Episode 923: Probably Her

“If we can find more realities like that, maybe we can get him out of the mist.”

Okay, so do you remember how pretty much all of last year I was saying that the writers didn’t have a big master plan that connected Quentin’s haunting with Chris’ werewolf story, and that they had no idea that they were going to use Charles Delaware Tate’s magic portrait skills to cure Quentin and bring him to 1969 to reunite with his long-lost great-grandson? And everyone was like, no, they planned that all out, they knew the whole thing, like, totally in advance. And I was like, no, they’re just making it up as they go along.

Well, here we are, in Tate’s big dark mansion, with the culmination of this master narrative — Quentin, werewolf, Tate, portrait. So what’s the big payoff?

Nothing! Because they didn’t actually have a plan.

So everybody else was wrong and I was right, and that’s why I am the god emperor of understanding how Dark Shadows works.


Because here’s the big climax of the last fourteen months of afternoon television. It’s just about to be the night of the full moon, and Chris has taken zero precautions because he is irresponsible. So Tate is desperately trying to speed-paint a magical portrait of Chris that will take away his werewolf curse. But the sun sets, and Chris drops to his knees, getting meaner and hairier and —

And then here’s Quentin, to the rescue! He runs into the room like an avenging angel, just bursts through the door and saves the day. He sees Tate, and the werewolf, and his memories come flooding back. He knows who he is now! He’s Quentin Collins, he’s the werewolf and all of this mess — seventy-two years of horror and heartbreak — it’s all his fault. But now he can fix things, he can save Tate and save Chris, and together, they’ll find another way, there’s got to be another way, there’s just got to!

Except not really. Quentin does have a nice moment, squaring off against the werewolf and actually pasting him one on the jaw. I bet Tate wishes he’d thought of that one.


And then there’s this moment when Quentin has a choice of two objects to defend himself with. He gropes behind him and finds a little bronze bust on an occasional table which was put there for emergency bludgeoning purposes, and a silver candlestick which I assume is just part of the decor. And Quentin — who has amnesia, and doesn’t know anything about werewolves — instinctively picks up the silver candlestick, because werewolves are afraid of candlesticks.

No, scratch that, they’re actually afraid of silver. There’s a very good reason for that, which I’m sure will come to me later. And that’s your action sequence for the day.


So the werewolf rushes out of the room, off to kill another stranger in the night. Meanwhile, Quentin notices the painter laid out on the carpet, weltering in gore.

Quentin bends down, and asks, “What happened?” And Tate says, what do you mean what happened? I cut myself shaving.


Obviously, instead of calling the police or an ambulance or animal control, Quentin places a call to his volunteer landlady, Olivia Corey. She happens to be hanging out with Dr. Julia Hoffman, refusing to answer any of Julia’s many sensible questions, so they all decide to go over to Tate’s house and not really help.

Now, you and I and everybody with a brainstem knows that the woman calling herself “Olivia Corey” is actually Amanda Harris, which is a completely different name, and therefore an appropriate plot point for a television show. We knew this the whole time, because she looks like Amanda Harris, and she’s interested in the kind of stuff that Amanda Harris would be interested in, and we never found out what happened to Amanda Harris, so if the concept of “Amanda Harris” still means something in the storyline then she is probably her. This is a mystery that wasn’t really solved, as much as it was just left alone by itself for long enough that everybody forgot it was there.


So they decamp to Tate’s place, with Amanda wearing a coat that honestly is only going to antagonize the werewolf. Quentin lets them in, and he tells Julia that the patient’s in the drawing room.

And then they do this extremely peculiar thing. Before Julia goes into the drawing room, she says to Quentin, “You stay here with Miss Corey. But come here, I want to –”

And then she takes Quentin a step away, and whispers something in his ear. And she still keeps her face entirely in the light the whole time, because that is how Grayson Hall works. It’s uncanny.

When she’s done, she asks Quentin, “Do you understand? It’s very important.” He says, “I don’t understand, but I’ll do it anyway.” And then we never actually find out what that means.


Because then they make a mistake of a type that I don’t think we’ve ever seen before; this is a new idea in the field of bloopers.

Julia closes the door behind her, leaving Quentin and Amanda in the hall. As the doors close, we hear Amanda say, “Well, what’s the matter with Mr. Monroe?”

