Episode 1078: Everyone Must Leave This House at Once

“I remember the first sensation I had from him in the future.”

“Do you feel his presence?” Barnabas asks.

“Yes,” Julia shudders, “but not as strongly as before.”

So there you go, that’s our show this week: characters walking from room to room, consulting their ghost barometers.

Accidental tourists Barnabas Collins and Julia Hoffman took a quick time trip to 1995 the other day, and now they think they know everything. You know how time travelers are; they’re like Burners. Oh my god, I can’t believe there’s still dust in my shoes, they say, six weeks after leaving the playa. It’s so weird being back here in default world, where you have to use money and you can’t hug strangers, and none of the cars look like giant extinct animals. Okay, fine. We get it. You’re cool. 

They’ve seen a post-burn Collinwood, where all their friends were dead or mad or missing, and now it’s all they can talk about. Julia walks into the house and announces, “He’s here! I can feel his presence!” Barnabas asks if she’s sure, and she says of course she’s sure, and now we’re watching somebody feeling things. This has been happening a lot lately; it’s like an epidemic.

There’s a gang of ghosts in the house — two adults, and a couple of Dreamers — who have crossed the border into the physical realm, and now they’re crossing out items on their post-mortem bucket list. Two items have already been checked off, but they’re doing them out of order, so Barnabas and Julia are entirely lost. They thought the next one was going to be “the night Rose Cottage was destroyed,” but while they were worrying about that, “the picnic” snuck by, under the radar. It’s pandemonium, foreshadowing-wise.

“I’m going upstairs to Elizabeth,” Barnabas declares. “Everyone must leave this house at once!” So that’s just what Elizabeth needs, a pair of hysterical houseguests charging around, demanding a full evacuation because they feel a presence.

Julia suggests that maybe they wait to pull the emergency cord until something actually happens, but Barnabas scoffs, “Wait for the effects? Stand here and wait for the beams of the ceiling to fall in?” It’s a great moment for the highly-strung.

Barnabas knows that the oncoming catastrophe involves the children fraternizing with ghosts somehow, so he lets himself into young David’s bedroom and finds an unauthorized model ship on the boy’s desk. He picks it up and quietly freaks out, recognizing it from the magical future playroom that doesn’t exist.

David walks in and finds Barnabas messing with his stuff; cue the boat drama.

Barnabas:  David, where did you get this boat?

David:  I found it in the attic.

Barnabas:  The attic?

David:  Yes. Is there anything wrong with my having it?

Barnabas:  No, of course not. It’s just that I’ve never seen it before.

David:  That’s because I only found it yesterday. Isn’t it neat?

Barnabas:  Yes! But it’s in very good condition for something that’s been stored away in the attic.

David:  Well, that’s cause it was all wrapped up in paper.

Barnabas:  I see.

And David just stands there, like, is there anything else I can do for you, Barnabas? Why are you standing in my bedroom, evaluating the condition of things? Have you been helped?

So clearly Barnabas is suspicious, but the question is: of what? It’s a model boat. Unless it’s rigged with C4, I’m pretty sure it’s not going to do anybody any harm. Plus, we’ve never noticed it before — if Barnabas says it was in the mysterious playroom of the future, then I’m sure he’s correct, but they didn’t point it out at the time, and I’m not sure why they’re making a deal about it now.

And why is the ship in extra good condition, anyway? Was this a model ship that already existed and was cleaned up by ghosts, or is it a new model ship created by the ghosts out of ectoplasm? Or are ghosts just naturally dust-repellent?

The reason why I’m asking is that I’m trying to come up with some kind of unified theory of what on earth is going on. The ghosts give the kids clothes and model boats; they leave flowers for Quentin, and then lure him into old rooms to read the most extraordinary things.

He’s found a journal written by the second creature, the one he calls Daphne. “Today I am going to kill him,” he reads. “His death is the only answer.”

Then he has a little thinks moment, where he says, “Kill him? Daphne, kill someone?” He’s never actually met Daphne.

So beyond the obvious question of why would she show that to the guy she’s trying to spectrally seduce, there’s also the other obvious question, which is why you would write something like that down in the first place. What the hell was wrong with Daphne?

Really, the whole storyline is just a mess of unrelated details, held together by a common theme, which is nobody telling anybody the truth. David and Hallie aren’t telling the adults about seeing a ghost and dressing up in the playroom, even though they’re kind of freaked out by it. Quentin isn’t telling Barnabas and Julia that he’s seen a ghost either, although he knows that in the future, he’ll be driven mad by the destruction that his silence enables. Nobody wants to tell Elizabeth anything that might upset her, and apparently talking to the children is out of the question.

