Episode 1117: Meanwhile, Again

“When I saw your grave in 1970, I knew I had to find a way.”

Meanwhile, a hundred and thirty years in the future, another unfathomable time dilemma snakes its way across the room, fizzing and throwing sparks. Time flies, they say, and Barnabas Collins is a frequent flyer.

He sits down, and thinks about the magic Chinese sticks on the table in front of him. Two weeks ago, the whole neighborhood burst into flame, and the outlook post-inferno is decidedly bleak. The few survivors are scattered, broken, unable to heal. His best friend is missing, possibly kidnapped by ghosts or eaten by zombies, or maybe she’s the patsy in one of those lunatic time-travel conspiracies where people load up a sacred altar with books and boxes and instructions and failure and send it all into the future, where it catches fire and explodes into fragments, accomplishing nothing. He isn’t sure. So he throws some sticks on the table, closes his eyes, and gives the situation a good hard think. It’s called crisis management.

“Eliot,” moans the vampire, wringing his hands, “I’m going to find her.” He’s worried about Julia. “That night in the hall, she opened the door, and the stairs were there — that same stairs that brought us back from 1995!”

So this is the problem, obviously. He says that the house fell down because it was full of ghosts and zombies, which is patently false. Ghosts don’t exist, and the zombies were probably just being sarcastic. Collinwood toppled two weeks ago because the inhabitants kept rewriting history, crashing through time barriers and violating building codes like you wouldn’t believe. The house couldn’t keep track of what timeline this was supposed to be, and you can’t keep that up forever. More specifically, you can’t keep it up past September 1970.

And now Barnabas wants to find Julia, no matter where she may be — past, future or sideways. This is the life these catastrophe chasers lead. They believe six impossible things before breakfast — like, a hundred and thirty years before — and this is the only way they know how to solve problems.

“If those stairs brought you from 1995, that must be where Julia is now,” says Professor Stokes, an expert in temporal verticality.

“No,” Barnabas says, without evidence. “I believe the only place those stairs went was back into the past — that’s where all this began!” Which is something you could say about anything.

“I assume you intend to use the I Ching again,” Stokes says, referring to a method of personal time dislocation that naturally we are all familiar with, and does not need to be explained in any way. His assumption is correct.

“I have no other choice,” Barnabas asserts. “Even if I don’t go back for Julia, I have to go back to change history, so that this terrible night couldn’t happen!”

So this insane man is intending to leap into the time vortex with his eyes literally closed, unable to set a target destination date or even steer, and even if he could, he doesn’t know what time he’s aiming at. He’s just assuming that he’ll land somewhere that will lead to story progression, which turns out to be true, obviously, thanks to protagonism.

Although first all he sees is a grave that says Julia Hoffman Collins on it, plus the tragic news from next week’s TV listings: Died October 6, 1840. So he rushes off to the cemetery with Stokes, and it’s true, it’s there, it’s real, Julia is dead, and even worse, Professor Stokes is standing in her fucking light.

“October the sixth! Three days from now!” Barnabas estimates. “I don’t know about the Collins, but I’ve got to get back there by October sixth!”

So this is meanwhiling, at a fairly advanced stage. Barnabas is postulating a connection between the October third of now and the October third of then, which is going to keep things in step as the days wear on. This is going to turn out to be true, too. Almost everything is, these days.

“Even if you succeed in going there,” Stokes asks, “how can you be sure you’ll get there before the day she dies?”

“I don’t know, and I don’t know anything,” Barnabas explains, “but all I know is that I must find a way, and I must do it within these next three days!”

And he does, just in the nick of time, three days from now and one hundred and thirty years ago. This is the night, and this is the place, the dreaded date on the fateful gravestone, where a younger Barnabas Collins has finally lost his entire patience with this strange woman who says her name is Julia.

“You will not interfere with me again!” he vows. She’s been interfering with him quite a bit, but those days are over. Now it’s all about the biting.

And then he stops, and gasps, and covers his face with his hands, and he falls to the floor and swaps souls with his future self, and before you know it, here he is: Barnabas Collins.

It takes her a moment to adjust, of course; he just tried to kill her, and she’s terribly cross.

“I only know that you tried to kill me!” she says, so he starts flinging proper nouns into the air.

“Eliot helped me with the I Ching!” he screeches. “Carolyn is half-mad! Quentin is confined to Windcliff! Now, would Barnabas of 1840 know all of this?”

And that does the trick; she puts down the cross, and moans, “Oh, Barnabas!” just the way we like it, and she melts into his arms for a hug. Proper nouns are super useful; I think everyone should use them.

So the question is: what time is it?

