Episode 1080: What’s In Store

“If there’s been a crisis somewhere, I don’t know anything about it.”

Natal astrology, also known as genethliacal astrology, is a practice based on the tedious idea that you need to calculate the positions of the stars at the time of a person’s birth in order to understand their personality and future path in life, instead of the usual way of doing this, which is just watching the person and seeing what happens. Natal astrology is one of the four main branches of horoscopic astrology, along with mundane astrology, also known as political astrology; electional astrology, also known as event astrology; and horary astrology, which doesn’t have another name, because how are you gonna compete with horary.

The first thing that you need, if you’re planning to commit natal astrology, is to determine the exact time, date and location of your victim’s birth. People don’t usually know the exact time of their birth, because the birth process takes hours, so it’s hard to nail it down to the minute. They usually say it was around four in the afternoon. This is helpful, because it allows you to click your tongue and say, oh dear, that makes things a little more difficult, and then you can jack up the price.

Once that’s done, the astrologer builds a birth chart, showing the exact position of the sun, the moon, the planets, the ascendant, the descendant, the midheaven, the lower midheaven, the conjunction, the sextile, the semi-sextile, the square, the trine, the opposition and the contraparallel declination. Then things get a little complicated.

The next step is chart weighting, which involves classifying the predominant signs as masculine (fire and air signs) or feminine (earth and water signs), as well as their quality (cardinal, fixed or mutable). Then you create the chart signature, based on which element and quality has the most signs, and combining them to calculate the signature. If there isn’t a clear signature, then the position of the ruling planet of the sun can cast a deciding vote. This is perfectly normal, and nothing to be ashamed of.

Once you’ve done that, you move on to chart shaping, which involves examining the placement of the planets, and determining the aspect patterns between them. The main aspect patterns are the Stellium, the Grand Trine, the Grand Cross, the T-Square and the Yod, which is two quincunxes joined by a sextile, which indicates restlessness and irritability, especially if you’ve been talking to an astrologer for a while.

You have to make up a lot of words when you do astrology, because it encourages people to stop asking questions and hand you money. The best way to keep people from inquiring any further is to use the word genethliacal, which I looked up in a dictionary and it doesn’t mean anything.

We join Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, wealthy matron and patroness of the arts, as she leafs through page after page of nonsense scribbles. Her cousin Barnabas recently traveled twenty-five years into the future, and came back convinced that the whole house was destined to go kablooey sometime between now and the end of the year. Spooked, Elizabeth decided to double up on soothsayers, and hired a professional astrologer named Sebastian to divine what Barnabas was already telling her for free. Financial irresponsibility like that is exactly the kind of thing that makes houses fall down.

“I still don’t know who’s right about the future,” Liz confides, “Barnabas or Sebastian.”

Her daughter Carolyn chuckles. “I thought you were convinced that Sebastian was.”

“He has been up to now; the horoscope has been amazingly accurate.”

“What does he say about today?”

“That it will pass without incident,” says Liz, so this is obviously hot stuff, because how could Sebastian have predicted something like that?

But then, out of nowhere: an incident develops. Carolyn wants her future told too, and she’s hoping Sebastian will be a part of it. By some twist of fate, Sebastian looks exactly like Carolyn’s late husband Jeb, except he’s alive and he’s not a psychotic tentacle monster who killed her dad. On the other hand, he’s an astrologer, so it’s kind of a lateral move.

So Carolyn’s all excited, figuring that obviously the man that she loved and lost has been magically resurrected for reasons unknown and turned into a star hustler, and she needs to look further into this phenomenon.

Liz looks askance. “In the first place, you heard him tell you that he wasn’t Jeb. In the second place, if he is Jeb, why wouldn’t he admit it to you?”

“Because he may not know that himself,” Carolyn insists.

Liz says, “What on earth does that mean?” but honestly, it’s not that wild of an idea. This has happened to at least two people that Carolyn knows personally, and it’ll probably keep happening for as long as the show that she’s on continues to kill all the secondary characters every three to four months. You can’t keep recasting people and expect the characters to keep up with which resemblances they’re supposed to notice, and which ones they’re not.

But Liz shuts down the discussion, and tells Carolyn to forget about Jeb’s return. She’s the one who’s allowed to indulge in irrational magical thinking, thank you very much.

