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04 November 2008 @ 11:26 pm
2x03: Ingram, TX  
Argh, I totally failed as a mod this time round... It's almost Wednesday over here. My only consolation at my own fail is that if I don't find the time to watch the episode and make a post, it means I still have a life sometimes, y/y? *delusional*


Gross "got milk?" jokes! Tarots that keep coming back! "I see dead people!" Creepy hillbillies! Nice family you got there, Ben!
Current Music: Inkubus Sukkubus - I Just Can't Get You Out Of My Head
the artist formerly known as pojymatitablu on November 4th, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC)
Random thoughts are random.

Am I the only that, in the scene with Iris and Justin's notebook, was reminded of this scene in Mary Reilly? Justin definitely has some Jekyll/Hyde features. For those who haven't seen the movie, Mary Reilly retells the Jekyll and Hyde story from the POV of Jekyll's housemaid, Mary. At a certain point, she finds one of Jekyll's medical books covered with obscene and pornographic doodles (the one in the screencap is rather tame) that were made by Mr. Hyde. In the film, Hyde also represents uncontrolled, deranged sexuality as opposed to Mary's (and Jekyll's) sexual repression.
Actually, this sex/evil association is a bit Victorian and, while I love Justin as we know him, I sometimes wonder what kind of character he would have been without the sexualization of his dark side (from Appy's rape to the incest, not forgetting the milk glass trick we saw in this episode). Given that Carnivale doesn't shy away from sexual themes, I wonder if, by contrast, a desexualized villain would have stood out even more.

As I said, I'm okay with things the way they are - it's a cliche, but it's a cliche I like, lol. It's just the kind of thing you get to wonder about when you go through the story again and again and start deconstructing - which is why this rewatch was created in the first place.

On the other hand, one thing that's always like the first time to me is... what the hell is in the parcels Ben finds ? The Crone's hair? Is it hair, then - so why the flies? And... WHY? Really, that scene creeps me out everytime - it's scary on its own account, just like nightmares, and perhaps it doesn't even *need* to make sense... but I like to think it has one and I'm just missing something.

Overall, I like the distinct horror overtones of this episode. The tarots that keep coming back remind me of urban legends (and well, of a story running in my own family), and of that Stephen King short story, "the monkey" (not spoiling it - read it if you haven't already). Also, Ruthie seeing the dead (including Lodz): again, I like how this kind of "vision" in Carnivale *doesn't look like a vision at all*. These supernatural elements are just *there*, as tangible as all the rest, just like in magical realism - and in "true" ghost stories. Those who claim to have actually seen a ghost often say it was just like the person was there - no see-through and no rattling of chains. I like that they kept this attitude in the show. I think it also saved them some bucks in the special fx department :-)

I also wonder what would have happened if events didn't lead to Sofie being quickly estranged by most of the carnies, not finding a place to fit in anymore, and stayed at the carnival. Like, what if Belyakov realized she was the Omega while she was still there?

Edited at 2008-11-04 11:52 pm (UTC)
wytchcroft: scanagainwytchcroft on November 5th, 2008 12:58 am (UTC)
Re: Spoilers
that's very interesting and i'm glad you posted because i had similar thoughts and wasn't sure how to put them down...

the first time i saw carnivale i thought it was great how they explored areas of human darkness tat many shows did not go near - breaking taboos as much as trampling on cliches.

this time though it's strange because i find i'm more uncomfortable with a sexualised kind of villainy - at least i mean, it seems more obvious now - why? i'm not sure - but i agree that a non-sexual nasty might have been more intriguing, might have stood out and lasted better.

i know i mention twin peaks a lot - but again i see connections, TP investigated sexual evil in a way that was unusual at the time - but so much of that now seems dated and/or just plain nasty - even though as a show (in total) i love it still.

the reason i think is that numerous shows (and movies) have come and gone and turned these things into cliches- the drip drip effect of forgettable lesser product.

anyway - i was watching this with mixed emotions - EXCEPT that the drama IS so intense and everything does seem to have been coded in from the start - and even things like the incest (oh and isn't Apollo/Starbuck actually that too?) DO have a symbolic meaning in terms of alchemical/occult symbology (whew!).

now you know why i don't comment so much!
wytchcroft: carnywytchcroft on November 9th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
Re: Spoilers
ingram - is the dirt dirtier than S1??? Seems so to me!

aren't the interiors great?

i love the slow but woozy camera work.

i ike the theme, the exploration of the whys, ways, and means that people will use other people.

i like the scene at the root of the blighted tree of life.

but why the emphasis on 'deformity' and the 'abnormal' - not sure i get that. I thought it was maybe thhat some people have deformity = shame, hidden when it shouldn't be, while others are 'abnormal' on the inside - but watching again, this doesn't stand up. But it's clearly deliberate throughout the episode, so what am i missing here??
marionj2 on November 22nd, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
Late, but finally here.

