Episode 840: The Grown-Ups

“What could there possibly be new about falling in love?”

At this point, Count Petofi has just about had it. All he wants to do is get away from this crummy burg, with his legendary magical hand still attached at the wrist. He’s tired of being stalked by aggravating gypsies who shake tambourines and threaten him with scimitars, and he wants a ticket out.

He happens to know that Barnabas has the ability to travel forward in time to 1969, and if Petofi can tag along, it would give him a nice seventy-two year cushion when maybe the gypsies could calm the hell down. But Barnabas insists that he doesn’t know how to travel in time, despite the fact that he absolutely does know and I have no idea why he keeps saying that he doesn’t.

And now one of Barnabas’ friends pops up — having traveled exactly through time, thank you very much, like she can obviously do — and she still won’t tell Petofi how it works. I mean, at a certain point, they’re just being dicks about it.

840 dark shadows petofi julia lies

Among all of Count Petofi’s persuasive gambits, the most dangerous is the one he calls “honesty”. He’s the guy who says what everybody’s thinking, especially if they’re thinking about how stone cold scary Count Petofi is. And in the other corner, we’ve got Dr. Julia Hoffman, the all-state liesmith champion of our time. She produces a constant internal scrolling feed of lies at all times, so she always has something ready in case somebody asks her a question. At the moment, she’s leaning on the “I don’t know why you think I even know anything” angle, which is baseline for her. That’s what she says when somebody asks her if there’s any coffee in the morning. She can do this all day.

But Petofi has no interest in mendacity, plain or fancy. “Tell me,” he says, “why is your hair so short? Is it the fashion in 1969, or have you recently had fever and had it cut off?” She waves away this bulletin from the barber shop, but he doubles down.

“You were found sitting on the steps of Collinwood, wearing a ridiculously short skirt,” he says, providing a helpful recap of the day’s events. “From there, you were taken in a state of shock to the old Rectory, where you were assisted by Barnabas and Quentin Collins.”

Julia realizes Quentin must have told him, but Petofi says, “No, Dr. Hoffman, I do not rely on humans for my information, which is why you will find it impossible to lie to me.” I’m not sure what you say to somebody who doesn’t rely on humans for information. I suppose you congratulate them on their resourcefulness, and then you say, gee, look at the time.

840 dark shadows petofi tate romantic

But then Petofi has to bundle Julia off into another room for a minute, because Charles Delaware Tate is coming over for a chat, and the guy is exhausting enough without involving him in your cross-time kidnapping adventures. Charles Delaware Tate is a famous artist with three names, and like David Foster Wallace, Neil Patrick Harris and John Cougar Mellencamp, he’s very talented but you probably wouldn’t want to spend a weekend with him.

Tate is all het up today, quelle surprise, because he’s under the impression that when he draws something on a sketchpad, it suddenly pops into existence. This is an absurd theory, and the fact that he is exactly correct does not make it any less ridiculous. So far, he’s created a beautiful young woman named Amanda and a crummy antique vase, which amounts to a tie score.

Now, as far as he knows, the only way he could have acquired this power is through Count Petofi’s magical touch, which gave him his talent and did absolutely nothing for his social skills. So he’s come to Petofi’s not very secret lair to shake some info out of the mad Count, which he’s not going to get. Petofi basically chuckles at him, and tells him to go play in traffic. Like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Haley Joel Osment and Billy Ray Cyrus, Tate probably hears that a lot.

840 dark shadows quentin amanda flirting

Meanwhile, in what is practically an entirely different television show, immortal dreamboat Quentin Collins is hanging out in the Collinwood drawing room planting smooches on Amanda, who’s staying here as part of someone else’s sting operation.

The issue here — and there’s obviously an issue, because this show is only interested in plot points that don’t make sense — is that Quentin was temporarily killed earlier this week by his fiancee, who found out that he was also engaged to another fiancee. Now he’s kissing a third girl in the drawing room, and acting like she’s the only woman in his life. All three of these literal femme fatales live in the same house.

