Carnivale – Season 2, Episode 2 – “Alamogordo, NM” – Destiny Embraced and the Search for Scutter

carnivale-almogordo

“Alamogordo, NM” builds on the last episode while giving us more questions and also contrasts who the main game changers are becoming…from Management’s refusal to take up the role as hero, to Ben’s looking out for others even when his dreams warn him and Justin’s manipulating of everyone to reach his own ends as he fully embraces his role as Avatar of Darkness.

The episode was written by William Schmidt and directed by Jack Bender.

The episode picks up with Ben’s quest for Scudder leading him to Father Kerrigan who is lost in constant repeatings of a phrase and has pictures all over his room of the Tattooed Man. After he picks up Sofie on his way back as she is lost and can’t remember how she got where she was…this is accompanied by a vision of the Tattooed man who Management tells him is the Usher and bringer of darkness. When Ben offers to heal Management, Management denies him, instead choosing his slow death. Around this time Justin is visiting a woman who is working on his body and manipulating the scenes so that his Archangel breaks out of prison to find Scudder and Iris gets captured for killing the children. These are the primary stories that unfold.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The Imagery and Tone – The imagery and tone is back to being haunting! From Father Kerrigan’s constant repeating of life, death and the crone and his room covered in drawings of Usher, to Nick running into a vision of Father Justin praying before the statue of Mary and the Baby Jesus and the statue turning to look at him. These and the reveal of Justin receiving Usher’s tattoo and using the Archangel to kill the prison guard are just some of the haunting images.

Ben Hawkins – I really liked Ben this episode. He really is the reluctant savior that Samson describes at the beginning of the season. He shows kindness to the broken man of Father Kerrigan and stays with Sofie until she’s good enough  to return, even after the warnings. In this way he is a great contrast now to all other supernatural beings who act primarily from a place of people as tools.

Pastor Justin Crowe – Is in control and is shaping things how he wants them to be. From making sure Iris will get caught eventually for her crimes, to setting his Archangel loose, to embracing his role with the tattoo. He is fully in his element, and in this episode it was a lot of fun.

Sofie – Sofie feels human in this and I really liked it. We see her pain and regret and her finding purpose with helping them all pack up even when Jonesy’s men don’t want a woman helping them pack.

Jonesy – Jonesy reveals himself to be a good guy. Whether his promising to keep things between Sofie, Libby and himself a secret was truly meant from goodwill remains to be seen in the long run but it looked like he was coming from a place of respect, as he allows Sofie on the team since the cards don’t work anymore.

Samson – Samson comforts Sofie and gives her Lodz trailer, much to Lila’s chagrin. He is shown to have never cared about Lodz that much and that goes for much of the camp. I think this shows were selfishness goes. People protect Ben because he looks out for others, Lodz only looked after himself.

This was a fantastic episode and was back to what I enjoyed so much in the first place. The main issue was Management is a little hard to here sometimes and the mythology still feels not completely solid yet. Besides that, I don’t mind Justin and Ben embracing their roles, though I miss old Justin who was the idealist tempted by power who was willing to die when he learned that he was an engine for destruction.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10

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