Episode 1003: The Way We Live Now

“You can believe that rooms can change, but you can ignore a simple fact.”

This is what it feels like to be dead, by which I mean it doesn’t feel like anything except that you’re this fucking cold all the time. This is what keeps vampires and zombies going. They’re not hungry, obviously, they say they’re hungry but what they really mean is that it’s cold why is it so cold, I am lost and so far away, I need to eat something or I’ll stop moving, and when you stand still it gets so much colder, it’s like you’re already as cold as it could possibly be except it gets even colder than that if you stop moving, so you keep going keep eating keep spreading out you can’t hear speech anymore you can’t feel anything, but if you can’t feel anything then why the fuck is it so fucking cold

So you’ve got that rattling in your brain all the time, until you can’t think anymore, and the only thing that exists is whatever kind of warmth you can possibly get at, and people stop being people in your head. I’m not saying that like it’s an excuse, because it’s not, it’s just that being dead is really hard and people need to understand that.

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This is the way I will live now, Angelique says, just an endless series of hacks and workarounds. She’s recently returned to the surface world after six months buried in a tomb, and it’s a rough adjustment. She can walk and talk and scowl and scheme, but she doesn’t have the parts that make you warm anymore; apparently that feature is one to a customer, and if it breaks, then you’re pretty much on your own. You just need to go find something warm, preferably a dude but you can’t afford to be choicey about it, and get that warmth inside you somehow.

Angelique has been up for two days straight, and this is the second human being that she’s drained so far, which if that’s the way this is going to go, then it doesn’t seem like a sustainable system. She killed her twin sister and traded places with her in the casket, which worked great, but it’s the kind of trick you can only pull off once. Then she started in on the servants.

I mean, that’s the right place to start, especially with a guy that nobody’s ever heard of before, but there aren’t that many servants on the estate, and eventually the HR department is going to start asking pointed questions. Yes, you can hire more people, but you can’t just hire three hundred and sixty-five people a year, and do nothing but exit interviews. This kind of arrangement really only works if you’re a Hungarian aristocrat, and even then, after a couple of decades, somebody’s going to notice.

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But she’s not going to get any assistance from the living, I can tell you that much. Check out this exchange with Quentin, which features possibly the most Dark Shadowsy dialogue that’s ever been uttered on Dark Shadows.

Quentin:  At least we’re rid of the ghost of Dameon Edwards.

Angelique:  Dameon?

Quentin:  Yes. You sound as if you’ve forgotten.

Angelique:  No, of course I haven’t.

Quentin:  Well, perhaps Bruno was right. Perhaps it was Angelique’s spirit that made him appear.

Angelique:  It’s very fashionable these days to blame my sister for everything, and everybody seems to ignore the fact that she was murdered!

Quentin:  Alexis!

Angelique:  Have you done anything to find her murderer, Quentin?

Quentin:  I don’t believe she was murdered!

Angelique:  Oh? Then you’re a fool! You can believe that rooms can change, but you can ignore a simple fact.

Quentin:  It wasn’t a fact! A very disturbed woman said it at a seance.

Angelique:  Oh? Well, I believe her, and so should you.

I think Dark Shadows may be the only daytime soap opera where you can have an argument with murdered people about whether they were murdered or not. So already Angelique is getting woke.

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And then she hugs herself, and starts shivering.

Quentin asks, “What’s wrong?” and she chatters, “Nothing, I’m just chilly, that’s all. It’s chilly in here!”

“No, it’s not,” Quentin says, and ugh, the living, right?

I mean, they feel free to comment on the dead experience, which they can only view through their own the living privilege; it’s enough to make you start a The Dead Lives Matter movement. There’s more of us than there are of them, you know? We just need to get organized.

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So Angelique shudders her way over to Aunt Hannah, an unhappy medium who can tell somebody’s dead by just looking at their palm. This probably isn’t a skill that comes in handy that often, but when you need it, you really need it.

Once Hannah catches on, Angelique is finally free to discuss all of her plans and problems; it’s kind of like coming out of the closet for the criminally insane.

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Hannah asks Angelique why she came back, and her answer explains a lot about what’s happening on the show these days.

“Why?” says the ice princess, still shivering, but smiling all the same. “Well, you should know, Hannah. Because of love!” She emits a weird cackle. “Because I could not bear not to have Quentin’s love!”

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“I had to have it. His love! The one man who could always make me want more and more of his LOVE!”

1003-dark-shadows-hannah-angelique-murder

So that’s where things stand, re: the dead; they’re popping out of the tomb because they’re tired of being cold all the time, and they need what we all need, namely: Quentin’s love.

It’s a question of thermodynamics, really. The Parallel Time storyline takes place in a world without romance, where professions of love are a signal to the audience that a character is out of their mind. Bruno’s love makes him choke people, Quentin’s love drives wives from the house, Hoffman’s love serves crabmeat and champagne, and somebody’s love for Angelique stuck a darning needle all the way up into her brain.

