“Well, at least there’ll be no more murders.”
Angelique returned from the dead to destroy her ex-husband Quentin, and between you and me, she’s done a kick-ass job. Quentin’s on the run from the law, accused of several murders that he’s only partially responsible for, all of his friends are dead, and a minute from now, either he’s going to murder his second wife or she’s going to murder him. This is about as destroyed as a person needs to be.
We’re down to the last week of the Parallel Time storyline; there’s just a few more people to kill, and then Barnabas and Julia can go back to their own dimension, satisfied with a job well done. Everything Must Go, says the sign in the front window, and here it is: everything. Let’s see how it goes.
Angelique herself is only seconds from destruction — her vitality depends on sucking the life force out of a woman named Roxanne, and if the mysterious Claude North can get Roxanne to speak, then it’s lights out for Angelique.
But Barnabas offers the witch one last shot at redemption, handing her a confession to sign that would clear Quentin’s name. She won’t even touch it. Screw you, she says, if you people don’t appreciate me, then I’ll go down, and I’ll take the whole goddamn show down with me.
Then Roxanne speaks — and Angelique dies with a curse on her lips, as Angeliques should. Really, at the core, she’s saying: I don’t want to live in a world where Roxanne has dialogue. You’ve got to admit she has a point.
Angelique falls, and the world falls with her; this Parallel Hell that they live in is shuddering to a stop. It’s a simple question of thermodynamics: does this universe have enough narrative heat-energy to sustain a story?
Bruno died, and Will, and Carolyn, and Liz — each one a butterfly that flapped its last, and stirred up a twister in Texas, a typhoon in Taiwan. Around the world, people feel the tectonic plates beneath their feet shifting restlessly into uncomfortable positions.
They know in their bones that they live in a world that’s exactly the same, except that people have made different choices. Maybe they weren’t different enough.
The Parallel Dave Woodard feels a chill in the air — unseasonable for July, even in Maine. The Parallel Tom Jennings wonders, for the thousandth time, why he jumps when the phone rings, expecting a call from a twin brother he never had.
At the radio station, the Parallel Eric Lang sets a record spinning on the turntable, sending “Ode to Angelique” out into the night, traveling on invisible waves that could someday reach the stars, if they keep shining. But they won’t. He understands that, somehow.
Meanwhile, the Parallel Quentin comes bouncing down the stairs, pretty spry for a guy whose wife just pointed a gun at him, and then screamed and fell over. He thinks Maggie’s the one who’s caused all the turmoil, because everyone around him has strategically withheld any information that would help him to understand the tiniest bit about his own storyline.
We’re four days from the end, and finally Barnabas tells Quentin what’s been going on for the last four months. Quentin’s supposed to be the second male lead in this soap opera, but the whole storyline has been built around him being completely wrong about every single thing that’s happened.
By act 3 today, Quentin’s going to be arrested by that idiot Inspector Hamilton, and that’s practically the last we see of him. For the rest of the week, Barnabas and Maggie and Roxanne are going to run around in circles, coming up with increasingly bizarre ideas for how to prove Quentin’s innocence. The best one is that an autopsy of Angelique’s body will prove that she’s really Angelique, not her identical twin sister. This strategy works — the autopsy actually does discover that, somehow. I guess parallel medical examiners make different choices, too.
Meanwhile, Quentin sits quietly offstage, waiting in the jail like a good boy. By Wednesday, Maggie’s going to tell us that Quentin’s given up hope, that he wants her to close up the house, and let him go to prison for ridiculous, impossible crimes. We’re then expected to care whether everything turns out okay for him.
When the Parallel Matthew Morgan wakes up from his fevered dream, he walks out to the beach in the middle of the night and digs in the sand, until he finds the fountain pen. Everything that he writes with it will burst into flames within 48 hours, burning his cottage to the ground.
The Parallel Jeff Clark spends his evenings standing at the side of the road, waving at motorists, and waiting for them to suddenly skid, and crash. So far, it hasn’t happened, but he’s still out there, seven hours a night.
