“You are to do nothing to Carrie’s dollhouse!”
The night of the sun and the moon, she said. The night Rose Cottage was destroyed, she said. The unfinished horoscope, the night I sang my song, the picnic and the murder, she said. I want to help you fight Gerard, she said. And now it turns out most of those clues don’t matter, and she’s on Gerard’s side anyway. Well, live and learn.
So let me try to break this down for you. Barnabas and Julia are trying to tangle with a pair of sinister specters who are destined to destroy Collinwood. One of the ghosts — the lady one — has successfully reemerged from the great beyond, and now she has a live human body that Quentin is particularly interested in. And that interest has ignited a spark of jealousy in the guy ghost, who’s currently burning down a building with her inside of it. I’m not sure how this furthers his plans, but maybe they explain it in the novelization or something.
Gerard is in the secret playroom at Collinwood, poking a candle into the doll-sized Rose Cottage, which sets the real human-sized Rose Cottage ablaze. Then he sets his finger against the door, trapping Daphne in the inferno. This is how people broke up with their girlfriends in 1840.
Obviously, what happens to the dollhouse should also happen to the real building, thanks to quantum entanglement. You see, the particles of the dollhouse are correlated to the particles of Rose Cottage on a sub-atomic level, which means their position, momentum, spin and polarization depend on each other, violating local realism and common sense.
In quantum mechanics, “local realism” means that the world operates the way that you think it does. This was the view of Albert Einstein, who held that quantum theory must be incomplete, because the idea that the movement of a particle in one place could instantaneously affect a particle in another place is untrue on the face of it; he called it “spooky action at a distance.” If physicists observe what they think is quantum entanglement, it must be due to local hidden variables — some force that’ll explain everything once we locate it, any minute now.
But in 1964, physicist John Stewart Bell showed that even if there are local hidden variables, they wouldn’t explain all of the predictions of quantum mechanics, so forget Einstein, I guess.
One possible way to explain this is superdeterminism, meaning that everything in the universe has already been decided, and there’s no such thing as free will. If everything is pre-ordained, then there’s no need for particle A (aka the dollhouse) to send a faster-than-light signal to particle B (Rose Cottage), telling it to burn up Daphne, because the universe already “knows” that particle A is on fire. I’m pretty sure that Gerard is aware of this; he’s a bright guy.
So this looks like Rose Cottage’s destruction and a murder at the same time, giving us two for one on Carolyn’s clues. This storyline should be over in no time.
But then the playroom door opens and in comes either Carolyn, Leticia, or some quantum superposition of the two.
You see, Carolyn was infused a couple weeks ago with the spirit of Leticia Faye, a Collinwood guest from the 1840s who was apparently a big fan of Gerard. It’s not quite right to say that she’s been slipping back and forth between the two personalities; she’s always some mix of the two, with each one predominating at seemingly random times. Nobody else really seems to care.
Anyway, she comes in and startles Gerard, and if you never realized that ghosts could be startled, then that is a new experience for both of us. He backs off and grumps across the room, shooting hateful looks at the intruder, spell broken and lady spared. Daphne is fine, and nothing is on fire anywhere, thanks to physics.
Carolyn looks at the dollhouse, and somehow senses that Gerard was trying to destroy it, even though all he was doing was holding his finger against a door. But never mind that, the real puzzle here is Leticia.
Now, all we really know about Leticia is that she lived in Collinwood and she liked Gerard; her big possession moment so far was singing a song in the drawing room, specifically chosen to please him. Her dialogue today goes in a different direction.
“Why must you always be so cruel, Gerard?” she asks. “Why have you no feelings for others? Poor Carrie never did anything to you, why would you want to hurt her?” Then she scolds him for knocking over the doll furniture.
“Aren’t you just a tiny bit ashamed, Gerard?” she poses, as a follow-up question. He starts walking toward her, and she backs off, saying, “Stay where you are! I know all your tricks, and they don’t frighten me!” Except that they clearly do, because she darts out the door, leaving him alone with the dollhouse and his finger.
