Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: February 21


By PATRICK MCCRAY

While searching Quentin’s room, Barnabas discovers a stunned Amy, an old journal, and Quentin’s I Ching wands. Later, Amy explains that Quentin wants to transform David into Jamison, although that will lead to his death. Maggie rescues David from Collinwood, only temporarily breaking Quentin’s hold on him. By the time they get back to the Old House, he is in a coma. Barnabas asks Stokes to use the I Ching wands to communicate with Quentin. When Barnabas throws a pattern, it is the #49th… the Hexagram of Change. When he concentrates on it, he has a vision of coffin as his astral body splits from his physical one.

1897 begins, and as storytelling goes, it inaugurates DARK SHADOWS’ wildest, most entertaining, and most intriguing stint, and it does so with an episode emblematic of the mystery and sense of risk that defines the coming storyline. 1897 goes on for almost all of 1969, and is DARK SHADOWS’ own spinoff. Several years ago, I was stunned to learn that many fans have a cold shoulder to share with 1897. No, it doesn’t connect to The Whole Josette Thing, although she shows up in her most vital reincarnation there. This storyline is about Barnabas as a Man in Full. It’s 1795, but with a year of swagger under its belt. Guy fools around on a girl and gets turned into a monster over it… but it saves his soul. Sound familiar? It should. But in 1897, there are differences. It takes more chances because the writers know they can. Barnabas is an observer here, trying to mitigate the extent of the damage that similar circumstances once had on him. He’s now protector of the family because he is at once completely intrinsic to it and completely disposable. Barnabas savors the view from the top. Now that he’s complete, what’s he made of? When it’s taken away, what remains? What need still exists? Questions to be answered a year and a half later, in 1840.

It’s the birthday of George Mitchell, the first actor to play Matthew Morgan. His Matthew was a dour, sharp, fierce opponent. More of a scalpel to Thayer David’s hammer. He only appeared three times, but his work created the severity of the stakes in this universe. He can also be seen on THE TWILIGHT ZONE and in THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN. On this day in 1969, Time Magazine devoted its cover to figuring out what’s wrong with modern medicine. Medicine isn’t what it used to be. It seems it never was.  

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