Friday, December 14, 2018

The Dark Shadows Daybook: DECEMBER 14


Taped on this date in 1967: Episode 388

Can threatening the life of an innocent child land a girl the man of her dreams? Angelique is about to find out! Angleique: Lara Parker. (Repeat; 30 min.)

Angelique revels when she cajoles Barnabas into admitting that he hates Josette. His animosity is short-lived, however, and as Trask tries to exorcise Vicki, Barnabas admits that he still loves his former fiancĂ©e. Angelique reacts by threatening Sarah’s life.

Is it any wonder that Barnabas is so obsessed with Josette? Actually, I’m not sure that he is. If he’s obsessed with anything, it’s feeling like more than a dope. The one who’s obsessed with Josette is Angelique. It’s all some bizarre inversion of #MeToo as Barnabas is a vaguely powerless employer at his harassing employee’s beck and call. Not satisfied with destroying Barnabas’ engagement and landing his insincere kisses, Angelique won’t rest until he literally says he hates Josette. The only thing that would have satisfied her more would be if he’d crossed his arms and stamped his feet while he did it. Inevitably, this just makes him morbidly curious about why she hates Josette so much. Nothing drives someone into the arms of a rival like talking about them constantly.

It’s a painful episode for everyone. Angelique is uniquely relentless in her quiveringly ecstatic campaign to force Barnabas to curse his “new aunt” to the rafters. Frid’s native, on-camera jitteriness sells Barnabas’ uncertain commitment, at times looking like he’d rather kiss the Collinsport Afghan than plant one on Angelique. Nevertheless, he later shows more compassion than most when having, I kid you not, a “let’s be friends” treaty with Angelique. As unspeakably cruel as she is this this episode, extending her envious rage even to Barnabas’ kid sister, I can’t fault Angelique for not accepting the demotion. It’s the extent of the refusal that is appropriately appalling. Angelique’s strength lies in her audacity. She is emotion given life, and as such, an anti-Spock… and the Klingon that Martok only thought he was. The character is eventually one of the show’s most admirable. She just has to kill a child, first.

Her threat is so horrific that Barnabas wouldn’t fathom anyone, even Angelique, carrying it out. That’s evil’s secret. It’s shockingly honest. They got it wrong when they stuck Satan with the title, “Prince of Lies.” Lies are small-time and timid. Lies are products of fear. Real evil is fearless, perhaps out of ignorance. Perhaps out of audacity. It not only makes its plans known… it serves them up under glass. It’s anticipation and delivery. Angelique delivers both.

On her part, she learns the eventual decency to make up for it. It’s under strange circumstances… immortality, where the memory of your misdeeds is probably a worse punishment than the agnosticism that accompanies death. Atonement becomes a lifestyle by necessity. Barnabas exists on both sides of the spectrum. He would live -- and not live -- to take her seriously. The guilt, anger, and ongoing memory of powerlessness explains the spectrum of his behavior. Evil used him, so he might as well use it. In for a penny, in for a pound. All of that. And then, like Angelique, a cycle of constant reconciliation. It’s a ruthless contrition for both of them, but contrition anyway. In a story of many breaking points, is this not just a one, but THE one? It can be hard to respect Barnabas as the endlessly complex, troubled hero that he is when you see his actions upon first arriving in the 20th century. He’s become old companions with death. The acquaintance costs him everyone he loves. We know what he goes through to see Sarah again. To have even one of the others back -- Josette, in this case? Yes, murdering strangers to feed, kidnapping to court, and brainwashing to propose? That’s nothing compared to what he feels he condemned Sarah to suffer. This is moral madness, and Angelique is both architect and minotaur. Maybe, his eventual navigator. Unforgivable? Yes, she is. But what else are you going to do? In a life of mortal length, unforgiveness is a luxury. Immortals haven’t the time.

This episode was broadcast Dec. 20, 1967.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...