Episode 842: Graduation Day

“Does he even know you are not, shall we say, an ordinary being?”

So once again the bat/man arrives on the scene, for a last-minute rescue. The supervillain has kidnapped Barnabas’ time-tossed best friend, and locked her away in a secret chamber hidden in the old mill. She’s bound to a chair with her mouth gagged, looking straight down the barrel of a revolver. There’s a string tied between the doorknob and the gun’s trigger, so that whoever opens the door becomes Julia’s executioner.

And how does Barnabas save his friend from this diabolical trap? Well, he doesn’t, obviously. He just opens the door, and the gun fires, and Julia dies. Duh. This is Barnabas Collins. He fails at everything.

842 dark shadows barnabas julia pulse

But riddle me this: If Julia’s got a gut full of point-blank buckshot, what’s she doing with a pulse? She’s unconscious, but there’s no blood and no bullet holes, and it turns out she’s actually fine. So what gives?

Well, it would take a scientist to explain, and luckily we’ve got one right here. We just need her to wake up, and be an active participant.

842 dark shadows julia barnabas chair

The gun didn’t miss — Julia felt the bullet as it hit. But here she is unharmed, and the chair she was sitting in has a bullet hole through the back. Why doesn’t she?

The answer is needlessly silly and complex, thank goodness. If traveling into the past and not getting killed by a bullet was easy, then everyone would do it, and you’d have to come up with new ways of endangering people.

842 dark shadows julia barnabas vulnerable

Now, Dr Julia Hoffman is nothing if not capable, so after a sit-down and a cup of tea, she puts the whole thing together. Get a load of this.

Julia:  I can think of only one explanation that makes any sense.

Barnabas:  What is it?

Julia:  When you came back to the past, your physical body remained in the future. The same thing must have happened to me.

Barnabas:  But that doesn’t account for the fact that you went unharmed tonight! I’m still vulnerable, why aren’t you?

Julia:  Because you existed in this time before. You had a host body here, to receive your essence. I did not.

Barnabas:  Meaning you are here only in essence.

Julia:  Yes. My physical being is still in the present.

Barnabas:  That’s incredible!

Yeah, that’s one word for it. She’s here in essence? Can we go over this again, in words that make sense this time?

But, of course, this does make sense, it’s just a different kind of sense. This is the version of sense that makes you leave flowers on a loved one’s grave, or scatter their ashes in a place that they loved, even if you don’t actually believe in ghosts or gods or an afterlife. People apparently come hardwired with the idea that the spirit and the physical body are separable, despite the one hundred percent of available evidence to the contrary.

So according to that kind of sense, sure, Julia is here in essence. She can’t be injured by anything physical, although she can still wear clothes and manipulate physical objects. Now you tell me one.

842 dark shadows julia capable

But how can you worry about logic, when Julia is so happy? She cares about two things in this world — finding her light, and solving problems — and she’s currently doing both. She is giddy with competence.

Julia:  Barnabas — don’t you understand, this means I’m not in any danger at all from Petofi! There’s no way he can harm me while I’m here!

Barnabas:  But you said yourself that you felt the impact of the bullet, and it did leave you rather weak.

Julia:  I’m sure that was all psychological. I expected to be killed when the gun went off, and I simply reacted accordingly.

Barnabas:  Well, let’s hope you’re right.

Julia:  I know I am. Now, come — I’ve got to give you a second injection before dawn.

And now, that’s the new thing we’re doing. “Literally defy death” has been crossed off the to-do list, so we move on to “cure vampirism”. Oh, Julia. Even when you’re only here in essence, you rock this hard.

842 dark shadows barnabas julia gasp

Then Barnabas and Julia do one of their party tricks, where they discuss old story points in such an urgent tone of voice that it hardly seems like recap. Barnabas says that they need the assistance of the only person who can help them — Angelique! — and Julia turns and gasps, “Angelique!” Then she runs through eight different facial expressions in a row.

He says that he hates to go to the witch for help, but this time, she’ll be more than willing. Julia asks why, and he announces, “She’s planning to marry Quentin Collins.”

This elicits an even bigger gasp, and Julia squeaks, “Marry him!” like that’s the most fiendish thing she’s ever heard. Then she narrows her eyes, and snarls, “Does he have any idea what she is?” He does, apparently.

842 dark shadows angelique julia i a

And then, because we’ve been good little ladies and gentlemen, we get an Angelique/Julia catfight scene.

It’s morning now, and Angelique has received a message summoning her to the rectory. When Julia opens the door and sees the wicked witch’s stunned expression, she takes pleasure in her own capacity to surprise.

“Please come in,” she smiles. “Your eyes are not deceiving you; I am who you think I am.”

“But how can you be?” Angelique gapes.

“You’re here, Barnabas is here. Why not me?”

