Carnivale – Season 2, Episode 10 – “Cheyenne, WY” – Usher Ascended

Carnivale Cheyenne, WY

“Cheyenne, WY” picks up where the last episode left off with the quest for Scudder and a very changed Jonesy. I’ll go into more of what I mean in the assessment but the change is good and it helps stimulate the action and drive the story forward, as a lot happens in this episode.

The episode was written by Tracy Torme and directed by Todd Shields.

This episode follows Ben and Jonesy to Cheyenne and from there to where Scudder’s been taken, Libby is dealing with her mom getting on her case on Jonesy leaving and drama unfolds at the Crowe residence as the pieces are put into play for Justin’s ascension.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: Jonesy – Jonesy is a great support to Ben in this episode, even as he doesn’t fully understand everything that is going on. We see him being able to negotiate, like with the manager of the hotel that Scudder was being kept at and follows Ben all the way to New Canaan before heading back. He’s become active, has purpose and it is great to see.

Libby – Stands up to her Mom and continues to establish herself as a strong character. It gives some great moments especially since her dad now sympathizes with her and Jonesy’s relationship.

Ben – Ben is driven and again, it is great to see. His relationship with Jonesy gets explored more too and Ben is forced to not do it alone, which is great to see. This eventually leads them both to New Canaan when he recognizes Justin in the paper for the attempted assassination.

Sofie – Sofie’s relationship with Justin is getting complex, we see her pretty much figure out that he is her father and the one who raped her mother but she still is drawn to him. I don’t get it but it makes for an interesting dilemma given how drawn to him she is and feels as if she has purpose.

Justin and Co. – Justin’s got a lot of character’s he interacts with, and this gives him a moment to shine. We see his dark side come out in different ways from his comrodery with Stroud to his threatening of Smith and the black eyed monster when he kills Scudder and ascends.

Iris – Iris stands up to Stroud when he attempts to rape her and is always plotting with Norman to take out Justin. She has also become really active and has become a moral beacon for Sofie in a manner of speaking.

The Cons: Too Fast – The episode was way too quick. At one Scudder kills Smith and breaks out of his straight jacket that Justin is holding him in but it all goes so quickly since after he becomes a monster Justin quickly kills him while he’s making his escape. Also a lot of the moments in the house go a bit quick, it’s why for me Sofie’s intentions aren’t wholly known because we don’t get enough time on why she’s so attached to Justin.

This was a good episode but I wouldn’t call it great. There are some great visual images like the picture above but it isn’t consistent and since a lot is being covered a very fast amount of time, we don’t get enough time with the characters to really get their relationships. For that reason it isn’t a favorite and why I wouldn’t call it great. Another episode that could have been two…Still should check it out though, if you like the series. It is essential.

Final Score: 8.4 / 10

Carnivale – Season 2, Episode 3 – “Ingram, TX” – Fruits of Corruption

carnivale-ingram-tx4

This was a really dark episode where some of the best moments were those with Ben and Sofie. This is surprising given how depressing most of their situations are, but we see how they are handling destiny and who they are at the core versus many of the monsters around them and in the world.

“Ingram, TX” was written by John J. McLaughlin and directed by John Patterson.

In this episode the carnival has been in Ingram, Texas for a week now as Ben continues searching for the next clue to finding Scudder. This leads him out of camp again where he finds himself captured in an abandoned area where The Crone is. Sofie is working as a laborer but the cards keep calling her back and Stumpy is working his wife to long stretches of the day and is oblivious to those around him. Norman, Justin’s adoptive father is also taken in in his trapped mental state by Justin and Iris. These are the stories that unfold.

Here is the assessment of the episode:

The Pros: The Tone – The tone is dark and mysterious with a feeling of threatening pervading the whole episode. From the empty Crone’s home, to an old man offering his down syndrome daughter to sleep with, to Justin forcing his maid to give him a blow job in front his his adoptive father and the cards that Ben destroyed coming back to haunt Sofie. This is a powerful episode in tone and imagery.

Samson – Jonesy attempts to have Samson kick Sofie off to keep his men happy but Samson reminds him Jonesy is in charge of labor so that’s his thing, he’s not going to get involved. It was great seeing him stay out of peoples personal stuff.

Sofie – Sofie and Ben are becoming friends and they have some good moments together. From Ben destroying the Tarot Cards and keeping one that doesn’t burn that Sofie doesn’t know and when she wakes him up and they talk because she smells smoke. Her main dilemma is her facing of destiny as her Mother most likely is using the cards to bring her back into reading others’ fortunes.

Ben – Ben seeks the crone this episode after helping Sofie with healing. It is here an old man tries to prostitute his daughter but Ben holds him accountable and he promises never to do it again. He is later captured by a group at the Crones home who torture him until they see Scudder’s medal and when they learn that it’s his they say “She’s” been waiting for him.

The Cons: Justin – Justin went too dark after seeing glimmers of idealism be it fake or not it went too far having his maid give him a blow job and his sexually molesting her. I hated his character after this episode. He seems evil for the sake of evil, which just isn’t good when you have a character who started out so morally complex.

Stumpy – Stumpy is prostituting his wife non-stop and all about money. It implies gambling issues but this is getting out of hand. I never liked the character and he isn’t making himself likable in his blatant using of others.

This was a good but not great episode. I would have liked to meet the Crone and know if Sofie’s mom was communicating with her. The Crone’s home is haunting though, and the episode does keep the dark forbidding done consistently through the episode.

Final Score: 8.4 / 10