By PATRICK McCRAY
June 3, 1968
Taped on this date: Episode 507
Carolyn has the dream, but stops short of answering the door, telling herself that she will not have the dream. Julia implores Stokes to stop the dream curse. Stokes examines pictures and compares people from the present to those they resemble in the past. Josette to Maggie. Etc. It all leads to questions of Barnabas’ past. He finds that the dream is connected to Barnabas and his various emotional states. Stokes intends to insert himself into the line of dream curse succession. He sends for Carolyn! He wants her to hear Willie’s dream. She will have the dream under set controls. Yes, the final dreamer will experience death or something worse. Barnabas is the ultimate victim, but Stokes can stop it. After Carolyn’s dream, she will tell Stokes the dream… he will be the beckoner if she trusts him. She reluctantly agrees, not knowing of the Power of Stokes. After she hears the dream, Stokes hypnotizes her (as he does with all attractive young women) to understand that she will have no fear in the dream. Stokes encodes himself as the beckoner. He can do this because he is a badass. She then sleeps at his command. The dream begins! As she had hoped, Stokes is her beckoner, having easily inserted himself into Carolyn’s deepest recesses. She sees the terrors of others, including her own grave (December 8, 1948 - July 15, 1968). She comes awake! In doing so, she floods Stokes with everything she had pent up from the night’s discoveries. He leaves her spent and relieved. Stokes withdraws and struts downstairs, the cock o’the walk, eager for the dream. He knows that he will make the witch come, as well. It is so easy for Stokes that he will do it in his sleep, breaking all of the rules. His own dream begins. There is a knock at the door.
This episode starts one of the most memorable moments in DARK SHADOWS history; the moment when T. Eliot Stokes gets inside the dream curse and goes all James Randi on Angelique’s occultness. But that’s yet to come. As for now, we get a brilliantly tight chamber piece of an episode, featuring only Stokes, Julia, and Carolyn. Nowhere else in DARK SHADOWS is a hero ever more confident than the villain. With Stokes, we have that, and it is a confidence that forces the writers to become even more diabolical. Is that the laughter of Nicholas Blair I hear in the distance? It draws near.
June 3, 1969
Taped on this date: Episode 772
1897. As Barnabas stands over the bitten Pansy Faye, the inevitable Carll knocks at the door. Barnabas hides the body and lies that Pansy has left, intimidated by Judith. As Carol panics, he sees that her purse has been left. Proof that Pansy Faye is still around. Barnabas just tells him to take the purse to Collinwood, she’s probably there. He has to look for Dirk. And maybe she’s lost in the woods. Barnabas breaks a sweat coming up with all of the places she might be. At the new Worthington Hall, Carl even bugs Charity about it, but she’s too busy visiting Tim Shaw, who is translating Latin for Evan Hanley, licking his fingers from turning the pages. He demands the Queen of Spades. She mentions her mother. He holds up a vial of something yellow and asks to be left alone to do what he has to do. Meanwhile, Barnabas is doing the same thing, burying Pansy Faye double-time as the cock crows. Dawn breaking, Charity wakes Tim from his moaning nightmares of the police. A messenger has brought a note and wants an answer. The message just says “Queen of Spades.” Tim knows now that “it” must happen tonight. Charity demands answers, but her mother interrupts. She continues to hector him, and he happily lets her know that he will never be out of their debt. He finally demands that she get out. At this point, I don’t think he really needs an hypnotic command to kill her. That night, Carl looks for Pansy at the Old House and hears her humming her song. Her song grinds on relentlessly. Barnabas appears as he begs for her. He shakes Barnabas wanting his Pansy! Barnabas pleads ignorance. Carl asks if the song were only in his imagination. Perhaps Dirk forced him away. Carl picks up on the implication. Later, Minerva suggests that Charity marry Carl Collins instead of Tim Shaw. Instead, she confesses a love for Barnabas, but since he is only a cousin, it won’t do. She instructs her to break off the engagement, and when Tim enters, Charity tells her that she loves another. Tim swears that he will apologize to Minerva. Alone, Minerva begins a game of cards… her solitary vice. Tim enters and apologizes, just as he said. She slams down the queen of spades and Tim insists on filling her cup of tea. He does so… with poison! She drinks.
The farce continues. John Karlen blows out so many stops that Carl’s death must be imminent. There’s nowhere else for him to go as an actor in that role. Meanwhile, Barnabas takes a perverse glee in lying to Carl about the whereabouts of Pansy. After (too) much effort, he’s finally able to pin it on Dirk. Most of the episode, though, is devoted to Don Briscoe losing years of patience with Clarice Blackburn. Or rather, with her character. As mentioned before, it's one big riff on THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, down to a card game triggering him. But there's no real card game in this except for a game of solitaire that she just happens to be playing. It seems to be an awfully big risk, but Evan Hanley's the Satanist, and I suppose he knows what he's doing. CANDIDATE was a huge hit, taking home two Oscars, but was withdrawn from release shortly after the Kennedy assassination. I think it was far enough in memory that they were safe with kids, and just close enough that adults might have found it to be a fond callback to a movie they could no longer reliably see on TV or at revivals.
June 3, 1970
Taped on this date: Episode 1033
1970PT. Barnabas has returned to Parallel Time, and Hoffman follows him to Loomis House at Angelique’s command. She sees him enter the bookcase vault. He knows that he cannot reveal his powers to Maggie’s captor, but he can use his cane. In the farmhouse, Maggie tries to pick the lock with no success. In Cyrus’ lab, Sabrina shows Liz in, thanking her for the distracting evening out. Entrer John Yaeger, who introduces himself. He sends Liz off and then orders Sabrina to write a check, signing over Cyrus’ funds to him, as well as sending his clothes to New York so that he may begin his new life. At Collinwood, Hoffman tries to convince her that Barnabas -- searching for Maggie -- is up to no good. It is unsuccessful, but Liz wonders about his insistence on Maggie’s peril is odd. She then dreams of finding Maggie dead in Cyrus’ lab! Waking, she is galvanized to help in the search. Back at the farmhouse, Maggie finally picks the lock, but Yaeger seizes her. He then binds her to a chair and says he will kill Quentin so that she will have nothing else to live for. At Loomis House, Liz tells Barnabas of her dream, which compels him to connect Maggie with Cyrus’ lab, especially on the heels of her meeting with Yaeger. Barnabas is on the scent! Outside Maggie’s cell, Sabrina hears the scuffle and runs, dropping the check. Cyrus finds this, and now knows that Sabrina is on to his plan. At the same time, in Cyrus’ lab, Barnabas finds Yaeger’s clothes, seeing that there’s a connection. Back at Collinwood, Sabrina races in to alert Quentin, but Yaeger appears. She begs him to create the antidote, but he explains that there is nothing left of Cyrus. In the ensuing argument, he strangles her, and the aftermath is witnessed by Liz.
Barnabas’ vendetta against Maggie’s kidnapper can only be seen as cosmic penance for the kidnapping that he, himself, initiated. Seen this way, Yaeger makes a chilling reflector character. Barnabas’ motives were love and cosmic balance, but Yaeger -- with forced kisses and clumsy shibari -- seems purely driven by lust. It makes us see that even as a kidnapper, Barnabas was relatively genteel. If you overlook making her spend the night in a coffin, which I can. This episode also marks the final appearance of Lisa Richards, a fine actress who’d served the show well, but given the stories to come, there was -- sadly -- nothing of real consequence to give her. Thanks, Lisa!