Episode 1071: Back From the Future

“Is it possible that we traveled through time while we were on those stairs?”

One cannot choose but wonder. Will he ever return? It may be that he swept back into the past, and fell among the blood-drinking, hairy savages of the Age of Unpolished Stone; into the abysses of the Cretaceous Sea; or among the grotesque saurians, the huge reptilian brutes of the Jurassic times. He may even now — if I may use the phrase — be wandering on some plesiosaurus-haunted Oolitic coral reef, or beside the lonely saline lakes of the Triassic Age. Or did he go forward, into one of the nearer ages, in which men are still men, but with the riddles of our own time answered and its wearisome problems solved?

Barnabas Collins and his trickster pal Dr. Julia Hoffman have wended their way from one dimension to another, falling forward into the timestream and then paddling their way back again, laden with unanswered riddles and wearisome problems. Two weeks ago and twenty-five years from now, they teleported out of a parallel lava storm straight into a desolate mid-90s Mustn’t See TV hellscape, where Collinwood was destroyed, their friends were all dead or mad or missing, and an evil ghost coyote kept trying to drop anvils on their heads.

Barnabas and Julia spent two weeks trying to learn how they could prevent the catastrophe that befell in 1970, but it didn’t work out very well; all they know is that it involves a pack of wild ghosts, and it can’t be prevented because hello, here you are in the future and it’s already befallen.

Trapped in a toxic playroom, the pair were finally released by a blonde girl, who walked through the wall and created a spontaneous escape hatch. Now they’re stepping through that impossible door, out the back corridor and up a set of time stairs, and they’ve landed in yet another unknown destination. I don’t know if it’s Oolitic or not. It probably is. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s Oolitic and what isn’t.

Anyway, the point is that it’s Monday, and Sy Thomashoff has had the whole weekend to get all the dirt and trees and roof beams and burlap out of the drawing room set, which means that we’re home! After four months in Parallel Time, six weeks in Tarrytown and two weeks partying like it’s 1995, Barnabas and Julia are finally back on their own turf, safe and sound in 1970. Three cheers for Mondays!

But they still have one obstacle to clear: a blonde girl named Hallie, who threatens to destroy all the work they’ve done over the last couple weeks to make Dark Shadows a good show again.

So here’s the thing. Hallie Stokes is the replacement for Amy Jennings, who’s gone off to Munich to visit a chocolate factory for the foreseeable. We’re doing The Fucking Turn of the Screw again, with a male ghost and a female ghost messing around with a young boy and a young girl, so with Denise Nickerson gone, they had to find another sad-eyed orphan girl to move unnecessarily into Collinwood.

And she’s terrible. Just the worst.

Traversing the timeways, Barnabas and Julia have come to a stop right here in this hallway, where it would be great if someone could confirm that this is Collinwood in 1970, so we can go downstairs and see if any of the other characters are around. But here’s Hallie, standing in the way and breathing weird.

I don’t know exactly how I can explain why I have a problem with the way that Hallie breathes, but it’s tremendously upsetting and she does it a lot. It’s like every line she delivers is a difficult chore, pushing the words out of her mouth while she stands there, exhausted and panting. She’s always afraid and she’s always whining, in a way that makes you feel like she’s overreacting, even when she’s reacting to something that’s objectively petrifying. This is a girl who could open a door to find a room decorated with the internal organs of the people that she loves, as an eight-foot-tall fire-breathing serial killer squirms towards her on his tentacle legs, and she’d say, “Who are you?” and you’d think, oh my god, calm down.

And the bad news is that she’s in 24 of the next 30 episodes. Hallie is terrible and she is inescapable and I am not emotionally prepared for this. I thought that I would be, but I am not.

“I’m going to tell Mrs. Stoddard!” she cries, but Barnabas tells her not to be afraid, and introduces himself.

She says, “I’ve heard them talk about you,” and then she just stands there and breathes, categorically refusing to let the scene progress another step.

“Is it possible, Julia,” says Barnabas, addressing Julia, “that we traveled through time while we were on those stairs?”