840 dark shadows quentin amanda house

I mean, I get how dreamy he is. He arches an eyebrow, and looks directly into her eyes, and asks her to meet him in the garden. So she’s going to say yes to that. Anybody would say yes under these circumstances, up to and including dead people. Yes, I will meet you in the garden. Just name the garden. I will meet you there.

But then somebody knocks on the drawing room doors, and he says, “That’s what I mean. I’m not going to hide the fact that we’re together!” And the only possible audience response is: You’re not? Do you watch your own television show?

Because the other two ladies in his life have something of a track record in the cell block tango area. As I said, Beth either shot Quentin or was interrupted in the middle of shooting him, depending on which side of Schrödinger you’re standing on, and if you blow off Angelique, she will conduct a scorched-earth campaign that carpet-bombs your family back to the Stone Age.

So all I can figure is that there’s more than one Quentin on this show. There’s Romance Quentin, as seen here, and Tortured Quentin, who deals with werewolf curses and Count Petofi, and then there’s Blackmailed Quentin, who’s in charge of handling Angelique. When two of those Quentins collide — as happened earlier this week — then they both end up bleeding out on the rug, but the third one still exists as a fallback plan.

840 dark shadows tate amanda hands

Then who should bust in but Charles Delaware Tate, who’s come over to tell Amanda that he’s figured out why she can’t remember anything before March 11, 1895. It’s because he had a dream that night about a woman he’d never seen before, and then he drew a sketch of her. That snapped her into existence, with a name and a personality and everything.

This is not a good thing to tell a woman that you’re romantically interested in, even if it’s true. Women take exception to this kind of thing.

So then he tells her about the vase that he created the other night, by drawing it on a piece of paper. He starts getting excited, waving his hands around and really going into detail. This does not help. Gentlemen, a word of advice: if you’re ever in a similar situation, don’t talk about the vase. Leave the vase out of this.

840 dark shadows tate amanda table

She doesn’t believe him, so he gets even more excited, yelling, “I’m telling you the truth, and I can prove it! Now, look!” Then he charges over to an innocent end table, which is sitting quietly by the window with some books and knick-knacks, minding its own business.

“This table,” Tate says, and then he sweeps the objects off the table and sends them crashing to the floor.

840 dark shadows tate amanda table 2

Then he says, “There’s nothing on it, is there?” as if he’s the worst magician in the world. I mean, I can see what he’s getting at here, but as an opening act, that trick needs some workshopping. It does not inspire confidence.

Now for my next trick, he says, and he whips out a pencil and a sketchbook. He draws a glass on the table, yelling the whole time that Amanda should watch the table.

Nothing happens. A glass does not spontaneously spring into existence. He doesn’t understand what’s gone wrong, but I think it’s obvious. The glass saw what happened to the previous occupants of that table, and it’s decided to lock itself in the dressing room until Tate goes away. Glassware is fussy like that. It has to be.

So Amanda flees from the crazy man, and then he gets kicked out of the house. This also happens to Seann William Scott, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Malcolm-Jamal Warner; it’s an occupational hazard.

840 dark shadows petofi julia yelling

Then it’s back to the mill for some more yelling. Petofi is losing his patience. He needs information, and Julia has decided to use the silent treatment, so he ups the volume to balance things out.


She keeps her trap shut.




No sale.

At this point, your mom pokes her head into the den and says, What the hell are you watching? And you’re like, it’s Dark Shadows. They’re being loud today.

840 dark shadows petofi julia hand

So your mom says, What is this show even about? And she walks in, just in time to see a throaty centenarian waving his hand in front of a woman’s face, and saying: “Do you see this hand? Shall I pass it over your face, Julia, and then bring you a mirror?”

Julia is cringing, and shrinking back against the wall. “Would you like not to recognize yourself?” he insists. “Shall I cast a spell on you?”

As the hand draws closer, Julia suddenly cries out, “I Ching! That’s how we came here — the I Ching!”

Then they cut to commercial break, and your mom says, Seriously, don’t you have homework?

840 dark shadows quentin petofi scrounge

And everybody just keeps on hollering at each other for the rest of the episode, it’s just one crazy confrontation after another. Petofi goes over to Quentin’s place to score some I Ching wands, and Quentin yells that he’s through doing favors for Petofi.

