|← 273 →|
June 25, 1967
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- My name is Victoria Winters. The foundations of Collinwood lie deep in the age-old rock that has resisted the sea for centuries. Its walls rival the cliff, and it would seem that even the thunders of Heaven could never shake the stones on which it stands. But it may be that the whole, vast structure of the proud and ancient house rests on ground no larger than the size of a man's grave. And the disturbed earth is about to send a shudder through the piled stones that will topple the walls and destroy the old house forever.
Sheriff Patterson and Burke lift the trunk they have found buried in the cellar's locked room. Patterson begins to break the rusted lock with a crowbar; he and Burke both have to force the lid open. They look inside, and then glance at each other in stunned amazement.
Upstairs in the Drawing room, Elizabeth paces anxiously whilst Roger wonders why his sister never confided in him regarding the eighteen-year-old secret she had been carrying. Her pride prevented her; Roger realizes Elizabeth could never have trusted him as he might have blackmailed her like Jason did. Roger is certain Elizabeth has a clear cause for defense, but she reminds him she didn't torment herself for eighteen years to escape justice. She has always been terrified how the truth would effect Carolyn. Roger believes Carolyn will understand in time; Elizabeth is not so sure. Now that her daughter has left Collinwood, Elizabeth believes she has lost her forever. At that moment, Sheriff Patterson and Burke return as a phone call for the former comes in. McGuire has been caught, and Patterson orders him to be brought back to Collinwood. Neither Elizabeth or Roger want to see Jason, but the Sheriff is insistent. Patterson has some specific questions for McGuire to answer. Elizabeth is stunned to learn that the buried trunk was absolutely empty.
Along with the Sheriff, Roger and Elizabeth descend to the basement where Elizabeth identifies the trunk and the spot in which Paul Stoddard was presumably buried. The trunk is empty, and there is no sign that it ever held anything. Elizabeth is hysterical; the room was always kept locked and she never left Collinwood for fear of someone finding out the secret. She has been a prisoner, guarding the room for nothing. If Paul is not buried in the basement, what did Jason do with the body? Patterson suggests that Elizabeth never killed Paul Stoddard. How can she be sure? She only has Jason's word for that. Speak of the devil, McGuire is thrust into the room by Burke and one of the Sheriff's deputies. Jason continues to act innocent, claiming he's never laid eyes on the uncovered trunk before. Patterson threatens him with jail as there's already enough evidence to put McGuire away from a long time. Jason changes tack, requesting to speak to Elizabeth alone. If it is the only way to find out the truth, she agrees.
Roger, Burke and Sheriff Patterson wait in the foyer while Elizabeth and Jason talk alone in the drawing room. Roger worries that McGuire will find another way to slime his way out of trouble and manipulate Elizabeth all over again. However, Jason has finally told a stunned Elizabeth the truth and she calls in the trio outside. Elizabeth did not kill Paul Stoddard; McGuire formulated a plan with Paul: to pretend Elizabeth murdered him and then split the blackmail money. Having lost contact with Paul in Hong Kong ten years ago, Jason has no idea of his current whereabouts. Jason attempts to coolly walk out, but the Sheriff halts him. Elizabeth intercedes, requesting McGuire be let go. It seems Jason did make one final deal with her: if he told her the truth, she would drop all charges against him. A furious Roger orders Patterson to arrest McGuire.
Elizabeth pleads with Roger; she wants to be rid of Jason McGuire once and for all. Roger persists, but the thought of Elizabeth being humiliated in a public trial convinces him otherwise. As Jason begins to smugly leave again, the Sheriff warns him to depart Collinsport post-haste. McGuire sleazes his way into remaining in town until tomorrow night. Patterson escorts him out. Burke wonders if the scumbag is planning something, but Elizabeth says it's better not knowing anything about Jason McGuire. Much later, Jason sneaks back onto the estate and approaches the Old House. It is clear he does indeed have another scheme on his mind.
Memorable quotes Edit
- Sheriff Patterson: (to Jason) Don't give me your word. It's about the most worthless commodity on the market.
- Jason: (to Sheriff Patterson) I don't know anything about anything.
Dramatis personae Edit
- Joan Bennett as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard
- Anthony George as Burke Devlin
- Dana Elcar as George Patterson
- Louis Edmonds as Roger Collins
- Dennis Patrick as Jason McGuire
- Ed Sauter as Deputy (uncredited)
Background information and notes Edit
- This episode was recorded out of broadcast sequence. The previous episode to be recorded was 271.
- In another revelation-packed episode, viewers learn that Elizabeth never murdered her husband Paul Stoddard at all. She simply stunned him.
- Jason hasn't seen Paul for 10 Years.
- After digging in the basement Sheriff Patterson and Burke are remarkably clean.
- When Elizabeth leaves the room for good at the end of this episode, they leave an electric overhead lamp on that switches on and off via a cord. Apparently they didn't care about the utility bills any more than Barnabas cared to preserve candle wax in deep cellar passageways.
- TIMELINE: Jason will leave Collinsport tomorrow evening.
Bloopers and continuity errors Edit
- In Act I, Sheriff Patterson says "There are some specific questions I want to ask him..." Joan Bennett, stepping on Dana Elcar's line, then says "I think I can..." at which point, Elcar continues his line, "...about the trunk in the basement". Bennett then says, "I think I can give you all the answers you want".
- The sheriff and Burke are prepared to give up their digging, having discovered nothing, when Burke puts his shovel in the hole, and a thumping sound is heard - the camera cuts to a shot of the hole, where we see that Burke's single shovelful of dirt has completely revealed the entire top of the trunk buried there.
- In Act III when Roger insists that the Sheriff arrest Jason, he flubs his line a bit and then smiles while still on camera, likely thinking the take was over or that perhaps that the director would cut and re-shoot.
- In the drawing room, as Roger speculates on whether he would have done differently than Jason McGuire had Liz told him about the basement and Paul Stoddard, Louis Edmonds says, "Oh, I would have keeped -- kept it a secret... just as he did."