The River

Episode Report Card
Aaron: B- | Grade It Now!
He ain't heavy, he's my brother!
Like a bridge over troubled water, Clancy Brown will lay thee down. Or something like that. We open with Brother Justin perched precariously on the edge of a bridge, glancing downward at the fast-moving river that winds through the gorge below. Before we can even get our bearings (and before those of us who are afraid of heights can grip the armrests a little tighter), we're suddenly jerked into a series of Predator-VisionTM flashbacks featuring selected creepy images from Justin's storyline to date. Back on the bridge, a rather bored-looking policeman tries to talk Justin down. "No matter how bad you think it is," he drawls, "there's nothing that's happened to you that hasn't happened to someone else." Justin flicks his eyes over towards the cop, and gives this rather trite sentiment the sneer of disdain it so rightly deserves. Then he executes a perfect swan dive, and tumbles into the roaring rapids below. Farewell, Brother Justin. Too bad the Russian judge only gave you a 6.5.

Carnieland. Ben and a handful of other rousties are busy setting up the carnival in front of a conspicuously CGI'd blue sky backdrop. While I amuse myself by trying to figure out exactly where the real shot ends and the matte painting begins, Adrienne Barbeau emerges from her trailer and heaves a weary sigh. Then she spots Ben, and heaves a sigh of an entirely different kind. She calls out to him, and asks if he'd like to join her for some "snake hunting" later that afternoon. Ben immediately drops the pipe he was carrying and agrees to go along without saying even a single word. Heh. Although I do wonder if he agreed because he wants Adrienne to hunt HIS snake, or just because he enjoyed the "snipe" hunt Jonesy sent him on with the baggage trailer and assumes that this will be more of the same. I mean, let's face it. The boy ain't too bright, so you never know what he might be thinking.

Elsewhere, Ma & Pa Cooch are silently eating breakfast. Silence. Silence. More silence. Awkward silence. Silence of the Lambs. Silence like a cancer grows. Finally, Ma Cooch breaks the ice by asking if there's anything she can do to cheer Pa up. I like to pretend that he was about to ask her to bust out the little red pig, but before he can actually respond, Libby comes strolling past the table sporting a brand new Like-A-Virgin-esque platinum blonde hairdo. This causes Ma Cooch to go apeshit, or possibly some other form of animal excrement, because she describes the color as "pure cow piss" and loudly insists that there can only be one blonde dancer in the show. Libby responds by pointing out that she sees Ma naked on stage every night, and knows damn well that there aren't ANY natural blondes in the show. Ew. Boy that family dynamic they've got going just keeps on getting creepier every week, doesn't it?

Ma Cooch storms off in a huff, and Libby sits down beside her father. Pa Pimp proceeds to hold his daughter close in a way that manages to be simultaneously touching in a "grieving father" sort of way, and also kind of creepy in an "it wouldn't surprise me if these two had been doing it since she was six" sort of way. I've noticed that Carnivàle certainly does enjoy walking that incest tightrope. Pa repeats Ma's question from earlier, wondering if there's anything he can do to cheer Libby up. She admits that she's been thinking about leaving the carnival, although when you consider that she already announced those same intentions right in front of him last week, that's really not much of a revelation. Pa allows that "Curly and Jasper" (a.k.a. π and Avogadro's Roustie) have already snuck off to parts unknown, and then suggests that they could do the same. His dream is to go "anywhere but Texas." Hers is to go to Hollywood. "It happens all the time out there," she tells him. "People go to Hollywood with nothing but a dream. Then they just get discovered, and become big stars." And then their shows get cancelled, and they end up shaking their tits for scale on pay cable. But in an artsy, Emmy-appropriate sort of way, of course. Dad agrees, and says she'd better start packing. Aw. Hugging. Hugging. More hugging. Huggy Bear. Awkward hugging. Really, really creepy, incestual hugging.

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