Carnivale 10/19 (spoilers.. if you can call them that)

  • So they really were ghosts

  • Interesting how Lodz was on the battlefield and it was his bear that was running amuck and eating the dead

  • Does management = faith?

  • Will Brother Justin turn into naked tattooed guy?

I am really enjoying the show. But I really do wish they would move ahead with the story. What is this, the 6th episode? And I have no idea where the story is heading. I would appreciate some furthering of the plot.

Maybe in 3 years when the story is all said and done I’ll be able to appreciate the genius of these early episodes. But right now I’d like to know where this is all going.

Well, we did get some plot advancement. We finally figured out the secret of Babylon at the end of the episode. A ghost town with actual ghosts! Is that ironic or just a coincidence? The scene with Dora Mae in the window as Sampson left town was extremely creepy.

Anyhow, neat little glimpse into Jonesy’s past at the beginning.

And Brother Justin’s off to walk the earth…such a gloomy gus that guy is!

In discussing the episode with my wife afterwards, she was under the impression that the Irish Bartender Guy did kill Dora Mae (as Sampson did say that “he confessed”) but I never heard him say he actually commtted the murder, just that he understood what happened and explained that now she would be around to dance with the other “souls.”

Is that right?

And did they kill her for some female companionship, as Irish Bartender Guy seemed to indicate, or because she was a harlot who offended their high moral code? If the former, why did they etch the latter on her forehead?

Do the dead miners carry around money? They must have had some cash to get into the Carnival.

The bartender did not actually admit to killing Dora Mae.

I think HARLOT was carved into DM’s forehead to underscore that this is after all Babylon–a rather nasty place, if one checks up on the biblical references, including the whore of Babylon.

I just looked over an interview with two of the writers of the show and they stated that they were told by HBO to stretch out the story, and this in fact is quite a challenge. The writers go on to say that this should be a good thing for the show, as the viewers will get a chance to appreciate the richness of the characters.

The reference at Dora May’s burial to management’s being from the old countryis important as it ties Lodz, and Justin & his sister along with management, together–as they are all immigrants.

I need to watch this episode again, but there’s been a suggestion that the enemy soldier resembles a younger Justin and could in fact, be Justin’s father.

I’ll keep watching, but I’m having trouble with two things.
I don’t feel invested in Ben at all–he’s totally bland, if not unlikable.
Thank goodness most of the other actors bring more to their characters. I think Michael J. Anderson (Samson) is doing an outstanding job–the look on his face when he was leaving Babylon and saw the ghost of Dora Mae in the window was priceless. Adrienne Barbeau is also putting forth an excellent effort. She is seeming more and more like a sort of worldly-wise den mother to the members of the Carnivale. Her eulogy for Dora Mae was very well delivered. Others, including Clea Duvall and Clancy Brown are also excellent, but it’s the Justin storyline that I’m getting a bit frustrated with.

Does anyone else feel a jarring disconnect when the story jumps from the Carnivale to Justin and back again? I realize that there is a tying together of themes, but Justin is essentially trying to carry his storyline by himself while the Carnivale has so many rich characters.
It appears as if next week more focus with be on Justin --perhaps
the storylines will feel less seperate then.

I still have questions about Babylon, and some of them stem from the fact I missed a little of what Stangler had to say about Scudder and what he did to the miners. I’m under the impression Scudder killed them somehow and they came back ghostly but apparently corporeal, but if anyone can further expand on what Stangler said to Samson I’d greatly appreciate it. I liked also Stangler’s insistence they kill him on the hill: “if you kill me here I stay here”; which led me to believe Dora Mae was killed in the building she appeared in at the end, but perhaps I’m being too literal there.

I also don’t feel much of a disconnect between Brother Justin and Ben. As I think I said in last week’s thread, I think the connections betwen them were made more manifest in the Babylon episode than in previous episodes. Now that Justin’s wandering the wilderness, perhaps their narratives will converge in more significant ways.

Had a major moment of inspiration when thinking about the show, post episode. What do you think of this theory?

[spoiler]Hack Scudder is Management. Think about it-- Management continually directs the entire carnival to places where Ben can find out more about Scudder. When Ben tells Scudder “I know who you are,” and Scudder says, “But do you know what that means?” to me indicates that Scudder is more than just Ben’s father. If he can create ghosts like he did in Babylon, might not he himself be a ghost?

