot of the time.) Still, I like the verisimilitude of calling someone by the wrong name, especially if the actor immediately corrects him or herself. My older brother’s name was Brian, and I vividly remember my father calling to me “Bri-Miles!” I am apt to cut the actors some slack for similar mistakes.

    Professor Stokes is the closest thing to a moral center on “Dark Shadows.” I know that is a scary thought. I mean, Victoria was a goody-two-shoes and all, and Elizabeth is a reliably moral person and Mrs. Johnson thinks she is, but it is one thing to be “good” while walking through the world wearing blinders (that’s “blinkers” to any Brits who read this blog), and quite another to be as worldly as Professor Stokes is and still follow a moral code to any extent.

    Stokes has the morality of Sam Spade. It is a nice comparison because Spade says at the end of “The Maltese Falcon” that he cultivates the image of being more corrupt than he is. You can only cultivate that image by being a little bit shady. (Calling up your own personal mob doctor who will treat a gunshot wound and not report it.) But when it comes to bright lines between good and evil, Stokes always sees them and stays on the right side. He is my hero on the show. (It helps that he is also a disrupter, calling people on their BS and generally stirring up crap – yes, often not fixing things as he means to do, but poking a hornets nest instead. That is just fun for us and does not change the ultimately benevolent character of his intentions.

  12. This is also one of my favorite episodes. I loved this entire story line, with the minor exception of the skepticism of Elizabeth and then Roger, who seem to have forgotten the past couple of years entirely.

    The child actors did a fine job of becoming creepy and frightening at Quentin’s whim. And David Selby as Quentin, without uttering a single word, was sinister and powerful in a way that no mere ghost could be. Does it sound like I’m gushing? I am. I’m a sucker for a good ghost story. As has been mentioned in this blog before, this was daytime television! A cruel spirit who burns the arm of a child when he dares attempt to resist, who forces the children to help murder their own families after promising they were safe, who shows no remnants of humanity was what my older siblings watched after school.

    The end of this episode is worthy of the best of ghost movies. The haunting music, known to be of Quentin Collins, filling the empty rooms abandoned by the living, the slow panning of room after room now belonging to the dead… it was wonderful.

  13. Hello, Danny from five years ago. I’ve been following your blog for some time now, and this is currently the point in the series where I’m at, so, I figured now is as good a time as any to send you my thanks. I first discovered this strange, bizarre show in my teens, when it was being re-run on some forgettable cable channel when they must not have had anything better to fill the slot. I remember the utter confusion of watching that first episode with my older brother in the room with me. It seemed like some sort of period soap opera… but why were there so many candles and cobwebs? And why were the candles BLUE? And then suddenly–a secret passage! Then a blond woman with strange eyes bewitching a man against his will. There was a house by the sea where monsters lived and a devil dwelled. A floating hand which nothing could contain. And rising from his coffin each night… the vampire who struggled eternally against his dark nature.

    I don’t think that episode exists as I remember it now. It’s obviously the result of a marathon we sat down to, combined by fallacy of human memory into “one” episode. But the feeling of that afternoon endures. My brother and I were captivated from the start. Not so much by the show’s production values, but by our struggle to understand it. Who were these characters? Why were they doing… anything? Which one was a vampire, which was a werewolf, why were there ghosts, WHO put him under a gypsy curse?

    Years later I discovered the show again, this time being re-run by Sci-Fi Channel over the summer. They’d do four episodes every morning, and I’d sit there in front of the TV, watching these black and white spectres opening and shutting the doors to the drawing room endlessly. It’s a miracle I made it as far as I did. They ran the show from the very beginning, you see… from episode 1. But I sat with the show anyway. “It’ll get better,” I kept saying. “Once it’s in color. And there’ll be a vampire!” My family nodded in that way they always did when I got a new, strange fixation, and they let me indulge myself. They were good like that. But that vampire never did show up. I sat through Bill Malloy’s death, and the phoenix showing up, and it must’ve been right before the arrival of WIlly Loomis that… summer was over, and my mornings were spent sitting in class the next nine months. I forgot about the show again.

    But Dark Shadows never really leaves you, does it? It exists on the edges of things, calmly waiting for you to find it again. It knows it’s only a matter of time. The truly weird always stumble back. Anyway, I’m 35 now. I moved back home recently, and am living with my brother. And wouldn’t you know it, one day I was flipping through Hulu, and there it was… the show. Only this time it STARTED with the vampire! I told my brother we had a new project. And you probably know the rest. By turns enthralled and perplexed, I went online to find out if a community for this fever dream production still existed. Were other people seeing the same thing I was? I couldn’t be the only one hallucinating it, could I? Of course not. I found this blog, for one, and I’ve been laughing ever since. Thank you for livening up the days and nights of my tomorrows with your terrific sense of humor and unique point of view. Not only have I learned a lot, but you’ve enriched my viewing of this strange show beyond measure. I’d like to echo what I’ve noticed a lot of past commentors have said, which is that you somehow put this blog into a physical book someday or otherwise do SOME sort of physical release for your writing. I’d say the Dark Shadows fandom deserves it!

