When Adam went over the cliff at Widow’s Hill, I wondered if that would be the end of him. The late Dr. Lang’s recorded message about Barnabas becoming a vampire with Adam’s death is heard once again at the end of that episode. Would Barnabas begin to feel the effects with the next sunrise?
Apparently not. The next episode begins with Barnabas and Willie searching the rocky beach at the foot of the cliffs for signs of Adam. Barnabas says that he somehow feels certain that Adam isn’t dead. Considering the connection between the two, he’s probably right about that.
Before we continue with that story, there are a couple of other subplots we need to go back and catch up on.
First, some episodes prior to Adam’s last escape, Barnabas tried another sort of experiment to determine what the connection was between Cassandra/Angelique and her self-generated portrait. He took the portrait over to local artist Sam Evans and paid him generously to touch it up, making the young woman old… very old.
Sam starts slowly, with a few wrinkles and gray hair, but soon has the portrait looking like a 200-year-old woman. And, just as Barnabas hoped, every brush stroke to change the painting changed Cassandra/Angelique in the same way. She became an ancient-looking woman and had to go hide in the garden under a hooded cloak to avoid being seen by her new husband Roger or anyone else in the family.
But, as I’ve noted before, Angelique is smarter than Barnabas. It didn’t take her long to find out who exactly he would go to for this type of artistic job. A cloaked figure showed up soon afterwards at Sam’s door to make him stop working on the painting. When he refused, she put a spell on him to make him go blind, then grabbed the portrait off the easel and ran. The next time we saw her a few episodes later, she appeared as youthful as before. Sam has been blind since and is understandably bitter about Barnabas bringing this upon him.
Second, the dream curse has continued. Dr. Hoffman was finally compelled to tell the housekeeper Mrs. Johnson about her dream, then the dream passed on from Mrs. Johnson to David to Willie, adding what looks to be stock footage from a nature film about bats and an unconvincing spider web with a large spider.
Willie first dreamt about Carolyn on the night she’d been carried off by Adam. Several days passed before she was rescued and, since he had no opportunity to talk to her, the horror of the dream and the desire to talk about it continued to build up in his mind. It repeats every night until the dreamer tells the next person.
Never in the most mentally stable frame of mind even at the best of times, Willie is eventually driven over the edge by the repetition; on the very night that Carolyn returns home and has just settled to sleep in her own bed, Willie climbs in through the window to tell her about his dream. Considering the experience the poor girl’s just been through, this doesn’t go at all well for him. She starts screaming before he can even finish telling her the part about the knock on the door, and Willie is forced to retreat back out the window before her mom comes to the rescue.
Elizabeth wants Willie arrested and sent back to the asylum, but Professor Stokes and Dr. Hoffman convince Carolyn to hear him out and go through the dream herself under controlled circumstances. They have devised a plan to put a stop to the curse: instead of Carolyn dreaming about Barnabas, which would bring death to him, she will dream about Professor Stokes. Which she does. In Carolyn’s version of the dream, when she opens the last door, she sees her own tombstone with the date of death given as July 15, 1968 (the episode aired in May).
When Stokes has the dream the next night, he directs it rather than being led through it helplessly. He forces the person who knocks at the door, Sam Evans, to speak to him. He recites the poem himself and he refuses to open any of the doors in the drapery-strewn corridor. Angelique then emerges from behind one of the doors and confronts him. She addresses him as if he were his ensnared ancestor Ben and tries her usual spells on him, but he isn’t affected by them. Has the dream curse been broken?
After the professor awakes, there is a knock at his door. He answers it to find Sam Evans standing there in dark glasses and with an apologetic Joe Haskell escorting him. Sam and the professor have never met before, although Stokes did talk to Sam’s daughter Maggie about her dream. Sam claims that he’s been compelled to come to Professor Stokes’s house to hear what he has to say, but Stokes refuses to tell him anything and sends him away.