Anyway, it’s just a thought. Not sure how it jibes with the watch being from “the old country,” though Scudder could have gotten it when he was in Europe during WWI. Anyone wish to augment or rebutt?[/spoiler]

For some reason, after last night’s episode I kept picturing Management as a vampire. (It’s silly, I know. Maybe it was the reference to “the old country” or Samson’s remark that Management is only seen when he wants to be seen. I don’t know.) But I like your idea, Rubystreak. At this point, nothing they show us in the weeks to come will seem implausible to me.

Judith Prietht, with regard to Stangler asking to be killed on the other side of the hill, I think he only meant that anyone who died in Babylon stayed in Babylon, not that they were confined to the exact location of their death. (After all, the ghosts got to wander over to the Carnivale.)

The one thing about episode six that did give me pause was when Ben “woke up” from what Lodz referred to as only a dream (like the ones Ben has had previously?), yet he still had “TAVATARA” written on his forearm. Within the context of all that weirdness, however, it’s only a minor point of contradiction. I’m sure all will be explained eventually.

My girlfriend originally thought that Stangler might have actually been Scudder, since he was the only living person there. I had to shoot that idea down since we have seen Scudder in Ben’s dreams, but the idea does make you kind of wonder how Stangler got to be the bartender

HBO’s episode recaps aren’t too bad. They did help me remember a few things. Like most people here, I think the plot is either very thin or advancing too slowly, but the various characters keep me watching. The various characters besides Ben, I should say.

I will say that the scene at the end where Sampson saw Dora Mae in the window was delightfully disturbing.

You know, Second Guest, I thought “vampire” too, but my friend shot me down, saying that he thought whatever Management was would be way more powerful and less obvious than vampire, and wouldn’t we have some allusions to people being fed upon?

I like my current theory about Management. It fits with what we know, especially considering what we found out about Hack Scudder and the effect he had on Babylon. It also explains why the travels of the carnival seem to revolve entirely around Ben Hawkins’ voyage of self-discovery. The only question now is, why is this all happening and what does it have to do with Brother Justin? Are they both just… dare I say it, avatars?

Judith Prietht: With regard to the conversation between Samson and Stangler at the end, I had taped the episode, so I went back to see exactly what was said.

Stangler said that Scudder had come to Babylon to work the mines but that the people knew right away that there was something different about him. Then he killed Carlton with a pick-axe and “that was it.” They were going to hang him, but he “wasn’t going to have none of that.” That’s when the cave-in happened and killed all the miners. “Then, the next night, they all came back. They keep coming back.”

Earlier, when they were still with the rest of the group and Stangler was asking to be killed elsewhere, he said “I die here, I stay here, just like the rest of them. Just like everyone else, ever since Scudder left.” That implies that Scudder didn’t die in Babylon and that he wasn’t one of the ghosts.

That’s about all the explanation we got, I think. Everyone in Babylon is a ghost except for Stangler (although he did remark that he wouldn’t exactly say he “lived” there, but he probably just meant that it wasn’t much of a life). He never really said what became of Scudder or how Scudder caused the cave-in, but it was definitely implied that he did cause it somehow.

Hope that helps.

Rubystreak: I’m certain that Ben will be linked to Brother Justin eventually. If nothing else foreshadows it, there was that dream in an earlier episode about the two of them and Scudder in the diner, so I have to believe that ultimately their paths will meet, and then maybe it will all make perfect sense. Yep.

I also thought “avatar” when I first saw the word in the mine, but it was “tavatara”. What does that mean? (Google was of no help…)

Oh, and I’m relieved to know I’m not the only one who thought of vampires.

Makes you wonder what Dora Mae did in her life to earn that particular subset of Hell.

If Dora Mae is being punished at all. They could just be trapped in Babylon…stuck there until some major event frees them to go to heaven or hell. Like the final showdown between good and evil.

I have to disagree. I believe it was the word avatar written as avataravataravataravatar…

It’s makes sense, given that nothing comes easy in this show.

That does make sense. Hmmm.

But now I’ve got badgerbadgerbadgerbadgerbadgerbadger in my head. Again.

Except, wait a minute… If it were simply “avatar” repeating, then it would have said RAVATARA (or TARAVATA or VATARAVA or…). To be honest, I couldn’t really tell what it said, so I looked on HBO’s episode guide. That’s where I found out it was TAVATARA.

Now I’m puzzled again. And my head hurts.

So if it was truly “avatar” written over and over again on the walls, it begs the question: when will Lord British show up? ::d & r::

Don’t know about Justin, but somehow it wouldn’t be surprising if one of the characters were Bradbury’s Illustrated Man…

It doesn’t beg the question, it suggests the question. Not the same thing.

I wonder if Ben and Sophie will turn out to be half-siblings.