“Without even planning it, I’ve committed the perfect crime.”
And then, I suppose, Gabriel and Edith’s children come home from boarding school to find an empty house. Their parents are dead, their grandfather is dead, Aunt Samantha is dead, Uncle Quentin has run off to Boston with the governess, and Uncle Desmond has run off to New York with a music hall performer. Nobody’s buried Samantha or their mother, or this strange Valerie Collins who they’ve never even heard of, because the funeral director has mysteriously disappeared, and the police are busting open brick alcoves all over Collinsport, just in case he’s behind one of them.
Aunt Flora is the only one left on the estate, and she’s gone mad, apparently; she can hardly answer a single question about the last four months without babbling about ghosts and vampires and mysterious decapitations. Uncle Quentin was tried for witchcraft, she says, but he was spared at the last moment by a witch, who accused somebody else of witchcraft, and then Uncle Desmond shot somebody, and somehow nobody went to prison.
Now they have to arrange for Aunt Flora’s stay at Rushmore Sanitarium, and sell Rose Cottage to young Mr. McGruder, and clear out the empty coffin in the basement of the Old House that their mysterious cousins from Philadelphia apparently left behind, before they too vanished without a word of explanation.
And then they’re alone, this unknown handful of necessary descendants, to repopulate the mansion and try to survive. Is it any wonder, on that terrible night, that they called upon the dark creatures of nature to bring their dead mother back from the grave?
So that about wraps it up for Dark Shadows, I guess, going down in a hail of gunfire, as we always knew that it would. Yesterday’s lunatic climax was everything this storyline deserved: a huge, silly going-away party full of shouting, surprise confessions and exploding warlock heads. We rid ourselves of Gerard and Judah, in a ghastly triumph of spectacle over sense, and we will never be the same.
The purpose of coming to 1840 was to avert a disaster, which was absolutely not averted in any way. The show is still leaking audience members, and ABC is hungrily eyeing the 4pm slot. The cancellation hatpin hovers in the air, as the zombie pirates beneath our feet stir in their untidy graves. We’ve got nine and a half weeks and no longer, and if we’re going to do anything nice for the Collins family, it’s going to have to be now.
Everyone needs to find a partner, on their way out the door and into the all-consuming darkness beyond. The Dark Shadows writers are assembling a happy ending, which they’ve never done before, and they’re not sure how it’s supposed to work.
A case in point: Quentin and Daphne, reading a sentimental Hallmark card left by someone who hates them worse than poison. Quentin is free from jail now, released on all charges including the ones that he actually deserved, like beating up a prison guard during his unpunished flight from justice. His wife Samantha’s last act was basically screaming at the top of her lungs that all she wanted out of life was to see him dead, and then she was conveniently killed by a revenge ghost, and now he’s skipping away with his governess girlfriend toward their next inevitable heartbreaking calamity.
But first, there’s a note!
Daphne: Is there something wrong?
Quentin: No, no, everything’s beautiful! Listen to this: “Dear Quentin, I’ve done you a great injustice with regard to Tad. Whatever else went wrong between us, it didn’t involve Tad. I lied to you. He is your son; for Tad’s sake, you must know the truth. Samantha.”
So that rings false on so many levels, including the fact that I’d completely forgotten that Tad’s parentage was even a story point. When did Samantha write that down, and what was she planning to do with it? Where did she leave it? How did he find it? Why is it here, in all of our lives?
But this is what happens, when the writers decide it’s the end of a Shakespeare comedy; they reward all the surviving characters with what they most desire, and if it doesn’t make sense then that is up to you to deal with. I can’t come back, I don’t know how it works, goodbye, folks, goodbye! is basically the attitude here.
At least there’s room for one more crippling tragedy, which comes courtesy of the unquestioned king of bad ideas, Mr. Barnabas Collins. He’s decided, at the last minute and for no good reason, that he is and always has been madly in love with his mortal enemy, Miss Angelique of Martinique, who turned his life and afterlife into a private Hell of devastating consequence. He’s killed her and burned her, rejected and spurned her, but here she is, the mad mademoiselle, rushing to his open arms, if she can make it across the drawing room alive.
“Angelique?” he says, and she stands and awaits his command. They gaze into each other’s hopeful eyes, and they see each other — not as they truly are, but as they both willingly delude themselves into thinking they would like each other to be, as with all great lovers through the ages.
“Barnabas?” she says, and clasps her hands in front of her in nervous expectation, and oh, the look on her face could melt the most cynical heart. If there ever was a moment when these two could finally match each other’s madness, this is it.
“I know now,” he says. “I know how I feel…”
And we’ll never know how that sentence was going to end, ’cause here comes karma, red-faced and armed.
“The judges refused to hold you,” announces Lamar Trask, “but I am not afraid of you! Die, witch!” And you have to admit that he has a point.
So it all falls apart, in violence and noise. Those of us who choose to link our lot with witches know that it always ends this way.
“I could have killed you before,” Barnabas reminisces as he chokes Lamar, “when you walled me up. I should have finished you then!” We all have our regrets.
There’s no blood, of course; these clothes are a rental, and besides, Barnabas already ate. But Angelique is dying, once again the victim of her own reckless curse, and she takes the show down with her.
He’s taking this pretty hard, but she doesn’t mind, really. She’s been killed a whole bunch of times, and there’s no reason to expect that this is the last time she’s breathing her last. She’s already got return gigs booked in 1897, 1968 and 1970, not to mention her engagement at the Brooklyn Marriott in 2003. Angelique in the abstract will be just fine.
But this is the last time in this narrative universe that this Barnabas will cradle this Angelique in his arms and offer her a final farewell, and I believe in it completely.
“Angelique,” he pants, as he dabs at her bosom with a handkerchief and glances at the teleprompter, “I never knew…”
“What, my darling?” she smiles, closing her eyes.
