Episode 1130: Time and Tantrums

“This house is covered by a veil — a veil pierced by lightning!”

A hooded figure skulks through the Eagle Hill cemetery, as hooded figures do, making a yearly pilgrimage to the scene of the crime. She enters a free-standing mausoleum and pulls on a ring held in the mouth of an ornamental lion, and a secret catch uncatches, moving a panel that we all thought was a wall. Pushing it aside with practiced ease, the hooded figure steps into the room, raising her lantern to illuminate the coffin that isn’t there. “It’s gone!” she cries, as she lifts the lantern, and ta-DAH! It’s Angelique.

Now, I’m going to take a moment here to explain how this visitation fits into Angelique’s complex continuity. It doesn’t. There, that was easy.

Okay, fine; I’ll play along. This is the 1840 storyline, another in the series of time tangles that come up every so often on Dark Shadows, flipping the audience backwards for a few months and letting everyone change costumes. While lots of the other cast members double and triple up on roles in these periods, Lara Parker does not. She always plays Angelique, no matter what time it is.

So far, Angelique has appeared in 1795, 1968, 1795, 1897, 1795 and 1970, more or less in that order. She’s dead, or some semisolid version of dead that leaves her walking around and talking to people. As far as I know, there’s no room in her twisted history for her to spend 45 years walking around in circles, looping back to Collinsport every so often for the anniversary of Barnabas’ incarceration, but that, according to this episode, is what she’s done.

Like the Daleks, Lex Luthor, Lucy Van Pelt and other supervillains, Angelique is impossible to shake; when you turn around, there she is, inviting you to kick another kryptonite football, to your certain destruction.

And this time she’s brought along a friend — Aristede, from 1897, who’s also dead and doesn’t belong in this decade. She calls him Laszlo, probably for tax purposes, but this is clearly Aristede and there’s no sense denying it.

This gypsy assassin has been traveling with Angelique for several years, apparently, and she keeps him around for exposition purposes. “Now, we made this same pilgrimage last year,” he says, “and the year before, and I always have to wait outside! Now, what do you come here for?” He starts a lot of sentences with “now”, because he’s fify-seven years earlier than he’s supposed to be, and it helps him feel grounded.

“What’s different than the other nights?” he insists. “When you walked out of this tomb last year, you were smiling.”

“Of course,” she snaps. “Because I was happy.”

So that’s the question on the table: what makes this version of Angelique happy?

This, I imagine, is the timeline where girl governess Victoria Winters didn’t travel by doombuggy back to the 18th century, pulling Angelique along on her return trip to 1968. Somehow, we’ve found ourselves stranded sideways, in that uncharted era when Phyllis Wick went to the gallows instead of Vicki, for reasons that have never been explained.

Phyllis wasn’t wearing inappropriate clothing when she crash-landed at the Collins mansion, with startling zippers and suspicious labels bearing Satanic washing instructions. She didn’t call everybody by the wrong name and insist that she was living in a dream. She didn’t carry a book printed in the wrong century, bearing gloomy and semi-accurate predictions of the near future, and she didn’t go around telling people that they were going to die or marry the wrong person. But they hanged Phyllis Wick anyway. The only person who knows why is Angelique, and she won’t tell us, because she doesn’t care.

All she cares about is Barnabas, who she married and killed and left in a shoebox on the top shelf of the closet. And forty-five years later, here she comes again, still stuck in orbit around his corpse, forty-five years older and not a bit closer to achieving escape velocity. She’s been in a holding pattern that she just can’t break; she’s the smartest, the sneakiest, the most beautiful and capable and assertive woman for miles, and the only thing she can think of doing is collect gypsies and arrange the world’s bleakest anniversary parties.

But this year it’s different, because the guest of honor woke up and took off, taking his coffin with him. And he didn’t leave a note, because he forgot all about Angelique. He made peace with her in 1970 during that Leviathan business; as far as he’s concerned, all their drama is in the past. The fact that he’s in the past too hasn’t quite clicked with him yet.

So Angelique tells her gypsy to go to Collinwood and find out if Barnabas is there, and if he is, does it look like he misses somebody blonde.

