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Carnivàle/After the Ball Is Over
After the Ball Is Over is the second episode of the first season of Carnivàle, and the second episode overall.
Co-Starring: Ted Rooney (Flasher)
Featuring: K Callan (Eleanor), George Kee Cheung (Mr. Chin), Gigi deLeon (Prostitute), Kathleen Gati (Emma Templeton), Dennis W. Hall (Garrett), Brent Hinkley (Wheel Man), Linda Eve Miller (Waitress), Patrick T. O'Brien (Possum), Stephen White (Lester), Lisa K. Wyatt (Minnie)
Jonesy sends Ben to clean out the baggage trailer, a carnie joke since the baggage trailer doesn't exist. Ben, however, finds a run-down trailer filled with baggage which he proceeds to rifle through. He finds a suitcase containing not only Scudder's top hat (which Ben pops), but also Scudder's trademark black tuxedo (which is spattered with blood). Finally, he finds an old photo of a woman standing in front of a truck with the label "Big Sky Farms." On the back of the picture is written "H.S. and Flo." When he takes the photo to Samson, he is unable to find the trailer again. Samson lies about not recognizing the picture, having seen it in Management's photo album.
Lodz airs his concerns about Ben to Samson, who maintains that Ben is just a harmless rube. Lodz counters by saying that he saw Scudder in Ben's dreams. Samson claims that Scudder's dead, and that he has been for years. Lodz isn't convinced, and asks Samson to bring the matter to Management. He also suggests that Samson take the carnival south instead of the usual northward course. Samson disagrees and leaves the trailer.
After waking from a dream of World War 1 and the Russian soldier stalking Scudder from No Man's Land, Ben is approached by a mobile Apollonia who whispers "You're the one," before collapsing. The situation, when Sofie discovers it, is misconstrued and Ben is beaten until Samson manages to calm things down. And finally, Samson announces that the carnival will be moving south instead of north. Lodz smirks.
Ruthie patches Ben up, and he shows her the picture. Ruthie explains that the woman is Scudder's old "sweetie," that Scudder travelled with Carnivàle and performed as the Gentleman Geek, wearing his trademark black tuxedo. She confirms that Scudder might have been in World War 1 and informs Ben that Scudder was a drunk. Ben reveals to Ruthie that the woman in the picture is his mother, Flora Hawkins.
In Mintern, Eleanor's family now attends Justin's church. A disgusted Caroll Templeton, a wealthy and influential citizen, goes to Justin about it, but Justin instead requests that Templeton relinquish Mr. Chin's, the local whorehouse/gambling hall, to Justin to convert into a church. Adamantly opposed at first, Templeton changes his tune once Justin uses his powers to reveal Templeton's greatest sin: pedophilia. Templeton, unable to cope, commits suicide and Justin takes possession of Chin's.
- Lodz confronts Apollonia, presumably about Ben, but Apollonia refuses to cooperate with him. Lodz's claim of "You leave me no choice" probably referred to his direct interference with Ben, but could also be foreshadowing for his upcoming alliance with Management and eventual murder of Ruthie.
- Scudder is heavily implied to be Ben's father.
- The hat Ben sees on the door to Management's trailer is the hat Bruno was wearing in the WW1 trench.
- Lodz used to be in Management's good graces, until an incident in St. Louis
- The carnies believe Scudder is dead
- Justin secretly stares at Iris's breasts as she steps out of the shower. This is probably the first hint of incest the show offers.
- We meet Norman Balthus for the first time in the Mintern diner. Norman is obviously a father figure, but not revealed as the Crowe's surrogate father until much later.
- Ben continues to be smitten with Ruthie.
- In the baggage trailer, we see the jarred fetus from Justin's dream sequence. It opens its eyes as Ben passes by.
Dream Sequences and Visions
- The opening dream sequences feature Scudder, Lucius Belyakov, Ben, and Justin. Justin walks into a diner and sits at a stool at the counter. Ben walks in and sits next to Justin. The two men don't acknowledge each other's presences. After a few minutes, Scudder, dressed in a black tuxedo and top hat, walks in and sits at the booth behind Ben and Justin. Ben and Justin watch him intently in the mirror above the counter. Eventually, Belyakov, previously seen in both Ben and Justin's dreams chasing Scudder during World War 1, enters the diner and sits across from Scudder at the booth. The waitress moves over to Belyakov and Scudder and comments ominously, "Every prophet in his house." Scudder and Balyakov raise their wineglasses in a toast. As the glasses clink, the large window that Scudder and the soldier are seated next to explodes inward, showering the four men in shards of glass. The dream ends.
- Ben and Justin sit at a counter in front of Scudder and Belyakov, who sit in a booth behind the two other men. In reality, Scudder is seated directly behind Justin (denoting their connection as Avatars of Dark) and Belyakov is seated behind Ben (denoting their connection as Avatars of Light). In the mirror above the counter, however, the positions are reversed, and Scudder is seated behind his son, Ben, while Belyakov is similarly seated behind his son, Justin. When the waitress approaches Scudder and Belyakov (in reality, not the mirror), she says "Every prophet in his house," indicating that both Scudder and Belyakov were the Prophets of their respective houses.
- The "every prophet..." line would later be repeated in Loving, New Mexico, when Sofie has a vision of an old Templar saying "Every prophet in her house." This is an indication of Sofie's status as the last Prophet, although she has yet to come into her role (or rather, her "house").
- Ben's dream sequence shows us the first part of the World War 1 scene. Scudder huddles in a trench while Belyakov stalks him from No Man's Land, seemingly unafraid of all the artillery fire. Scudder grabs a helmet and sneaks along the wall, until he sees an armless body shaking for no apparent reason. Belyakov, who is almost right above him on the opposite wall, also notices the abnormality. As it turns out, the body is being eaten by a massive dancing bear wearing a costumed shirt and a hat with Cyrillic writing on it. The dream ends here.
Behind the Scenes
Allusions and References
- Norman Balthus: In desperate times, the good Lord looks over the flock and chooses one man to inspire the multitudes. One man to accomplish the impossible. One man to offer hope where there was only hopelessness. And who are we to question the almighty? And when He chooses His servant, and gifts them with talents, it is a grave sin to bury them in the earth.