“Now that you’ve killed her father, the wedding must be postponed.”
We start today’s show with young David somewhat the worse for wear, following an improperly motivated “boo” attack earlier in the day. He was riding his bike down Crown Street, when all of a sudden, a tall blonde man jumped out from behind the bushes and knocked him off his bike. You’d think that David, living as he does in the world’s most haunted house, would be used to things jumping out and scaring him. I guess everybody has an off day, now and then.
So now he’s wheeling himself around in a chair with a cast on his leg, and the authorities suspect foul play. According to David, the scary man knocked him off the bike and then just walked away, into history. He didn’t even have an antique telephone, which is customary when somebody pointlessly hurts David. Nixon was right, there really is something wrong with the way that young people are spending their time these days.
Meanwhile, over at the antiques shop, Barnabas Collins is having buyer’s remorse like you wouldn’t believe. Two months ago, he swore his allegiance, reluctantly or otherwise, to a gang of enormous, reason-defiling hedge fund managers who are planning an extremely hostile takeover of everything he holds dear. Now it turns out that the Itty Bittie Kiddie Committee that piled out of his little wooden box has blossomed into an overgrown meat-ape named Jeb, who’s decided he wants to marry Carolyn and he’s not going to take no for an answer. Or yes, even. Carolyn hasn’t technically met him yet.
So I’m afraid there’s going to be a complete and total shutdown of rational conversation, until we can figure out what is going on.
Jeb: When I was a child, you gave me orders. I hated it then, but there was nothing I could do. And now, I can do anything I want!
Barnabas: Now, you will still obey the orders! Now that you’ve killed her father, the wedding must be postponed until we find out how the book allows for this situation. According to the book, he is the one who was to give her away!
Jeb: I have seen her, and I want her. And I told you before, you can give her to me!
Barnabas: You may be right. But remember, according to the book, she must want you. She cannot be forced!
Jeb: Force means one thing to you, Mr. Collins, and another to me.
So obviously, the question is what the hell are you even talking about, you utterly insane people? I swear, I was really down on this Leviathan storyline for a while, but this week is phenomenal. Jeb has turned this entire show right around.
Because, oh my god, look at Barnabas’ little pout! This is an actual expression that he makes with his face. He is this put out by his life right now.
And that’s a good thing, because Dark Shadows is always at its best when Barnabas Collins is on defense. His grim grinning gravitas makes all of his worries seem like the most urgent problem in the world, and he is currently broadcasting that we are all under threat by this monster of a man that he supports but does not endorse.
“Friday evening,” Jeb announces, “there will be a wedding in my room. Afterwards, you will prepare rooms at Collinwood for us.”
Barnabas is not thrilled about his sudden promotion to wedding planner. He sputters, “But Collinwood is not my house!”
“No!” Jeb grins. “It is mine.”
And that’s how bad the situation is. As everyone knows, Collinwood is literally the only location in the world, and if Jeb plans to take it, then he will soon be the master of Earth.
And then they have one of the most chilling conversations in all of Dark Shadows, which they bellow at each other from across the room.
Jeb: After the wedding, Roger Collins will become one of us.
Barnabas: But what if he can’t be taken over? There are those who can’t, you know.
Jeb: Then he’ll join the list… of the expendables. There are a lot of people in that house who I don’t like.
Jeb: Dr. Hoffman… I think she’s an enemy, don’t you?
Barnabas: But she doesn’t know enough to become an enemy!
Jeb: But I have seen her, watching me. You will think of a suitable fate for her — and that’s an order! And then there’s Maggie Evans.
Barnabas: Maggie Evans doesn’t even know you. What threat could she possibly be?
Jeb: She was a threat to me when I was Michael, so she’ll be a threat to me now.
Jeb: Her parents are dead, aren’t they? There’ll be no questions asked.
Barnabas: That is not true. You are wrong!
Jeb: Well, then, you will have to do some very clever thinking. Hmm… Amy. I know she’s one of us, but that was against my permission.
Barnabas: You would even kill one of us?
Jeb: Yes. I’m not sentimental, Mr. Collins. She will have to go.
Jeb: The housekeeper, too.
Barnabas: Mrs. Johnson will do as I say, as Mrs. Stoddard says!
Jeb: There will be other servants. I will see to that.
Barnabas: It is impossible!
Jeb: I don’t know what that word means, Mr. Collins. I only know that you have twelve hours to prepare for the wedding — or else!
And then they start chatting about turning Barnabas into a vampire again, and torturing Josette in the past, and at the end of the conversation, Barnabas gets up, dusts off his cape, and that’s pretty much the end of the Collins family as a going concern.
