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Season 1, Episode 3
Airdate September 28, 2003
Production Number 103
Written by teleplay
Henry Bromell,
Daniel Knauf
Henry Bromell
Directed by Rodrigo Garcia
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Black Blizzard
CarnivàleSeason One

Tipton is the third episode of the first season of Carnivàle, and the third episode overall.

Guest-Starring: Amanda Aday (Dora Mae Dreifuss), Glenn Shadix (Val Templeton), Susan Walters (Young Becca Donovan), John Savage (Henry "Hack" Scudder)

Co-Starring: Judy Jean Berns (Woman 10-in-1), K Callan (Eleanor), Lisa Dalton (Mrs. Crabb), James Lashly (Reverend Goyer), Adrian Lee (Passerby), Matt McCoy (Ned Munson), Deborah Strang (Becca Donovan)

Featuring: Mark Colson (Farmer), Stu Eriksen (Crusty Farmer), Edie Magoun (Woman #2), Nick Mize (Big Man), Bill Hoseley (Possum), Nick Pernice (Man 10-in-1), Janet Rotblatt (Old Lady), Don Oscar Smith (Dairy Farmer), Haley Nicole Smith (Maddy Crane), Stephen White (Lester)

Uncredited: Michael O'Neill (Lyle Donovan), Charles Robinson (Walter)


Plot Overview

Carnivàle shows up in Tipton. Lyle Donovan, Tipton's sheriff, locates Samson at the carnival. The two have known each other for a long time, but Donovan refuses to let Samson set up the carnival, since Donovan doesn't want his people being cheated out of what little money they have left. After Ben is identified as a healer in town (by the little girl from the first episode), Samson stages a faith-healing revival in order to circumvent Donovan's edict. He gains the support of the Tipton's reverend, and proceeds to milk the town with a series of fake-healings performed by an awkward Ben.

As it happens, Ben discovers that Becca Donovan, Lyle Donovan's aging and deathly ill mother, was once a lover of Scudder's, roughly 15 years earlier. Becca owned the "Big Sky Farms" truck from Ben's picture. Ben located her house after dreaming of her and Scudder on Donovan's porch. She tells Ben about Scudder and explains that healing people only transfers life, so something has to be hurt in the process.

At Ben's final healing show, a distraught Lyle brings his mother to Ben for healing. Ben is conflicted, wanting to heal her but unable to harm anyone else. Regardless, Becca refuses his healing and before she dies, informs him that Scudder was in Babylon after he was with her.

Spearheaded by Val Templeton, Caroll Templeton's nephew, the city council informs Justin that the Dignity Ministry's block is slated for demolition. A furious Justin telekinetically chokes Templeton almost to death from a nearby room in response.


Arc Advancement


  • The carnival stopped following its original circuit once they picked up Ben in Milfay. Management is presumably taking the carnival in search of Scudder so that Ben can realize his identity and so that Management can fulfill his plan to pass his boon on to Ben.


  • Lodz has Lila dress Ben in Scudder's black tuxedo for the healing show. Both Ruthie and Samson are stunned by the similarity between the two men.
  • Apollonia sends Sofie to drive Ben on his way to Becca Donovan's. Apollonia's reasons for helping Ben are still mysterious, though she no doubt wants him to come into his powers.'
  • Becca reveals that Scudder has been sending her dreams, ostensibly to help her pass information on to Ben. She also informs Ben that many of his dreams are also sent by Scudder, although this raises the question of which of Ben's dreams are due purely to his avataric heritage, and which ones have been "sent" to him by an outside party, like Scudder, Management, or even Lodz.


  • The funeral Ben watches is the one he saw in his dreams in Milfay.

Dream Sequences and Visions

  • Ben dreams of a younger Scudder and Becca standing on a pre-Dustbowl version of Becca's porch. Although the two remain silent in the dream, it's obvious that Scudder has just broken up with Becca, though it's also clear that neither is happy about this. The dream helps Ben locate Becca's house, and Becca later explains that the dream was one of several which Scudder had sent to Ben to help him on his way. This notion re-occurs when the audience becomes aware that neither Management nor Lodz is fully aware of Scudder's relationship with Ben.


The Show

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments


  • Becca Donovan: There's rules. You give life, you gotta take it from somewhere else. Could be an acre of wheat. Could be Walter's old bird dog, Jim. Could be that little girl you brought in here.