Episode 1171: He Schemes, He Scores

“But you don’t deny that you would have sent those messages to Daphne!”

Samantha’s first mistake, as she was looming, dagger in hand, and saw that the figure in the bed was Gerard and not Daphne, as she’d expected, was that she didn’t just stab and stab and stab anyway, because there are only two possible outcomes when finding oneself in an enclosed space with Gerard; you’re either going to kill him, or kiss him. She chose not to kill him. A rookie mistake, really, and not in keeping with CDC guidelines.

So, coming back from this extremely long weekend I’ve taken, let’s have a look at current conditions. An invisible enemy has been spreading through Collinwood, infecting people with bad dreams, poor decisions and the occasional decapitation.

Pirate king Gerard Stiles is at the epicenter of the problem, of course, because everything revolves around him. His latest outrage is promoting conspiracy theories that have put an innocent man on trial for his life, charged with breaking laws that don’t even exist anymore.

And after all this time, Gerard still refuses to wear that mask. So what are the rest of us supposed to do?

Well, Samantha has decided to come and loom and stab the governess to death, which is not going to get those schools reopened any faster.

Luckily for the struggling education system, Daphne isn’t there; she’s quarantined herself somewhere, and we won’t see her all day. She received another one of those unsettling letters that have been scattering themselves around Collinwood, presumably written by her dead sister Joanna. The most recent missive read, “Tonight, I will come back. This time I shall succeed.” Daphne, who’s a bit of an alarmist, decided that this meant things were going to get worse before they get better.

So Gerard, muttering that he alone could fix it, has taken Daphne’s place so that he could lie in wait and unmask the real villain. When she arrives, he’s startled to discover that it’s Samantha; he figured it would be China.

Gerard hustles her into a chair and begins one of those big soap opera exposition interrogations, where a character decides that he’s fed up and he’s going to keep on asking questions until the audience understands the storyline.

She refuses to talk, so he shouts, “Would you prefer explaining your actions to a judge, in a court?” He’s all about law and order, all of a sudden.

Happily, this is Gerard leading the investigation, and he always goes entertainingly off-script. “Now, you tell me,” he sneers. “Tell me it all.” Samantha pauses for a full four seconds, which is how I know that’s not her actual cue.

Finally, she says, “I won’t tell you anything,” and he gets back to the point. “The notes,” he insists. “Tell me about the notes.” She claims she doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and he snarls, “Supposing the judge would like to hear more about your — talk on, uh — your testimony in court about the ghost?” This is why people keep talking about the cognitive test.

Samantha asks what Gerard is doing here in Daphne’s bedroom, and his answer is, “When she showed me the note, someone tried to kill me last night.” That is the sentence.

Then he says, “I started to think, who it could have been that wanted to sis – dispose of both Daphne and me… and the only name I could think of was yours. You tried killing me last night, didn’t you?”

She laughs. “No, I didn’t! Not that I wouldn’t love to see you dead.”

“I don’t deny that!” he cries. “But you don’t deny that you would have sent those messages to Daphne!” That first sentence should be “I don’t doubt that.” I can’t parse that second sentence at all.

He finally asks enough oddly-worded questions that Sam just cracks open, and admits everything. It’s like I keep saying, more questions lead to more answers; we need to slow the testing down, please.

“All right,” she snaps, petulantly. “I didn’t want to kill her, I just wanted to frighten her! I wanted her to leave this house desperately, just the way I want you to leave it.” It’s always about immigration with these people.

And then suddenly he’s all smiles, because now he’s found a use for her. He struts over and starts rubbing her on the shoulder without permission, smirking and putting on his “I know what you really want” voice, which he brings out on special occasions.

And he’s Gerard, so he’s irrestistible; everything he says is stop-press news. This is why she should have stabbed him at the top of the show. Once you get this close to Gerard in seduction-mode, it’s already over.

I mean, you’d think if anybody would be good at social distancing, it would be the Collins family, who have effectively been self-quarantining from the outside world since the Revolutionary War. And yet here we are.

“Don’t you think I understand why you’re against Quentin?” he murmurs, settling himself onto someone else’s bed. “Why you’ve been miserable, all these years?”

“Oh, god,” she admits. “I can’t believe that anybody knows what a living hell my life has been in this house. I’ve never been loved. Not by Quentin. Do you understand why I must get even with him for all the misery that he has caused me?”

