1x03. "Tipton"

story by Henry Bromell; teleplay by Daniel Knauf
directed by Rodrigo Garcia

original airdate: September 28, 2003
running time: 49 minutes


Felix, a.k.a. Stumpy, stands on stage, introduces himself as Lazarus Dubois, and welcomes the crowd to the traveling "St. John Crusade and Revival." Stumpy recounts to the crowd how he was once a sinful man until saved by Benjamin St. John while, backstage, Ben expresses more last minute jitters. Samson tells him just to look cryptic and he'll do fine. Ben is greeted by a chorus of cheers as he has himself a seat onstage. Samson joins Lodz and Lila at the back of the tent and sarcastically compliments Lodz on dressing Ben up like Scudder. Lodz laughs. Stumpy asks the crowd who is in need of healing, and although nearly everyone raises his hand, Stumpy picks a frail woman in a wheelchair. Gabriel brings the woman on stage. She is covered head-to-toe, her face obscured, but in reality, the woman is really Ruthie.

STUMPY: "What's your name, sister?"
RUTHIE: "Gertrude."
STUMPY: "And what's ailing you, sister?"
RUTHIE: "I gots the stomach cancer. ... Doctor says it ate my back bones. So's my legs don't work no more."
STUMPY: "... Are you ready to be healed tonight, sister?"

Stumpy instructs the crowd to chant "Jesus!" and, as he prays to God to take away the cancer, for Ben to lay his hands on her. Ben does. Ruthie throws herself around in the wheelchair. Stumpy and the crowd encourages "Gertrude" to get up and walk and Ruthie staggers over to Stumpy. She proclaims herself to be healed and everyone stands and and hollers and hugs each other. Praise the Lord!

Fade in on a young Scudder standing against a porch railing. With him is a woman in a white dress. It's possibly a summer day, for they both appear quite hot and bothered. "Love Me or Leave Me," sung by Ruth Etting plays in the background. Scudder stands up and walks back into the house. The woman watches him go. Then, the record begins to skip. "You might find the nighttime, the right time, the nighttime, the right time, the nighttime, the right time--" It's morning and Ben opens his eyes. The music is coming from a gramophone, which someone shuts off. Two men lift Samson on top of a table. He tells the carnies to gather around for an announcement: because of the success of the revival, they'll all be having eggs, bacon and orange juice for breakfast. Everyone's pleased. When Sofie insincerely congratulates Ben, he asks how her mother's doing. She drops her defense and tells him Apollonia's better and "talking" again. Samson informs Ben that they've got a morning revival at eleven. Ben remarks that he's got business in town. Samson tells Ben to take the Chevy and be back by ten thirty at the latest.

At the Farmer's Market, Ben is showing the photograph to an old farmer. The farmer doesn't recognize Flora, nor know where Big Sky Farms is located, but he suggests Ben talk to Mrs. Donovan because it's her truck in the photograph -- it was sold at auction. The farmer explains that the Donovans used to own nearly half the town, but now Mrs. Donovan only has her house and "a shovel full of dust in her lungs" to her name. He tells Ben she lives thirty minutes away, but it's a quarter past ten already, so Ben's forced to return to the carnival. Outside the carnival grounds, he slows the truck to a stop and parks on the roadside because of stopped traffic. Ben asks a woman if there's a wreck, but she tells him that a healer is responsible for the congestion. Suddenly, in a repeat of yesterday's scene, a woman shouts "That's the miracle-man!" and flocks of people begin to surround him, laying their hands on him. Jonesy and other men arrive to restore order while Gabriel slings Ben over his soldier and the carries him away from the swarming crowd.

Brother Justin is giving Munson, Templeton, and their entourage, the promised nickel-tour. The councilmen feign enthusiasm as Justin shows them the pews that the migrants are constructing, along with the children's dormitories, which are in the process of being repainted. He introduces the men to Iris, who offers her sympathy to Val Templeton for the loss of his nephew Carroll.

JUSTIN: "Lord knows that without Carroll Templeton none of this would've been possible."
VAL: "Well that's a real comfort. I'm amazed how much work you put into the place. I just wish you'd come to us before."
JUSTIN: "Well, believe me, we'd appreciate all the support you could lend in the future. We need all the help we can get."
VAL: "Well, that's not exactly what I meant."

Ned explains that the city planner's office has the block scheduled for demolition by the end of the month, but they're prepared to offer the ministry an empty roadhouse five miles outside of town. Justin refuses their offer. He says he knows the proposed "demolition" has nothing to do with city planning, but is an effort to make sure the migrants stay outside city limits. When Val threatens to exercise imminent domain, Justin storms out. Iris follows, suggesting they might reconsider the offer. Justin shouts "No!" and Val suddenly begins clutching at his throat. He can't breathe. As the men escort him from the building, Iris shoots her brother an accusing stare. Justin first appears defiant, but off Iris's look, hangs his head in shame....