By PATRICK McCRAY
July 14, 1966
Taped on this date: Episode 24
Carolyn enters the Inn with arms full of packages. Meanwhile, Constable Carter enters and asks Maggie for Burke, who’s not in his hotel room. He’ll wait in the lobby. Carolyn orders lunch for Joe, who is on his way. Maggie asks how well Carolyn knows Burke. She says the Burke just asked her father to do a new portrait, and wants to know if Burke or Roger ever mentioned Sam. Joe arrives and seems none too thrilled that the conversation is again about Burke. In the lobby, Carter meets Burke. With Carolyn, Joe explains that he may be able to get his boat faster by pooling with another sailor, Jerry. Joe uses it as a sideways way to bring up marriage again. Burke orders lunch from Maggie, but evades discussing Carter. Burke approaches Carolyn and Joe, who refuses to let Burke visit. Burke looks forward to spending time with Carolyn after Joe leaves. Later, he and Carter discuss the accident. Carter remembers Burke’s vow when he was found guilty for manslaughter. But that was ten years ago. The sheriff explains that Burke’s fingerprints were on the wrench. Just because he picked up a wrench doesn’t mean he sabotaged the car. And he has no idea how the wrench wound up in the seat. Burke explains that if he were guilty, he wouldn’t be hanging around. Why is Burke back in Collinsport? Downstairs in the Inn, Joe continues to be needled by Devlin’s presence. Maggie comes by and says that Carter wants Carolyn up in Burke’s room. She backs up Burke’s story, adding that she is the one who made him come to Collinwood. Carter leaves, but Carolyn stays. She feels used by him. Burke claims that he’s now in town for longer than expected because his plans changed. She doubts him and leaves. Bronson calls Burke and is told to stay in a separate area. They have less time than he thought.
Okay, this is the second time that Burke is Mr. Nice guy until he calls Bronson. I’m starting to think that Burke is insane and Bronson is his id. This episode is what I call “Housewife’s Delight.” Busy with a million other things, endless repetition was vital to keep up with plots. By that, I mean that comprehension of what was happening depended on reviewing the same material over and over again. Another way of saying it is that it was important to go over things from past episodes so that… oh, you get the idea. We get more of Constable Carter. Few things make a man go, “I could really go for some Dana Elcar right now.” What am I saying? I think that every time I put in a VHS of BAYWATCH.
(Episode 14 airs on this date.)
July 14, 1967
Taped on this date: Episode 288
Vicki is lost in thoughts of Josette as she gazes out the window of the drawing room. David sees her and remarks that she’s daydreaming a lot. It’s almost like she’s someone else, and it frightens him. Vicki tells him it’s him imagination. Julia enters, having been given permission to do research. Vicki goes to find books for her. David finds that she’s looking for information on Jeremiah, Joshua, and Barnabas. David gives her the family album. David suddenly sees the picture of Sarah, but knows nothing about her, except that she looks like the girl he plays with. Maybe a ghost? Julia is doing the math faster than Watson. Vicki returns with books for Julia. Vicki notices that the portrait of Sarah looks like a police sketch they were shown after Maggie’s death. Julia wonders why the renovated Old House has no mirrors. She then borrows the book of portraits to show Barnabas. At the Blue Whale, Burke is puzzled by Julia’s interest. He tells Vicki that he’s concerned about Vicki’s interest in the spookier side of the Collins family. She’s starting to believe she’s Josette. Vicki reports hearing Sarah, and wonders if Burke’s right. Burke asks her not to go back to the Old House. She refuses. She just knows that she feels safe there. Julia arrives at the Old House with the family album. Barnabas greets her, somewhat bewildered. Barnabas has nothing to tell her about his relatives. She nonetheless shows him portraits. He is transfixed with portraits of Naomi, Joshua, and Sarah. As he turns away, she uses her makeup case to ascertain that Barnabas casts no reflection. She excuses herself and returns to Collinwood. She looks at his portrait and says she’s learned everything she needed to know.
