“I only know that someone has been filling your mind with evil distortions.”
Well, to begin with, he wears a ring with a spooky symbol on it. It’s got a circle with an X through it, and it’s hot off the finger of a witch doctor from the dark jungles of Brazil. So either Quentin is a fan of The X-Men or he’s a Satan-worshipping serial killer, and I haven’t seen a lot of comic books lying around, have you?
I mean, there was more evidence than that, probably. Mordecai Grimes said that Quentin followed him through the woods and then he just stood there and got shot at, so that’s suspicious. Also, he left the house to chase after Randall, and Gabriel said that there was a look on his face. A look!
Well, you can’t just go around with a look on your face; people are going to notice, and take steps. In this case, they’re going to come to the inevitable conclusion that Quentin Collins murdered Randall Drew. They have no choice.
“I have no choice, Mr. Collins,” explains the constable. “You are under arrest for murder.” And he is, eventually, but they go the long way around.
Now, the comforting thing about being arrested on Dark Shadows is that the conviction rate is extremely low; the only person who’s ever been punished for a crime was Victoria Winters, and she escaped anyway. They even hanged her twice, and it didn’t stick. She just laughed at them. She liked it.
Jim Ward is the last constable that we see on Dark Shadows, the conclusion of a long line of ineffectual sheriffs and deputies and gaolers and lawmen. There was Jonas Carter back at the beginning, who thought that Burke was innocent but sent him to prison anyway; there was George Patterson, who spent three years investigating a bizarre string of crimes that should have had a logical explanation but didn’t; and there was Sheriff Davenport, who was turned into a zombie, and got torn to shreds by a werewolf. There was a Deputy who almost got bitten by a lady vampire, and an Inspector in Parallel Time who went down into the basement with Barnabas and just stayed down there, polishing his skis. They never solved much of anything in the way of crimes; they were mostly atmosphere.
And here we are, in the past, with this crime-fighting contender, who thinks he can walk up to Quentin Collins and have no choice. It’s a good thing we don’t have a werewolf anymore; this guy wouldn’t even last two rounds.
Naturally, Quentin finds the prospect of being arrested difficult to believe; he’s a white male landowner in the 1840s, and he has other items on his agenda.
“Jim, why am I accused of murder?” he objects. “On what grounds?”
“That will all come out at the trial,” says the constable, which is the only professional thing he’ll say all day.
“Now, what reason would I have for killing that man? Can you tell me that?” Quentin explodes. “A man has to have a motive for murder!” He apparently believes that being arrested is the first step of a negotiation.
“From what I’ve heard here tonight,” says the lawman, “it appears that you might have a motive.”
“Well, of course I might have! But I don’t!” Quentin snaps, and the defense rests.
Jim tries to rally. “Mr. Collins,” he sighs, “look, it’ll be better for all of us if you just come along with me quietly.”
“All right,” Quentin allows, because at heart he’s a fair man. “But I’d like to see my son first.”
“Of course,” says Jim. “But try to make it brief, Mr. Collins.” And then he excuses himself, and waits out in the hall.
Now, I’m not a police officer and I don’t watch a lot of procedurals, but I’m pretty sure there are several reasons why you don’t initiate the arrest process, and then step out of the room for a moment. The optics are bad. It suggests a lack of confidence. You’re also giving the apprehended the opportunity to tamper with evidence, confer with confederates, and take a good hard look at the windows and try to remember how far away Canada is.
But soap opera cops are soap opera first and cops second, and they serve a higher justice, namely: don’t get in the way of the drama. So Jim waits out in the foyer, with literal hat in hand, while the accused says who knows what to his son, who’s probably some kind of demonic familiar Quentin conjured up in his mad scientist warlock lab.
So now Quentin needs to explain what’s going on to Tad, and he accomplishes it in the most confusing possible way.
