Dark Shadows was a daytime soap opera on ABC-TV which aired weekdays during the afternoon. With vampires, witches, warlocks, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures, it became a surprising phenomenon, lasting for five years before it was cancelled. The show revolves around Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid), a guilt-ridden 175-year-old vampire who longs to be human again and returns to his estate after being chained inside a coffin for nearly 200 years.
David tries to tell Roger that he found Victoria, but Roger shoves him away, believing it is only one of his pranks. Back at the Old House, Matthew decides that it's time for him to run away from town. The ghost of Bill Malloy appears to David and tells him to help Victoria. He then appears to Matthew and tells him that someone will die. Matthew, angered by his appearance, chops his axe at Bill, but it simply goes right through him. A panicked Matthew runs off. Victoria manages to break free of her ropes. She tries to escape, but Matthew catches her. He decides that she's the one who has to die, and that he's going to kill her.
Sam reveals to Roger that the stranger who spoke to Maggie was Roger's estranged wife Laura, who has returned to town. Elsewhere, Laura wastes no time in making her presence felt.
Elizabeth learns of Laura's return and decides that she must not see David. Meanwhile, Sam finds himself compelled to paint a disturbing picture of a woman burning amidst flames.
Laura visits Collinwood and reveals to Roger and Elizabeth that she has intends to gain legal custody of David. Meanwhile, David has a nightmare about his mother.
David learns the news that his mother has returned to Collinwood. Clearly disturbed by this revelation, he confides to Victoria that he senses Laura's presence watching over him.
Burke and Laura meet and discuss their respective agendas against the residents of Collinwood. Meanwhile, Sam finds himself compelled to continue working on the painting.
A frosty meeting between Roger and Laura takes place when she visits Collinwood. David is apprehensive about meeting his mother, following his dreams. When the pair meet, he runs away terrified.
Elizabeth struggles to comfort David, who hears his mother calling to him in his sleep. While attempts are made to reintroduce the boy to his mother, it is agreed that Laura will live in Matthew's empty cottage.
Roger locks horns with Richard Garner, as he attempts to speed up divorce proceedings against Laura. Sam continues to be troubled by his compulsion to paint the fire portrait.
Sam's painting is now almost complete, depicting Laura surrounded by flames. Meanwhile, Roger learns that the body from the Phoenix apartment has been positively identified as Laura.
The sheriff questions Laura about the body, but can offer no explanation for the mistake in identity. Roger goes to Laura's cottage with a gun and discovers her and Burke there together.
Roger demands that Laura tell him what Burke wanted from her. David does not want to meet Laura. When she encounters him by chance at Widows' Hill, he is terrified and almost steps over the edge.
Victoria makes an effort to reunite David and Laura, in spite of him not believing that Laura is his mother. Later, Laura tells David the story of a mythical bird, the phoenix which is reborn anew through fire.
David shows Laura a picture he has drawn of the phoenix and shows her the Old House. Meanwhile, Laura begins to reveal a darker motivation behind her return and her plans to take David far away.
Victoria receives the mysterious painting of Laura from Sam and passes it onto David. That night, the painting gives David a terrible nightmare vision of his mother calling to him.
Sam is alarmed to learn of the influence his painting has had on David, but finds himself unable to stop working on a second, identical painting. Lieutenant Riley investigates the fire at Laura's apartment.
Victoria looks through the Collins family album and is intrigued when she realises that its illustration of Josette features an identical locket to the one Laura wears. Riley's continues to search for answers.
Laura is outraged when she learns of Sam's painting. Later, as Sam sleeps in the living room of his cottage, Laura stares into her fireplace and makes a fire erupt around him.
Sam and Maggie put the fire out, leaving the cottage barely damaged. Sam is left with badly burned hands, preventing him from painting. The second painting of Laura has been destroyed by the fire.
Laura asks for Burke's help to reclaim David. Burke warms to her proposal, but in return asks for her to help clear him of his manslaughter conviction. David refuses to left Roger take the painting away.
Victoria and Frank continue to be concerned by Laura's influence on David and agree that, despite Burke's advice, that the boy should be kept away from her at all costs.
The ghost of Josette materialises in David's room and magically completes David's painting, so that it now depicts him and his mother surrounded by a wall of flames.
Roger is appalled by the painting and throws it into the fireplace. Meanwhile, Elizabeth tells Laura to stay away from David. Laura vows that she will regain her son.
David reveals to Elizabeth that Laura has visited him in the night. Meanwhile, Roger decides to encourage David to forge a closer relationship with his mother.
Laura uses her powers of persuasion to make Victoria agree to stand aside from her and David. The body from Phoenix is positively identified as that of Laura Collins.
Lieutenant Riley continues to investigate Laura. Meanwhile, Victoria is compelled to take her and Frank to a mysterious building located on the edge of a cemetery.
With the help of the caretaker, Victoria and Frank discover that the remains of Laura Murdock Stockbridge are buried in the crypt. Victoria falls into a psychic trance.
Elizabeth demands that Laura leaves Collinwood. Laura stares into the flames of the cottage fireplace and uses her supernatural powers to make Elizabeth fall unconscious.
Elizabeth regains consciousness, but has no memory of how she fell unconscious. Later, she is visited by a cloaked figure and reacts in terror, talking incoherently about fire.