“What you did tonight…” he stammers, trying desperately to remember what he’s supposed to say.
“That I always loved you,” she says, skipping ahead to a cue that he’ll recognize. It is her parting gift to the man that she loves.
“And I love you,” he says, back on track. “That’s why you must live. I love you, Angelique — after all those years, all that happened between us, I can say it now, because I know it’s true. I love you.”
But she’s gone. Her soul has slipped back to that dark cavern, where she waits for her next regeneration.
“No!” her lover shudders. “Angelique! You never heard me…”
And I believe in it completely, despite everything, because for the first time in a long while, Dark Shadows has remembered who the main characters are. The show drifted away from Barnabas, Julia and Angelique in these last couple months, and it’s taken a toll.
But now, they make sure that Barnabas Collins has one last big moment, the final kiss from a kaiju before they all disappear into legend. I accept it with gratitude.
Still, the show must go on, for a little while at least, so there’s more noise and violence as they hare up the stairs for the last big dance number. “You will pay for this with your life!” Barnabas shouts, as Trask wishes he had thought to bring two bullets to the party.
Fortunately, Collinwood is liberally sprinkled with murder weapons on every flat surface, and Trask grabs a dagger from a passing table as he scurries into the darkness. If he survives this encounter, there’s still a lead pipe, a rope and a candlestick around here somewhere, and we’ve learned recently how handy those candlesticks can be, in a crunch.
Barnabas catches up with him in the wild west of the east wing, where life is cheap but not cheap enough. Another kaiju must die in this clash of the titans, and this version of Trask, while enjoyable, is not the man he once was. Hardly anyone is, these days.
And so the last villain falls, stuck in the stomach and turned into chromakey for a final farewell to the insanity we’re leaving behind.
We are Trask, in this moment, confused and suffering, transformed into a special effect and thrust into a parallel universe that we did not specifically ask for.
“What’s happening?” he cries. “Where am I?”
The world blinks, and Trask is gone, trapped in that other time. If you were hoping that Barnabas would go with him into the next chapter of the story, as the audience doubtless expected, then you’re out of luck. But this is Barnabas’ chance to deliver a going-away present to that other band of time, and he sends them a terminally wounded Trask. He won’t be around for April Fools’ Day, so this is the best he can do.
“So this is how it ends,” Barnabas says, clutching at his bloodless wound as he enters the drawing room. He picks up the gun, just to make sure that he gets his fingerprints all over the evidence, and deposits it on the table, in case he needs it later. I don’t know if there’s anyone left alive in the whole mansion who needs to be put down, but you never know.
And here, at the finale, the Ralston-Purina lamp stands sentinel, a silent witness to the proceedings. I told you that lamp was important.
Now that the final murder is taken care of, Barnabas gets one last soliloquy, which is presented here free of charge.
Your beautiful face… How quiet, as if you were asleep. Am I never to see your eyes again? So often, they looked at me with love, and I returned nothing but hatred. I was blinded by my fury, that my rejection of you caused. And so throughout the years, we battled and fought. I never guessed that beneath my rage, I felt a love as strong as yours.
This is an unlikely turnabout that doesn’t really connect, but who cares? They want to wrap up four years of lunatic vampire storylines that rattled unsteadily across the screen in no particular direction, and any ending they come up with would probably contradict at least sixty percent of the story as we remember it. This one is fine.
And then in walks Dr. Julia Hoffman, sadly stripped of her importance over the last few months. If there are any regrets, as Dark Shadows winds itself down, then that is first on the list: leaving the show’s most interesting character on the sidelines for the last two months. She’s had no meaningful part to play in this conclusion, and the show has suffered in her absence.
“I loved her, Julia,” Barnabas asserts. “She is my only love, and I never knew it.”
And Julia looks at him through narrowed eyes, clearly thinking, what are you even talking about, you insane man.
When this is done, as it will be soon, let us not dwell on the diminished role brought on by her eyelift-related absence. Let us remember Julia as she was just two months ago, bringing a patchwork Frankenstein to existence, breathing life into a body that would have been inert and worthless without her.
It doesn’t matter who Barnabas thinks that he loves; Julia is the one who raised Dark Shadows from the dead. It is hers, it will always be hers, and everyone else can go to hell.
She asks Barnabas what happened, and he brightens as he explains that he stabbed Trask, and sent him across the boundary of time.
“Julia,” he smiles, “without even planning it, I’ve committed the perfect crime.” And he’s pleased about it, this madman, a perfect criminal to the last.
All that’s left is to clear up the casualties, who are treated even more casually than usual. “The police accepted my story,” Barnabas says, which is hard to swallow. Collinsport law enforcement must be okay with anything, at this point. They’ve clearly made the decision to stay away from anything related to Collinwood, a police-free autonomous zone that should be walled off from the rest of the population. Bringing the Collins family to justice just leads to more heartbreak, and you don’t want to get caught in the crossfire.
Now that’s cleared up, it’s time for the three time travelers to remember what they came here for in the first place.
“Barnabas, we can’t stay here any longer!” says Professor Stokes, popping up from wherever they’d stashed him for the last couple weeks. “We must go back to our own time. I came from 1970 down Quentin’s Staircase Through Time. Now we must try to go back up those same stairs.”
Barnabas is tired and shell-shocked, but Stokes insists, “You’ve done what you came here to do! You’ll never know how well you succeeded in changing history, until you return to Collinwood.”
I’m not sure what kind of success they’re supposed to be celebrating. Gerard/Judah haunted Collinwood in 1970 out of revenge for what happened here in 1840, and I can’t imagine what could have happened to cool that hot spirit down. He was gunned down, and his hated rivals set free. How is that supposed to be a calming influence on his future behavior?
Well, let’s find out. “It’s 1971 there, now, Barnabas,” Stokes continues, meanwhiling for one last time. “Was the house destroyed? Are Elizabeth and the children dead? Are Quentin and Carolyn mad?”