So I can’t really square that with her previous behavior as Leticia, and I don’t have a lot of hope for the future. I think it might be easier if we forget about the episode, and I just talk about quantum mechanics for the rest of the day.
Here, I’ll show you what I mean. In act two, Julia finds Carolyn walking towards the front door, anxious to leave. Julia asks what’s so urgent, and Carolyn says, “Nothing I can talk about, just something very important I have to do at Rose Cottage.”
This is a shock for Julia, who’s been trying to figure out where Rose Cottage is for weeks and weeks. The conversation gets a little quantum.
Julia: Carolyn, where did you say you were going?
Carolyn: To Rose Cottage.
Julia: But when I asked you about Rose Cottage before, you said you’d never heard of it.
Carolyn: That’s odd. Why should I say a thing like that?
So we’re talking to Leticia, apparently, who seems to think that this is 1840, and the electric lights are a figment of her imagination.
Julia: Well, perhaps you can tell me about it now.
Carolyn: What do you want to know about it?
Julia: Well, whatever you want to tell me. Where is Rose Cottage, who lives there?
Carolyn: You know that as well as I do.
Julia: No, I don’t.
Carolyn: You know perfectly well that no one has lived there since she died.
Julia: Since who died?
Carolyn: Why are you asking me all these questions? What do you want from me?
So, okay. Leticia thinks that she’s talking to somebody from her own time, I guess, but I don’t know who. We get one of those unheralded pronouns that always crop up in cases like this, but at least we know who she thinks she is.
But Julia says “Carolyn,” and she responds without hesitation. Then Julia says that she has a letter to Windcliff that she’d like Carolyn to drop off at the mailbox — Julia would do it herself, but she has to attend to Maggie — and Leticia says okay, fine, so apparently she isn’t troubled by concepts like “Windcliff” and “Maggie”.
Julia goes upstairs and pretends to write a letter, which she hands to Barnabas so that he can trail Carolyn to Rose Cottage, and things get even more entangled.
When Barnabas comes downstairs, Carolyn says, “Oh, Barnabas. Where’s Julia?” Barnabas hands her the letter, and she asks if Maggie’s feeling any better, and then she trots off to Rose Cottage.
So what’s actually happening here? Is this Leticia, who thinks Julia knows all about Rose Cottage and related pronouns, or is it Carolyn, who knows Barnabas and Maggie, and has no idea where Rose Cottage is?
Apparently she’s both, or neither, depending on whether she’s being observed or not. All I know is that it doesn’t look good for superdeterminism. Particle A is supposed to know what Particle B is doing because this has all been worked out in advance, and there’s no such thing as free will. This is obviously not the case here, because clearly none of this has been worked out in advance, and in fact it’s not even being worked out while it’s happening.
Einstein said that spooky action at a distance violates the local realist view of causality, and if you can come up with a better description of Dark Shadows than that, then you’re welcome to it. This is definitely spooky action at a distance, and that distance is not getting shorter any time soon.
Tomorrow: More Than Just Sleeping.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
In the transition between Maggie’s room and Daphne banging on the door of Rose Cottage, you can see Daphne waiting for her cue to start panicking.
Gerard was keeping Daphne trapped in the burning room by pressing his finger against the door — but after the fire is gone, it turns out the door opens the other way anyway.
When Julia tells Barnabas that Carolyn is going to Rose Cottage, he’s late with one of his lines, and she ends up saying “I asked her to wait” twice.
Just after Carolyn lights the candle at Rose Cottage, she bumps into a chair.
As Barnabas and Carolyn finish their scene at Rose Cottage and we fade to Maggie’s room, Julia looks up to get her cue.
Behind the Scenes:
Liliane Sandor is the stand-in for the vampire, seen in four episodes: 1101, 1102, 1103 and 1105. This is her only screen credit. I don’t know why she’s wearing a hat.
Tomorrow: More Than Just Sleeping.
— Danny Horn