Episode 1098: The Lie Lock

“This possession is only part of a larger plan.”

Dark Shadows is trying to fracture the cosmos, I think; that’s the only possible explanation. Their movie just came out and they don’t really want to be on TV anymore, but they’re too proud to admit it, so they’re going to burn down the world and take everything else with them. Somebody ought to do something about this. Not me, obviously, I’m too busy arguing with my television.

“You are POSSESSED!” Barnabas cries, and he’s right, they are. The two children on the great estate are now inhabited by the spirits of two previous children who didn’t make it to adulthood the first time, so I don’t know why they think they’re qualified to take over now.

Their names are Tad and Carrie, and they’re such amateurs that they cheerfully called each other by their real names while Barnabas was still in earshot. “Possessed, cousin Barnabas?” Tad says. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Sure he does.

Barnabas starts a round of Lightning Fill in the Blank.

Barnabas:  Tell me the name of your mother!

Tad:  My mother?

Barnabas:  Also the date when you were born!

Tad (calculating):  Nineteen hundred… and fifty-six!

Barnabas:  Who was your governess, before Maggie? Tell me her name!

Tad:  I… I…

Barnabas:  What about you, young lady? When did you come to Collinwood? Under what circumstances?

Carrie:  There was an accident!

Barnabas:  That’s right, involving your mother and your father. What were their names?

Carrie:  Oh, stop it! Stop!

Barnabas:  Why should I stop? I’m asking you perfectly simple questions that you should be able to answer without hesitation. But you don’t!

And the kids just fall to pieces. Carrie cries out, “Oh, Daphne, please help us!” and Tad snaps, “Stop it, Carrie!” These people are terrible at this. How can the ghosts be winning?

But nobody is good at anything, not this week, up to and very much including the writers. Desperately concerned for the children’s safety, Barnabas gives Tad and Carrie a very stern look, and then walks out into the hallway to have a story conference with Julia. Obviously, the kids are listening at the door, so this is essentially the previous scene in reverse. These people have a lot to learn about security best practices; they keep getting hacked through eavesdropping.

“If the possession is complete,” says Julia, “then Gerard has already won!”

“This possession is only part of a larger plan,” says Barnabas, and that plan is part of an even larger plan, and so on. This could take all night. Then he says that they should go and talk to Professor Stokes, which I don’t think they do, because we don’t see it and nobody ever mentions it again. This might actually be an attempt at counterintelligence, which is the only kind of intelligence anybody employs all day.

For example: Tad and Carrie, discussing their next move. Carrie points out that they’re living among strangers, in their own home.

“Is that what we wanted?” she asks, and he says, “Try to remember. We’re not here because of what we wanted.”

“Then why are we here?” she asks. “I can’t seem to remember.”

“We don’t know yet,” answers Tad, so why is he telling her to remember something that they don’t know?

Then they have a philosophical discussion about what happened to David and Hallie, and Tad points out that they don’t exist anymore.

“I suppose it sounds strange,” Carrie says, “but I do hope nothing bad has happened to them. I liked them, both of them.” But obviously something bad has happened to them, and it’s you, you psychopath children. You’ve killed them both, and you’ve killed the show, and you’re currently doing a number on my personal will to live.

“How odd,” Carolyn says, seconds after walking into Quentin’s room, “I came here to tell you something, and now I can’t remember what it was.” I think this is Carolyn now and not Leticia, but it’s not easy to tell, especially with all these memory problems that come up about once per scene.

“I think you ought to go back and get some rest,” he says, and she has another strange interlude. “Rest,” she says, “yes. Sleep. That’s what we all need, if we just knew where to find it. Our minds are so troubled, but we don’t quite know why.”

“What are you talking about?” Quentin asks, and I don’t think we ever find out.

Downstairs, Julia’s got a theory to share, which as far as I’m concerned is the final straw on this whole depressing storyline.

Barnabas:  The children have been possessed, meaning that Gerard has a stronger control of Collinwood than ever. What is this hold he has, and why can’t we break it?

Julia:  Because someone in this house is helping him!

Barnabas:  What do you mean?

Julia:  Oh, Barnabas, it’s easy enough for one of the spirits to take control of the children, but to be allowed to do it so easily and so successfully, they couldn’t do it without the help of an adult!

Which is just — what are you talking about? Of course they could do it without the help of an adult. That has nothing to do with anything.

So they’ve taken away Julia’s most important narrative advantage — that she’s a smart character, and everything that she postulates is true. That’s what gets us through the dark times, plotwise. If they ever need a magic leap of logic to get things moving again, Julia is the primary motive force. But now she’s just saying nonsense.

