Freudian Slips: A Carnivale Ride

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

March 27, 2005

A Carnivale Ride

The season finale of HBO's original series Carnivale lived up to its billing. I may finally stop spitting on my high cable bill thanks to this Carnivale episode of flawless acting and intrigue. Set in 1934, Carnivale is a show about good vs. evil amidst the backdrop of supernatural phenomenom and a religious order. It is season two and the players are all aligned like an apocalyptic chess match. A series of visions tell us that the fate of the planet is on the line. Forces collide when the main characters pictured above , Ben Hawkins and Brother Justin, square off. Yes, good and evil finally got a face, even though I would argue that Brother Justin had a pretty good idea of the face of his adversary thanks to a nifty porcelain mold. Brother Justin and young Hawkins are the antithesis of each other. Each have slaughtered the others father so there was some bad blood, albeit blue blood, brewing between them. To place the two main characters in the same dustbowl, screenwriters forced a traveling carnival to infiltrate a Christian camp. The only thing harder to pull off is starting an ice cream shop in hell. Only Carnivale could pull it off and that they did. Kudos.

Ringleader Sampson set the tone early, when he muttered to Ben Hawkins, "Hogwash! When it comes to living, dying is the easy part."

Yes, things are tough all over in depression era New Canaan when the world hangs in the balance of wayward souls, a rebellious healer, and a religious leader. I thought the best scene was when midget Sampson stood up to a towering Brother Justin. Shorty never looked taller in size 6 challenged shoes. When a leashed Rollo, the contortionist, smacked his own buttocks with his feet squarely behind his head, I should not have been surprised about a twist in the end.

The only subplot that I did not like was the entrapment of Brother Justin on a Ferris wheel of all contraptions. Couldn't they come up with a better climax to the history of the world then evil getting stuck on a Ferris wheel? It is like burning Joan of Arc in the game room of a fun house.

If I could lend an ear to the climatic scene of our main characters running armed through the corn field. Talk about cutting to the chase. It reminded me of Stephen King's Children of the Corn. Hawkins and Brother Justin tangle. White-collar evil wields a sickle while blue-collar Ben Hawkins jabs a shorter inferior knife blade. Hawkins had to resort to impersonating a scarecrow before killing off his nemesis. Ding Dong the devil is dead? No. But wait there is more.

The confused misguided young Sophie served as the omega catalyst. She was forced to choose between Ben Hawkins and Brother Justin. Sophie hadn't even shed the passionate love she and Hawkins made in the backseat of a 1928 model T Ford while Brother Justin had just revealed himself to her as a creepy false prophet with tree vines growing on his chest, black Texas tea oil for eyes, and one who can swing doors closed faster than Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Not much of a choice for me and not exactly reminiscent of Glenn Close in Sophie's Choice but it was exactly that...Sophie's choice. Her answer could have wiped the smile off of gargoyles. "Go to hell." she shouted back to Brother Justin. I have a sneaky suspicion Brother Justin knew how to get to hell anyway. I ask, is that any way to talk to your father? You see, our dear Sophie always knew her mother, Appolonia, was raped by a man of strange influence but Sophie never knew he was now her employer. Could nepotism be the root of all evil? Sophie finally learned the hard way who her father was. I doubt whether I would thank God for learning this naked truth. It is one thing not knowing who your father is. But knowing your father is the devil incarnate makes living as an ignorant bastard more desirable. It is either the devil you know or the devil you don't in this case. Carnivale concluded with a strange surprise ending we have come to expect from HBO who conspire to squeeze another season of monthly payments from their subscribers. Enough griping about management and back to our story. To borrow a pun, what possessed Sophie into doing such a God-awful thing as killing the likeable former gimp Jonesy? The devil made her do it Justin time. After all, blood is thicker than water, even holy water.

Read more Blog Simulcast coverage of Carnivale's season finale by a fellow Blogger at:



Blogger justrose said...

I have gone back and forth with my HBO subscription because of my tremendously huge cable bill, so I have not followed this show, but I am aware of it and intrigued by it. After reading your review, I wish I had followed it more closely!

7:11 PM  
Blogger PaxRomano said...


As always your review just rules, you are such a wit!

Now we have to wait,what, a year to see what happens...damn HBO.

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe, great review! But, are you so sure Jonesy is dead? Me thinks the producers would not kill off such a fine carny character. Another question: Is Sophie going to have Ben's baby? And, if she is, will it be good or evil? Oh, how the story line can twist and turn for another millennium. Post by ET

7:26 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Invest all your money in sandals. HBO can wait.

I have more corn than all the ears in that field of screams.

Now go watch the first season. It is a shame about Jonesy. It just shows you can walk into trouble at any time, even with two good legs.

8:28 AM  

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