“I don’t know, Barnabas,” says Julia. “Young lady, what year is this?”

Hallie’s eyes get wider. “Don’t you know?” she asks, and then she just keeps on breathing. They say no, you horrible child, just tell us what year it is, and she finally says that it’s 1970, and continues to look like an unhappy chicken.

She tells them that her name is Hallie Stokes, and Barnabas asks, “Are you any relation to Professor Stokes?” She flinches, like that’s the worst thing she’s heard someone say all day.

“He’s my uncle,” she explains. “My parents were killed in an accident, and he brought me here. Mrs. Stoddard invited me to stay at Collinwood.” She doesn’t say what kind of accident. I have my own suspicions.

Eventually, we’re released from Hallie’s company, and we hop downstairs, and there’s Quentin and Elizabeth, in the drawing room! The room’s all cleaned up, and they’re the real Quentin and Liz, and everything’s back to what passes for normal in Collinwood.

And delightfully, they’ve been watching Dark Shadows, although they’re a couple weeks behind. Quentin was just looking at the rift in spacetime they keep upstairs in the west wing, and he saw Parallel Time Collinwood, where a young woman was trapped in a fire and calling Barnabas’ name.

At least for now, Elizabeth believes in the supernatural science fantasy constantly bubbling under the surface of her childhood home, and she’s ready to discuss it. “Do you think that it’s possible that Julia and Barnabas were trapped in the fire?” she asks.

“That’s the only conclusion that I can come to,” says Quentin. “And if it’s true, then we shall never see them again.”

And then the doors swing open, and Barnabas announces, “Elizabeth! Quentin! We’ve returned!”

And oh, the look on Quentin’s face is precious. After all these months, he gets to be friends with Barnabas and Julia again, which means fun scenes with charismatic actors that people actually want to watch.

So they jump right into it, explaining about the future catastrophe they witnessed from the other end. “We just have a very short time before something happens here!” Barnabas insists. “A disaster!”

Quentin asks, “Barnabas, exactly what do you think is going to happen?”

Barnabas sighs. “I wish I knew.”

And that’s basically the current status of Dark Shadows, right there. They have a very short time, and no idea what to do. All they know is that a disaster is imminent, and surprise, it involves Hallie Stokes.

Tomorrow: Something Terrible.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Quentin tells Barnabas that he saw the Parallel Time room filled with smoke “right after Julia and you got here.” He means right before.

Barnabas tells Liz and Quentin, “Unless something is done very soon, we’re going to find there’s going to be a disaster here, right here at Collinwood!” Liz cries, “A catastrophe? What are you talking about?”

Then Barnabas says, “Elizabeth, you must listen! We don’t have very much time to prevent what’s going to happen.” Quentin asks, “Time for what?” and Barnabas says, “Well, we just have a few — a very short time, before — before something happens here, a disaster!”

A moment later, when Barnabas strolls away from the others, the boom mic doesn’t keep up with him, and a few words are slightly off-mic.

When Barnabas says, “She died of fright, right here in this room,” the boom mic is visible over his shoulder.

Barnabas reads to Julia about Daphne: “She was the governess in nine — in eighteen-forty!” Then he tells Julia he’s going to the cemetery: “When she was Daphne’s spirit, when we saw her, she looked as she did when she died!”

Quentin tells Barnabas, “When you were telling us the story downstairs, you left out one very important detail.” Barnabas replies, “Well, there was so much to tell, I — I let some of it out, several things.”

Later, Barnabas tells Quentin, “And then, Hallie disapp– well, she appeared.”


Behind the Scenes:

They bury people in strange patterns in the Eagle Hill cemetery. Gerard and Daphne, who both died in 1841, are buried next to Tom Jennings, who died in 1968.

Tomorrow: Something Terrible.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

27 thoughts on “Episode 1071: Back From the Future

  1. Except that 12 year old boys, 13 year old boys, and 14 year old boys will want HER.

    I did. Like a virus. Maybe it was the hair.

    Or eyelashes.

    Her overacting. Who cares, she’s pretty.

    We loved what we saw.

    She’s horrible, and it sucks, but we didn’t care.