And then Quentin says a couple of lines that we can’t really hear, because they’ve already moved the microphone. Apparently, there was more to that scene; we were supposed to linger on Quentin and Amanda for a couple more lines. Instead, the camera followed Julia, and we can see her glance up at the director while she’s waiting for her cue to begin the scene with Tate.


Then Julia asks Amanda to come into the room to talk to Tate, and she does, leaving Quentin behind in the hall. And we don’t see Quentin again for the rest of this sequence; the next time we see him, he’s back at the apartment, telling Julia about his fight with the werewolf.

So what did Julia whisper in Quentin’s ear? They never refer to it again, so it must have been related to the little bit of Quentin and Amanda’s conversation that we missed.

The reason that I’m fixating on this weird little blooper is that it’s a decent metaphor for Quentin’s role in this storyline. There’s a moment of false mystery, and then we just leave him out in the hallway while other people get all the plot points.


Anyway, it all works out okay, by which I mean that Tate dies, and that’s the last character that Roger Davis plays on the show. He’ll be back for a few ghost cameos, and he shows up in House of Dark Shadows, but this is basically the end of his run. Rest in peace, Roger Davis characters; may you spend eternity someplace quiet — a stopping-off place, as it were — where you can touch your head as much as you like. Vaya con Dios.


So it’s been a pretty big day for Quentin, not that he recognizes that or has any reaction to it. His great-grandson turned into a supernatural monster and killed the guy who painted the supernatural portrait that’s kept him eternally young, and then he chased the monster away with a centerpiece and had a chat with the only woman that he’s ever truly loved, and he doesn’t really understand any of that.

He just looks dazed for a while, standing there in his own personal naturally-occurring Instagram filter. And then the scene changes and we don’t see him again for nine episodes.


So, I don’t know. If Quentin can’t be bothered to pay attention to his own storyline, I’m not sure why I have to. He just leaves, and then Julia talks to Amanda, and now she finally admits that she’s Amanda, which we already knew.

And Julia says, great, now that you’ve admitted you’re Amanda, I can actually help you achieve whatever it is you’re trying to achieve, which is exactly what she was saying before, so Amanda was keeping her big non-secret for no reason at all. God, I’m really having a hard time even thinking about this storyline, at this point.


And then there’s this flashback, where we see Amanda back in 1897, begging Quentin not to leave her, but he does anyway, obviously, because now that I think of it, maybe Quentin hates this storyline as much as I do, and that’s why he clearly can’t wait to get off the screen. Oh, man, I bet that’s it. That would explain so much about this story.

Anyway, he says goodbye and walks away, and she does the thing that characters do on television, which is to stay on the set, sobbing and shouting things, as the other character exits, out of camera range and therefore impossibly out of reach. I don’t really understand why they don’t just follow the person. It’s laziness, that’s what it is, pure laziness.


And then a meek little man in a hat shows up, and says soothing things that make it sound like he knows Amanda and understands all of her problems. And this mysterious charity elf seems so concerned and helpful that it’s pretty much a guarantee that he’s going to turn out to be Death, or God, or Time, or the White Guardian, or the Black Guardian pretending to be the White Guardian, or something. It usually works out that way. I’m sure they’ll be fine.

Tomorrow: Pretty Woman.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

When Amanda runs to Quentin’s door, a boom mic can be seen in her room.

In Harrison Monroe’s letter, he says that Tate’s painting “A View from South Wales” went missing from the studio following a fire. But when the fire burned down Tate’s studio, Quentin’s portrait was just covered with white paint; he hadn’t painted anything else on that canvas.

On the phone, Sky says, “Have a helicopter waiting at Kennedy to take us into the airport — into the city.”

Geoffrey Scott’s name is misspelled as “Geoffery Scott” in the credits.

Behind the Scenes:

Sky Rumson is played by Geoffrey Scott, in his first TV role. During the time that he was on Dark Shadows, he was also appearing in an off-Broadway play called Earth Spirit with Lara Parker. The play only ran for a few performances. It probably wasn’t his fault.

Tomorrow: Pretty Woman.


Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

82 thoughts on “Episode 923: Probably Her

  1. If I was a physician, and found myself in a position where the treatment of vampirism and lycanthropy had become my specialties, I’d like to think I’d remember the night when Quentin, in werewolf form, received a flesh wound with a silver bullet.
    It didn’t kill him; he sat up all night at the Old House, weak and in pain, but in the morning he transformed back into healthy human form.
    I would experiment with a treatment for Chris in which he would always have a plastic-coated pellet of silver on hand to swallow before moonrise on the relevant days. He would still transform, but if my hypothesis was correct the silver inside his body would keep him in a weakened state so that he wouldn’t be able to kill anyone while transformed. Then it can be retrieved from his stool the next day, uncoated, sterilized, recoated, and reused.
    If that didn’t go well, I’d experiment with silver needles inserted under the skin.
    Julia did a lot more for Chris than either Quentin or Leviathan-controlled Barnabas, but she seemed rather less tenacious than I was used to seeing her.

