By PATRICK McCRAY
July 22, 1966
Taped on this date: Episode 30
After seeing a cloaked figure in the dark at Collinwood, the lights come on to reveal Roger. Was he the figure? Doubtful. Vicki and Roger go around and around about David’s probable guilt regarding sabotaging Roger’s car. Vicki finally prevails. Meanwhile in Burke’s room, the storm subsides, and Burke explains to David that he needs to take him home. David is reluctant, and Burke is more fatherly than ever, going so far as to promise David that he’ll buy him a dog -- the companion every boy should have. At Collinwood, Roger is furious with David, making him empty his pockets, sure he has the cylinder. When his pockets are empty, Burke reveals that he has the cylinder, having taken one for Team David.
Okay, now we’re talking! Victoria, alone in a blacked-out Collinwood in a storm, encounters a figure in a dark cloak by candlelight. It’s as is Dan got a memo from the future telling him which side of the bread his butter was on. Meanwhile, the chemistry between Mitch Ryan and David Henesy remains the most palpable on the show. It’s almost too appropriate, really selling the suspicion that Burke is David’s real father. In so many ways, the immediate bond between actors and characters creates a warmth and kinship of black sheep that the show desperately needed. It was the chemistry that I suspect Dan Curtis wanted with Alexandra Moltke and Joan Bennett, but these things happen in the unlikeliest of places. They are both the walking wounded, carrying the scars of Roger’s own pain. And that begs the question; where did Roger’s pain come from? What kind of father was Jamison? Given Jamison’s bitterness at Quentin (in this timeline), does this get visited on Roger? Did Roger, a fast-talking scoundrel, himself, remind him of Quentin? (Perhaps only in Roger’s youth?)
(Episode 20 airs on this date.)
July 22, 1968
Taped on this date: Episode 551
Harry finds Adam, despondent with the lonely knowledge that there are none like him, on the verge of suicide. Retrieving the weapon, he tells Nicholas, who again comforts Adam with the knowledge of his uniqueness and superiority. Adam realizes that his difference is the reason behind the gulf that separates him from Carolyn. Adam, now articulate and intelligent, returns to Barnabas, thinking him his creator. Following this reasoning, Adam insists that his ugliness and difference will not be noticed by another promethean. In this case a woman to be created by Barnabas.
The marvelous Robert Rodan portrays an authentic pain and anger that reveals him to be not only the wounded heart of the series, but a talent that should never have been let go. In a show that recycled actors, the eventual loss of Robert Rodan creates a vacuum that the show would never really fill. Similarly, Craig Slocum shows a heart and fear that is commensurate to Rodan’s pain. Adam, again and again, wrestles with deeply existential fears that go far beyond what should be expected from a soap opera. Although Nicholas is trying to manipulate Adam, his advice and insight into coping with difference is as compassionate as anyone’s on the show. I can’t help but be reminded of the fact that the Emperor and Vader are the only characters in STAR WARS who actually tell Luke the truth. Adam’s obsession with his ugliness is the ultimate irony of the storyline. Yes, he has some scars, but so do many. He is, in fact, quite handsome. Now articulate and soulful as well, he is the Cyrano de Bergerac of the show. In a show about loneliness, no character embodies it like poor, frightened, Adam Lang.
(Episode 541 airs on this date.)
July 22, 1969
Taped on this date: Episode 808
1897. Petofi, still inside Jamison (in spirit), now controls Magda, who spills the beans about Barnabas’ temporal point of (most recent) origin. She also explains about his mission to save David, and these facts are corroborated by the discovery of the Collins family history from the 1960’s. Petofi suspects that this could provide a means for his escape. Meanwhile, Charity has a dream wherein she’s forced by the Universe to sing “I Wanna Dance with You,” as Quentin macks on some babe. When she comes to, she goes into the woods where she finds a post-lycan Quentin by the corpse of the very girl on whom he was macking.
As Petofi and his lackey gaze upon the book from the future…
“Look at the clothes they’re wearing.”
“You would notice that, wouldn’t you, Aristede?”
The closest we come to the outing of Aristede on the show.
It’s a classic moment for the couple, and one I’d been trying to find for a few years. Well, young Aristede, I have you now.
As for Quentin’s babe? Played by Deborah Loomis, who would appear again with werewolf/stuntman Alex Stevens in HERCULES IN NEW YORK.
(Episode 801 airs on this date.)
July 22, 1970
Taped on this date: Episode 1068
1995. Julia, under the control of Gerard, leads Barnabas on a wild hunt primarily devised to cause frustration and madness. Meanwhile, he tries to decode a letter given to him by the ghost of Daphne that says, “She will die.” The letter is later destroyed by Gerard, and it’s hard to tell to what degree the two ghosts -- Gerard and Daphne -- are working in concert or at odds. Quentin and Carolyn are reunited at the Old House, and she gives him a note summoning Barnabas. Quentin, petrified to near infantilism, almost destroys the note, but Barnabas manages to get the message and go to Carolyn at Collinwood, only to find her dead.
This plot is incredibly hard to follow. That’s its justified reputation. But for me, that’s what makes it so frightening. Ghosts do not follow cause and effect as we do. The very core of their destructive agenda lies in their ability to warp our expectations of causality. Gerard’s intent is to prove to Barnabas how little his powers of reason will save him. Only then, having eroded his mind, will he attack his body. The cruelties of DARK SHADOWS villains have always been served up with perverse élan. In the age of assassinations and riots and lists of dead soldiers streaming home on television every night, evil no longer wears the mask of elegant charm. Evil isn’t charming. Evil slaughters a pregnant Sharon Tate just… because. How does a gentleman warrior from the eighteenth century contend with such nihilism? In the confrontation with true evil, it is the one question DARK SHADOWS has never asked. Now, they have no choice.
(Episode 1063 airs on this date.)