Episode 695: Exile

“Collinwood belongs to the ghosts now.”

For the first time in two centuries, the Collins family has left Collinwood. Well, the living ones have, anyway. The dead members of the family — the silent majority — are in the same place they’ve always been, and the fact that you don’t even think of them as part of the family is kind of the problem.

But the living Collinses are now living elsewhere, taking up residence in the other enormous mansion on their property. They’re trying to keep their kids out of the clutches of their avenging ancestors, with limited success.

The morning after the great exodus, Chris stops by, and tells Barnabas and Maggie that he saw someone standing at the edge of the woods, staring at the Old House — someone wearing old-fashioned clothes.

Maggie gasps, “Quentin?”

Puzzled, Barnabas asks, “What did you say?”

“Quentin,” she repeats. He frowns, and says, “Where did you hear that name before?”

So these people have been under siege for several months, held two seances, lost a silversmith and a perfectly good medium, staged an exorcism and then scurried off to find other accommodations, and most of them don’t even know that the specter responsible is named Quentin.

Seriously, the living are ridiculous. Can you believe these clowns?

694 dark shadows roger we'll be back

But that demonstrates the level of defeat that we’re talking about here; they were driven from their home, and they don’t even know what’s going on.

On their way out the door, Roger issued a defiant warning to the new occupants — “We’ll be back! Have no doubt of that!” — which is gorgeous and atmospheric, but a completely empty threat.

They can’t go back until they figure out what happened, and the only thing that Roger knows is that the guy who he saw in the drawing room is a ghost who lives in mirrors, and has control of the lighting and sound effects.

695 dark shadows david maggie barnabas debrief

The kids are the only ones  who know what really happened, and the adults have not done a comprehensive debrief. They can’t even keep their eyes on David, who’s under strict instructions not to go outside, but manages to go outside pretty much any time he wants.

The adults know that David and Amy were possessed, and that their communication with the spirit world involved an antique telephone that they found in the west wing. But when Barnabas hears them talking about “playing the game” — a euphemism invented by their haunted handlers — they just shrug it off, and go to the kitchen for a snack.

695 dark shadows maggie barnabas chris photos

But Barnabas is trying to do a deep dive in the data. Maggie mentions that David said the name “Quentin” when she found him on the floor of his room the other day, and Barnabas brings out an old photo album, which in this family is essentially a book of mugshots.

As Maggie and Chris look through the files, Barnabas reads from a family history: “Quentin Collins, born 1870. Date of death unknown. How odd.” Then Chris points out a picture in the album, and we finally have a positive ID on the suspect.

695 dark shadows quentin mugshot

Barnabas, who has now become the lead investigator, reads, “Quentin, just before he left for Paris.”

Maggie and Chris say that his ghost looks just like this picture, and Barnabas starts speculating. “He must have died just after he got to Europe. But why didn’t they know this? And why is his spirit haunting Collinwood now? And why has he decided to possess the children? Why?”

695 dark shadows amy david door

Yeah, good question. Now I’ve got one for you — why do you take your eyes off of David for more than two seconds? We just saw Maggie send him upstairs to study for a history test, and now, alakazam, he’s standing in front of Collinwood. He is one of the great escape artists of our time.

Amy’s followed him here, and she asks what the hell he thinks he’s up to. “Quentin’s in there; you know that,” she says. “He won’t let you come out! Have you forgotten how mean Quentin really is? Have you forgotten how much you hate him?”

He says, “I’ve just got to, that’s all,” and, ignoring her protests, he swings open the doors.

695 dark shadows david amy collinwood

And there they are, the young set, peering anxiously through the doorway at the place that just yesterday they thought of as their home.

This is one of those moments — the conquest of Collinwood — that everyone who watches Dark Shadows remembers by heart, and this shot is basically why. We don’t see a monster about to pounce, or an evil witch casting a spell. The thing that’s scary is the house itself.

695 dark shadows foyer

The Collinwood foyer is enormous for a television set, especially in the 1960s and even more especially on Dark Shadows, where sometimes “the woods” means two trees, a bush and a brown tarp to stand on. And for the audience, this space is so familiar that it feels like home.

Terrible things happen in the study, of course, or out in the west wing somewhere, but the foyer is supposed to be neutral. The scariest thing here is the portrait of Barnabas, and we’re so used to it that they hardly even point the camera at it anymore.

695 dark shadows amy foyer

Now, it doesn’t feel spacious and comforting. It feels like enemy territory, and all of that open space means that you don’t have any cover.