        1. Well…
          Actually there was a Victorian remedy that was used in similar fashion, as a laxative. It was a metal ‘pill’, swallowed and ‘recovered’, and saved for reuse. It could be administered to any family member in need, and was even ‘handed down’ to the next generation. And evidently they were not sanitized after use.

          All together now – EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWW!

        2. I wonder if taking colloidal silver would’ve worked. Its use in medicine was largely discontinued by the 1940’s but I’m sure Dr. Hoffman would’ve known about it. Of course, repeated use has the unfortunate side effect of permanently turning one’s skin blue, but no doubt Chris would’ve preferred looking like a smurf for the rest of his days if it meant not going on a mindless killing spree every month. Or maybe not… he does seem vain and selfish at times…

      1. No problem – Mrs. Stoddard would simply put Mrs. Johnson in charge of the retrieval and sterilization. And Mrs. Johnson would pass the duty on to Harry.

  2. So, everybody else was wrong, and you were right, and you’re King Of The Popes and totally rule the whole entire universe of DS – nyah nyah nyah to everybody else! Now, Danny, you have to be a gracious winner…even if it IS your weblog.

    I’m no engineer, and have never constructed a suspension bridge (or even a box-girder bridge), but the angles for the foreground and background don’t seem to match up. Could be more of that aeroelastic flutter.

    Didn’t Chris lock the door when he forced Tate to make with the pallette? Didn’t Chris drop the painting on the floor? When Quentin (we gave up on that whole ‘Grant’ thing now, right?) comes back, the door is open and the painting is on the easel. It was established in earlier episodes that werewolves can use doorknobs, but it is nice to see that they also have respect for art.

    It’s hard to see the portrait clearly, but did Tate paint Chris wearing another goddamned turtleneck? Maybe that is what precipitated the attack. Talk about being ‘savaged by a critic’.

  3. I don’t care. “I honour you Queen Carlotta”. Or Emperor Danny. Or whatever it is. (I suppose John Waters didn’t use the name Carlotta by accident, he would have to be a Dark Shadows fan, right?)

    1. Bow down! Bow down!

      ‘”Who’s that then?”
      “I dunno. Must be a king.”
      “He hasn’t got shit all over him.”‘
      Peasant bystanders in ‘Monty Python And The Holy Grail’

  4. That’s the problem with Quentin in this storyline. Yes, it is great to have him back, but give him something to do, besides hang around. And logically why would Quentin want to hang around in a one-horse town like Collinsport? True, it is his old family home, but that gets stale after a few days.

    Better to have him come, do whatever he hasa come to do, and leave again. Then rinse an repeat. Keep coming back as needed, leaves when done, with a few broken hearts in his wake.

    But then the Leviathan storyline is going to be artificially lenghtenend, with a lot of incident, but little plot progression.”

    And the”good guys” do not even bother to hold a war council on how to proceed. They go along with Barnabas’ plan. Even if they know that as a planner, Barnabas makes Baldric look like a genius

    1. So, Barnabas wouldn’t know a subtle plan if it painted itself bright blue and danced around naked on a harpsichord, singing, “Subtle Plans Are Here Again?”

    2. Quentin is the prodigal son. That is his one consistent trait throughout 1897: Even when he’s a will thieving villain, a zombie, a werewolf, or Dorian Gray, he is the “disreputable” or “wild” Collins son who has a prickly relationship with his family. Remove that and you lose much of his appeal.

      It’s possibly that the writers noticed how Quentin was such a moving target, as I described in 1897, so they thought that made him infinitely adaptable, as long as he’s sexy and funny. But I think this misses how vital his relationships to people other than Barnabas and Julia were.

      And arguably, the 1970 PT and 1840 “master of Collinwood” Quentin is still sexy but he’s not that funny.

  5. It just occurred to me–where are Roger and Willie during all these shenanigans? What were they doing when we saw them last? Where are the actors? (I am sure there is a fanfic to explain this–or maybe they were on a couple times and I just missed it)…?

