Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Dark Shadows Daybook: May 17



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1967: Episode 240

David mistakes Maggie for Josette in the Old House. Barnabas questions him in her room before depositing him at Collinwood. Later, David sneaks back over, where he finds her playing with her music box.

The two generations of supernatural storytelling on DARK SHADOWS finally collide. Or least get confronted. Maybe just acknowledged. Respectfully nodded at? And the storytelling experience for people who have been watching the show from the beginning is starkly different from what's experienced by people who begin with the return of Barnabas. If you followed the series from the very beginning, you're used to the ghost of Josette as an actual character. This is a very literal quest that David has. If you just started the show, David may very well be a little boy with an overactive imagination and an unusual connection to this painting… but nothing more. The latter approach may actually tell a more intriguing story because of the irony; David both gets exactly what he's looking for and yet is dealing with something unbelievably literal. Little does he know that the kidnapped and brainwashed Maggie Evans is, in many ways, a more astounding event than a ghost.

Sy Tomashoff again establishes himself as the scene-stealing costar of the series, in this case with his "renovated" Old House set. The water-stained wallpaper and other decrepit details ensure we remember that, no matter how much Willie has done to clean up the house, it's still a corpse. All the more disturbing because it now has home improvement “makeup” on 60% of itself, begging the question of,"What's going to happen the other 40%?" I get the feeling that they don't care. The house has become like an exotic, carnivorous plant. Everyone except the victims see beyond the seductively colorful flowers, but we are unable to stop the credulous from going in anyway. The house remains a perfect backdrop for some of the show's most haunting imagery, specifically Maggie floating through the house enveloped in shadow and wedding attire. It's imagery that thrives in the realm of black-and-white. Although the production team will later have a blast with color, they will forever lose the textured simplicity of the chestnut haired woman in the white gown appearing to the brave boy from nowhere.

Jonathan Frid and David Henesy share some fantastic moments early in the episode, with Frid taking the opportunity to show Barnabas as alternately threatening and genuinely curious about the boy’s claims. No one else has such a significant and authentic relationship, if only in the imagination, with the love of his life. Barnabas is surrounded by one bizarre coincidence after another. He's awakened at the exact moment that his fiancé's doppelgänger is at precisely the right age. Then, his descendent has an eerily dedicated relationship with her painting, and one that seems to slip just beyond the edge of youthful imagination, into something with greater reality. Rather than leer menacingly at David, Barnabas has a more nuanced sense of curiosity, and it's that degree of complexity that elevates him over other vampires of the era.

This episode hit the airwaves May 26, 1967.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Dark Shadows Daybook: May 16



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1969: Episode 760

Angelique hoodwinks Laura into thinking her dead by creating a doppelgänger. Thwarted at every turn, Laura takes ill, strategically denied fire by Barnabas. Edward, who doesn't believe in supernatural, takes it upon himself to light the fireplace, giving Laura the last power she needs to attempt to claim the children with a wall of flame. Barnabas persuades Angelique to try one, last gamble. The sorceress casts a spell on Laura that removes her illusion of youth, and the children refuse to go to her. She is immolated in the fire she worships. 

In Diana Millay’s last appearance on the show, Edward Collins comes of age and Angelique makes herself the Selina Kyle of DARK SHADOWS by officially switching sides -- kind of -- in episode 760. Between 759 and 760, she and Barnabas pull off not one, but rather two schemes to thwart Laura. Barnabas is at the top of his game here, and the fact that he finds himself in that position with the help of Angelique demonstrates that, yes, they belong together. Many viewers find his confession of love at the end of the 1840s to be a non sequitur. Episodes like this one provide ample evidence to the contrary. In the prior installment, when Barnabas confronts Laura with the news that he has destroyed her letter and eliminated her henchman, he smiles for the first time since Nicholas Blair went back to Hell. As much as he thinks he loves Josette, she never elicited a smile like that. Not that I saw, anyway. Seeing Barnabas and Angelique across these two episodes (and the one to follow) brings to mind Steed and Peel, forever the Ultimate Avengers around these parts.

