“Do you think it’s right, to pray for a cursed thing like this?”
So it all turns out okay, obviously, it’s Quentin, of course it’s going to be okay. It takes more than a silver bullet to the chest to stop a phenomenon like Quentin. At this point, the only thing that could destroy the audience’s interest in Quentin Collins is a 95-minute MGM motion picture where he tries to drown Kate Jackson in a swimming pool. And what are the odds of that?
So the bullet-ridden werewolf manages to survive until dawn, at which point he can change back into Quentin, with no adverse effects besides the wardrobe damage, which in my opinion is an improvement anyway.
Although — hang on a second, I just realized. After Magda shot the wolf, she and Barnabas dragged the carcass back to the Old House. Just before dawn, the werewolf woke up and lunged at Magda.
She chased the beast away with her pentagram, and it ran out of the house, and then the sun came right up, and he was Quentin again.
So somehow in the literally twenty seconds between the time that he left the Old House and now, he managed to perpetrate this much wear and tear on his clothes. Thank goodness he’s on a soap opera; it’s going to take the combined power of every laundry detergent on earth to get this back under control.
Anyway, the point is that now that he’s human again, he’s feeling bad about the destruction that he has once again wrought on an unwitting world.
“Oh, god, what have I done?” he cries. “No, it’s what he’s done — it’s not me! I can’t help what happens!” So that’s good, he’s already got his defense strategy worked out.
Now, as we know, people don’t ever actually pay for their crimes on Dark Shadows anymore; they mostly get trading cards and recording careers. But you do have to put up with a couple spectral visitations from your victims, just for the sake of free expression.
This is Dorcas Trilling, who was ripped apart by the werewolf a few weeks ago and it doesn’t look like she’s gotten over it yet. She appears at Collinwood in a super not very good Chromakey shot that you’d think they would have been able to get right by now. They’ve been using Chromakey effects for almost two years now, and they’ve gotten quite skilled at it, especially in the area of ghosts appearing and disappearing in front of somebody’s eyes. This is one of their less skilled efforts. Frankly, she looks like a pissed-off paper doll.
So it’s an awkward effect, but this is kind of an awkward social situation, so it’s hard to argue with it. Plus, she’s got her facts straight.
“Murderer!” she cries. “Murderer!”
Quentin licks his lips and asks, “What are you saying?” And then she just keeps on saying “Murderer!” because honestly it’s not that complicated of an idea.
Quentin rushes upstairs to his room, where he plays his favorite song on the gramophone and tries to collect himself. Suddenly, the gramophone switches itself off, which is possibly the last moment in 1969 that somebody isn’t listening to “Quentin’s Theme”.
And then, with a hoarse gasp of “Murderer!” there’s Dorcas Trilling in the mirror, doing a repeat performance.
“Now, listen to me,” Quentin says, trying to get his hands around the situation. “I didn’t do it! He did!” This is not an effective defense. She just says “Murderer!” again, and now he has to come up with new material.
“All right, then, I did it!” says Quentin, so chalk up another win for Perry Mason; it usually takes him fifty-two minutes to get the real killer to confess on the stand. He didn’t even have to show up this time.
“But I had to!” Quentin continues. “It was because of the curse! It wasn’t my fault!” He’s on the verge of saying “it was all in the past, can’t we move on?” except it’s 1897, so technically everything’s in the past.
So he tries to negotiate. “Now, look, I didn’t want to hurt you, I didn’t know I hurt you! Can’t you understand that?” Yeah, that’s a negative. She does not understand, and she has no plans in that direction.
Quentin asks, “Look, can’t you take pity?” But Dorcas just makes herself really big and spits, “The dead can not have pity.”
I’m not sure that’s accurate, but there’s no arguing with this girl, she absolutely refuses to listen to reason. We get another couple “Murderers!” and finally Quentin breaks down into sobs.
And then, wouldn’t you know it, Quentin’s dumb older sister shows up, and she walks into his room without permission.
Judith asks, “Quentin, what’s the matter?”
“She’s torturing me.”
“That girl, in the mirror!”
And then Judith actually turns around, and checks the mirror. “What are you talking about?” she says. “There’s no girl.”
Ugh, older siblings are just the worst, aren’t they? Just bossy and annoying and not helpful.
So Quentin embarks on a one-man war against antecedents. “I told her it wasn’t my fault,” he says, “but she wouldn’t listen to me!”
Crazy people in soap operas always do this; they go on and on, revealing all of their dreadful secrets using unheralded pronouns. It’s a great trick; you get all the excitement of confessions without the messy cleanup involved in actually telling people things.
“She was in here,” Quentin insists. “I never even saw her before, I don’t even know what she looks like!”
Judith asks, “What did she look like?”
Quentin says, “I can’t describe her. God, she was awful.” That’s not completely fair, but it’s been a hard morning.
Judith says that Quentin is acting like an animal, because leave it to older siblings to say the exact worst thing, and Quentin finally just yells at her to get out of his room and leave him alone. This scene is basically everything that happened to me from about middle school on.
So the theme of this week is that everybody is overwrought; it’s going to be one breakdown after another. We’ve been in 1897 for three months now, which is just enough time to set up a whole row of dominos to knock over. It’s going to get pretty noisy around here, just wait and see.
Tomorrow: Elegy for David C.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
There’s a problem with the boom mic in act 1, when Magda and Barnabas are talking in the Old House drawing room. Magda’s line “That will take some explaining,” it sounds like she’s off-mic; then it comes back on for the second half of her line.
The stairs aren’t set up in the Old House drawing room; there’s just a blank space with a hole in the wall. In act 2, when Magda is waiting for Barnabas to come upstairs, you can see past the edge of the set.
Magda says, “Barnabas, all day I’ve been doing what you telled — told me to do.”
Magda describes an old gypsy woman who cursed Count Petofi, and says that woman would know how to lift the curse. Barnabas says, “But she was an old woman when you were a child!” Magda didn’t actually say that she was a child at the time.
Behind the Scenes:
This is Gail Strickland’s second and final appearance as Dorcas Trilling. This was the beginning of a long and busy television career, spanning the 70s, 80s and 90s.
I’m just going to list a small selection: Barnaby Jones, Hawaii Five-O, Kojak, M*A*S*H, Night Court, Family Ties, Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, Highway to Heaven, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Murder She Wrote, Murphy Brown, Seinfeld, Chicago Hope and ER.
She also had recurring roles on Dallas, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and Melrose Place. Oddly, every single appearance ended with her character being killed by a werewolf. I guess that was her specialty.
Tomorrow: Elegy for David C.
— Danny Horn