I made the mistake of watching this episode in daylight - I forgot how dark it was! I'll have to watch it again in a dark room so I can actually see the other half of the episode. Fortunately I know most of it by heart!

More foreshadowing in this episode, I think. I think the creepy mannequins actually foreshadow a future scene of a massacred family. Two "adult" mannequins and two "child" dolls. Which turns the doll with a nail through its head into an image I don't want to think about.

Wytchcroft - maybe that's what the emphasis on deformity, etc. is about. The Nazis tried to exterminate anyone who wasn't the Aryan ideal. It's been suggested that Carnivale's dark future may mimic them.

I also think the scene with Ben hanging upside down from a gadget which I'm told is used for animal slaughter is, together with the pigs hanging from meathooks in Damascus, some kind of foreshadowing of what may happen in future episodes.

Hey, I said it was dark!

What was with the mother/sister/Aunt Claudine? (Also repeated in Damascus.) I Googled it, but didn't find anything that seemed relevant. Maybe a writer had a real Aunt Claudine?

Suggestions of racism in this one, too. Justin's speech about salt - "pure and white" - and Stumpy's calling the bookie guy "mighty white of you."

Another thought - the resemblance between Stumpy and the old man in the road pimping his daughter was amazing. Not just his face, but his voice too. At one point, I thought it was actually Toby Huss, heavily made up, or that the actor was TH's father, but neither seems to be true. But it certainly made a point about Stumpy. (Hmmm, thinking about this now, I wonder if a future storyline would have healed Stumpy's spirit. And what if he was healed, but Rita Sue wasn't? Maybe there's a fanfic there!)

Some little visual jokes and puns too. Justin is reading a quote about not drinking water here. Then he picks up the infamous glass of milk. One of those things I'd never noticed before.

And one more thought - I really, really want Ruthie's wardrobe! I LOVE that silk nightie! Of course, it would help to have Adrienne Barbeau's body to be able to wear it. (sniff...) And isn't everything in her trailer the ultimate in femininity?

Enough for today...next episode, please...
the artist formerly known as pojymatitablu on November 22nd, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC)
See, I've been awful at maintaining this rewatch in the last two weeks (curse you, real life!), but at least you could catch up :-)

Nice thoughts about the foreshadowing - it actually puts all those creepy, but apparently pointless scenes, into another perspective. Not that I'm complaining about the horror features - it's one of my favorite things about S2.
marionj2 on November 23rd, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
Just another thought that occurs to me. There is a scene (later, but I don't really see it as a spoiler) where Ben locates Justin by the sound of buzzing. I had vaguely wondered why he would associate buzzing with him, but this episode made it clearer.

The sound of flies buzzing is the sound of death. Polypoly asked what was in the packages. I don't know exactly what it was, but it seemed to be something decomposing - possibly from previous people the cousins had waylaid and buried. It may not important what it was - just that it made the association between buzzing and death/evil, for future reference.
marionj2 on November 23rd, 2008 02:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Buzzing
That's Pojypojy, of course, not polypoly. Sorry, poggy!

(Time for some more coffee.)
thalidarthalidar on November 23rd, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Buzzing
Unless I'm misremembering, isn't been trying to locate Scudder at this point so he can go rescue him? This is while he was still on the road I believe. Associating buzzing with Scudder from this scene would certainly make sense.

Also, the buzzing was heard in the pilot when Ben uses his healing ability on the girl (it's presence was emphasized in the script). So maybe if it is connected with death, that's why we would also have it in that scene because the balance requires something to die in order to provide healing.
marionj2 on November 23rd, 2008 09:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Buzzing
Interesting point, Thal! They were telling us there was something ominous about the apparently "good" healing.

I think you're right - it was Scudder Ben was was trying to locate. He happened on Justin by "accident," if there is such a thing in Carnivale.
marionj2 on December 18th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
I keep popping in to see if Poggy's set up another episode, but I guess she's out living her life. Good for her!

Just thought I'd say hello...
the artist formerly known as pojymatitablu on December 18th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC)
Aw, no, you're right. I always procrastinate putting out an official hiatus sign because I hope to catch up the following week, but I have to be realistic and my schedule of late doesn't allow much free time. I'll put up a post ASAP.