“We’ll have to use trickery, or force!”
“I think it would be appropriate that we seal our agreement with a drink,” says Barnabas, which is the sneaky code that fictional people use for I am about to poison you.
So he goes into the back room of the antiques shop, which has no functional furniture except for a flat surface that’s holding a decanter and two glasses. This is the alcoholic equivalent of the radio on Gilligan’s Island that only has news reports about Gilligan’s island related material.
Barnabas pours out two glasses of whatever liquid that happens to be, and then adds a generous measure of deadly nightshade that he’s carrying around in an inside pocket for just such an occasion.
Stepping back out into the open air, Barnabas hands the poisoned drink to Jeb Hawkes, the negasonic teenage warhead currently threatening everything that he holds dear. Jeb proposes a sinister toast and raises the glass to his lips, and then we go to the opening titles.
When we come back, Jeb gulps down the poison and says mmmm, yummy, and he doesn’t die or get sick or even notice that anything’s amiss, and everyone just forgets about it, because Jeb is the new hotness and shut up.
Jeb is the new handsome alpha monster, a previously rare breed that’s become increasingly common these days. In the summer of ’68, we had Don Briscoe playing sexy vampire Tom and then sexy werewolf Chris, followed by David Selby as sexy zombie and sexy werewolf Quentin in March ’69, and now there’s Christopher Pennock as sexy space octopus Jeb in January 1970. That’s three hunky monstrosities in a year and a half — four, if you count the twins separately — which means sometime around late spring, we should probably expect a scorchingly attractive nightmare clown to pop its head over the horizon.
Jeb, by the way, is based on a combination of two characters from H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror — Wilbur Whateley, who was “dark and goatish” with a teratologically fabulous midsection, and Wilbur’s brother, a mostly-invisible pile of squirming tentacles with mouths on the ends of them. But they’re always better looking in the biopic, aren’t they?
Of course, it’s always hard on the previous occupant when the new creature shows up, and oozes its way into the dressing room. Don Briscoe responded to David Selby’s arrival by falling entirely to pieces. They gave him a new character, prim quisling schoolmaster Tim Shaw, who combed his hair the wrong way and scolded children about their math homework, and he was so grating that I don’t think they even remembered to kill him at the end of the storyline. He’s back to playing Chris again, but the thrill is gone. 16 Magazine doesn’t show up at his apartment for surprise photo shoots anymore, no matter how many pairs of glasses he wears while reclining next to his bookcases.
But nothing bad is going to happen to David Selby, obviously, because he’s special. Quentin Collins is the best thing that ever happened to Dark Shadows in the super hot boy department. He is the unchallenged king of 16, the man with multiple trading card collections and a hit single. Quentin is untouchable.
Except oh my god WHAT ARE YOU WEARING
I mean, I can’t decide what’s worse, the ascot or the tweed.
I’m kidding of course it’s the ascot obviously IT IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE THE ASCOT
Oh, and look at the blocking. Quentin and Julia are having a conversation in the Old House about all of the Leviathan conspiracy nonsense, because Quentin has to listen to recap now, and then Barnabas comes in, and all of a sudden it’s a Barnabas/Julia scene, and Quentin has to stand in the back and try to look interested.
Here’s how the scene progresses:
Barnabas: We have so little time, perhaps not even enough.
Julia: Enough for what?
Barnabas: To get Carolyn away from Collinsport!
Julia: Do you think we could persuade her to leave?
Barnabas turns to face Julia.
Barnabas: I’ve already tried that, but it didn’t work. We’ll have to use trickery, or force!
Then Quentin pipes up.
Quentin: If we do succeed, where could we take her?
Barnabas looks at Quentin for a moment…
… and then he turns back to Julia and resumes the conversation.
it’s because of the ascot obviously NOBODY RESPECTS A DUDE WEARING AN ASCOT
I mean, seriously, if Barnabas has any more of that poison, then I am suddenly extremely thirsty. They’re taking the man that I love, and choking him to death with his own neckwear.
And then they send him over to Carolyn for a scene that makes me sad. Here’s where he breaks the stop-press news that he’s not actually Grant Douglas; he’s the great-grandson and namesake of Quentin Collins, which pretty much puts a pin in any storyline juice left in the character. She asks why he introduced himself as Grant Douglas, and he says, “Well, I’m a writer, and I’ve used Grant Douglas among many names as pseudonyms,” which is not an answer to her question. So she says, “I see,” and then they talk about something else.
The point of the scene is that Quentin is supposed to ask Carolyn out on a date, as a pretext to get her out of the house somehow. This apparently qualifies as trickery.
But why is he putting his leg up? This is not a sexy move. Stop doing that. No more leg ups.
But I guess this is what happens when your dreamboat is sneaking up on a century; by my calculations, Quentin is ninety-nine years old. At that age, it’s tough to compete with the younger model, even when the younger guy is nine weeks old. Selby needs to up his game, a journey that begins at wardrobe. Seriously, dude, the ascot. It’s not okay. This is a problem that needs to be corrected swiftly.
Monday: When Something Happens.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
Julia asks Barnabas if the plan is to bring Carolyn to Jeb tonight, and Barnabas says, “I’m here, to have her here at eight o’clock.”
Angelique moans, “Silly of me even to ask. You could only have found out through Julia Hoffman, and she gave me her word she wouldn’t tell me!”
More pronoun trouble later in the conversation: Angelique objects, “Carolyn knew me as Cassandra!” Barnabas says, “But she won’t recognize her; you had dark hair!”
When Carolyn walks to the front door, someone in the studio coughs. A moment later, when Quentin asks if they can go into the drawing room, something falls.
Quentin interrupts Barnabas and Julia’s briefing, and Barnabas says, “Quentin, I’ll explain to you in a mumment!”
Behind the Scenes:
On the day this episode aired — January 30, 1970 — Joan Bennett appeared on the daytime talk show The Mike Douglas Show.
Monday: When Something Happens.
— Danny Horn