I think this was a strategic choice on the part of the writers. This was their second summer with Barnabas, and the first since the commercialization of the show was beginning to saturate retail stores. With such a heavy, youth demographic, it was important to orient the program toward more of a prime time, escapist sensibility. Turning Barnabas into a ruthless, charming cock of the walk hero, finally a step ahead of the villain, was vital to that. Similarly, a vaguely reformed Angelique provided a surrogate heroine for young female viewers. Not that it became a kiddie show, but broadening the appeal and considering all aspects of the viewership didn't hurt. One of the head writers, Sam Hall, had a son who was smack dab in the middle of the younger demographic. If he wanted to consult a focus group, all he had to do was stroll into the living room and ask Matthew to take a break from his 12” GI Joes. In the same era that Batman was duking it out with King Tut and James Bond teamed up with ninjas to prevent rockets from stealing other rockets, there is nothing surprising about the antics of our protagonists in this arc. And Laura makes a suitably outlandish villain — again, aimed at the kids. In the course of three episodes, Barnabas eliminates Dirk Wilkins in a way to ensure maximum terror for Laura, Angelique creates a doppelgänger to hoodwink Laura into a botched assassination, then casts an aging spell on Laura to thwart her attempt to burn the kids alive, while Barnabas rescues Jamison and Nora by casually teleporting through walls and fire. When he's discovered by Edward inside a room that's impossible to access (in the next episode), he's practically buffing his nails on his lapel in a display of self-satisfied nonchalance.

Where was Dos Equis’ ad department when the most interesting man in the world was coming out of the coffin on ABC, five days a week?

Why would the show radically change directions yet again? The production timeline is helpful. In September, just in time for the kids to go back to school, Jonathan Frid takes a well deserved break. Quentin becomes your full-time protagonist, now with invulnerability that would do a Kryptonian proud. In planning the initial Leviathan storyline, it seems clear that Quentin would continue as hero, Barnabas could return to villainy and shore up brand recognition for a possible movie, and Jeb would provide an outsider for Quentin to fight without ruining the ratings by staking Barnabas.

It didn't work out that way for a number of reasons. Barnabas was a perfectly good hero and Quentin could only be threatened with mind control and live entombment so many times. The only real threat for him was existential, and Kafka can wait.

This episode hit the airwaves May 23, 1969.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Dark Shadows Daybook: May 15



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1967: Episode 239

Maggie, now in Josette’s wedding dress, joins Barnabas for dinner in an hypnotic haze. This is interrupted by a visiting Sam and Joe, who are sent away with Sam’s paints. Maggie, breaking free of her programming in her upstairs room, tries to escape, and Barnabas threatens her to stay.

Sometimes, DARK SHADOWS’ reputation for romance can be hard to understand if all you catch is a random episode. It shows us that a lot of people on it are in love, but only certain images and lines can make us feel why. But when it makes us feel why, few shows do it better, and few if any episodes do it better than 239.

At the heart of the ‘why’ is that word, “Gothic.” No other sensibility appeals to life in quite the same way because it openly acknowledges, confronts, and coexists with death. It refutes death by insisting that life will thrive despite it; the quintessence of romance is to want and strive and hope against all reason. As Barnabas Collins watches Maggie descend the stairs in Josette’s dress, glide through the decaying remnants of the House that was not always Old, and sit for a dinner that has been almost two centuries in the making, there is nothing rational to any of it. It is, however, necessary for this man, and as uneasy as the circumstances are, the beauty and authenticity of his motives cannot be denied. In the hands of another actor, Barnabas would have seemed lustful and selfish. Jonathan Frid’s sad gentility makes it clear that this is unrelated to the carnal. This is about Josette, and releasing her from her reincarnated prison known as Maggie Evans. It’s a strange and desperate gamble to win after what seems to be the ultimate loss.

We were supposed to see this from Maggie’s perspective, also, and sickening as her Stockholm syndrome is, it’s just as disheartening to feel that it’s always on the verge of failure. Go one way or the other, but let’s have some resolution. But romance in art is about suspense more than fulfillment, and the knitting of suspense to desire is what DARK SHADOWS is all about. At the end of the episode, as Maggie’s personality threatens to eclipse what Barnabas has tried to instill, she panics. Barnabas lunges for her, and the image fades to the credits. Is he going to attack her or is he going to beg? It’s unclear, and if it were not, I don’t think the show would have been a success. If there’s a mystery to DARK SHADOWS, it’s there.

On this day in 1967, the US Supreme Court recognized that juveniles accused of adult crimes have adult rights, as well.

This episode hit the airwaves May 25, 1967.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Dark Shadows Daybook: May 11



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1967: Episode 233

Vicki watches over an ailing Maggie at the Evans cottage.  In a storm, the thunder cracks and the French doors fly open to briefly reveal the silhouette of Barnabas. He vanishes and she says, “it’s all right now.” Later, Carolyn and Vicki are at Collinwood when the power dies. By candlelight, Vicki reports seeing the phantom silhouette. Barnabas enters to check on the young women. In the light of the flames, he then tells of ancient times, storms and eventually, the death of Josette. He learns that Willie is quite probably the person responsible for alerting others to Maggie’s danger. He returns to the Old House, bellowing Willie’s name.

