Carnivale
Black Blizzard

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Lust in the Dust

The operatic score continues as we cut to Samson, knocking on the door of a house somewhere on the outskirts of town. A woman answers, and perfectly executes the whole "looking too high to see the midget" double-take we were all expecting from the moment he started knocking. It was still pretty funny, though. When she finally does cast her eyes downward, she recognizes him immediately, and declares his presence to be "a wonderful surprise." He hands her a bouquet of flowers that he picked out of ditch on the side of the road and wrapped in a three-day-old newspaper, and then receives a kiss on the cheek for his troubles. The lady invites him inside, and then looks around real quick to make sure no one is watching as she closes the door behind him.

Back in town, Sofie is chilling in the passenger seat of her car as she watches the townies cruise by on a heavily crowded street. Huh? I thought they were in the "middle of nowhere," according to Jonesy. Meanwhile, this town is ten times the size of Tipton, and that was supposedly the most profitable show they'd ever had. You know what? Just don't ask. Suddenly, Sofie spots a young man who's just a hair too dorky-looking to be actually attractive. She catches his eye, and then the music swells, and they stare longingly at each other across the busy street ["Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt." -- Isaiah 13:7]. Dork Boy finally turns away and heads inside a restaurant, where he almost has to duck down a bit to fit his incredibly-coiffed pompadour through the doorway. Hee!

After a quick shot of Ben driving Lodz along a windy mountain road, we return to the restaurant just in time to see Pompadour Paul serving up the lunch special to a couple of patrons at the counter. He stares out the window at Sofie for a moment, and after pausing just long enough to let the still-playing aria reach its final crescendo, he heads outside to knock on her car window. She pretends to be startled, and he reveals that his name is Harlan Staub, and that he owns the aforementioned restaurant. "Pleasure to meet you, Harlan," replies Sofie. "My name is Betty. Betty Jones." Oy. "Betty Jones"? Considering how rich Sofie's fantasy life turns out to be in this episode, I'm kind of surprised she didn't go with something more along the lines of Esmerelda St. John-Smythe. Anyway, Harlan gets all smarmy and hits on her, and Sof…"Betty" pretends that she's waiting for her "brother" Ben, who just ran off to run some errands. When Harlan points out that she's been sitting there for an hour and a half, she tosses out the "Has it been that long?" line with practiced aplomb. Too bad she didn't save that one for later, though, because it would have been the perfect snappy comeback to his crappy lovemaking skills. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

For now, all you need to know is that Betty has "reluctantly" accepted an invitation to join Harlan in his café. He gives her some free iced tea, and she spins a yarn about being a poor, lonely widow. You know, I've watched this scene three times now, and I still can't tell who comes off sleazier.

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Carnivale

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