    1. Yeah, and it would have helped a lot if they’d written Hallie some decent lines. All I ever remember her saying is “Why David, WHY?” or “Where David, WHERE?” or “Who David, WHO???”
      Just cause you’re a pretty blond girl in a miniskirt, that doesn’t mean the writers get to completely cop out on writing your dialogue.

      1. And the always, if you say it once, it’s good for twice, thank you, writers.

        Like “Who ARE you?”

        Gotta eat up the airtime somehow.

        But as far as she goes with us 13 yearolds, she sums it up, soon.

        “Lots of boys have dreams about me.”

        We couldn’t get one, and she was ours, right on the TV set in the basement.

        1. I feel so dumb. I never realized Hallie was so appealing to all you young guys. That makes it even more of a waste that they didn’t take her and David out of that silly play room and give them a teenaged storyline.

        2. I already like Callie (or Hailey) and can imagine how appealing she was to pubescent boys watching this. But her repeated query, “Who ARE you?” provoked a stupid giggle from me as it reminded me so much of Dawn French’s accent-testing phrase: “Hoy ARR ooy?”

          https://coub.com/view/3b2ts

        1. As is so much about Dark Shadows, and we love it anyway. I don’t recall much about Hallie from the reruns, thus I can’t comment on her acting prowess specifically. But many, many, many actors on DS were rough.

  2. Overacting on Dark Shadows? Say it isn’t so! When I was 15, I thought Hallie was very pretty indeed. Strange as it may seem, at 15 I didn’t have carnal thoughts about males or females, but I had romantic feelings, and I could easily see myself going steady with the lovely Miss Stokes.

  3. From those screencaps of Quentin and Elizabeth it looks like instead of “Turn of the Screw” they’re starting either “The Amazing Colossal Quentin” or “The Incredible Shrinking Liz.” I never noticed that their height difference is so striking.

    Speaking of anvils ringing “like a bell”…

  4. According to Dark Shadows Wiki, Ep 1071 first aired on August 3, 1970. The scene with Barnabas, Julia and Hallie, in which they ask Hallie what year it is, and she replies “1970,” aghast that they did not know, is one of the few DS episodes/scenes I saw in the show’s original run.

    I was 8 years old, I was playing with my friend Pat, short for Patrick, in our neighborhood. Pat and I were bored and were looking for something to do. We wandered in to Pat’s house in the afternoon, where DS was on. Pat’s mom and dad were there – his dad on the couch, maybe resting before going in to work in the afternoon. Pat’s dad was kind of grumpy most of the time, often yelling at Pat about something. There they were, wondering what year it was, and we all just laughed at how ludicrous this show was Pat’s mostly grumpy dad sort of smiled about that. I guess maybe I inferred they had just done something with time travel, but when you just tune in once every blue moon, it can all seem pretty far-fetched.

    The last episode I remember seeing was Episode 308, around the time that I was 6 and in Kindergarten, where it seemed like the whole episode was about everyone looking all over for Sarah. I remember the rather haunting image of the empty swing swinging, and people wondering if Sarah had just been there? I even wrote a poem about Ep 308 in the comments. An insignificant ep in the grand scheme of DS eps, but significant to me personally as a very young 6 year old on August 30, 1967.

    Inbetween 308 and 1071, I remember being up at my Grandma’s house one afternoon, and I turned on an episode where Humbert Allen Estredo (I think) was prancing around the Collinwood drawing room (?) – some set with a big window – and there was lots of lightning and thunder, and he was casting a big spell, calling out some kind of name — Mephisto? Mumbo Jumbo? — some kind of odd name, like he was summoning a spirit or something. The set went dark, and when the lights came up, there was some kind of mummy-like creature standing there, literally looking like it had been wrapped in black or brown toilet paper. (The coloring on the “mummy” wrapping was due to my watching on a BW set.) There was a dramatic close-up of this dummy/mummy and then it cut to commercial. I let Grandma know what was going on, and we changed the channel, again not taking DS too seriously back then. Maybe the spirit was some kind of ectoplasm in the “mummy” state and was replaced by an actor or actress after the commercial break? I didn’t stay to find out.

