Carnivàle is an American television series set in the United States during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. In tracing the lives of two disparate groups of people, its overarching story depicts the battle between good and evil and the struggle between free will and destiny; the storyline mixes Christian theology with gnosticism and Masonic lore, particularly that of the Knights Templar.
Written by Sophie and last updated on jan 02, 2023.
PS: The following content contains spoilers!
PPS: I will admit that parts of this page was written with the help of AI - it makes my work so much easier to not start from a blank page!
As the spiritual powers of Ben Hawkins evolve, the entity Management reveals it's identity to Ben, (the Russian soldier in Ben's dreams) and then exposes him to a vision of the cataclysmic disasters (a nuclear explosion) that awaits the world if Ben doesn't identify and conquer his nemesis: Brother Justin, the creature of darkness. In order to do this, Ben must find his father, the elusive Henry Scudder, who holds the knowledge of the preacher's identity and location. In the aftermath of the fire which killed Apollonia, Samson covers for Ben by claiming that he died in the fire to get rid of the Texas Ranger still hanging around the troupe, and Samson helps Ben hide the dead body of Professor Lotz, while Lila becomes concerned for the missing Lotz well being. A distraught Sofie runs away, leading a guilt-ridden Jonesy to assemble the carnies to go out looking for her. Meanwhile, Brother Justin's radio sermon has employed two new "apostles"; an occultist named Wilfred Talbot Smith, who aids Justin that he must kill Henry Scudder to become a true immortal, and a prison inmate named Varlyn Stroud whom is also "called" by the mesmerizing Justin's voice. Reporter Tommy Doyle continues to investigate the Chin's ministry fire, while Justin and his sister Iris use the radio to continue to spread the word, drawing throngs of weak and impoverished masses into their spiritual web, while Reverend Balthus suffers from a stroke.
The episode was rated 7.93 from 149 votes.
Ben tries to stave off the torments of his dreams by staying awake, but the lack of sleep is taking its toll. Meanwhile, Samson looks to drum up new business by resurrecting several tried-and-true scams, including "turtle boy" and "man eating chicken". Lodz warns a distrustful Ben about the dangers of not practicing his "gift." Sofie worries that her mother is losing touch with reality after she has a vision about her father raping Apollonia. Ben marvels at Ruthie's new snake-charming routine, and Lodz's psychic act gets a jolt from a mysterious source. In Mintern, Iris reaches out to Brother Justin over the radio airwaves who's still in the asylum, and Tommy gets a surprise reaction when he makes a pass onto Iris.
The episode was rated 7.88 from 155 votes.
A practical joke which has him clean an old dirty trailer leads Ben to a piece of the puzzle of his past - a tuxedo-clad man named Scudder who Ben keeps seeing in his dreams and who may be his long-lost father. Meanwhile, Brother Justin and his sister Iris have a conversation with Justin's mentor, Reverend Norman Balthus, which makes him realize that he has a gift that he must put to use. With the help of a vision that comes to him at the right time, he persuades the owner of the local brothel Mr. Chin's to allow him to turn it into a house of worship for the local migrants. At the Carnivale, Sofie continues to tend to her comatose, telepathic mother, Apollonia, after their upsetting run in with Ben, whose powers can help, or harm.
The episode was rated 7.85 from 237 votes.
Oklahoma Dust Bowl, 1934. 18-year-old Ben Hawkins is a young man whom lives with his physically sick, God-fearing mother. After his mother dies from a long illness, Ben unceremoniously buries her in the back yard of his home which is then repossessed for outstanding late payments. Ben is taken in by a traveling carnival troupe (titled Carnivale) and becomes acquainted with the residents whom include the kind-hearted dwarf owner Samson; his right-hand man and head rigger Clayton Jones; Gypsy tarot reader Sofie; the bearded lady Lila; girlie tent owner Felix "Stumpy" Dreifuss, his wife Rita Sue whom Felix solicits to some of the patrons, and their two teenage daughters Libby and Dora Mae; Gekco the Reptile Man; snake charmer Ruthie; Ruthie's son Gabriel, the low-IQ strongman; and conjured twins Alexandria (Alex) and Caladonia (Cat). Ben is revealed to have strange mystical powers of clairvoyance and healing which worry Professor Lodz, the blind mystic of the traveling troupe. Meanwhile in the small town of Mintern, California, an evangelical preacher, named Brother Justin Crowe, receives a sign when a woman vomits up silver coins that disappear before his eyes, that leaves him awakened to the possibility of mysterious powers that he has and it somehow gives him a psychic connection to Ben, both of whom have never met.
The episode was rated 7.85 from 308 votes.
Thirsty for payback after the murder of Dora Mae Dreifuss, one of the chooch dancers, Samson and the rest of the carnies, including Stumpy Dreifuss and Rita Sue, get caught up in an obscure, but fascinating phenomenon called "Carnival Justice" to root out the person responsible. Meanwhile, Ben's dark adventure in the mine shaft ends where Lodz welcomes him back into the fold. In Mintern, Brother Justin, highly distraught over the mysterious fire that destroyed Chin's and killed six homeless children, leaves the town and wanders in the wilderness, where he meets a group of hobos around a camp fire where one of them is an undercover reporter.