      1. Amy last appeared in 912, asking for a glass of water and later becoming a Leviathan. She won’t return till 949.

            1. Wikipedia gives principal photography beginning April 30, 1970 – ending in October. (Apropos of this (and the recent passing of Gene Wilder), the movie is currently playing at a nearby ‘classic film’ revival house (nearby to me), the Farmington Civic Theater.)

            2. As recently as 1998, Denise was still telling fans she left Dark Shadows to film THE NEON CEILING. In more recent years, I’ve heard her say she left DS to make the Wonka film.

              I asked her a few years ago what order this all happened in. She told me

              1) released from her DS contract by Dan Curtis at Denise and her Mother’s request

              2) filmed Neon Ceiling “out in the desert”

              3) 1 day at home turnaround time to unpack her desert clothes and pack Winter clothes for Germany.

              4) travel to Germany to film the Wonka movie.

              She said Dan Curtis honored her request to leave DS while still under contract, but still spitefully cut her out of the costume ball scene in House of Dark Shadows.

              1. Is it certain that Dan Curtis was being spiteful? He wrote John Karlen out of and back into the show numerous times when he wanted to explore other projects, as well as Jerry Lacy. Most infamously, Dennis Patrick, to get out of his contract in 1967, “offered to punch the producer in the month”, but he was still subsequently welcomed back. No doubt if the show had lasted longer, Denise Nickerson would have been brought back as well. The only thing that would guarantee an actor never returning was if they had been fired.

                1. Is it certain that Dan Curtis was being spiteful?

                  That was how Denise characterized his actions when she told me the story.

    1. Episode 913 (David is terrorized by pigweasel and otterbeaver) mentions Roger going to Boston ‘next week’. He’ll be back in 925.
      Willie hasn’t been around since Episode 696 (before Carl Collins!) and won’t reappear until 956.

  6. When werewolves become art critics….


    I love that weird illusion of a bridge, in the scenes with Quentin and Amanda, in old New York City. It’s not that it looks like a bridge, but it does give the scene a weird visual dynamic they’ve never done before. Thanks to the lighting, it manages to look huge.
    All those ropes sweeping upward, it wants to sweep you up, too. Maybe that’s it, maybe it’s not a bridge, but a great big giant spider web, or Death’s web, or all of the above.

    1. Yeah, this is all episode 922 stuff. My original plan was that this entry would be about the whole sequence from the werewolf attack (beginning of 922) through Mr. Best giving Amanda an extra 7 days (middle of 923).

      But it turned out that the 922 material was running long, and I was getting more exasperated about the whole terrible storyline. That moment where I said “I’m really having a hard time even thinking about this storyline” was genuine. Sometimes the show just keeps doubling down on the same bad choice, and this is one of them.

      So I figured, screw it, all I’m doing is whining about how terrible this storyline is, and I’m about to go on a long Mr. Best rant, and it won’t do anybody any good. So I cut bait. I’ll come back to Mr. Best when he pops up again in a couple weeks.

      1. You don’t need to mention Mr. Best again if you don’t want to.


        (He wonders why “nobody ever just wants to come along with” him.
        Don’t get me started with this pixie. Do not even.)

  7. Julia whispers to Quentin: “Don’t tell her that… who Harrison Monroe is.”

    After Julia shuts the door and Olivia/Amanda is heard to ask “Well what’s, what’s the matter with Mr. Monroe?”, Quentin answers: “It’s really weird. He got attacked by something, an animal. A kind of animal that’s dangerous.”

      1. I have a rather powerful set of Insignia speakers attached to my computer and a decent set of earbuds (Skullcandy), so with the DVD program and the speakers both set on full volume, you can just about make it out — mind you, it took an entire chicken dinner’s worth of playing, pausing, and rewinding before I finally deciphered the lines. I figured out Julia’s whispered line first, though it took several playbacks to be certain. Quentin’s lines took longer. “It’s really weird” and “A kind of animal that’s dangerous” are fairly clear, but it was the words that came after “He got attacked by” and before “animal” that took the longest — to be honest, I’m sort of guessing that those hard-to-detect words are “something, an”, but that’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

        It would make sense that Julia doesn’t want him to tell Olivia who Monroe is — because Julia herself wants to tell her and does so soon after. And of course Quentin would be explaining, in answer to Olivia’s question, that “Mr. Monroe” was attacked by some dangerous animal. What else could he say? Despite what Tate has told him, he still doesn’t know himself what actually happened to Tate.