Because we’ve now threaded a needle that puts us somewhere that never was. There was a timeline where 1840 happened the first time, a place and time where Gerard Stiles romanced Samantha and Daphne and half of the audience, and then turned into a pirate zombie somehow and destroyed Collinwood in 1970. Then there was a world where Julia took the staircase back to 1840 and Barnabas didn’t, which is where Barnabas was standing up until at least October third.

And now here it is, a brand new October sixth that never happened before. This one clears a path, straight from now until whenever — an unclear future that starts over from here.

Tomorrow: Getting Ahead.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Julia tells Barnabas, “Some way, we must find a way to have her be herself again!”

Samantha tells Flora, “The four other attacks in the village were identitical!”

When Desmond enters Collinwood with the box, his cape catches on the doorknob for a moment.

In yesterday’s episode, Julia sent Ben out to get some human blood, and he brought some back right away.

Julia walks from the Old House to Collinwood in a raging storm, and she looks perfectly dry.

Barnabas tells Desmond, “I understand there’s a well-known portrait of my father, somewhere here.” Flora told Barnabas that the portrait was in Ben’s room, a few scenes ago.

Julia tells Barnabas, “I don’t know yet. We won’t know unyet – until she’s fully conscious!”

Flora tells Desmond, “I want you to forget these silly, silly superstitions — and suspicions.”


Behind the Scenes:

This is Michael McGuire’s first appearance as the Head of Judah Zachery, or — as he’s credited here — “Head”. This was his first television role, but he’d had parts in two movies — Coming Apart in 1969, and Where’s Poppa? in 1970. McGuire appeared on Broadway in 1964 in The Passion of Josef D, and during his time on Dark Shadows, he also appeared in two Broadway shows — Child’s Play and Hay Fever.

And yeah, it’s spelled Zachery. I don’t know if the character name ever appears in the credits and I don’t feel like checking all the episodes, but it’s spelled Zachery in all the books: Dark Shadows Almanac, Dark Shadows Memories, Dark Shadows Program Guide and Barnabas and Company.

McGuire appears in 11 episodes, and never speaks. We hear Judah’s voice in two episodes, about a month from now, and the voice is performed by another actor, Keene Curtis.

Also, the character of Desmond Collins was originally planned for Roger Davis, but Davis never returned to the show after filming House of Dark Shadows.

Tomorrow: Getting Ahead.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

35 thoughts on “Episode 1117: Meanwhile, Again

  1. What time is it?

    The time when Dark Shadows completely negates itself.

    In seeking a fresh portal to the past, it succeeds in erasing its own past.

    If Barnabas Collins leaves 1840 by the magic staircase through time to the present, he will simply disappear, as will everything, or at least most everything, that has happened on the show since 1967, because there will be nothing for Willie Loomis to find chained up in the secret room that year.

    Willie Loomis instead took the $500 Mrs. Stoddard had given him through Jason McGuire and went down to Boston to sign on with a fishing ship. After a few years at sea, he settled for a time in New York to begin taking acting classes. Over the years his acting career began to flourish, becoming a noted TV actor and eventually winning an Emmy for a role in a show called Cagney and Lacey.

    After being run out of town on a blackmail charge, Jason McGuire pursued other schemes; something that was ripening down in Florida, an oil deal in Texas. After spending some time in South America he was intrigued by the design of a rare cylindrical object, of which he was told there were only a few like it in the world. Returning to the U.S., he soon made a fortune selling counterfeit filigreed fountain pens to executives of investment firms. He was then able to retire from scheming and used some of his money for the founding of a film production company. The first project the company produced was a film called Joe in 1970.

    Victoria Winters never left the twentieth century, nor Collinsport or even Collinwood for that matter. After the blackmail scandal finally released Liz Stoddard from her 18-year prison as a recluse, she confessed to Vicki that Paul Stoddard was indeed her father and that her mother was most likely Betty Hanscom. Liz Stoddard began pursuing a social life outside of Collinwood, even taking an executive office in the cannery. For Victoria Winters, Collinwood’s lonely, dark corridors and musty corners became a way of life, and of longing, as she became the new recluse of Collinwood, waiting endlessly, as Liz Stoddard had all those years, for Paul Stoddard to return.

    There was no vampire at Collinwood. For Carolyn, there was no reason to pretend to be interested in Tony Peterson; no strange man-child named Adam to hide away in the closed off wing; and no serpent pod man with the assumed surname of Hawkes to marry. Carolyn eventually returned to wearing her black jacket and leather pants. She resumed her relationship with Buzz Hackett; there, along the highways and byways of coastal Maine, they prospered. They soon had three children, and as many mini bikes, and their love became a biking legend.

