Episode 994: Polterguest

“Blood in this room. Why? First the piano playing, then downstairs, the picture of Bruno in the drawer. Blood there, too. Then Dameon in the chair. And here again, blood. But why?”

We’ve been spending the last several weeks settling into this new Parallel Time storyline, which takes place in a separate universe where everything is the same, except that people have made different choices, including the choice of whether to make their soap opera make sense or not.

They’ve boxed up the vampire, the crossover character who is technically the only person in this storyline from ABC-TV’s Dark Shadows, and they’ve put him into cold storage while the actor scurries upstate to appear in the Dark Shadows movie, leaving us with a handful of pinch-hitters from the other side of the sun.

The A-story these days is about Angelique — what she was, how she died, and whether she’s come back as a ghost, or a twin sister, or not at all. There’s been a decent amount of forward progress in that story lately — so much, in fact, that yesterday they slipped some important story information in the middle of a conversation about something else, and then acted like they didn’t even notice. But there’s still quite a bit of time to kill, and they need to slow things down a bit.

So today, they unveil the exciting plot twist that nobody saw coming: Dameon Edwards is back!

Okay, clearly you didn’t hear me. I said, Dameon Edwards is back!!

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Fine, have it your way. I don’t know who he is, either. This is a secret that Dark Shadows has decided not to share with the likes of us. But here he is, anyway, big as life, just sitting there on a chair in the middle of the drawing room, taking up real estate.

He’s come over at kind of a difficult time, even by Collinwood standards. In this parallel reality that we appear to be stuck with, Quentin Collins was married to Angelique, all the way up until they had a seance six months ago, where Quentin strangled her to death. For some reason, this didn’t actually kill her, because now they’re saying there was someone else next to Angelique who really killed her, and that’s how murder mysteries work, here in Parallel Time. I told you, this is a universe where everyone has made different choices. Some of those choices are better than others.

Quentin’s currently in the middle of being haunted by somebody, who’s using all the standard ghost effects. The lights go out, the windows blow open, somebody feels a chill. Usually, this package comes with a mysterious little girl throwing a ball and singing “London Bridge”, but Quentin has opted for the gold card deluxe package, which includes a whole guy.

So Quentin turns around, and notices this sudden population explosion taking place to his immediate rear.

“Dameon Edwards!” he chokes. “How did you –”

But then Quentin realizes that Dameon’s not moving, or speaking, or reacting in any way. The visitor is just sitting there, staring vacantly into the uncanny valley. Quentin reaches out to touch him, and Dameon just sort of slips sideways onto the floor. A dead man, all dressed up in Creamsicle drag, which is exactly the kind of thing that Quentin doesn’t need right now.

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Horrified, Quentin rushes to the phone, and asks the operator to connect him with the hospital…

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… and then he turns around, and Dameon is gone. Apparently, he just stopped by to fall over. Dameon isn’t very good at visiting people.

So, surprise! A guy you’ve never heard of is dead. It’s called plot development.

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This is a murder mystery, apparently, which is a thing that you’d figure you only need one of at a time. It’s possible that the same person killed both Angelique and Dameon, which is totally acceptable under the rules of murder mysteries, but it doesn’t really feel that way.

They’ve been talking about Angelique for weeks now, with a special emphasis on her post-death activities. The question of who killed her is actually secondary to the main mystery, which is whether she has the power to return from the grave. Finding out how she died is only important if it provides a clue to the main mystery, which is why they haven’t called the police or done anything sensible over the last six months.

So the question of who killed Dameon, when we don’t know who Dameon is or what he has to do with anything, comes out of pretty much left field.

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But, as they used to say back in good old ’67, let’s review the case.

So far, we’ve seen the following supernatural happenings in Parallel Time: Daniel looked at his dead mother’s portrait and asked her to sing to him, and then he heard a voice humming a tune. They had a seance to re-enact their previous seance, and Sabrina was possessed by a ghost who said murder, murder, murder. Maggie got a note in Angelique’s handwriting, telling her to leave the house. This week, we’ve seen a self-playing piano, a self-opening drawer, and sheet music with blood on it. A ghost choked Bruno when he was talking to a travel agency, and crazy Aunt Hannah also choked, when she said she might be able to exorcise the spirit. A handkerchief burst into flames, and there was a series of inconclusive tarot readings. And now this.

So there’s at least two ghosts in play, as far as I can figure — one who wants to reveal the truth about Angelique’s killer, and another who wants to conceal it. I think. The Sabrina possession was clearly in favor of getting things out in the open. But some of these were stopping people from finding out if Alexis is Angelique — the ghost choking Bruno, the handkerchief catching on fire — and I’m not sure who would benefit from that, except for Alexis if she was really Angelique, and I’m pretty sure she isn’t.

