Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Dark Shadows Daybook: JANUARY 8


Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 406

Can Angelique cure Barnabas of the curse before he escapes to Josette and rises again? Angelique: Lara Parker. (Repeat. 30 min.)

After cursing Barnabas, Angelique immediately regrets her choice and tries to cure him, despite his desire to flee to Josette. Meanwhile, Josette’s neck bleeds exactly where Barnabas’ own bat bite wounds are. Angelique tries to restrain Barnabas, explaining to Ben that if he rises, he’ll become one of the living dead.

The threat of indentured servitude didn’t do much to dissuade Ben Stokes from murder, but at the time, he didn’t know he’d also have to referee for Barnabas and Angelique. Through serving as marriage counselor-by-default, he comes across as the real hero of the episode, and in a weird way, so does the witch, herself. There is a nuance in the Dark Shadows story that gets lost, and it’s in 406. Angelique really wants to undo her curse. Is it selfish? Well, in the words of Mother Theresa, isn’t everything? Your Honor, in defense of Angelique Collins, I submit that she had been shot at the time said curse was laid. Who among us does not have fairly strong feelings about a musket ball burning a hole through his chest and ruining his best neglige? She didn’t know she’d wake up and still be married to him. If she had known, she would have cursed him with the scent of bay rum and to always like her friends, no matter how late they stay over watching reruns of The Real Housewives of Logansport while drinking his Drambuie without replacing it. But she didn’t know, and that’s why he’s becoming a vampire.

Nothing on the show is as simple as it would seem, nor is it easy. Angelique continues to haunt Barnabas with the kind of searing hatred that can only be attributed to true love. I continue to wonder about her inability to remove the curse in 1796, but then kind of be able to in 1897, and totally be able to in 1840. My guess is that her powers increase and diminish depending on her standing with Diabolos and how much energy it takes her to travel. The Angelique that cures Barnabas without so much as a Samantha Stephens nose-twitch has the benefit of being on Diabolos’ good side over 45 years of wandering the countryside generally doing evil and staying out of church. Those batteries are full, as is the case for any magic user who hangs around Michael Stroka for long. But when we later meet her, the temporal journey has taken a lot out of her… and she has no interest in mercy. In that timeline, she skipped 1840 without Barnabas’ return. Warren Oddson speculated on Angelique’s timeline in a fantastic essay in the 1840 Concordance. In it (to my memory), he posits that Angelique’s timeline goes... 1795-1840, 1968, 1897, and finally 1970. This means that the 1840 Angelique is possibly the most powerful version -- not as experienced, but not as ravaged by time travel, stints in Hell, and diabolic deals for parole.

As their history continues, Barnabas only tries to kill her occasionally, kind of like an incredibly patient parent who nevertheless has a breaking point. For the most part, he puts up with her rather successfully when we know full well she’s only one tiki torch away from being a stain on the road. Her insistence on curing him in this episode, to the extent of trying to keep him from packing and leaving, must have influenced his indulgence, despite his statements to the contrary. I feel for Angelique. We’ve all had moments of overreaction followed by the inability to retract it. What follows (for the series) is not only continued anger at Barnabas, but anger at herself, as well. His survival is a constant reminder of her wrath, and the memory of her wrath is the memory of its inspiration. He won’t love her. But he also won’t have the decency to die and stop reminding her of the curse. Of course, she is the curse’s ultimate victim, and perhaps that is as much a motivation for the cure as anything. Say what you will, but she loves him.

This episode was broadcast Jan. 15, 1969.

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