The guy has a suit and a tie, and a shocked expression. He’s holding a flashlight for some reason. He’s got dark eye makeup, and bangs that have been arranged into four little spikes on his forehead, and I have no idea who he is.
The doors of Angelique’s suite just fly open, and suddenly this guy is standing there, mouth agape. It looks like he’s trying to step forward into the room, but he doesn’t.
“I can’t get in!” he says, and looks around in panic. “Why? WHY?”
I don’t know, dude. Who are you? Have you been helped?
But sure, why not? Half the cast has been off the show for the last six weeks, filming Mansion of Dark Shadows — Quentin, Angelique, Maggie, Hoffman, Carolyn, Will, Daniel and Chris — leaving a skeleton crew of secondary players to walk around and do basically nothing. So why not drag in this weird, goggle-eyed stranger who apparently has trouble walking into rooms?
He knows some of the characters, I have no idea how. He stares at the picture of Quentin and Daniel, and says, “Quentin! Husband?” because that’s a thing that you say, and then Elizabeth walks into the room and ignores him completely.
It’s bizarre. Elizabeth enters, and the “Quentin husband” guy shouts, “Elizabeth!” to no avail. I don’t know why he doesn’t follow up with “Elizabeth! Cousin?” but maybe that phase of our lives is over.
The guy shouts, “Why can’t you hear me?” but she just goes on with the scene like he isn’t there. It’s possible that this is some confused guest wandering around in the studio, and he doesn’t realize the cameras are on.
We don’t need a new character to suddenly pop up out of a box somewhere; the show’s in enough trouble as it is. It’s no wonder Elizabeth gives him the silent treatment. He looks like a pain in the neck.
I probably shouldn’t be so hard on the guy, who might turn out to be interesting, once the other people on screen start acknowledging that he exists. I’m just frustrated that we’re here, instead of the antiques shop.
I’ve been saying for the last four months that Megan and Philip basically saved the show from cancellation — appealing, believable characters, who brought some much-needed passion and romance to the show after Angelique’s death — so obviously the thing to do is burn down the shop and write them out of the show, and then head back to Collinwood, where nothing interesting ever happens.
But then, just when all seems lost — hooray, Hoffman is back! She’s the first cast member to come back from the Mansion shoot, and I have missed her terribly.
Elizabeth starts going through Angelique’s wardrobe, and suddenly: Hoffman. She’s standing there in the middle of the set, ice cold, clearly just beamed in from the transporter room on Wagon Train to the Stars.
“What are you doing?” she says, and shoots Elizabeth with that unshakeable thousand-yard stare. Then the guy at the door stage-whispers, “Julia!” which nobody ever calls her, and she ignores him too. Hoffman has no time for you, new dude.
Hoffman’s return means that we’re finally going to get back to the supernatural Rebecca storyline that began when Angelique died, all those months ago. This is useful for a couple reasons. For one thing, it gives Hoffman a nice, juicy part to play again, and also maybe people will stop comparing her to Raxl from Strange Paradise.
I’m really sick of hearing that Dark Shadows was nothing but a ripoff of Strange Paradise, when they’re not even that much alike. Yeah, they both have portraits and housekeepers and magic spells, but besides that, Danny Curtis had his own unique vision for the show. But Strange Paradise was more popular, and it lasted longer, so that’s the show with an endless afterlife on DVD and chatterphone. People only talk about Dark Shadows as a comparison, rather than appreciating the show on its own terms.
Elizabeth is trying to clean out the wardrobe so that Quentin and his new bride can use this room on their return, but Hoffman says no: “It is hers. It will always be hers.” Elizabeth protests that “she” is dead, but Hoffman promises, “She will be back!”
And that sounds good to me. If Angelique and Quentin come back, then maybe the show can get over losing the antiques shop.
And I really want to see Quentin again, especially now, since it’s only a month until David Selby takes office. When I started this blog a couple years ago, it seemed like Governor Selby’s presidential campaign was a joke — a former soap opera actor, who’d already capitalized on the little bit of fame he had left to get elected in his home state of West Virginia. He couldn’t possibly go any farther than that.
But here we are, to everyone’s surprise, in President Selby’s America. His message of hope and inclusion, of breaking down walls and embracing the future, resonated with the American people. We have to stop closing doors in people’s faces, he said, instead of welcoming them in, and working together.
But not on Dark Shadows, where they do the exact opposite. Elizabeth hisses at Hoffman to be quiet, which is terrible advice, and then she goes and shuts the doors on the weird hallway guy, who’s been standing there saying character names for the whole scene.
And then we don’t see him again — when Hoffman opens the doors and exits, the hallway is clear, and the weird stranger is gone. I don’t know if we ever find out who he was, or what he wanted. It’s probably nothing important anyway.
Tomorrow: A Less Rational Explanation.
Dark Shadows (Earth-Prime) bloopers to watch out for:
It takes Barnabas forever to light two candles, while Sky stands in the room, just waiting for him to notice. When Sky approaches, Barnabas tries to put out the match by shaking it. That doesn’t work, so he just drops it on the carpet and forgets about it.
When Jeb remembers Angelique casting the shadow spell on him, he thinks, “She was just trying to scare me, pressing that paper on my forehead!” She actually pressed it on his chest.
When Jeb carries Carolyn into their hotel room, there’s a gap in the wall, and you can see a tree.
When Jeb wakes Carolyn up, a boom mic appears overhead.
Behind the Scenes:
Reverend Brand was played by Donald Hotton, in his only episode. Hotton was on a couple of Broadway shows that didn’t last very long — Mother Courage and Her Children in 1963, and Malcolm in 1966 — before a long career of small parts in movies and television. Dark Shadows is his first screen credit, and then he appears in a lot of TV shows, including The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Airwolf, L.A. Law, Cheers, Falcon Crest and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Tomorrow: A Less Rational Explanation.
— Daniel Horn-Kako