“Barnabas Collins,” she explains, the lantern light dancing in her eyes, “is the only man I ever loved.” And that’s going to keep on being true, as long as she circles his resting place like an everlasting buzzard. Angelique needs a new peer group.

Laszlo finds Barnabas at Collinwood, of course, impostorizing just like Angelique figured he would be. He can’t break out of his patterns either; whenever he faces a problem, he steps into another timestream, and then he just hangs around the drawing room, like he always has and always will. That’s why it’s so easy for Angelique to stalk him; he never really goes anywhere.

Once Laszlo’s gotten an eyeful, he takes his leave, and Barnabas gives him some parting words: “If you happen to be going into the village, I advise you to be careful. There are strange things happening here tonight.”

Yeah, there are, Laszlo thinks, and you’re one of them, and then he’s gone, out into the night.

Then Barnabas sits down, and asks Gabriel if he believes the wild stories about the enormous headless man who’s wandering through the woods, assaulting people. Gabriel doesn’t.

“Well, I do believe he exists,” Barnabas announces, “and I’m going out to join the search, before he kills someone else.” Which is a grand thing to say, except that he was already out searching before, and if he was such a big help, then why did he come back to Collinwood, take off his coat and sit on the furniture?

People keep doing that; I’m not sure why. They say they’re going out to comb the woods for the mad killer, and then two scenes later, they’re back at the house, with the woods still largely uncombed.

But that’s what the show is like, these days, a series of runarounds and retreads, featuring characters from the back catalog dusted off and reused. There’s a new Aristede, and a Quentin, and another Pansy Faye, and then there’s Angelique, restored to factory settings.

When Aristede reports that Barnabas is out chasing monsters around the yard, Angelique lights up like a 16 Magazine subscriber. “Tell me,” she coos, “does he still have that same strange intent look in his eyes? And his smile — when he smiles, does his face suddenly go gentle?”

And that’s where Angelique’s at, these days. She still wants Barnabas, even if he’s been taken out of the box and isn’t in mint condition anymore.

So she does the only thing that occurs to her to do, which is to show up at Collinwood pretending to be herself. “I’m Mrs. Barnabas Collins,” she says, which she actually is, posthumously. She showed up in 1897, too, and told everybody that she was Barnabas’ fiancee, or at least she will do, if she manages to hop over to Earth-Prime and join the rest of us in the timeline where they used to get decent ratings.

She learns that Barnabas is living at the Old House again, but when she says she’ll go and see him, Gabriel warns her: “I wouldn’t, if I were you. There have been many attacks here tonight; he’s out with the men.”

He doesn’t explain what he’s talking about, so it’s not clear to Angelique whether Barnabas is on the side of the attackers or the attacked. But it doesn’t really matter, of course, because eventually he’ll be coming back in for another conversation, before going out again, with the men. And so we come back, and back, and back, in endless loops of time and tantrums.

Tomorrow: The Perils of Memory.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Barnabas stumbles a little during the confrontation with Leticia: “Now, we’re — it’s very important that we find –” At the end of the conversation, he says, “All right, Leticia. I only hope for your own sake that you do not where that body is.” He means the head.

Laszlo asks Angelique, “Is it too much to — or too foolish to ask if there’s any reason why we couldn’t leave this foolish town?”


Behind the Scenes:

Norman Parker plays Judah’s headless body in four episodes starting with 1126, and this isn’t one of them. In this episode, the body is played by Joe Della Sarte, in his only episode.

Tomorrow: The Perils of Memory.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

32 thoughts on “Episode 1130: Time and Tantrums

    1. Oops, thanks for pointing that out. It’s Leticia. I think I’ve got the other spelling in my head because of Letitia Wright, who played T’Challa’s sister in Black Panther. I write about Marvel movies sometimes. 🙂

  1. Nah, Phyllis never got hanged here, she went wherever governesses go when they’re erased from existence. We get a couple mentions of Vicki and her witchcraft trial later on in the story, so we’re in the timeline she wrecked.

  2. IMO the worst thing about the 1840 story is having Angélique be an adversary to Barnabas & Julia. (I will however be henceforth using the phrase “reset to factory settings” to describe this Angélique, so thanks for that, Danny.) She had become their friend twice and was their ally, and usually her timeline followed the viewer’s. Upending those rules made her a cheap villain, and forced us to watch a dozen episodes where she imperils people in a complete retread of an earlier story. (Though I’m sure viewers in 1970 were less compelled than modern viewers and simply tuned out fully.)