But history repeats, and so does Dark Shadows these days, with alarming regularity. We cut away from Liz and Carolyn to another three scenes of David and Hallie having the same argument in the playroom, the playroom and David’s room, in that order, and then it’s back downstairs for another news bulletin from T-Square and the Yod on the KLNS morning show.

It’s the start of a new day, and Liz is still studying the horoscope like she’s got a major exam coming up.

“What’s in store for us today?” Carolyn asks.

Her mother replies, “According to Sebastian, it’s going to be uneventful,” so that must be one humdinger of a horoscope. Apparently, the forecast every day is that nothing much is going to happen, which is astoundingly accurate. You will spend all day shuffling through pages of your horoscope, it says. You cannot escape.

So, I don’t know. Is anyone else worried about a soap opera that keeps telling everyone to relax, because nothing is happening?

But Carolyn’s determined to make some headway on the lookalike angle, so she drops by Sebastian’s place for another handful of astrologer talk.

Sebastian:  Mind if I ask you, why do you want to get your horoscope done?

Carolyn:  Must one have a specific reason?

Sebastian:  Well, people are usually motivated by more than just a whim.

Carolyn:  Oh, this is not just a whim. Like everyone else at Collinwood, I’m interested in the future.

Sebastian:  I wonder if you really know the exact nature of my work?

Carolyn:  What do you mean?

Sebastian:  I’m not a prophet. I’m just a simple astrologer. I cannot shape the future as you would want it to be.

Carolyn:  I’m not asking you to do that.

Yeah, obviously. What are you talking about? Do you always lecture people who try to give you money? I swear, every time Sebastian explains what he does for a living, I know less about it.

But Carolyn isn’t really sweating the specifics on this; she has other priorities. She asks where Sebastian’s from, and he says New York City, which is plausible enough. But when she asks why he came to Collinsport, he says, “No special reason. It borders the sea. I’ve always loved the sea.”

Carolyn says, “So have I,” although the one thing we know about Jeb and the sea is that he fell off a cliff and drowned in it, so I’m not sure that’s much of a clue.

But I have to admit that it’s cute, seeing Carolyn and a Chris Pennock character being flirty, and it’s frustrating that she has to start all over again, and that the guy he’s playing is such a stiff. As we’ve discussed before, Carolyn is one of the show’s great underutilized resources, and if this was any other daytime soap opera, her love life would be A-story material. So tossing away Jeb immediately after her honeymoon was a waste, just a shorthand way to say that the Leviathan threat was over, without giving her character any future storyline possibilities.

So I will agree, against all of my usual principles, to ship Carolyn and this ridiculous card sharp. If the show wants to give her a love-transcending-death romance, then I’m in, let’s do it. But we’re going to need Liz’s horoscope to up its game, and stop telling people that nothing is going on. It can’t all happen on our end; they need to participate too.

Monday: Born to Rock.


All of the astrology words that I used at the beginning of this post are real, and there’s dozens more: angular, succedent and cadent houses, sidereal and tropical astrology, the twelve sector division of the ecliptic, axial precession, the quadruplicities, dignity and detriment, exaltation and fall, decanates, accidental debility, antiscia, dodecatemoria, draconic months, mutual reception, and the tzolkinex (an eclipse cycle equal to a period of two saros minus one inex). I made none of those up.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Liz has an odd pause in the middle of saying, “Your reasons for wanting to see — Sebastian are quite different.”

On the phone, Carolyn says, “I’d like to speak with Sebastian Shaw, please.” Who’s answering Sebastian’s phone?

Sebastian tells Carolyn, “If we’re going to do some work, I suggest we — I ask you a few questions.”

Monday: Born to Rock.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

43 thoughts on “Episode 1080: What’s In Store

  1. I will admit that one of the things that drove me batty about this story was the idea that Jeb of all people was Caroline’s one true love. I liked Chris Pennock well enough, I guess, but I didn’t get any real spark between him and Caroline and if you can’t spark with Nancy Barrett, then that’s an issue. Caroline still moping over Jeb in 1995, and then looking for him again here, put her in Barnabas pining over Josette territory, not a good place to be. Part of it was the fact that by this time I had managed to forget about Jeb. Part of it was the fact that I found PT Will/Caroline very compelling, far more than Jeb/Caroline. Eventually the show recognized the Barrett/Karlen chemistry and I was happy.

    1. I’m in the waning days of PT 1841, and I’ve really liked all three of the Barrett/Karlen pair-ups. Each one is different, well-played and likely the high point of each storyline.