This rouses Barnabas from his grief and gets him up on his feet, explaining to Desmond that time travel is real, and if he loves them, then he will send them on their journey home, and then pull the ladder away, so that nobody will ever be able to come back and do this all over again.
Now it’s time for the travelers to tap their heels together and take the leap home, and they’re sent off in the finest Wizard of Oz tradition.
“My cousin, my friend,” Barnabas says, clasping Desmond’s hands, “goodbye.” He doesn’t say “I think I’ll miss you most of all,” but that’s the general gist.
Desmond says goodbye to Barnabas, as we all will three and a half minutes from now, and asks, “How will I ever know if you have made it?”
“You must always think we have,” Barnabas says, because that’s how it works, when imaginary people take their leave. We will always remember them, and think well of them, but all that remains are those shadows in our minds.
“But what if we find Collinwood destroyed?” Julia frets, as Stokes mounts the stairs. “What if it’s the way we left it, in 1970? What will we do?”
Barnabas has the only possible answer. “We will have to do the best we can,” he says, which is what these three have been doing, these last four years. It’s always worked before.
So they climb the stairs, and for now, there are no missing steps.
And Barnabas Collins takes one brief look back at the world he knew, before closing the door on the psychedelic kaleidoscope that carries them all home.
Disembarking at an unbroken Collinwood, the happy trio all change into their street clothes — even Stokes, who doesn’t live here — and they look around the empty mansion for clues of where they’ve landed.
“Barnabas! Julia!” Liz says, entering the drawing room in a hurry. “Really, the three of you are impossible; you’re very late!”
“Late for what?” Julia asks, trying to keep up.
“Well, have you forgotten?” Elizabeth frowns. “The opening of the historical center! I wouldn’t have come back, but Roger forgot his speech. Now, do let’s hurry!”
So who knows where this parallel Kansas is, in some world they call 1971? Liz doesn’t know that they’ve been away, and she talks about things that they’ve done recently, which they don’t recognize. “Eliot,” she chides, “I know that Barnabas and Julia are always preoccupied, but it’s not like you to forget something we’ve been planning for so long.”
Like I said, they’re giving out happy endings today. Glinda the Good Witch has rewarded them with the timeline they were hoping for, where everyone is alive and well, and waiting for them just over the horizon.
“It’s really been a warm and cozy winter, hasn’t it?” Elizabeth smiles, alive and someplace. “So calm and peaceful. I’ve quite enjoyed it. Shall we go?” And they do, cheerfully leaving behind more questions than answers.
Where is this place? What Stokes was it, who helped her plan the opening of the historical center, and what version of history is it centered upon? Which Barnabas and which Julia were always preoccupied, and what were they preoccupied with, until now? What door was it that the three of them passed through, exploring another new and tragic world, just in time to leave their places open for these three to step into?
“We’ll never forget any of them, Barnabas,” says Julia, and Barnabas agrees. And then they walk away, into history.
Tomorrow: The Wuthering.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
The opening narration says that Barnabas and Angelique are about to have “the most eventful meeting in his life.” This is obviously untrue. It is eventful, sure, but it doesn’t beat the night when he shot his wife, and she cursed him for eternity and then he was bitten by a vampire bat. It’s hard to beat that, eventful-wise.
In yesterday’s episode, Angelique was sitting on the couch in the drawing room when Barnabas entered. Today, she’s sitting in front of the fire.
Also, yesterday Trask said, “The judges refused to hold you, but I am not afraid of you!” Today, he says, “The judges were afraid to hold you, but I am not afraid!”
Angelique’s left eye twitches slightly a couple times during Barnabas’ soliloquy — once after he says “we battled and fought”, and again after he says “a love as strong as yours”. This is extremely nitpicky, because you have to look very closely, and I only noticed it because I was taking a screenshot.
When Barnabas gets up to cross to Julia, the boom mic is in the shot. Immediately after that, a shadow passes across the armchair on the left side.
Julia tells Barnabas, “I’ll get my medicine bag.”
When Stokes says that they must return to 1971, Barnabas tries to jump the queue and deliver his line early. When Stokes asks, “Are Elizabeth and the children dead?” Barnabas stirs and starts to say “How…” Stokes continues, “Are Quentin and Carolyn mad?” and then it’s time for Barnabas’ line.
Barnabas says, “1971… see more — it seems almost impossible to believe.”
Desmond sneaks out of the drawing room scene while the other three characters talk, which gives him time to get to the laboratory set. Then we cut to a close-up of Desmond at the lab while he pretends to talk to the trio. You can hear their feet shuffling as they all arrive at the set.
When Julia says goodbye to Desmond, the boom mic pokes into the scene at top left.
Elizabeth and Stokes move to the drawing room doors too quickly, and Liz’s line is off mic. The boom mic dips into the picture as it tries to follow them.
Behind the Scenes:
This is the last episode for Jerry Lacy, who played Tony Peterson and four different Trasks, and gave us so much enjoyment all these years.
“I left the show before it went off the air,” he said, in an interview on Disc 43 of the MPI set. “Just several months. I’d been offered a job on As the World Turns — in the present, and you wore regular clothes, with pockets in the pants. It sounded very attractive to me. And you talked like a regular person. So I took that job.”
Lacy was on As the World Turns for a year, and then went to California to play Humphrey Bogart in the 1972 film version of Woody Allen’s Play It Again, Sam, a role that he originated on Broadway in 1969. He went back to New York and worked on the soap Love of Life from 1972 to 1978, where he met and married actress Julia Duffy. The couple moved to California, and he appeared on The Young and the Restless from 1979 to 1981. He made guest appearances on a bunch of shows in the 1980s and early 90s, including Knots Landing, Newhart (where his wife was a regular), Designing Women and a Love Boat special. He stopped acting in 1992, and played the stock market. He returned to acting in 1999, making sporadic appearances on TV shows and movies.
