Episode 1082: You Don’t Have to Put on the Red Light

“Why do I always have to be the one to talk sense?”

I know that this will be impossible for you to believe, but everything I tell you is true.

Months ago, on a plane of existence that you’ve never seen, you and I fell madly, hopelessly in love. All it took was one look at you, unconscious on the table of the mad scientist who was using you to animate his murdered daughter’s corpse, and I knew that I couldn’t go through with my plan to stab you while you slept.

You were like a perfect china doll, pure and lovely and utterly helpless. You couldn’t be another casualty in the endless occult space war that I wage against my ex-wife in multiple dimensions. I spared you from the brutal execution I’d planned for you, and that is why you love me.

When I carried you from the house, you were silent and remote. I brought you to a secret room in a deserted mausoleum, and watched as you moved about the room, reacting to objects that you recognized. Then I took you to my home, to my own basement, where I hooked you up to several machines and worked tirelessly on your behalf. Even though you had been cruelly used, I didn’t bring you to the hospital or the police, because they could never understand the special connection between us.

There was another man in your life, my dearest, who tried to ensnare you with his hypnotic control. Happily, my hypnotic control over you was stronger than his, allowing you the freedom to choose the man who deserved your love. He saw you as a plaything, an object that he could own, but I knew the truth — that you were mine, forever, from the moment I saw you. Shortly after this, he was murdered, and I buried his body in the woods, so that the police investigation would no longer be an impediment to our love.

How can I descibe the agony I felt as you burned, in that ghastly fire? You screamed my name, begging me to rescue you from the flames. That was the last time that I saw you, my love, and you cannot imagine the suffering I have experienced.

My name is Barnabas Collins. I am the most dangerous person that you have ever met. This is our love story.

Once again, we learn that you should never underestimate a storyteller’s ability to surprise you, if he really, truly has no idea what he’s going to do from one moment to the next. The sky’s the limit. At least, that’s my interpretation of this new chapter in the saggy love saga of Barnabas Collins and Roxanne Drew.

It’s early days — she’s just walked in the door, according to the screenshot directly above — but I feel confident in saying that the writers don’t have a single clue about what they’re doing with this character. How is she related to the Roxanne that we briefly knew and cheerfully discarded at the end of the Parallel Time storyline? What role does she play in the current struggle against the ghosts of Gerard Stiles and Daphne Harridge? Is she the true, destiny-approved soulmate that Barnabas jumped to the conclusion of, two months ago?

Those questions cannot be answered, because the show has drifted away from all known rules of narrative. Characters no longer have motivations; they just have attitudes and props.

But she’s friendly, this new Miss Drew, you can say that for her, plus she doesn’t speak in that weird Parallel Time jungle girl patois — “I am afraid when I am not with you,” she said — so that’s a plus. Beyond that, I can’t help you.

Roxanne:  Who are you?

Barnabas:  Barnabas Collins!

Roxanne:  We haven’t met, and yet you know my name. How?

Barnabas:  I knew someone exactly like you, but in another time. Her name was Roxanne — Roxanne Drew.

Roxanne:  But that’s my last name! Where did you say you knew this girl?

Barnabas:  Very near here… but in another time.

Roxanne:  Another time? Well, you mean many years ago.

Barnabas neither confirms nor denies this interpretation. It’s nice when people can supply their own explanation for whatever crazy thing comes out of Barnabas’ mouth; it saves wear and tear on the vampire.

But this version of Roxanne is primed to accept almost any bafflegab you throw at her; she works with Sebastian in some capacity, and he’s an astrologer, a line of work where you spend half your time making up meaningless jargon, and the other half scolding your clients for not appreciating the purity of your calling.

So the idea that there was another Roxanne Drew absolutely delights this girl; she practically runs a lap around the living room.

Roxanne:  Incredible! Sebastian has told me about astral twins!

Barnabas:  Astral twins?

Roxanne:  Yes! People who are born in different parts of the country — usually at the same exact moment! Their horoscopes are the same. Very often, they have similar names! Their lives parallel each other to every detail! I never thought I had an astral twin!

This is a world where ghosts conspire to steal the bodies of their descendants, where grieving lovers call their departed spouses from the grave, where secrets are revealed in dreams and buried in basements, where death himself pauses to spare the life of a beautiful young woman who emerged newborn from an artist’s sketch pad. And even here, in the Upside Down, this “astral twins” thing sounds like bullshit.

