Episode 711: Let’s Twist Again

“We’re all on the same side, aren’t we? My side.”

I address myself and those here with me to the powers of darkness, he said.

I call upon the flame to summon you, he said.

I call upon the raven and the viper and all the dark creatures of nature to draw you like a rising mist from out of the darkness of the earth, he said.

And he said it over an active hellmouth that spews out vengeance-vowing fire demons on the regular. What could possibly go wrong?

711 dark shadows angelique reborn

And so, reborn once more and rising from the flames like a — hang on, sorry, that’s the other one. Well, rising like something that is very, very similar to a phoenix, here comes Angelique, the supervillain soap vixen who we saw burned alive only two months ago, on this very program. She gets knocked down, but she gets up again; they’re never going to keep her down. Ta-DAH!

711 dark shadows quentin evan summoned

She’s been summoned back to ABC Studio 16 by Quentin Collins and his lawyer friend Evan Hanley, who honestly should have known better. They are about to learn several important lessons, all at the same time, mostly in the area of not doing the thing they just tried to do, plus not being a dick about it afterwards.

This all started because Quentin stole his dead grandmother’s will before it was read, and he’s not planning to give it back until it says different things. But he’s getting hassled by this long-lost cousin from England named Barnabas, who just showed up and is apparently in charge of the lighting and the soundtrack. Now it gets dark and Quentin hears kettle-drum heartbeats wherever he goes, and you can just imagine how fast that kind of thing can wear on your nerves.

So Quentin and Evan were talking things over, and Evan’s bright idea was, let’s do an unholy ritual, calling forth — and this is a direct quote — “someone from the flames of the netherworld.”

711 dark shadows quentin evan angelique hello

And here she is! Her name is Angelique, and she’s part of Dark Shadows’ new storyline quality control system. The last year of the show was a bit of a patchwork, so the new plan is just to load up the canvas with interesting items and then see what happens.

Now, this is actually a new version of Angelique that we haven’t seen before — Angelique: The Sequel. Her original character arc began with her introduction in 1795, and the terrible sequence of events that decimated the Collins family. Then her arc continued in 1968 — still loving and hating Barnabas, but doing it in a different century and with a different wig. The second trip back to 1796 was supposed to be the grand finale, bringing her back to her original place of power, and then getting rid of her once and for all. The witch burns, a fitting conclusion, credits roll, the end.

They could have just left her there, and moved on; it would have been a satisfying, complete story. So bringing her back now, at the start of a whole new storyline, means that Angelique is now a constant. She’s the Daleks, basically; we’ll never be rid of her. From now on, every Dark Shadows storyline will have a place for Angelique, one way or another.

711 dark shadows angelique evan lawyer

Evan and Quentin have no idea what this mad creature is, but the kids at home do, so she’s free to act like a special guest star who’s under no obligation to explain herself.

Evan:  Who are you?

Angelique:  I’m obviously the one you sent for. Who are you?

Evan:  I’m Evan Hanley; I am a lawyer.

Angelique:  Hmm.

711 dark shadows quentin angelique lawyer

Clearly unimpressed, she moves on.

Angelique:  And you?

Quentin:  My name is Quentin Collins.

At the sound of the name Collins, Angelique breaks into a grin.

Angelique:  Are you a lawyer too?

Quentin:  No. I’m merely a man of larger expectations than life has hitherto offered me.

Angelique:  I see.

Evan:  Well, I don’t. Now, will you please tell us who —

Angelique:  When I’m ready, Mr. Hanley. (She turns back to Quentin.) Quentin — Collins, you say?

Quentin:  Yes.

Angelique:  And this place?

Quentin:  It’s called Collinwood.

She looks around, wide-eyed.

Angelique:  Yes. Yes, so it is.

711 dark shadows quentin angelique things

As it happens, Angelique isn’t the only femme fatale clambering out of the fireplace today. This is also the first episode credited to Violet Welles, a new Dark Shadows writer who’s been ghost-writing some of Gordon Russell’s scripts. Here’s her story, from a late-1980s interview printed in the fanzine The World of Dark Shadows:

I was a press agent then. I had been working with Gordon Russell; I’d been ghosting for years on everything he’d done. Dan Curtis had a sort of horror series, an hour anthology series that he was doing that I think never actually got on. Gordon was doing a show called Mr. Splitfoot and I worked on it with him. It never got on the air.