In 2013, he played Doctor Mabuse in a revival of the 1920s Dr. Mabuse series, which I was not previously aware of until I wrote this sentence. He also appeared in a 2014 sequel, Dr. Mabuse: Etiopmar, and a third film just released in summer 2020, The Thousand and One Lives of Doctor Mabuse.
Lacy has also appeared in a number of Big Finish Dark Shadows audios. He starred as Tony Peterson in Big Finish’s series The Tony & Cassandra Mysteries, and he’s played various Trasks in the one-shot stories, as well as the serials Bloodlust and Bloodline.
Re: Flora’s involuntary admission to Rushmore Sanitarium: I think I just figured that Flora Collins is the old lady in Providence, or the other one in Boston. You see what happens when you leave loose characters lying around, at the end of a storyline?
Tomorrow: The Wuthering.
— Danny Horn
59 thoughts on “Episode 1198: Goodbye to All That”
This episode stands out in my mind for several reasons.
I remember seeing it when it first aired and I was amazed at what they did here. They had scenes that took place in THREE separate time periods.
I was 15 at the time and had been watching for less than a year. The time-shifting blew me away. I had never heard of anything like that. But what I liked the most about it was that the writers had no doubt the audience could keep up.
Joan Bennett played three characters in the episode. And my favorite character of all, Julia, wore three different costumes. All in one half-hour show! I wasn’t quite sure at the time WHY Grayson Hall was my favorite performer, or why I thought she looked absolutely fabulous in her 1971 blue dress. That bit of self-realization would come later.
When the show finally ended, I decided that the 1841PT storyline didn’t count. (To me, it just wasn’t worthy.) I would always regard the quiet exit from the drawing room by Barnabas and Julia as the final scene of Dark Shadows.
I continue obsessed to this day. I have seen every episode at least four times. Some of my opinions have changed over time. For one, Nancy Barrett was a much better actress than I gave her credit for early on.
Other opinions have not changed: Dr. Julia Hoffman was, is, and will always be my favorite character.
thank you, AC, for this heartfelt open sharing. it prompted me so say, thirteen then, in that same awaiting obscurity of insecurity, i nodded off devastated on the night of April 2nd, and Julia herself visited my dreams (in that same blue dress) telling me that one i day i would have the whole show at my disposal, explaining what i only came to realize later was the advent of videotapes and DVDs. and of course i trusted her, how could one not?
“I would always regard the quiet exit from the drawing room by Barnabas and Julia as the final scene of Dark Shadows.”
I had the same thought as I watched this episode today for what is probably the third time in my life. As a matter of fact, I would stop my re-watch of the series now and go back to episode 210 and start over again if not for the joy of reading these blog entries after each episode. So I’ve decided to suffer through to the very end, and it’s all Danny’s fault.
Now there’s just one huge problem with how this wraps up: both Julia and Stokes originally used the Stairway Through Time to get to 1840, but Barnabas didn’t.
Barnabas used the I-Ching Wands to send his 1970 consciousness back to his 1840 body — a body which has now physically traveled to 1971, leaving an empty coffin in the Collins mausoleum for Willie Loomis to find and open in 1967, and no body for Barnabas’s consciousness to inhabit in 1897 or 1840. Not that either of those two issues matter anymore, because Barnabas basically paradoxed himself out of his existence!
Except he didn’t, because he’s still on our TV screens. Even though he really shouldn’t be…
Excuse me, Dr. Hoffman — I think I need one of your sedatives!
That’s right, and if new Barnabas tries to destroy old Barnabas (still in the i-ching trance), would new Barnabas disappear? It’s just another day on Dark Paradoxes!
Multiple choice question: given what we see in #1198, in this timeline what does Sandor find in the coffin in the secret room in 1897:
a) Dark Shadows: The Complete Series on DVD (https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Shadows-Complete-Original-Deluxe/dp/B007PZ6SYK)
b) A lithograph portrait of flappy bat with the caption “I can haz moo cowz?” (see #219 and other entries under Danny’s tag “Hide The Cows”)
c) Barnabas’ astral projection from 1969 via the I Ching trance
Putting on my Widow’s Hill Irregular hat, I would suggest the answer is “c”. Based on what we see with Julia, that projection is solid and physical enough to tie to a chair, although it can’t be injured or killed. Later on, Barnabas’ 1969 body disappears from the Old House basement when Edward disrupts B’s attempt to use the I Ching trance to see what’s going on in 1969 — I would suggest (again, in this timeline) that that is the point where B. gets a real, stake-able body in 1897.
This would also explains why, if Barnabas was able to lure someone to the secret room as he does in #701, he didn’t do it in “Original recipe” 1897: he wasn’t in the box…
Yeah, I know, I’ve devoted way too many brain cycles to this. If you think this is overthinking a 50 year old soap opera, wait until you see my explanation of how wormhole-based time travel results in “meanwhiling”…
At the time this first aired, I was wondering more about what Barnabas and Julia would find in Roxanne’s coffin in 1971 in the Old House secret room. I endured the final 10 weeks or so of Dark Shadows with the expectation the 1841 PT Flashback would end and the show would revert to 1971 RT and answer this question.
If there are any Rick and Morty fans here who’ve seen the “Vat of Acid” episode, I think that’s as logical an explanation as any. (Morty thinks Rick has given him a “do over” time device, but turns out it was simply depositing him each time into another timeline, after disintegrating the Morty in the alternate time line.)
Futurama also solved the ‘multiple existence’ paradox by having the original characters smush their counterparts under the time machine the originals arrived in. Very convenient.
