Episode 793: The Puppeteer

“Can’t you tell what I’m doing? I’m choking you.”

Quentin lights three black candles, and we get the spooky summoning ritual music. “Oh, hidden spirit,” he chants to nobody in particular, “climb out of the pits of Hell, if that is where you be!”

He’s trying to reach Angelique, the sorcerous soap vixen, because sometimes things really are that bad.

“Hidden spirit… Make your presence known to me!”

His face was shredded by a legendary artifact called the Hand of Count Petofi, and just when he hoped to use the Hand again to cure himself, an intruder showed up and snatched it away.

“You are needed! NOW!”

But it’s no use, Angelique doesn’t show up. Last time he tried to call on her, she flew out of the fireplace on demand, but this ritual is a bust. That’s how bad things are for Quentin right now; his most desperate prayers go unanswered.

Magda tells him that they might as well give up, and run away. She rushes to the door, opens it — and finds Angelique, who’s just standing there on the porch. She didn’t hear Quentin’s summoning ritual or anything; she just happened to be coming by anyway. Angelique is a baller.

793 dark shadows angelique magda quentin passing

As we discussed earlier this week, Dark Shadows was clearly heading toward a conclusion for the 1897 time travel storyline, which according to the original plan would have ended right around now, in mid-July. But Dan Curtis and the writers have realized that Quentin and Magda and Gregory Trask are too interesting to get bundled offstage after only four months, so they made a sudden swerve towards an unknown destination.

Now the writers need to conjure up another few months of story, and they’ve recently annihilated almost the entire supporting cast. So it’s only natural that they call upon the spirit of Angelique, because that’s how every new Dark Shadows storyline begins.

Angelique is a high-powered chaos engine, who generates story just by walking into the room. She’s immensely powerful and equally self-centered, and she always has some kind of crackpot plan up her sleeve, so if she shows up unexpectedly, you have to ask: Why is she here, and what does she want now?

793 dark shadows angelique quentin bargain

Well, first she wants an update. She’s already heard about the Hand from Evan, and she wants to know where it is, and why everybody’s so excited about it. Magda says that she stole the Hand from King Johnny Romano to end the curse, and Angelique’s face just lights right up.

“The curse!” she chirps. “Well, you two have been busy.” That’s the nice thing about Angelique; you can tell her anything. She’s done crazier shit than you could even imagine, and then traveled back in time to do it all over again, just for kicks. Nothing shocks her.

Quentin says that he’ll tell her everything, if she promises to help him. “Well, first I’ll listen,” she says, “and then perhaps I’ll promise.” She says that kind of thing all the time.

In fact, after he slips her the episode guide, she proposes yet another vague bargain, because everything is a negotiation with this broad. “You’re asking a lot of me, Quentin, and I may ask a lot of you in return. Are you prepared to accept that?” Then, when she sees him hesitate, she says, “All right, you don’t have to answer me. I’ll recover the Hand, as a sign of my goodwill. And then I’ll name my price, and you can make your decision. Agreed?” He finally says yes, because at a certain point you have to end the scene somehow.

793 dark shadows aristede angelique docks

Then it’s off to the docks to hustle Aristede, the mysterious stranger who took the Hand away from Quentin at knifepoint. When we saw Aristede earlier in the evening, he had an uncanny knowledge of Quentin’s current storyline, but somehow Angelique fell through the cracks in his curriculum.

So Aristede makes a fatal n00b mistake, namely: not being suspicious of the astonishingly beautiful woman hanging around alone on the docks in the middle of the night. He takes her at face value, and in his line of work, that’s never a good idea.

Angelique smiles and flutters and makes little teasing jokes about who she is and what she’s doing here, showing him those big blue eyes that have caused so much suffering.

793 dark shadows aristede angelique noir

The scene that follows is a film noir sequence crossed with Suspiria by way of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and it’s so beautiful that I’m just going to stick it in here verbatim.  Like the experienced predator that she is, Angelique instantly detects Aristede’s weakness — his vanity — and she lures him into her snare.

Angelique:  I’m an actress.

Aristede:  Here, in Collinsport?

Angelique:  Actually, I’m a puppeteer. I just arrived here tonight with a puppet troupe.

Aristede:  Why aren’t you with the others?

Angelique:  Well, the truth is, I had a quarrel with my, uh —

Aristede:  Gentleman friend.

Angelique:  Yes. My gentleman friend. I felt so terrible that I came down here to be alone. But it’s much worse being alone.

Aristede:  Well, you’re not alone now.

He tries to pull her in for a kiss, but she pushes him away playfully.

793 dark shadows aristede angelique entertain

Angelique:  You know, I could entertain you, while you’re waiting.

Aristede:  I’m sure you can.

Angelique:  Shall I show you?

Aristede:  Anything!

Angelique:  Would you give me your handkerchief?

He does. She takes the cloth, and smells it appreciatively.

Angelique:  Ah… You use a very expensive scent.

Aristede:  (grins) Well, I like what’s pleasing to the senses.

Angelique:  So do I.

793 dark shadows aristede angelique toy soldier

She reaches into a pocket inside her cape, and takes out a wooden toy soldier.

Angelique:  Now… This is you. Do you recognize yourself? (She wraps the handkerchief around the soldier.) Not so dapper as you, of course, but definitely you. Now, turn around, and he’ll call to you in your own voice. What’s your name?

Aristede:  (bowing) Aristede, at your service.

Angelique:  Aristede! I like that. Turn around, Aristede. Let me see if I can fool you.

While his back is turned, she ties the handkerchief in a knot around the toy soldier’s neck.