And it came time for a story conference with Dan Curtis, and Gordon said, “Look, you’ve worked on the script as much as I have, you come to the story conference.” So I came and we talked and at the end of it, I knew they’d been looking for a writer for Dark Shadows because Gordon told me this. It was nothing that particularly interested me.

So we talked, and at the end of the story conference, Dan Curtis said to me, “How’d you like to be one of the writers, how’d you like to write for Dark Shadows?” And I said, “Nonsense, I’m a press agent, I have three shows on Broadway, and I have this and this and this.” What I didn’t know was that in television, the rule is if you’re unavailable, you must be had. So Dan Curtis pursued me and insisted that I do it.

And for a while, I was being a press agent and writing for Dark Shadows. And finally someone said, “You know, this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. You’ve got to do one or the other.” So I went to Dark Shadows.

So three writers — Sam Hall, Gordon Russell and Violet Welles — are going to be the Dark Shadows team for the next year, through 1897 and the Leviathans, up to the first week of Parallel Time. And starting right now, this is going to be the longest sustained run of really good episodes that the show ever has. This is the magic team.

711 dark shadows quentin angelique glance

You can tell right away that we’re in good hands, because Angelique is driving the scene, and specifically driving it in Quentin’s direction. Angelique is the character in the scene who knows exactly what we know, which means, Lord help us, she is now the audience identification character. Happily, she’s interested in the same things we are — flirting with Quentin, plotting against Barnabas and forgetting that the other guy exists.

At one point, Evan says, “Madam, will you permit me to interrupt you –” She snaps, “No, Mr. Hanley, I will not permit it,” and then she turns right back to Quentin and stares into his eyes.

This is what happens next.

Angelique:  Quentin Collins, I am very grateful to you for having helped to bring me here. And I want you to know — from now on, you and I have the same enemy.

Quentin:  Thank you.

Evan:  Don’t thank her yet! Not until we know a little more about who she is, and what she’s up to.

711 dark shadows quentin angelique evan thanks

She turns around, and sighs.

Angelique:  Did you say something?

Evan:  I think a few questions are in order here.

Angelique:  My dear “lawyer” — I don’t think so.

Evan:  Well, I do! We know nothing about you.

Angelique:  There’s nothing you need to know, except that I have some very mysterious powers, which I’ll be glad to demonstrate for you.

Evan:  I am not interested in that.

Angelique:  Perhaps someday you will be.

711 dark shadows angelique evan choke

And then she magically throttles him for about a minute, smiling the whole time.

Quentin cries, “What have you done to him?”

“Nothing more than I do with my friends when they annoy me,” she chirps. “With my enemies, I can be even more ruthless!”

And then she gives them a look, which offers them a full year’s subscription to Why You Shouldn’t Try to Call People from the Flames of the Netherworld Digest.

Quentin asks Angelique to release Evan from his predicament, and she finally agrees. “Whatever you say,” she smiles. “After all, we’re all on the same side, aren’t we? My side.”

711 dark shadows angelique evan quentin my side

And the thing that’s most satisfying about this sequence is that Angelique is basically humiliating Nicholas Blair and kicking him off the show.

Evan is a dime-store version of the charming devil who dominated the show last summer, building up an impressive mystique and then allowing it to slowly dissolve into a disappointing puddle. And it’s clear that we’re supposed to make that connection, because Evan’s “flames of the netherworld” gag is a direct continuation of Nicholas’ shtick.

Just before Nicholas left the show in November, he was running his own black mass ceremonies, using the blood of the owl, the raven and the bat. Now the new model is invoking the raven and the viper and the dark creatures of nature, as if exploding in a shower of diablo ex machina taught him exactly nothing about how to be a more interesting character.

And Angelique has exactly no patience for it anymore. Paying attention to Evan means taking her eyes off of Quentin, which is the last thing anybody wants. Right now, looking at Angelique looking at Quentin is the only thing that matters. We really are on the same side: Violet’s side.

Tomorrow: The Neverending Story.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

At the start of the teaser, Evan and Sandor are clearly standing still, waiting for their cue to begin acting.

As act 1 begins, Angelique is seen in the flames, which means Lara Parker is standing in front of the camera that’s doing the Chromakey effect. Then the camera has to stay on Evan and Quentin’s reaction, so that she has time to run over to the cottage set. This would have worked smoothly, except that you can clearly hear her hurried footsteps as she races to the set.

