In the alternate reality version of Collinwood, Angelique Collins, who has returned from the dead and is posing as her twin sister Alexis, is working to poison her former husband’s second marriage. She does this in a variety of nasty ways. Fortunately for her, Quentin Collins is a short-tempered and insensitive jerk, and Maggie, the second Mrs. Collins, is a complete wuss so they’re both very easy to manipulate.
Now that Maggie is back at Collinwood, the Rebecca plotline that these three characters are involved in picks up where it left off when she fled the house. We get the Dark Shadows version of the key scene at the costume party, in which the second wife inadvertently wears the same dress as the first, late wife did a year earlier. Instead of Miss Hoffman, the Mrs. Danvers stand-in, tricking Maggie into wearing the dress, it’s Angelique herself who suggests it; as Alexis, she can then say that she had no idea that her sister wore the same outfit at last year’s party. The real Alexis wouldn’t know.
When Quentin sees Maggie just before the party begins, he has a hissy fit, accuses her of doing it deliberately, and storms out of the house. Maggie simply doesn’t have the composure to deal with any of this before the guests start to arrive. The party is a disaster.
Quentin still isn’t back by the time the party ends, and Maggie is a whimpering wreck as she wanders the vast house looking for him. Eventually, she makes her way to Angelique’s room, where her enemy appears to her in ghostly form and tells her how gauche and generally inadequate she is and why doesn’t she kill herself?
Quentin is unapologetic about his behavior when he does finally show up in the morning. This incident creates an enormous rift between him and Maggie; she turns to Cyrus, the nerdy Dr.-Jekyll scientist, as a sympathetic friend and ends up being kidnapped by his Hydish alter ego, John Yeager. Few people care when Maggie disappears. Quentin assumes she’s run off to New York again. Elizabeth is worried about her. Only Barnabas believes that something horrible has happened to Maggie and searches the Collinwood grounds and vicinity.
This is where the alt-universe bodies start to pile up. Like the plots that go into the past, this alternate reality gives the show’s writers opportunities to kill off as many characters as they want, since they aren’t playing for keeps.
Cyrus’s fiancee and lab assistant, Sabrina, has learned his secret and discovers where Yaeger is keeping Maggie prisoner. Before she can phone the police, however, he catches her and strangles her in the drawing room at Collinwood. It’s not his first murder, but Elizabeth witnesses this one and can identify him. Yaeger runs back to basement lab and drinks the last of the antidote to change into Cyrus before the police come to question him. When a police detective does arrive, Cyrus learns that Sabrina has been killed and he knows it’s the end of everything. Knowing he’ll revert to John Yaeger sooner or later, he phones Collinwood to tell Elizabeth that he knows where Maggie is. Then he tries to shoot himself… but it’s too late. He changes back into Yaeger and rushes out to get to Maggie before her rescuers can.
Fortunately for Maggie, Elizabeth has sent Barnabas to the rescue and Yaeger is no match for a vampire. Yaeger’s sword cane does him absolutely no good and he ends up strangled by Barnabas in return. Maggie is cowering in the next room and doesn’t witness this fight, but she is there with Barnabas when this dark-haired, mustached stranger transforms into Cyrus Longworth before their very eyes at his death.
While all this is going on, Angelique has also instructed Miss Hoffman to keep an eye on Barnabas. She’s suspicious of him because he’s suspicious of her, and she’s noticed that he has some supernatural powers to contend with her own.
Miss Hoffman doesn’t have the education of her counterpart, Dr. Hoffman, but she’s as smart. While spying on Barnabas, she puts together enough clues to guess that he’s a vampire, then tests the premise by inconspicuously trying to catch his reflection in a compact mirror while he’s talking to Carolyn. She sees Carolyn, but not Barnabas.
Since she’s already discovered the hidden room behind the bookshelves at the old house, where Barnabas’s coffin is, she heads over the next morning to drive a stake through his heart.
I knew that she was going to be stopped by someone–but the identity of the person who does stop her absolutely delighted me. It’s Dr. Julia Hoffman, showing up just in time to brain her evil counterpart with a poker!
After hanging around in that empty room in the other universe so long, Dr. Hoffman eventually crossed over into the posh room and came right over to the old house to see if Barnabas was there. She’s naturally a bit upset when she realizes that she’s killed herself, but she soon finds an ally in William H. Loomis. She decides to impersonate the late Miss Hoffman so she can spy on Angelique and find out how much she knows.
Angelique has been consulting with her stepfather, Timothy Stokes (“Timothy Eliot Stokes,” as he introduces himself to Barnabas–somebody’s noticed the inconsistency with the character’s first name). He seems more seedy than Professor Stokes, and more fond of his brandy, but he’s also an expert on the occult. There’s no need for Angelique to bring him into her secret; he’s already a part of it. It was his spell that brought about her resurrection. He shows her a woman’s body covered by a sheet that he keeps in a secret room at his house. This woman isn’t quite dead–her lifeforce continues to struggle to survive–but as long as she remains in her present state, Angelique will live. If she wakes, Angelique will die. If she dies, Angelique will die.
Dr. Hoffman discovers this when Angelique falls down in a faint and sends her supposed trusty housekeeper over to her father’s house. Once the doctor understands that Angelique’s continued existence depends on this half-living woman, she and Barnabas plot to kill her and, through her, Angelique. But when Barnabas sees the woman, he can’t bring himself to do it and they end up carrying her off to the old house instead to see if they can revive her.