Barnabas says that David is hiding something, and Julia asks if they should just tell him what’s at stake. “We can’t do that!” Barnabas asserts, and does not elaborate. They just can’t, that’s all.

So the web of fear tightens inexplicably around this weird little knot of characters, as the ghosts deal out an unending supply of red herrings.

As if the magic boat wasn’t bad enough, the next time David walks into his room, he finds an old-fashioned suit waiting for him on his bed. It’s more hypnoclothes, like the salmon-colored dress that Hallie found and hasn’t been able to shake. He knows this is bad news, but he does the same thing that Hallie did, namely, put it in a drawer and lie to people about it.

Daphne shows up and looks at him, and David asks her about the clothes, and the photo he took, and the man that he thinks is watching them all, and she just smiles and doesn’t say anything at all, out of misguided respect for Henry James. Then he hears Barnabas and Julia in the hall, so he jumps into bed with all his clothes on and pretends to be asleep. The nosy parkers open the door and see that he’s in bed, so they exit and close the door, and then David jumps out of bed again, and keeps looking at that photo he took. We really are just waiting for the roof to fall in.

And there’s more, there’s a lot more. Quentin goes back to Daphne’s room, and he looks around in all the corners, firing off questions. “I was just about to tell Barnabas and Julia all about you!” he says. “But I didn’t! Because I saw you standing there! Now, why did I do that?”

Then she appears to him, and he keeps asking why, and then he asks if Barnabas and Julia are right, if they really have been to the future, and everyone was dead, and he was mad, is that all connected to what he’s not doing right now, and why is he not doing it?

She just looks at him. Then she turns and walks out of the room, and he follows her.

Somewhere along the way, he gets hypnotized, so now he’s walking down the stairs, staring straight ahead like he’s sleepwalking, just like the writers are, and just like I am, sleepwalking through these blog posts about a storyline that hardly exists.

The doors blow open and there’s the sound of rushing wind, because that’s a thing that ghosts do. We hear the tinkling sound of the carousel theme, because ghosts always have theme songs. And Quentin follows the ghost all the way out to the cemetery to stand by her grave, unable to resist doing the same things that we’ve already seen in countless episodes before.

“This is where I was to come,” he breathes. “But why?” And we follow along, unwilling and unsurprised.

Tomorrow: Carry a Big Stick.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Barnabas is looking at the model boat, and we’re looking at a close-up of Barnabas. We hear David say “Cousin Barnabas!” and we follow Barnabas as he whirls to see David, and for an instant we get a little glimpse of David as the camera moves to pick him up — and then they cut to another camera, for another close-up of Barnabas. It’s hard to describe, but check it out; it’s a weird moment.

When Julia’s talking to Barnabas in the drawing room, she starts, “If only we could get him to, to — couldn’t we tell him what’s at stake?”

The tombstones of Gerard, Daphne and Tom Jennings have switched places since we saw them last week.

Tomorrow: Carry a Big Stick.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

53 thoughts on “Episode 1078: Everyone Must Leave This House at Once

    1. Playing Find the Lady / Three Card Monte with tombstones is a favourite pastime of The Dead.

      I remember having gotten a bit irritated with David by this point in the show (not Henesy’s fault at all – no one could do much with the material he was getting) and hoping that he’d take his Java Queen model for a sail down the gutters of Collinsport and encounter Pennywise down the drain.

    2. I like to think it’s the ghost of Carl Collins switching the markers around.
      It seems just to fit his sense of humor.

  1. Whenever I read the dialogue of David’s that you transcribe, I understand why David Hennessy left show business and has never showed his face at a Dark Shadows convention.

    And poor Barnabas, born in the 18th century… “Isn’t it neat?” “Yes!”

    1. The real pity of it is, that in the early episodes David was a little monster, enriching the tale with his dastardly deeds – (here I will make a shameless and unadulterated “plug” for Prisoner of the Night’s exceptional weblog, Dark Shadows From The Beginning) contrast David in this storyline to David in the first season of DS, where he was shaping up to be a major front-burner plot generator. Even through to the Leviathan story David was a player; where did it go? Lost in the repetition…

      1. The only characters driving the plot are dead and can’t speak. There’s the side-plot with Sebastian, but that seems largely to keep Barnabas occupied. At least with Quentin’s haunting we had the Werewolf storyline going as well. It also wrote out Harry Johnson, so no issues there.

  2. While watching these episodes again I’m reminded how frustrating it was to watch these episodes the first time. I knew then that because of all the lies, withholding information and stupid decisions that Julia and Barnabas were on a futile mission.

