Episode 789: My Wife and My Dead Wife

“In effect, we are going to create — a thing!”

Reverend Trask has only been married to his new wife Judith for three days, and already she’s defective. She seems to have picked up the idea that she’s actually Trask’s first wife, Minerva, and she’s determined to punish the people responsible for her murder, namely: Trask and his associate, Evan Hanley. This is not the kind of reliability that Reverend Trask expected; I hope he remembers where he put the warranty.

789 dark shadows evan trask mind

Evan and Trask confer, and decide that the unresting spirit of Minerva is taking possession of Judith, which is inconvenient. Then they have a discussion which I think could only possibly happen on Dark Shadows.

Evan:  Even though your first wife is dead, Judith still has an enormous fear of her.

Trask:  So?

Evan:  Well, perhaps we can use that fear to our advantage.

Trask:  How?

Evan:  By bringing your first wife back — to haunt Judith.

Trask:  According to what you’ve told me, Mr. Hanley, that’s already happening!

Evan:  Yes! But certainly not to our advantage.

So it’s difficult to know what to do with a plot point like that, except to stare at it in wonder. A ghost is already haunting Judith, so they’re going to create another ghost to haunt her even more? What if that pisses off Minerva, and she brings home some friends?

I mean, the Minerva that we knew was a fairly placid customer — cranky, certainly, and occasionally she would raise her voice, but dying appears to have upgraded her combat skills. She tried to attack Evan with a letter opener, and if she hadn’t been stopped, nobody would be able to open letters in the drawing room anymore. There’d just be stacks and stacks of unopened letters, in big bulging Miracle on 34th Street Santa Claus-type mailbags, covering every surface in untidy heaps. And now they’re trying to piss her off even more than that?

789 dark shadows trask evan candles

Fortunately, Evan is prepared to take charge of the situation. He’s got a black robe, black books and black candles, and he has BLACK written on the back of his robe in black letters. Apparently, somebody once told him there was a Black Friday sales event, and he didn’t quite grok the concept.

He asked Trask to bring over a photograph of Minerva, and he’s terribly pleased with it. “Yes,” he says, “this will do very nicely. The goal of our little ceremony is to conjure up a black ghost of your first wife.”

“I don’t understand!” Trask exclaims, and he’s not the only one. What’s a black ghost? Is this like Black Twitter, where a black ghost is the same as a regular ghost but it’s more political and they have better hashtags?

“In effect,” Evan announces, “we are going to create — a thing!” And then he just stands there and looks pleased with himself.

789 dark shadows trask evan picture

“It will appear to Judith,” he continues. “She will think it is the ghost of Minerva Trask, but in fact it will merely be an hallucination, and will be completely under our control.”

He actually says that, “an hallucination”. I don’t know why that’s the part of that line that I find objectionable, but there you are.

Trask tries to keep up. “Will this — hallucination — be visible only to Judith?” This is a silly question, because obviously hallucinations are only visible to the affected person; that’s pretty much the definition of an hallucination.

“No,” Evan admits, so screw me and the definition of an hallucination. “That is the one dangerous thing about the plan. When it appears, anyone will be able to see it.”

So this doesn’t really sound like a ghost either. I’m not sure what this is. Best I can figure is it’s some kind of Audio-Animatronics effect.

789 dark shadows evan recipe

Anyway, here’s the recipe.

I invoke and conjure thee, false and subservient spirit of Minerva! Do thou forthwith appear, and show thyself unto Judith Collins, wherever she may be, in a fair and human shape, without any deformity or horror. Show thyself, presently! And manifest only that which I desire.

And then you burn the picture. It’s that easy.

789 dark shadows minerva judith black ghost

And there you have it, a black ghost, sitting in the drawing room and sewing. Evan said Trask should make sure that Judith was the only person to see Minerva II, so I’m not sure the drawing room was the optimal location for a manifestation, but there’s a lot I don’t know about black ghosts.

I just wonder what’ll happen when real Ghost Minerva sees fake Ghost Minerva doing the mending. Will she get mad, and plot extra super double revenge? Or will the two Minervas team up, and start a law practice where they only take cases that involve dead people? I’m just spitballing here.

Tomorrow: A Tale Told.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Trask asks Evan, “Is this some kind of macabre joke, Mr. Hanley?” Evan answers, “I assure you it is noo — it is not.”

Edward tells Trask, “I may as come — may as well come directly to the point.”

While Evan is preparing the ritual, he says to Trask, “Such a brooding expression! What’s wrong, Mr. Trask?” but he’s been staring at a book for the entire scene so far — how does he know what Trask looks like?

As usual during a ritual, there’s tons of studio noise, including footsteps, a door opening, and something falling over.

For the third day in a row, Louis Edmonds is credited for playing Roger Collins, instead of Edward.

Tomorrow: A Tale Told.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

3 thoughts on “Episode 789: My Wife and My Dead Wife

  1. He actually says that, “an hallucination”. I don’t know why that’s the part of that line that I find objectionable, but there you are.

    It’s not necessarily incorrect, it’s just incredibly old-fashioned. People used to use “an” before words beginning with an “h” if the first syllable was unstressed, because the “h” was so much softer than in a stressed syllable that it was treated as if it were silent. It’s a custom that pretty much went out with the dance card and the pennyfathing bicycle, but my Mom remembers Eleanor Roosevelt speaking that way, saying things like “An historic occasion.”

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