By PATRICK McCRAY
Taped on this date in 1970: Episode 923
Death, bearing the name of “Mr. Best,” arrives at Amanda’s flat to remind her that her contract for extended life is almost up. He grants her seven more days to persuade Quentin to declare his love for her. Later, Julia agrees to help by finding an image of Quentin that will jar his memory. Sabrina persuades Carolyn to visit Delaware-Tate’s home where a man was murdered that full-moon evening. Julia also arrives and when Sabrina suggests that she knows the identity of the killer, Julia slugs her and has Carolyn take her away. As they wait to go back to the hospital, Sabrina tells Carolyn that she is still in love with Chris. Meanwhile, Julia finds out from Amanda that the painting of Quentin now has another painting over it -- called “A View of South Wales.” Julia travels out to a secluded, Maine island to meet the owner, a publishing tycoon named Sky Rumson. He shows her the painting, and then he shows her a painting of his wife… the image is of Angelique.
In the last gasps of the creative boom of 1969, the writers send the year off in high style. Having met Satan (aka, “Diabolos”) and Elder Gods for Before Time Itself (Oberon and Haza), why not bring in Death, himself, as an antagonist? It always made me wonder about the hierarchy of evil in DARK SHADOWS. Arguments can be made for any of those big three as being the eldest. This is swift moving episode of high stakes (Amanda vs Death) and intrigue, with Julia traveling all over Maine to track down Quentin’s painting. That it should be capped off by the introduction of Geoffrey Scott as Sky Rumson? Well, let’s just say that it makes 923 memorable for whole new reasons. In all of DARK SHADOWS, no one actor has a style as memorably unique as Scott’s. His career is still chugging away, and he’s matured into his strengths, working with A-list directors like Ang Lee. Quite the athlete, he even recovered from having both legs crushed in a cycling accident. But the episode’s cliffhanger? One of DARK SHADOWS best zingers, and none too soon. December is a good time to be Lara Parker. She’s involved at this time of year in 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1970.
It’s a great time for movies. We’re only four days away from the world premier of ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE, arguably the best film in the James Bond series and one of the more faithful adaptations.