“Quentin has been the reason we have failed at every step!” she announces. That is absolutely untrue. You have failed at every step for so many reasons.

“I mean, Quentin, that the children have been possessed!” Barnabas thunders. “Possessed, Quentin! They have been possessed!” He’s trying to make a point. Quentin is pretending that he doesn’t know anybody named Daphne, and he manages to pull it off, for about half a conversation.

“Would you like to see them?” Barnabas challenges. “Would you like to talk to them? Would you like to witness what Daphne and Gerard have done to them?”

“Now, she told me that no harm would come to them!” Quentin shouts, crossing the room for dramatic effect. “She gave me her –”

“– her word, Quentin?” Barnabas concludes, and he means it to sting. Quentin is bad at this too. Everybody on the show is bad at everything!

Because then they go and leave Quentin alone with a candle and a lilac-scented handkerchief, like that’s supposed to improve matters. He says that he’ll burn it, that he’ll send Daphne away, that he’ll undo the wreck of this desperate cry for help that we perceive as a storyline. And he fails, obviously; the candle blows out spectrally, and he can’t try again because how are you supposed to find matches in the dark?

“Feel the earth turning through eternal space!” Tad exclaims. “Let it turn itself towards the stars that guide the destinies of us all!”

He indicates a candle. “Let the light from the star that guides the destiny of Daphne Harridge touch the flame that we have lighted in her name! Let the light from the star that guides the destiny of Gerard Stiles touch the flame that we have lighted in his name! Let the earth turn in eternal space, until we are touched by the light of their stars!”

I’m pretty sure he just made that up, but it turns anyway, the earth turns in eternal space, and the light of the star hits the flame in her name. She told me no harm would come to them, and that is the reason that we have failed at every step. This plan is only part of a larger plan, and they couldn’t do it without the help of an adult. We’re not here because of what we wanted, but I came here to tell you something, and now I can’t remember what it was.

Our minds are so troubled, but we don’t quite know why. Would you like to see them? Would you like to talk to them? Would you like to witness what Daphne and Gerard have done to them, to all of us?

Dark Shadows, I’m asking you perfectly simple questions that you should be able to answer without hesitation. But you don’t!

Tomorrow: Damsel of the Damned.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Standing in David’s bedroom, Barnabas says, “David and Hallie did not leave here under their own volition. They were lured here by the spirits of Gerard — ” What is he talking about?

When David gets up from the bed to announce, “There’s nothing you can do to stop it,” he’s got some of Hallie’s hair. She brushes it back before she gets up.

When Carolyn tells Quentin that he’s acting strangely, he says, “No, really, I’m very fine.”

David tells Hallie to place the shawl “there, at that star”. He means at that point of the star.

Tomorrow: Damsel of the Damned.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

38 thoughts on “Episode 1098: The Lie Lock

  1. Only a couple of weeks of this monotony, and it’s made slightly more interesting because of the last character you’d expect to liven, or undeaden things up.

  2. That diatribe Barnabas gives the children has always fascinated me. He asks David who his mother is. Does Barnabas know? He wasn’t let out of the box until after Laura went up in flames. More interesting: does the audience know? How many are still watching from 1966 and know who David’s mother is? How many remember Vicki, fir that matter? The questions about David’s mother and previous governess always give me a little pang when I hear them, taking me back to a time when the show was fresh and new and exciting.

    1. They killed off Laura way too soon and early in the show. I’m sure people who watched 1897 when it originally aired didn’t know that Laura was also Rogers wife.

      For that matter, few would have known that Dennis Patrick also played Jason McGuire a few years before.

        1. She was pregnant when she signed on for the role, but wound up staying longer than originally planned, because the Phoenix story was good for the ratings (it got the show renewed).

          Diana Millay’s character was killed off in March, and she gave birth that June (on her birthday, the 7th).

          1. Thanks Prisoner. I didn’t know she was pregnant when she signed her contract. I really liked both the Laura stories: the ’67 version involved our core anchor characters and the 1897 version had a feistier version, who had some good lines.

  3. At least things are about to twitch into life. And i don’t just mean because Kate Jackson finally starts talking (that stage school diploma must finally have arrived in the mail), or because of hot girl-on-girl vamp action. No, sir.

    (Blushes and shifts uncomfortably in his chair)

  4. Back then, people knew more about what once happened on soaps than you realize.

    First of all, there was word of mouth. When I first started watching “Guiding Light,” the lady for whom I cut grass filled me in the back story and what had transpired in the past few years. Everyone back then had a network of folks who filled in gaps for you. It was chatrooms without the Internet.

