By PATRICK McCRAY
Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 487
Julia can barely contain herself. Driven by the compulsion of the dream curse, she knows that if she tells Mrs. Johnson, death will wind its way to Barnabas. Every time Angelique moves forward, Julia falls back. No more, she decides. The line must be drawn here. This far. No further. Finally, an urge deeper than fear overtakes her. It is the primal need first triggered when she heard the name, “Stokes.” After slyly wrangling his address from Victoria, perhaps another of the professor’s nubile conquests of the mind, Julia boldly goes where so many women, consumed by the flames of need, have gone before… to the professor’s most intimate chambers on the appropriately named “Arrowhead Road.” He welcomes her into his home. Can she welcome him into her heart? A dreamboat, himself, Stokes is well-versed in the most exotic and dangerous of nocturnal, bed-bound phenomena, and the dream curse is no exception. With a wistfully sad and familiar twinkle in his eye, Stokes knows that he may -- may -- one day have the ready promise of Julia’s body, but her heart belongs to the intended and ultimate victim of the curse. Meanwhile, Jeff and Barnabas lock horns for the hand of Vicki as Jeff, still struggling with amnesia, learns that the late Dr. Lang secretly felt Jeff had no homicidal tendencies. Barnabas pushes Julia to continue with her injections and the research into Lang’s work … research that may cure him forever.
A serviceable episode where we learn that Jeff is benign, Barnabas wears jealousy on his sleeve, and Stokes continues to be a writer’s darling. Acid-tongued and nobody’s fool, Stokes has all of the devil-may-care wit and know-it-all flippancy of a villain, but in the role of a hero. Heroes are rarely allowed to be this far ahead of the villains. That’s a cowardly trend of bad writing. Stokes defies this, and emerges as, perhaps, DARK SHADOWS’ most original, sharp, amusing, and memorable character. They show a Nicholas Blair-level confidence in his earliest days, and he and Blair will be well-matched. A shame they don’t have an actual showdown. Even better is Thayer David. After years of playing brutes and grunting, uncivilized Harvard men, his Stokes has the warrior heart of a true Whiffenpoof. Ironic, since David had been a Harvard student, and reportedly a handsome one. No surprise.
On this day in the year 1968, CHS spiritual advisor, the Church of Satan, was two years and a day old. Yesterday, April 30, is known as Walpurgisnacht, the witch’s night. For some, the wickedest night of the year, it’s also a high holiday for the secular church and the anniversary of its founding by Anton Szandor LaVey in 1966.