“You are a petulant little boy, Quentin,” says the Count.

Quentin gets louder. “I am a MAN who has betrayed a FRIEND! And who let you kidnap a woman who did nothing to you!”

“Yes, a conscience can be a very troublesome thing,” Petofi purrs. “Shall I rid you of yours?”

Quentin goes up to eleven. He screams, “Did you hear me? I said GET OUT!” as you turn the volume knob down because honestly, if it keeps up like this, there’s going to be a domestic situation.

840 dark shadows petofi quentin slave

So the mad god explains the facts of life. He’s removed the werewolf curse — for now — but he could bring it back if he wants to.

“You won’t control me,” says the petulant little boy, but Petofi shouts, “I DO control you!” They’re really big on shouting today.

Petofi wraps up with a killer closing line. “You are a slave, Quentin,” he says. “You didn’t used to be, but you have become a slave. I, on the other hand, have always been a master.” Then he walks out chuckling, leaving Tortured Quentin alone with his thoughts. Things are tough on Tortured Quentin; maybe he could ask some of the other Quentins for backup. They’re usually cool about it.

Monday: Through The Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Early in act 2, they cut to a camera that’s still zooming in for a closeup on Tate.

When Petofi tells Quentin that he controls him, you can hear people walking around in the studio, and the scrape of a chair on the floor. There’s more studio noise when Julia and Petofi discuss the hexagram.

As Petofi approaches the I Ching door, the camera pulls back too far, and shows the edges of the set.

Behind the Scenes:

The gypsy hand holding the scimitar today and in Monday’s episode is played by Jim Hale, who also played the gypsy executioner in Charity’s vision a month ago. These are the only three Dark Shadows episodes that he appeared in, and I don’t know anything else about him. Apparently, if you’re an actor who specializes in silently waving around a prop scimitar, there aren’t a lot of parts to go around.

Monday: Through The Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.

840 dark shadows quentin desk

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

28 thoughts on “Episode 840: The Grown-Ups

  1. “You were found sitting on the steps of Collinwood, wearing a ridiculously short skirt.”
    This is why Julia Hoffman is better than most of us: she says nothing. I would have blurted, “I will have you know this skirt is considered rather long in 1969!”

  2. “Charles Delaware Tate is a famous artist with three names, and like David Foster Wallace, Neil Patrick Harris and John Cougar Mellencamp, he’s very talented but you probably wouldn’t want to spend a weekend with him.”

    Please tell me Kathryn Leigh Scott is the exception to the Three Name Rule (just in case I ever have to spend a weekend with her).

    1. Too bad Edgar Allan Poe was already dead by 1897. Not that being dead is any kind of barrier to showing up at Collinwood.

  3. Amanda and Angelique both marginalize Beth: Beth normally assisted Tortured Quentin in ways that Angelique now does, but she was also the sole (mostly) source of affection for Romantic Quentin. Dramatically, I can see the appeal in having two separate characters fill the roles, and each actress has better chemistry with Selby than Crawford ever did, unfortunately.

  4. He wanted Beth when he couldn’t have her, then he needed her emotional support during his murderous wife/werewolf curse crisis. It feels perfectly in character for him to want to move on from anything that reminded him of the bad Timex once they were over. I never bought Amanda as his One Great Love ™; she was more the woman of the hour.

  5. The fun fact is that if they told Petofi how Barnabas had gone back in time – by possessing his old body – Petofi would find it useless. He might want to project himself into his future 1969 body, but that would mean leaving his old body behind – where the tambourine and scimitar troupe could find him.

  6. That scene with Charles Underwear Tight and Amanda Harris in the Collinwood drawing room — no, the sketching room — is among Roger Davis’ grabbiest ever scenes. He was practically mauling her — and when he hunches down and starts groping for that brooch… Mr. Davis obviously likes to take a hands-on approach to his acting, but surely all that grabbing couldn’t have been in the original script. When Davis reaches forward with his hand to stroke Amanda’s face with his fingers, I swear I could almost see Donna McKechnie flinching away for a moment.

