Carnivale
Old Cherry Blossom Road

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Strega: B- | Grade It Now!
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A Carnivàle Thanksgiving

Ben nervously reaches out for the knife.

Justin complains about programs like the WPA. "Is this our American dream?" he bellows. The crowd votes no. And then Ben marches up and stabs Justin in the heart with his cool new knife. Justin's a little surprised by this development. Ben and the knife vanish almost immediately, but Justin gasps and collapses onto the stage. Iris rushes to Justin as Dolan tries to calm the crowd. Justin tells Iris, "He means to kill me." A radio technician reassures the home audience that they're having technical difficulties.

Later, Justin's in bed as Iris serves him some chamomile tea. Iris wants to call a doctor, but Justin insists that he's fine. Iris pauses for a moment, and then asks what he meant about someone intending to kill him. Justin looks at her sadly and tries a distraction ploy, saying that she looks tired. Iris gets grumpy, so Justin says he doesn't know what he was saying. Iris huffily asks if he's gotten threats from a crazy fan or something. Justin assures her, "My only enemy is time. There's so much to do." Iris says, "I can protect you. But not if there are things that I know nothing about." She goes on to complain about Justin's private conferences with Dolan, and says, "We never had secrets between us, Alexi." Justin cooly says, "Tommy is no threat to you. He does what he's told." Iris finally snaps, "If anything happens to me, it will be on your head as well. I will not be sacrificed!" And off she flounces.

Ben steps out onto Gramma's porch, where the rest of the clan has gathered, including the two women who might be Ern and Bluto's wives. Sandy casually asks, "Have a nice visit?" Ben says that he's leaving, and gets about three steps further before he changes his mind. He asks why they keep Gramma locked up. Sandy explains that Gramma is "crazy as a shit-house rat." Ern adds that, on the night Scudder was born, "she went and got herself a bonin' knife, killed every last one of them. Grampa Hilton, Uncle Owen, Gilbert, Alvin Senior. She went bed to bed, slit their throats." Ern really seems to enjoy telling this story. He concludes, "After she was done, she clawed her eyes out. In the morning they found her in the kitchen, sittin' there, singing 'Abide With Me.'" And then we hear a woman singing "Abide With Me" again, and it turns out that it's one of the wives. Bluto tells her to shut up, and she does. Ben goes over to the woman and takes back his watch fob. Bluto grabs Ben's arm and hisses, "You come back whenever you want. Always room for kin at the table." For some reason, I doubt his sincerity. Although that line made me realize that this really might be the Thanksgiving episode. I guess it's a little early, but they're definitely in mid-November by now, right? Ben turns to leave for the fiftieth time, and this time he stops when he sees Lee, who lifts his head so that Ben can admire the stitchwork on his lips. And, at long last, Ben steps off the porch and leaves. So...nobody's ever going to explain about the mannequins? Fine. Stupid show.

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Carnivale

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