    Also, who do we get in touch with to connect you to the new CW show? 😛

  14. I found my enjoyment of this episode’s excellent cliffhanger slightly impeded by the lighting, because my nit-picking brain is a monster that doesn’t want me to have nice things.

    Liz turns off the lights in the drawing room, and she and Roger are practically shadows as they take a last look around; it’s spooky as hell and also a little sad. But by the time the camera is panning through the empty rooms, it’s fully lit again, with the occasional lightning flash having minimal effect.

    Also – and this has also bugged me so much during those long endless nights that have lasted for weeks on end recently – they just leave the fire going? It’s like they secretly want the place to burn to the ground.

    1. Well, in their defense you can’t just extinguish a wood fire in a fireplace. Throwing water on it will cause a lot of smoke and could also crack the masonry. A fire extinguisher could be used in an emergency, but in the absence of such it’s best to just let the fire die out on its own. They could have helped this process along though by spreading the remaining wood out and covering it with ashes, but I can’t imagine any resident of Collinwood doing this sort of thing themselves, and Mrs. Johnson obviously had no intention of sticking around that long.

  15. Holy mucky high!! Quentin appearing to Roger truly gave me chills!! He was much closer to him in proximity than I thought he’d be (having read through the post and responses). Roger telling Liz and Stokes that he saw the ghost was some truly great acting.

    The leaving of Collinwood was very sad. I almost would’ve thought this was the last episode…so glad it wasn’t.

    Like so many before me, this is probably my favorite episode so far.

    One of my most favorite Bewitched episodes, #161: “Marriage, Witches’ Style” aired this same evening. Cassandra aka Serena decides to try out a mortal dating service and ends up with a warlock who had the same idea. It’s so funny and it shows what a great actress Elizabeth Montgomery was as she pretty much carried the whole episode as two different characters.

  16. The last segment, showing the empty, quiet, and dark rooms of the mansion, was powerfully done. It gave you a genuine feeling of loss and loss of control for the Collins family. It echoed the Collin’s family’s many losses through different eras.

    The slow growth of Quentin’s silent appearances has gotten genuinely creepier and creepier. I’m not a fan of his laughter, as it breaks the menace of his mannequin-like silence. I prefer the slight smirk and raised eyebrow. Add to that the bi-polar possession of the kids and that’s been a disturbing part of this story line. Generally, I think the two kids have done a bang up job in their parts. David breaking into maniacal laughter was far better than Quentin’s. He’s a child! Very unsettling. Rarely has this show actually given me a scared/creepy feeling, but this plot has done that.

    Altogether, well-done so far in this story cycle. Tying Chris Jennings into the whole mess will be interesting to see how that shakes out. As a kid, I honestly don’t remember Quentin being such a foreboding character. Maybe I recall wrong or he changes when they do the time warp. Memories of an originally young 10-12 year old viewer, don’t always snap back in my 60’s mind.

    Once again, complete props to Thayer David. He plays each role to a T and his two roles are so different. He’s been a pleasure to watch. Absolute chameleon.

    One out of place comment, because I don’t feel like digging back to when Elizabeth “woke up” from the dead. That was so bizarre. After she came back, they never discussed it and things went on like it never happened. I know it was a B-plot, but come on.

  17. “Tomorrow we’ll make an expedition to pick up your things.” I have a picture of everyone strung out along the stairs holding on to a rope as Stokes leads the way, carrying an empty suitcase.
    That is a memorable ending. They give you a second to wonder if Quentin has killed Roger before showing that he’s recovering from the shock. I love his defiant, “We’ll be back!” But I love Quentin laughing on the landing as the music plays even more. One of DS’s best episodes.

  18. They’re going to stay at the old house? Barnabas has no electricity. Hopefully the generator for the experiments can hold a heavy load.

  19. I’ve been marathon watching this series on DVD the past year and a half. This is by far one of the BEST episodes. The scene where Roger—after all his skepticism and denial–sees Quentin. The people fleeing the house. Roger shouting a defiant “We’ll be back!” just as he closes the door. And especially the eerie music playing. As the camera pans and travels all through the empty rooms. Unforgettable!!

  20. This is one of the cases where Dark Shadows manages not just to be a filmed stage play but startlingly strong TV.

    One of my favourite little production touches: for the first time we hear Quentin’s theme without the gramophone effect. It’s still wobbly and strange, but it’s become solid. Like Nicholas Blair in the early days, he’s taken control of the conventions of TV, and has reached out to control the incidental music…

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