    It would be great if Davis could play a vampire again, that was great fun. But in this role he’s really just a bohemian version of Jeff Clark — his voice overly loud with that sharp nasal whine, always trying to find out who he is and how he came to be as he is. Even the way he keeps rubbing his forehead is very Jeff Clarkian.

    1. Tight Underwear? Well that explains a lot.
      There’s a scene with C.D. Tate and Pansy Faye that gives a glimpse of how RD might have been a bit better if he’d been cast with the right female co-star.
      If Nancy could handle being mauled by Adam, she could handle Roger Davis.

      1. Add to this the camera angle during the mauling of Amanda Harris — it’s positioned outside the double doors of the drawing room, so the viewer is made to be a virtual foyer voyeur during this disturbing scene. Nonetheless they had been going over this material all day, from blocking to dress rehearsal and final taping, and neither the director nor Dan Curtis — who liked Roger Davis very much — apparently told Davis to be less tactile. Perhaps they even reckoned that this approach added an element of dramatic tension.

        Regarding Tate and Pansy Faye, there’s a scene at the Tate/Evans cottage around two dozen episodes from now where a window shade becomes a casualty just as Pansy walks in the front door. Such was the destructive nature of Tate/Clark’s pensive presence — apparently he stomped over to answer the front door with such force that his lumbering footfalls loosened the window shade from its fittings.

        1. Sadly, producers overlooking male actors overstepping bounds with female actors is a well established practice. On Love Is a Many Splendored Thing, the story was one actress in an on screen relationship complained about her co-star using tongue in their kissing scenes. The actor stated he hadn’t kissed without tongue since he was 16 and he saw no reason to stop now. She eventually was let go, he stayed on.

          The most notorious case was Robert Kelker-Kelly who was booted off Another World when his co-star, Sandra Ferguson, said it’s him or me due to his sexual harassment. She was he legacy character and had the support of her cast members. He then went to Days Of Our Lives where every single woman he worked with threatened to quit if he wasn’t let go because of the sexual harassment. Crystal Chappell threatened a sexual lawsuit and co-stars Lisa Rinna, Jensen Buchanan, Genie Francis and Kristian Alfonso refused to work with him. Kristen Alfonso even agreed to work with former co-star, Peter Reckell, who she did not get along with previously rather than deal with RKK. RKK did settle down after marrying Miriam Parrish, another co-star on Days. The dated for several years, since he kindly waited until she was 18 to “officially” start “dating” her. He was 31 when she was 18. The producers turned a blind eye until the female cast revolted.

          Basically Davis may have been more obvious to us, but it wasn’t uncommon practice for men to harass their female co-stars and get away with it.

          1. Then there’s Kathryn Leigh Scott threatening to leave Dark Shadows if a story were created where her character would be paired with that of Davis’. Apparently in books dedicated to the show, she hasn’t had positive things to write about him. Who knows what he got away with, having been Dan Curtis’ “pet” in those days.

            1. Joan Bennett also stated in “The Bennett Playbill (?)” that she didn’t like RD and stated “Roger Davis thinks he is Henry Fonda but he’s not.”

          2. Remember when Dustin Hoffman’s character in “Tootsie” got slipped “the tongue” by one of the male actors on their soap opera? Obviously something he’d been doing to his female co-stars for years. DH’s expression after the kiss is priceless.

          3. I was watching Another World back when this was going on. Yeah, RKK was horrible! Super creepy that he was with Miriam Parrish (I stopped watching Days in 1993, but I heard and read about this.

            Eplin got in trouble while on As the World Turns after AW was canceled.

          4. I didn’t know about French kissing when I watched Dark Shadows & if I’d landed on an episode of Love Is a Many Splendored Thing I don’t know what I’d have made of it. I sure knew by the time of my OTHER soap, Mary Hartman Mary Hartman. Mercy! Louise Lasser must have been the instigator in her scenes with Bruce Solomon because it was always her tongue on display.