“Of course I do,” he says. “That’s what I’m trying to tell you. I do understand.”

This is what Gerard does; he taps into white people’s grievances, and convinces them that he wants to help them, when all he really cares about is beheading his enemies.

“We could have a new life together,” he promises, campaigning for a second term.

She smiles, despite herself. “Well, I would believe you,” she breathes, “if you would help me get Daphne out of this house.”

“It’s impossible,” he says, because he can’t help doubling down on his strategy.

She turns on him. “Why? Because you love her?”

“No!” he shouts, and unleashes his totally sensible plan. “Because I want you to write more letters. You see, Quentin will lose everything. And his faith in the letters will disappear if he finds out Daphne is out of the house! So we must keep her here… and then we will put the final touches on Quentin Collins. They will both be gone… and only you and I will remain.”

This is not a coherent testing and tracing strategy. Listening to that word salad, it’s impossible to tell if this is a plot twist that doesn’t make sense, or if Gerard’s just chewing up his dialogue again. It’s usually both.

But let me try to get my head around this. The reason why Gerard is here in Daphne’s room in the first place is that he wanted to prove to Daphne that the letters weren’t real. He’s survived the night, so presumably she’ll know that Joanna’s warning wasn’t true. But now Gerard says that he wants Daphne to get more letters, because somehow that’s going to keep her here, rather than drive her away, which Samantha just said was the point of writing the letters.

And if Daphne stays here, then somehow she and Quentin will vanish; one day, it’s like a miracle, they will just disappear.

I have no idea how that’s supposed to work. But look at what we’ve got, right here: person, woman, man, camera, TV. What could possibly go wrong?

Tomorrow: The Deck Chairs.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

In act 2, Gerard threatens, “I will make sure that you go to the authorities. Oh, I promise you. It won’t be too beneficial for Quentin, because he will still have no acquittal. And as for you, I shall make sure that you are prosecuted, at the highest degree!”

Trask tells Flora, “Well, our spish- our suspicions appear to be unfounded.”

Samantha tells Gerard, “After that, I heard that she was escaped from the asylum.”

Gerard asks, “Tell me, how did Daphne and Quentin… come into this position so easily?” I have no idea what he’s trying to say.

At the beginning of Act 4, the boom mic can be seen overhead when Flora sits down.

When Flora reminds Barnabas, “You broke contact during the seance,” someone in the studio coughs loudly. Then she says, “I had the feeling that you did it deliberately, because you knew more about Ran — Ruh — Roxanne’s death than you cared to admit.” Barnabas replies, “Well, if you recall, I told you that my mother’s name was Rox — was Angelique.”

A little later, Flora says, “I only wish the whole thing hadn’t such — had such a terrible effect on poor Lamar.”

Behind the Scenes:

The Petofi box appears in Rose Cottage in this episode; it was last seen in the upstairs hall at Collinwood all the way back in episode 956 (February 1970).

A note from Danny:

Hey! So it turns out I still know how to do this. I have been away for a long-ass time, sorry about that, but I am committed to getting us all the way to episode 1245, and whatever lies beyond. And there’s lots of fun stuff coming up, as we head into the dying days of Dark Shadows: tomorrow’s post is about Lara Parker’s 1998 novel Angelique’s Descent, and just wait till you see what I have for you for Friday’s Christmas 1970 pre-emption post. Thank you all for still caring about this ridiculous blog. Wear your mask, stay healthy, and I’ll be back with more posts soon!

Tomorrow: The Deck Chairs.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

66 thoughts on “Episode 1171: He Schemes, He Scores

  1. I just started the show and your blog during quarantine, still have ages until I’m able to read anything other than the note at the end of this post but so glad to see that you’re okay and back to posting! I enjoy your blog nearly as much as the show itself!

  2. Yaaaaay! Thank you, Danny, for your timely return! Deeply appreciate you, your awesomely fun blog, and the campy escape of DS more than ever right now! ❤❤❤

  3. This bloated doddering imbecile of a storyline will eventually come to an abrupt and welcome end, only to be replaced by an equally decrepit mirror image of itself.

  4. Yay! Welcome back Danny! I’m only about 340 episodes behind you, but it’s nice to know that when I get here you will have been here too.

