Episode 1045: We Belong Dead

“I can feel the vibrations of his fear!”

Petulant homeowner Quentin Collins is a fugitive, accused of crimes that he’s only partially responsible for. With nowhere to go and no one to trust, Quentin goes upstairs and hides in the attic, which in Collinwood means the tower room. It’s a pretty safe hiding place, because everybody knows to keep away from the tower. The only things that happen here are history-wrecking mythological catastrophes.

Searching for Quentin, Will Loomis makes his way up to the tower, keeping an eye out for tragic irony as he goes. Will enters the tower room, and finds evidence of Quentin’s presence — his tie, his watch — but the man himself is gone.

So Quentin must be amazing at this. You have to be pretty seriously committed to the concept of hiding out to not even be in your own hideout.

Then the door opens, and in walks Angelique, the villain of the piece. She’s an undead witch who came back from a fatal hatpin attack thanks to medicine and sorcery, and now she’s living in Collinwood, pretending to be her twin sister. Will knows who she is, of course, because he’s the blood slave and confidant of gentleman vampire Barnabas Collins, and Barnabas is the sworn enemy of all Angeliques across the multiverse.

It’s not immediately clear whether she knows that Quentin’s been hiding here or not, and I don’t know why she suddenly decides that today is the Fall of Will Loomis. But she does, and it is.

Will hasn’t had that much to do during this Parallel Time storyline, because he was gone for the first six weeks filming House of Dark Shadows. By the time he got back to television Collinwood, the big stories all involved other people. Will’s mostly been offscreen, purportedly guarding Barnabas’ coffin during the day, except for every single time somebody comes into the Old House hunting for the vampire. I don’t know what he’s actually been doing.

But John Karlen is about to leave the show for a few months, and they’ve decided to make a big deal out of his exit. For the last couple days, Julia temporarily refused to help Barnabas with his schemes, so that Will could tag along with Barnabas and remind the audience that he exists. Now he’s going to fall, and surprisingly, that’s actually going to matter.

The thing that’s great about John Karlen as a soap opera actor is that in his head, he’s in a Tennessee Williams play — usually A Streetcar Named Desire — but the Parallel Time version of Will is an alcoholic, so today he’s doing Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

This is Brick, confronted by Maggie the Cat, trying to hang on to his preferred version of the truth. “Mendacity is a system that we live in,” Brick says. “Liquor is one way out, and death’s the other.” That’s pretty much Will’s entire story.

Angelique wants something from Will — the secret that gives Barnabas his power — and we get to see the tricks that she used back when she was alive, to control the men around her. We know that Quentin, Bruno, Cyrus, Dameon, Roger and Will all danced to her tune — Bruno’s the one who wrote it, actually — but she’s had to downplay the direct manipulation while she’s pretending to be Alexis. Today, she drops the facade.

“I’m Angelique,” she says, reaching out to stroke Will’s cheek. “Your Angelique.” The touch of her hand can redirect a conversation towards a topic of her choosing.

“You always liked to be caressed, didn’t you, Will? Do you remember all the nights we spent together, sitting by the fire?” He does. It’s not a happy memory.

And then she does what everyone does at Collinwood: she rewrites history, to her own advantage.

“We’re all alone,” she says, positioning her lips within range. “Just the two of us. Just the way we always wanted it.”

Now, the question about this scene that’s never fully answered is how he has the strength to resist her, when she’s pushing his buttons harder than she ever has before. Obviously, “the two of us, the way we always wanted it” is a lie — Angelique could get anything she really wanted, in the way of male companionship. But she’s looking into Will’s heart, and giving him the version of herself that he’s most susceptible to.

But he pushes her away, and there’s the question: is he just following the counterprogramming that Barnabas installed when he took over Will’s life? Or is Will actually making the choice not to fall for this bullshit anymore? And if he won’t fall for that — then what does he fall for?

He pants, and he shudders, and he runs his hands through his messy hair. He mutters and makes hand gestures and squints his eyes and finally, visibly cracks, doubling over and hollering a wordless cry of pain. He stumbles to the window, and pounds on the sill. “I can’t tell you any more!” he thunders.

He’s overacting, of course, but if you can’t overact when you’re fighting a hypnotic succubus about whether your boss is a vampire, then when can you? I mean, be fair.

She ruined his marriage. I mean, technically he ruined his marriage, but it could have been a hell of a lot less ruined if Angelique hadn’t come along. Will was married to Carolyn Stoddard, who’s beautiful and intelligent and strong-willed — and filled with enough teases and tortures and hidden treasures to keep a man interested for life.