    1. I’ve argued that 1970 PT is narrative quicksand. I suppose there’s an intended dramatic irony in Barnabas and Julia failing to prevent a tragedy that we’ve already seen the results of but it’s really frustrating. I would’ve preferred if they’d gone from 1995 directly to 1840.

  3. The writers have really trapped themselves, haven’t they? A series of odd things have to happen, and we know the (cryptic) list, and there is at least the potential that, armed with Carolyn’s list and a view of the aftermath, Barnabas and Julia could do something to avert the tragedy–but, unless they want to short-circuit the whole Collinwood-is-doomed situation and the anticipated launch into 1840 (to try to recapture the old Quentin-era magic), the crucial happenings can’t be noticed, and that means nobody can tell anybody anything about incredible and disturbing events. So nothing can have any impact. The writers don’t explicitly say that the ghosts are making everybody mind-blowingly stupid, but that’s the effect, and it forces the audience into helplessly watching a madly unnecessary death-march with everybody complicit in the problem. What if they had sprinkled in some glimmers of hope, some moments when the picture is coming clearer, some positive efforts on our protagonists’ path, just to get our hearts pounding a bit? Where’s Janet Findley–or Bathia Mapes–when you need her?

      1. Chris, I’d love to see Mother Marcus (Harvey Norman) fall down the stairs and land on top of Gerard. That would have taken care of the problem. I think.

    1. In 1969, we see the Haunting of Collinwood and the stunning scenes of Quentin chasing everyone from the house and later David’s apparent death. Then the hail mary I-Ching trance and the shocking return to 1897 (where Barnabas is a vampire again).

      In 1970, there are no “shocks” — we’ve been told everything that happened in 1995 and we just watch it take place. Even the “fall of Collinwood” is anticlimactic compared to its “reveal” in 1995.

      1. So, my hope – that Angelique is going to pop in and tell Gerard to get lost, if anybody’s gonna wreck the Collins clan, it’ll be HER – is not going to happen.

        It’s kind of like watching the ‘prequel’ Star Wars movies; yeah, we know Darth Vader is going to turn out evil, so why are we here, for the delightful Jar Jar Binks?

  4. So many good ideas here… Anyone got some I Ching rods so we could go back in time? If Danny and his commenters had been running the show, it would still be on the air.

  5. It’s just so tiresome to watch that horn dog Quentin fall instantly in lust with yet another woman – this one a skinny, mute ghost that he chases around the house like a love struck teenager. David is showing more maturity than Quentin.

    1. I’d also note that this plotline is very un Quentin or at least the Quentin I enjoyed most. He was never so “romantic” (in the classic sense). That was Barnabas, who pined after ghosts and whose character is built on a perpetual sense of unrequited love. “My” Quentin is more practical or more “material” in his pursuits. He wouldn’t claim to be “lonely” because there was “no woman in his life” (again a very Barnabas statement). Quentin would just head over to the Blue Whale and let nature take its course.

  6. Still, nobody’s uttered the phrase, “There must be a rational explanation for all this!” in a while. That must count for something…

    But this starts to make me pine for the good old days, when they would close in on a tight shot of Barnabas smugly declaring, “(insert name here) must DIE!” as Willie stood behind him looking shocked – except, of course, when it was Willie who had to die, then it was Julia standing behind him looking shocked.
    That was fun. I miss that.

    1. Oh yeah, that’s one of my favorite drinking games! You take a drink every time Barnabas says so and so must DIE – I’d be drunk inside of 2 episodes.
      And people ask me why I keep rewatching this show.

  7. For the Brandy.

    But seriously, why is it not something else?

    I HATE brandy.

    Then, sherry.

    I HATE sherry.

    Wonder about Amontillado.

    Oh, it’s probably one of those two, so I hate that, as well.

    Why was it that the Collinses drank what I can’t stand?

    Think I should hang with Joe and Carolyn….even what Burke served to David was crazy better than brandy.

    Yuck.

  8. What’s missing from this absurd storyline (among so many other things) is ROGER. The haunting of Quentin and Beth felt real and personal. How powerful was it when Roger, denying the existence of the supernatural, is visited by Quentin and then, in shock, admits he was wrong? And then that wonderful moment of him shaking his fist at the ghost and vowing they will be back, and Quentin laughing triumphantly in the empty house. Man, that was just brilliant storytelling. Real characters, grounded in reality. Now we have Barnabas and Julia popping back from their time travels and Quentin and Elizabeth basically asking how they enjoyed their holiday in that other time band, and then totally believing that they stopped off in 1995. It’s just a Scooby Doo cartoon now, no real characters with feelings and backstories (because they’re all just ignored.) Johnny is right: I am nostalgic for the old days, and maybe it’s the absence of the “there must be a rational explanation for all this” that makes this feel so untethered, so fake. I’m embarrassed for the characters they once were–especially Julia, Barnabas and Quentin–and embarrassed for the house, which has seen so many powerful storylines — real, human stories—and now we’re just waiting for some day players dressed as zombies to tear that magnificent structure down.