      1. It helps none of the Karlen characters Barrett characters were paired up with tried to imprison her (SPROATTTT!) or had intentions to turn her into a Great Old One.

        I’m eight episodes away from the closing credits of 1245. Then it’s back to the Beginning and when David had teeth as a character.

        1. Jay Barry: I’m almost at the same spot. And then I can say I’ve watch every episode of DS.

          I have a great fondness for early DS. It’s quite slow-paced. But I liked the mood it set.

          I’ve heard almost all bad things about 1841PT. Maybe my bar was low, because I like it OK. In fact, it seems like the show goes back more to its first-year roots, in some ways, in this last story arc.

    2. Like Oakland, there’s no there there with the Barrett/Pennock pairing. Especially since they insist on writing all of his characters as arrogant know it alls who refuse to actually come to a point and give a straight answer. If there’s anybody who should be sick of weaving, dodging and chicainary it’s Carolyn.

  2. But in tautology on demonology
    ‘Lectro biology, mystic nosology
    Spirit philology, high class astrology
    Such is his knowledge, he
    Isn’t the man to require an apology, oh!

  3. The ultraclose close-ups are starting to get irritating. Do they have an apprentice cameraman? Just stop the zooming when the ENTIRE face is still visible! Having just the eyes and part of the nose on screen gives very little emotional information, and tends to make the audience think that the cameraman doesn’t know what he’s doing. It also calls attention to the shot rather than the action. We start counting pores rather than watching the drama unfold.

    Is there some reason why Sebastian is so reluctant to hook up with the daughter of the richest family in town? He doesn’t seem to have anyone else (unless you count the person who answers his phone) – would a relationship destroy his psychic powers (like Solitaire in Live And Let Die)?

    Last episode, it was Hallie being possessed and David being crabby; today David’s spooky and Hallie’s griping. My supernatural compass tells me this situation is going to be going on for a while, unless Daphne can manage to get both kids to dress up and hold her hands…

    I’m getting the rather depressive feeling that nothing much is going to happen in this storyline until they start bumping off everyone (again). For a show that has a cliffhanger before every commercial break, how can this be?

    (Sorry, I’m just being grouchy – my coffeemaker is broken.)

    1. You have a right to be annoyed, with or without coffee. From what I remember your assessment seems pretty accurate.

      And yes, there is a good reason why he doesn’t hook up with the daughter of the richest family in town. All will be revealed, but you must wait until the next phase of the moon…

    2. Did Stridex become a sponsor around this time? “Blackhead free noses Courtesy of Stridex Medicated Pads” isn’t on the credit list, is it?
      Another really irritating component to this 1970 s/l is that weird, ghostly sound effect that blares out every time Quentin sees or smells Daphne. I know Danny told us the name of the instrument that makes the sound but I forgot it – whatever it’s called, it’s wearing me out.

      1. It’s called a theremin, and yes, this particular piece is really annoying. Dark Shadows usually has such wonderful musical scores, but Roxanne’s Theme and Daphne’s Theme are just plain awful. It’s as though Colbert is saying, “Now this is supposed to be scary.” It isn’t.

        1. A theremin – thanks. I need to try to remember all this cool stuff!
          You know, I hate to be griping about everything but, that is a very annoying sound effect. It seems more suited to Scooby Doo than DS.

      2. Samantha wrote, “Another really irritating component … is that weird, ghostly sound effect that blares out every time Quentin sees or smells Daphne.”

        The blaring theremin use for Daphne is rather jarring and unpleasant, I agree.

        The theremin was also used in 1969 to create an alternate version of the DS opening musical theme, link below, which was released as a 45rpm recording, link below. As you can see from the 45rpm in the YouTube thumbnail, the title is “The Barnabas Theme from Dark Shadows” by The First Theremin Era (1969):

        1. Ah. Thank you. I didn’t think my life could improve any more than it has with the addition of Dark Shadows, but apparently it can! That was a hoot!

          1. This thread has inspired me to listen to some songs by Lothar and the Hand People, a band I hadn’t heard in 40 years.

      3. Overall, I really like the music cues from this period of the show. They remind me of the Night Stalker TV movies — I think some of the cues from around this time of the show were used in those.

    3. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but does it seem like the Henry Kaplan-directed episodes have more of the ultra-extreme close-ups than the Lela Swift-directed episodes?