    I would contend that the show, if not fully doomed by ABC at this point, was considered a loss by most involved. (The show’s general lack of a cohesive plan more than a few episodes out makes it hard to tell however.) The only Angélique to whom we could be sympathetic would be the 1970s dumped-by-a-Leviathan model. There are already villains in 1840 and another wasn’t needed to cause trouble, kill Roxanne, and stymie our antiheroes.

    Rather than coming up with something inventive and new (as they had done in the past) or searching through literature (still plenty of works to pilfer besides The Lottery), they just gave up, threw the easiest things on paper possible, and kept the cameras rolling until the ax would fall, so they could all move on to the next job. (And this remark is not just about the writing, but also the acting – it’s clear a lot of the actors, while still doing a good job, just don’t have their heart in it anymore, and they start dropping like flies in a few weeks.)

    1. “Though I’m sure viewers in 1970 were less compelled than modern viewers and simply tuned out fully.”

      I pretty much tuned out by September 1970. I would watch just to see what the writers might try to save the sinking ship. As I stated before, it was a bad sign when a DS fan like myself became more interested in the stories presented on the show’s lead-in, One Life to Live.

  3. Angelique visits the secret room every year, marking that special night she introduced Barnabas to the flappy bat. Whom is to argue how one keeps sentiment?

    “Happy anniversary baby, got you on my – mind.”
    – Little River Band, 1978

  4. Let me play devil’s–or Angelique’s–advocate as someone who was alive and glued to the set in 1970/71. As tiresomely familiar as all this seems in hindsight (when we also know the show is doomed), to a kid who’d sat through the Leviathans and PT for so long with no Barnabas or Julia and that strangely amorphous 1970 Gotterdammerung, 1840 promised a return to form. (Define form as you will.) Plus we had an interesting new villain in Gerard and tantalizingly pretty new ingenues in Daphne and Roxanne. The amazing thing for me about going back via Danny’s masterly musings is seeing how cruelly we were all being misled by Dan Curtis, who had psychologically moved on and left these ghosts flapping their wings and moving in circles. (Running around like a Judah Zachary with his head cut off….) Now, watching Angelique torture poor luckless Roxanne while knowing what Barnabas will ULTIMATELY declare to her in a few months time, we think, “How could we have been such saps?”

    1. Oh, the ULTIMATE declaration. I stuck with the show through thick and thin. I watched from episode 1 to the very last episode. I HATED the ultimate declaration. I just threw up my hands and said “Are you kidding me?” When we get there, I’ll probably go into it in detail.

          1. I guess as bugged as I wasn’t the declaration I think I rationalized it as Angelique being a familiar stimuli, and to Barnabas (who seems to identify any shiny object he’s currently pointed at as Love) he mis- identified the sense of loss and went to default. I found it obnoxious that that was the last we heard of it- I would have loved a scene with Julia talking to him about the fact that Angelique was a constant in his reality and he’s panicking at the change and loss you would feel after loosing anyone you’d known that long. But we didn’t get that luxury.

  5. Dan Curtis admitted in one of his later interviews that Angelique was brought in whenever the ratings needed a boost. Curtis was also a fan of the idea of lost love spanning time.

    Add to this that Angelique is really the only truly convincing match that Barnabas ever had. They have passion, sparks ignite whenever they interact. On top of that, they look great together, like a real couple.

    I’m always very interested in observing the dynamics between Barnabas and Angelique, even in this timeline.

    Barnabas + Angelique = Romance.

    That means the runaway spook show is being anchored to its more soapy origins.

    1. “Dan Curtis admitted in one of his later interviews that Angelique was brought in whenever the ratings needed a boost.”

      It is at least to Curtis’ credit that he was still paying attention to the Nielsens at this point.

