By PATRICK McCRAY
June 29, 1966
Taped on this date: Episode 13
Roger finds Burke in the drawing room, and pours a drink as he listens to Burke’s reasons for being back in Collinsport. Roger thinks Burke still blames him for going tp prison, but Burke says he wants to forget the past. He wanted to see home and prove to others that he’s a success. As far as prison? A man was killed, Roger gave testimony, and the jury sent Burke to jail. Why is he meeting with people, now? Just to get to know them. Elsewhere, Vicki visits Matthew. She wants to know what the family’s connection to Bangor is. Matthew says that’s where Burke’s trial happened. But that’s old business. In the drawing room, Roger is alone with Burke and presses him for the truth. Roger threatens to make life from prison seem to be a paradise if Burke’s lying. Burke counters by asking about Roger’s wife. They agree it’s all past history. Over muffins, Vicki learns that Roger only recently came back from Augusta, and it’s a terrible thing for Liz. At Collinwood, Burke exits, dropping hints that he might want to buy Collinwood or the business… maybe both. He then asks Roger to meet him later that night at the Blue Whale for a business proposition. Meanwhile, Matthew describes a near fatal car accident of the past. Matthew receives a call from Liz for firewood and learns that Vicki lied about having her permission to visit him. She leaves, only to find Burke by Roger’s car, with a tool he said was on the front seat. Burke implies that all is patched up. Up in the drawing room, Roger fills in Liz. Are they in the clear? He is awfully unwilling to forget. The only way for Roger to know is to visit Burke at the bar. Vicki then checks in with Liz, and asks if Roger is using his car that night.
The great highlights in episode 13 are the inversions of character that we see in Burke and Matthew. Any whiff of sincerity that Burke might have mustered is gone. His visit to Collinwood has so much forced innocence, it’s like he’s channeling Eddie Haskell. Then, once he has Vicki alone by Roger’s car, his stab at appearing innocent is equally insincere. It’s not too far to say that he even seems a tad unhinged. The universe would be completely unsafe were it not for the cranky, high-hatted warmth shown by Matthew Morgan. He has every reason to call the cops on Vicki, but instead, he is very inclusive towards her. I really wish they had not switched to Thayer David. David played the part he was handed, but by then, Morgan had devolved into a cartoon. This is far more nuanced.
June 29, 1967
Taped on this date: Episode 276
At the Old House, Willie shoves jewels at Jason in the Old House, but they’re not enough for him. He thinks they’re in the coffin. Jason’s last living act is to open the coffin before Barnabas strangles him. Awake, Barnabas finds that Jason forced his way down there past Willie. This placed Barnabas in danger, but they must dispose of the body, first. They can bury him in the secret room of the Collins tomb. Willie is squeemish over the body of his friend, and Barnabas reflects on his own friendship with Sarah. They carry the body out, leaving Jason’s fallen cap for later. In a corner, Sarah plays with a ball. She places the cap on the coffin lid. At Windcliff, Woodard studies a drawing of Sarah, convinced that the girl is the connection that will connect Maggie to the kidnapper. Woodard insists on showing the picture to Maggie. Maggie doesn’t seem to recognize the sketch until she blurts out, “Sarah.” She says that Sarah came to the room. What room? Maggie begins to panic. She tried to escape from the room, and then she repeats the riddle. Although she screams clues, Julia has her sedated. Woodard sees this as progress. The girl will lead them to the kidnapper. At the mausoleum, Willie and Barnabas trigger the secret door to deposit Jason. As they leave, Willie asks about Barnabas’ relatives in the tombs. He emphasizes Sarah’s sweetness. After they leave, Sarah appears under her own headstone.
Call Jason ‘Mint Jelly,’ because he’s on the lamb. But not for long. It almost feels as if they were contractually obligated to stretch the courtship and wedding out for x-number of episodes. Completely arbitrary. With that wrapped up, we get an episode where Major Things Happen, but at a thoughtful pace. It feels as if the shows was straining to get back to the macro-arc of Barnabas, and with Jason gone, the potboilerish pettiness seems officially over. DARK SHADOWS is moving on to be a supernatural thriller within the soap opera format rather than a real world soap opera with supernatural implications. It’s about time. It’s also the first episode narrated by Kathryn Leigh Scott. With that, DARK SHADOWS is no longer just the story of a woman whose name is Victoria Winters.
June 29, 1970
Taped on this date: Episode 1051
It’s the first appearance of Claude North, a formidable character whose brief life in the series almost seems like a non sequitur. Brian Sturdivant plays a forceful antagonist with crisp, shrill intensity. That he should only be around for a few episodes is a shame. Several years later in 1979, we would say goodbye to Jane Rose on this date. She played Mrs. Mitchell, the old woman with whom Vicki spoke on the train, and who informed her that her solitary trip to Collinsport had been more than enough.