Dark Shadows: Putting Right What Once Went Wrong

Now that she’s got the information about how Quentin Collins died from Beth’s ghost, Dr. Julia Hoffman goes back in time to 1897 herself to tell Barnabas so he can stop it from happening.

Dr. Hoffman chats with Beth's ghostJulia, however, experiences some kind of traumatic event after she goes into her I Ching time-travel trance and passes through four metaphorical doors. When she arrives at late-Victorian Collinwood, she collapses at the front door and doesn’t seem to know who she is.

Edward Collins finds her and brings her into the house. He is baffled by her short hair and short skirt (although her skirt isn’t nearly as short as a younger woman would wear in 1969).

Quentin is with his older brother when they bring this oddly dressed stranger inside. Looking through her coat pockets, he discovers the letter Barnabas wrote her earlier that same evening–and which she received 72 years later. He quietly slips out of Collinwood as soon as he can to find Barnabas locked up in the dungeon at the old house, just as the letter said he would be, and lets him out before sunrise. He also tells Barnabas that his friend Julia has come along with the letter he sent her.

Barnabas in turn tells Quentin how he learned the date of Quentin’s death. But Quentin laughs it off.

When Edward comes over to check on Barnabas sometime later, he finds the cell empty.

While Edward is out of the house, Quentin takes the opportunity to escort the dazed and incoherent Julia Hoffman away to a new location for the show, a place called the Old Rectory. When Barnabas awakes at sunset, he tries to get her to tell him that oh-so important information that she came especially into the past to deliver to him, but her brain is still frazzled and she takes a nice, long nap instead.

This is the evening of September 10, 1897. In a cute little bit of show promotion, the crucial episode aired on September 10, 1969. Will Quentin die before the day/episode is out, or will Julia be able to convey her information to Barnabas in time to save him?

Quentin believes Barnabas’s warnings enough that he’s spent the day locked in his room to avoid being murdered. However, he opens the door for his nephew Jameson and the two have a friendly chat about all the fun things they used to do together when Jameson was little. Reassured of his nephew’s affection, Quentin feels confident that he can venture out…

And he comes downstairs straight into the same scenes we already saw played out when Beth told Julia about the events leading up to his murder.

Well, things don’t turn out exactly the same, although it’s neither Julia nor Barnabas who affects the outcome and alters the course of history. So I don’t know what they’re doing here. Julia’s important information didn’t matter at all.

Julia has been incoherent because half her mind is stuck in 1969. Once she “sees” that David is no longer dead and everything’s fine then too, she awakes fully in 1897. Barnabas introduces her to the living Quentin. She tells Quentin that he looks like his ghost, only not so evil.

So, happy ending, right? Quentin and Beth didn’t die and will not haunt Collinwood; Quentin’s ghost will not possess and eventually kill young David. Everybody gets to go on to live a long and fulfilling life. Even though they didn’t actually do anything to prevent Quentin’s murder, Barnabas’s and Julia’s next leap will be the leap home!

No.

Werewolf PaintingQuentin is now alive and well, but he’s in the clutches of Count Petofi. In addition to providing the Dorian-Gray style painting that turns into a werewolf in Quentin’s place and also keeps Quentin from showing signs of injury and aging, the Count considers that his part in keeping Beth from shooting Quentin means that Quentin owes him big time.

The Count also says that he’s surprised that this kind of thing–women trying to kill Quentin–doesn’t happen more often. He’s evil, but I have to agree with him about that.

The Count is still interested in learning how Barnabas can travel through time, and he wants Quentin to spy on Barnabas for him.

Barnabas has several reasons of his own for wanting to hang around in 1897 a little longer. He wants to find a real cure for the werewolf curse to help Quentin’s future great-grandson, Chris. He’s also curious about that skeleton the children discovered sealed up in Quentin’s room–if it wasn’t his, whose is it? I’m kind of interested in that one too, and can think of at least two good possibilities, one of which has already been alluded to.

As long as Julia’s here in the past with him, he asks her to continue the work she was doing in the 1960s to cure him of his vampirism. As I recall, her efforts didn’t work and it was Dr. Lang who cured him. Besides, the state of medicine and mad science were still quite primitive in the late 1890s. But the doctor gets hold of the chemicals she can and starts giving him injections.

Kitty tries on Josette's dress Also, Barnabas has a more personal reason for wanting to stay where he is. He’s just met the latest Josette lookalike. Her name is Lady Hampshire, Kitty to her friends–which includes Edward Collins. She arrived at Collinwood in mourning for her late husband, the Earl of Hampshire.

I was dreading another bad British accent, but it turns out that the Lady is American by birth. She went to England as a governess and married her employer.

We all know that the position of governess at Collinwood happens to be vacant–and the last one looked exactly like Lady Hampshire.* However, Kitty is aiming for a somewhat higher place. Her husband left her little, and she imagines that Edward is master of Collinwood.

Barnabas only sees her once, and he’s right back on his old, obsessive hobby-horse about the reincarnation of his one true love. He can’t possibly think of going anywhere.

Meanwhile, Quentin has said too much to Count Petofi about Barnabas’s friend at the Rectory and where she came from. Guessing that Julia Hoffman must therefore know as much about time travel as Barnabas does, the Count kidnaps her.

Dr. Hoffman in a boobytrap with a gunAfter a few threats, Julia is willing to talk. She  provides the Count with explicit instructions about using the I Ching wands.

The Count immediately tries it out, and finds only a huge scimitar waiting for him beyond the metaphysical door. He blames Julia, believing that she was trying to trick him. He ties her to a chair rigged with a booby-trap, so that when Barnabas comes through the door to rescue her, a gun pointed right at her will go off.

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*They reuse the cast a lot on this show, and it’s interesting to note when the characters are and are not supposed to look like other people played by the same actor. In this instance, when Barnabas first sees Lady Hampshire, he immediately twigs that she looks like Josette and must therefore be his beloved’s reincarnation; he did the same thing when he first saw Rachel Drummond, although that came to nothing. However, when the rest of the Collinwood household first meets Lady Hampshire, not one of them reacts with surprise that this woman looks exactly like the poor governess who was murdered just a few weeks earlier.

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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.