    We also had plenty of printed material that could catch you up.

    So I’m sure the Laura/Vicki question went over some new viewers heads, but maybe not as many as you imagine. I love that he asked the question. I just wish he had uttered the names Laura and Vicki.

    And Barnabas arrived on the scene shortly after Laura died in the fire. I’m sure someone off-camera — Carolyn, Mrs. Johnson or Victoria — must have filled him in. I can see Roger and Elizabeth wanting to keep that to themselves, but C and MJ and V? You know he probably heard the Laura story from all three.

      1. Really? I thought she was last mentioned when Peter Bradford popped up at the end of the Leviathans. Can you give a hint as to when we can expect it? I love hearing mentions of past characters. I even liked hearing B and J talk about Adam and Eve during PT, and I loathed Adam and Eve.

        1. You’ll hear her name once Daphne is brought back to life soon in an upcoming episode. She will also be mentioned by Trask in 1840.

  5. Julia jumps to the conclusion that the adult helping Gerard is Quentin. Why? Julia knows Liz is under Gerard’s influence, she’s setting long-term booby traps for him. Julia knows Carolyn (who is THERE IN THE ROOM WITH THE TWO POSSESSED CHILDREN) is under his influence, too, since she’s wafting about telling everyone she’s Letitia.
    The other day I said I should stop expecting logic in this storyline. Evidently the converse is true, I should start expecting ILLOGIC.
    Like this; I know, it was spooky and took lots of episodes to tell it, but why was it necessary to have the children be possessed at all? Just so they could perform the satanic rite to bring one of two ghosts back to life? All Gerard had to do was have Liz and Carolyn do the ceremony. (And not to criticize, but the kids didn’t even manage to stay undercover for twenty minutes altogether, I don’t see them as the best choices anyway.) And couldn’t Tad and Carrie be brought back to life in the same way, with a stick of chalk and some candles and some mumbo jumbo about the turning earth? Then there could have been some fun as they doppleganged David and Hallie.

    In any case, Julia is wrong about who is helping bring about the destruction of Collinwood. His name is Dan Curtis.

      1. I didn’t think it was a great ending, but I didn’t think it was all that bad either.

        We were most invested in current-time Classique characters, so a minute or two of Liz in the foyer rushing everyone off to some appointment a couple of months back was not fun.

        But thematically, I do feel like we had some resolution, even if it was with PT characters.

        And finally, at least there was an ending with at least the last PT story line resolved. Most shows that ended in the ’60s and ’70s didn’t even do that for you.

        I do wish that they had thought of this if they were going to have PT 1841 be the last big arc. End a week earlier than they did. Have one of the PT 1841 characters (Morgan probably) make the jump forward in time and into the Classique timeline and make one last threat to our Classique characters and wrap up the bow that way, letting us see where Barnabas, Julia, Liz, Roger, Carolyn, David and Eliot Stokes were headed with their lives.

        1. William. Couldn’t agree more. D.C. is sleep producing now. I wanted to know “where Barnabas, Julia, Liz, Roger, Carolyn, David and Eliot Stokes were headed with their lives.” Danny Horn, is this getting hard?

  6. I’ve known for a long time that i’ll be taking on a tough job defending 1841PT when we get there and the tension continues to mount. I do hope i won’t be the sole lone voice howling in the wilderness on that one.

    1. I’ll howl with ya.
      Right now, I’m getting a kick out of watching that strapping, 6foot 3, hunk of gorgeous man Quentin Collins being reduced to a quivering tower of emotional Jell-O by a skinny, mute ghost girl. He really does need to join a Singles club.

    2. I thought I’d be alone in having anything nice to say about the Leviathan period but I wasn’t. I also like 1840 and 1841PT so the “common knowledge” among DS fans of which time periods are good and bad is not as set in stone as once thought. These views were particularly strong before all the episodes were available, when many were going off their childhood memories, but now that we can watch it all we can come to our own conclusions. (A particularly strong opinion was “they start with the Barnabas episodes because the first part is slow and boring.” Wow. Not at all, IMHO.)

  7. How the Beginning fares against other eras of the show….it is at least better than the Dream Curse, portions of Leviathans, 1841pt, to name a few.

    And David/Hallie.

    And some of the David/Amy.

    Jeremy Grimes.

    It goes on.

  8. The kids tell Barnabas that they are just playing a game: Barnabas, politely and firmly, responds that he shall then play a game with them in turn, and then begins with the questions. A lesser writer would have just had Barnabas yelling “you’re lying” to the kids, or something like that, and then plowing on with the questions.