    And as I recall I actually liked angelique’s descent. It was the only novel I read though I hear there is one with Vicki. I know you think she’s stupid but I like her.

    Welcome back 🙂

  5. Oh my god, oh my god! I was so excited to get the email notification about this, just as I was finishing up the last couple of posts! “Extremely long weekend,” indeed. Ya big goof. Still, that’s what my quarantine has felt like, so there you go.

    Given how many references to “the ongoing troubles” there were in this post, I was even planning on making a “person, woman, man, camera, TV” joke here, but you beat me to it.

    That being said, the way the writers are depicting Gerard’s “plans” with Sam for Daphne make about as much sense as the plans of…certain people…to stay in office.

    “Maybe we shouldn’t have as many notes from Joanna, and the ratings will go up again?”

    “Oh, to hell with that! Let’s send even MORE of them, to appeal to the handful of people still watching and enjoying this shitshow! Then we can rip off Shirley Jackson and gaslight everyone into thinking it was OUR idea! That’ll own the libs…er, the producers of SOMERSET!”

  6. Bless me, but it’s good to hear from you again! I was worried, though I knew the current world issue had probably made your job MUCH more difficult. I will read the entry when I can (since my situation is much more complicated now) – – but welcome back! Gives me hope that things might actually get ‘back to normal’!

  7. so there was me, one of the original eleven year old Dark Shadows watchers, stubbornly back in time. for having discovered the wonder that is Danny, i was determined to only read seven of his posts one evening each week, because i watch an episode a day, as my dinner companion, and i wanted to take in his post while the episodes were fresh in my mind, instead of the other way around. this meant of course i had to forego chatting with y’all in the present, but that doesn’t mean i didn’t fall in love with many of you, delighting in your comments, sometimes laughing almost as freely as i did over Danny’s sharp as a diamond creativity, his exquisite fashion sense and delicious lack of maliciousness. i’m so taken with so many of you, and the very idea of all of us, the way Danny’s brilliance could be warm enough to somehow bring together a weave of youngsters and middlings and old geezers like myself into one astonishing motley crew that i don’t think one could find anywhere else. i would like to thank in particular, though, Percy’s Owner, John E Comelately, Melissa, Prisoner of the Night, and William, for touching my heart ever so often. it never once occurred to me that, continuing my steady pace, i’d find myself strolling into present time, because i never checked ahead to discover the whirl was slowing down. and then came the day when i officially arrived. but there was no one to greet me. i felt like Julia arriving in 1840. here i finally had the chance to meet you all in present person, and tell you all that i loved you, proving, all by my lonesome, that you never really know who your words may be affecting, but everyone was off, nursing their grief and seeing to their forever opened wounds that continuously result from being ripped from Danny. and then the days wore on and i almost forgot all i’d gathered up to say, what with my worry over what could be happening to our gentle sparkled hero. and i wondered about the crypt and fretted over i ching, and sadly bided the loneliness of present time. and then this morning came, just when i least expected it. i realize i’d made introduction overly long, but there’s one more thing i’ve saved up to say. April 2nd 1971, i went to sleep heartbroken. and i had the most amazing dream. Julia was in it. and she showed me this collection of what i could only take to be small capsules of film. scads of them and she explained that it was the entire Dark Shadows series, and that one day it would belong to me and to watch it whenever i wanted. and i woke up the next morning completely convinced that what she’d said was true. it left a warm smile somewhere inside. which sort of puts in mind of the way our Danny can often make me feel. (long, drawn out, refulgent) * sigh *

    1. p.s. amidst the over excited typos, there’s one i’d like to correct, on account of its aptness. however distended, ’twas meant to be, “the loneliness of unattended present time.” (is there room for yet another sigh?)

    2. Thanks, Evan, for so aptly explaining my own feelings about watching an episode and then reading the corresponding entry in Danny’s blog. Although I have slowed down and have far to go to catch up with everyone, I am heart-warmed to know that when I catch up with you all, this blog and the brilliant and sometimes hilarious comments will be here.

      1. and thank you for spreading your glow of heartwarmth, jward199. and might i ask, what time band are you tripping through now?

          1. oh i see, back in 1895, eh? and me, i’ve swung all the way back to the pre-Barnabas episodes Danny won’t tread, currently in the throes of catching Laura before she sizzles little David.