Angelique:  (calling) Aristede…

He turns back.

Aristede:  That’s not very good. That’s not at all like my voice!

Angelique:  No. But I did fool you.

793 dark shadows aristede angelique choke

She pulls tight on the handkerchief, and Aristede gasps for breath.

Aristede:  Ack! What’s happening? What are you doing to me?

Angelique:  Can’t you tell what I’m doing? I’m choking you.

Aristede:  Stop! STOP!

Angelique:  On one condition, that I get the Hand.

Aristede:  The Hand?

Angelique:  Yes, Aristide. The Hand! Give it to me quickly! You have very little time left.

That’s the kind of top-shelf crazy that Angelique brings to the table. Aristede wants to be the mysterious stranger, but there is nobody in this world stranger than her.

Tomorrow: Victor and the Wolf.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Edward loses track of his lines while talking to Angelique:

Edward:  I believe that you’ve known all along what Barnabas is.

Angelique:   No, that isn’t true.

Edward:  Well… (He pauses, and checks the teleprompter.) And I believe you know where he is now.

According to the credits, Victor’s name is Victor Fenn-Gibbon, but he introduces himself as “Fenn-Gibbons”, and Edward repeats it.

Edward has another bad moment with Victor:

Edward:  Well, you’re welcome to stay here at Collinwood for the duration of your visit.

Victor:  You are most gracious, Mr. Collins, but I should hate to impose.

Edward:  Oh, not at all. The Earl of Hampshire is a good, dear friend of mine. I would not offend him by not having you stay anywhere but at Collinwood.

Tomorrow: Victor and the Wolf.

793 dark shadows angelique quentin amusing

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

16 thoughts on “Episode 793: The Puppeteer

  1. Too bad Angelique didn’t hook up with Aristede for a while. He’d have been a lot more fun than that sad old Barnabas.

  2. As I’ve said before, I can hardly wait till Michael Stroka’s 20th Century Timeline scenes, partly because of his really trendy-looking clothing. (I can watch that “dated” late ‘ 60s stuff without that endless humor that other people see in it. Sure, I see SOME humor in it, but to me, it’s mainly just entertaining, period.)

  3. What’s up with that quavery voice Selby uses whenever Quentin contacts the pits of Hell?
    I don’t believe for one minute that QuentinCollins is THAT much in awe of anything in Heaven or Hell.

  4. Some ‘deep thoughts’:

    One would think the Collinsport PD would have someone permanently stationed at the docks.

    Never heard of “Suspiria” although Joan Bennett apparently is in it. Is it worth a look?

    What’s Aristede smoking — a ‘White Owl’ or a ‘Tiparillo’? He’s such a rebel.

    1. Never heard of “Suspiria” although Joan Bennett
      apparently is in it. Is it worth a look?

      Italian horror is not for all tastes, but if you want to try it it doesn’t hurt to have a connection like “I’m watching this to see Joan Bennett.” IIRC, this is the movie in which she refers to Jessica Harper as the “b” word.

      1. I’m incredibly attached to Italian horror (though I’m biased about the ones ending in around 1970), but in a way that I couldn’t call discriminating, because it can go all the way from a film considered a masterpiece (like a given Mario Bava or Antonio Margheriti film), or one that’s considered a real “paint by numbers” movie, or even one considered just plain bad.

    2. I don’t know if Slocum ever got round to checking out ‘Suspiria’, but – if Danny doesn’t mind me plugging one of my own blogs – i did a review of it here: http://psychtronickinematograph.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/suspiria-1977-dario-argento.html .

      Oh and i got a little behind reading these reviews, but i’m doing a big binge-read now to catch up from mid-December. Each and every one a gem, Danny, i don’t know how you keep it up at the rate you do.

      Oh, and – PETOFI! Yay.

  5. The first appearance of COUNT PETOFI! My favorite DS character — thanks mostly to Violet Welles, although she didn’t write this episode. I know she pushed for Petofi to actually turn up as a character, but I wonder if at this point it was determined that Victor Fenn-Gibbons is in fact the Count. Regardless, he’s clearly the Gutman in this DS version of MALTESE FALCON and is delightful to watch. I looked for clues to indicate that he doesn’t have a hand but it’s hard to tell one way or another.

    From this point on, Petofi drives the plot — everyone responds to his actions (reclaiming the hand, escaping the gypsies).

  6. When I first saw Aristede, I thought he was some genetic combination of Mr. Frid and Mr. Selby. If I did a sketch of those 2 characters blended together, this is what I would get I’m sure! O,O

  7. Nobody did. She is such a fright to watch, as though she never expected to have lines.

    Her stage fright, her anxiety……you could see fear in her eyes, all the time.

    Lucky for Quentin, his stable also includes Angelique, Amanda, Kitty, and Charity P. Faye.

  8. And now, thanks for reminding me…

    I always wanted to watch Thayer to see how he portrayed his missing hand..

    And this is where 1897 becomes golden.

    Lara is back, KLS to come, Charity Faye,

    Nobody even remembers Moltke now.

    1. And here……Danny has touched upon something all people would love.

      The power to just appear anywhere in time, and just do as you wish.


      Almost. She is not God.

      But if you were to go on vacation, wouldn’t it feel that way, if you could do what Angelique does?

      See, she was on vacation, in Hell, where the guy with stupid voice was her boss.

      Coming back?


  9. I really enjoyed watching Angelique reprise her greatest hits with a handkerchief and a doll, and in a later scene conning Edward with her sad, sad story. Whatever kind of mischief she gets up to, she never fails to entertain.

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