        If you have a half hour to spare, you may be able to make it out as well. What I did was type down the words I could definitely hear, then when playing these parts over again I would just listen to the audio and read along with what I’d typed to see that it matched, until I’d reconstructed the complete lines, then played the audio back as I read over the lines a few more times just to be sure.

  8. Well, Prisoner, you get my recommendation for Prince of All Things Dark Shadows!
    With the God Emperor’s approval, of course.
    At least a knighthood…Sir Prisoner.

    “Better than anything I could have done.”
    Merlin, in ‘Excalibur’

  9. Danny, I agree that Charles Delaware Tate was never part of the writers’ master plan. He was simply the device they came up with to ensure that Quentin would be able to continue on the show once everyone realized he had begun to rival Barnabas in popularity and was too valuable a commodity to dispose of. But you’ll never convince me — at least not without the writers themselves backing it up — that they didn’t plan from the start on Quentin’s haunting of Collinwood being linked to Chris’s lycanthropy and serving as a means of explaining it. (As I mentioned here once before, it was the spirit of Magda appearing in that seance very early on that makes me believe that.) I suspect what they really thought was going to happen was that Chris Jennings might prove the breakout character who could rival Barnabas, so this time they started planning his “origin” from the get-go instead of making it up ex post facto the way they had to with Barnabas. That is, they had learned from their previous mistake. Only, to their surprise, the explanation (Quentin) ended up becoming far more popular than who he was designed to explain (Chris). So that’s what they ended up having to retrofit, which is where Charles Delaware Tate (and, of course, Count Petofi) came in — which was extremely fortuitous in that Petofi was, in my opinion, one of the two or three best characters the DS writers ever came up with, helped in no small part by Thayer David’s brilliant characterization.

    1. I thought as you did, Wayne, but when I challenged myself to watch those pre-1897 episodes without the anchor of foresight, it is clear that a lot is being made up as it develops.

      The seance scene is a good example. We don’t know who Magda is at that point, but when she starts to talk about her “curse” and Chris freaks out, it’s not necessarily intended to be because she’s talking about his curse. He is scared and ironically prevents her from warning them about Quentin. It is dramatic irony.

      The “curse” is possibly what kept Quentin’s spirit confined for all those year until the children released him.

      Also, Quentin is a ghost. The idea of a ghost who was also a werewolf is crazy double dipping. It’s not necessarily part of their grand plan.

      1897 doesn’t have a lot of initial focus. It’s just a lot of fun and different narrative collisions each week. When they went back to tell Barnabas’s “origin,” it is far more streamlined. Quentin doesn’t become a werewolf for a few months, after having died twice already.

      Previous DARK SHADOWS patterns would have had Don Briscoe playing his own ancestor, but Don Briscoe sort of fizzled out as Tim Shaw.

    2. Completely agree and the Pentagram necklace proves that. The writers took the idea of the necklace from the Universal “Wolfman” movies – it wasn’t just a random idea. If they weren’t trying to link Quentin/Chris/werewolf, they would have never used it.

  10. DS planned something over a year in advance? No way! They threw a werewolf at the story, and that wasn’t enough, so they decided to bring in a ghost from the past, in a Turn of the Screw type scenario. That would also serve to utilise the current assets in David Henesy, and Denise Nickerson, who turned out to be way better than they had bargained on. Quentin turned out to be fantastically popular, so they continued his story, decided to take it back to his own time for explanation, and came up with all sorts of other ways to tie it all together as time went on.

    1. It wasn’t over a year in advance. The Quentin’s haunting storyline started virtually concurrently with Chris’s storyline. Chris is introduced around Episode 627. Quentin’s haunting begins around Episode 639 — just over two weeks later. Magda (a gypsy name if there ever was one, and gypsies were associated with werewolves in pop culture courtesy of The Wolf Man) introduces herself in a seance, warning about Quentin’s spirit and a curse, in Episode 642. It’s all there, the writers killing two birds with one stone: having something exciting going on between full moons, when the werewolf would be running around, and prepping for an explanation of why Chris is a werewolf. After all, they must’ve realized that the haunting would require an explanation even more than Chris’s lycanthropy would need explaining. The two were custom-made for each other, meeting each other’s needs. By Episode 701 — only about nine weeks later — Barnabas is back in 1897, but even before then the connection between Quentin and Chris had been well established on the show (Quentin’s ghost trying to kill Chris, the pentagram buried with the baby boy in the woods, etc.). So there was no planning over a year in advance. On the contrary, it was fundamental plotting not much more sophisticated than that routinely conducted by creative writing students at colleges across the country. Or are we suggesting that the DS writers weren’t even that skilled?