“But you’re not like Barnabas and me,” the witch says, entering the room. “You’re –”

“I’m human,” Julia nods.

So here’s the question for the day: Is she?

842 dark shadows petofi angelique encounter

Because today, for some reason, the kaiju are all obsessed with classifying each other. Earlier in the episode, Count Petofi met up with Angelique in the Collinwood foyer, and started talking smack about her wedding plans.

Petofi:  We might discuss the utter absurdity of your marriage to Quentin.

Angelique:  I find nothing absurd about it.

Petofi:  Tell me — does he know everything there is to know about you?

Angelique:  Yes.

Petofi:  I see. Does he even know you are not, shall we say, an ordinary being?

And Julia had exactly the same response: “Does he have any idea what she is?” Suddenly everybody’s concerned about mixed marriages.

842 dark shadows julia angelique figh

So when Angelique says, “You’re not like Barnabas and me,” you have to ask: In what way?

I mean, Julia is currently here only in essence, which means whatever it means, and she’s curing Barnabas’ vampire curse with whatever chemicals she can scrape out of the local apothecary. She’s traveled to the past using lysergic time travel techniques, she just walked away from a gunshot, and considering the time period, she’s got an unbelievably fashion-forward hairstyle.

Plus, she gets dialogue like this:

Let me give you one word of advice, Dr. Hoffman,” Angelique says. “The pursuit of Barnabas Collins can lead to nothing but misery. He is a cold, harsh, unresponsive man.”

Julia narrows her eyes, and growls, “Who made him that way?” And then she turns and looks at Angelique, who practically flinches. You call that human?

842 dark shadows julia mirror

I mean, I don’t know what the entrance exam is like when you become someone who is not, shall we say, an ordinary being, but surely Julia has enough course credits by now. She’s immortal and unstoppable, and she regularly delivers devastating put-downs to people with magic powers. I’m not sure what club Angelique and Petofi think that they’re in, but whatever it is, Julia is now a card-carrying member. Somebody go and find her a card to carry.

Tomorrow: I Can Make You a Man.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

When Barnabas rouses Julia, he says, “Julia, can you hear me?” She groans, and says, “Barnabas…” Urgently, he asks, “Can you talk?” Since she just did, there’s not much for her to say. She just looks around for a while, until he stumbles forward to the next line.

There are a lot of footsteps in the studio at the beginning of Barnabas and Julia’s act 1 scene in the rectory.

As Barnabas says, “I’m still vulnerable, why aren’t you?” he crosses and stands right behind Julia. He’s apparently stepping on the back of her dress, and she has to reach behind to pull it out from under his foot during her next line. She does it so smoothly that it’s easy to miss, but if you watch closely, it’s really funny. Go and see.

Someone in the studio coughs while Julia is rummaging through her medical bag.

Barnabas tells Julia that Angelique is here: “She put in an appearance about a week ago — just a week after that I arrived from the present.”

Tate tells Petofi about his experience with the I Ching: “A woman went into a trance, and… (pause)… well, when she started… (long pause, looks at the teleprompter)… well, when she was in the trance, she started to scream.”

Barnabas has a minor meltdown in a conversation with Julia:

Barnabas:  We must get another message to Angelique, and tell her that it must be done before — sooner than we thought!

Julia:  Why?

Barnabas:  We can’t give Petofi too much time to maneuver! By now, he probably knows that — that you are not dead.

Julia:  But —

Barnabas:  It means he’ll make another move against you.

Julia:  Barnabas, you know that there’s nothing he can do to harm me!

Barnabas:  I know that. And I know that he will find out that. Sooner than — sooner than you think. And his change — then he’ll change his tactics, and harass you till the point that you’re unable to help me.

When Amanda sits down in a chair, you can see the foot and leg of a crew member, behind the potted plant.

Behind the Scenes:

This episode is not written by Gordon Russell. The credits say that it was, and the credits are misinformed. This is a Violet Welles script. I would bet my immortal essence on it.

Tate’s creation is played by Alexander Cort, in his only role on Dark Shadows. Cort also had small roles in John and Mary, a 1969 Dustin Hoffman/Mia Farrow film, and a 1972 TV-movie called Your Money or Your Wife.

Tomorrow: I Can Make You a Man.

842 dark shadows julia giddy

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

44 thoughts on “Episode 842: Graduation Day

  1. So, in essence, Julia is now a supernatural being, at least while she is in time-traveling mode. She has opened the doors of perception and broken on through to the other side. She is the Lizard Queen — she can do anything.

    Has Angelique always had this past future memory of living in 1968 as Cassandra? When Evan and Quentin summoned her out of the fireplace, wasn’t she adjusting to 1897 as though she last remembered living in 1796? It seems as though her memory and sense of time have been retconned specifically for this interesting scene with Julia. But the writers, too, are Lizard Kings (and one Lizard Queen) — they can do anything.