But a soap opera without love tends toward entropy. You can keep it alive for a while by sucking the warmth out of literature, but eventually, that energy turns into a form you can’t use. Dark Shadows is just starting to understand that they need a new source of fuel, but they can’t figure out where to get it from, and it’s cold, it’s just so fucking cold.

Tomorrow: The Way Home.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Quentin is watching David and Amy through the open doors of the Parallel Time room, then whirls around to see Daniel and Amy in the hall. By the time he turns back, the doors have closed themselves, and he opens them again to find Angelique’s suite.

Fred tells Angelique, “I was coming back to Collingwood.”

Angelique asks, “Will you read my palms, Aunt Hannah?” She switches to “palm” in her next line.

I cleaned this up, but Angelique’s line is actually, “His love… the one man I couldn’t — who could always make me want more and more of his love!”

Quentin tells Amy, “Barnabas Collins died over two hundred years ago!” He probably means almost two hundred years ago, unless the PT timeline is more different than we thought.

Not a blooper, but why is Hannah so happy at the beginning of her first scene? She’s chuckling and kissing the Tarot cards. It’s a very weird moment.


Behind the Scenes:

If Barnabas’ portrait looks weird to you, that’s because it’s not the original portrait that we’ve been living with since 1967. That portrait went missing sometime during the Parallel Time storyline — it was taken down when they moved to PT, and then I guess it fell through a crack into another universe. This one is a new portrait, made to resemble the original.

Fred is played by Edmund Hashim, in his only episode. Hashim started his television career in 1955, in an episode of The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin. “Hashim” is an Arabic name, and he looks mildly Middle Eastern, so he was kind of an all-purpose swarthy ethnic type. He played a Native American in The Lone Ranger, Brave Eagle, and Tales of the Texas Rangers, a Mexican in The Wild Wild West and The Flying Nun, an Arabian prince in The Green Hornet and Perry Mason, and an Italian in The Thin Man and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. This episode of Dark Shadows was his last TV role; he had a part in the 1971 blaxploitation film Shaft, and then he died in 1974, at the age of 42.

Also, David Henesy and Denise Nickerson get two credits apiece today — Daniel Collins and David Collins, then Amy Collins and Amy Jennings.

Tomorrow: The Way Home.

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Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

44 thoughts on “Episode 1003: The Way We Live Now

    1. Although I’m pretty sure Danny was referring to Countess Bathory, I wouldn’t be surprised if Count Petofi had done a little dabbling in the same hobby.

    1. On the right of every page is a box with “Follow Blog via Email” where you can enter your email and get notified immediately of updates. I did that recently after following for who-knows-how-long, but I frequently check for new comments so it turns out I didn’t really need it anyway.

  1. My first watch-through I was thrilled to see the “real” universe any time it popped up. Especially in this episode, where Daniel is entranced by the heartbeat he hears from Barnabas’ portrait. Going through in later runs, it’s absolute torture.

  2. It may be a slow build-up back to the return of Barnabas and the rest of the Tarrytown Travelers but at least it’s happening. I think Hannah was happy because she just had a good reading. A couple other things. Are you sure the other portrait was lost? Maybe they were using the “original” on the set of HODS. And this is the “parallel time” version. A couple other things I’ve noticed in repeated viewings. Hannah, for all her longing for her niece, is not happy at all she’s back. She looks at Angelique as though coming back from the dead has given her uncontrolled flatulence. Also Angelique isn’t exactly trying to disguise her personality very much.I’m surprised she’s fooling anyone! And then there’s this business of her supernatural abilities and state of being.

    1. Right – Quentin must be scratching his head over “Alexis'” sudden bitchiness. It’s got to have crossed his mind that she’s sounding more like Angelique everyday.

    2. I suspect that after all that “Are you really Angelique’s sister?” business, no one is willing to repeat it, and Angelique knows it.

  3. I always thought the reason the portrait changed was that they were using the original for the movie. Intentional or not I really like that the portraits slightly different in PT

  4. Maybe they did use the original for the movie…but either way, it never came back. Maybe they used it for the movie and some selfish bastard nicked it.

    1. The original portrait doesn’t resemble Jonathan Frid at all. The neck is all off, completely different, thin, elongated — because it was done while they were still casting for Barnabas, and producer Robert Costello sat in for it. Frid’s face was added in later once the casting decision was made. In the following image, Costello is shown on the right:

      1. Yeah, I find it annoying ta it doesn’t resemble him. They keep saying that he is just like the portrait. Then again, Josette’s portrait…

  5. So you have a room in your house. It’s not like every other room. It’s a lazy susan that occasionally spins into another universe.

    The residents of Collinwood Earth Prime – Roger, Julia, David, Amy and soon Quentin and Maggie – all know about the portal to parallel time. Instead of blocking it or, I don’t know, staying out of it, they choose to have gossipy chats about it –

    while in the room.

