Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Dark Shadows Daybook: April 11


Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 473

Roger enters with his new wife in tow, a dead ringer for Angelique named Cassandra. Brittle conversations ensue as Roger and Liz fume at one another and Cassandra pretends to have no idea who Barnabas is. The episode ends with Cassandra alone, tintinnabulating a familiar laugh.

I think everyone has at least one Angelique.

As she returns (for the first time) in 473, we get the feeling why. That’s a tribute to the script by Sam Hall and the everything else by Lara Parker.

Barnabas has been dreading it, but even with the bizarre stuff he’s seen in Martinique, 1795, and the Sixties, I don’t think he believes she will actually reappear. As he opines that witches never die, etc, I think he’s doing it so that he can turn around and say, “Well, guess I was wrong. Ding-dong and all that.”

It’s hard not to impose inner monologues while watching the show, perhaps because Angelique is a living Rorschach blot of a character, drawing out the true intentions from everyone she meets. Wonder Woman needs a lasso. Angelique just needs to stifle a judgy little laugh. Whether it’s lust, violence, respect, or jealousy, the veils come off of others in her presence. And that’s such a refreshing thing on the show. Everyone else is dedicated to keeping and/or inducing secrets. Yes, she’s awfully evil, but she’s evil in the name of love, and we all have impulses to go there once or twice in our lives. And each audience member secretly knows that as long as they weren’t in her way and kept up some lively chat, they’d be spared, right?

It’s her ultimately romantic intent that redeems her. Do any of us really dread that she’s back? No. Finally, a woman at Collinwood who knows the score. Heck, just SOMEone at Collinwood who knows the score.  She’s what we’ve been waiting for since Jason McGuire -- an agent of action, change, humor, awareness, and love. I just imagine, alone with Angelique for the first time in 473, Barnabas sitting down with her and catching up on “how crazy it’s all been” before remembering she’s a monster he’s obligated to hate.

Lara Parker really must be given ample credit for this effect. The good stuff, not the monster part. Holding multiple college degrees, beauty rarely seen this side of the Louvre, and a balance of genteel, southern refinement and canny, metropolitan wisdom, Parker enlivens the wickedest dialogue with equal parts pathos and play with unerring instincts.

Her arrival signals the last major tonal shift we’ve been awaiting in the show, and you saw it here, first. Up to now, it’s a story about 1960’s mortals interacting with gods. With Angelique joining Barnabas to form the dysfunctional, time trekking, immortal First Couple of Collinwood, the situation is now reversed. The story of DARK SHADOWS is finally one of gods weaving through fields of mortals. That’s an important factor to consider when passing moral judgment on Barnabas and Angelique. They may have impossible crimes, but they also have impossible spans of time to pay impossible prices. Us? Short timers.

On this day in 1968, Lyndon Johnson signed the 1968 Civil Rights Act.

This episode hit the airwaves April 17, 1968.

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