“Well, now everything is back as it was. And if history doesn’t care that our degenerate friend Fry is his own grandfather, then who are we to judge? “
Ha ha! My husband and I are bingewatching FUTURAMA (he’s a fan; this is my first time all the way through) and so of course I’ve been talking endlessly about DS and time travel paradoxes and how easy it would be if there were just a million different Ediths and Roxannes and maybe they just keep killing each other over and over. 😛
And I haven’t even gotten to what the killing of Edith does to the timeline in 1897… I can only assume that, as Danny says, her children turned to magic of some sort to get her resurrected??
I don’t think it does much of anything to it, really. Old Edith didn’t have a great impact on the events of 1897. I imagine events unfolded similarly in both bands of time, with or without Edith. Maybe the old woman in the revised 1897 is now an aged Daphne?
We do know that Edith’s grandson Edward grew up to be master of Collinwood, so the question becomes what happened to Tad? Did he become master when his father died and then die childless? Did he die young, so Quentin had to leave the estate to his nephew?
Let us not forget that this episode also marked the last appearance of – –
Barnabas Collins, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Flora Collins, Julia Hoffman, Timothy Eliot Stokes, Valerie, Angelique, Leticia Faye, and Desmond Collins.
And so to PT and the end of DS.
“Lay on, Macduff, and damn’d be him that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!”
Macbeth, Act V: Scene VIII
Danny, did you feel the need to have a strong drink once you finished reviewing this episode?
I usually do.
I saw the first episode of DS way back when. I heard the first “My name is Victoria Winters” I saw Viki get off the train as did Burke Devlin. I watched through the end of the show and this episode made me want to throw things at my 12″ TV.
When Barnabas called Angelique his “only love” I actually said, “You couldn’t have figured that out BEFORE she killed your entire family?”. Maybe he did decide that after kidnapping and torturing Maggie, Josette wasn’t all that and a bag of chips, but Good Lord, Angelique POISONED his sister to get Barnabas to marry her. His mother committed suicide because she found out that he was a vampire, which Angelique made happen. She arranged for his fiance and his cousin to be roofied and raped in order to get Barnabas to come to her. NOW he decides that she’s what he wanted all along? What a jerk. I mean when she first showed up, she didn’t even want Barnabas to marry her. She was fine with him marrying Josette and having him keep her as his mistress. So much pain could have been avoided if Barnabas had this revelation 46 years ago.
I love Dark Shadows, I do. But Barnabas suddenly deciding that the ONLY woman he loved was Angelique was just so, so wrong. Julia, you are better than this. Forget him, go find a kaiju worthy of your affection.
I’m with you. I yelled at the TV as well, and quit watching the show until I read in TV Guide that it was being canceled. Disappointing as it was, to me the show ended with this episode (the 1971 portion) minus the last two scenes.
Percy’s Owner, I remember that One Life to Live used the exact same effect when Cathy Craig had an acid trip in 1970 as what we saw when the trio entered the doorway at the top of Quentin’s staircase. (Where’s Lou Grant to yell, “That’s the world’s longest sentence!”)
I guess OLTL and DS shared the same colorful soft-focus disco ball!
With regard to Naomi: in Angelique’s defense (sic), while she was the one who turned B. into a vampire, it was Forbes in #457 who told Naomi that B. was the Collinsport Strangler.
Even before Forbes revealed this information to Naomi, Millicent Collins had blurted to Naomi about Barnabas not really being dead yet. Naomi must’ve not have believed the ditzy Millicent, as Naomi didn’t follow through until Forbes told her.
Percys…..What can you say? Love is strange…..
If Barnabas was suddenly so besotted with Angelique, why didn’t he jump on the magical time travel staircase and go back about a half an hour to stop Trask from shooting her?
The impressive thing about the Staircase Through Time is how accurate it is. Always deposits users just where they wanted to go.
Couldn’t Barnabas call that Magic Secret Number Of The Universe in a situation like this, too?
The really weird thing is that when Julia & Barnabas stumble across it in burning 1970 PT Collinwood it takes them to “their” 1995 rather than 1970 PT’s 1995…
Maybe like the Doctor’s TARDIS, the Stairway Through Time takes people to where they NEED to be/go rather than where they WANT to be/go?
Didn’t the Heart Of Gold’s Improbability Drive work in similar fashion?
Ooooooh! Maybe it brought them to ANOTHER PT…. 😳
Thanks, Danny, for taking us this far after a long break. I will stick around for the 1841 PT posts just to see your commentary.
Thank you for the years of research & effort that it took to complete this.
Yeah, I know that you will probably continue through the Bramwell storyline. But, as with the series itself, it’s not gonna be the same.
Thank you for your best wishes. I am definitely continuing until we reach episode 1245, because there is more story to come — not just Bramwell, but all the other tricks and treats that Dark Shadows has brought us over the following decades. And there’s always the Missing Step at episode 1219 to look forward to. Brave heart, my friends! There’s more fun to be had, just wait and see.
Roger on that. With ya to the end, chief.
Yep, I’m still here too. I always enjoy all the posts and comments!
What happened earlier in the day in the 1971 we get a glimpse of here? We know Stokes(*) has been helping plan the new historical center; we can assume Julia has spent the fall trying to cure the still-vampiric Barnabas from this timeline’s Leviathan plot (and possibly 1970 PT). At this point, I’m going to go beyond what is logically necessary and speculate based on a combination of what works dramatically and the technical constraints of making _Dark Shadows_ in early 1971.
(*) This isn’t the Stokes who came back to 1840 using Quentin’s staircase from the crapsack 1970 timeline where Collinwood was destroyed; this is the Stokes who grew up in this revised timeline.
What happens when Liz shows up at the historical center, dragging the Barnabas, Julia and Stokes she found in the drawing room along with her? There are two possibilities: 1) we get farce and some very puzzled denizens of Collinsport, or 2) for some reason, the B, J & S Liz was expecting aren’t there because they have gone somewhere else (or, more to the point, somewhen else).
