Dark Shadows 1795: How Barnabas Became a Vampire (Part 2)

If you were worried about Barnabas’s witchy wife Angelique being buried alive, don’t be. It takes more than a premature burial to keep her down.

Jeremiah buries AngeliqueAngelique is dug up and rescued by the Collinses’ indentured servant Ben Stokes, whom she has ensnared with her spells, before she’s even out of breath.

Unfazed by having a dead man come up out of his grave to try to kill her (I guess that’s just the sort of thing that happens when you’re a witch), she is soon focused again upon her ultimate purpose of making Barnabas love her or else destroying him and his entire family–one or the other; she fluctuates wildly between the two from episode to episode, which makes her motivations seem a tad inconsistent.

Meanwhile, Vicky Winters has been arrested for witchcraft due to her 1960s clothes, her odd behavior while adjusting to being thrown over 170 years back in time but still seeing the same familiar faces all around her, and her foreknowledge of certain events. Also, Angelique needs a scapegoat to draw attention away from herself, and poor hapless Vicky is certainly the best candidate.

Vicky does, however, have a few friends. Naomi Collins is as kind and supportive as Elizabeth Stoddard-Collins always was. She also gains a cute young law student named Peter Bradford as her advocate. Barnabas also believes her innocent–at first because he doesn’t believe in superstitious nonsense like witches, then because he suspects who the witch really is. It’s Angelique’s unwilling henchman Ben who finally gives her away, using his new-found basic literacy skills by writing down her initial for Barnabas; he too is sympathetic to Vicky’s plight.

This is where Barnabas’s downfall truly begins. Once he’s certain that his bride is in fact a witch, Barnabas decides to put a stop to her before she can do any more harm. An attempt at poisoning her wine doesn’t work; a plan to stab her is likewise thwarted. By this time, Angelique is aware of his plotting against her and tells him plainly that if he doesn’t knock it off, Josette will be the next one to die. Instead of giving up his plans when faced with this threat, Barnabas first tries to get Josette safely away from Collinsport before he carries on.

Josette is still grieving for her short-lived husband and resentful of Barnabas for shooting him (not to mention Barnabas’s own immediate, subsequent marriage to her former maid), but the love-spell Angelique had cast over her and Jeremiah is fading now that he’s dead. Her old feelings for Barnabas are reawakening and she does listen to him when he tells her to go as soon as she can… but she doesn’t actually go very far.

Once Josette has left Collinwood for nearby Collinsport, Barnabas ambushes Angelique in the front parlor of the old house, shooting her and wounding her in the shoulder. Angelique retaliates with a curse: everyone who loves Barnabas will die. I just knew this marriage was not going to turn out well.

Barnabas attacked by cartoon bat The next thing you know, a little bat appears. At first I thought it was the classic, cheap special effect, a rubber bat on a string, but on closer inspect I believe it to be animated.

This cartoon menace flies at Barnabas and bites his throat.

Because of this bite, Barnabas falls into a strange and deadly illness. Angelique has one of her emotional flip-flops and tries to save him. She can conceal her own injury (except for a tell-tale bloodstain or two on the parlor floor), but she can’t hide the fact that her husband is dangerously ill; most of the Collinses are soon aware of it and come to the old house to see him. Even Josette returns and hears enough of Barnabas’s feverish babbling to believe that he’s dying because of a witch’s curse, although of course she blames the wrong person.

Josette then goes to the jail where Vicky is locked up and pleads with her to spare Barnabas. She also sneers and is generally hostile to this woman she believes is a witch. This confrontation had to be hard for poor Vicky; not only has she always had a special rapport with ghostly Josette, but living Josette also looks just like Maggie. It’s like having two friends turn on her at once. She tries to reassure Josette that Barnabas will be fine. He’s going to recover and go to England. If Josette doesn’t believe her, she can read all about it in the book about the Collins family that Vicky brought with her from the future. It’s still in her room at the old house.

Josette and her countess aunt do find and read the book, but it doesn’t help Vicky.

Things get a little weird–weirder than usual for this show, I mean.

Recalling the story of Josette’s marriage to Jeremiah from the earlier episodes, I had the impression that after he’d brought her to Collinwood as his bride, the two had actually lived together for some time and she was very unhappy in her new home, leading to whatever happened with Barnabas and her eventual suicide at the cliffs. While watching this 1795 story unfold in a completely different way, I thought that I’d misremembered the details, or else the show’s writers had altered things to suit the new story-line. But the story that Josette and the countess read aloud from the book is exactly as I had recalled it. So it seems that the revisions to the Collins family history are being done inside the show’s own universe. By whom?

Because of these discrepancies between the book and what they know has actually happened, Josette and her aunt are skeptical when they read that Barnabas will live to emigrate to England. Whether she believes it or not, Josette is distressed even more to read the description of her own death in the very near future.

Barnabas doesn’t get better. After dragging it out for a few episodes with moaning and groaning and having his worried family gathered around his bed, he finally dies. Since Joshua Collins is especially anxious that no one spreads rumors that his son died of the plague, he decides to conceal Barnabas’s death and entombs him secretly in the hidden room at the back of the family mausoleum. Joshua’s explanation for this room’s ready existence is that it used to be a hiding place for guns and ammunition during the Revolutionary War. Joshua also declares that he’ll explain his son’s sudden absence by telling everyone that Barnabas has gone on a trip to England. This horrifies Josette, who now thinks that Vicky has played a cruel trick on her.

Now that she’s finally killed Barnabas, Angelique is also upset for reasons of her own.

“Do you know what a vampire is?”

It is Angelique, bless her evil, witchy little heart, who finally uses the V word. She can’t undo her curse now, but rather than have Barnabas continue in his monstrous state, she goes to the hidden crypt, intending to drive a stake through his heart before he can arise for the first time.

Well, we know that Barnabas is in no danger. If he’s alive and well and undead in 1967, nothing’s going to happen to him in 1795.

Angelique arrives just a little too late; Barnabas is up. Once he learns what he’s become, he makes her his very first victim and pops her body into his recently vacated coffin. Ben Stokes, Barnabas’s first Renfield, will dispose of it later.

That’s the end of Angelique… or so we’re lead to believe, for now. But if a premature burial isn’t enough to keep a witch down, neither is a little thing like a vampire’s bite.

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Author: Kathryn L Ramage

Kathryn L. Ramage has a B.A. and M.A. in English lit and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She lives in Maryland with three calico cats named after the Brontë sisters. In addition to being the author of numerous short stories, reviews, essays, and period mystery novellas, she is also the author of a series of fantasy novels set in a dukedom called the Northlands on an alternate Earth whose history has diverged from ours somewhere during the medieval period.