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