By PATRICK McCRAY
Taped on this date in 1969: Episode 871
Barnabas’ suspicions are confirmed; Kitty is the reincarnation of Josette. But when the discovery is accompanied by poltergeist-like activity, Kitty becomes frightened and runs. Later, Angelique introduces Quentin (still in Petofi’s body) to the revived, human Barnabas. She explains that she used a mirror to create a duplicate body for Barnabas. That’s “what” was staked while the real Barnabas retreated to a cave where she methodically cured him over several weeks. Meanwhile, Charles Delaware-Tate is becoming increasingly despondent. Cornered by “Quentofi,” the artist is forced into a trance where he reaches the 1960’s. In the process, Delaware-Tate sees the proper hexagram to allow Petofi access to the future. At last, Count Petofi’s dark designs are within reach.
Everything. This episode has everything. Is it DARK SHADOWS? Hell, yeah. It begins with the realization of Barnabas’ most longstanding desire: to be with Josette. But it can't last. And is that his Uncle Cousin Jeremiah’s ghost thwarting him? So, there. Purists, it rarely gets purer. And for me? Jeez, it's somewhere between Marvel Comics, an AVENGERS episode, and THE WILD WILD WEST. And a Bond movie. Has a villain ever reveled more in the fulfillment of their evil than David Selby’s Count Petofi? He doesn’t just celebrate wickedness. He defines it. This is my DARK SHADOWS. This is the splashy and vulgar comic book that I so adore, and you can’t say such a vision of DS doesn’t exist, because here it is. We get wildly inventive revelations of Barnabas’ triumph over both his curse and those who hounded him for it… and with whom? Angelique, of course, demonstrating the kind of evolving heroism and atonement that will earn that great man’s love two years later… and fifty-six years before. As much as I want to compare it to other things, it is only one thing: DARK SHADOWS. There are episodes that deliver after weeks, months, and sometimes years of buildup and tease, and this is one of them. As a viewer, they are richly satisfying confections, and I hold this one in special regard. It could just be dry exposition, but elements such as Kitty/Josette/Jeremiah and Petofi holding dominion over all are elements that pack the twenty-two minutes with authentic action.
Events of the day? But of course, it’s the birthday of David Collins… Olympic medalist.