OK, while I think Sofie's transition was somewhat sudden, it's still only half explained. Maybe she'll say what exactly what happened in that shack, but that's still Season 3. It wasn't as if they weren't planning for Sofie to go evil from Season 1, which is evident from the flash-backs they were showing. I am a bit upset about the whole thing, but that's more me going "No! Sofie, be good!" than an sort of disappointment in the execution of her story arc. I'm beginning to think that the title of "Usher of Destruction" now actually makes sense for Justin, as much as he Ushers in Sofie, the Omega, to her ultimate fate as Destruction, which is a pretty awesome fake-out, in my opinion, because of all the attention directed toward Justin as the Usher and almost no attention directed toward the Omega. Plus, she has powers!
Jonesy was fated to hit the dirt as soon as he started being happy. That said, They killed Jonesy! And Norman too! Those bastards! Holy crap! Dan Knauf must have really big balls. OK, so maybe there are some indications that Jonesy's not dead, and Dan Knauf may have implied it himself, which is really, really ambiguous.
Personally, I think Justin didn't really die in the cornfield, despite Ben shoving the annointed dagger into his chest. They just broke far too many of their own rules (Avatar ascension, life-for-life) in order for Justin to have fully died before Sofie found him in the cornfield. The carnies never checked to see if he was alive, even though they did check to see if Ben was. Or it just might have been that Sofie as the Omega has far more power than either Ben or Justin. We'll see. It would be strange for the tree to go up in flames like that, but I think that's less a symbol of Justin himself (despite the tatoo), as much as the New Canaan site as a whole. The destruction of the tree symbolizes the splintering of the camp, but the thing is, the camp has already served its purpose, which is to bring Sofie to Justin, so its not like they need it anymore.
Samson is one crafty bastard. I love the guy, and the scenes between him and Brother Justin were just awesome, as well as the scenes between
Iris is such a fascinating character, resigned to the fact that she's evil and that if she's lucky, she'll go to hell and be with her brother. She actually seems to feel remorse toward the things she's done in the name of her brother. To a degree, she also seems to be resigned to the fact that she has no control over him anymore, which is interesting because she's spent the past few episodes trying to kill him/undermine him. It also seems like she's trying to protect Justin on the ferris wheel. Or maybe she's just freaking out that her brother is going crazy right next to her. Or something. I love the ambiguity of Iris's chracter.
I loved Ben so much in this episode. From the scenes in Management's trailer, straight to the last shot of him behind Management's curtain. He was especially awesome when he was reprising the role of "Benjamin St. John", and basically said to everyone, "Sit down, shut up, and let me heal." That gave me a happy, since it was a pretty good contrast to the Ben of "Tipton", and shows us exactly how far he has come as a character. I also loved the part where he explained that his powers are about "moving life". I mean, the show's been pretty clear from the very first episode that Ben's powers worked that way, but I think that's the best way of describing it.
Justin and Stroud pulled out with the crazy male-slash vibes. Sure, the femslash was actaully a major theme of the first season, but this show actually doesn't lend itself to slash vibes, strangely enough. Of course, until Stroud and Justin. Now that relationship is almost as creepy as Justin/Iris.
OK, here's the fanwank (or maybe the actual reason) for the reason that Justin can cut himself shaving, but Ben's knife shattered trying to get through his chest: Justin was in full-blown Usher mode, which makes in skin invulnerable. Since his eyes turn black in full Usher mode, it doesn't sound completely unreasonable for other physical changes to occur. Talbot-Smith cuts Justin's hand early on in the season to check for blue blood, which doesn't make any sense if he wouldn't be able to get through Justin's skin to see the blue blood in the first place.
The cornfield was wrapped up neatly. The relevance of it all made such perfect sense, both within the context of the show and the context of the dreams. I love how this show is just awesome at setting up dominoes, and then waiting a long, long time before knocking them all down. The Ben/Justin fight was pretty awesome, too. I was certain that any kind of actual, physical fight would look hokey, as Nick Stahl is much smaller than Justin, but the cornfield worked, as it levelled the playing field between the two of them.
I'm hearing some complaints on the TWoP boards about this episode being one giant cliffhanger and not resolving anything and not going anywhere. No seriously. They do know they're watching Carnivàle, right? I can see where they're coming from, I guess, considering Sofie's alignment changed pretty damn quickly, even though the alignment change has been telegraphed practically from "Milfay". I'm not happy about it, but I'll forgive it
Random Speculation involving spoilers:
There's plenty material there for Season 3, as we still need to know how Justin brings about the Atomic Age/Age of Reason. I think this is it for his radio sermons, as the Oakies have seen him kill people and go all black-eyed. But I also think that the sermons have out-lived their usefulness.
Someone speculated that Sofie is at her heart, neutral, even though the whole "This is your house thing" seems to contradict it. I'd really like to see that, watching Ben and Justin fight for Sofie's soul as it were, but I don't know how that would work. Maybe she has two halves, and in the shack, her evil side won out, and possibly in the future Ben could redeem her. At the end of it all (Trinity), maybe he will her back at the second, but it will be too late. Kinda like Anakin. Holy crap, I'm a geek.
I'm thinking that Sofie will show up at the carnival later and play innocent, saying that Stroud killed Jonesy, and that she barely made it away with her life. It would make sense that she'd be one way to get to Ben, as well as an excellent way to undermine him within his powerbase of the carnival. Of course, that might also be an excellent time for the battle for her soul, if there is ever one.
One major theme of the show seems to be the free will of the avatars, even though both Ben and Justin seem to exemplify the traits of their particular house, which is contrasted to that of their fathers. Henry Scudder ran from his destiny, hiding out in Damascus, unwilling to use his powers. Management liked to manipulate and kill people to get them to do what he wanted them to do. Scudder was definitely the CoD and Management was definitely CoL, but they can avoid their own true natures to a certain degree. Is that the case with Sofie? We really need to see what happened in the shack afterward. Really.
What will happen to Ben and the carnival? Are they just going to keep wandering? Up til now, they were trying to track down Scudder, and that was where the carnival headed. Is Ben going to realize that Justin is still alive/still dead (if that is truly where they're going with it)? Since he has, in effect, become Management, Ben will have a loft of say in what happens next. I think he will be able to tell that Justin is alive, but that's still a hazy prospect. But if he believes his destiny in defeating the Usher is fuflled, what will he do? Remain a roustie? Travel with the carnival because he feels like it?
There's also Lodz, who (a) knows Sofie's role (he's the one who wrote "Sofie is the Omega" on Ruthie's mirror) and (b) has some sort of plan to come back. Someone mentioned that he might try to use Jonesy's body, which would be a very interesting idea to see carried out. It would give us more Tim DeKay, which is awesome! Yay!
I love this show to the bottoms of my shrivelled. black heart. I don't know if I can wait a year for the next season, but we'll see.
Also, does this mean I have to switch out my Carnivàle icon now that Sofie's Evil?
I really, really hope this show isn't cancelled. Like really, really. It makes you think, makes you wonder, and it refuses to hold your hand when explaining things. I love that. I really, really do. It requires patience, a lot of patience, but I don't mind. Let the answers come in their own time, just enjoy the ride.
So, when are the Season 2 DVDs coming out?