Dark Shadows: Angelique’s Ashes

Witchy Cassandra/Angelique Collins was banished to some kind of spiritual limbo by the Reverend Trask’s successful exorcism of her. She’s not only disappeared from Collinwood, but her portrait has faded. No one has any idea what’s happened to her.

Then a man arrives, introducing himself as Nicholas Blair, Cassandra’s brother. Since modern-day Cassandra is the same woman as 1700s Angelique, this causes a great deal of surprise and some alarm among the people who know all about Angelique.

Nicholas seems more aware of what’s happened to her than anyone else. He reassures Roger that Cassandra is flighty and likely to go off suddenly and not tell anybody where she’s gone, but there’s an archness to his tone and a double meaning to everything he says, especially when he’s talking to Barnabas. When alone, he speaks directly to the faded portrait as if it were the missing Angelique before conducting his own private investigation to find out where she is. He first goes over to the old house to learn from Willie about the skeleton that’s reappeared in the basement*, then downstairs to chat with the skeletal Trask.

Skeletal Trask. Same skeleton as the sketetal bride above. The reappearance of the skeleton would indicate that Trask believes his corporeal work is completed, but Nicholas has other ideas. He calls up Trask’s spirit to ask what the late reverend did to Angelique. He seems to have some power over the ghost… until Trask whips out a crucifix. Nicholas reacts to the sight of a cross the way that Dracula usually does, but that we’ve never yet seen Barnabas do. Trask then disappears, laughing maniacally.

Soon afterwards, Trask shows up at Collinwood, presumably to warn Vicky about Nicholas, but he’s interrupted when her boyfriend Jeff comes into the room. Jeff not only recognizes the ghostly form of the 18th-century reverend, but calls him by name. To Vicky, this is finally the proof she’s been waiting for that Jeff is really Peter Bradford from 1795.

Jeff has no memory of his life before the late Dr. Lang found him. He knows that Jeff Clark isn’t his real name, but searching up in Portland where he was first found has uncovered no clues about his past. He becomes very upset when Vicky insists that he therefore must have come directly from 1795 to the present to find her and refuses to be hypnotized to find out whether or not she’s right.

It isn’t until after he bumps into Joe Haskell and reacts to Maggie’s boyfriend as if he recalls what a rat-bastard Nathan Forbes was that Jeff begins to reconsider. That night, Jeff/Peter has a dream/memory of Nathan bringing Vicky back to the Collinsport jail after her escape in 1795; Peter swears that he’ll kill Nathan. In his dream, he breaks out of his cell and confronts Nathan at the Collinsport Inn, but when he tries to kill him, Nathan only laughs. “You’re too late,” Nathan tells him. “I’m already dead.”

Jeff’s shouting awakens Joe, who happens to be sleeping on Maggie’s couch in the living room at the cottage. Joe comes into Jeff’s room to see if he’s okay and nearly gets throttled for his trouble. This dream, plus the fact that he did know just who Nathan Forbes was, convince Jeff that Vicky is right; he is Peter.

When Vicky hears about the dream the next morning, she notes that the scenes at the inn and the jail didn’t actually happen as Jeff remembers them and begins to back-peddle. She’s afraid she’s pushed him too much and made him imagine things from her own stories about the past. The young couple agrees to go together to Professor Stokes so Jeff can find out the truth.

Have you been wondering what happened to Adam since he accidentally killed Sam Evans? He was found by Professor Stokes, who has taken him in and taught him to use complete sentences, as well as to read off of flash cards. By the time Jeff and Vicky come to see the professor, Adam can speak well enough to describe how he was chained up at the old house by Barnabas, Willie, and Julia Hoffman. His hatred for Barnabas is greater than for Willie, since he once trusted Barnabas and feels betrayed by him. Adam can even tell the professor something of how he was created, as far as he understands where he was when he first came to exist.

Jeff about to lose his headJeff, while under hypnosis, fills in the rest for Stokes, since he knows exactly what Dr. Lang was up to. Jeff also remembers that whole face-stealing attempt, but he can recall nothing before he began to work for Dr. Lang. So his ostensible reason for coming to Stokes ends up going nowhere.

Joe has his own reasons for visiting the professor; a stickpin accidentally dropped at the Evans cottage convinces him that Stokes has been there during Maggie’s absence since her father’s death and that Stokes is therefore concealing Adam. His detective work’s a bit tenuous, but he happens to be right; when he pays a call with a shotgun, he manages to flush Adam out of hiding.

Adam leads Joe a merry chase up into the grounds of Collinwood, then turns to fight. He strikes Joe down, meaning to do harm this time, then carries him over to the old house.