When he returns to his own cottage, Sam discovers that one of the windows has been left open, even though Joe said that he’d shut them all before escorting Sam out. It seems that Sam has a visitor waiting inside for him. Guess who? That’s right: Adam is alive and well after all, though somewhat bruised by his fall.
Remember that scene in Bride of Frankenstein where the monster meets a blind man who treats him kindly? Sam does not offer Adam a cigar. He isn’t even going to make espresso. But he does tend to Adam’s injuries, feeds him, and gives him a place to hide since Maggie is away. During the next day or two, he even teaches Adam a few more words and tries to teach him to paint.
Meanwhile, the professor and Dr. Hoffman continue their efforts to destroy Angelique’s power. For reasons that are not entirely clear to me, Stokes has decided that the witchfinder who failed to find Angelique back in the 18th century and persecuted Vicky instead would be a helpful ally. He knows from the local history that the Rev. Trask wrote a letter retracting his accusations and then disappeared mysteriously; using the tattered remnants of his ancestor Ben Stokes’s memoirs and filling in a few gaps in the text, he’s worked out that Trask was bricked up behind a wall in the cellar of the old Collins house by the Barnabas of that era. Stokes, of course, doesn’t know that it’s the same Barnabas. Julia Hoffman does, and even knows why Ben Stokes refers to that part of the cellar as the “coffin room,” but she is able to gain him access to the very spot.
While Barnabas and Willie are still out searching for Adam, Dr. Hoffman, Stokes, and a guy named Tony Peterson go into the cellar of the old house to hold a séance. We haven’t had one of those in awhile.
Who’s this Tony Peterson? I haven’t mentioned him before, but he’s been on the show for awhile. He’s a lawyer in Collinsport. Back before the time-travel sequence, he was Carolyn’s boyfriend. Dr. Hoffman entrusted him with her notes on her experiments with Barnabas for safe-keeping. More recently, he’s been seduced and entranced by Cassandra to do her bidding: he helped her to steal the amulet that protected Dr. Lang from her spells, for example, and he was the one who told her that Barnabas would most likely hire Sam Evans to alter her painting. Right after Stokes broke her dream-curse, she sent Tony to kill Stokes, but the wiley professor has thwarted her plans once again. Though he finds the idea that he’s been under a witch’s spell hard to believe, Tony is willing to join forces with the doctor and professor to get rid of her.
Tony, by the way, is played by Jerry Lacy–the same actor who played the walled-up witchfinder Trask.
They hold their séance in the “coffin room” and it’s no surprise that the spirit of Trask chooses Tony to speak through. One of the cellar walls suddenly bulges outward and the bricks fall away to reveal a skeleton chained up in the recess behind. What is surprising is that the skeleton disappears a minute later when the trio isn’t looking at it. Tony insists that there’s still a presence in the room, but since they see no further manifestations, the party breaks up and everybody goes home.
Barnabas returns a short while later and does encounter Trask–in full physical form and looking for revenge. Barnabas tries to claim that he’s not the same man, only an ancestor of that earlier Barnabas Collins, but the witchfinder doesn’t buy it. The next thing you know, he’s grabbed Barnabas by the shoulder with what looks like a painful Vulcan neck-pinch to subdue him, then chained him in the recess behind the fallen brick wall.
Trask then summons up a jury for a trial, made up of Barnabas’s very first victims: the head-bandaged Jeremiah Collins, whom Barnabas shot in a duel, plus two of the colonial-Collinsport trollops, Nathan Forbes, and his first wife.
Did I mention that the treacherous Nathan was played by Joel Crothers, the same actor who plays Maggie’s boyfriend Joe? Well, he is, and that makes two actors playing both their 1795 and their 1968 roles in this same episode.
Dr. Hoffman returns to the house and demonstrates that she is not only a woman possessed of keen intelligence, but of exceptional bravery.
Hearing maniacal laughter coming from the cellar, she goes downstairs to see what’s going on (okay, perhaps not the brightest thing she’s ever done). When she gets there, she finds no one. Trask and the ghostly jurors are gone. But that crumbled wall which concealed Trask’s skeleton has been bricked up again.