      1. Correction: Barnabas’s visit to 1897 started about twelve weeks later, not nine. (You divide the number of episodes by 5, not 7, to get the correct number of weeks.) But it still doesn’t change the point I was trying to make.

      2. I don’t mean to imply they weren’t skilled, just lacking time. They had to do everything pronto, and it’s often clear that things were made up on the fly and subject to change (i.e not planned for long in advance). This is evident by the multitude of threads which are introduced but then dropped, unfinished and never explained. I don’t believe for a second that just because those story elements were introduced, they had the whole thing worked out at that stage. It could just be more of the old “throw a few plot elements out there and see what comes out of them”.

        If you are right, then why weren’t Barnabas’ efforts to fix everything by going back in time successful in stopping Chris’ lycanthropy? That would’ve helped everyone. He did stop the haunting (though it was kind of accidental).

        1. I suspect it’s because Chris was far more valuable to DS as a werewolf than as an ex-werewolf. They had to stop the haunting — to save David, to get everyone back into Collinwood, and to enable Quentin to “return to life” in the present — but they didn’t have to cure Chris, at least not anytime soon. They could milk that plot thread somewhat longer, and they did.

          As to the question posed by someone else as to why (aside from the writers’ desire for it not to work) Tate’s portrait of Chris didn’t cure him, perhaps it’s because Petofi’s apparent (?) death put an end to that aspect of Tate’s talent. The effects of his past portraits continued, but any new portraits painted after Petofi’s exit no longer had the same powers, as it were.

          1. By the way, I agree completely that the writers didn’t have “the whole thing worked out” from the start. They certainly had to fudge and hedge with the details, as evidenced by (among other things) their early use of the name “Oscar” for the character that eventually became Edward. But I do firmly believe that, minus assorted details, they had the overall, general concept in mind from the start: that Quentin would serve as the device by which Chris’s werewolfery would be explained.

            1. I’m with Wayne on this. They were still making it up as they went along, but it seems clear they figured they could tie the Quentin and Chris storylines together fairly early, if not from the very start. The pentagram in the boy’s grave cinches that for me.

              1. Before 1897, Chris and Carolyn were an item. Soap Opera 101 involves throwing in complexities to prevent a “happily ever after,” but making Chris and Carolyn cousins isn’t a complexity, it’s a story ender.

                Sabrina makes her remarkable recovery during the Leviathan storyline but frankly Carolyn functioning in the same role (trying to cure Chris so they could be together) would put Chris on the frontburner instead of the backburner. It would also make Chris more actively involved in stopping Jeb’s plans for Carolyn (I still find it icky that they actually wind up together).

                Making Chris an “unknown” Collins achieves little dramatically because Quentin winds up taking his role in the family (even moving into the actual Collinwood rather than living in some small cottage).

                Chris seemed to have gotten demoted to afterthought after 1897. I’ve always been curious to the backstage reasons for this.

                1. Unless I’m reckoning incorrectly, Carolyn and Chris are third-cousins. That means they’re actually less closely related than Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, who not only are also third-cousins through one line of descent but also are second-cousins once removed through a different line. Ah, royalty. 😉

                  I remember reading somewhere that Don Briscoe got phased out of the show on account of his mental issues (which became much more serious later in his life) starting to make him unreliable and/or difficult to work with. But of course that’s second- or third-hand information and therefore possibly incorrect.

                  1. Yeah, there’s hints in a few sources that he was ultimately let go in April 1970 because of some combination of drugs and mental health issues. The drugs (definitely pot, probably acid and maybe something else) could have been a way to cope with the depression/mental health issues. I’m sure he wasn’t the only serious pot smoker in the cast, so just that on its own probably wouldn’t take him off the show.

                    Whatever the situation was, I’m sure it didn’t come up all of a sudden in April ’70; that was probably the breaking point on a longer-term problem.

                    But I don’t think they’re scaling back that much on Chris right now. He’s not the #1 story on the show, but he’s involved in both #2 and #3 — Julia’s attempts to find a cure, and the Grant/Quentin mystery. He’s been on screen about as much as usual.