So Amy inches up the stairs — yes, she goes inside, obviously she goes inside, because the adults are completely irresponsible and they need to put leashes on these kids — and then she walks across the landing, and through the door, and she is never seen again. Collinwood is a house that eats children.

695 dark shadows amy david maggie

Actually, they do make it out alive, this time. Amy comes back downstairs, and Maggie finds them, and they all go back to the Old House, safe and sound.

Except nothing is safe now. Collinwood is under new management. There are no safe places left.

Monday: House Hunters.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Maggie says, “Barnabas, he promised he would go — he wouldn’t go outside.”

When Barnabas shows the photo album to Maggie and Chris, he says, “Now, you people saw him,” realizes that doesn’t sound right, and then stumbles through the rest of his line: “Does he — does he look like anything in here? Now, look through it and see.”

Not a blooper, just something they haven’t figured out yet: Barnabas reads the family history, and finds that Quentin had a younger brother David’s age — Jamison Collins. When we actually see Quentin and Jamison a couple weeks from now, Jamison is Quentin’s nephew, not his brother. Apparently, the 1897 family relationships were still in flux at this point, a week before the time travel.

Monday: House Hunters.

695 dark shadows david telephone

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

24 thoughts on “Episode 695: Exile

  1. “He must have died just after he got to Europe. But why didn’t they know this? And why is his spirit haunting Collinwood now? And why has he decided to possess the children? Why?” Because Lord knows BARNABAS, it’s not like anyone ever had anything supernatural happen to them and it got covered by telling the world that they “went to England” and were never heard from again. Right?

    This seems to be the Collins family way. Something weird happens to a relative, the tell the world they went abroad and then they never mention them again.

  2. It must be the next episode in which Barnabas realises Quentin DIDN’T go to Europe, since he can only talk about that secret with Julia or Willie…?

    I always assumed it was a Frid flub, the Jamison line; but it’s just as probable that they hadn’t figured out the relationships yet (that is, who might be playing whom, and who would need a son, etc.).

    1. Even when 1897 starts, they haven’t decided who Edwards wife will be. The first few weeks, its hinted that Jenny is his wife.

      1. I think that’s more for dramatic licence, and suspense. The family is tight-lipped about their secrets. IMO it’s an intentional misdirect…but could be they didn’t figure it out yet, too. 🙂

    2. I think Elizabeth some episodes back referred to Quentin as her “great uncle.” Jamison was already established as her father, so that would mean Quentin was Jamison’s uncle. I did assume a Frid flub, as well.

      1. Jamison was her father? Don’t remember any mention of Liz and Roger’s parents…..ever. I always thought, how odd, with all these ancestors in story lines……then it occurred to me, who would play those parents?


        Mine is: Thayer and Grayson.

        The only ones with enough range to pull it off.

        But it would be ridiculous if David an Denise played Lizzie and Rodgie.

        1. Who indeed could have played little Rodgie? Or little Liz, she’d be such aserious child. That must be why they never did a flashback to the 1920’s – to hard to cast the kids.

          1. Ah, Charles Delaware Troll’s DARK SHADOWS CONTINUED! I enjoyed that quite a bit and used to look forward to it the way I look forward to DS Every Day entries. Man, was that really almost 15 years ago?

  3. When David initially explores the ‘Old House’ WAY before Barnabas he stares at Josette’s portrait over the mantle and refers to her as ‘Great Grandmother’.. and Josette’s maiden name was Josette LaFrenier (not Dupres) according to Carolyn when she goes through the old family records. And some ‘urban legends’ believed Jamison Collins had an affair with the Collins butler Hanscomb’s wife, resulting in the birth of the elusive Betty Hanscomb, who later gave birth to look-alike daughter Vicki – as the circle goes around again..

  4. I joke that many of the DARK SHADOWS characters in 1967 (especially Barnabas, Julia, and Maggie) could qualify has parallel time versions of themselves when the series returns to the present in 1968. The mention of Betty Hanscomb and the pre-Barnabas episodes reminds me that the same could be said of Roger Collins, who bears little resemblance to the current Roger, aside from the dry wit of Louis Edmonds (a consistent trait in all the characters he plays). The 1966 Roger is also a lot like Quentin, and his antagonistic relationship with Liz is similar to Quentin’s relationship with Judith. The Roger we see defiantly declare to Quentin’s ghost that “we’ll be back” is just a mustache away from Edward Collins (though I think Edmonds does do a good job in highlighting their differences, which arguably is more a matter of power — Edward, even when circumstance are against him, is usually in control).