    Alexander Cort looks as though he could pass for Al Pacino’s younger brother. Meet Scarface’s younger sibling — Sketchface.

    1. Angelique’s timeline is thus:

      1) 1795

      2) 1968 Dream Curse/Adam

      3) 1796 (She was sent there as “punishment” — though she was no longer a vampire)

      4) 1897

      5) 1970 (The presumption is she lives through 4 – 5)

      (1840 doesn’t fit neatly into this)

    2. Yeah, Angelique confirmed that she remembers 1968 a few weeks ago, when Jamison (possessed by David) called her Cassandra. She explained to Quentin that she’d been in David’s time. The basic rule is that Angelique remembers everything that the audience remembers, in that order.

  2. I like the idea of Julia with powers.

    When Dark Shadows started to eventually run out of steam, they should have given Julia mysterious magical powers. I can see her keeping it totally secret, as we, the audience, get nothing more than little clues until, one day she is forced to do battle with some evil entity.
    Let’s say this person (someone other than Angelique) is threatening Barnabas, when suddenly, out of the blue, Julia has had enough and just throws a huge fireball or lightening bolt at them, to everyone’s amazement. It should come as a total shock to Barnabas, and even more of a shock to Julia, herself, because while she knew she was developing something, she didn’t know the extent of it, until forced into action.

    I’m not saying her powers should be permanent, or so strong that she is able to fix everything, but just enough to open a few new doors of possibilities.
    This could lead to a moment where Julia and Angelique must combine their powers to fight an even bigger threat. It would also be very amusing to see a scene where Angelique admits, very reluctantly, to Barnabas that she is now just a tiny bit afraid of Julia.

    1. Richard, how I wish your last paragraph was canon!

      I think that Julia’s secret kaiju power is ‘merely’ the bizarre logic that passes for Science in the Dark Shadows universe. She is, indeed, a bamf. She and Barnabas make an indomitable team.

      1. Thanks!

        Angelique doesn’t like to admit fear, or anything else, but having her confess “a strange feeling” about Julia’s new powers plants the idea that eventually those powers may become a problem for Julia, as in “too much of a good thing” or the whole “power corrupts” yada yada.
        I could see Barnabas jokingly suggest to Angelique that she might be just “a tad jealous?”
        “Oh, no, Barnabas, it’s nothing like that, at all. It’s not her “powers” I object to, it’s the fact that she doesn’t know where they come from. Or, if she does, she’s not telling us. And that’s what worries me.”

        You’re right about Julia.
        Long ago, I noticed her “powers” of extrapolation. That was before I knew she was married to the head writer. No wonder she’s the Smart Cookie.
        It’s actually her show, now.
        Quentin is just renting it til the holidays.

        1. And to think her husband was contemplating having Barnabas upend Julia into a vat of acid in 1967 for making him age (or at least allowing him to). On another occasion Sam Hall was again considering having Julia’s character killed off to accelerate the pace of horror by allowing someone else to discover Barnabas’ secret, but Dan Curtis vetoed the idea.

          1. As he (Dan Curtis) should have. I can’t believe that Sam Hall thought that (killing of Julia) was a good idea. I remember him saying that with Julia gone, they could start the whole thing over again. Hello? They were already repeating storylines like crazy. Besides, Julia had become a DS icon.

    2. Julia has been one to stand up to Angelique/Cassandra. Remember when she notch slapped Cassandra. She didn’t give a damn what Cassandra did to her. She was hurting Barnabas. Even before that remember when Barnabas threatened Julia when she told him to stay away from Vicki claiming he would get rid of her? Julia told him she would take her chances and that he had till the end of the day to get right about it or she would expose him. That resulted in him and Vicki trying to leave Collinwood and ultimately getting in the car accident. Julia whether out of body or in body can’t be touched. Things that have been done to her she has survived all in the name of helping her friend. He in turn won’t let anything happen to her.

  3. Rather than waste a good hanky Aristede should’ve stuffed Julia’s own neck ‘cravat’ in her mouth. Then again maybe the neck cravat was made out of Kevlar and saved her life.

    1. I always assumed Julia’s power suits were all Kevlar. Her hair, too – especially that first wig she wore.

      1. …lol Samantha. Julia’s wig could have been some type of Kevlar as hard as it looked. It probably weighed a pound.

  4. “People apparently come hardwired with the idea that the spirit and the physical body are separable, despite the one hundred percent of available evidence to the contrary.”

    But don’t the body and spirit separate when someone dies?

      1. But this is Dark Shadows, and everyone believes six impssible things before breakfast. After breakfast, it’s time to get on with believing impossible things before lunch. And don’t get me started on what happens before supper!