“Quentin, there is another world,” says the Parallel Magda, and the thought brings her no comfort.
And standing in the basement, among the tangled test tubes, Roxanne is triumphant.
“You want to stay here,” Claude observes. “Why?”
And Roxanne smiles — that terrible, forced shark’s smile, baring her teeth as she talks about the man we love.
“Because I know he’ll come back,” she coos.
“Barnabas?” Claude asks. “Well, he means nothing to you.”
“He was kind and good to me,” she simpers, “even though I was unable to communicate with him. I could hear him when he spoke to me, and the things he said.”
Claude is baffled by this baffling woman that he loves. “What things? What did he say?”
“That he wanted to know me, as I really am.”
“There is only one man who knows you as you really are,” Claude insists, “and I am that man! I love you, and you love me!”
“I love him!” she smiles. “I love him, in a way that I didn’t think was possible.” She’s right. It’s not.
This isn’t love, obviously, it’s shameless social climbing. Roxanne is a wannabe insta-Josette, who captivates the most popular character on the show without the benefit of character traits. It’s the most cynical, destructive round of Stand Next to Barnabas we’ve ever seen.
This is Parallel Angelique’s curse, her final judgment on a show that wasted her talent and time. If she can’t be the one who loves Barnabas, then this is our punishment — this toxic, empty-headed Mary Sue. Barnabas grows weaker in her presence. We cannot allow her to get too close.
The Parallel Nicholas Blair tugs nervously at his mustache, wondering who took all his black candles. The Parallel Charles Delaware Tate sits rigidly at his desk, refusing to paint. The Parallel Tim Shaw licks every corner of every page of every book, and he’s still hungry, why is he so hungry?
And what about the eleven women in Parallel Fort Wayne, which occurs in this and every other universe? Infinite, spiralling iterations of the Glenbrook Shopping Mall, anchoring all of the dying dimensions.
The screaming was unbelievable. Eleven women fainted, there were 58 lost children, one broken arm, a broken leg and $1,500 damage to trees and shrubs… and Angelique is dead.
This world is dying for the sake of Angelique, and nobody knows that better than the man who could have saved her: the Parallel Mr. Rumson, the successful, unmarried New York publishing tycoon. The love of his life is gone, and he never had the chance to meet her. They could have lived, and loved each other. They could have grown old together, laughing at hatpins, and the world would be whole, and safe.
They could have been happy, if she’d only looked for him, if she’d made those different choices that would have made all the difference. We have lost Angelique, says the Parallel Sky, trembling in the eerie silence.
Tomorrow: Infinite Jest.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
In the teaser, Maggie’s walking upstairs with the gun as the scene fades to Claude — but it doesn’t fade quickly enough, and we see Maggie turning to walk back downstairs.
At the end of the teaser, Barnabas is clutching the confession and urging Angelique to sign it. When the scene fades to Maggie holding the gun, we still hear Barnabas messing with the crumpled paper.
When Quentin walks away from Barnabas at the end of act 1, we can hear someone in the studio telling Hamilton and Barnabas to take their places for the next scene.
Barnabas and Hamilton talk over each other:
Hamilton: I’ve not yet seen one shred of evidence indicating that he did not kill Bruno Hess —
Barnabas: Well, the least you —
Hamilton: — and who knows how many of the other deaths he may have been responsible for.
In the basement, Barnabas tells Hamilton, “He must have taken away — her away from here.”
Behind the Scenes:
There’s an unusually long teaser today, re-enacting the last three minutes of Friday’s episode, including Angelique telling the hypnotized Maggie to take the gun, Maggie walking upstairs, Claude urging Roxanne to speak, Barnabas telling Angelique to sign a confession, Maggie standing in Angelique’s room holding the gun, Angelique refusing to sign the confession, and Maggie raising her gun to point at Quentin. I guess you can’t really summarize all of this nonsense in thirty seconds.
Tomorrow: Infinite Jest.
— Danny Horn