Yes, she has unresolved daddy issues, because her unresolved daddy faked his own death when she was nine, and she probably held a part of herself in some remote place where it wouldn’t get hurt when her husband inevitably followed her father, passing out of her life with no apology or explanation. She’s complicated. People generally are.

But Will was a genius. He must have been, because he took the unbelievably boring story of Non-Vampire Barnabas Collins, and turned it into a Pony Award-winning hip-hop musical that nobody can afford tickets to. Angelique probably thinks that it was her magical influence that inspired him to greatness, but that’s nonsense. Angelique’s influence stopped him from writing, kept him running in circles between Collinwood and Loomis House, tormenting him with all those nights they spent together, sitting by the fire and not actually having sex. If he can be blamed for that — for the selfishness and stupidity and general lack of self-respect that kept him coming back for not very much — then he can also claim ownership of his successes.

He really was a genius, and he really was worth loving, once. Maybe more than once.

“I won’t do it!” he rages. “I’ll never do what you want!” He clutches at the furniture. “Do you hear me? Do you hear me?”

He points a finger in her face. “You never cared for me,” he croaks. “You never cared for me.” He has to say it twice — once for her, and once for himself, just to be sure. “You’re evil. You’re evil, and I hate — I hate the sight of you!”

Angelique is stunned. “What kind of power does he have over you?” she cries, because she still thinks this is about Barnabas.

Brick asks, “What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?” and Maggie answers, “I wish I knew… Just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can.” But sometimes there’s a victory in falling.

He scrambles up onto the windowsill, taking to higher ground. He can see her more clearly from up here.

Will’s looking for his own hideout, the path that leads him away from Barnabas and Angelique, and their senseless, endless, dimension-jumping Time War.

He’s flying through the air now, released from every burden but gravity. For the first time in years, Will Loomis is finally free. It doesn’t last very long, but length isn’t everything.

Monday: Woke.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Will calls Angelique “Alexis”, and she says, “That’s not my name! My name — you know my name.”

At the end of act 1, when Angelique turns to face Will at the window, she’s slightly off mic.

When Will screams, “I won’t do it! I’ll never do what you want!”, he knocks over the little table that he’s been pounding on. It happens just off camera, but you can hear it fall, and in the next shot you can see that it’s not where it was.

In the final scene, when Angelique clutches at the stair post for balance, it comes loose a bit, making an alarming crunching sound.

Monday: Woke.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

54 thoughts on “Episode 1045: We Belong Dead

  1. I didn’t know they mentioned Carolyn’s father in PT. He faked his death? How did that happen?

      1. I think we’re making a lot of assumptions (but that’s a lot of fun, so I’m not nay-saying) that PT Paul was just like regular-Paul. It’s hard to imagine PT Liz had anything worth stealing that would be worth conking someone over the head for. But I’m afraid of going down that rabbit hole, lest we change anything about PT Carolyn, who is fabulous to a fault.

        1. Perhaps that’s how Paralliz lost all her money? Parapaul may have been an even bigger deadbeat than in RT. She trusted him with the finances and he took everything. The last straw came when he tried to leave with her hatpin collection – so she got something from her fireplace poker collection. And Parajason is still blackmailing her; they just never got around to that story.

          1. It seems like Quentin represents a branch of the family that didn’t exist in RT. He’s significantly younger than Roger and Liz (he’s around the same age as Carolyn, after all), so his father was their contemporary and the one who inherited control of the estate over them. Or perhaps Jamison was also master of Collinwood and chose to leave everything to favored nephew Quentin (from a chauvinistic standpoint, it could be that he viewed Quentin as the only real male heir, because Liz was a woman and Roger… flamboyant).

            Anyway, my own personal theory is that Liz and Paul were married and perhaps even happily so in PT. I never got the sense that RT Paul was that ambitious so much as that he wanted to be “rich” (in the flashy sense) and have fun. Liz was burdened with responsibility in RT. A swinging PT Liz is fun to imagine. Paul might have just died from hard living, which would explain PT Carolyn, who comes across less as an abandoned child but one who had to grow up with Daddy sleeping off the latest bender — in other words, a man very much like her husband.

            1. In 1840, it’s kind of implied that in RT, the present-day Collins family is descended from Gabriel’s children rather than from the first Quentin’s son, Tad.

              I’ve always assumed that that’s where the two branches of the PT family came from. PTad, as the son of the first born, passes the house and leadership of the business to his descendant – PT modern Quentin. PT Gabriel Junior, as the son of the second born, leaves his descendants Edward and Quentin II, and their grandchildren/great-grandchildren Liz, Roger, Carolyn, and Chris, a much less exalted place in the family.

