Whoosh. A white screen fades into Ben standing in a desert as an irritating beep fills the soundtrack. Then a klaxon sounds as Ben stares at a structure in the distance. And then...well, there's a nuclear explosion. Miles away, Ted Taylor lights his cigarette while a dustcloud swooshes over Ben. The dust clears a bit, and we see Brother Justin crouching near Ben. Justin's eyes are black as he turns to Ben and says, "Ye offspring of serpents, who ordered ye to flee from the wrath to come?" Hm. You know, I spent most of the first season hoping that Justin would turn out to be the good guy. But I will accept the consolation prize of Justin's genuinely doing God's work, if that's what's going on.
The vision is interrupted when Samson enters to inform Management of the fire. Management jerks his hand back into the puppet theater while Samson takes in the tableau and asks, "What have you done?" Management orders Samson out and, as soon as he's gone, tells Ben, "Now you see why I cannot allow you to throw your life away." Ben asks what the heck he just saw, and Management explains that it's a weapon: "A false sun wrought by the hands of men. It is the last link in he chain of events unfolding even as we speak. You must break that chain." Ben asks how, and Management says that he has to destroy Brother Justin and find Scudder. Ben asks what the big deal about Scudder is, and Management explains, "He is to me what the preacher is to you: an enemy. You saw my failure in the war." Ben gasps, "You're the Russian?" I gasp too, because we may have actually learned something. I was kind of hoping he'd be the bear. Mostly because I wanted to work in a "Was it a bear or a Russian or what?" riff, granted.
Funboy-flashback. Bear. Limbless twitching. You know the drill.
Management answers (!) "Yes." Just like that! Is this still Carnivàle? Management isn't done with the revelations (har) yet, though, since he adds, "My name is Lucius Belyakov." I guess Lucius lost his accent in his travels. See what they did there with his first name, though? And if you've read the character biographies on HBO's site, we just learned something else. I think I see a trend. And if I'm right, it's probably good news for Sofie. Look, if the show's going to dance around vaguely, so can I. Ben thinks about asking why Management's voice sounds like a girl's, then considers what we know about his wounds and winces. Management says, "Scudder knows the true name of the creature as I know yours, Ben Hawkins." Or something like that. If they aren't going to give me closed captioning, I wish they'd turn down the dramatic music during these quiet chats. Ben sniffs that he's not going to get any more blood on his hands, and tries to leave, but the door slams shut, the trailer shakes, and Management growls, "Millions will die!" Ben is unmoved, and finally the doors open as Management snaps, "Then run! Run as your father did before you!" As Ben skedaddles, Management adds, "If you try to escape your destiny, the world will not escape its terrible fate!" Well, maybe the world should take a little more responsibility for itself and put some effort into not blowing up, instead of being all passive-aggressive about it. Management's totally being an enabler here. I'm just saying.