By PATRICK McCRAY
July 14, 1966
Taped on this date: Episode 23
David reads Creepy Crawlers Horror Comics as Vicki enters. Meanwhile, Constable Carter enters to speak with Roger about the accident. While David contemplates guilt and culpability with Vicki, the constable is understandably cross with Roger for confronting Burke without calling him in sooner. The constable then interviews Vicki about the wrench sighting. She reports her visit with Burke, with Roger insinuating meaning a’plenty. What was Burke’s motive, he wonders. Vicki affirms that Burke never threatened Roger. The constable remembers Burke’s threat from ten years prior. But that was temper. This is insanity. The constable also says that someone else may have planted the wrench and removed the valve. He then calls in backup data on Burke. He takes Vicki and company to the garage to see the wrench. As they leave, Liz cites David for eavesdropping. David wants to know why there is any doubt about Burke. He also wants to know about corroborate evidence. She explains that it’s additional evidence. Like someone else’s prints on the wrench. When they return with said wrench, David is terrified. The constable puts it down to answer the phone, and David eyes it nervously, knocks it down, and picks it up, “getting his prints on it.” Criminal. Genius.
If David “Moriarty” Collins had executed any of the villains’ later plans, Collinwood might have been reduced to cinders within minutes. By handling the wrench, David makes hay with the Gordian knot by weilding Occam’s Razor like Sweeney Todd. Simple. Brilliant. He truly is Burke’s son. Spiritually. I meant, spiritually. Sheriff Carter is played by Michael Currie, a successful character actor who played Lt. Donnelly in the last three Dirty Harry films, SUDDEN IMPACT, THE DEAD POOL, and THE BIRDCAGE. He also appeared in HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH as well as the cult hit, DEAD AND BURIED. Sheriff Carter is a no-nonsense predecessor to Sheriff Patterson, and has an intense dislike of mustard. I was kidding about THE BIRDCAGE. I would never kid about a condiment.
July 14, 1967
Taped on this date: Episode 287
Barnabas stops just before biting Vicki and backs away into the darkness. The next morning, Willie shows her downstairs, finding that she slept beautifully during the night. Only once did she feel as if someone were in the room. Was it a dream? Was it Willie? He swears innocence. When she returns home, Liz and Julia are discussing the local strangeness. When Liz is thankful she was with Barnabas, Julia is highly aroused. Julia later presses for Liz to help her with her research. If Julia were allowed in, she could tell the truth in a way that would flatter the Collinses. Vicki adds that she could add a great deal about the true greatness of Josette. And the research ends with the last century. Only she and Barnabas need agree. But Barnabas is similarly reluctant. Liz leaves, and Julia implores Vicki to work on Liz. Later, Julia barges into Collinwood before sundown, and Willie tries in vain to get her to leave. She asks too many questions. How did he renovate so exactly without reference pictures? She insinuates far too much knowledge for someone interested in oxygen. Barnabas appears and declines to cooperate. She tries to interview him, but he evades. She teases that she has more knowledge and exits.
This looks like the beginning a beautiful friendship full of jealously, betrayal, deceit, suspicion, and eventual loyalty. Julia certainly gets everyone’s attention, and shows a bravery unmatched in Collinsport. She’ll need it.
July 14, 1970
Taped on this date: Episode 1061
1970PT and 1995MT. Timothy Stokes, driven mad, has set fire to Collinwood. Barnabas and Julia race to Angelique’s room, but Roxanne is barred from entering. As he screams for her, they find themselves in Main Time without her. But… when? Barnabas is deeply wounded. It was his first chance of a life with love. Julia agrees… she’s not the only one without hope. They can get used to anything if they must. Turning their attention to the room, it is unusually musty. Beyond, Collinwood appears destroyed. The great house is a post-apocalyptic ruin. The ceiling is collapsed. The walls stripped to the brick. Overgrowth everywhere. No one is there. But this could not have happened in only a month. Julia finds a note from Elizabeth, saying they must leave Collinwood before the day is out. They then find a burned diary. The front door slams! Why? Who? Trees have grown right up to the door. Barnabas speaks to time warps and radiation. Julia is frightened but collects herself. Barnabas is too busy planning his next campaign of investigation and ass kicking. He must find his coffin, and quickly. In the graveyard, they find a new stone with a death year of 1995. There was a disturbance in the time warp! Then, they find an old grave… David Collins 1956-1970! Fresh flowers are on it. Who left them? It’s Mrs. Johnson, quite mad. She thinks them ghosts. They vanished 25 years before and have returned unchanged. She wails that no one could save him in the end. They cannot get her to divulge what happened. It was too horrible. And she can only visit at night because no one is to have anything to do with the name ‘Collins.’ Even speaking it is forbidden. Is the family alive? Yes. But far away. Roger and Liz are in Rome, she says. Quentin is married in South America. She’s babbling and lying, clearly. They let her go to her solitary madness. Before she goes, she speaks of the old shack at Findley’s Cove. There, they find all manner of Collins memorabilia. Is the person who lives here the instigator? Someone is opening the door!
This is one of the most vital episodes in the series.
Soap operas bounce along. The sets are always there. The continuity rarely budges. Here, it’s almost as if the writers knew the show was doomed and began a slow painful decay of everything we hold dear. After all, we think we’ll bounce right out PT and into some other adventure. As in life, how were we to know that the end was nigh. Even though it takes place in only in the near-future, it has a nightmarish intensity and horrible, icy finality. Seeing Collinwood in ruin is like a personal wound for any DARK SHADOWS fan, and Barnabas is soon on the cusp of the most of the challenging decisions of his life. He is at the apex of his heroism. The test will not be pretty.