Joe seemed dead at first–I was thinking “Poor Maggie, and right after her father’s death too!”–but after Adam tosses Joe’s limp body in through the front door at the old house, Dr. Hoffman examines him. He’s not dead, only concussed. Barnabas takes Joe to the hospital with the story that he and Willie found him injured in the woods near the house. They don’t mention Adam.

I thought that Joe would have amnesia, but once he regains consciousness, he speaks coherently to the police about how he tracked down Adam to Stokes’s house and their subsequent fight. The police go to question Stokes, but the professor talks his way out of trouble, claiming that he only gave some food to what he thought was a homeless man.

Rev. Trask exorcises AngeliqueNicholas, meanwhile, continues his own investigation into what happened to Angelique. He has to discover precisely where she was destroyed and where her ashes still are, so that he can restore her.

After he learns about the exorcism, he eventually tracks down the spot where it occurred. It’s Vicky, in a trance, who shows him the place. The unimaginative Reverend Trask tried to exorcise her tied to the very same tree nearly 200 years earlier, although the tree doesn’t look that old to me. (And, if I recall correctly, Angelique burned and blighted that tree to show Trask that Vicky was a witch).

With this information, Nicholas stands over Angelique’s ashy remains and performs a sort of reverse-exorcism. Angelique fades back into view, still tied to the tree.

Conversation between the two once Angelique is fully restored reveals that Nicholas isn’t her brother at all–what a surprise. He seems to be more like her boss, or her master, and states that he allowed her to come back to Collinwood in 1968 in the first place so that she could have her revenge on Barnabas, who managed to escape her in 1795.

Now that she’s back in action, Angelique is determined to carry out her dream curse to the finish. It stopped with Sam Evans, who died before he could tell Vicky about his dream. To get things started up again, Angelique visits Sam’s grave and calls up his spirit. On Dark Shadows, even if your character’s been killed off, it doesn’t mean you’re off the show. Amusingly, Sam is still wearing his dark blind-man glasses in the afterlife.

It takes some coercion, but eventually ghost-Sam agrees to do Angelique’s bidding and appears to Vicky to tell her about his dream. So now it’s her turn.

In Vicky’s dream, when she hears the knock on the door, it’s Barnabas waiting to escort her silently to the corridor with all the draperies and closed doors. Like everybody else before her, once she is left alone, she hears the jingling little waltz tune from Josette’s music box and the poem about opening the doors to find the point of return. She then opens all the doors in turn, starting with the creepy-eyed skull, then the laughing skeleton dressed up as a bride (I just noticed this time that it’s the same skeleton they use for the Reverend Trask–it’s got a very distinctive jaw line), and the guillotine, until she comes to the last door.

Skeletal bride Behind this door is a bright light, and Vicky hears Barnabas’s voice reciting the last lines of the poem:

“Ahead a blazing light does burn,
And one door leads to the point of return.”

Vicky steps through the door into the light, which transports her to the front hall of the old house. Barnabas is lying apparently dead on the carpet.

After Vicky has had the dream, she refuses to tell Barnabas and bring about his doom. Several people speak of how strong-willed Vicky is, and in light of that scene I mentioned awhile ago where she brushed off Barnabas’s attempts to control her, I can believe it. She will hold out as best she can, even though the dream will repeat for her every night until she does speak.

Touched by Vicky’s determination, Barnabas goes to Angelique. Rather than see Vicky suffer, he surrenders. He admits defeat and says that he will be Angelique’s, “as I was at Martinique.” Angelique believes this means he’s promised to love her, ignoring the obvious fact that he’s only sacrificing himself to spare someone he actually cares about. Nicholas, however, doesn’t care about Angelique’s complicated feelings for Barnabas; he allowed her to come back to get revenge, not love, and the curse must go through to its conclusion.

I’m wondering at this point how things will end up for Vicky. I’m pretty sure I’m now past the point where I stopped watching the show as a child, but I know she won’t be around much longer. In several of her interviews on the DVDs, Alexandra Moltke has mentioned that she left the show to have a baby. I’ve been keeping an eye on Vicky’s waistline since she returned to the 20th century.
__________

Willie Loomis and a couple of friends * The scene with Willie right before Nicholas interviews him contains my favorite error in the entire show–no mere flubbing of a line, boom shadow, or glimpse of a stage-hand’s head. Willie is standing in the basement delivering a soliloquy about how the place gives him “the willies” (ha, ha); he is supposed to be alone, but another man is standing just a couple of feet away, clearly in sight until he steps out of camera range.

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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.