By PATRICK McCRAY
Taped on this date in 1970: Episode 1127
Desmond scrambles away from Judah’s empty coffin, concluding that he may walk once more. Meanwhile, Gabriel hectors Samantha about Quentin’s return and the romantic decision awaiting her. Desmond now realizes that the head of Judah Zachery is missing, too. Leticia is glad, but Desmond is driven to find all of him. Although Gabriel tries to bully him into revealing what he found in the cemetery, Desmond keeps quiet. Quentin interrupts, and once alone with him, Desmond reveals that Tad and Samantha are back… and that he’s brought Quentin the now-missing head of Judah Zachery. At Rose Cottage, Gerard attempts to romance Samantha, but is interrupted by Leticia. Quentin and Desmond remain firm in their desire to find Judah, although Desmond senses that the head is detached. Samantha, having sent for Gerard, meets with him and Quentin in the drawing room. She has decided the man with whom she will share her heart.
It’s an odd feeling to dismiss an episode with, “You know, it’s a soap opera.” And when there’s a missing head and missing headless body both on the loose, and they may or may not be joined, it’s ridiculous to try. It’s just a shame that there’s not more headless action. Episodes without core characters from the prime universe can be tough to love. 1897 feels like it takes its time getting to that point, and we’ve logged so many episodes with Quentin in the 1960’s that he basically counts as a prime character. But I think this explains the sometimes-technical feel that PT and 1840 can sometimes have. Within that unfamiliarity are gems. In this case, Christopher Pennock as the anti-heartthrob, Gabriel. God, I feel bad for his teenybopper fans. It must have been bizarre to go from Sebastian Shaw to this. Of course, Pennock is delighted, and Gabriel is perhaps his best opportunity as an actor as theatricality meets acid wit. A thoroughly despicable cad, Gabriel emerges as a platinum-plated curmudgeon before he leaves the show with a verbal wit unmatched since Blair and Petofi.
Today is one of the sadder ones in the Daybook as we note the death of Dennis Patrick, who died on this day in 2002. He appeared in 49 episodes as Jason McGuire and 19 episodes as Paul Stoddard. He’s marvelous in both roles. On the same day, we lost Keene Curtis, who voiced Judah Zachary. A fixture of TV for two decades, he was also an Obie and Tony winner.