“I hope she’s not touched by what’s happening now.”
The Collins family files out of the mausoleum, marking the close of another funeral. Today they lay to rest Daniel Collins, who died in the tower room of finding out something surprising.
“What a dreadful day this has been,” groans Flora Collins, and she ought to know; her family has been experiencing one dreadful day after another for more than forty years. If anyone can recognize what a dreadful day looks like, it’s a Collins.
Suddenly, Carrie Stokes gasps, and every part of her face widens in alarm. “Someone’s been watching us!” she cries, and points at the scenery. “There!” I’m not sure why she’s getting so uptight, I believe people are still allowed to stand around in the woods if they want to.
And then there’s a shot of a pair of mystery feet, standing ominously over a piece of blue marking tape. You can always count on mystery feet for a punchy commercial break; this is what they do now on Dark Shadows instead of suspense.
Now, Carrie Stokes is something of a mystery herself; the only connection that she has to the Collins family is that her grandfather worked for them, and he died two months ago, so why she’s still allowed to live in a mansion rent-free is anyone’s guess. The only thing we really know is that she’s supposed to lie down and die in the playroom with Tad Collins at some point in the hopefully near-future, and then spend a century quietly haunting a dollhouse. She doesn’t have a lot to do with the current storyline, but as long as she’s here she might as well get some exercise.
“I’ll send you to Collinwood in the carriage, Carrie,” Desmond says, but she demurs.
“Oh, please,” she simpers, “I do want to walk. It’s not dark yet, and you couldn’t find anyone in the bushes. I’ll be all right.” She’s apparently got some personal theory about bushes and safety. Desmond’s just happy to see her go.
Naturally, as soon as she’s outside, the mystery feet get busy again; turns out they were in a different bush the whole time.
“Who’s there?” she says, as the feet rustle through the make-believe leaves. “I know someone is!” She’s looking in precisely the wrong direction, of course. Carrie does not have a super tight grasp on total situational awareness.
But she whirls around at the last moment, and gasps again, finding herself face to face with a total stranger. His name is Jeremy.
So the interesting thing here, if there is one, is that they’re coding this moment as horror. This is Jeremy’s second commercial-break sting in a row, with a burst of trilling violins informing us that this is a chilling development. Even after the break, when it’s revealed that this harmless young man just wants a chat, they’re going to keep playing something’s-lurking-in-the-hallway music for a good forty-five seconds, before it fades away in embarrassment. That’s all they know how to do anymore.
“I asked you, who are you?” Carrie demands, staring into the face of someone who we’re about to learn lives down the road and goes to her church.
“Don’t be frightened, Carrie,” he says, and she cries, “How do you know my name?”
“Carrie Stokes,” he smiles. “Born, let’s see… eighteen-twenty-four.”
“Twenty-five!” she corrects, so it’s a good thing he’s not a Nigerian prince, fishing for her credit card and social security number.
“Father: Amos Stokes,” he continues. “Mother: Martha Bradbury. My father almost married her too, once.”
“W-wait a minute!” she sputters, utterly at a loss. “How do you know all about me? Who ARE you?” It hasn’t occurred to her yet that this is someone who lives nearby. She’s not very bright, is what I’m saying.
“Jeremy Grimes, at your service,” he says, giving her a playful bow, and suddenly she’s up to speed.
“Jeremy Grimes?” she cries. “Mordecai Grimes is your father!” So if she knows that, then why didn’t she — oh, never mind.
Now she’s upset about something else. Mordecai Grimes has been going around telling everyone that Quentin Collins is a cow-murdering sorceror, and she’s taking it personally.
“If you only knew the grief he and people are causing at Collinwood!” she sobs, and he heaves a sigh. This is what conversations with Carrie Stokes are like. Jeremy really should have done more background research; always do your homework before approaching the highly-strung.
“Well, what do you want me to do, educate him?” Jeremy whines, and she whirls on him, snapping, “Well, if you don’t agree with him, you should fight him!”
Another sigh. “Carrie,” he says, “I was the one passing through the woods today.”
She takes it pretty big. “So it was YOU!” she goggles. I don’t know why this is such a bombshell for Carrie; I thought we’d made that connection before the commercial break.
“On my way back to the farm,” he explains. “And I saw you all standing there, and I remembered about how my father had railed about letting Daniel Collins be buried in Christian soil. And I thought — how can people be so wrong about each other?”
So that’s your tepid teen rebellion moment, right there. I assume the kids at home raised a fist in salute and said right on, brother. Dumb ol’ people.
And here, finally, they start up the slow woodwinds music cue that they used to throw at us during Vicki and Burke scenes. This is the dawning of another Burke.
So it’s adorable, really — not the scene, of course, which is dreadful, but the fact that they’re still pretending that they think this is a soap opera. This show has made it quite clear over the last several months that the only emotion they care about is a remorseless commitment to pointless vengeance, as exemplified by Gerard Stiles, who’s got the day off today. I guess that’s why they felt like they needed to drag Jeremy onto the set; when Gerard’s not around to smile and sneer and shove dreams into people’s heads, then the show is apt to wander off, and look for mystery feet.
Still, it keeps them afloat for another day, and that’s all that matters. Carrie looks off into the corner and sighs, “Jeremy Grimes!” It’s not a terribly romantic name, but she only has another month left on the show, so let’s not spoil her moment. Carrie on.
Tomorrow: Almost Helping.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
In the teaser, Flora greets Desmond by calling him Quentin, then corrects herself.
When Leticia tells Desmond that Gerard can be dangerous, someone can be heard walking in the studio.
When Carrie tells Desmond that she’d like to walk home, there’s a little clatter from the studio.
Desmond talks to Flora about the magical head: “If they find out that I have it — or did have it — then I could be linked to witchcraft!”
Jeremy says, “I remembered how my father had railed about letting Daniel Collins be married — be buried in Christian soil!”
When Flora talks to Barnabas about Daniel’s funeral, there’s a lot of studio noise — footsteps, chairs moving around, and someone speaks.
Behind the Scenes:
Jeremy Grimes is played by Tom Happer, who appears in four episodes. This is his first screen role. After this, he appeared in a couple of Off-Broadway shows, and he played the villain in the 1972 CBS TV-movie Crawlspace, about a very stupid elderly couple who find a handsome, unstable teen living in the crawlspace of their house, so they invite him to live with them and ask him to chop wood. You can see a picture of him below. It doesn’t end well.
After that, Happer appeared on the 1977 NBC soap opera Lovers and Friends, which was taken off the air after five months and then came back under the title For Richer, for Poorer, and lasted for another nine months. Happer was part of the reboot, the second recast of a character who was originally called Rhett but renamed Bill when the show returned. That didn’t go that well either.
Finally, in 1984, Happer made a final acting appearance as an unnamed Gigolo in the movie Shackin’ Up, also known as New York Nights, if it’s known at all. That wrapped it up for Happer’s career; I don’t know what became of him after that. I hope he’s okay.
Tomorrow: Almost Helping.
— Danny Horn