    3. Thanks for your kind words; it means a great deal to know my small contributions are appreciated, and that of the volumes of comments that have graced this excellent weblog, you would think mine were worth mention.
      And now that you have ‘caught up’ with the entries, welcome! I look forward to perusing the previous episodes to read your comments: and I urge everyone to go back through to catch the later contributions. There are some exceptional comments that were made long ‘after the fact’!

      1. thank you John E Comelately for that ever so kindly welcome. i’m tingling, from the edges of my whiskers to the tipses of my toeses. “worth mentioning”? why you rocked me into hysterics over and under again!

  8. Crap, I have no recollection of what was happening in 1840! I’m debating on re-reading this blog or not b/c, seriously, I don’t think TPTB knew either.

  9. You are so funny. Found you from a link on a Facebook post. I do believe I might become addicted to you.

  10. Today is my son’s birthday but I felt like I was the one who received a present this morning when I opened my email and saw that Danny was back! Yes I am still giddy. Welcome back!!

  11. Though I am years behind everyone here, I wanted to welcome you back as well, Danny, and say thanks again for this AMAZING BLOG SITE and all of the effort and love you give it!

  12. What a happy day! First, boring Dr. Guthrie in pre-Barnabus DS just kicked what I believe would be called the “bucket,” and then I get the announcement that Danny’s back! Bravissimo!

  13. I’m so glad to see Danny back!! This day was a crappy one at work so this makes it all better! I’m only on episode 539 (which is 2014 in posts timeline) so I do have a way to go, but it’s nice to see that the show does go on here at Dark Shadows Every Day!

  14. This is great news! I’m still way in your past (not to mention Barnabas’) in episode 415 (So long, Sarah!), but I’ve reading along in this blog every day since hitting the Barnabas episodes last October. We started our watch with Episode 001 in January 2019 and have been trying to keep to a single episode per weeknight in order to let the story unfold in its often glacial pace. Your observations make every episode (even the duds) enjoyable.

  15. Welcome back, Danny! I’ve been reading each post to coincide with the episodes Decades is currently running (Barnabas just got cursed!) but I will travel back and forth in time and check out your current comments as well.

      1. Not sure what city you’re in, but you may actually get the show on one of your local sub-channels and not know it. For example, in Los Angeles, it’s on two channels, 11.4 and 54.2. Decades, plus several other oldies channels, makes it a good idea to get a roof-top antenna if you don’t already already have one. An added bonus is that those channels are not subject to cable or satellite outages.

        1. I checked the broadcast stations in North Florida and found a station listing Decades as “coming soon”, but I don’t know when it was last updated b/c I think it was the station that used to carry it but the numers are different.

    1. I’ve been watching every night on Decades, too, and I’m hoping the network doesn’t do what it did last year. After starting DS with Barnabas’ arrival at Collinwood, it ran less than a year’s worth of episodes then started repeating the same episodes again.

  16. Oh my god, YOU’RE BACK!!! Every morning, I click onto your website, always hopeful and today, another miracle in the world. So happy!!! Thank you and welcome back, dear Danny!!!

  17. Wow! I can’t believe I am ahead of this blog! I have have reached Episode 1187 on my “Dark Shadows Journey. Looking forward to your next post to see your opinions of episodes after 1171….

  18. Welcome back, Danny! Kate and I are currently way back at episode 501, but we’re delighted that you’re going to keep going. We only discovered Dark Shadows a year or two ago, but we now have a ritual of watching an ep at lunchtime, then running to your blog and cackling like hyenas throughout!

    (BTW, this is Jon Blum and Kate Orman, from the ancient days of the New Adventures. It’s a huge delight seeing all the links you’re making, and your sharp eye for how serial storytelling works. And remind me, one of these days we’ve got to introduce you to “Chances” — an Australian soap from the ’90s which went similarly batshit insane…!)

    1. Oh, that’s neat; thank you for posting! I read all of your New Adventures/BBC Books, and really enjoyed them. If you have a minute, send me an email; it would be cool to talk to you.

  19. Good to have you back, Danny. Your blog is the main reason I started watching Dark Shadows.Keep `em coming!

  20. I am so excited to see you back. I started watching all the episodes during this quarantine and got to the end and needed you blog so much. But I did finish watching, every episode missing your comments. I finished them all and then went back and started at the very beginning again. I am up to Episode 359. Now I have to rewatch the end episodes with you blog to go along with them. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  21. I’m so glad you’re back and can’t wait to read all the episodes to come. They are all descriptive and imaginative. Please hurry, hurry as I’ve been waiting along with everyone else who reads Dark Shadows Everyday as I continue to watch obessevely Dark Shadows every single day, even Dark Shadows The Beginning episodes.