Pulling off option #1 would strain the production team to (if not past) its breaking point. They’ve used Chromakey to pull this off competently with a single character interacting with her identical twin (#1001) , although sometimes they don’t pull it off even when there is no interaction (#1192). Trying to do it with three characters at once is asking for trouble, not to mention the problems you get cramming too many actors into shots Danny talked about in his previous post.
That leaves us with option #2. This is where the meanwhiling will actually work dramatically for once, as well as be scientifically plausible (well, plausible-ish in a very handwavy kind of way). Here’s how:
One marginally theoretically possible way to make a time machine involves creating a traversable wormhole and then dragging one end of it away and back at close to the speed of light for some period of time. At the end of doing that, depending on which direction you go through the wormhole you move a fixed distance into the past/future. Details can be found at http://www.johnboccio.com/courses/RGBW_2019/Part_6.pdf. Because time passes at the same rate at both ends of the wormhole, if you go into the past and spend a week there, a week will have passed when you go back through the other way to return to the future. Voila! — meanwhiling! (I’m mostly sure I have that right — I’m picturing Danny getting Kip Thorne to post in the comments here like Woody Allen pulling Marshall McLuhan out from behind a potted plant in Annie Hall.)
Before you say, “Oh sure, Quentin must have just borrowed a cup of exotic matter with negative energy density from the neighbors”, I’m not suggesting Quentin created a traversable wormhole between the basement and second floor of the west wing (there’s a reason the wormhole in Interstellar is so large). I’m suggesting that Quentin’s staircase is qualitatively the same sort of physical connection between points in spacetime, and the meanwhiling would also result.
How does this help us dramatically here? Barnabas has his big moment with Angelique in 1840. Meanwhile in 1971: it’s winter, and the sun sets early. Barnabas and Stokes are in Julia’s room at Collinwood while she prepares for their evening at the opening of the historical center. Suddenly, the ghost of Nathan Forbes’ head jerks up from his desk in the void he resides in (#465); in its bricked up alcove in the Old House basement the Rev. Trask’s skull does its best to roll its eyes; Josette’s ghost (wearing her hit-by-an-ugly-stick makeup) descends from her portrait, and Z-Jay (#862) facepalms (or, in his case, pus-soaked-bandage-palms). They all simultaneously yell, “You must be freaking kidding me!”, and (joined by the ghosts of Suki Forbes, multiple Collinsport dockside sex workers, etc.) head over to Collinwood to express their opinion of Barnabas’ recent-in-1840 Facebook relationship status update. They chase a very confused B, J & S through the west wing, where they stumble across…a playroom they’ve never seen, with a staircase behind it that they flee down. Into 1921 (I’m going to say, for reasons I laid out in a comment on #1194), where we start the process of getting a vampire back into the magic box for Willie to find in 1967.
If at some point Danny discusses Sam Hall’s TV Guide epilogue, we can debate whether that should really be considered canon and if so does it suggest a “one Barnabas” theory rather than the “two Barnabas” theory I’ve assumed in recent comments. This will involve quotes from a post titled “It’s a Wonderful Undeath” on 2020 PT Danny Horn’s blog “Dark Shadows One Episode at a Time”, in which he reviews Dark Shadow‘s Very Special Soap Opera Christmas Episode (which plays a critical role in getting the vampire back in the magic box for 1967).
I think Barnabas should have gone to the mausoleum with Julia in 1841. He should have gotten in his coffin and had Julia put the chains back on it. Then Julia could have gone back to Collinwood with Stokes and taken Quentin’s Stairway forward to 1971. Once the two are in 1971, they awaken Barnabas so his un-vampiric life essence returns to his body. The 1841 Barnabas body would then revert to being the vampire Willy Loomis releases in 1967. His mind would revert back to only knowing what happened up to 1795 and the short period he was released from his coffin by Julia in 1841 before being taken over by the 1970 Barnabas life essence.
This would have resulted in Barnabas’ timeline making much more sense with a human, non-vampiric Barnabas attending Roger’s speech in 1971.
The revised opening sequence showed a much better angle of Angelique, Barnabas, and Trask. It’s apparent Angelique is about to caress her left breast with BOTH hands BEFORE Trask shoots. (It could have been a very moving, uplifting moment.) The fact Barnabas protests Trask’s intent with an extremely stern “NO!” rather than move forward one step to try to disarm him exposed Barnabas’ REALLY true feelings toward his loving wife. (No medical attention is found to be a priority nor is it needed for possible resuscitation and the administration of first aid. It’s much more important to catch, beat the hell out of, and/or kill Trask.)
It’s too bad Julia showed up quite a bit later. She probably had higher priority items to attend to like helping Stokes with the crossword puzzle.
I noticed that Angelique reaches up to her upper left chest area a second before Trask shoots, too. Too bad Julia wasn’t there to grab her wrist, glance in the general direction of her watch, then either pronounce that she’s going to die or sedate her.
and…why is she dying from being shot in the shoulder?
Some lovely poetic touches in this one, Danny, very much worthy of the Grand Finale of the series. Or of the Barnabas Era; the remaining episodes may as well start with Keith Prentice’ voice announcing “My name is Morgan Collins,” proceeding to some flowery remarks about the weather, and concluding with a vague reference to the possibility that something or other will happen to One Small Boy.
Danny! utterly magnificent, this. from the very first paragraph that almost laughed me out of my chair, to, what is that, a tear? another matchless tour de force, exquisitely worthy of your continuously astonishing developing spinnery of charms. please forgive my assumption of presumption, but i feel it needs must be said; this blog has exceeded all expectation, in oh! so many ineffable ways.
I have to admit, while the Barnabas/Angelique adversarial chemistry really drives the show, I’ve always been in the Barnabas/Josette camp (or rather “character currently played by Kathryn Leigh Scott). Barnabas declaring Angelique his true love just seems like “last woman standing” like, ok you’ve killed everyone else, but I need to obsess over someone. Julia should have punched him in the gut..