    1. Good job, Prisoner!

      I guess Chris would still have been a werewolf, though, plus David and Amy would probably still have released Quentin’s ghost from the west wing. David would have died and Carolyn might have been killed by Chris in his werewolf form (Barnabas did come to her rescue). But wait! If Barnabas had disappeared into 1840, Angelique/Cassandra would not have come back to Collinwood…Liz would not have seen her kissing Tony…Liz would not have been under the fear or being buried alive spell…so Carolyn wouldn’t have been visiting Liz’s grave in the first place. Carolyn is saved. But not David (from Quentin’s ghost).

      1. Tom wouldn’t be a vampire?
        Julia would never have come to Collinwood?
        Dave Woodard wouldn’t have died?
        Harry Johnson would be hanging around (possibly trying to romance Vicki?)
        Sabrina would – never mind, she’d still be Sabrina?
        Philip and Megan Todd would have their kitschy antique shoppe, and possibly by now have had a REAL baby (unless Phil had finally come out of the closet and they’d divorced, and now he was hopelessly besotted with his attorney, Tony Peterson)?
        Joe and Maggie would have stayed together?
        Sam Evans wouldn’t have gone blind or died, but would now be a noted painter, thanks to a noted art critic who bought his works?
        Dr. Lang, with Peter’s help, would still have built Adam, but used Peter’s face (and some rando’s life force) to animate the creation?
        Quentin’s ghost would have chased everyone from Collinwood, killed David (and possibly Amy, too), and he and Gerard would be fighting an ectoplasmic battle over dominance of the ruins of the great house?
        Daphne and Beth, having little to do as ghosts, were just wafting about the servant’s quarters, leaving lilac scent all over the corridors, like a supernatural can of air freshener?
        And Olivia Corey had met and married Sky Rumson; and while passing through Collinsport, had stopped in the Todd’s antique shoppe and bought the pigweasel?

      2. Chris only returned to Collinwood because of Tom’s death. If Tom never became a vampire then Chris wouldn’t have had to return. Amy would be living with Tom and never come to Collinwood at all, Quentin’s ghost (and Gerard’s) would never have been released.

    2. Your hypotheses is sound but it would also have to apply to the end of the 1897 storyline.. When Barnabas left there would have been no coffin in the mausoleum for Willie to find in 1897.

    3. Actually, Elizabeth, Roger, and Carolyn were the poor relations of the Collins family who owned the cannery. Tad, Quentin’s son, survived, along with Quentin’s children by Daphne, and they inherited the fortune. The children of Gabriel and Edity became the poor relations, same as their children and grandchildren.

      There is a whole new family at Collinwood, with its own problems. Vicky might come or not there…

      All very confusing for Barnabas and Julia when they come back….

        1. Wait, what? Mother’s doing all that moping in the playroom because Tad’s never going to ride his wee rocking horse again, or bang on the drum all day; but Tad’s not dead?
          Oh, right. This is a soap opera, “presumed dead” ALWAYS means “alive and waiting for the right moment to reappear and say, “TAH-DA!” (or in this case, “TAD-DA!”))

    4. And if there was no Barnabas let out of his coffin in 1967, Maggie would never have been sent to Windcliffe and Julia would never have gone to Collinwood. By my calculations that means when “our” Julia returns from 1840 there are now two Dr Hoffmans loose in the world – and probably two Professor Stokes as well!

  2. I really can’t help liking that alternate history of things, including the pop culture references.
    (I’m not the greatest DALLAS watcher, but I recognized that joke, and of course the JOE reference.)

    I’ve always like Michael McGuire in the COLUMBO episode “A Friend In Deed.” He plays a character who commits a (probably) accidental killing, then gets blackmailed into helping with a deliberate one!

  3. So if Roger Davis was supposed to play Desmond, who was Karlen supposed to play? He was back on the show at that point so I presume he was going to be in 1840.

    1. Unlike Roger Davis and any other female actor on Dark Shadows John Karlen and Nancy Barrett had great chemistry together. Roger Davis had better chemistry with Addison Powell (who was building man, clearly batting for the other team).

    2. I’m just glad John Karlen played Desmond – he’s so charming and attractive in that role, really making Desmond so likable. I can’t imagine Roger Davis bringing that much warmth to Desmond.
      Although…it would have been interesting watching RD’s Desmond interact with Nancy Barrett. He might have been better working with her.

      1. I love the whole Flora and Desmond thing. I can’t imagine Roger Davis playing with Joan Bennett like that. I mean, in today’s episode when she flubs it’s adorable. It looks like John Karlen is grinning affectionately at her flub and she is grinning back. I love how Joan is playing it up and having a great time…”Oh, Desmond, get that horrible thing out of here!” “It’s evil! I can feel it vibrating things!”…but she’s accusing Desmond of being superstitious/suspicious and having instincts. I wish I could see John Karlen in the curlers that made that hairdo.

