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Carnivàle/Henry Scudder

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Henry "Hack" Scudder
Actor John Savage
First Appearance 1x01 - Milfay
Last Appearance 2x10 - Cheyenne, WY
Series Billing Main Cast
Episode Count 24


Basic Information

Character History

Season 1

Ben's absentee father. Scudder remains in the background for most of season 1, existing more as a name than an actual character. We catch glimpses of him in Ben's dreams, and see traces that he left in his path across America, but we never actually encounter the man. Ben, however, sees him constantly, whether waking or sleeping, and the line between reality and delusion is often blurred, such as when Scudder heals Ben's self-inflicted neck wound, and then disappears.

What we know of Scudder is that he was born in 1889 in Ingram, Texas to Hilton Scudder and Emma Krohn Scudder. In 1914, Scudder joined the 1st Canadian Depot Battalion, stationed in Lemberg as an observer with the Austro-Hungarian army. He was involved in an assassination attempt by a Russian officer, which was thwarted by a runaway circus-bear, Bruno (whose master happened to be Professor Ernst Lodz).

After the war, Lodz and Scudder travelled Europe for several months, conning the wealthy, until he became aware of Management's pursuit. Scudder fled to the States in 1915, where he met Flora and fathered Ben. Soon after Ben's birth, Scudder once again recognized the signs of Management's search for him, so he left his wife and infant son, taking a job as "The Gentleman Geek" with the Hyde & Teller Company.

This gig lasted until Management purchased the carnival, at which point Scudder, now a full-blown alcoholic, fled across the Southwest, taking a job at the Baylon mine. Little is known about what transpired here, but it is revealed that Scudder murdered another worker, Lyle Buttredge, with a pickaxe. The next day, he presumably caused a cave-in which killed every man in town (save the bartender). After the cave-in, though, the dead men's souls were anchored to Babylon, and have dwelled there ever since. Indeed, all of Babylon works as an anchor now, and anyone who dies within the town is doomed to spend eterninty there. After departing from Babylon, Scudder continued to traverse the Southwest before vanishing in 1922.

Season 2

Scudder is revealed to be the previous generation's Avatar of Darkness. He did not want the mantle, and so he tried to escape his destiny. His whereabouts remain a mystery for half the season, until Ben, under Management's direction, locates him in Damascus, Nebraska. Scudder is horribly disfigured, the result of an effort to ensure that he would not be recognized. Ben drains the life from the hotel Scudder works in and from many people on the street in order to restore Scudder's features. Ben brings Scudder back to the carnival, after swearing to defend Scudder if Management attacks him. Sure enough, once Scudder and Belyakov start talking, Scudder has only to reveal that the current Avatar of Dark is Belyakov's son, Alexei, for Belyakov to viciously attack him. The two fight until Ben finally steps in and kills Belyakov. While Ben is distracted from receiving his boon, Scudder escapes. His flight is short-lived, and he is soon captured by Justin's apostle, Varlyn Stroud.

Since Justin must kill Scudder himself to receive the boon, he locks a drugged Scudder in a woodshed until the time is right. Scudder escapes when Smith tries to extract the location of a manuscript from him. Using his avataric powers, he frees himself, murders Smith and steals a car. Unbeknownst to him, Justin was waiting in the backseat, and decapitates him with a sickle. Thus, Justin acquires his boon. The next day, while Ben is on his way to find Scudder and Brother Justin, he sees a vision of Scudder's severed head floating in a cow trough. Ben and Justin are now equals once again.

Memorable Moments