1x04. "Black Blizzard"

written by William Schmidt
directed by Peter Medak

original airdate: October 5, 2003
running time: 46 minutes


Ben asks Lods how much farther. Lodz says that the day presents a "unique opportunity."

BEN: "Unique? What the hell does that mean?"
LODZ: "By telling you everything now, it would spoil the adventure."
Ben slams on the breaks and the truck grinds to a halt.
BEN: "Okay, that's it. I'm callin' you. You put up right now or I'm turnin' back."
LODZ: "Dear me. I'm afraid it's much too late for that."

Ben leans out of the truck and looks behind them. He frantically rolls up the window: "Aww, hell!"; Samson whistles as he dresses. Jolene lies naked on a bed. Samson counts bills out onto her night table. Jolene jokes that she should be paying him. Samson says she's probably right. Suddenly, Osgood calls from outside. Samson leans out a window: "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!"; Jonesy and another roustie are hammering stakes into the ground, when Jonesy stands up straight: "pack it up," "batten it down." The roustie says that they need to get to shelter. Jonesy replies, "Ride it out here."

A large dust storm is rapidly approaching...

Sally's Cafe. Sofie continues to spin her lie, telling Harlan that she was married to Clayton Jones, a pitcher for the Sox--"Horsehide Houdini." She tells Harlan that after Jones was crippled, she came home to the smell of gunpowder. Then, Sofie looks out the window and sees people running in the dust, trying to take cover. "Mama...," she exclaims. Sofie runs outside, but Harlan follows and drags "Betty" back into the cafe and out of the storm; Ben and Lodz are trapped in the truck and with nothing to do but wait, Ben closes his eyes for some "shuteye"; Dora Mae and Felix run into Apollonia's trailer and find the woman covered with dust. The doors and were left open. Dora Mae slams her fist on Apollonia's back and great clumps of dirt fall out of the woman's mouth; Ben wakes and finds himself alone in the truck. Outside in the storm, Lodz is walking briskly into the wind. Ben gets out of the truck, and covering his face with a rag, follows Lodz to a wooden cabin. A lamb lies dead on the ground, and all around them the storm rages.

Thunder rumbles. Lightning flashes.

Ben enters the cabin and finds Lodz tending a fireplace. Lodz welcomes him; Sofie asks Harlan if he's married. Harlan tells her he's "never found the right girl." Sofie asks who the Sally in Sally's Cafe is, and Harlan tells her he named the place after his mother who taught him to cook. The lights go out; Samson, Jolene and Osgood sit in the darkness of Jolene's livingroom, awkward and bored. Osgood suddenly announces he's got "two bucks." Jolene shrugs and they go upstairs. Samson sits in stunned disbelief.

Ben shouts at Lodz for nearly killing him, but Lodz says they both know they weren't in any danger. Lodz asks for Ben's hand. He reads the boy's mind and reveals that it was the dust storm, the "black blizzard," that killed his mother--yet, Ben survived. Lodz tells Ben to open the door. Ben does. Outside, the storm has stopped and the sky is blue. Lodz tells Ben that he (Ben) made the storm stop. Ben doesn't believe him. Suddenly, the storm returns and Ben has to brace himself against the floor to push the door shut again. Lodz boasts that Ben made the sky clear, but Ben tells Lodz that "only God can make the weather stop!" Lodz responds by burning Ben in the face with a red-hot poker from the fire. Ben clasps his hand to his cheek, but when he takes his hand away, the burn mark is gone. "Yet," Lodz says, "the smell of burning flesh lingers on in the air."