By PATRICK McCRAY
Taped on this date in 1967: Episode 323
Maggie’s trap works. As she “slumbers,” a man approaching her bedroom is shot five times. However, that man turns out to be Willie Loomis, who is quickly ushered to the hospital. While everyone is glad that the Strangler’s identity is known, the fact that it’s Willie seems to defy their expectations for how imposing he should be. Patterson visits Barnabas, forlorn over Sarah’s denial of affections, to seek information on Willie, and as the meeting continues, Barnabas learns that Willie fell into a trap. Barnabas visits Maggie to give his best wishes and finds that she still has no clear memory. He later worries what Willie might say if he emerges from his coma. Not only that, but David may also speak about what he has seen at the Old House. Barnabas has no shortage of anxieties.
A quiet day in Collinsport between the shots fired by Sheriff Patterson and his men. It is notable primarily for one of the most endearingly ludicrous moments from the show -- Willie’s ability to take five bullets to the back and only need a coma to sleep it off. It just goes to show that you can’t keep a good Willie down. Of course, it’s also the birthday of Blue Whale barfly, Alan Feinstein, as noted earlier.
DARK SHADOWS sister series, STAR TREK, debuted today in 1966. Not only would it go on to share the talents of Collinsport alumni like Art Wallace, Kathryn Leigh Scott and Mitchell Ryan, but it shared a similar spirit. Both shows feature humans standing resolute in the face of the unknown. Both shows use creatures from fantasy to address contemporary concerns. Both shows celebrate the other, it’s just that with DARK SHADOWS, it’s up to the viewer to embrace it, because the characters don’t quite yet know how. In DARK SHADOWS, the oddities are usually obsessed with becoming normal, and the audience recognizes a larger irony that is decidedly Roddenberrian. At Collinwood, the differences which define the “monsters” are more than controllable; they are what often save their friends and loved ones. DARK SHADOWS is a very dedicated meditation on otherness and loneliness, but a meditation that ultimately unifies the audience in the understanding and support of the monsters. They may never fully love themselves, and while that’s sad, it’s also okay. We love them. We understand them. And if we’re paying attention, we carry that forward away from the TV.