Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Dark Shadows Daybook: AUGUST 2


Aug. 2, 1966
Taped on this date: Episode: 38

Having heard strange sounds, Victoria looks in the cellar.  Her cover story is a search for books, but Matthew Morgan enters and warns her away from the room from which all are forbidden. She asks Matthew if he’s heard sobbing, and he says it’s the ghost of Josette from behind the door. Matthew becomes violent when she suggests going behind the door. He’s a staunch defender of Liz’s privacy. At the Inn diner, Carolyn greets a breakfasting Burke. He’s reading THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, a character with whom both imply he identifies. They discuss last night’s meeting with Vicki. She subtly suggests that she might compete for his attentions. Alone with Liz, Matthew suggests a dislike for Burke, and Liz informs him that he is responsible for Roger’s accident… at least, the party line she accepts him to tow. It will help the family save face, and Matthew readily agrees. He adds that Vicki is back in the basement looking for books and who-knows-what-else. Liz goes down to confront her. Liz discounts the ghostly sounds. At the diner, Burke dismisses Carolyn’s interests as immature, but she leaves a ring behind to guarantee that he will have to return to visit her from his Bangor trip… a trip he keeps very quiet. It’s been a strange morning for Burke. Shortly around then, Matthew Morgan threatens to kill him if he gives the Collinses grief. At Collinwood, Liz learns that Ned Caulder called in the middle of the night, but she was left asleep. Encountering Carolyn, Vicki learns that she wasn’t the only one to hear Josette’s weeping. She reveals she’s heard it most of her life. Vicki will just need to get used to it. She immediately encounters Liz, who gives her the storeroom key to satisfy her curiosity. She refuses it.

This episode is like Ken Grimwood’s REPLAY. It begins the same way as an earlier installment, with Vicki rummaging around in the basement and Matthew Morgan going ape. It only deviates in slight ways, specifically, the Seduction of Burke Devlin, which even involves leaving something behind (jewelry versus a cane). This ensures that the beloved will be forced to seek them out. Same ploy that Barnabas uses on Maggie. Anyway, the major curve thrown here is the admission of the supernatural by Carolyn. Victoria is finally one of the family when Carolyn officially confirms that the ghost of Josette is heard by all.  Speaking of new, we finally get Thayer David as Matthew Morgan, the first of his staggering nine roles on the show, not counting the film version of Professor Stokes.  Rather than a hard-edged New Englander -- a redneck Bill Malloy -- we get a Matthew Morgan more akin to a cross between Lenny from OF MICE AND MEN and Ed Gein. Matthew 1.0 was too rational to do what 2.0 would later do. Thayer David does obstinate evil better than anyone not running for office.

By the way, this is the second time that Roger’s childhood ROVER BOYS books have been mentioned. This series is a little more pertinent than you might know. It features mischievous boys consigned to a military school. Although they had a lighthearted tone replete with casual racism, the books would have had a very sinister undertone for David. I can’t imagine that Vicki would make a mistake like that. It’s suggested that the books are from Roger’s childhood, so they might be his suggestion. Roger’s so good at giving threatening previews of coming attractions, I’m amazed he’s not followed by Keith Mansfield’s “Funky Fanfare.” But that theme is reserved for T. Eliot Stokes: Pimp.

(Episode 27 airs on this date.)

Aug. 2, 1967
Taped on this date: Episode: 297 

After keeping vigil on Maggie, Sam and Joe share coffee at the cottage, but Joe is worried that the kidnapper will attempt to silence her.  Sam even suggests they move away. Maggie joins them in a chipper mood, surprised they haven’t slept. She chafes at the idea of a cloistered life. They suggest a trip. Maggie refuses to live in fear. Later, she ponders the strange doll. Sarah then appears in her bedroom. Maggie assumes she is a local girl. Sarah says that she misses her, and she was her best friend. Sarah is surprised she doesn’t remember her. The child asks her to play ball and sing ‘London Bridge.’ Sarah says that they’d sing the song when she was sad and locked in a room. Maggie doesn’t remember, and a wounded Sarah runs away. Later, Maggie shows her a sketch of the ‘Sarah’ girl, and Sam draws a blank. Later, Barnabas arrives and finds from Sam that her memory is a blank. Forever. Barnabas asks to see her. Maggie shows no fear toward him whatsoever. Sam leaves them alone, and Barnabas extends his help in any way she needs. She seems changed in no way. She hopes she’d recognize her kidnapper, but it might be too frightening. She relates Sarah’s visit. The disturbs Barnabas deeply. That night, Barnabas visits her at her room as she sleeps. He hears Sarah singing and begs to know what she wants of him.

The Sarah Storyline really, officially, we-mean-it-this-time, begins. With it, the redemption of Barnabas Collins. Remember, the story of Barnabas in one that is only properly understood if you begin in 1795 and move forward. Because of hasty choices and a conflicted heart, events in Barnabas’ life snowball to such an extent that love becomes a punishment rather than a reward. Nowhere is this more poignant than in the denial of Sarah’s love. In a life devoid of love, the quest for power can become the most powerful motive. But Sarah, who refuses to appear to Barnabas, teaches him that the quest for power is no substitute, because it will never grant him what he truly wants. He just wants his sister back. The sister whose impending death propelled him to marry Angelique. The sister who died, anyway. He failed her and he failed himself, and if the true curse of Barnabas Collins is his inability to forgive himself, at least she might be able to do so. That she doesn’t? He is left with no choice but to change. Barnabas Collins must find not only the man he used to be, but one far nobler, wiser, stronger, and worthy of love than he ever knew possible. He must fulfill the potential that Jeremiah showed. He must love as much as his father scorned. He must be model David will never find in Roger. He must be the champion who will inspire Quentin to push through tragedy and unleash the hero within. That’s real power.  Angelique’s curse was as much a gift as a torment. It was a fire that burned away his mediocrity and then his petty impulse for evil’s easy way out. What is left is the true Barnabas Collins, and the one we know from the hundreds of episodes to come after he destroys Nicholas’ equipment to revive Eve and commits himself to his ultimate moral journey.

(Episode 288 airs on this date.)

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