By PATRICK McCRAY
June 8, 1967
Taped on this date: Episode 257
Buzz arrives at Collinwood for Carolyn, to Liz’s disgust. Liz bars his entrance, but Carolyn ushers him in, anyway. (Buzz even offers Liz a ride on his hog!) Carolyn insists that she and Buzz will be married, but Liz says it won’t stop her own wedding. It can be a double wedding, Carolyn rejoins. Liz begins to buckle, asking if it will end her engagement with Buzz if she, herself, breaks off her own engagement. On the grand staircase, Jason and Buzz match wits, with Jason demonstrating how easily he could break Buzz’s leg. Buzz relents. Alone, Liz tells Jason that the Buzz Stratagem may end the marriage. Jason offers to handle the situation in a fatherly manner. Jason visits with Carolyn upstairs, citing how much she’s like her father. It made Paul run away in just the same manner. Paul’s same hard-headedness wounded Liz. Will this wound her more? And Jason needs time to prove his kindness. He wants to give her the fatherly attention she never got. It sickens Carolyn, so Jason insists that the wedding will happen, anyway, growing stern. Jason returns to the drawing room, claiming the situation is under control. But he wasn’t wholly successful. These things take time. He’ll move his attentions to Buzz. Liz lets him know that they’ll be in equal trouble if Jason isn’t successful. Later at the Blue Whale, Carolyn is particularly bouncy, but Buzz says that Logansport is even more swingin.’ As Carolyn powders her nose, Jason has a word with Buzz. Buzz reveals he’s known Carolyn for years, but her attentions are recent. How odd, Jason says he’s just being used, and that it makes things rough on her mother. This is just a bluff against Liz, and he’ll be dropped when she’s made her point. Jason begins a bribe. A new bike? Buzz says no. He likes the chick too much. Buzz reveals the bribe to Carolyn. Buzz would never take such an offer, and Carolyn revels in her victory. They depart for Logansport, leaving Jason in defeat.
On the arm of Buzz and with her blonde hair and turtleneck, Carolyn looks like Chicky Baby from the Puppet Band. It’s amazing how much Michael Hadge has developed Buzz in just a few episodes. It’s an increasingly interesting performance, and I wonder what the show would have been like had he stayed. I really mean that. He’s an arch-Willie Loomis and a comic book precursor to Jeb. They keep introducing anti-WASPS. Victoria, despite the LITERALLY white name, has the tawdriness of being an unwanted child, probably illegitimate (and thus dodgy in the eyes of blue bloods). Jason “I am Catholic and Irish” McGuire. Deranged prole Matthew Morgan. Willie may wear a tie, but that’s negated by the stigma of sounding like a Yancy Street Gang member by way of Alabama. Angelique, an anti-Christian island girl who makes Barnabas an anti-WASP by marital association. Josette and the DuPres, no doubt more papists. Burke Devlin, ex-con, working stiff, and former “male model” for aging beatnik, Sam Evans. Quentin, a drunken Satanist who marries a Roma. Oh, yeah, the Roma. Petofi, from God knows where, just pretending to be an Englishman. Every character played by Michael Stroka. Compared to them, Jeb, Nicholas, the Trasks, Gerard, and, come to think of it, Adam are all country club candidates. I’m no Michael Moore in my politics, and even I can see that class warfare runs as thick at Collinwood as the stench of cat urine in Mrs. Lovett’s pre-Sweeney larder.
Collins may be an Irish name, but it’s by way of White’s or The Athenaeum, to be certain. Buzz is in noble company, both among the Collinses and the anti-WASPS who beleaguer their solitary castle. Bring Back Kirk? Too late. BRING BACK BUZZ!
June 8, 1970
Taped on this date: Episode 1036
1970PT. Armed with a stake, Hoffman stalks Loomis House to kill Barnabas. As she raises the coffin lid and readies her weapon, Dr. Julia Hoffman from Main Time raises a poker and strikes her down. At Collinwood at dawn, Will awaits Hoffman to see if she were successful with Barnabas. As he starts for his own home, “Alexis” interrupts him, getting the report that Maggie has been kidnapped by Yaeger. At Loomis House, Bruno catches Julia and marvels at “Hoffman’s” hair and clothes. He needs to see Will to borrow money and get out of town. Could Hoffman help him? No. Bruno is still struck by her strange difference. Back in the secret room, Julia wonders what to do with a dead Hoffman. Will enters and sees the secret panel open, catching Julia as she emerges. Will finds the dead Hoffman, and immediately knows that Julia is from Main Time. At Collinwood, Bruno learns from “Alexis” that Cyrus and Yaeger were the same and kidnapped Maggie. But Cyrus is now dead… as is Sabrina. Bruno seems delighted and bolts out. Back at Loomis House, Julia realizes that Hoffman and Angelique were close, and she might have told Angelique the secret of Barnabas. Julia realizes that she can take Hoffman’s place. Armed with Will’s knowledge, she might be able to protect him from the inside. Meanwhile, Bruno ransacks Cyrus’ lab, looking for money. At Collinwood, Julia searches for any note incriminating Barnabas. Angelique enters, wanting to know what happened about Cyrus and Yaeger. But what of the important new news? About Barnabas. Julia bluffs that Barnabas was the first to know of Yaeger and Maggie. He’s in town, now. Angelique is disgusted that Julia doesn’t know more and sends her to monitor Barnabas. In Cyrus’ lab, Bruno finds a notebook left by the doctor to be delivered to Quentin in the event of his death. Back at Loomis House, Julia suggests to Will that Maggie was part of some larger plan. And Julia plans on continuing, much to Will’s confusion. But why do this for Maggie? It’s not for Maggie. It’s for Barnabas, she says. In the lab, Bruno calls “Alexis,” having read the notebook. He knows enough to earn quite a living from Quentin… he now knows who murdered Angelique.
You know what? If you don’t like Grayson Hall, I don’t like you. Man, this is Prime Julia Hoffman Asskicking 101. This takes “Mirror, Mirror,” removes the ace-in-the-hole of Vulcan liberal guilt, and replaces it with the stark terror of being found out by an Angelique incapable of love, only conquest. What does Julia do? Puts on a steel-toe boot with evil’s name on it and goes to work. Is it the single ballsiest move in DARK SHADOWS history? Gender jokes aside, look who makes it. You know who has the Eye of the Tiger? Julia. Effin. Hoffman.
Oh, and Michael Stroka returns after 31 days off. Ghost of Michael, I’m telling you, it was a long month. We missed you, buddy.