Barnabas and Roxanne go on to have a conversation about the current plotline that isn’t currently germane, so I won’t trouble you with it. Then he turns on the charm.

Barnabas:  Roxanne… can we discuss this further?

Roxanne:  No.

Barnabas:  But I want to see you again. I’m fascinated by the idea of astral twins! We have much to discuss. Can I see you again?

Roxanne:  Of course.

Barnabas:  Are you free later this evening? We might have a late dinner.

It’s two o’clock, by the way, according to the clock on the mantelpiece. It stays in shot for a while, too; that is an unequivocal two o’clock. I don’t know why this happens on Dark Shadows as often as it does. They can clearly see that the clock is in the shot, and it would be the work of a moment to turn the hands to seven-thirty. But no.

Roxanne:  Mr. Collins —

Barnabas:  Please.

Roxanne:  All right.

Barnabas:  I’ll pick you up at ten.

Roxanne:  No, I’ll meet you there.

Barnabas:  Until ten, then.

He kisses her hand, clicks his heels three times, turns into a bat and flies away, leaving us with a single question: Where did you just agree to meet, exactly?

But this is what happens when you leave yourself open to Roxannes in your life; the shape of your day gets irreparably twisted. At that point, there’s only one force in the universe powerful enough to save us: Julia Hoffman’s eyebrows.

Julia gets involved when she takes a message from Roxanne, who calls to tell Barnabas that she won’t be able to join him for dinner tonight — possibly because it’s two in the morning, and the next available suppertime is two ten o’clocks from now.

Julia knew Roxanne in Parallel Time too, and she’s aware of the entirely hairbrained romance that Barnabas thinks he cooked up with original flavor Roxanne. (“I know why you follow me!” said the jungle girl, offering up prayers to the river god.)

So Julia is super not impressed when Barnabas comes home and starts gabbling about how he found another lookalike girlfriend. “Julia!” he cries. “The most incredible thing has happened! Roxanne –”

“I know,” Julia says. “I know, you found her.” She’s dealt with this kind of thing before, and she knows that it usually ends with a trip to Home Depot, to get a shovel and a whole mess of paper towels.

She tries to indicate, gently, that he’s being an idiot, and the time to stop being an idiot is now.

“Julia, you have not met her,” he says. “She’s exactly the same!”

“Well, I assume she is, but she’s not the same person.”

He insists, “Julia, from the few times I’ve been with her, I know that that’s Roxanne!” He’s only been with her once. Maybe he’s counting each minute as a separate encounter.

“Why do I always have to be the one to talk sense?” she sighs. This is going to take a minute; talking sense to Barnabas is a lengthy procedure.

She puts on one of her eighteen patient facial expressions.

“Barnabas,” she says, “do you remember me, in Parallel Time?”

“Of course.”

She looks him square in the face. “I am not the same person as that Julia Hoffman.”

“That has nothing to do with it!”

“It does!” It actually does. “You do not know this Roxanne.”

“Julia,” he says, “I know this is Roxanne, I know it!”

And, oh, the look she gives him.

“All right, Barnabas,” she says. “We’ll just have to wait and find out.” Then a car explodes behind her.

He goes back to see her, of course; for Barnabas Collins, a broken date is an invitation to try even harder. She says that she’s not free to go out, and she never will be. She offers him her hand to shake. He kisses it, indicating that being free is not a factor.

“We shall see each other again,” he says. “I assure you of that.” The clock behind him still says two o’clock, of course, and in our hearts, it always will.

Tomorrow: Your Dark Shadows Horoscope.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

The opening narration calls Sebastian an “astrologist,” a word that they also used yesterday. It’s possible that this is an actual alternative term, but I refuse to accept it.

Barnabas says to Roxanne, “Well, since that — you work together, perhaps you could finish it yourself.”

When Barnabas enters Collinwood and hangs up his coat, he says, “Ah, Julia! Did you have any luck with the, uh,” — one mississippi, two mississippi, three — “with the records?”

The camera pans from the boy mannequin to Hallie, and we can see the blue screen on the window behind her, just before the Chromakey effect.

