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Carnivàle/Justin Crowe

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Justin Crowe/Alexei Belyakov
Actor Clancy Brown
First Appearance 1x01 - Milfay
Last Appearance 2x12 - New Canaan, CA
Series Billing Main Cast
Episode Count 24


Basic Information

Character History

Season 1

The current generation's Avatar of Dark. Born Alexei Belyakov in Russia, Justin and his sister, Irina (Iris), fled to North America with their mother, Plemina Belyakov, in order to escape their father. Consider the eventual revelation of the identity of Justin's father, it seems much more likely that Plemina went insane after Justin's birth and fled from her husband in a fit of psychosis, telling the children that their father was a "bad man." Justin and his sister were the only survivors of a train crash in the California Sierras which killed their mother, presumably orphaning them. During their time in the wilderness after the crash, they were located by a man who had been sent, presumably by their father, to find them. In order to protect his sister, a young Justin snapped the man's neck. Both he and his sister repressed any memory of the incident, although it becomes clear that while Justin had forgotten it, Iris had not. Eventually, they were found by Reverend Norman Balthus, a Methodist minister who would become their surrogate father.

Justin took after his adoptive parent and joined the clergy. Iris remained extremely involved in his life, and in 1934, due to an influx of immigrants to Mintern, the two siblings took it upon themselves to provide a church for them. Justin believed that he was acting under the will of God, due to one of the visions he'd had as a result of his Avataric heritage. The church, which doubled as a children's ward, burned down, killing the children and sending Justin on a journey into the wilderness. During this time, Justin regained his memories from the night of the train crash and learned to harness his telepathy during a stay at a mental institution.

Upon his return to Mintern, he found a reporter, Tommy Dolan, accusing him of burning down the church, only to learn that it was Iris who set the fire. Finally, after confronting Norman concerning the older man's fears that Justin had become possessed, Justin acknowledged that "there is no demon in me: the demon is me."

Season 2

Season 2 picks up right where 1 left off: Justin is in the middle of his sermon, preaching apocalypse, while Ben is killing Lodz. As Ben chokes the life out of the professor and resurrects Ruthie, Justin doubles over in pain, somehow psychically affected by Ben's use of his powers. This is not the last time that Justin will be able to sense when Ben is using his abilities.

At the same time that Justin is struck, Norman Balthus collapses on the stairs outside the Methodist ministry. This is possibly Justin's doing, worried that Norman will reveal his true nature, and possibly just psychic backlash from Ben's resurrection of Ruthie. Either way, it plunges Norman into a comatose state, similar to Apollonia's. As his surrogate son, Justin is given control of Norman and has Iris care for him in their home.

Justin's Tree

More pressing on Justin's mind, however, is what is revealed to him by Wilfred Talbot Smith, an occultist who chanced upon Justin's identity as the Avatar of Dark. Smith informs Justin of the nature of avataric bloodlines and tells him that he must seek out Scudder in order to become the Prophet. Roughly around the same time, Justin finds the actual tree he's been seeing on the Tattooed Man's chest in his visions. He realizes that the tree is where he will build his temple, his New Canaan. This temple features many radio antennas, heavy foreshadowing of the fact that Justin is now able to use the radio to subliminally control others.

The Gospel of Mathias

Also at roughly the same time, Justin, during one of his radio sermons (thanks to Dolan's help), calls out to an incarcerated convict, Varlyn Stroud, helps him escape from prison, and sets him on the task of tracking down Scudder's whereabouts. While Stroud is on his search, Justin moves closer to accepting his avataric mantle. He has the stylized tree tattooed on his chest, marking him as the vessel for the Usher of Destruction.

Justin's Tattoo

Perhaps as a result of this, or perhaps just because he is growing more accustomed to his heritage, Justin starts down an extremely dark path. Beginning with the psychic seduction and mental and physical rape of his maid, Justin develops a voracious appetite for destruction, rapine, and wantonness. Iris, who cleans up his messes, implies that Justin has always been possessed by such appetites, and recalls an incident in St. Paul when Justin raped a young gypsy girl named Apollonia.

After a while, Stroud manages to locate Scudder, and Justin gets a glimpse of Ben's face, via the death mask sent to him by Evander Geddes (also a radio conscript of Justin's). Moreover, Sofie deserts the carnival and makes her way to Justin's house as his new maid. Following a close escape attempt, Justin decapitates Scudder and receives his boon. He is now aware that a carnival hides his foe, and due to a growing infatuation with Sofie, he is eventually able to discover her carnie heritage.

Justin remains unaware of Sofie's acquaintance with Ben until Sofie happens to see him barechested one morning. Recognizing the tree tattoo from the vision of her mother's rape, Sofie belies her awareness of Justin's identity and her connection to Ben. Meanwhile, Iris, in an effort to curtail her brother's destiny, has manoeuvered the carnival into New Canaan. Justin is aware of hers and Norman's planned betrayal, but forges ahead regardless. He marches boldy into the carnival, cognizant of the fact that a trap has been planned, and mounts the ferris wheel. As Ben siphons the life from him, Justin is driven into a frenzy by the strain, and halts the ferris wheel with his mind to seek out his foe.

The two play cat and mouse in a stormy cornfield until Justin deals Ben a seemingly fatal stomach wound. Ben manages to recover enough to stab Justin with his army knife. The blade, however, breaks from the hilt and Justin is not wounded. Reveling in his triumph, Justin is about to finish Ben when Ben remembers Management's words: "Behold, the Usher, a dark heart dwells where the branches meet. Anointed dagger, plunge thee deep." While Justin is gloating, Ben grabs the broken blade and plunges it into the center of Justin's tree tattoo. The wound is fatal, and both men collapse.

The next morning, Sofie, now acting as the Omega, drains the life from the cornfield to resurrect Justin.

Memorable Moments