    We’re just a week away from true soap opera fun — family members squabbling and no more goldfish!

  5. How ironic, that comfortable domestic scene between Barnabas and Maggie in the Old House drawing room, with Maggie seated in Barnabas’ chair with a book and Barnabas at the table pouring over volumes of family history to see what can be done for a family in peril, when just a year and a half ago Barnabas was keeping Maggie prisoner there so that just such a scene could be played out. But now he doesn’t seem to even care and cannot be bothered to remember the significance of what he’d tried to accomplish then, and of course he never really wanted Maggie anyway.

    The show itself seems to have the same selective amnesia that affected Maggie in the summer of sixty-seven.


    1. i thought the same thing…but for me the domestic scene with Maggie curled up in his chair with a book was a glimpse of what their married life would have been like in 1795 as Josette and Barnabas. I kept waiting for B to look fondly in her direction. Did the camera linger on this shot for that reason? To remind us of their connection? Are they going to take us there? I remember Danny writing not long ago that Maggie should have been Vicki. And then on one of the newer posts someone commented that KLS stated in her book that she auditioned for the role of governess but got cast as the waitress. So will they eventually circle back to what should have been in the first place? Josette is born again as Maggie who eventually becomes the governess at Collinwood and is now spending the night at the Old House, back where she belongs and not under duress. They need to bring her portrait out again. But I guess we are way past the 1795 storyline. Oh well.

    2. And don’t forget as well that Barnabas gave no second thought to sacrificing Maggie as the life force for Eve as he adamantly refused to allow Vicky to be the victim.

    3. Prison you are so right. Barnabas never wanted Maggie in a real love sense. He only wanted her to be like the monster he was at that time. He would have continued to bite other women while she sat home in the mausoleum. Julia is the new woman in his life and much more interesting. Moreover, she doesnt take his shit, and he loves that.

  6. “Yeah, good question. Now I’ve got one for you — why do you take your eyes off of David for more than two seconds?”

    Indeed. I’m finding it harder and harder to have any patience for the adults; they keep letting themselves be played by the children.

    And I never thought I’d say this, but I miss Vicki–as a governess, anyway. Maggie in the role is completely useless. Worse, she’s almost an enabler. Consider: She’ll make David promise not to do something, he’ll break the promise, she’ll then ask him again to promise not to do something, he’ll promise, then break the promise, etc., etc. Rinse. Repeat.

    1. Maggie is very disappointing at this time. If I were the governess David and Amy would have had one time to get on my nerves being mouthy and not doing what I told them. A swift smack on the bottom would have yielded more results here. She could at least been more forceful. David and Amy were basically taking care of themselves and they knew how to hood wink Maggie.

  7. I know opinions vary on this, but I really like those kids. Amy is especially good here – when she gently asks Beth for protection, it’s blatantly apparent from Nickerson’s performance she doesn’t get a reply, but she tells David she does, and then carefully creeps up the stairs – bravely taking the lead so poor terrified David doesn’t have to. She’s pretty cool.

    1. In the werewolf/Quentin storyline, Amy and David are two of the show’s very best characters, along with Quentin, Stokes and the wolf. I don’t quite understand why people complain about them. They steal the show.

      1. Agreed. When I started watching this show for the first time (after having already seen the entirety of the 90’s reboot) it was in the midst of the “Turn of the Screw” storyline, which I initially found utterly boring. But the characters of David and Amy and the actors’ performances kept me coming back for more until things really started getting interesting, and that was despite a general aversion on my part to stories centered around children.

  8. First of all, happy Jonathan Frid’s 96th birthday! I’ll always regret not being able to meet him.

    It sure was nerve-wracking Amy going into the house by herself.

    I also noticed Maggie was wearing the same color as the candles. I wonder if that was on purpose? And I thought the blue candles were for when the show was in black and white. They must’ve got them wholesale.

    It does strike me wrong that both Maggie and Barnabas don’t “remember” 1967.

  9. The Old House had been the site of some pretty horrific occurrences, especially in 1795, and yet the Great House feels closer to the Source of Spookiness to me. Maybe it’s the closed-off wings. Maybe it’s that Quentin just permeates the place at this point. I can’t say that I EVER thought of Collinwood as a warm and cozy place, though I agree the foyer was too much of Grand Central Station to be frightening. The building itself seems to be an active participant in the supernatural. There’s a wormhole or a portal to the Afterlife or a sacred burial ground around here somewhere. There has to be.

  10. I’m not sure I see the sense of everybody moving out of the Mansion, since Quentin seems to be able to haunt the Olde House as well.

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