In act 2, Evan asks Sandor when he’ll finish forging the will. Sandor says, “I’ll do it when I can,” and then remembers that’s not the cue Evan’s waiting for. He adds, “I’ll do it when I’m ready,” so that Evan can say, “Well, may I suggest that you go now and get ready!”

When Barnabas finds Sandor forging the will, he crumples it up and walks to the fireplace to burn it — but the fire isn’t lit. At the end of the scene, Barnabas goes ahead and throws it into the fireplace anyway.

Barnabas says that he’s here to see Miss Drummond. Quentin asks Barnabas to help himself to brandy — “and make sure Miss, uh — Rachel, or, uh — Miss Drummond — has some too.” The line was supposed to be “make sure Rachel — or Miss Drummond,” so that Quentin could emphasize that he’s on a first-name basis with her.

Tomorrow: The Neverending Story.

711 dark shadows quentin angelique awesome

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

20 thoughts on “Episode 711: Let’s Twist Again

  1. Over on “Dark Shadows Wiki” there’s a discussion about whether Violet Welles really even existed. Apparently there’s no information about her besides this fanzine article.

    Are there any other materials/pictures proofing that she was a real human being and not just a pseudonym?

    1. The other reference that I know is the piece that Sam Hall wrote for The Dark Shadows Companion: “The writers who stayed with us longest always had a built-in craziness. Normal people just couldn’t write the show. Violet Welles, our only woman writer, was the bravest. She was married to a very good actor. She had been a successful publicity agent, collecting the oddest friends (all of whose eccentricities were discussed for the series).”

      The Playbill listing that Mark linked to (below) is good evidence that she’s a real person — especially because it shows a gap in her press agent CV from March 1969 to March 1972, which fits what we know from the fanzine interview.

      1. So did the ‘very good actor’ she married happen to be Orson Welles? ; )

        You would think she would have written something else after DS (e.g., another soap). Strange that there’s nothing about her after 1972.

        1. She mentions other soaps in the interview… It’s possible that she retreated back into the shadows and kept ghost-writing for Gordon. I think he went straight to One Life to Live, which is my other favorite daytime soap. I never thought about Violet contributing to OLTL; that would be lovely if it’s true.

  2. This won’t settle anything, but Playbill lists the Broadway shows she repped here:http://www.playbillvault.com/Person/Detail/3763/Violet-Welles

    Whoever Violet Welles was, she crafted the single best line in DS history:

    “I am Angelique and I hate you!”

    Said the witch to the portrait of the woman she drove to her death 100 years earlier.

    It’s a line that not only sums up the character but her entire arc on Dark Shadows.

    “I am Angelique and I hate you!”

    Nothing more ever needs to be said or written for Angelique. It can be used on every occasion. She could have been the answer to Marvel Comics’ Groot before there even was a Groot.

    “I am Angelique and I hate you!”

    It answers every question.

    “Why did you curse me with a thirst for the blood of the living?”

    “I am Angelique and I hate you!”

    “Do you know if the Collinsport Waffle House still serves those delicious blueberry pancakes?”

    “I am Angelique and I hate you!”

    I’m going to spend the day saying that to everyone. Let’s see where the day takes me.

    1. OR you could say “I am Angelique and I love you” and you’ll get a lot more free cookies! Love and Hate are the same to Angelique.
      Watching her eyeball Quentin is a hoot though – like he’s the best looking Chippendale’s guy on stage.
      I know what she’s thinking – I’ll destroy Barnabas – later.
      I do like the way she dominates Quentin and Evan though – like a She Devil should.

  3. I my be the only one, but I can’t help kind of preferring Evan Hanley to Nicholas Blair. He and Quentin are like those amateurs that get mixed up in occult things partly for the thrill of it (like Randolph Carter and Harley Warren in the Lovecraft stories, and a lot of others), and with those stories I can never help enjoying it along with them at the same time that I’m scared for them.

    1. I also prefer Evan to Nicholas. Hanley’s two-faced attempts to hide his “secret vices” made sense,whereas Blair played dumb about his evil for no good reason but the plot (we get a taste of what might have been toward the end of the Adam/Eve storyline, when he is upfront about who and what he is with Barnabas.).

      As a human, Evan can be motivated by greed, and ever the opportunist, he can side with whoever happens to be on top at the moment. Blair as Satan’s company man has far less interesting and thus far less dramatically compelling motives.