    2. Prisoner,

      I love the fact that you always point out a reason to keep going and flag interesting things to watch for. I was an original fan but confess that the show lost me about here. I was 12 or 13 at the time but had watched since 68. I wanted to see it through this time and I will. Reading your fresh perspectives plus what was going on off camera helps and if course I adore the blog and the comments. You are so right when you say that A and B, no matter what nonsense they are engaged in plot wise, always have that chemistry, though I prefer the times when one or ther is an actual vampire and doing a bit of biting.

  6. Phyllis wasn’t hung. Victoria from 1968 displaced the pre-hung Victoria from 1967 in the jail in 1795.

    Since 1967 Victoria existed after the 1967 seance, the 1967 version had to have been bounced back to 1967 slightly earlier than the original timeline.

    There are three possibilities at that point:

    1) When 1967 Vicki returned early, Phyllis Wick was bounced back to 1796 at the instant when Vicki jumped off Widow’s hill. So rather than being hanged, Phyllis was smashed to pieces on the rocks. And since she wasn’t married, she would not even get to become one of the Widow ghosts. Vicki on the other hand would be back alive and well in 1969….somewhere,

    2) Phyllis Wick stayed in 1967 after the seance and lived a quiet life in Collinsport. She and 1967 Vicki both were present at the end of the seance. But later-Vicki stayed dead in 1796 and never returned.

    3) The universe only allows two levels of time displacement and if you exceed that, the displaced person ends up in the place where Laura Murdoch Stockbridge Collins Radcliff Collins really lives or maybe wherever Jeb & the Leviathans are from. So when 1968 Vicki displaced 1967 Vicki, 1967 Vicki went back to the future and Phyllis Wick was pushed into Laura’s place. And wherever Phyllis is, the 1970s body of Barnabas with the mind of 1840s Barnabas plus 1970s vampire Roxanne are probably there as well.

  7. I’d presume Abigail would summon for Trask anyway based on Joshua turning into a cat & Jeremiah and Josette suddenly and inexplicably falling for each other. Angelique would likely steer Trask to Phyllis just like she did Victoria, but considering that Phyllis probably had a brain in her head, Angelique would have to work a little harder to frame her.

    I mean, really, the moron’s defense at her witchcraft trial is that she is a time traveler? That’s like O.J’s murder defense being, “Actually, I’m a vampire and I live off the blood of the innocent.”

  8. I’d wondered for a while why 1897 Angelique is my favorite (with OG 1795 close behind) and I think it’s because of Danny’s “rules” for making the audience like a character. Angelique, in all her forms, makes plot points happen, but it’s truly in 1897 that she “makes a joke” and “makes a friend.”

    Violet Welles wrote Angelique’s first appearance in 1897 and she provides Parker several memorable witticisms, the most famous perhaps being the fourth-wall bending: “If you did not want trouble, you should have never sent for me.”

    She also immediately makes a friend: Quentin, the story’s villain at that point. Unlike her relationship with Nicholas or Ben, it’s not master/servant and there’s some immediate sexual chemistry.

    Angelique briefly does her old routine with tormenting the Josette lookalike but soy on she is actively allying herself with Barnabas and Quentin — usually for her own ends, which makes her a great trickster character, but often for nothing more than for her husband (as she doesn’t consider her “murder” a true method of divorce) to appreciate her and admit he needs her.

    This is all stripped away in 1970 (Angelique as mistress of Collinwood doesn’t really work) and 1840. There is some later course correction but when Angelique does become an ally, she’s not as unpredictable (and thus less interesting) as she was in 1897.

  9. At this point in time Angelique doesn’t have a big plan, or any plan really. She’s come on a pilgrimage to check in on Barnabas. She doesn’t foresee him having escaped or that her former mentor is hatching a decades long revenge scheme. She just wants Barnabas to love her.

  10. As far as Angelique’s history to this point.

    This Angelique is a continuation of original 1795 Angelique. She somehow came back to life (she is for unexplained reasons technically alive now in 1840). though she was clearly not alive when last seen in original 1795.

    At this point the story, this Angelique showed mercy on Josette in 1795 based on the pleading of Barnabas. So Josette died of self-poisoning rather than jumping off a cliff. This also created a vacancy in the “widows” and Josette’s ghost probably looks better under her veil for not having been smashed on the rocks.