      2. My point wasn’t that the spirit continues to exist–we don’t really know whether that happens or not. But while death causes the spirit to disappear (and possibly cease to exist), the body’s still there–separate from the spirit.

        1. I guess what I’m saying is that the thing that we call a “spirit” or a personality or whatever is the product of physical and chemical processes.

  5. It’s very gasp-worthy to hear Quentin plans to marry Angelique considering that he and Evan summoned her out of HELL. Just cause we like her doesn’t change the fact that she’s collecting Quentin’s soul for her Master.

  6. I also love the pair of coconuts a stagehands slaps against a table to indicate Aristede fleeing off-stage. One of my favorite DARK SHADOWS moments.

    It’s great to see Julia with Barnabas again (though briefly). She’s sort of like Scully to Barnabas’s Mulder: A key element in keeping the character from becoming insufferable. Barnabas and Magda had great chemistry but a far less intimate relationship.

      1. That castle at the beginning of Scooby Doo, sure looks like Collinwood.

        The show premiered at the beginning of September 1969.

        And the episode “What the Hex going on” has very Barnabas looking monster who comes out of a very Eagle Hill looking Mausoleum.

        1. I’ve always thought that Dark Shadows, Disney’s Haunted Mansion, and Scooby-Doo all came out of something that was going on in the zeitgeist. They all seems to spring up at the same time.

          1. The mansion at the beginning of the first season was indeed specifically Collinwood. (And yes, that was Barnabas in that episode referred to.) The Scooby Doo title sequence mansion in a subsequent season was the Addams Family house.

  7. I have wondered if that scene where Jonathan Frid melts down near the end of the episode was a last minute insertion into the script because he really looked out of it and the scene was completely redundant..

  8. “So according to that kind of sense, sure, Julia is here in essence. She can’t be injured by anything physical, although she can still wear clothes and manipulate physical objects.”

    This brings up an issue that’s always bugged me – especially when it comes to Barnabas. How come when he disappears, his clothes and cane disappear also? And when he turns into a bat and then reappears, he’s still wearing clothes. The same questions could also be applied to Angelique, but I’ll cut her some slack – her witchcraft gives her the power for her clothes to appear on her.

    I believe “True Blood” addressed this issue with the shape shifter character. When be morphed back into a man, he was naked.

    (I am not implying that I want to see Barnabas naked. Tom Jennings, on the other hand…)

      1. Thanks for sharing that photo. I’d seen it before, but not in a very long time. In my opinion, it’s the best evidence I’m aware of that Jonathan Frid was anything but asexual.

  9. I’m of the opinion that Julia Hoffman has always had supernatural powers of some kind. Add the mad science, the hypnomedalion and her ability to explain any weird plot point that needs explaining together, and it’s clear she’s not an ordinary doctor. Face it, she’d be totally out of place in General Hospital!

  10. ‘Barnabas tells Julia that Angelique is here: “She put in an appearance about a week ago — just a week after that I arrived from the present.”’

    So everything that happened since Barnabas arrived – Edith’s death, Carl’s death, Jenny’s death, Minerva’s death, Trask marrying Judith and carting her off to asylum, Jamison’s possession, Quentin’s curse and several full moons of werewolf attacks…

    …happened in only two weeks!?

  11. Angelique seems concerned that Julia can cure Barnabas, and “give him something he’s wanted for hundreds of years” or some such. Is she not yet aware that’s he’s cured in the present, and that he’s only a vampire while he’s using his, uh, body from the past? Come to think of it, maybe she isn’t?

  12. That opening shot of Grayson Hall staring at the camera with a big red handkerchief stuffed in her mouth is just…something you can’t imagine seeing on any other show.

    Barnabas’s line that implied he’s only been in 1897 for two weeks took me by surprise too. I’m guessing that the line as written was something like, “She put in an appearance weeks ago — just a week after I arrived from the present.”

  13. I like the thought that Julia – the Lizard Queen (a very befitting appellation) – is a supernatural being. It would make her mannerisms and her “sure” knowledge of supernatural and scientific things more believeable and less irritating.

  14. Well, Julia, if you’re going to hang about in the old rectory you might as well take a broom to those cobwebs. And speaking of old things, that dress Julia has on is at least 10-15 years out of date–the front is ruched up and it has a train (which is what Frid was standing on.) Now, that sort of makes sense since her dress was borrowed from the back of someone’s closet, but Angelique’s dress is the same. Are they all thrift shopping? Or just raiding some absent Collins’ wardrobe?

  15. I know this is a visit from the distant future, but I found something interesting: Alexander Cort appeared on Broadway in 1967 and early 1968 in a play called “The Impossible Years.” His costar was none other than David Selby. As they say, it’s not what you know….

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