Tomorrow: Your Dark Shadows Horoscope.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

62 thoughts on “Episode 1082: You Don’t Have to Put on the Red Light

  1. Underneath a big clock at the corner of 5th Avenue and 22nd Street
    I stood and waited for a girl I knew at the spot where we agreed to meet
    It was four minutes of two
    At four of two, I stood waiting for the girl I was four minutes early for the date we had planned I was planning to say I was in love with her
    Just as soon as she showed for a two o’clock date And the clock said four of two
    At four of two, I was staring into space She was not yet late, according to the clock
    I was feeling nervous so I kept looking up
    At the clock sticking out of the side of the building
    And it still said four of two
    At four of two, I began to feel tired
    And I rubbed my eyes, and again I checked the time It seemed as if the sky was growing dark… But I felt reassured when I looked at the clock
    And it still said four of two
    I lay my head down on the sidewalk so in case she were coming I would have a better view
    But no one was there so I stretched out and closed my eyes for a second or two
    It was four minutes of two
    At once I awoke to a futuristic world
    There were flying cars and gigantic metal bugs I’d grown a beard; it was long and white
    But I knew that the girl would be coming very soon
    For though everything had changed, there was still that clock And it still said four of two

    –They Might Be Giants, “Four of Two”

  2. “My name is Barnabas Collins. I am the most dangerous person you’ve ever met. This is our love story.”

    CHUNG CHUNG!

    1. I could not help but hear that whole narration in Jonathan Frid’s best sepulchrally seductive tones, trailing final S’s and everything. It’s savagely brilliant.

  3. One silver lining to Roxanne: Each version was an improvement over the next one, though that’s admittedly a low, Sabrina-esque bar.

    PT 1970 Roxanne was the worst.

    Classique 1970 will turn out to be more interesting.

    PT 1841 had some qualities I liked.

          1. I thought the 1840 triangle, in some ways, was better. Roxanne was much more feisty than Rachel. And the addition of Lamar Trask, who had some level of genuine feeling for Roxanne, added a layer of complexity than 1897 never had.

            In general, the 1840 women had more gumption. I think that’s in part that the women’s liberation movement was more potent at the end of DS’s run than the beginning. Things were changing fast in the culture and you get hints of that in the show.

  4. Why does Julia put up with this? I wouldn’t blame her for just leaving town at this point. I don’t even remember the pretext under which she is staying at Collinwood anymore. Still writing a history on the Collins family?

    She should have left when Barnabas asked her to help him make a Frankenstein monster so he could marry Vicky. But, then things got complicated what with being blackmailed my Barnabas about the murder she helped him commit
    .
    I don’t think the Julia Hoffman we first met in 1967 would ever put up with this shit.

      1. Julia needs to wait until sunrise, and get a mallet and a large wooden stake, and pound that stake into Barnabas’ forehead.

        What this story needs is for Buzz Hackett to come roaring in on his ‘bike, having picked up a chick hitching a ride; a girl named Suki.

    1. Did Sam Hall ever explain his reasons for writing Julia as a hapless victim of unrequited love? It was an extra cruel slap to Julia that Barnabas kept pursuing younger, supposedly more beautiful women every chance he got. If my husband was writing my role that way, we’d be discussin’ it at home – a lot.

      1. I don’t think Barnabas ever had chemistry with the other women the way he did with Julia, either. I just found the incessant Roxanne pairing awkward and irritating.

      2. Julia’s love for Barnabas adds a tragic and compelling dimension to the 1967 cure storyline. However, she is a formidable ally and antagonist to Barnabas during this period, and her feelings are played less as a schoolgirl crush. Also, and this is important, the 1967 Barnabas is himself not an object of anyone’s true affection. Vicki sees him as “just a friend” and it’s clear that his love Josette rejected him if she ever loved him.

        By 1968, the love angle is less interesting to me because Barnabas has become this “romantic leading man.” Arguably, Angelique assumes the role the 1967 Julia played and Julia becomes the “hapless victim of unrequited love.”

        It’s also certainly not the writer’s intent but Julia also feels like the “sexually frustrated” best female friend of a gay man. Vicki, Maggie, Roxanne might as well be the young men Barnabas pursues while Julia pines for him.