Meanwhile, composer and Angelique’s old boyfriend Bruno has gone through Cyrus’s effects at the lab in hopes of finding some money so he can skip town. He comes upon a diary in which Cyrus confesses that he lied and covered for his friend Quentin when he signed Angelique’s death certificate; Cyrus saw the hat-pin stuck in the back of her neck but didn’t say anything about it and gave the cause of death as stroke instead. Bruno takes this diary to Alexis/Angelique, who buys it from him for $5,000… after he makes a photocopy of the pertinent page.
After hanging around and waiting for Alexis to take this information about her sister’s murder to the police, Bruno finally phones them and shows them the photocopy. Angelique protests, but it turns out that this is what she wanted all along.
Quentin and Maggie have had something of a reconciliation since Barnabas rescued her and brought her home, but Angelique continues to work on both of them. She leaves her voodoo dolls and other clues lying around to make Quentin think Maggie’s the one who’s been practicing witchcraft, and hints to the highly suggestible Maggie that Quentin murdered his first wife. Originally, she wanted her husband back, but now I think she believes Cyrus’s confession and wants Quentin destroyed along with Maggie. She’s planning to set him up for a murder–but not her own and not Maggie’s.
When the police come to question Quentin about the information in Cyrus’s diary, he learns from her as Alexis that Bruno was the one who found the diary and called them. Ignoring Maggie’s very good advice about phoning his lawyer before he does anything rash, Quentin gets all huffy and indignant and rushes over to the cottage to confront Bruno. Angelique goes quietly upstairs to strangle one of her dolls with an ascot belonging to Bruno (the alt-universe men wear ascots). While Quentin is shouting at him, Bruno chokes and drops dead on the cottage floor just as the police inspector comes in.
Quentin is arrested for the murder of Bruno, and the police are now extremely interested in Angelique’s death. They want to exhume her body, only that was cremated some weeks ago. (Actually, it was the real Alexis’s body that was cremated, so it wouldn’t have helped them anyway.) At Angelique’s instigation, he escapes from the Collinsport police station and hides in his own home–Collinwood is huge, so it’s not like the other Collinses are aware he’s there. He mostly hides in the tower room, but wanders around the house grounds at night.
Barnabas and Julia Hoffman, however, are considering who else might have murdered Angelique. The suspects are the people who were present at that seance, but the list is getting shorter now that Sabrina, Cyrus, and Bruno are dead.
Elizabeth comes in for some suspicion when it’s revealed that the hatpin belonged to her. I thought that this was an odd, old-fashioned thing for even a lady of her age to have at hand, but it turns out that she collects hatpins as antiques. If it isn’t Quentin, my bet would be on Roger or else the butler Trask.
Will and Carolyn Loomis weren’t mentioned originally when the seance was described, but they were there that night too. Barnabas does question Will about it, but Will denies he had anything to do with Angelique’s death. Neither he nor his wife will be with us much longer in any case.
After the woman’s body is taken from her father’s house, Angelique is frantic to get it back. She’s certain that Barnabas is behind the theft, but doesn’t yet suspect that Julia Hoffman is working with him. She does believe that Will knows something about it and corners him in the tower room to use her feminine wiles and magical powers to force him to tell her what he knows. The most she learns is that he knows she’s Angelique, not Alexis. Poor Will is in thrall to Barnabas already and can’t betray him. Caught in conflict between these two supernatural forces, he climbs up into the tower window and jumps out, dying on the terrace pavement below.
After her husband is dead, Carolyn discovers that she cared more about him than she thought she did. She blames Barnabas as much as Angelique for Will’s death and goes on day-long drinking binges that make her reckless and indiscreet. She tells Uncle Roger that Alexis is really Angelique; Trask and Angelique overhear this conversation. Then Carolyn announces that she remembers something from the seance and knows who the murderer is. She is stabbed by a kitchen knife by an unseen assailant later that same evening. Since it wasn’t a voodoo doll that got her, I think we can assume that it was Angelique’s murderer and not Angelique who did it.
Once the Loomises are gone, Barnabas has the old house to himself and he and Dr. Hoffman are even more determined to destroy Angelique. They’ve set up a laboratory in the basement to revive the woman.
This makes me feel nostalgic; it’s almost like the old days when Julia and Barnabas were working on the creation of Adam and Eve. They even use the big electric switches on the wall to start up some flashing colored lights and machines that make zap! and beep-beep noises.
At first, it doesn’t look like the experiment is a success–but after Julia leaves to return to Collinwood before Angelique wonders where the housekeeper is, Barnabas touches the woman’s face.
She opens her eyes. She even sits up and walks around, but can’t tell Barnabas who she is or where she was before Stokes got hold of her. He takes her to the secret room at the back of the Collins family mausoleum, where it looks like someone was staying recently (she’s only wearing a flimsy nightgown, so I hope it was a warm night), but it doesn’t jar her memory.
This isn’t enough to destroy Angelique, though. She falls down in a faint when the woman first awakes and becomes very weak, but her stepfather manages to keep her going. He changes the rules a little bit now and says that when Roxanne–for that is the woman’s name–speaks, she’ll be fully alive again and Angelique will die.
So, body count for this stretch of the alternate universe story: 6 dead so far. Plus one new character who hasn’t yet said a word.