1x02. "After The Ball Is Over"

written by Daniel Knauf and Ronald D. Moore
directed by Jeremy Podeswa

original airdate: September 21, 2003
running time: 56 minutes


Ben wakes up. He hears footsteps. A woman wearing a nightgown walks toward him. It's the "catatonic" Apollonia. She extends her hand and he takes it. She gasps: "You're the one." Meanwhile, Sofie returns to her trailer and sees that her mother is not in her bed. She runs outside, screaming. Apollonia faints in Ben's arms. Ben shouts and waves for Sofie's attention. Sofie angrily pushes Ben away. The carnies all leave their tents and trailers and rush over to see what the commotion is all about.

JONESY: "Spill it, Hawkins! What the hell happened here?"
BEN: "I was sleepin'. I woke up. She walked over to me--"
SOFIE: "She can't walk. She can't even move. Everbody knows that."
BEN: "I didn't do nothin' to her, Sofie. You gotta believe me, I didn't--"

Two men hold Ben still as Gabriel starts to slug the boy in the stomach. Ruthie screams for Gabriel to stop as Samson intervenes, insisting Ben didn't do anything wrong and to let him go. Sofie asks Samson why her mother isn't talking to her, but Samson doesn't have any answers. He orders some men to carry Apollonia back to her trailer, and then notices that Lodz is watching from a distance. Things haven't changed since St. Louis. Samson informs the carnies that there's been a change of plans and the next day they're heading south. Ben follows Ruthie to her trailer and lets her examine his injuries. She gives him something to take the swelling down. Ben uses the opportunity to ask Ruthie what she knows about the photograph he's been carrying around. She tells him it's a photo of Hack Scudder's sweetheart, Flora. Ruthie hands him a photo of Scudder: "The Gentlemen Geek." In the photo, Scudder is wearing a tuxedo and top hat. He's one of the men from Ben's dreams -- the soldier from the bunker. Ben asks if Scudder was in the war. Ruthie can't say for sure. Ben tells her that the Flora in the photo is his mother whom they buried back in Milfay and Ruthie agrees: "that is downright queer."

Chinatown in Mintern is eerily quiet with no Chin's to stir up business. Justin walks up to the building and unlocks the door. He steps onto the stage and addresses an audience of empty tables and chairs, In his "sermon," he welcomes his brothers and sisters to their new temple, where they will begin their a mission to save the multitudes who are lost to God and "would otherwise perish forever when His sword is loosed upon the world." As he preaches, Carroll Templeton drives to a remote hillside location, stops the car and pulls out a revolver. He places the gun against his head. And fires.

Justin returns home and finds Iris asleep in the living room. She wakes and he tells her they've acquired a new church: Chin's.

IRIS: "That gambling hall down in Chinatown?"
JUSTIN: "Brother Templeton donated it to our new ministry... for the migrants."
IRIS: "The migrants?"
JUSTIN: "The flock I've been chosen to lead. Chosen by the Lord God. He spoke to me, Iris. And I shall carry out His will."
IRIS: "... Praise the Lord."

Justin is then overcome by emotions and breaks into tears. Iris walks over to him and massages his shoulders. She tells him that God has chosen a good man Later, Justin enters his bedroom. He kneels on the floor and slides, from underneath his bed, a box. Inside the box is a leather whip. Justin stares at a cross on his wall and begins to whip himself in the back. Downstairs, Iris is sewing and humming along with the radio. She stops, listens to the flagellation occurring upstairs, and continues to hum. On the radio, the song "After the Ball" plays...

At the carnival grounds the following morning, men are dismantling the Ferris wheel and carrousel. They're wheeling away the popcorn cart, collapsing tents, and carrying assorted trunks. Ben walks past the conjoined twins Alexandria and Caladonia, who are playing cat's cradle and singing: "After the Ball." Then, Ben abruptly stops walking. He looks up at a trailer. Attached to it is the red cap belonging to the bear from his dream. He stares at it, while the singing continues. "After the ball is over, after the break of morn, after the dancer's leaving, after the stars are gone, many a heart is aching. If you could read them all... many the hopes that have vanished, after the ball...."