    The other 1795 Angelique (the one encountered in ep 664) claimed to have been sent back to 1795 from an unspecified future as a punishment. The implication of this is that during the entire 1795 timeline, there were probably two different Angeliques running around. Its equally possible that all the post-death 1795 appearances of Angelique are actually punishment Angelique.

    Its likely (but not certain) that “1795 punishment” Angelique was the one who was burned to death in 1795 and that the 1840 Angelique is a continuation of the original 1795 Angelique.

  11. Wow.
    Y’all are making my head hurt with all the theoretical Angeliques. (There’s another tongue-twister for you – ‘Theoretical Angelique’.)

    And here I was, just glad to see her again, thinking the plot might thicken a bit with her arrival. I was perfectly willing to overlook the fact that she’d been torched in 1795 and was now some sort of ectoplasmic entity – I figured she just (like the villager in Monty Python and The Holy Grail who got turned into a newt) got better.

    So she makes a yearly visit, just to make sure Barnabas is still ‘in situ’; if she’s so sure he can’t get out, why keep coming back? Must be loads of fun for BrunAriLaszlo (or whatever they’re calling him), sitting on Naomi’s tomb and having a smoke while Angie goes in and gloats for a spell.

    And she’s still signing her name as Mrs. B. Collins; it renews my faith in romance that the unholy witch still respects her marriage vows to the undead bloodsucker…even after their little differences (he shot her, she turned him into a vampire, he set her on fire, she tried to stake him. Every marriage has rough patches.)

    1. Within the a year of Willie Loomis releasing Barnabas from the coffin, she shows up at Collinwood as Cassandra. My theory is that she was STILL visiting the coffin on a yearly base in 1968.

      Her visits seem to be a sort of odd combination of morning him and thinking that if she gave him enough time in the coffin, he would come around to see that living with her wasn’t all that bad.

      From her point of view, Barnabas has always been in the wrong. He went back on whatever he told her in Martinique. Then he agreed to marry her but kept looking at other women after the marriage. She keeps telling him that if he just keeps his word and behaves like a proper husband , everything will be ok. But he never listens….

      I always wanted to do a episode of dark shadows with Angelique and Barnabas at the marriage counselor. Having both of them explain their behavior in a self-justifying way to a third person could be fun.

      1. I always looked at it as Angelique and Nicholas were allowed by their master to return to Earth as long as they proposed a good plan to him. Their master was fine with it as long as it would cause a lot of trouble. Apparently there were rules that had to be followed or else it was back to Hell.

    2. Angelique’s just being a good wife, periodically visiting her husband’s final resting place. And if she finds him missing, she’ll go round him up and put him back.

  12. I get the appeal of Angelique and Lara Parker. But I wasn’t a fan of her stint in 1897. She came and went too much. It seemed like nothing was ever at stake for her, really.

    Too many bad guys — she just contributed to the noise.

  13. Here’s one (and sorry if this has been talked about elsewhere): Barnabas gets to 1840 using the I ching after Julia goes there through Quentin’s staircase. He possesses his original body that has been released by Julia after she arrives there. After 1840 has been wrapped up, Barnabas travels back to 1970/71 with Julia and Stokes using the staircase; thereby leaving vacant any corporeal entity to be in a chained coffin to be released by drifter Willie in 68. If this is true, history would have been changed to such a degree that upon arrival to Collinwood in 71 after their trip to 1840, I imagine there would have been no recollection of a present day Barnabas.

  14. Also if my theory above is true and as the show says everything has been set right again, there would be two Barnabas in 71. I ching trance Barnabas and 1840 Barnabas…(unless like in 1897 when Edward disrupts Barnabas’ trance) when Barnabas first uses the I ching since it’s off camera, his body disappears fully. Then not 2 Barnabases. I’m having trouble with the pluralization of Barnabas and my verb tenses with all this talk of an old show that time hops and loops through time so please forgive me. One final note: if 1970 Barnabas is a vampire and in an I ching trance (assuming his body does not disappear with him) how does he not burn up in the sunlight? Do the trance from his coffin? One would assume not since he throws the wands on the table in front of T. Elliot Stokes. Also how does Professor Stokes not know that Barnabas is a vampire after going back in time and living in 1840 with him? I think the Professor has to be turning a blind eye!!!

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