The episode was rated 7.80 from 189 votes.
The carnival finally arrives in Babylon, a tapped-out silver mining town in rural Texas with few inhabitants. Samson tries to improve the troupe's spirits with a night of revelry at the local bar while Sofie and Libby (one of the chooch dancers) get closer and decide to attend the local cinema. Eventually, a group of restless miners arrive in time for the chooch show, but with drastic consequences when they start a riot. Meanwhile, Ben has an enlightening experience at the bottom of a mineshaft where he has a vision of the mysterious Scudder fighting in the trenches of World War I.
The episode was rated 7.79 from 192 votes.
Samson sends Ben on a road trip to enlist a new attraction, where Ben encounters a longtime carnival rival named Phineas Boffo. Back at the carnival, Sofie debates whether to defy her mother and join Libby on the bally of the chooch tent. Meanwhile, Stumpy tells Jones he needs to get his "candle waxed" and offers to set Jones up with Rita Sue. Lodz and Samson have a falling out over Ben's errand in which the old mystic turns to the mysterious Management. In Mintern, while Brother Justin is committed to a lunatic asylum and receiving treatments for "religious excitation," Tommy Dolan is posing a rallying cry for his radio listeners: "Where are you, Brother Justin?"
The episode was rated 7.78 from 165 votes.
On the road to Babylon, Texas, the carnival encounters a horrific dust storm, called a 'black blizzard.' Intrigued with clues about his past, Ben follows Lodz into an abandoned house where the seer tests Ben's powers. Meanwhile, a lonely Sofie socializes with a handsome café owner. Samson visits an old flame while Jones, facing a roustabout mutiny of the carnies, comes up empty in his effort to meet with the mysterious and godly Management which controls Carnivale. In Mintern, Brother Justin struggles with an ultimatum by Reverend Norman Balthus: give up his new migrants ministry at Chin's, or face losing his old congregation at First Methodist.
The episode was rated 7.76 from 212 votes.
When Carnivale sets up show in Ingram, Texas, Ben sets out to find some people who knew Scudder and stumbles into a bizarre moonshiners camp which proves both painful and revealing. Meanwhile, Stroud continues his quest to find Scudder by investigating the mining accident in the ghost town of Babylon. At Carnivale, Sophie still refuses to read Ben's future through the tarot cards, but the cards soon reveal something without Sofie's assistance. Ruthie's luck with her snake charming skills seem to be turning against her. Stumpy pitches Rita Sue and Libby to an underage audience, and he later gets a visit from a menacing bookie looking to collect. In Mintern, Tommy Dolan continues his investigation into the arson incident, while Brother Justin takes the catatonic Reverend Balthus under his wing, as well as takes advantage of his young and naive new housekeeper, Celeste.
The episode was rated 7.74 from 137 votes.
When the authorities of the cash-poor Oklahoma town of Tipton refuses to let the carnival set up show, Samson takes Jones' advice and temporally reinvents the troupe as a religious-revival show with Ben as the center act of a healer. In Mintern, Brother Justin's promise to the migrants of their new church upsets his regular congregation whom despise the seedy people. Meanwhile, Ben and Sofie team up to continue to search for clues about his mysterious past when they meet with an ailing old woman outside Tipton who knew Henry Scudder, Ben's father.
The episode was rated 7.70 from 227 votes.
Mixing reality shows and food seems like the perfect combination for just about anyone. I always get amazed what some people are able to make under a huge amount of pressure. The cooking shows are so entertaining as well, because it’s always regular people competing. Just make sure not to watch them on an empty stomach!
Because I’m watching so many imaginary scenarios, it’s nice to take a look at things that actually happened every once in a while. The drama from documentaries really feels a lot different than those from series you just know didn’t happen. I love being aware of everything that is or has been going on and Netflix is really great at helping us with that.
If you're a fan of post-apocalyptic worlds set in a dystopian reality, you've likely already heard of HBO's latest hyped-up show, 'The Last of Us'. First released in 2013, The Last of Us narrative-based game franchise has gained popularity amongst gamers worldwide. The gameplay focuses on a teenage protagonist Ellie on her quest to find a resistance group- 'The Fireflies' during a time when a percentage of the human population is affected by a parasitic infection. Another central part of the game is the development of the father-daughter-like relationship between Ellie and her counterpart Joel. Joel is tasked with smuggling Ellie across the United States despite the deathly threats they face from the infected. The gritty and well-thought narrative of the game brings a human touch to the harsh realities of a mass post-apocalyptic pandemic. It's no wonder gamers have been excitedly awaiting the development of the beloved franchise into a television series! But is the TV series matching up to the standards that lovers of the game expect?
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