By PATRICK McCRAY
July 8, 1966
Taped on this date: Episode 20
Roger and Vicki arrive at the Inn. She’s to stay in the lobby while he bribes his way into Burke’s room. While she waits, Sam arrives. He saw Roger and Vicki go in. Where is Roger? He knows already: Burke’s room. In fact, at that moment, Burke answers the door for Roger. Roger asks about the business deal they were to discuss at the Blue Whale. Things grow tense at Roger’s insinuations. At Sam’s, the hotel clerk calls the cottage to discover how Maggie is. This infuriates Sam. All she has is a headache. But Sam concludes that Mr. Wells was actually calling to report to Maggie on Sam. Between his drinking and guilt, Maggie doesn’t know. And it’s gotten stranger since Burke came to Collinsport. At the Inn, Burke tells Roger that the deal was to buy the cannery. Roger scoffs. Burke remains adamant. Roger brings up Burke’s appearance in the garage and accuses him of attempted murder. Burke, understandably, objects. Roger summons Vicki back to the room. Over at Sam’s, the painter rises early to paint… or so he claims. Maggie wonders if it has to do with Burke. In Burke’s room, Vicki arrives. Burke claims that someone else must have planted the wrench. Burke then throws Roger out, telling Vicki to escape Collinsport while she can. Back at Collinwood, Roger explains that he needs Vicki, and that she will be staying, like it or not.
Mark this day! Now the world knows what only her hairdresser did for sure; Maggie is officially a brunette. Oh, yeah, and a bunch of other stuff happened. The end. Not quite. Whether we can believe Burke or not remains to be seen, but he’s a smooth rake, and we want to. Although Roger shows unusual backbone, the night belongs to Burke, and the mindbending ambiguity of his story.
(Episode 10 aired on this date.)
July 8, 1968
Taped on this date: Episode 541
With the secret of Lang’s tape revealed, it seems that Angelique at last has Barnabas by the bat wings. Angelique brags of this to Nicholas. He is fascinated… by Adam, and the implications of the synthetic man. She orders her to find the source of the voice while they find Adam. Her life is spared, for now. They must find the last person to find Adam: Joe Haskell. Adam must be hidden now. But who? Maggie may have some insight; Adam killed Sam, after all.. Nicholas goes to visit her, but heals Angelique’s hand, first. Nicholas visits Maggie, and peruses his art. He offers $2,000 for one of his paintings. The offer is too generous; she’ll consider it. She shares her conviction that Stokes is hiding him. He leaves, but it’s clear they are somewhat smitten. In the drawing room, David asks for the tape recorder, but Cassandra says no, and David remarks on her mercurial nature. He sneaks out moments later. He goes to the Old House to tell Julia about the recording. She knows it’s Eric. They go to Collinwood to get the tape. Nicholas later interrogates Cassandra about Professor Stokes, who knows her true identity. She’s uncertain about the details. Julia and David arrive and the occult duo depart. When they play the tape, they find that the tape has been switched from Mozart to Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. Cassandra now knows how to destroy Barnabas.
I remember wondering, ultimately, what the point was of Adam. When seen through the satanic gaze of Nicholas Blair, I’m propelled from supernatural soap to an occult Bond movie. Nicholas Blair was DARK SHADOWS’ equivalent of a Bond villain, and it’s about damned time. At last, Adam is a pawn in the largest game ever played on the show, and let’s not forget: the outcome is cosmic. No pressure.
(Episode 531 aired on this date.)