This may be one of two or three “best episodes” for Jonathan Frid. It’s a Messenger Speech, really. And that’s not easy. In advanced actor training, a major assignments is one of these, but from Greek theatre. You probably can guess, it’s done by a messenger. The messenger has usually seen something awful, and arrives to describe it with poetry and pathos. And keeping that third-person narrative emotionally invested is tough. What’s the objective? Where do you get to make a discovery or change your mind? It seems like a limited range of choices. Frid comes into Collinwood and goes to town discussing the death of Josette… or discussing around the death of Josette. Is it old fashioned poetry? Does anyone really reminisce like this? No. And that works in the episode’s favor. Real life is boring; that’s why we have art.

Thanks to the invaluable folks at http://darkshadows.wikia.com for transcribing this!

There was a night such as this. A night when a young, beautiful woman was pressed to the limits. She could no longer accept what the future held for her. She knew she had to destroy herself before she became something she did not want to be. She had quarreled with her lover. She tried to send him away, but he would not be put off. He tried to put his arms around her, but she broke away from him and ran out into the stormy night. Her white dress contrasted against the darkness. He ran after her as she headed for the one place on earth that seemed to be designed for the termination of life. Rain drenched her, the winds buffeted her, blowing her long hair wildly. Her clothing was torn by the low branches. Her small white feet were bruised and mud-stained with the stony cruel pathway to the summit of the cliff. The shouts of her lover were lost in the wind as he moved swiftly after her. Near the top, she stumbled over a large rock. Crying hysterically, she limped and crawled to the edge of the precipice. Her lover reached her, clutched at her, spinning her around to face him. Her eyes were wide with terror as the lover held her tightly, lips pressed against her throat. Soon she grew limp, and he released her. Suddenly, with a last surge of energy, she broke free and hurled herself off the cliff. Her scream, reacting and echoing, as she plunged downward. Her body... was impaled on the large craggy rocks below. Her lover descended to the bottom of Widows' Hill. He found her body broken, lifeless... bloodless. As violent as her death was, the expression on her face was one of serenity. As if this were the best possible ending to her life.

I can’t help but throw in my own version. This is, according to the semi-satirical Collins Chronicles, what actually happened that night from Barnabas’ point of view. (And is one of my favorite pieces.)

Blunder of blunders, tonight was one calamity after another. First, I went to comfort the ailing Miss Evans (soon,safely moving into my care).  Such was my enthusiasm that I took no time to scan the room and count the pulses before I barged in unannounced. I was certain she’d be thrilled by the salubrious sight of yours truly, and so I threw open the doors in the fashion befitting a Don Juan of my disposition.  No sooner did I see that she was conversing with Miss Winters when the sky cracked the deafening whip of thunder and lightning.  This scared the wits out of Miss Winters, Miss Evans, and yours truly, who beat a hasty escape. 

At the very least, the community was alleviated of the unnatural eyesore of electricity.  I thought it fitting to visit Collinwood and celebrate this ocular rarity with Miss Winters and Miss Stoddard, but the awkwardness of the eve was unabated. It aided things in no way that I waxed rhapsodically about the death of Josette. Midway through, I became aware of my soliloquy and thus veered more and more into the realm of sentiment, winning the hearts of the ladies and shoring up my side of the story in case Angelique should arrive to sway them with hers. I almost found myself in a deuce of a problem when I mentioned the bloodless body of my beloved, setting off alarms in the mind of Miss Winters, who tried to connect that to the recent population reduction. 

I gleaned more evidence that Young Loomis has been sending messages on the telephone horn to alert all about Miss Evans' "great danger."  This upsets me in every way. It distracts the youth from his opportunities for vocational advancement. He was supposed to be exploring the art of Flemish bond bricklaying, taught by me with instructions aimed at both the heart and the head. But the bricks were stacked as I had left them, untouched.  I readied my cane, for it finally seemed time to have a civil conversation with him about the matter, but I found the scamp nowhere outside. Eventually, I (and I appreciate how ludicrous this sounds) I had to let myself into MY OWN HOME with MY OWN HANDS! (Ungloved, at that!) This was after tripping into a birdbath he had misplaced — and was even lowered to raising my voice, all in an effort to pry his attention away from the Collinsport Clippers baseball match he was listening to on his radio box. 