When Alexis and Quentin saw the piano playing itself, they found Angelique’s bracelet on the piano, which Quentin said she always took off when she played the piano, so that must have been Angelique’s ghost, or someone who wanted them to think it was Angelique’s ghost, and if Dameon wanted people to think that he was Angelique’s ghost, then why did he appear to Quentin in the drawing room and fall off his chair? Who is in charge of this?

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Of course, if we’re going to add another ghost-infused murder mystery on top of the one that we already have, then we’re going to need to get some suspects up in here. Most of the cast has toddled off to Tarrytown to film House of Dark Shadows, so unless we want to blame the same four people who we’ve already blamed for Angelique’s murder all over again, we’re going to have to bring in some new talent.

Enter Trask the butler, always a helpful character type to have around when there’s a murderer loose in a mansion. Jerry Lacy does make an appearance in House of Dark Shadows, playing the reverend at Carolyn’s funeral, but he’s only in the funeral scene, and they filmed that last week. Now he’s back at ABC Studio 16, looking shifty and trying to change the subject.

“I know no more than anyone else, sir,” he says, “which means that I know nothing.” And then he grips a glass so hard that it shatters in his hand. I love all Trasks.

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Still, I don’t know what to make of these awkwardly interlocking mysteries, and adding more clues doesn’t seem to help. Quentin goes upstairs to Angelique’s room and finds Dameon’s ghost there, all moody and orange and made out of Chromakey, and then the ghost vanishes, leaving a spattering of blood on the floor, right in front of the fireplace.

This means that Dameon was killed in Angelique’s room, unless he was killed in the drawing room, sitting in a chair. Or maybe it means that Angelique was killed in Angelique’s room, except that we know that she died in the drawing room, sitting in a chair. Unless Angelique wasn’t killed at all, and she’s actually Alexis, or Bruno, or potentially other options that we haven’t even heard of yet. They introduced a new character on Tuesday, and two new characters today, so who knows how many suspects we could assemble, if we put our minds to it.

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We close today with another Chromakey spectacular, as the ghost of Dameon leads young Amy down to a room in what I guess is supposed to be the cellar. I’m not sure why he chooses Amy to beckon, given that he’s also appeared to Quentin twice. Amy certainly isn’t a very good recipient for the message that Dameon is trying to get across, because all she does is scream, and she has no plans to investigate this any further.

So this is probably a clue, although what it’s a clue to I’m not entirely sure. Who knows what clues mean? Sometimes there are just naturally-occurring clues that appear spontaneously around the house. Don’t take any notice, you’ll only encourage them.

Tomorrow: I’ll Bite Anything.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Quentin asks Trask, “What are you doing here? When did you get here?”

In yesterday’s episode, Alexis said to Quentin that she didn’t want to leave her flower cuttings in the drawing room for Hoffman to clean up. In today’s episode — which takes place on the same day — Quentin tells Trask that Hoffman’s gone away for a while, and it’s implied that she didn’t get a message that Trask left for her several days ago.

During the closing credits, a shadow passes across the floor in the hall.

The closing credits stop before the Dan Curtis Productions logo reaches the middle of the screen.


Behind the Scenes:

Dameon Edwards is played by Jered Holmes; this is his only role on Dark Shadows. As is typical for Dark Shadows actors, Holmes was involved with New York theater. He appeared on Broadway in two musicals — That’s Entertainment in 1972, and 42nd Street in the 1980s. On TV, he appeared in the TV-movie adaptation of Woman of the Year in 1984, and he spent a year on As the World Turns. There’s a curious New York Times article from 1982 about Holmes shopping at thrift stores, which I guess you have to write about something.

Tomorrow: I’ll Bite Anything.

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Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

18 thoughts on “Episode 994: Polterguest

  1. Dameon Edwards is when Parallel Time “broke” for me. The fun was supposed to be seeing “parallel” versions of real time characters we care about. A drunk Carolyn married to a literary “William” Loomis is compelling from the start because of how different (but yet similar) they are to their “real time” counterparts.

    But because of the simultaneous filming of the movie, we don’t maximize the true “Earth 2” potential of this storyline. (My other quibble is that Angelique is the actual antagonist in this parallel Earth, and I would have loved it if they’d actually ran with Maggie Collins as the “first” Collins wife for a true “spin” on expectations.)

    Curiously, the Leviathan storyline was arguably better suited to survive a few weeks without the main cast — especially if Pennock, Selby, and Parker were available for use. And if Jeb or Nicholas had kidnapped and chained Barnabas in his coffin (sort of like what Petofi did) there would be some degree of tension from his absence — here, he’s just been written off.