So holy cow, right? I love that conversation. You just sit back and watch the body count rise, as Jeb runs through the list of everybody that he’s ever met. You keep thinking that he’s run out of names, and then he says, “The housekeeper, too.”
I think that’s probably the moment in this debate when you say, oh my god, this is Donald Trump, and he will destroy the world. He’s settling old scores, unable to let go of even the mildest slight, and did you notice that he wants to hire Roger, but kill all the women? He’s so Trumpian at this moment that he practically calls Mrs. Johnson “Miss Housekeeping.” Like Trump, Jeb Hawkes is an extinction-level event.
It’s October 2016, by the way, when I’m writing this, just before the second presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and I guess this is the moment when the Leviathan/Trump connection is so obvious that I just start calling it out explicitly. You’re reading this post in the future somewhere, and I assume that Hillary must have won the election, because otherwise you’d be in a forced labor camp, watching the guided missiles fly overhead. You probably wouldn’t have time to read about vampire soap operas; you’d have larger concerns.
So this is a coincidence, a trick of time, that Jeb’s rise to power comes just at the moment that it looks like Donald Trump’s campaign is entering a death spiral. We’ve just seen the tape of Trump bragging about how he tried to seduce a married woman by taking her to buy furniture, presumably at a Leviathan-owned antiques shop.
And then he starts talking about his upcoming marriage to Carolyn. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them,” he says. “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” And at that point, I guess, you go upstairs to the Chosen Room and take on your true, hideous, world-destroying form.
But it’s not really much of a coincidence, because in January 1970, they had their own tyrant-in-chief. He had an enemies list, too. I don’t know if Mrs. Johnson was on it or not.
And then David wheels himself into the shop, and we find out the extent of the predator’s cruelty. He was the man who was hanging out behind the Bushes — Billy, I suppose, and maybe a George or two — and jumped out when David was riding by, knocking him to the pavement and breaking his leg. And then he just walked away, smiling, probably tweeting.
“David must understand,” he explains, “that I can be cruel, as well as kind.” He wasn’t punishing the boy, or hurting him for any particular reason. He just wanted to send a message.
He will hurt and humiliate everyone — his supporters, as well as his enemies — because even being worshipped is not enough for this man. He doesn’t love anyone, in particular, and he doesn’t even hate anyone, very much, but he will use other people’s love and other people’s hate as tools to feed his unstoppable Ancient-Ones-sized hunger for domination and control. But we stopped him — didn’t we, people of the future? I’m sure we did. I hope we did.
Tomorrow: The Dunwich Cuckoo.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
In the teaser, Jeb delivers his closing line — “Remember, Barnabas; Friday,” — after the dramatic sting has already started.
Barnabas tells Jeb, “Now, the book says… that…” He glances at the teleprompter. “Well, there must be a timetable!”
David says, “You were Alexander and Michael!” Jeb says, “Yes. I call myself Jeb now.” He pauses for a while, realizes he still has a line, and looks at the teleprompter.
When David goes upstairs on crutches, Maggie says, “Now, you be careful!” After a moment, she adds, “And be careful on those stairs!” She needs to say the word “stairs”, because the camera stays on Julia — clearly, David Henesy couldn’t actually get up the stairs on crutches yet, so it happens off-screen.
Jeb tells David that he took the boy’s transistor radio when he was Michael; that actually happened when Jeb was Alexander.
Quentin asks, “You think they buried him, then tried to resurrect him?” Julia mutters, “I don’t know…” and then, a second later, “Yes! Yes, I think so.” He smiles. “Julia, if what you think is true, what are you going to do?” She answers, “I won’t know… until I find out.”
There seems to be a fault in one of the cameras in the scene between Barnabas and Maggie in the drawing room.
There’s a burst of offstage noise just before Maggie leaves Barnabas.
In the last scene, Julia tells Barnabas, “I pronounced that child dead two weeks ago. I would swear that he was dead. But for some reason… it had to be faked. That he was dead.”
Behind the Scenes:
There’s an in-universe explanation for why David’s in a wheelchair — Jeb punished him by making him fall off his bicycle. David Henesy actually just got his leg jammed in a door at the studio. This is the kind of thing that makes the concept of “plans” irrelevant in serialized narrative. David’s in a wheelchair for four episodes in January and February; he’s out of the chair in March, to play Daniel Collins in Parallel Time.
Also, we get another visit to David’s room, so I can check in on his toys and decorations. Today, we see the following: the kite, the woman and child picture, the US map, the dog with a protest sign, the nutcracker-soldier looking thing, the cool concert posters, assorted cars and robots, and that terrible globe that we saw at Stokes’ place two weeks ago. No sign of the football player, the girl with a protest sign, the ship in a bottle or the sailboat.
Tomorrow: The Dunwich Cuckoo.
— Danny Horn