    Does anyone have any inkling about which ep this was? I can only tell you it is probably somewhere between 308 and 1071 and maybe has something to do with either the Adam storyline or maybe Leviathan, but I’m not sure. It was probably during one of Humbert Allen Estredo’s runs on the show…

    As much as I may have sort of scoffed at show in its original run, at 14 when I first saw most of the vampire storyline after school in reruns in spring 1976 or years later in 1999 and early 2000’s on Sci-Fi (syfy) channel (which I could usually only watch DS here and there), I was entranced and actually had great respect for the show and its style and complexities. I was quite willing to take it at face value and even suspend belief over most of the absurdities and just truly appreciate DS. I felt that DS, at times, had all the fugue-like complexity in its storylines, not unlike many of the modern-day soaps. DS was ground-breaking on so many levels

      1. Hey Prisoner, I finally figured out the episode – where Humbert Allen Estredo was invoking someone and he appeared in a patio-window in a torrent of thunder & lightning. It was when Evan was invoking the appearance of Satan, episode 761 in 1897. No mummy, just a barely discernible figure in the window. I never was curious to see the next ep to see who it was – not Satan, but in fact, 1897’s Rev. Trask!

  5. Quentin only mentioned there was smoke in the PT Angelique’s room, not fire where Roxanne was wandering about calling for Barnabas So maybe whatever Mad Tim Stokes used burned out .That Eagle Hill cemetery thing is easy enough to explain. By 1968 the cemetery was opening up more plots. Or maybethe Jennings family bought plots (and others years ago).

    Yeah, I never liked Hallie or Carrie or PT Carrie. She whined a lot and looked perpetually worried. Didn’t like her polyester candy colored outfits, bleached blond hair and make-up either Many TV and movie teens of the era had that same Brady Bunch look. My grammar school class picture from 1970 was riddled with these types.

    As happy as I was to have Barnabas and Julia back in 1970 the story line and actions of all the characters was frustrating

    1. Tony, so far it looks as though you and I are the only ones here who don’t like Hallie. I hated her when I first watched the show in the 70s and the decades have not softened my opinion. The whining, the hair, those white knee socks …. I’d even go as far as nominating her as Worst Actor on Dark Shadows over Addison Powell. At least Powell had good looks in his favor (when he wasn’t making goofy faces, that is.)

    2. Hallie and Carrie get on my nerves. I dont watch re-watch her scenes. David is aggrevating too, lying and acting like a brat. I could kick his ass.

  6. Whiny she was, it gave us belief that she was get-able. A girl in a dress, a girl in distress.

    That was perfection.

    Dan got it right for US.

    So, the show is in decline, you say….so, what.

    She was the only character that got me going(through the whole series.)

    At the time.

    Damn Jeremy Grimes ruins it, but…

    Everyone else was OLD. Well, Amy was 9.

    I’m six months from 60.

    Old.

    Then?

    Old was 18.

    Nancy Barrett was old at episode 1.

  7. And Frid?

    He was the weird old grandfather to US.

    Maggie and Victoria were ancient.

    David was our brother who went through the same crap we went through.

    Like getting blamed for things we didn’t do.

    Or nobody believing us when we tell about things that actually happened.

    David was us.

    And our “over-active imagination.”

    Mom’s gone. Dad might as well be gone. No siblings.

    Victoria is your New Mom.

    And nobody has met her before.

    Perfect.

    It made us feel like, well,

    We had it pretty good.

    Just LOOK at the stupid rich people.

    Who treat the kid like personna non grata, someone to be ignored whenever possible.

    And be surprised when he tries to kill his father, twice.

    Of course, he never had the opportunity with Mom.

    Because she would kill him FIRST.

  8. And she’s terrible. Just the worst

    Easily the understatement of the century! I always hated her because of her incessant whining and yelling her lines. You should type all her dialog in ALL CAPS to quote her correctly. 😉
    I’m not sure who was worse, she or the plot speedbump whose name I forgot who Mrs Johnson’s son or nephew.

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