Carnivale
Los Moscos

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Second Coming

A car pulls up outside the church Justin is preaching at. Which happens to be the United Methodist Church in Salinas, according to a prominent sign. Convenient signage appears to be a trend for the new season, and one I'm firmly in favor of. Steinbeck shout-outs seem a little obvious, though. While we listen to Justin natter on about building a temple of flesh and blood, Rev. Balthus gets out of the car, looking distinctly unwell. He stumbles as far as the stairs to the church before he collapses, and some ministers run out to assist him.

Lest all the signs be taken as...uh, signs that the show's going to be completely lucid from now on, we cut to a mysterious guy in an unidentified location. The room is decorated with artifacts, pentagrams, and drawings. At a light table, a nebbishy-looking guy -- who will eventually be identified as Wilford -- is putting together torn fragments of parchment. Hey, he's inventing Scrabble! On the radio, Justin says that the greatest commandment is written in our blood. "Written in our blood," Wilford echoes. He looks over his parchment-bits and reads "For that you know he is true by his words, the Usher will declare 'Thou shalt be strong.'" At the same moment, Justin says those very words. Wilford stares at the radio.

Cut to Appollonia's flaming bus. The carnies throw water at the fire in slow motion. Well no wonder they can't put it out; try moving in real time, guys. And then suddenly they do, but it's still not doing much good. Sofie is flung out through the doors, Jonesy stumbling out behind her. Jonesy gasps that Appollonia is still inside, and weakly starts back toward the bus, but is grabbed by a couple of the carnies. Some more men restrain Sofie as she starts screaming for her mother. Samson shouts that Appollonia is gone, but Sofie wails, "No, she's not! She's screaming!" Ooh, creepy. Samson looks appropriately horrified as he stares at the blaze. Sofie finally wails, "Stop it! Just die! Die!" The carnies immediately let go of her and stroll away, which looks pretty goofy. I think they're returning to firefighting duty, but in one particular shot they seem so casual that you get the impression they're thinking, "Oh, she wants her mom to die. Guess we're done here." Then the soundtrack gets all moody, and Sofie stares at the flames pouring through the bus window, and I wonder if something magical is going to happen. Instead, Sofie just faints, and Jonesy strokes her head.

Management's trailer. Ben stares at his hands, then turns to Parcae's Puppet Theater and asks why Management restored Lodz's sight. Management says that Lodz was rewarded for doing what was asked of him: "His eyes to force your hand." Ben seems pretty calm about that. I mean, considering he was mad enough at Lodz to kill him, you'd think he'd be a little pissed off to discover that all of this was Managment's plan. Eventually, Ben does work up a little steam about it, so maybe he's just really, really slow. You think? Management says that Ben has to face what he is. Ben pants, "You killed him with my hands!," and adds that Samson was right about Management being a big ol' jerk. He approaches the puppet theater and says that he'll turn himself in: "They'll make me pay, and give me more of a choice than I got with you." Management gasps, "No!" and reaches through the curtain to grab Ben's arm with his right hand.

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Carnivale

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