May 2, 1967
Taped on this date: Episode 228
Jason and Liz again debate. Now he wants a position in the family business. He argues that it will protect the family name and reputation by explaining his presence, as well as doing things like opening Swiss bank accounts in his name. He eventually bullies her into appointing him Director of Public Relations. Later, both Roger and Carolyn are stunned. Jason tells Carolyn it was at Liz’s request. Jason says it’s like old times, before she met Carolyn’s father. Later, Roger, Carolyn, and Vicki have a war council. Roger was at school when Liz was married to Paul, so he can’t corroborate Jason’s story. When Carolyn asks for any information on Paul, Roger says that she should ask her mother. As far as he knows, the only things Paul left behind are in the locked room in the basement. Carolyn knew nothing of this, but learns that Liz has the only key, and the objects in that room might lead to clues as her father’s current whereabouts. Liz refuses to give her the key and shuts down the conversation. Later, she apologizes to Vicki, and asks her to convince Carolyn that the room is of no importance. Vicki suggests that the room in central to what is bothering her. Liz is dauntless in her argument. Carolyn snoops through the study and finds a key in a box. Vicki discovers her and says that opening the room will hurt Liz. Carolyn says that Liz needn’t know. Vicki says that her father’s things may not be in the room. It could be something more painful. And it could be painful to Carolyn. Fearless, Carolyn continues her search.
When is a MacGuffin not just a MacGuffin? When both the audience and the characters are equally invested in it. Early DARK SHADOWS relied on MacGuffins several times, most notably The Pen and the Box in the Cellar. MacGuffin is a cine-literary term for a thing of great importance to the protagonists but little interest to the audience. They just want to see the characters pursuing it. The Lector in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE is an example. The Pen was an earlier example, but who cares? When it comes to the trunk, we all do. And so much could have happened as a result of Jason taking an executive job. It’s THE OFFICE ’67. When I was writing the Collins Chronicles, it inspired one of my favorite pieces ...
(Episode 221 aired on this date.)
Your Daily Dose of Historical Context
May 2, 1968
Taped on this date: Episode 488
There is a Stokes Arc that begins here and climaxes in what I think is the most secretly (or not-so-secretly) enjoyed episodes ever. Stokes was a post-1795 invention, and gave Thayer David so much to do. He must have been a difficult character to write. He exists to move stories along when vital information is needed. But too much of that, and a soap opera, dependent on a slow pace, will run out of story. Stokes has so much potential as a character. He enters with proud one-liners, and is the opposite of the quiet and conservative depiction of the lonely and desperate we met almost two years before. In college, Thayer David was apparently quite the rake. Although no one will confuse him for Doug McLure, when you watch the Stokes confidence, it becomes apparent why.
(Episode 488 aired on this date.)
May 2, 1969
Taped on this date: Episode 750
1897. Quentin knows that his life will forever change that night, thanks to Magda’s revenge-curse. Szandor wants to leave to avoid the consequences of the curse. Magda says they will be safe, unlike the Collinses. Judith hands Beth her walking papers now that Jenny is dead. Beth asks of the children, and Judith says that they will be safe in Collinsport with Mrs. Fillmore. The children should remain a secret from Quentin. Beth suspects that her scandalous interest in Quentin is the true cause of her dismissal. Quentin enters and tells her that he will be moving on. Magda enters to pick up her sister’s possessions. She laughs at Quentin’s plan to escape the curse by leaving Collinsport. Quentin has the gypsy’s money, and refuses to give it back to Judith. It’s his nest egg for his escape and Judith can sue him if she wants it. Some time later, Beth comes downstairs with Jenny’s babydoll twins. Quentin enters and states that Beth will be going with him, but she’s resistant. Quentin, after all, killed Jenny. Quentin suspects there is another reason. She does — the children — but remains silent. Szandor arrives and Quentin offers him the $10,000 for him to enjoy alone, if he removes the curse. Szandor rejects the offer. As night comes on, Quentin prepares his departure. He visits Beth, proclaiming his love. She says that he wants her with him only because he can’t do anything alone. He just uses people, discarding them when he grows weary of their company. She will go anyway, after she does something in town. As night falls, Magda places the curse on Quentin and all his male descendants. In Beth’s room, Quentin is seized by the pain of his first transformation.
Let’s welcome Terry Crawford into the fold of episode narrators! She’s a serene woman to kick off such a wild roller coaster of an episode, and that’s what 1897 is known for. The episode also has an image that is chilling for its insinuations: Beth carries the twin baby dolls as she collects her possessions. Quentin remains a complex character, desperately self-involved unless events dictate otherwise. When I was a kid, it was difficult to discern the sentiments of the “real” Quentin Collins toward Beth. Now, it’s impossible.
(Episode 745 aired on this date.)