Dark Shadows: Kitty

Back before Quentin switched bodies with Count Petofi, a new subplot began to develop concerning a visitor to Collinwood–Kitty, Lady Hampshire, recent widow of Edward Collins’s old friend, the Earl of Hampshire. She showed up at Collinwood ostensibly on her way back from England to her mother’s home in Pennsylvania. In spite of the title, she’s an American.

Her ultimate aim, however, is to obtain a new husband. Edward is a recent widower himself, and Kitty is under the impression that he’s master of Collinwood. He isn’t; the property actually belongs to his sister Judith. And Edward, who only has a home at Collinwood under the terms of his grandmother’s will, believes that Kitty is wealthy. She isn’t; her husband died after suffering some mysterious disgrace–there are hints that Count Petofi had something to do with it–and left her penniless.

Kitty tries on Josette's dress

Kitty is played by Kathryn Leigh Scott, so even though Barnabas Collins only sees her once before he gets staked, he’s immediately convinced that she’s the latest incarnation of his beloved Josette.

For once, it seems that Barnabas has hit upon the right person.

After their one, brief meeting, Kitty has flashes of memories, things she couldn’t possibly know, but that Josette would. She observes right away that the painting of Barnabas is missing from its place in the Collinwood front hall, even though she’s never been inside this house before (Edward took it down once he discovered that his cousin was a vampire). She knows that Barnabas is a vampire before anybody tells her. When she first sees Angelique, she recognizes her with no friendly feelings and a cat fight nearly ensues in the drawing room before the horrified Collinses can intervene.

Kitty is herself again a moment later, and apologizes. She doesn’t know what came over her. After this, she goes back and forth between her own personality and Josette’s.

Kitty confronts the Count with Josette's musicbox When Charity Trask, still believing that she’s the clairvoyant Pansy Faye, meets the visitor, she warns her about a music box that means Death, then hums that old, familiar melody that’s long been associated with Josette.

The music box turns up in Kitty’s room soon afterward, but she thinks it’s all a trick of Count Petofi’s and goes to him to find out what he’s up to. He convinces her that it must be Quentin’s doing (This is before the body-switch; one of the unfollowed-up hints about the late Earl’s demise is that Petofi also gave him a ruby ring, but the Count didn’t switch places with him.)

Other objects also appear–a bouquet of flowers and a book of poems by Robert Burns which Barnabas gave to Josette a century ago and which Kitty just had a dream/memory about.

Barnabas's portrait reappears on the wall.

Then Barnabas’s portrait reappears on the wall.

In her “Josette” moments, Kitty begins to insist that Barnabas is still alive.

I’m sure Barnabas is behind it all, living, dead, or undead.

Kitty gets a note, presumably from Barnabas in whatever spiritual/corporeal state he happens to be in at this point, and finds an old white dress of Josette’s in a trunk. This, she puts on and wanders out to the cemetery where she has a chat with Josette’s late husband, Jeremiah Collins; he warns her that an unspecified “he” will try to kill her.

After all these odd goings-on, Kitty and Charity hold a seance. Terrific! We haven’t had one for awhile, and this is the first for the Victorian-era. Edward reluctantly joins them around the table.

Victorian seance Entering a mediumistic trance, Charity senses a presence among them. A cloaked figure appears the doorway.

The spookiness of this is undermined because exactly this same type of thing has interrupted seances at Collinwood at least twice before. It’s a fake out–the figure never turns out to be ghostly.

This time, the cloaked figure is Judith Collins-Trask, just returning home from her bout in a local sanitarium (and Joan Bennett returns from her five-week vacation, which is why her characters on this show are always going mad and being sent away for long periods once a year.) She’s all better now, and curious to learn what the hell’s been going on at her house while she’s been gone. She also learns from her brother Edward that her devoted husband, the Reverend Trask, has been attentively visiting her at the hospital at least once a week; she’s never seen him there. Where has Trask been going when he leaves Collinwood?

So, no seance at this time, but it’s in the midst of all these events that a bedraggled man who looks like Barnabas Collins comes staggering into Collinsport, pleading for help. The local doctor tends him, and the highly suspicious Edward and Count-Petofi-in-Quentin’s-body go into town to have a look at him. Both are certain that this is the vampire returned.

The man claims that he is the real Barnabas Collins, a distant cousin from England who arrived in New York some months ago. He was on his way to Collinwood to visit his relatives, when he was waylaid and held prisoner by a monster who looked just like him and kept biting him to drain him of blood. He finally managed to escape. He has no teeth-marks on his throat; he claims that they disappeared several days ago.

Edward and Quentin/Petofi remain doubtful and are inclined to stake Barnabas all over again, in spite of the doctor’s protests. But they have to acknowledge that this man isn’t a vampire when they are able to escort him out of the doctor’s office in daylight without harming him.

Where are they taking him? To that not-sealed-up cave by the sea where the vampire’s coffin is.

Barnabas sees himself staked in his coffin

The coffin’s chains have been cut. When the two men open it up to see what’s inside, we finally get to see too.

There’s Barnabas, with a stake in his chest. The other, non-vampiric Barnabas stands beside the open coffin in a not-bad double-exposure effect.

They definitely aren’t the same person.

The Collins brothers take this new Barnabas back to Collinwood and put him to bed in one of the guest rooms, since he had obviously been through a rough time even before they started getting rough with him themselves. Edward believes him now, but other people in the house still have their doubts.

The Reverend Trask drops in to wave a crucifix in his face under the guise of offering prayers. This Barnabas is unperturbed by the cross and thanks the clergyman for his kind thoughts. Charity is likewise nervous at having Barnabas in the house, until she speaks to him and decides that he’s no danger to her.

When Barnabas is well enough to come downstairs, he meets Kitty. Although he claims to be English, he says that he went around in entirely different social circles from Lady Hampshire and never met her before. But he seems to be as enamored with her as Barnabas usually is with any Josette lookalike.

Who is this new Barnabas? Is he the one previously cured of vampirism in the 1960s, who disappeared from the I Ching table, and is now back in time outside his original body? Could he be a whole new version of the character, telling some form of the truth about coming from England? Or is something else going on?


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.