I fear that one day, I may lose my temper.  Before such an unseemly event, I need a sherry and a long sleep. 

Philip Marlowe, but not Kathryn Leigh Scott, is on Amazon Prime



Every once in a while there are small signs that Amazon is growing at a speed it can't quite maintain. These are relatively small cracks in the corporate infrasture, but enough to give me pause. Because if I can spot these mistakes from the comfortable confines on my couch, what else am I not seeing? This is a company that took the baton from Walmart in regards to its role as America's coporate Alpha Parasite in local communities, decimating whatever is left of small businesses and replacing them with wage-slave jobs and psychotic working conditions. "In the West, we don't tend to ask workers to stick to a precise productivity rate," said author Jean-Baptiste Malet, who documented his experiences with the company in his book Inside Amazon: Inflitrating the 'Best of Both Worlds. "Yet every day Amazon asks them to go faster than the day before. They are also set against each other. For example, if someone talks during work hours, the rest are expected to shun them." This is a vision of Hell so cartoonish that it would make THE SIMPSONS blanch, but for an Amazon warehouse it's just a Tuesday.

So, whenever I see cracks in the fuselage it makes me wonder if the next "Too Big To Fail" monolith is about to fail, either requiring a massive bailout from taxpayers and/or creating black holes in small-town infrastucres around the world. During the last week I've seen Amazon Prime use imagery from the 2002 remake of ROLLERBALL as the key art for the 1975 original, photos from 1974's THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 with the 2002 remake, and the exciting/disappointing photo at the top of this post for the 1983-1986 HBO series PHILIP MARLOWE, PRIVATE EYE. Yes, that's Kathryn Leigh Scott standing with Powers Boothe in Amazon Prime's thumbnail art for the show. Scott appears in the first season of the series ... which is actually not available from Amazon Prime at the moment. All that's streaming is Season 2. Amazon's Alexa device is constantly scanning the audio in my living room, blankly awaiting the proper key words (some of which can only be heard in ranges inaudible to the human ear) so that it can satisfy my every consumer desire  ... but the company can't differentiate between Walter Matthau and Denzel Washington.

What do we do about this? The only solution I can offer is to plug into all 1,225 episodes of DARK SHADOWS on Amazon Prime and await the inevitable war with Skynet. Consider the show's time/dimensional hopping as training for the days when we'll be fighting terminators in 1984.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Dark Shadows Daybook: May 10



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 494

When Willie distracts Adam with Josette’s jewelry, he thinks they may also make a good peace offering for Maggie. After delighting her -- and flummoxing Joe -- by sneaking them into her purse, he is scolded by Julia for leaving his post. To calm Adam, she leaves Lang’s tape of Mozart. After they leave, Adam hears Lang’s message about his link to Barnabas, whose name he repeats.

Just when you thought it was safe to put the Josette storyline to bed, 494 resurrects it. It’s helpful to casual viewers, however. So many new (or semi-new, like “Cassandra”) characters have been introduced since the return from 1795. By touching upon Josette again, we resolve some of Willie’s creepiness rather than ignore it, and we also tie the present into the past once again. DARK SHADOWS gives its viewers a lot of credit, calling back to characters we haven’t heard from in months, if not years. (Paul Stoddard? We hardly knew ye.)

It’s a strangely fetishistic episode, with everyone a little TOO into ostentatious jewelry for my tastes. I can only imagine Barnabas’ mixed feelings at storing Adam in the same room as the hidden jewelry vault.

“What could actually go wrong?” -- he must regret how often he said that to himself about every major decision. From the moment he first kidnapped Maggie through the point when he agreed to be Quentin’s extemporaneous advocate in 1840. Just imagine...

“It’s just one I Ching trance.”
“It’s just a female version of Adam.”
“It’s just keeping the kids in the house with lethal ghosts.”
“It’s just another witch trial led by a Trask.”
“It’s just a room with a parallel dimension from which escape seems impossible.”
“It’s just a matter of putting a reanimated hulk of a corpse in the care of a mentally unstable felon... who keeps stalking a woman we once held hostage… despite the five bullets he took in the back the last time he saw her.”

I mean, what could go wrong? And it’s not that Barnabas is unintelligent. He has an Enlightenment Gentleman’s optimism that grows to match his desperation. Still, could we not have found another cell for Adam? Because Adam loves jewelry. And Willie loves jewelry. And Maggie loves jewelry. Every once and a while, DARK SHADOWS goes full on sitcom. The TV Guide entry for this one writes itself. This is devoted to a wacky scheme of leaving sentimental evidence of a brainwashing in the victim’s purse… as a love gift! But when it comes to, “What could actually go wrong,” Willie has learned at the foot of the master. And it was apparently a good lesson because it kinda works! Joe is baffled, and for good reason. He exists in a place called reality, but he’s alone.