    There was a diction, a courtly give-and-take throughout this series. One could say that “Dark Shadows” raised the bar concerning the art of conversation, certainly by a Tad.

  9. This is around the time of the show where I start to wondering what it is David Selby is really drinking, because Quentin 1970 is always, constantly drinking something. It’s almost as much as a character identifying prop as the cane is for Barnabas.

    In the old days at the Blue Whale you could tell they were drinking real beer because of the foamy head at the top of the mugs. They had real kegs behind the bar, and the taps where the bartender would pour it into the glass had tape on them to “X” out the brand names/logos.

    But Selby is obviously not drinking anything alcoholic — if he were, he’d be nearly comatose by the middle of the second act. You can tell because of the bubbles that form around the edges, because he’s always gesturing with the hand that holds the glass and so the liquid is always being shaken up a bit. When he’s down in the drawing room the liquid has a lighter, brownish-red color, like Lipton iced tea. Or maybe it’s Tetley’s, just plain tea without all the sugar. Whichever is cheaper, you know Dark Shadows. But in this episode, up in his room, he’s got something dark purple, like grape juice, the Concord grape variety made popular by Welch’s.

    People used to drink all the time on Dark Shadows, and not just booze. They used to eat a lot, too, but nobody does that anymore — except Carolyn/Leticia in an upcoming episode, who munches on a hamburger-sized yellow sugar cookie in the drawing room while laughing and taunting Willie for being stupid.

    But now on Dark Shadows nobody eats, because there’s no Blue Whale and no Collinsport Inn diner — there isn’t even a Collinwood kitchen. And if there were, do they even still have a Mrs. Johnson to staff it? There’s just Quentin, continually drinking, with a different bottle and glass for whichever room he happens to be in.

    When was the last time someone had a cup of coffee at Collinwood, or anywhere for that matter? They used to drink coffee all the time on Dark Shadows. Maybe that’s what the show needs, a steady infusion of coffee to perk things up a bit…

  10. What they were eating was a frequent topic in the early days. Hamburgers, lobsters and black coffee were big. And Mrs. Johnson’s boiled dinners, of course.

  11. That Carolyn/Willie scene. The riddle? Love that scene.

    Where the north path is narrow…
    You’ll be at sixes and sevens.
    Find the H, and follow the arrow.
    It points to Maggie Evans!

    Nothing like a good rage from Barrett.
    What a great pair, those two.

    Who would have thought, in the beginning, to bring those two together?
    We’ll see more of them.

    It would be fun to put together a list of unlikely actor couples that could have been great on the show. Like, umm..Petofi and Julianka!

    1. A few unlikely (but possibly great) couples:

      Tim Shaw and Judith Collins.

      Roger Collins and Portia Fitzsimmons (actually, not all that unlikely).

      Jason McGuire and a time-traveling Suki Forbes.

    2. I’d love to see a cage match pairing between Roger Davis and Marie Wallace – preferably as Dirk & Eve, cause those are their 2 most kick ass characters.

      1. Exactly perfect. A vampire couple working together. And competing.

        Which can’t happen with Frid, who has a (gulp) conscience.

        Angelique. Dirk. Megan. Tom, Roxanne. They all enjoyed what they were.

        So they must be destroyed, unlike the (gulp) altruistic Barnabas.

        And all were hot, and he was not. Can’t have that competition.

    3. Suki Forbes never got a scene with Abigail, did she? Bet THAT would have been dynamite; or Suki with Natalie Du Pres.

      1. One of the best ideas DS had was introducing Suki Forbes. One of the worst ideas they ever had was killing her off so soon. She was their best shot at a fun-times bad girl.

        I guess they tried it again with Amanda Harris, but they really kept her on too long.

  12. Paul Stoddard and Mrs. Johnson!

    I love Jason and Suki, and that could have happened if Barney made her a vampire.

    Imagine Barnabas competing with a coven of female vamps which he created.

    Time travel for all, to get the old boy back.

  13. Bob Rooney and Silent Susie.

    Watch the Blue Whale bartender and the occasional Collinsport Inn diner waitress serve each other stuff.

    There’s a line or two of dialogue every hundred fifty episodes or so when Bob Rooney occasionally speaks while Silent Susie listens, then smiles and nods.

    Laughter ensues on America’s favorite silent sitcom, The Bob and Susie Show, weekdays right after Dark Shadows on most of these ABC stations.

    1. Istvan could have been a featured player; then, of course, there are all those day player policemen, Blue Whale patrons, and the “parts donors” for Dr. Lang’s creations…

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