  7. In one of her Dark Shadows memoirs, Kathryn talks about Davis playing her boyfriend in House of Dark Shadows … she wasn’t too happy about that, saying that she wanted to eat a lot of donuts so that she would be Jeff Clark’s chubby girlfriend

  8. Ah, Danny, Danny, Danny.

    Could you please consider preceding any other entries like this with a warning to those wearing eye makeup? E.g. “This will be a particularly, brilliantly humorous entry that is destined to result in ‘raccoon eyes’ from laugh-crying your mascara off.”

    Jeez. Too freaking funny. I don’t exactly know why but your description of what’s-his-name (pervert actor with the whiny yelling voice) being the worst magician ever when he shoves all the knicknacks off the table before declaring it to be empty … Gaah. Still can’t stop laughing.

    Btw, love all the comments here, too, for this entry … and actually all others. Helpful and witty … And also relieving, somehow, when I see others expressing many of my own sake thoughts and feelings about DS.

    I was especially grateful when I read all the feedback on what’s-his-name in the role of the disgustingly incestuous brother of Chris’s PTSD-afflicted ex-fiancee. Watching him molest that poor actress through that episode seriously made me nauseous but I at least felt some comfort in knowing we were all so discomforted together (if that makes sense)!

  9. I am stunned to be first to consider the obvious. That was not a glass but more of cup – nay, a chalice – that Tate sketched. Yet the script said “glass” over and over. I can see why Sam Hall, might have written “glass,” because for an artist as good as Tate is supposed to be, a glass should have been simple and plain enough to sketch quickly. Instead, he drew an elaborate chalice that should have taken even the great Tate several minutes to draw, so that all of us would have been checking our watches and noticing that a drama that’s only 21 minutes in length – without commercials – has limited time for watching someone draw.

    Yet we see this detailed drawing of a chalice after no more than half a minute. And we are told that it is a “glass.” And other than Danny’s explanation about nervous glassware (animated like the fixtures in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”?) we do not know why it didn’t work. Maybe the Tate magic touch only works at his studio. And is Petofi lying or not when he seems not to know about this side-effect of his gift of talent to Tate? Thayer David convinced me that Petofi knows nothing about it.

    1. That Petofi doesn’t understand the extent of the powers that Tate acquired when he made his bargain with him is a key moment. We’ve heard Petofi tell Aristide that he doesn’t really understand the extent of The Hand’s powers, and we’ve seen that his tricks sometimes backfire in ways that leave him looking foolish (the Time Television.) We’ve also seen that The Hand is nice to some people who try to use it (Tim Shaw) and nasty to others who try to use it (for example, Evan Hanley.) At the moment, The Hand is being nice to Petofi. But the fact that Petofi doesn’t fully understand the powers that swirl around him and that operate through him should lead us to wonder whether it will always favor him.

  10. “The glass saw what happened to the previous occupants of that table, and it’s decided to lock itself in the dressing room until Tate goes away. Glassware is fussy like that. It has to be.” oh! Danny. you do do me in.

  11. The scene with Charles saying, “ok, now there’s nothing on the table, you agree? Now watch carefully (scribble, scribble)” then spectacularly failing to get a glass to materialize there is a mere half-step from intentional comedy. Failed magic acts are always funny. Imagine the scene with a studio audience-type laugh track, and you suddenly have real hilarity on your hands.

    Amanda should have lol-ed and said, “thanks for that; it’s the first real laugh I’ve had in two years.”

  12. This was a very grabby episode on all accounts, including Count Petofi. I loved that he asked Julia about her hair do and clothing. I also loved that he shut her up.

    CDT removing the objects off the table was hilarious! I wish Amanda would’ve said something about it.

  13. One thing that seems a bit off to me is Julia’s speedy, near-instant capitulation to the Count’s demands about their method of time travel. I mean, she’s no longer a beautiful young girl with her whole life still ahead of her; like me, she’s already middle aged, and The Mirror just isn’t the threat it used to be anymore. But though she’s standing strong and tight-lipped against his queries, when he threatens her with destroying her looks, she barely pauses before giving in and choking out “The I Ching!” Seems like she caves way too easily, what’s up with that?

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