July 8, 1969
Taped on this date: Episode 797
Quentin grows impatient with Magda, waiting for Barnabas and Julianka. Barnabas brings her body back, and Magda recognizes the gypsy glyph on her forehead. Quentin grows despondent and leaves. Afterwards, Barnabas catalogs the three signs of Quentin’s downfall. The second has happened. The third is his rejection by a loved one. How can he stop it? A key is the 1965 family history in the Old Courthouse. It contains the date of Quentin’s death, having gone back in time with Vicki. Magda goes to look as Barnabas contemplates the advantages of creative temporal mechanics. Meanwhile, Quentin gets drunk as Beth simpers. He sees the pentagram on her forehead and orders her away for her own good. The pentagram amulet won’t save her. Quentin tries to argue sense into her. She refuses, so he goes to his room to get drunk(er) and she follow. Magda returns to the Old House with the book. The date of Quentin’s death is unwritten. He allegedly left for a voyage around the world, which is Collinsese for “a terrible thing happened to this one.” Julianka was their one hope. Why not hold a séance to reach her? Magda is reluctant, but Barnabas perseveres. He sends Magda to fetch Quentin, best possible speed. In Quentin’s room, Beth tries to cheer him up, but all he wants to do is listen to his song and contemplate going to hell. Beth, in a romantic rhapsody, just… doesn’t… get it. Magda rescues Quentin from Beth’s ooey company. (What did he see in her?) Barnabas goes right into the séance. Julianka appears and shocks everyone by telling them that she does not like being dead. Better that she died in the aid of Quentin, she refuses to help. Barnabas says that she could help gypsy children. Julianka says the children no longer count; Magda is being cursed for stealing the hand. Three knocks will herald the beginning of the end. Then, everyone she loves will die. Julianka vanishes and three knocks sound at the Old House door.
This episode is more chock full of temporal mechanics than a STAR TREK: VOYAGER episode. It has the advantage of not being VOYAGER. The difference between Quentin and Barnabas has never been clearer. We think that Quentin is a man of action, but he’s not. The true man of action is Barnabas. While Quentin retreats into his song and booze, Barnabas springs into kung fu action. Of course a séance must held. Of course, the time travel of other is the key. Don’t you see it? When did he learn these things? He doesn’t seem to know squat about the supernatural in 1795. To me, the only answer can be our loyal friends at Time-Life books.
(Episode 792 aired on this date.)
July 8, 1970
Taped on this date: Episode 1058
Maggie tells Barnabas that Quentin insists on leaving. Collinwood is nothing but tragedy, and they must escape. In the woods, Stokes finds a defiant Roxanne in the woods, and threatens to recruit her to his side by discovering and exposing Barnabas’ secret. She was his key to creating life, and he will not be denied. She goes to Collinwood and watches Barnabas from afar. She enters, and he is thrilled. She is afraid when not with him, and he feels the vampiric impulse. Barnabas distances himself. She reveals that Stokes knows he has a secret. She doesn’t care what it is. He confesses his love, and pulls away. She tells him to trust her. He says that she must go nonetheless. She begs for a chance and he orders her away, both fraught with conflict. In the woods, she pines for him. He reminds himself that he cannot make him as he is. She returns and they embrace. She is willing to share his burden, and begs him to love her. She agrees to whatever the cost. He sinks his fangs into her neck. Maggie comes downstairs. He says Roxanne will now go to the police. He wants her to use her psychic powers to tell them where Julia is. Using Julia’s scarf, she reports that the woman she sees is dead. But it must be someone else’s scarf because Julia is still alive. Grieving, however, Barnabas sends her away. She goes to Stokes, where he tries to recruit her. He attacks her and finds the bite marks. He now knows her secret! Barnabas is a vampire. Meanwhile, Maggie at last leaves Collinwood to be with Quentin. He leaves as well. Julia continues to be a dying prisoner, having at last gotten the hang of it.
Smashing. It’s been three years in the making, but Barnabas finally gets a woman pining for him! What a welcomed inversion. DARK SHADOWS broke new ground by featuring an often powerless hero pining for the princess in the tower. Again, one of the things that moved the show. But in real life, Jonathan Frid was a bewildered sex symbol. How to finally address that, and also provide a surrogate for his legions of fans? Just like this.
(Episode 1053 aired on this date.)