EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'Carnivàle' recap: Every prophet in his house

Season 1 | Episode 2 | “After the Ball Is Over” | Originally aired Sept 21, 2003

Think Game of Thrones was the first HBO show to give us an incestuous brother-and-sister duo? Well, think again! Not only does this episode provide some majorly creepy insight into daily life in the House of Crowe, but we also get a blinking fetus and some seriously angsty dream sequences. And while this episode retains the deliberately slow pacing of the pilot, it sets in motion the central mythology of the story while introducing us to even more of the unusual folk who work at the carnivale.

Let the struggle between light and dark begin!

The Rewind Recap

We open in a noticeably still diner that is vacant, save for a slow-moving waitress. Justin enters and takes a seat at the counter. Ben enters a few seconds after, mimicking Justin’s actions. As both men watch in a mirror, a man wearing a top hat and a soldier take their place in the booth located directly behind them. As the waitress proclaims, “Every prophet in his house,” the men in the booth clink glasses, thereby setting off a horrible explosion. It jolts Ben and Justin awake simultaneously.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 8.07.18 PM

Jonesy orders Ben to clean out the baggage trailer. Ben arrives and discovers an array of oddities, not the least of which is a blinking fetus in a specimen jar. As the music from the earlier dream sequence plays in the background, Ben uncovers a suitcase containing a top hat and tuxedo. He also stumbles upon a photo of a young woman; the look on Ben’s face indicates that he knows her. However, when he tells Samson of his discovery, Samson tells Ben that no such trailer exists and that Jonesy was just hazing him, carny-style.

Ben insists that the trailer was real and shows Samson the photo as proof, but Samson remains unconvinced. Later, Samson thumbs through an old photo album and comes across a copy of Ben’s photo. He then asks the unseen person behind the shrouded curtain just what the hell is going on.

Justin preens in front of a mirror before heading out to his sermon. Before leaving, however, he takes the time to sneak a few peeks at a bathing Iris. And yes, that would be his sister. Despite the joyous singing of the congregation, the bulk of the parishioners are not pleased to be sharing prayer space with Eleanor and her migrant family.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 8.09.01 PM

Carroll Templeton, the town’s powerful pillar, informs Justin that no one is happy that unwashed migrants are infiltrating the parish. Justin counters that he wants Templeton to gift him with Mr. Chins, the gambling house, so that Justin can establish a new ministry for the migrants. But when Templeton balks, Justin employs some serious mind voodoo that reveals Templeton’s frequent pedophiliac activities at Chin’s.

Throughout the day, Ben finds himself drawn to watching Ruthie. As he sleeps, Ben dreams of the men from the diner who are now both dressed as soldiers. A large, feral bear that wears a little red hat interrupts the scene. As the bear bears his fangs, Ben wakes up to a woman slowly approaching him. It’s Apollonia. She tells him, “You’re the one,” before passing out in Ben’s arms. But when Sophie discovers that her mother is missing and screams for help, the carnies surround Ben. Gabriel plants a few punches to the gut before Samson orders everyone to leave Ben alone.

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As Ruthie nurses Ben, he shows her the photo from the trailer. Ruthie reveals that the woman in it, who also turns out to be Ben’s mother, was the love interest of Hack Scudder, who worked at the carnival as a geek. She shows Ben an old photo; Hack Scudder is revealed to be the top hat–wearing man from Ben’s dreams.

Justin returns home to find a sleeping Iris. After staring at his sister for an uncomfortable period of time, he rouses her with the news that the Lord spoke to him and that they will lead a new flock, the migrants. As Justin breaks down, Iris stands behind him, rubbing his shoulders and assuring him that the Lord couldn’t have chosen a better man to lead. Later, Justin strips down and, with the aid of a well-hidden whip, begins to self-flagellate, while downstairs Iris listens and continues work on her needlepoint.

Comments, Gripes, and Observations

  • The Templeton scene in Mr. Chins is easily one of the most disturbing moments ever seen on television.
  • Thanks to some not-too-subtle framing shots that cast them as opposites, it’s clear that the light and dark referenced by Samson in the pilot episode are embodied by Ben and Justin; which one fits which bill is still up for debate.
  • Did anyone else get serious Twin Peaks vibe from seeing the prominently placed pie on the diner counter?
  • There are some truly excellent moments that help define the characters from the get-go. From Justin’s focus on appearance to Jonesy and Sophie’s complicated relationship, Carnivàle excels at using small moments to paint large backstories.
  • I loved the way Babe Ruth’s momentous 700th home run was weaved into the plot; it worked to ground the characters in a very specific historical moment.
  • Justin and Iris are giving off some very un-sibling-like vibes in this episode. Any thoughts on where that relationship is headed?
TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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