Josette’s been dragging her ghostly chains around for generations, haunting the old house and saving Barnabas whenever a Trask bricks him up in a wall and this is the thanks she gets?? She should have stayed with Jeremiah.
Also – Joanna’s ghost must have forged that note to Quentin cause no way did Samantha write that drivel!
Agreed, Joanna was doing another forgery. Samantha knew Quentin had escaped jail, and if she’d written it before that she could only have meant to torture him by letting him know Tad was his son as he went to his death; and if she wrote it after his escape she’d have had no place to send it. And she had no reason to expect that untimely fall off Widows Hill, making the note necessary.
(I know, many of the contributors here at DSED have warned me about applying logic to the show…)
Yeah, Danny should just rename this board, “Dark Shadows Illogic Everyday…”
Still, I’d like to understand the purpose of that nutty note. If the writers were after redeeming Samantha, they did her a disservice – her Queenly bitchiness was her greatest legacy – please don’t dilute it with saccharinely sweet and completely out of character horse hockey.
More like it, they were trying to absolve Quentin of any guilt so he and his (newest) mistress could ride of into the sunset with the wife’s blessing.
Hey! Maybe Quentin wrote the note!
As we leave for a vampire/werewolf/etc.-less version of Dark Shadows, let us contemplate some loose ends:
1) Those cows (https://darkshadowseveryday.com/tag/hide-the-cows/)
One of the most famous 18th century vampire cases was that of Arnold Paole. If you read the original military report (in translation), it includes (https://web.archive.org/web/20060315125133/http://www.vampgirl.com/visum.html) the following: “Then they also add that this Arnod Paole attacked not only the people but also the cattle, and sucked out their blood. And since the people used the flesh of such cattle, it appears that some vampires are again present here, inasmuch as, in a period of three months, 17 young and old people died, among them some who, with no previous illness, died in two or at the most three days.” (Emphasis added.) I doubt this was really on the radar of the FDA in 1967. I’m guessing the Collinsport-area farms supplied beef to grocery stores in the nearby Maine town of Salem’s Lot.
2) Selective anachronism outrage and the state of STEM education
People complain about Naomi having sole ownership of property as a married woman, or witch trials in 1795 and 1840, but what about this: https://darkshadowseveryday.com/2018/04/30/episode-1134-1135/. It’s 1840, and Julia has set up a secret lab complete with low rent faux Strickfaden equipment. This was only nine years after Michael Faraday demonstrated the relationship between magnetic fields and electric currents. Collinsport did not have a dockside Radio Shack in 1840. (Danny mentions the lab having a Jacob’s Ladder; oddly enough Google is not turning up info about who/when those were invented :-().
3) Signifiers of homosexuality in pre-Stonewall America as a way of signaling group membership, or can we finally talk about how gay Prof. Stokes is?
Maybe I missed the post where Danny does this, but in case he hasn’t:
As a quick reminder, we’re talking about an era where the network was A-OK with Nicholas Blair performing a Black Mass on-air (#632), and having the show teach the bored housewives and schoolchildren of America the authentic occult practice of the I Ching trance (https://allaboutheaven.org/observations/using-the-i-ching-001373/221) was perfectly fine, but the possibility Jason may be insinuating that Willie is polishing more than the banister at the Old House gets the writers a nastygram from Standards and Practices (https://darkshadowseveryday.com/2013/09/20/episode-224/).
In the blog post on HODS, film critic David Edelstein casually mentions that Thayer David plays Stokes as gay without going into detail. It’s obvious that this isn’t just an acting choice on his part, the writers are clearly in on it. Danny manages to write an entire blog post about the dialogue in a scene between Barnabas and Stokes (https://darkshadowseveryday.com/2014/09/06/episode-475/) without at any point mentioning just how gay they have written Stokes in that dialogue. “Aside from that, I take everything personally, it’s the only sensible thing to do.” — um, Oscar Wilde called; he wants his quips back. “Yes! It is Oliver Bennett, I knew it. Greatest cabinetmaker Marion, Massachusetts ever produced. Pity he was drunk when he made this.” — I can marginally imagine a straight man in 1968 name checking an 18th century New England furniture maker, but following it up with a snarky little remark throwing shade at the particular example in his host’s drawing room is some Boys in the Band level dialogue.
It even shows up in plot points/arcs, but the gay gets erased by the monster story. Let’s talk about what’s going on in #521 if you ignore the fact that Adam is a Frankenstein creature: Stokes — a middle aged “confirmed bachelor” (to use the euphemism of the era) — has picked up a piece of wounded rough trade, who he has brought home and is taking care of, but when his straight friends stop by Mr. Rough Trade has to go hide in the other room. In the end, Mr. Rough Trade strangles his girlfriend and stuffs her body in a closet (#626), and then goes running to the gay guy who has a thing for him (#636). In fact, in #636, Stokes actually says, “Yes! If you don’t like the old Adam — we’ll make a new one! I need a project.” Two points: 1) if Adam wasn’t a stitched-together Frankenstein monster, I’m 100% sure Bernardine McKenna from Broadcast Standards and Practices would have been all up in the writers’ grills about this, and 2) this is the sort of cautionary tale that older gay men tell younger gay men to try to insure that they survive to be older gay men — that kind of “project” frequently doesn’t end well.
After having read so many interviews as well as this madly inspirational blog over the years, I now intuit with some confidence that Jonathan Frid had absolutely no clue what was going on in the show from day to day and was simply trying to get his lines out. His glazed look in this episode is Method acting at its realest. For four years, he has been instructed to stare daggers at Angelique and now he has to cry that he has always loved her: No wonder he couldn’t remember the crucial line and needed to be cued by his dying “beloved.” Now he’ll have to pretend to be a dashing young man (though one wattle away from looking as if he’s on the far side of middle age) willing to stand up to threats both human and supernatural to walk with Lara Parker into the rising sun.