              Anyway, that’s been my headcanon, and I think it probably works as well as anything else.

            2. I like your swinging (as in “hip”) Liz/Paul theory.

              I’ve always rationalised that 1897-PT Quentin was the heir to the fortune, and as such, he was the darling rather than the outcast, and never philandered his way to being cursed (which led to the death of his son). PT-Edward, Jamison, et al, got a chunk of bucks but not much else. Thus Chris and Quentin are the now “main branch” of the PT family.

              I don’t think that the writers even gave it the thought it took to read this paragraph, though, so anyone’s guess is as good as mine.

              1. The challenge with PT is that the major “split” is Barnabas not becoming a vampire in 1795. The trickle down effect would result in a very different modern day Collins family than what we see. Note how different 1841 PT is. (The ending, which I won’t reveal here, also differs from what we’re told in 1970 PT — not that we’d expect the writers to remember).

                Parallel world/mirror universe stories are conflicting for me. I thematically love them and the chance to see an “evil” version of the Enterprise crew or “evil” versions of Cisco Ramon and Caitlyn Snow. But there’s also the part of me that likes the “butterfly effect” of time travel so it’s a little difficult to buy drastically different worlds remaining so similar in certain ways.

                And the original premise of Parallel Time was one where people made different choices, which was to explain the altered Julia, Willie, and Carolyn. But in execution, the universe is different for larger reasons than individual choice.

            3. I see PT Paul as very much like Roger from Mad Men–the fun loving, joke telling daddy who bought you everything you wanted for Christmas but spent the day sleeping off Christmas Eve, who paid for your fabulous wedding but can’t actually remember your fiance’s name. Carolyn probably learned the lesson that the man you love will dance in and out but never stay very, very early.

  2. And if he won’t fall for that — then what does he fall for?

    He falls for about fifty feet…
    (Sorry – too soon?)

  3. When Alexilique is leaning against the bannister of the staircase in the main hall at the end of the episode there’s a series of audible cracks, like the bannister isn’t fully supporting Lara Parker’s weight. You can actually see the fitting at the bottom of the bannister move slightly as she pushes against it when falling to the floor.

    Also, I’m finally caught up!

    1. That poor banister! I seem to remember it being initially damaged in the Adam storyline(?), and I guess it was never the same afterward. The Old House stair railing was also rather unstable, though I don’t quite recollect when that first showed.

      (And congratulations on catching up!)

  4. All those men were Angelique’s willing love slaves – without sex?She must have been one helluva cheek stroker.

    1. “She’s so attractive, the men just naturally flock to her.”

      Melanie Hamilton, in Gone With the Wind

      1. “You still think you’re the belle of the county, don’t you? That you’re the cutest little trick in shoe leather and every man you meet is dying of love for you.” – Rhett Butler to Scarlett O’Hara

        1. Well, most of Angelique’s beaux have expired, whether from love of her or not…doesn’t really matter, I suppose; they’re just as dead either way.

    2. Angelique was that very special brand of cockteaser (sorry, but that’s what she was) who knew to surround herself with the kind of worshipper who lived to NOT achieve his ultimate goal. Once you actually give the guy what he thinks he wants, he’s disappointed, no matter how fantastic the sex was. He wonders what made you change your mind, and if you’re going to change your mind for all the other men you thought she preferred you to. Then you’re just a slut.

      There’s a great version of this in Dorothy Parker’s short story The Custard Heart, where the worshipped lady, Mrs. Lanier, is utterly, entirely self-absorbed but plays herself as the delicate, always on the verge of a faint flower of Camille. Every single person in her circle thinks of her as an angel on earth, and she has a collection of young romantic men who flutter around her constantly and to no avail.

      So yeah, the withholding of sex was probably a big part of Angelique’s control over men. She wanted the attention without the bother of having to return the favor.

  5. I think he resists her because she’s dead, and he’s just not that into necrophilia. And I think he falls because he knows he can’t reveal anything about Barnabas (one of those properties about Barnabas that is reasonably consistent, that those he bites cannot tell anyone about him), but Angelique will never stop harassing him and pressuring him and messing his life up until he does. There just isn’t any future.

  6. Can i put in a vote here for reassessing Gordon Russell? Even without the ghosting of Violet Welles, who was inventively all-character-and-quirks, not strong on driving plot, he has a strength in writing character moments and moving scenes for method-y, confessional actors. Some of my favorite personal moments, favorite odd details of character history, are his. Karlen owns this episode, but he was also given a good-enough version of what he needs to pour his over-the-top magnetism into.