Tad asks if the constable is here because they’ve found the man who killed his uncle Randall, and Quentin says, “No, they haven’t found the man. A few people think they have, but they haven’t. Mr. Ward’s just doing what he must do at the present time.” Then he says, “You know that there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to make sure that you don’t get hurt by anyone or anything,” which is a tricky sentence to wrap your mind around in a hurry.
“They don’t think you did it?” Tad asks, and Quentin says, “No, but I do have to go away with Mr. Ward for a while.” So he’s going to have to either get better at telling the truth or get better at lying before they put him on the stand; this middle ground isn’t working very well.
After the father-son bonding time, Jim walks back into the drawing room and asks, “Are you ready, Mr. Collins?” That’s a question that can be answered in a number of ways that Jim isn’t going to care for.
“In a minute,” Quentin answers. “I’d like to talk to my son’s governess.”
Jim looks down and shuffles his feet. “I’m sorry, sir –”
“Jim!” Quentin scolds. Apparently the right to remain silent is something that happens to other people. “Now, you’ve got kids of your own. I just want to make sure that he’s taken care of.”
Jim gives an understanding nod. “Well, I guess a few more minutes won’t do any harm.” This is a murder investigation.
Quentin heads for the door, but Jim stops him. “I’m sorry, sir,” he apologizes. “I’ll have to go with you.” Quentin allows it.
As it turns out, Daphne isn’t around. Quentin looks for her in all the places where she might be destroying evidence — the fireplaces, the toilets, the bathtub full of lye — but she’s simply vanished. Quentin doesn’t know where else she could be, but the answer is obvious: she’s been murdered, by Quentin. He decides to leave her a note anyway.
And then they do what I think is the logical conclusion of every law enforcement sequence that Dark Shadows has ever had. Here’s where it all comes together.
Quentin’s writing his note in the drawing room, and his father appears at the door. Entering the room, Daniel announces, “I want to talk to you alone!” His eyes flicker to the constable. “You, get out!”
Jim tries to object. “Now, Mr. Collins, I –”
“Shut up and GET OUT!” Daniel rants. “He’s my son, this is my house, and you’re not welcome in it!”
Jim doesn’t quite get the picture yet, so Daniel gestures at the door with his head. “Out!”
And Jim, with an utterly bewildered look on his face, shuts up and gets out. What else is there to do?
Tomorrow: When One Deals with Judah Zachery, There Is No Margin for Error.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
In act 1, when Quentin asks why he would kill Randall, he shoots a very obvious glance at the teleprompter.
Quentin tells Tad, “No matter what you hear or see, I want you to believe nothing bad about me.”
When Tad leaves the drawing room and Jim enters, there’s a brief glimpse of the camera through the drawing room doors.
Gerard tells Dawson, “Someone wanted Randall dead. Whatever his reasons were, doesn’t really matter as long — because they happen to coincide with our cause.”
Daniel cries, “And Mordecai’s castle — cattle!”
When Gerard opens the drawing room doors at the beginning of act 3, the boom mic can be seen overhead.
Gerard tells Daniel, “The constable said that you washed — wished to see me, Mr. Collins.”
After Daniel says, “You’re a fine young man, Gerard,” there’s a loud clank from offscreen, followed by a few more taps.
Daniel says, “My greatest sorrow is that deep down in my heart, I know that I cannot feel that he is innocent.”
In act 4, the camera holds a close-up on Gerard as he assures Dawson that he’s planned out the seance. We can hear Dawson’s footsteps, going over to the set for the next scene. When the next scene begins, the camera lingers on a candle and then a close-up on Daniel, as we hear Gerard hurrying to the set to join them.
Behind the Scenes:
Elizabeth Eis is back, playing Mildred Ward for three episodes. She was last seen on the show in May, playing Buffie Harrington, and before that she was a short-lived Leviathan convert. This is her last role on the show.
My favorite prop, the Ralston-Purina lamp, is back at work in the drawing room today. It was last seen in October, hanging in Trask’s chapel.
Tomorrow: When One Deals with Judah Zachery, There Is No Margin for Error.
— Danny Horn