      Nicholas is at his most intriguing when his goals are “relatable” — his attempts to woo Maggie Evans while destroying Joe Haskell. That is a supernatural spin on a soap opera trope. Unfortunately, it’s somewhat out of character.

      Interestingly, Evan seems to have no similar human interests. Quentin mentions a wife but we never see her. Arguably, the secret vice Evan and Quentin share, while literally Satan worshipping, could figuratively be anything that, say, Josh Duggar has been up to. Thus, the later exploitation of that vice to blackmail Evan is another supernatural spin on a soap opera trope.

      1. Hmm, is it possible that Nicholas Blair used to Evan Handly before dieing and becoming a middle manager form Hell? That would partially explain her dislike of him if she maintains her memories of being “Cassandra”…

  4. LARA IS ANGELIQUE & WE LOVE HER! THIS LOOK IS PERFECT FOR HER AS SHE FAIRLY TWINKLES MALICE SO DELIGHTFULLY,WHAT AN ACTRESS. P.S. Always wondered how her fire scenes figured in with Arthur Browns song. Also I remember from about then reading the PHANTOM in sunday comics there was a story about salamanders coming out of fires and terrorizing people. P.P.S. NEWS JUST BROKE 2.20pm CHICAGO THAT PIPER’S ALLEY-SECOND CITY BLDG IS BEING CONSUMED BY FIRE.BIZARRE! TO SAY THE LEAST.

  5. Sounds like radio gag from a morning show, on “cart”.

    “Good morning, my sweet wife.”

    “I AM ANGELIQUE AND I HATE YOU!!”

    Hi, Mom.

    “I AM ANGELIQUE AND I HATE YOU!!”

  6. I’m surprised they never made a talking Angelique doll. As merchandise goes, it makes more sense than that FUNNY VEIN book (but so many things do).

  7. Were the ratings taking a bit of a dip at this point as the 1897 storyline finds its feet? Dan Curtis has mentioned that he used Angelique as his “big gun”–because of how her character worked so well with Barnabas. Whenever they needed a ratings boost, Curtis would write her back into the show. Barnabas is, after all, just bouncing around from drawing room to drawing room trying to get his bearings, giving looks and making accusations in one drawing room and giving looks and making threats in the other.

    1. I know there was a little dip a few months ago, which is why they suddenly started doing flashbacks to Barnabas as a vampire, including the second trip to 1795. I don’t know about this period; it feels very self-assured.

      But Angelique’s appearance about two-thirds of the way through the Leviathan story definitely feels like a place where Dan was strategically deploying her to pick up a sagging storyline.

  8. Violet Welles could write women better than the guy writers ever did….the guys wrote victimhood, weakness, the fall of Victoria Winters at every turn, and imprisonment. You could see Joan Bennett being pissed off with the script….

    Now, a woman of power comes to the scene,
    And immediately makes victims of men.

    Soon, Julianka. Charity’s Pansy Faye. Lady Kitty Hampshire. And more. Bring women of power to the screen.

  9. Maybe this is heresy, but 1897 would have been better without Angelique. I loved the set-up and much about it (especially the first half), but Jenny, Magda and Laura provided plenty enough villainy — and more interesting villain — from the ladies.

    The entire storyline could have been done without her. And she’ll just come and go so randomly from the storyline.

    That’s my main beef with 1897 — too many characters, too many villains.

  10. Dark Shadows is always better with Angelique.

    I really like the subtle changes in her character beginning with the 1897 story line. She is no longer the one note villain of earlier episodes. She’s not quite an anti-hero – she still does evil things. But, she has her own agenda and she will align herself with the good guys – when it helps her interest. When she says that she’s fond of David, I believe her.

  11. I enjoy reading your posts after I’ve watched the episode. I’ve never really thought about the behind the scenes stuff much before, so it never occurred to me to think about the change in writers, but your posts have helped me become more analytical when watching. I have noticed the dialogue has improved in 1897. There is a lot more witty banter. For example, I like how in this episode, Angelique asks: What time is it? And Evan replies, Midnight. And Angelique says something like, Oh, but there are many midnights. What is the year? That was good to me. You know, she could’ve just asked what year is it in the first place, but this way they are having fun with the question and the meaning. Also, the show is moving at a fast paced now–no more recapping! YAY!. The costumes are gorgeous, too!

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