        1. Flora Collins, regular Time Band at least, was a lovely character for Joan Bennett. She doesn’t get irritating and is a genuinely nice character, contrasting other characters like Gabriel and Samantha. Flora doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. Desmond was raised well.

          1. JB, I couldn’t agree more. I loved Flora. I think Joan was channeling Billie Burke when playing Flora. They co-starred in Father of the Bride and Father’s Little Dividend.

            If the show had continued and returned to 1971, I think Liz should have had a “Christmas Carol” dream where Flora visits her and persuades her to lighten up and enjoy life and laughter. Liz then could become more of an Auntie Mame character.

          2. I love Flora’s character! She is so bubbly and a far cry from the serious Judith. And Desmond is good also with John Karlen. He is very suspicious of Barnabas but in the end, he grows to appreciate Barnabas in helping to free Quentin.

    3. Davis as Desmond would’ve been interesting — though not in a good way, I think. Karlen and Selby had great chemistry — you believed they were longtime childhood friends. Davis never connected with another male cast member (all the shouting). Granted, he was usually written as having antagonistic relationships with other men on the show (Barnabas, Quentin) but even his “romantic” scenes with female cast members fell flat for me.

      DS tended to improvise, of course, so if Davis had played Desmond, I could imagine Desmond becoming a darker character, much like Charles Delaware Tate.

  4. “Carolyn is half-mad! Quentin is confined to Windcliff! Now, would Barnabas of 1840 know all of this?”

    In the 1995 Flash Forward, Quentin is said to have escaped from “Stormcrest.” I’m surprised Julia didn’t react to Barnabas’ Proper Noun choice by saying “sorry. Wrong Nut House!”

  5. Reading the episode summaries of DARK SHADOWS COMPANION, I was a little disappointed in my expectation of seeing Present-Day Barnabas taking over his 1840 self. I expected a confrontation between the two Barnabases (the Evil one and the Good…okay, Grayer one) before they join, but it does make more sense that Barnabas I-Ching-possessing his older self.

  6. Time travel often poses problems with dramatic urgency — unless your heroes are literally “trapped” in the past or can’t control their journeys. The latter was a major element of DOCTOR WHO until the new series when he (or now she!) began gaining more control over the steering. Explanations had to come up for why the Doctor couldn’t solve the whole problem facing them by taking the TARDIS back a day.

    This is what we see here and previously in 1897: There was a sense of “meanwhiling” to add urgency and increase the stakes. In theory, Julia could take a trip around the world and then at her leisure go back to 1897 to save Barnabas from Edward. Barnabas has no reason to “rush” to get back to 1840 to save Julia from, well, himself. But without the meanwhiling, the story is less compelling.

  7. With all the time traveling, i’m surprised Barnabas and Julie didn’t cross paths with the crew of the starship Enterprise. Wouldn’t that have been a heck of a cross-over? Captain Kirk appears in the foyer of Collinwood: “Kirk to Scotty; there’s no intelligent life down here.” Or Spock observes, “There appears to be no intelligent life form present, Captain.”
    Meanwhile on the Enterprise, Julie Hoffman tries to fit into the 24th century: “Dammit, Barnabas, i’m a doctor not a rocket scientist.”

    1. … Or Doctor “Who”. Given all the time paradoxes Barnabas and Julia have been creating, I’m surprised they haven’t been confronted by angry Time Lords!

    2. It would have been fun watching Kirk seduce all the Collinsport girls. He’d have given Quentin some real competition.

      1. I could see Barrett playing the love interest to Captain Pike in The Menagerie.
        Selby as a Vulcan.
        Thayer as a Tribble salesman.
        Grayson as Nurse Chapel.
        Dennis Patrick as Scotty.
        Louis Edmonds as McCoy.
        And Flora shows up via time portal.
        Shatner still Kirk.
        Which leaves Karlen….

        1. Karlen as Chekov –
          Istvan as Uhura?
          Mr. Nakamura as Sulu?
          Addison Powell as Dr. Van Gelder / Capt. Tracey –
          Roger Davis as a Klingon –
          Lara Parker as Lenore Karidian –
          Jonathan Frid as Flint –
          Alexandra Moltke as Rayna –
          The Caretaker as Mr. Atoz –
          Kathryn Leigh Scott as T’Pring –
          Joel Crothers as Stonn –
          Kathleen Cody as Miri –
          David Henesy as Balok –
          Lisa Richards as The Horta –
          Don Briscoe as Dr. Sevrin / Dep. Fuhrer Melakon –
          Denise Nickerson as Mary Janowski –
          Colleen Kelly as Gem –
          Diana Walker as Yeoman Rand –

          And I might be able to think up a few more…

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