      1. Lela was an old DS hand at this point: she didn’t need to cover up blocking mistakes by shoving a camera up the actors’ nostrils.

  4. So is Liz allowed to read ahead in her horoscope to see when something WILL happen, or is this going to be like the Leviathan Book, where plot points will suddenly pop up? Is Astrosebastian delivering daily bulletins via messenger? I’m having a lot of trouble with the idea of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard suddenly letting some hippie run her life. I’d be more willing to believe that she was undergoing EST therapy. Or had bought a CB radio.

    1. If memory serves, Liz is getting her horrorscopes once a day, in the morning. Yeah, why doesn’t Sebastian crank out a week’s worth at a time?

      1. Looked at the episode where Sebastian brings in Liz’s horoscope; supposedly, he’d worked out (astrologized?) up until December 31st of 1970.
        This is just the sort of thing that the writers never thought we’d be able to do, going back and rewatching old episodes. So if they couldn’t remember what they’d said, we sure wouldn’t… 😀

  5. A quick shout out to those of you who have been watching every single episode. I’ve only been hitting the highlights and think of your accomplishment as something of a “media Mount Everest.”

    1. It’s a great group of ‘climbers’, and we have a wonderful Sherpa guide in Danny Horn. Laughter with every vertical foot (or is that just the altitude? Better check my oxygen).

    2. We shelled out an inexcusable amount of cash for the coffin set and we’re watching every last episode, dammit!

  6. The plot just stalls out without Barny and Jules in an episode, doesn’t it? They had another protagonist in Quentin but he’s lost to a very pretty ghost. I think this is why for all the Vicki Winters hatred, losing her first as a Gothic-heroine version of a junior detective and then losing her period was a mistake. Jane Eyre did stuff, doncha know. Vicki would have made a huge difference in keeping these stalled storylines interesting when Frid needed downtime. Barring that, they should have seriously elevated Carolyn or created a character with more spine than Mags.

    1. Sadly (again) early Maggie did have much more gumption, just like early David. And early Liz. Guess the ‘reset’ button got pushed too many times.

        1. It was too much Sproatnapping; then she was put into the Vicki role.
          As someone said (I don’t care who) – The rest is silence.

  7. Sebastian left NYC for Collinsport because Collinsport “borders on the sea?” I hate to tell him, but he could have saved himself a trip since NYC borders on the exact same sea.

    1. Yeah, but there’s not as much trash floating around in the water in Collinsport (though there may be an equal number of corpses). Makes the view more picturesque.

    2. And has more than one rich, gullible lady in it. Seriously, what grifter LEAVES New York for some remote fishing village to run an astrology hustle?

  8. We all mentally rewrite the show while watching it- we have to, it’s the only way to make sense of blooper-ridden dialogue, incomplete sets, defective props, etc. That’s such a big part of the fun that it’s only natural to redraft the major storylines and imagine the better show that could have been made if they’d had just a little more time for planning, editing, and rewriting. The writers and producers themselves seem to have given in to the reboot temptation here. What if the Haunting of Collinwood had involved pulling members of the family in one by one as the Leviathan story did, and what if there had been a room that shifted between dimensions as in 1970 PT, and what if the people who lived in the house had talked to each other as constructively as they did sometimes during 1897, and what if the ghost of Quentin were played by an actor short enough that you don’t have to worry about getting the studio lights in half his shots? Who knows, if they’d done those things the first time round, it might have been a lot better.

  9. I noticed the full face closeups started a while ago in PT1970 and have been getting tighter ever since. I think it took away from reading the body language and lost more in missing reaction expressions with cheeks and eyes or noses only. Noses are nice to view but more talent is contained in little fingers in regards to a nose’s acting abilities. And yes, we know the whole gamut of Cobert’s musical library but the introduction of the Outer Limits theramin is a huge distraction. It was fine as a quavering melody machine with the right spooky pitch, but it’s use lately makes me look for the little green men with sparkling suits and red ray guns. I wonder if Bob was losing interest or running dry for incidental music. The theramin used way back as the sound of Barnabas’ “call” via the portrait was so bad, I would have thought would have been the first and last time for its use. Now it’s overuse is just gross.

  10. Back from a break, the camera zooms into Sebastian’s red candles and captures several seconds of Nancy Barrett before she moves and talks – her cue was several seconds late.

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