                    I think the shift that’s happening is that the writers wanted the Carolyn/Leviathan relationship to be the core of the lead story, and Chris would have gotten in the way. So Carolyn quietly declares in a conversation with Sabrina that she’s not in love with Chris, and I guess that relationship is over. But they’re building up Sabrina — she’s out of the wheelchair, and getting closer to an adult vocabulary — so that Chris has another girlfriend to imperil.

          2. Well, Tate did lose his “genius”–all the characters who see his landscapes comment on how his late works pretty much sucked and they can’t understand why he quit portraiture. So maybe he just didn’t have the juice after Petofi died.

  11. Can someone explain why Charles Tate’s drawing of Chris didn’t prevent him from turning into a werewokf? It worked for Quentin so why not Chris ..maybe I missed something..

    1. I have often wondered the same! I suppose he was supposed to be just a tad too slow in finishing the painting. Or maybe without Petofi’s backing he was simply incapable of pulling it off.

      1. Amanda appeared at the point Tate ‘first sketched’ her; Blackwood needed only a sketch to materialise, as did Tate’s unnamed male ‘creation’. Don’t know if ‘preventative’ portraits work their magic differently than ‘creative’ ones, but one would think that both work similarly – the magic starts when the object or being is recognisable as such.

        All I can come up with is that it is more interesting dramatically to have it NOT work, and they needed to bump off Tate.

        Or maybe Tate accidentally painted Tom instead of Chris!

        1. Tate had lost his gift in his advanced years? Someone was working a counterspell for some reason? (the Leviathans?)
          Might be something they forgot to follow up on.
          As far as Chris/Quentin being linked–the baby skeleton and the silver pendant were clues early on, weren’t they? Didn’t Abe Vigoda make the pentagram to protect the baby/babies? (I might be misremembering this). Therefore I think that was planned, though they didn’t plan to bring Quentin into the future until later.

        2. As far as I can figure Tate’s Talent Timeline:

          1) A frustrated young painter makes a deal with an eccentric older gentleman and becomes magically talented.

          2) He goes his own way, gathering fame and fortune, and drawing pictures of his dream woman. At this point he knows his talent was magically enhanced due to said deal, but not what the unintended consequences might be. Thus, he conjures Amanda without even knowing it.

          3) Tate is brought to Collinwood to paint Quentin/pay off his unending debt to Petofi. He discovers his abilities can channel the evil off of Quentin like evil water off a duck’s back. He had no idea this was an option until he painted this picture at Petofi’s “request.”

          4) Tate spots Amanda, who’s come to Collinsport with Tim Shaw for some convoluted revenge. OBSESSION COMMENCES.

          5) Tate realizes he can conjure real things and places with his drawings, but not all the time. Once a person is conjured, he has to be killed like a real person would be–his sketch guy had to be shot by Tim before he vanished. But they do vanish, with no body or shards of vase left behind.

          5) Yelling, fires, and vanishing of Petofi and Tate.

          6) Tate continues to paint but clearly the magic has deserted him. He switches to landscapes, perhaps out of fear of what might happen if he drew people, and basically fades from the public eye.

          7) Tate becomes an eccentric recluse and early Disney Imagineer.

          8) Tate is forced at point of werewolf claw to paint Chris’s portrait, but he no longer has any magic. It was always fritzy anyway–his demo for Pansy and the picture of the exotic woman Petofi insisted on never manifested–and the sparks have died. Chris expresses his disappointment. Julia hauls Amanda in for a quick goodbye and Tate collapes into his gravy skin makeup.

          1. very nice summing up, goddessoftransitory, but i should like to add one little notion to this whole thought process on why the painting of Chris didn’t save him. i remember a scene where Petofi comes into the studio and picks up a brush and adds a touch to Quentin’s portrait, and Tate snarls at him. and that, for me, was the touch needed that Chris’s portrait didn’t get.

    2. Doesn’t Petofi spitefully take away Tate’s superpowers? And then give him a re-boot so Tate can conjure up Garth Blackwood for Petofi? I don’t think Petofi gave Tate back the full power permanently; I think it was just for long enough to create the Blackwood picture. The re-boot was kind of like the small pill that turns Stanley Beamish into Mr Terrific for just 20 minutes.

    3. Whatever the specifics of the deal was, it seems clear Tate’s magical powers came from Count Petofi. Whether or not the Count died back in the 19th century, somehow the powers he gave Tate were lost or taken away.