  7. The near miraculous thing about the Will Loomis situation is, i’m amazed that more of the characters didn’t just throw themselves out a window. Especially those in PT.

    1. Yeah – makes you wonder why the entire PT cast isn’t jumpin’ off the roof.
      Will is a particularly steamin hot mess. He’s torn between performing duties as the local vampire’s blood slave and the local insatiable sex kitten/voodoo priestess’ love slave. Who wouldn’t jump out the nearest window?

      1. Between Will, Carolyn and Roger it’s a wonder there’s any brandy left. You know something is wrong when Quentin isn’t dipping into the brandy.

        1. I bet that’s what making Quentin so obnoxious and shouty! He needs to ditch the 12 steps and pick up a glass.

          1. Pity poor PT Quentin! Skulking in his attic\tower, no booze, no watch, no tie, probably reduced to wearing a turtleneck, and having to find a hideout IN his hideout…RT Quentin lost his memory, but at least managed to hang onto his Rolex (and a ready supply of bourbon).

        1. Yeah, what about the cliff? Nobody in PT seems interested in it. Maybe the Collinsport City Council had a fence and nets installed, and renamed the spot Safety Hill.

  8. A couple observations.I don’t think there’s much mystery about Paul Stoddard. I remember early in the PT storyline Liz mentioned her side of the family weren’t good with money decisions so she and Roger were reliant on allowances from Quentin’s side of the family. It could be that’s why gold digger Paul Stoddard up and left..without any foul play.

    I know John Karlen overacted here but at the end you have to feel some pathos for him. And I do credit Karlen. At times he imbued Willie with this same pathos.

    We’ll never know but maybe the Barnabas Collins of PT had a more fascinating history than we think. Would a dull historical biography really have been William H Loomis’ claim to fame? I’ve maintained for several years that the 1841 PT where the series ends is not the same band of time as PT 1970. So who knows what kind of life PT Barnabas led

    1. This speculation makes me wonder what the 1795 PT crew was like:

      PT Abigail: Maybe she was a carefree, independent, flirtatious sort — centuries ahead of her time.

      PT Joshua and Naomi: He’s master of the house in name, but he’s the one who likes to drink and Naomi calls the shots behind the scenes. Much more like our Liz.

      PT Millicent: On the surface, still a silly little thing. But it’s all an act. She’s good with money and very sharp.

      PT Jeremiah: Nasty piece of work. He’s the villain of the family, and this time with no help from Angelique. Constantly trying to undermine Naomi and Barnabas and Josette. Sleeps around a lot. Woos Millicent for her money, but who is wooin’ who?

      1. PT Sarah – obnoxious little git, Mother’s darling pet (think Jane Withers in Bright Eyes). The monster has run off four governesses already.

        PT Trask – a Satanist, proto-Nicholas Blair, hides behind the guise of being a Reverend. He allies with Angelique and manages to constantly muck things up for her. Smitten with Abigail, but not in a marrying vein.

        PT Josette – a gold-digger, just trying to get into the Collins family to get her hands on all that lovely money.

        PT Andre and Natalie – also scheming, to get Josette and Barnabas married, then bump him off, gaslight her, and get control of that lovely money. (Think Nathan Forbes in RT).

        PT Nathan – Prince of a guy, sees through the schemers and tries to artfully foil their nefarious plans. He convinces Josette to tread a virtuous path.

        PT Ben – vicious, nasty piece of work, manhandles weakling Joshua, has his eye on taking Naomi to wife after her husband’s “accident”. Most of the household are in fear of him, the story is that he learned many dark and evil things while in prison, black arts and voodoo. He didn’t, but isn’t about to disillusion the fools.

        PT Dr. Thornton – dedicated professional, kindly and caring, intuitive, and years ahead of time with treatments for illnesses. Although he never has had dealings with witchcraft, he recognises at once that this is what is ailing the Collins family. He doesn’t last more than a few episodes before his carriage mysteriously overturns and bursts into flames, killing him.

        PT Peter Bradford – natural-born litigator, even without formal training. Soft-spoken, polite, and not at all grabby around others, he successfully defends Phyllis Wick against a charge of witchcraft. Later marries Danielle Roget, and sides twenty-one children, four of whom survive to adulthood.

        PT Noah Gifford – suave, self-assured man about town, bitter rival of Nathan, Barnabas, and Jeremiah. Anything they have, he is determined to get, particularly when it comes to women.

        PT Bathia – angelic, grandmother type, spends most of her time knitting. She has given afghans to almost everyone in Collinsport. But, like Jane Marple, nothing gets past her. She always knows just what to say to anyone.

