By PATRICK McCRAY
Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 494
Willie brings a sulking Adam food, but he throws the tray aside and Willie scrams. Later, Julia says that she must continue with the experiment, and Willie is left little choice but to return to Adam’s cell. Adam seizes shiny buttons off of a garment and delights in them. To entertain him further, Willie triggers the secret door in the cell that conceals a vault of various jewels of Josette’s. Willie keeps Josette’s earrings, and slips into Maggie’s home, placing them in her purse. Upon his return, Julia chides Willie, and threatens him with a return to Windcliff should he go absent again. Maggie finds the earrings and falls into a strange reverie. As night falls, Adam grows agitated. Julia plays Adam Dr. Lang’s tape of music, unknowingly with the message… that Adam begins to memorize. Hearing Lang’s voice, Adam says his first word: Barnabas!
You’re only going to get so trusting of Willie. Still, this episode is a marvelous audition reel for Karlen. What a demonstration of his range. Willie’s resentment leads him to suicidal risks. More, it allows us to have it both ways. We feel for Willie, and then we see him bully Adam, switching our affections. In classic Frankenstein tradition, both the Creature and the Igor/Fritz character are cast into new lives by the Doctor figure. Both can benefit from the biological and social steps up, but do either of them want them? Probably not. Repeatedly, DARK SHADOWS deals with the dangers of exploiting the underclass while making think they’re eating at the big kid’s table. Usually, the upper class gets its hat handed to it. Not everyone is Vicki. On the other side of that coin is Angelique. For every Ben Stokes, there’s a Willie Loomis. A Crazy Jenny. An unhinged Beth. A Dirk Wilkins. A Gerard Stiles. It never quite works. Well, as we see with Angelique, the ultimate triumph, it can work, but it takes time. It takes care, listening, compassion, and a mix of acceptance with encouragement to be more. Out of everyone at Collinwood, Barnabas and Carolyn are the most adept at sharing the wealth.
Today is the birthday of Philip Cusak, the actor who played Abraham Howell (the third) in the 1897 storyline. Episodes 819-821. Petofi digs up his body, steals his hand for another scheme, and then his ghost haunts Aristede (until banished by the Fearsome Fop). I really love this show.