Julia Hoffman: she’s like Bruce Wayne with guts. Julia’s journey is one of learning how much there is to fear, and then, in 1840, showing how she’s mastered it. Her adventure has Joseph Campbell written all over it. When Julia delves into Barnabas’ world, she can do anything because she has no idea how much it will cost her. Just as fools rush in, so does she, and the plot takes off like a rocket when she straps herself in. Grayson Hall is a monster of confidence, and that’s the one match Barnabas never expects. This episode also gets increasingly specific about the identities of Barnabas’ relatives, gearing audiences up for Victoria’s journey. Little did they know that they were getting a primer on the upcoming storyline. In literary terms, both Vicki and Barnabas are people without homes. Vicki’s is in the past, with Peter Bradford. She just has to find herself there. Barnabas home is actually in his future, with a family that needs him, respects him, and where, out of the shadows of Joshua and Jeremiah, he can become the man destiny has cast him to be.
(Episode 275 airs on this date.)
July 14, 1969
Taped on this date: Episode 799
Magda has decided to destroy the hand to avenge her husband. She chops it with an axe, but that’s hardly the end. She wraps it in a cloth and burns it. At a tavern, Aristede questions Tim Shaw about Quentin Collins, and Shaw has nothing good to say. Aristede won’t reveal his plans for Quentin, so he needs a favor from Tim. At Collinwood, Quentin drinks and ponders his late child. He wonders about his daughter as well. Charity enters in a flirtatious mood, but Quentin wants none of it. He plies her with liquor nonetheless. She tries to persuade him to become a family man, but Magda enters reporting the hand’s destruction. It panics Quentin; it was his only cure. The hand reappears, floating behind Magda. It then vanishes. This is all a dialogue that Tim Shaw hears from the hall. He’s accused of having the hand, but the conversation ends up leading Quentin to meet Aristede at the Blue Whale. The fop explains that the moon will be full. Aristede claims he has access to the cure if he can get the hand. But the source of the cure is kept under wraps. They agree for Aristede to meet him at Collinwood. That night in the Old House, the hand flies through the air after Magda. Tim Shaw conveniently enters to find it on the floor.
Poor Don Briscoe. Arguably one of the three or four finest actors on the show, and the one guy stuck with the most mediocre stuff to do. Watching his rise and then moral downfall due to the poisoning of wealth is a sad and complex slice of 1897. It’s a sincere dash of Ibsen, without the boring parts. It’s easy to forget that he has his moment as a major power player in this storyline. Among all the actors on the show, none surpassed Briscoe for his sense of strategic mischief.
(Episode 796 airs on this date.)
July 14, 1970
Taped on this date: Episode 1062
1995. An insane Carolyn comes into the cottage. When interviewed, she demands that Barnabas and Julia exit, calling them ghosts. They retreat to the crypt, wondering why she is no longer so sensible. Fortunately, Barnabas’ coffin resides in the secret room. Barnabas orders her to examine court records as he sleeps, despite her fear. As Julia leaves, Carolyn accosts her and demands she not say the name. Carolyn looks for her mother’s grave, but claims she’s not dead. Carolyn giggles, as if she’s purposefully leading her astray. She orders her away. When she exits, Stokes enters and they agree they must make her go. When Julia looks for the records, the clerk becomes evasive at the name “Collins” and the year 1970. He says the records are missing. He is similarly evasive. Outside, Julia sees Stokes who barely believes she’s there. Stokes also warns her away. Later, Barnabas wakes up and decides to go to Stokes. He doesn’t understand the danger Julia saw. Barnabas refuses to stand by and let history repeat itself. They meet with Flagler, a man who investigated Collinwood. He is partner was struck and killed by a mysterious object, as laughter rang out. That night, Barnabas and Julia return to the crypt to find it open!
DARK SHADOWS enters a period of entropy, here. The events of 1970 have a permanence that make Roger’s car accident look like nothing. In episode 1, Burke Devlin welcomed Vicki to the beginning and end of the world. Welcome to the end.
(Episode 1057 airs on this date.)