    Even Vicki wouldn’t be this stupid.

    1. I keep wondering what happens when PT Angelique is just relaxing in her room and it suddenly turns into a dusty, empty room. Doesn’t it bother her? I guess it wouldn’t. But…wouldn’t she be even a teensy bit tempted to go and wreak havoc in that parallel world?

      1. At one timer I wondered about that too. But I figured it was a different vibrational frequency. Viewing Parallel Time was like watching a different channel while recording another

  6. Two posts ago, we watched the sad departure of Don Briscoe. Here’s Don in happier days (1964), acting in a tour of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (whose name I always misspell)? The assistant stage manager was Christopher Bernau, who was also Briscoe’s standby!

    I uploaded a zip file of pics from the V. Woolf playbill: https://app.box.com/s/o1cqzgqu6q0g63lp4d304dgvkth0co4l Feel free to download.

    If someone can track down that Army Signal Corps movie starring Don Briscoe (see bio), we’d have a major find. Ghostwriter–hm. Don should have written for DS.

    1. I could only find 6 credits listed on IMDb, one of which is a 1967 episode of I Dream of Jeannie and which is available in full on Video Dailymotion:

      1. I’ve seen it–he only gets a few seconds, but he manages to shine!

        If there were more data on the s. corps movie, someone could add it to imdb. (Dunno how that works. Guess you have to join first!)

      2. And thanks for the link. This was briefly up on Youtube, along with a Days of Our Lives appearance (lighter hair)–a scene with MacDonald Carey. Don did a good job.

    1. Yes, Clarice was appearing on the CBS soap, “The Secret Storm” at the time.

      The idea of having Angie kill Chris is a good one. Maybe Dan Curtis didn’t want to let Don Briscoe know that he was about to be fired. Maybe he was hoping that Briscoe would get well and return to the show. Don was still popular in 16 Magazine at the time, as well as with the fans.

      1. From what I heard Chris was due to get killed in some episode, but Briscoe had a meltdown just before it, so they drafted the associate producer to be the victim of the day.

      2. But they’d be killing off Parallel Chris! “Our” Chris would still be around (though admittedly cursed to be a werewolf – but it gives him something to do) for the Sixteen readers to swoon over.

  7. Decor question: why does Aunt Hannah have a sad, old, stuffed Major Mitchell Cockatoo and where the hell would she get such a thing?

    1. The same place where one purchases pigweasels and otterbeavers; the Collinsport Antiques Shoppe. A constant in any parallel universe. 🙂

      1. This cockatoo is no more! He has ceased to be! He’s expired and gone to meet his maker! He’s a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed him to the perch, he’d be pushing up the daisies! He’s kicked the bucket, he’s shuffled off this mortal coil, he’s run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! This is an ex-cockatoo!

          1. Hey, who doesn’t?…

            Trouble at mill.
            Oh no – what sort of trouble?
            One on’t cross beams gone owt askew on treddle.
            Pardon?
            One on’t cross beams gone owt askew on treddle.
            I don’t understand what you’re saying.
            One of the cross beams has gone out askew on the treddle.
            Well what on earth does that mean?
            I don’t know – Mr Wentworth just told me to come in here and say that there was trouble at the mill, that’s all – I didn’t expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition. NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!

          2. Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Panties…I’m sorry…Schumann, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Bach. Names that will live for ever. But there is one composer whose name is never included with the greats. Why is it that the world never remembered the name of Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwasser- kurstlich- himbleeisen- bahnwagen- gutenabend- bitte- ein- nürnburger- bratwustle- gerspurten- mitz- weimache- luber- hundsfut- gumberaber- shönedanker- kalbsfleisch- mittler- aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm?

      2. I love that cockatoo. There’s a transition shot in the next episode where it stares into the camera in close-up that boarders on being nightmare fuel. What makes it even more creepy is when the camera slowly zooms out, the bird’s neck looks like it was snaped. So you may be looking at a dead cockatoo that is stuck in rigermortis. I like to think that its a subtle bit of visual storytelling: in this episode there is a blink-and-you-miss-it shot of Angelique touching the cockatoo while she’s waiting for Fred to appear. Maybe she was draining the small portion of “warmth” from the cockatoo to survive just a little longer.

  8. What exactly is this version of Angelique supposed to be? Even though she posseses magic abilites, she can’t be just a witch. The closeset parallel (pun intended) I can make is a vampire due to Angelique needing to drain body heat from people. I like the gimmick of Angelique getting the “cold of the tomb” like she’s becoming a corpse again. Could she be a pheonix? I seem to remember Laura needing to drain body warmth from Dirk during 1897.

    Am I the only person picking up that PT Angelique’s plot to make Quentin like her is basically a rehash of Barnabas kidnaping Maggie to turn her into a vampire so they could be together (minus the brainwashing)?

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