        It’s not much of a spoiler to say that Barnabas and Julia will “play” brother and sister at some point and frankly, post-1967, their relationship dynamic feels best in that context.

        1. All true. I just wished they’d ended Julia’s infatuation with Barnabas after the cure story line. By 1970, her ongoing crush just makes her look foolish.

  5. Roxanne’s clock reminds me of a movie my friends and I made in high school. It was a film noir parody, and we had this one scene where the hardboiled private detective and his client have a drink in his office. Zoom in on the clock, fade out, fade back in on the clock to show hours have elapsed, and then zoom out to show the two actors completely smashed.

    However, it was one of those really fancy antique clocks where the little hand is only slightly shorter than the big hand. I messed it up, and we didn’t notice until we warched the final cut that the clock showed them only drinking for 17 minutes before they could barely lift their heads off the table.

    1. It’s perfectly possible to get smashed in 17 minutes, i would say. Let me try it as an experiment.

      Apparatus: One bottle of Laphroaig.
      Method: Consuming the above, ie: putting it in me.
      Diagram: (Drawing of a stick man falling over)
      Results: Fun / Mess.
      Conclusion: Rrrssttn frrgggn mrrrnnd.

    1. Our little William, all grown up! I’d sing a chorus of “Sunrise, Sunset,” but both sunrise and sunset can be problematic in the DS universe.

  6. Good gosh, William, this could warp one’s perception of reality! (lol) Go figure, I watched as a young boy, then got in trouble when I bit a girl on the neck…and I didn’t watch every single episode. A person could wind wondering about building supernatural staircases, or seeing if they could stuff their kids into doll houses. 🙂

    1. No staircases or doll houses, but I do have a strong impulse to go hunting for some lost jewels. Rumor has it there are some buried in a coffin.

      And I had a nightmare last night that was very, very scary. Could I tell you what happened in it? I’d feel so much better if I could.

          1. John: Check under that clump of seaweed in your attic.

            Jay: I’m sure Collins Automotive Repair ‘n’ Scare has a spare.

            Meanwhile, I do have something to do in my post-DS life. Art dealer Portia Fitzsimmons has contacted me and would like to buy some of my work. She really likes to ones I did where a woman is surrounded by flames. Funny — I don’t even remember painting them!

            Oh well — anything to make a buck.

      1. There’s a long weekend coming up; I think I’m gonna just listen to the three songs on the jukebox at the neighborhood bar, and then just putter around the house putting wigs on skulls and weeping in the basement.

        1. I keep channeling Mrs. Johnson, trying to perfect my boiled dinner recipe. On the bright side though, I’ve completely stopped doing any house cleaning and nobody’s even noticed.

          1. I was curious and looked it up. Boiled dinner is indeed a dish, associated with New England. It’s corned beef (or some other meat, especially if you’re not Irish) cooked in the same pot with cabbage, potatoes, and carrots or other vegetable variants. So it saves time since you’re fixing everything at once.

            1. The Crock Pot concept – see? Mrs. Johnson was way ahead of her time. Martha Stewart would have been proud.
              There’s an Andy Griffith episode from 1964 wher Aunt Bea tells Andy there’s going to be a “boiled dinner” down at the firehouse that night – with Cribbage afterwards.

            2. Oh, yeah! I never realized that was in questio I never realized that was in question. Boiled dinner was my paternal grandmother’s specialt Boiled dinner was my paternal grandmother’s specialty, and we had it at home quite a bit, too. We used ham instead of corned beef, but Mom put peppercorns in the pot.

        2. I found a boxful of glass eyes you can put in the skulls.
          I’m for going antiquing, the shop in town is having a fire sale and they have a slightly singed stuffed pigweasel I have an eye on. (You know, last time I was there, some crazy fool drove right up onto the sidewalk, almost hit me! People around here drive so badly.) I’d better hurry, it’s starting to thunder – it may rain (though it almost never does) and I want to stop at Ohrbachs (er, Orhbachs?) for their big close out, trenchcoats and turtlenecks are 70 percent off!

            1. No worries! There was some creepy kid on the stairs, wouldn’t let anyone go up.

              Got a couple of smoke soiled afghans and a nice lamp with a checkerboard shade. And some vintage harpoons for my collection. About all they had left, too, apart from some broken figurines and a carved wooden box (also broken).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s