    Oh, I loved the story about Jered Holmes — the author of the piece, I think, might have later had a story written about her post-death arrangements for her beloved pet. It is also a curious story to read.

    https://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/03/the-pet-problem/?_r=0

  2. Just so you don’t think he’s just another pretty face —

    He also (evidently) was about designing decorative plates.

    I don’t know how YOUR ‘gaydar’ is responding, but mine is going off like a Geiger counter at Fukushima. Don’t get me wrong, he’s as man-pretty as I’ve ever seen, and I’d let him buy me a drink and sit at my table, but not in that outfit. Come on, I mean there’s gay and then there’s gay. Seriously.

    And why did his eyes open wider when he fell off the chair? These spectres, such drama queens…

      1. Concerning gaydar, I don’t know anything about the actor, but the character of Dameon strikes me as one of those pre-Stonewall (and maybe even post-Stonewall) types of generic, clichéd, and strangely sexless homosexuals who orbited glamorous women, virtually worshiping them in a decidedly camp manner. It’s a phenomenon I’ve never quite understood. I suppose I’m of a very different genre of gay man — the type for whom worshiping glamorous women makes about as much sense as worshiping pine trees. But let me put it another way: the name Dameon doesn’t make one gay; nor does dressing like that (“Creamsicle drag” is a brilliant way to describe it, Danny); and nor does orbiting someone like Angelique; but put them all together and it’s gayer than a Pride Week RuPaul’s Drag Race marathon.

        1. Maybe he was just hanging around Angie to get a chance at Quentin…Bruno found out, got mad because that was what he’d been trying to do, and killed him.
          It would help explain why he’s manifesting himself to Quentin.

  3. I always forget about this Trask incarnation. But I like him – anytime Jerry Lacy shows up, it’s a gas although I do miss the patented Trask crazy eyes that the Revs all share in common.

    1. Granted, the Trask hellfire and brimstone is always fun, and always keeps the plot moving briskly; but I liked Tony P., hard-boiled and cracking wise, lawyer and hypnoslave. Butler Trask just seems to be housekeeper Hoffman in drag, so far.

      1. John E., we’ve been told often enough that “the Butler did it” so all butlers want watching. Especially if they might break out in Traskiness!

  4. So I assume that Tony Peterson’s counterpart here is Trask. This reminds me of my theory That Tony Peterson actually is actually a Trask….and cousin of soon-to-be-introduced character Sebastian Shaw. After the events of 1897 Tim Shaw married Charity Trask (possessed by Pansy Faye) and that union presented two branches; the Shaw lineage and the Peterson lineage.

    1. And maybe Tim was one of the Jennings kids’ other great-grandfathers. Collinsport seems like one of those towns where everybody’s related somehow.

  5. Some décor questions:
    I can see why (in dramatic terms) that chair is there in the drawing room – I mean Dameon has to fall off something, or else be standing up while dead, er, a ghost, er, whatever. But in terms of feng-shui, or of ‘pulling the room together’, this is an armless and rather uncomfortable looking chair that is nowhere near a table, not even facing the couch, and is not really in with the rest of the drawing room (though there really is not a decorating “style” there, I will grant you – green couch, blue armchair, red chair). Maybe it’s a ghost chair, since it wasn’t there before and likely isn’t seen again…

    And I know this is kind of picky, but it’s bugging me. That set of shelves in the basement; there are five or so random pieces of firewood thrown there. Really? There must be some leftover props from the antique shop set they could have dressed it with, some books, even the damn pigweasel!

    (I know. But I don’t have anything better to do right now. And I really do miss that pigweasel.) 🙂

    1. The chair is there to hold down the corner of the rug. Otherwise people would be tripping over it all damn day and busting their chins.

    2. Re: the Same on chair –
      Checked the DS Wiki, sure enough the chair disappears by the end of the episode, replaced by a cream-colored armchair. Possibly the efficient Trask did so, or Dameon left blood on the red chair (that does seem to be his ‘thing’ in his early appearances).

    1. It would be great to have him cut loose, get all wild-eyed, run in with a torch, and start ranting about “…the Evil that must be cleansed, expunged – – BY FIRE!!

      That was the thing about Reverend Trask; he gave us something to believe in. That Old Time Religion…

  6. It’s kinda sad that I had totally forgotten about Daemon Collins. Did someone really think adding another murder mystery was going to help?

    1. No, but it did fill up some time, and he is kinda cute…in an alternate time line he’s probably Fez’s dad on That ’70s Show.

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