    1. It’s so true: Roger is sorely missed. I really miss the scenes between Roger and Liz. The other characters seem to be living in a dream world. A healthy dose or reality would certainly help.

      And what became of Roger anyway? I mean, yes, he’s supposed to be on a long business trip in Europe during this story, but once Collinwood was destroyed, what did he do? I’d say he inherited all the money and moved to Santa Barbara to be done with it all.

      Sadly, Louis Edmonds won’t be seen very much during the rest of the show.

      1. When Maggie is at Windcliff Roger finally sends David to boarding school. At some point after early 1974 everyone at Collinwood is chased out by the Strix, and Roger and Elizabeth go to Paris. They return by the end of 1983, but seem to spend more time in Europe. Don’t blame them, after everything Collinwood threw at them.

    2. I think when DARK SHADOWS embraces itself as a “spook show” with a sort of “Universal horror” logic, it’s a lot of fun. Curiously, whenever it does that (1897, 1840), it’s the most “grounded” in realistic characters (Samantha and Gabriel Collins are AMAZING).

      1. Sad that it took Pennock that long to land a decent character to play.

        And Samantha grabs you from the first, in a room filled with toys.

        1840 has plenty to offer, because of all the new characters, and one really old one, Ben Stokes.

  9. I’m watching this storyline AND the “Haunting of Collinwood”,countdown to 1897 side-by-side and it’s not pretty. I have another idea for our imaginary time trip to 1970 and telling the writers what steps to take Considering that they will fail at stopping the destruction of Collinwood they should have avoided the return to 1970 altogether. They could have made the 1995 storyline longer by a few more weeks. During that time Barnabas and Julia could have found out more about what happened in 1970 about the fates of the family. They could find Maggie working at Windcliff and she would tell then about the final days, the whereabouts of Willie, the identity of Hallie, etc,.. I would even have thrown in spectral appearances by Elizabeth. Joan Bennett never got to play a ghost after all. And rather than returning to 1970 the staircase would take then to 1840.

    1. I agree that in 1995, the ghost of Liz should have been present. Why would Gerard, Daphne, Tad and Carrie still be haunting the house? Their mission was complete in 1970. It was Liz who should have been haunting the house in ’95, trying to get the attention of Barnabas and Julia, to go back and fix things.

      1. Which is where The Uninvited could have been used, as Elizabeth’s ghost did battle with Gerard! (Dang, here we are fixing everything fifty years too late. Okay, everyone in a circle, and pinkies touching – we’ll try to contact Dan Curtis.)

        1. I’m convinced that that’s the reason there is so much DS fan fiction being written: People want to fix the mistakes Curtis made.

          I’ve thought for quite some time that Elizabeth should have been bestowed with a special power (passed down to one Collins each generation) to fight the dark forces that began with Judah Zachary’s curse. She wouldn’t be the most powerful, but she could definitely thwart the evil. It would be almost her “social responsibility” to keep the darkness in check. Besides, it would give Joan Bennett something more to do on the show.

  10. I’m trying so hard not to be an online Kathy Bates to Danny’s James Caan, but I’m just in “misery” if I have to wait more than a few days for the next installment to the blog.

    I’m also sorry it took me so long to catch up (Danny was in 1897 while I was worried about about fountain pen). And now the blog is in the final stretch. Maybe it is good that we’re waiting for the next installment.

    It’s amazing to see how robust and plentiful the comments have become as the blog’s popularity has spread.

  11. Sept. 24 marked the 25th anniversary of the Sci-Fi Channel, which college freshman me was excited about for two big reasons: THE PRISONER and DARK SHADOWS would be airing. I’d caught a handful of the former series on A&E in ’91 and was thrilled to finally see the rest. But DARK SHADOWS had been yanked from me in 1989 (just after the 1795 flashback). I’d read the DARK SHADOWS COMPANION episode descriptions that hinted at show that almost seemed unrecognizable from the one I’d watched. Of course, I’d have to wait a while — almost a year ! — before we got through the episodes I’d already seen. But wow! It’s worth stressing that many of these episodes had never been shown on TV since their original airing.

    Sci-Fi stuck in there with DS for five full years. September of ’97 is a sadder anniversary as the series went off the air briefly — returning a year or so later, fortunately.

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