Investigating the crypt at the Eagle Hill Cemetery, Victoria and Frank are intrigued to discover that the remains of two of Laura's ancestors are buried there, both of whom died of fire 100 years apart.
Elizabeth's condition continues defy any logical diagnosis. Laura pays Elizabeth a visit, leaving her deeply distressed. Laura uses dark powers to place Elizabeth into a coma.
Victoria tells Frank that Elizabeth was determined to ensure that Laura would not take David away. Laura frostily vows to Victoria that she will regain David at any cost.
Psychic investigator Dr. Peter Guthrie is called to Collinwood to access Elizabeth's condition. He concludes that she in a trance caused by an extreme case of mental trauma.
Guthrie determines that Elizabeth is the victim of a malicious act by an outside influence. Roger objects to Carolyn's attempts to assume the role of head of the household.
David tells Guthrie about the legend of Josette and that her ghost haunts Collinwood. David is horrified to see the portrait of Josette change into the painting of him and Laura in the flames.
Dr. Guthrie questions David at length. Meanwhile, Laura probes David for information on the investigation at Collinwood. Laura faces a stern interrogation from a suspicious Dr. Guthrie.
Dr. Guthrie visits Sam and questions him about how he felt when he was painting Laura. Victoria discovers that Elizabeth's illness came just after a visit from Laura.
David goes to the cottage to spend the night with his mother. Later during the night, the ghost of Josette appears to both David and Laura, leaving her frightened.
Sam continues to be troubled by recent events. Victoria and David continue to worry about David's welfare, while Burke begins to harbour suspicions about Guthrie.
Laura makes plans to take David away before Elizabeth recovers from her illness. Victoria is shocked at Dr. Guthrie's suggestion to hold a séance at Collinwood.
An embittered Sam blames Laura for causing all the recent troubles, and confides his fears about her to Dr. Guthrie. Guthrie invites Laura to join the séance.
Roger decides to take steps to move his divorce plans forward. Meanwhile, Dr Guthrie comes to the conclusion that there are forces acting at Collinwood beyond anyone's understanding.
The séance goes ahead as planned, with Laura present. Victoria falls into a trance and speaks erratically in French, but falls unconscious just as she is about to make an important revelation.
Victoria is unable to understand Josette's warming, but Guthrie succeeds in translating it. Later on, Laura appears in Victoria's room and warns her to stop interfering.
Mrs Johnson tells Burke about recent events at Collinwood, including the séance. Laura uses magic to erase the audio recording of the séance, disposing of its evidence.
Victoria tells Burke of the recent events and their apparent relationship with Laura. As Burke is convinced that he should be cautious, Laura takes new steps to cement her relationship with David.
The police are forced to close the case of the corpse found in Phoenix, but are shocked to discover that the remains have vanished from their casket in the mortuary.
Guthrie questions Laura at length about the missing body. Later, Laura gazes into the flames of her fireplace intently, causing Guthrie to collapse to the floor.
Laura is prevented from finishing her incantation and Guthrie recovers. Though shaken by his experience, he is now convinced that Laura possesses supernatural powers.
Guthrie tells Carolyn his surpicionsabout Laura, but decides that further investigation is needed. Guthrie asks Joe to help him to covertly exhume a coffin from the crypt.
Carolyn persuades Roger to tolerate Guthrie's investigation of Collinwood. Later, Guthrie and Joe break into the crypt at the Eagle Hill Cemetery and prepare to open Laura Radcliff's coffin.
The elderly caretaker intervenes before the coffin can be opened, demanding that Guthrie's party leaves. However, a supernatural force makes the lid open itself, revealing the casket to be empty.
Joe, Frank and Guthrie are shocked by the discovery and are confused when they discover that the records for the burial are faded beyond recognition. Later, Laura appears to the caretaker.
David sees a strange vision of himself in the flames of the fireplace. Meanwhile, Joe's research uncovers an old newspaper page which tells of a boy called David who died by fire.
David tells Victoria that he wants to leave Collinwood to live with his mother. Meanwhile, supernatural forces, bring the newspaper clipping to Roger's attention.
Guthrie continues to investigate Collinwood for clues. When Laura refuses to extinguish her fireplace, Guthrie realises that she is one of the undead, who gains her power from the flames.
Laura uses her supernatural powers to place Guthrie into a psychic trance. However, the ghost of Josette intervenes and leads David to the rescue.
Following his recent experiences, Guthrie is determined to hold another séance. As Guthrie drives to the séance, he loses control of his car, which crashes and is consumed by flames.
Despite Guthrie's absence, the séance is conducted as planned. This time, it is David who falls into a trance. Speaking as David Radcliff, he speaks of a terrifying ordeal with his mother in the flames.
Burke makes plans to take David away from Collinwood to protect him from Laura's influence. Victoria is concerned to learn that Laura Radcliff died exactly one century ago.
Laura surprises her detractors by announcing that she has decided to leave Collinsport without David. However, secretly, she tells David that she intends to take him with her.
Victoria, Burke and Joe try to find a strategy to defeat Laura. Mrs Johnson is enlisted to guard David until the danger is over. However, a telephone call provides an ideal diversion for him to slip away.
Laura meets David at an abandoned fishing shack and tells him that they will leave soon. As a fire starts to engulf the building, Laura begins to beckon David into the flames.