Oh Danny Horn, you got me good — I felt nearly as emotional reading this entry as I did your excellent elegy for Joel Crothers in episode 658. I’ve been following you since I discovered this blog in early 2014, and I’m going to miss it terribly when you’re done. You’ve taught me a lot about how to properly appreciate this bizarre piece of screencraft I’ve loved since I was Little Laramie in the mid-80s wasteland of eastern Montana … also, how to pepper terms like “mythopoetic trickster figure” and “back acting” into my lessons while teaching high school students to appreciate live theatre. 🙂
When Desmond and Leticia (Desticia? Letimond?) gaze, awestruck, at the PT parlor featuring the moribund Lamar, we first see into the room, and the two are looking in completely the wrong direction to see Trask – – in fact, from where they’re standing, he’s behind a door so that they wouldn’t be able to see him. The view switches to inside the room, and Trask is now a good ten feet from where he was, and in line with where the RT watchers are standing.
Do you suppose that Our Heroes’ return to the Present had a sort of cascading effect, going backward and filling the three in, as it were, from the point where they left? The three of them don’t remember, but everyone else does. And nobody seems like
they remember Gerard’s haunting & etc. as was the case with Quentin’s reign of terror and B&J’s time trekking repair job. Perhaps it’s to do with the staircase. What do I know? I’ve never even jumped around in time, unless you count Daylight Saving.
Interesting that Barney didn’t bother telegraphing his ‘friend’ Quentin, as to whether Quentin wanted that staircase gone.
He must have spent years building it, and might have had some suggestions for minimizing abuse without destroying it.
No, it’s not fine. It’s not fine at all. When Barnabas said there was someone he needed to talk to I wondered if he had finally come to his senses about Julia. But, no. Angelique. Angelique! I guess the writers wanted to surprise us one last time. Though really an insane choice by this insane man really should not have surprised me.
But back in 1971, has Elizabeth ever seemed so happy? She seems uncharacteristically cheerful and Danny has put the doubt in my mind. Are we really back or have they created another parallel universe, or displaced the occupants of this one? Worse, Barnabas and Julia walk out apart. He doesn’t put his hand on her back. She doesn’t put her hand on his arm. There’s a distance already and I don’t like it. Have they altered their personal histories? Barnabas had the curse lifted in 1840. He came directly to 1971. So what happened when Willie broke into the mausoleum? Was Maggie kidnapped? If not, how would Barnabas meet Julia? Already, Elizabeth has different memories. “We will never forget any of them,” Julia said. That’s beginning to sound more like “famous last words” than a promise.
Barnabas declaring his love for Angelique was the biggest pile of improbable garbage that the writers ever threw at us. If KLS was still on the show I would imagine a more plausible outcome would have included her as Josette or the reincarnation of Josette with Barnabas declaring his forever love to her. The series could have come full circle with the fulfillment of the original romantic storyline they ever introduced. I don’t care if he came to some kind of a truce with Angelique before he destroyed her once again, but to decide after all of Angelique’s sadistic love games over the years, that she is his one true love? The writers must have been either punking us or showing how little they thought of their faithful audience. If it couldn’t have been Josette or her ghost, then he should have declared a new, deeper fondness for Julia that left the audience with the impression that he is finally thinking of her as a romantic partner.
It was especially ridiculous because they already had them as star crossed lovers in the PT story–it would have been much more effective if Barnabas made some kind of peace with Angelique but without the ridiculous declaration of love, and Angie in turn finding a kind of realization that this endless pursuit is only so much running in place, and finally letting go.
Barnabas is now a human in 1971, and it would have been great if being so had included, for once, some maturity and clarity about his romantic life.
It makes sense if considered in the context of a few episodes ago when Barnabas told Angelique that it wasn’t possible to love her as a sociopathic immortal hellspawn witch.
But now Judah took away her powers and status, this is the first time in their entire history that they’ve both been human. And something in their both newly-human souls touched. It’s not so much Barnabas realising that he “always loved her” but more like ‘love at first sight’.
And this is where I get off the trolley car. I read all the posts about 1841 (and even commented on a few) back when the blog was active, and that was enough to convince me that the episodes themselves aren’t worth watching.
If I ever decide to watch the show again (and I probably will), I’ll start with the Barnabas unboxing and continue straight through to the end of 1795. Then I’ll skip ahead to the beginning of the Quentin haunting and follow that to the conclusion of 1897. And that’s it. None of the other storylines merit a second viewing, in my opinion.
To conclude my participation here, may I have the envelope please?
BEST ACTOR: Jerry Lacy (Runner up: John Karlen)
BEST ACTRESS: Nancy Barrett (Runner up: Grayson Hall)
WORST ACTOR: Geoffrey Scott (Runner up: James Storm)
WORST ACTRESS: Alexandra Moltke (Runner Up: Terry Crawford)
HANDSOMEST ACTOR: David Selby (Runner Up: Humbert Alan Astredo)
MOST BEAUTIFUL ACTRESS: Lara Parker (Runner up: Kathryn Leigh Scott)
BEST STORYLINE: Maggie kidnapped/Murder of Dave Woodard (Runner up: 1897)
WORST STORYLINE: The Leviathans (Runner up: Adam/Dream Curse)
Husband and I agreed that this was the end of Dark Shadows, and the rest of the show is a spinoff called Dim Reflections.
“without even planning it, I’ve committed the perfect crime.”
This is the most fitting epitaph for Barnabas. After 200ish years Barnabas has finally learned that to make a success of things, don’t make one of his ‘plans’!
This felt like the official end to the show. How strange that it continues.
Thank you again, Danny, for guiding us through this.
The moment when Julia, Eliot and Barnabas go through the door would have been the perfect scene to end the series on — to leave the final fate of Collinwood in 1971 unknown. THAT’s where the episode cliffhanger should have been and had ABC pulled the plug on the show with this episode that would have been the ending.