  12. I think Petofi put a specific spell on Quentin’s portrait. I don’t believe Tate had general “Dorian Gray portrait” powers — otherwise, he would have used it on himself. Chris might have considered the wisdom of the plan involving asking a decrepit old man to paint a portrait that cures werewolfism and also prevents aging.

    1. I thought Petofi actually touched Quentin’s portrait, did something special to it, and its powers were not because of Tate at all.

      1. Yes, that’s what I thought, too. If Tate had that power all by himself he could have just painted his own self portrait and become immortal and eternally young himself, and the fact that in his old age he created a robotic version of his younger self (his “masterpiece”) and wished only for life at the end makes me think that if he could have, he would have.

  13. Since this is Roger Davis’ last episode, I suppose this is the best place to post my crazy fan theory about how Charles Delaware Tate is connected to Vicki’s origin:

    In episode 60, Vicki finds a portrait of herself in Sam Evan’s cottage. Sam claims it is an “old painting” of that he created 25 years ago of a girl named Betty Hanscombe, making it impossible it could be Vicki. My theory is that it was Tate, not Sam, who created the painting and thus Victoria Winters. We know that Tate was still alive during this point in time; it’s entirely possible that he couldn’t, to quote the letter left with Vicki at the foundling home, “take care of her” due to his advancing age. The reason Vicki was created as a baby instead of her later young adult body is that Tate’s magic has been slowly fading away as he ages. This origin also explains why Vicki is as dumb as a sack of hammers: all of Tate’s creations start unintelligent, Vicki stayed that way as a product of Tate’s magic fading.

  14. wow, nobody is talking about Mr. Best, a weird mix of “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “Heaven Can Wait”. Loved the hotel lobby “stopping off point”. I expected Danny to go nuts on the totally gay “if i was different i might love you” but then it turns out Mr. Best is not gay, he is just Mr. Death

    1. I’m a fan of Mr Best. Emory Bass’ voice is just perfect for the part. And there’s a great moment in this episode, when Amanda starts explaining Quentin’s soap opera amnesia and he asks “Are you making this up?” Look, lady, I’m Death incarnate, and even I find this hard to believe.

  15. I could have leapt for joy when I read that this is the last character we’ll have to endure Roger Davis in. Here’s hoping his appearances as a ghost will be as small as his talent.

    Today’s retcon of Amanda and Quentin had me wondering how short a memory did DS writers think we had?

    I did get a kick of Julia having broken into Amanda’s apartment and being completely unapologetic about it.

    1. Julia simply moves in and stays rent free in any space she occupies longer than five minutes.

  16. The “stopping-off place” is vaguely reminiscent of the “airport lounge” scene near the beginning of Michael Powell’s classic 1946 film “A Matter of Life and Death” although I doubt the resemblance is intentional.

    We know that Amanda/Olivia was a creation of Charles Delaware Tate. Is it a coincidence that his death is quickly followed by her own impending death? Or did they share some sort of connection?

    I’ll be interested in your take on Mr. Best. He definitely reads as gay, at least to this straight viewer. They seem to go extra-heavy on the eyeliner in this episode, giving him a sort of Quentin Crisp look.

    1. “Is it a coincidence that his death is quickly followed by her own impending death?”
      I think it’s a coincidence. Quentin’s portrait’s magic does not seem to end even though Tate and Petofi are dead so I don’t see why it should be different for Amanda. Her portrait is still safely locked away at Collinwood in the West Wing, I assume. Of course, Quentin was a real person and Amanda was created by Tate, so maybe that makes a difference.

      1. I think it was coincidence as well. It’s also poetic, since when an artist dies their creations live on after them. Amanda was one such creation, and if her creator’s death should have had any effect on her at all one would think it would be immediate. No, Amanda’s fate was just a re-telling of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, and had nothing whatsoever to do with Tate or his death.

  17. The “stopping off place” scene reminded me very much of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

    And hell yes to no more Roger Davis!

    Man, Rumson totally looked like a young Burt Reynolds! I also thought it was a weird transition to suddenly just show Julia at his place. I love that “View from South Wales” painting. And I loved that Rumson called Julia out on her weird facial expressions she was giving the painting.

  18. Sky Rumson gets the award for most wooden actor on Dark Shadows. I don’t think that overall he is the worst actor, I’d have to reserve that honor for Craig Slocum. At least Sky Rumson is pretty. He reminds me of Lee Horsley of Matt Houston fame.

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