By PATRICK McCRAY
Taped on this date in 1967: Episode 341
Barnabas appears to Julia and Woodard as they confront one another. Barnabas explains that Woodard cannot be allowed to live, while Woodard counters that he will destroy himself if made a vampire. At a true moral impasse, Barnabas orders Julia to kill Woodard. Unable to do so herself, Barnabas takes the deadly syringe. Woodard almost escapes by convincing Barnabas that Sarah is near, and when Barnabas becomes aware of the deception, he flies into a rage and rams the needle deep into Woodard, ensuring that the sun will never shine there again. He is dead. Meanwhile at the Blue Whale, Sam and Sheriff Patterson discuss Woodard’s odd behavior. Amidst the appearance of a bat outside the bar, the decide to visit Woodard’s office, where they find his body. At the Old House, Julia sulks at being a murderer. She plans to leave, but Barnabas tells her to man up; he’s her only friend, now. She’ll get used to what she’s become.
If you’re a fan of HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS, and if you like your Barnabas cold, ruthless, amoral, and yet obsessively sentimental about the past, then you’ve come home! He is stunningly badass in this installment, and in the arc of his character, I think that’s a function of the nihilism he’s found. Will he have Josette? Probably not. Will he have friends he can trust? Probably not. Does Dr. Hoffman seem competent enough to pull off a cure? I doubt it. Why doesn’t he kill himself? That’s a wonderful mystery. But he keeps going. I think he has a streak of frustrated coward in him, and Julia and Woodard are safe people to terrorize. Either way, it’s a masterpiece of furiously bleak passion. Easily one of Joe Caldwell’s better scripts, again filled with dialogue that sure as heck sounds like the fear people have over coming out of the closet. Just go back and listen to Barnabas and Woodard speaking of his dread secret that dare not speak its name.
We’ve bid farewell to Dana Elcar as Sheriff Patterson. In the beefcake department, I’m not sure the show ever recovered. Now, we find Patterson played by Angus Cairns, who could only take the pressure of filling Elcar’s dance belt for two episodes before departing. Cairns was best known as a steady Shakespearean actor in New York, appearing in everything from Eva LaGalliene’s THE TEMPEST (with the pioneer, African American stage star, Canada Lee) to KISS ME KATE. Peter Murphy, who would also play the Caretaker and Woodard’s Ghost, shows up in the bar. Maybe he still is the Caretaker. Maybe that’s some sort of astral superhero, and he’s at the Whale in his human form. The series’ house has many mansions.
And it was a spectacularly quiet day in history, although Rob Selby was born. A future professional athlete, he is no relation. (Look, it’s either that or news of a Yoko Ono art exhibit, which I swore I wouldn’t bring up. So I didn’t. You’re none the wiser.)