Julia really Larry Tates the situation to the hilt, ordering Willie into a cell with a homicidal madman and threatening lifelong incarceration, which they both know she probably can’t do, but Willie doesn’t press it. Few episodes cry out for a laugh track more. That it should end with our heroes barely missing the only relevant clue to Adam’s and Barnabas’ connection? Pure Sherwood Schwartz

May the Schwartz be with you. Always.

On this day in 1968, audiences in theaters were enjoying the film adaptation of Neil Simon’s THE ODD COUPLE. Given that it’s on TV yet again, it may be the most unstoppable property to come from straight Broadway theatre. The film was directed by Gene Saks, who, with Bea Arthur, was the parent of Daniel Saks, with whom I worked for a few weeks. Nice guy. I made him late to the airport once, so this is a name drop of strange shame. Sorry, Daniel. The freeway signs in LA to the airport were very unclear. You missed it, too. I mean, you didn’t give me a hard time about it, but I’ve had issues for a long time. Daniel could also sing the theme to THE ODD COUPLE TV series, the lyrics of which could be heard on an LP that had clips of dialogue from the show. He had it as a child.

I think they went like this…

No matter where they go 
They are known as the couple. 
They're never seen alone 
So they're known as the couple. 

But they're laugh provoking; 
Yet they really don't know they're joking. 
Don't you find 
When love is blind 
It's kind of odd.

Kind of like Willie’s obsession with Maggie. Really, just about every relationship on the show. And thus, we come full circle.

This episode hit the airwaves May 16, 1968.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Dark Shadows Daybook: May 9



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1967: Episode 234

Barnabas chastises Willie at the end of a cane for potentially alerting others to Maggie’s danger. At the Evans cottage, Sam and Dave Woodard discuss Maggie’s waning condition, and Woodard implies that there may be something beyond the medical that is to blame. Vicki takes over from Sam when he goes to paint Barnabas by moonlight, and she also finds that Maggie swings from thankful for supervision to petulantly resistant. At the Old House, Barnabas becomes restless with posing, and as his attention drifts elsewhere, Vicki and Maggie find themselves besieged by the sound of howling dogs and the start from violently shaking doors. Vicki leaves the room to call for Burke and afterwards, finds Maggie’s door suddenly locked.

For many, this is what DARK SHADOWS really is, as Barnabas rises in villainy and Maggie descends into victimhood. In tone, this stretch of episodes creates the ultimate chicken and egg debate for fans of the show. This realpolitik Barnabas is nothing like the avuncular, cured version with whom Roger leaves the kids as Quentin’s haunting begins. The dissimilarity is jarring. But would we ever have gotten that hero if he had not established himself in such a memorably wicked way? I like both sides of the character, and an episode like this reminds me of why people get hooked. The civility of Barnabas Collins is not an act. He is not a bloodthirsty European soldier posing as a suave gentleman to get his way. He IS a suave gentleman… and one for whom calculated brutality and intimidation are often best practices on the frontier. Don’t forget the world from which Barnabas arrived. The constant threat of invasion. Lethal winters. And untrustworthy house staff who connived for wildly unreasonable things, like dignity and freedom. People like Willie and Ben were major home appliances as much as they were humans. The aftermath -- almost always, the aftermath -- of Barnabas’ savage management methods exists in another context, as well. As sorry as we feel for Willie, we also remember him as a sleazy, thieving, barfighting, leering, vaguely-potentially-rapey weasel. It’s not like Barnabas is knocking around Mr. Wells at the Inn. This is a thug who can go toe-to-toe with Burke Devlin, and even if he knows that defeat is inevitable, goes out swinging. Willie can cower all he likes. He already bought into a world where problems are addressed like this all the time. I’m pretty sure that maritime discipline is designed similarly. As much as Barnabas would probably prefer to have Willie keel hauled, he’ll have to make due with his cane.