        PT Daniel – cannot believe that he is related to this bunch of loonies. Runs away to New York and does not return until just before Barnabas’ death. An early investor in fire hydrants, he returned to Collinwood a wealthy man.

        1. Mad props for including a doomed investigator role for Dr. Thornton in this timeline. You always need at least one of those on hand — sometimes two, considering how flammable they are.

          1. Well, PT Judge Matigan disappeared about the same time, after making some remarks about the doctor’s death being “no accident”, and vowing to find the guilty party. There was a lightning strike on the front walk of his home, but no trace of him was found – strangely, the bolt struck of a clear, warm evening, on one of the few nights when there was no storm over Collinsport.

        2. PT Andre and Natalie – also scheming, to get Josette and Barnabas married, then bump him off, gaslight her, and get control of that lovely money. (Think Nathan Forbes in RT).

          Or, they’re like the Masons in Jane Eyre, and they want to get Josette married quickly and off the island before everybody realizes she’s going completely mad.

  9. Okay. I bow to everyone’s wisdom here. I’m new. New to DS. And this is one amazing site!
    But I guess I need to watch this episode again (even though I just watched it last night). So they have this terrific scene where Angelique is confronting Will. And things are tense. A little over the top, but tense. Then Barnabas and Julia sense something is wrong. Will might be in danger! Julia volunteers to scurry around the endless house maze that is Collinswood to help Will.

    But why? They have Roxanne. Roxanne, at this point, is a “kill switch” for Angelique. Couldn’t Barnabas & Julia just have gone into the next room, tickle Roxanne’s toes and rendered Angelique neutral? Or am I missing something here?

    (Have I mentioned I love this site?)

    1. They didn’t know for sure yet they would be able to control Angelique through Roxanne, so they wouldn’t depend just on that. Will is still in Barnabas’s thrall, and he needs him…and he doesn’t want Will to reveal Barnabas’s vampirism to Angelique, so they do need to rescue him. I don’t know if there’s any human kindness at work in Julia and Barnabas’s desire to save Will, but there might be hat too.

  10. Lara Parker deserves a lot of credit for that scene in the tower room. When John Karlen starts playing a Tennesee Williams character opposite Kathryn Leigh Scott in 1967, she continues playing Maggie Evans, and it’s an interesting mashup of genres. It was a sensible decision on her part, keeping the show grounded in the expectations the audience had developed up to that point.

    But in this episode, when Karlen goes in that direction, Parker goes right along with him. That’s a daring move- it’s one thing to have one person in the scene who has suddenly taken leave of the show and started doing something else, but when both actors do it, the result could easily be a scene that leaves us wondering if someone changed the channel when we weren’t watching. But it works here, it really works, and even if the rest of 1970 PT were as bad as so many people seem to think it was, a handful of scenes like that would justify watching the whole thing.

    1. That whole “shriek out your florid despair under the live oaks, than JUMP!” could have gone the way of shouty Quentin, but Karlen and Parker really nail it. Her utter bewilderment that anything with a penis could even pretend to resist her and total focus on him coughing up Barnabas’s secret while he’s battling for the last scrap of his soul.

      1. It is amazing that Parker and Karlen communicated all that information so clearly and so memorably in the course of that rapid little scene. If there had been daytime Emmy Awards in 1970, it would have been an outrage when they were passed over for them.

  11. There are very few parts of this story that I remember after 50 years, but Will’s death is probably the most vivid next to Julia killing Hoffman. I also remember Carolyn’s reaction. I got a bit of James Dean from Karlen. He demonstrated, “You’re tearing me apart!” as he was caught between Angelique and Barnabas.

  12. Best episode since the 1897 storyline, at least.

    When things start getting really hot Lara Parker’s normally impeccable diction deserts her for a bit. “Gonna” is heard several times.

    I love how Angelique and Hoffman just walk away and leave Will’s body on the ground. Maybe they figure the leaves will cover it come Fall.

    After learning of Will’s death Barnabas is feeling some very justified guilt but of course Julia jumps right in and assures him that it wasn’t his fault, absolutely not. I don’t think the term “enabler” had even been coined yet but brother she was it.

    After Julia removes the electrical headband from Roxanne something falls and breaks nearby.

  13. The anguish and despair on Karlen’s face as he climbed up on the window ledge looked real. There was this victorious moment when he did not give in to Angelique’s wiles, and then…self-destruction. It was harrowing to witness. I felt Barnabas showed an adequate amount of shock and sadness and regret; on the contrary, Carolyn’s reaction over the next few episodes become quite tiresome.

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