“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.
— Danny Horn