Friday, August 4, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: August 4


Taped on this date in 1969: Episode 816

Barnabas is now the captive of Petofi, who chains his coffin. Petofi says their battle will continue until Barnabas gives up his mission to the past, attacking those in 1897 and in 1969. Petofi may begin his attack with the use of a single name: David Collins. Petofi enters a trance, commanding Jamison Collins to meld minds with David Collins. Jamison awakens with David’s mind, calling Nora “Amy” and demanding she call Quentin’s ghost on the phone. He has no idea it’s 1897.  When Tim Shaw is unable to get the package left with Amy, Quentin tells him to go to the abandoned mill. An awakening Jamison thinks he’s dead, and that they are both ghosts. It’s just as the ghost of Quentin promised. At the mill, Tim accosts Aristede with a gun, but Petofi intervenes. Petofi reveals he’s 150 years old, and that the hand is his. He holds it aloft in victory. Petofi may help him seek revenge on Trask for a price. Tim leaves, and Quentin enters with Jamison, imploring the count for help. He explains the possession of Jamison by David. It was a name Jamison mentioned from a dream. Quentin reasons that Petofi owes Jamison a debt for serving as a vessel. Petofi impishly wonders if he will or will not help. Jamison murmurs for Quentin. But how is that possible from a boy from 1969?

This episode would air on the day the Manson murders were announced. Suddenly, I suspect that television horror seemed much safer to the parents of 1969. I wonder if this somehow, even unconsciously, shaped the next storyline. The Leviathans are, if anything, a family. The episode’s highlight for me is Petofi’s impish uncertainty over whether he will or will not help Jamison. Sloppy writing? On the contrary. It is marvelously controlled chaos. Petofi is one of TV’s true original characters, reflecting the ripe ingenuity of the show’s writers. He is like Kramer in his wondrous uniqueness. I envy audiences of 1969. This is no longer a soap opera; it is grand opera... with a libretto by Stan Lee.

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