  22. Yay!! Welcome back, Danny. I’ve missed your insightful and hilarious DS posts. Good to see you and the rest of the gang again!

  23. Samantha was just going to ‘scare’ Daphne by standing over her, brandishing a knife…and THEN what? Run out the door while the governess shrieked and sobbed and didn’t run after her? Daphne came to the house intending to kill Quentin – she had a gun and everything. Or does everyone who teaches children at Collinwood succumb to Governitis and become an idiot?
    As disjointed as the dialogue is in this first scene, it’s even more scattered in the next Gerard/Samantha word salad. Seems depending upon the Teleprompter isn’t as good an idea as actors think. (Say, wasn’t Gerard using hypnopower to get people to cooperate with him? What happened to that? Would have saved a lot of time.)
    Got to love that Trask single minded commitment; he’s gonna kill him a Collins, even if it’s the wrong one (I know, it’s NOT the wrong one but Lamar THINKS it is). I do hope that there’s going to be a Trask trifecta and that all his family will be walled up somewhere in Collinsport, serves ’em right!
    And last, it seems as though Joan Bennett is giving a bit of a low key performance as Flora; almost as if she’s been given the news about the show’s impending cancellation. But then, I imagine Joan was a pretty smart lady, she could see the writing on the wall.

    1. Nah, Samantha knew Gerard was the one in the bed – she could smell his Old Spice through the door. She was hoping to get lucky. real lucky.

        1. Well, I was thinking Old Spice cause Gerard was rumored to be a sailor man/pirate. But you’re right, he would have preferred a more smooth, sophisticated scent like Brut. Or just plain Brute, after JZ took over.

  24. Danny, welcome back!! I was so happy to see a new blog post show up in a DS FB group!! I finished DS back in May, but am rewatching from 211 and what a joy to see you’re back … can’t wait to see your posts as DS treads into Wuthering Heights territory….😁

  25. Danny’s back and the angel of quarantine despair is beaten back again. Grateful for it!

    I think there were so many miscalculations in this storyline, which wanders like Mr. Magoo in a fog on the freeway, but the deadly bifecta was (a) obscuring Gerard’s readable, often gleeful seducer/supplanter motivations with the murky, vague malevolence of the joyless and silent cipher Judah Zachary–because of the possession, we literally don’t know which villain is steering the plot and which of them wants exactly what (wouldn’t it have made sense for Judah to want to destroy Miranda/Angelique? If he’s all for destroying the Collinses, wouldn’t he do better to go after the only presumptive Collins heir, Tad? And is Judah just taking a nap when Gerard puts the moves on Daphne?), and (b) Casting James Storm, all sultry eyes, ready smirk, and Kennedy hair, as the lynchpin figure who holds the plot in his hands and knows his own secrets–the man cannot deliver a line clearly, and his Stormsalad seems to accidentally double the mystery of what the hell is going on.

    I always presumed that they had intended the role of Samantha for Kathryn Leigh Scott, who took off for a personal life instead, and brought in the frostier, narrower Virginia Vestoff, only to discover that her stubborn coldness on camera required a gradually different take on the character–here merging into full-on villainy with this knife-wielding gaslighting-the-help bit.

    I’m trying to imagine the writers’ room when they’ve tangled the threads this thoroughly. “What the hell do we do now?” “I don’t know? What have been doing up to now?”

    1. What have they been doing up till now? Whatever worked before… only it’s not working now.

      And it isn’t just Storm; seems like everyone is so downer-dreary in this era. Flora was cheery early on, but nobody seems to be having any fun any more. With Quentin in the Gay Nineties, the writers seemed to have a much lighter touch.

  26. I’ve never commented on your posts before and I’m hundreds of episodes behind; but I’d just like to say I’m glad you’re back Danny, and thanks for helping to make Dark Shadows one of my favorite shows. Your posts are always interesting and informative, and I think the fact you’ve received so many comments like this upon your return is a testament to the impact you’ve had on many people’s viewing of this wonderful and bonkers show.

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