Still, this doesn’t mitigate the horror. If anything, the deliberate sense of tactics makes this episode effectively disturbing. Sam Evans is a determined, sharp, resilient parent. If that man is no match for a would-be kidnapper, who is? Steady and sober Vicky is similarly impotent as doors shake and unseen dogs snarl outside. What does Barnabas hope to gain? I suppose his powers of hypnosis are limited. By wearing Maggie down sufficiently, the certainty of Barnabas’ strange ways will be a relief compared to a threatening unknown. Kudos to Kathryn Leigh Scott for her transitions between needy victim and dispassionate conspirator in her own torment. DARK SHADOWS often requires a strange Tao from its actors. Both Scott and Jonathan Frid put that magnificently on display here in 234. She’s the frightened subject of mind control and a willing collaborator who wants to get her way. He’s a gentleman and a general. Both antitheses have elements of the other. DARK SHADOWS may evolve into a comic book about regret and restitution, but it begins as a study in the moral contradictions within us. DARK SHADOWS is literally about those -- the unsavory implications seemingly ignored when the spotlight celebrates what we want the world to see.

On this day in 1967, audiences laughed along with comedy team Eastwood and van Cleef as they mugged their way through the old west and did anything for a buck in Sergio Leone’s zesty romp, FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE.

This episode hit the airwaves May 18, 1967.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Dark Shadows Daybook: May 8



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1970: Episode 1015

Quentin, driven by a vision, attempts to hang himself to be with Maggie, but Angelique draws a tarot card that alerts her to this, and she stops him. Barnabas visits her in the Parallel Time room, and she reveals her true identity to Hoffman, who warns that her killer will return. Upset that Quentin is obsessed with Maggie, Angelique takes him to the brink of death with a voodoo doll.

Welcome to the thousandth episode of DARK SHADOWS; considering how much has changed, it’s amazing what looks and feels similar to the beginning. I’m not just talking about the house and the name of Collins. We have an emotionally remote, self-destructive head of the household… haunted by a dead spouse. The dead spouse isn’t really dead. In the middle of it, a raven-haired beauty from the real world, trying to sort it all out. Of course, in this case, the raven-haired beauty is Jonathan Frid, and at that point, the similarities begin to break down.

When I wrote “the real world” in the paragraph above, I struggled a bit. Do I use quotes? A better phrase? No. Compared with Parallel Time, it is the real world. I think the secret reason that Parallel Time lets us down so pointedly is that no other storyline is about DARK SHADOWS quite as resolutely, and what can live up to that? When the story begins, we see people from DARK SHADOWS looking into a square frame -- the door. They see familiar people with unfamiliar clothes, sometimes names, and relationships talking about the things people in soaps talk about, but with a uniquely daytime/gothic twist. Often, the observers stumble on the room, but ultimately, it’s just a room with an insurmountable barrier.

In other words, the room is a TV that turns off and on at random, but always in time for the characters we love to watch THEIR version of DARK SHADOWS on it. And they can’t stop. It spreads by word of mouth. “There,” Barnabas thinks, despite the misery he sees, “there, I’ll be happy.” When Barnabas enters it, the story becomes almost a Mary Sue adventure, taking the fantasy one step beyond what we could ever do. Dan’s Dream, four years ago, has birthed a dreamer wholly independent, and that dream features a dark haired man putting his head in a noose as a woman plays tarot cards nearby.

After 999 other episodes, DARK SHADOWS should be self-reflective. After the show sees how much worse it could be, and that Barnabas’ own problems are not solved by entering a might-as-well-be simulation, it seems logical that the show’s characters would be happy to go back to Kansas. In this episode, Barnabas contemplates a world without Angelique, and as seemingly grand as that would be, he’s eager to escape back to his own dimension.  Like anyone with problems knows, while entering a fantasy might give a therapeutic insight, home is still fraught with challenges. To solve them, Barnabas will have to go back to almost the beginning and forgive the unforgivable. Angelique will have to find power in reality rather than in the capacity to control and manipulate.

Her desire to control is universal. No matter the era or time band. In this episode, she finally emerges from “Alexis,” and sheds some light on those motivations. I had long wondered what drove her to obsess on Quentin, and it’s because she can’t control him. I wonder if the Barnabas of Main Time would have been as intriguing to her if he’d been openly in love in 1795? I doubt it. Issues of love and power haunt the series from the beginning, and they’ll continue to do so until Angelique and Barnabas stop them in 1840. To do that, they need the understanding that comes from watching DARK SHADOWS, which is precisely what Barnabas is doing in Parallel Time.

On this day in 1970, TV sex symbol, Frances Bavier, was furious to discover that she had misheard the title of the Beatles album that was released that day; it was not about her character in Mayberry. Nevertheless, "Let It Be" became a classic.

This episode hit the airwaves May 15, 1970.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...