1x04. "Black Blizzard"

written by William Schmidt
directed by Peter Medak

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


Justin is sitting in a pew, bent over with his hands on his head. Iris approaches and asks what's wrong. Justin hands her the letter. She tells her brother that they should speak with Norman, but Justin responds, "Norman was the messenger." Iris asks Justin to consider returning to First Methodist, but Justin says that he won't ignore God's will.


JUSTIN: "Did you know that there's a boy here who's mother abandoned him in a restroom of a five-and-dime?"
IRIS: "No, but--"
JUSTIN: "Or that Polly Anne's father sold her to some men for one dollar? No. No, of course not. Who wants to dwell on things like that? We never consider the little ones."

Justin rants: Children in textile mills, fingers torn up by machinery. Boys in mines, sifting coal, old men by nine. Boys and girls selling themselves, some kept in cages. Babies bought and raised as livestock. Iris trembles, terrified. Justin quotes Matthew 18:6, and screams, "They must open their eyes! They must open their mouths and drown!"

Apollonia's trailer. The carnies are huddled inside. Jonesy bursts in, letting in a big gust of wind and dust. He asks if they've seen Sofie. Nobody has. Gecko inquires about getting to shelter. "When Management says so," replies Jonesy; Jolene returns from upstairs and finds a figurine lying smashed on the floor. "Wind," Samson lies. He observes that she and Osgood spent forty-five minutes upstairs, and advises her to cut out the pillow talk to increase profit. He pulls out a sawbuck and suggest they find out how fast she can do Osgood again. Insulted, Jolene refuses. Samson offers ten bucks. Jolene tells Samson to keep his money. She'll do Osgood again for free; Back at the cabin, Ben is slumped against the wall, miserable.

BEN: "I don't have to use it."
LODZ: "Don't be absurd. It's a gift! I gave up my eyes for a fraction of what you possess! You must let me help you, boy. Babylon will be upon us soon."
BEN: "I don't care."
LODZ: "The very land the town stands on is poison. It swallows men. It will swallow you too, if you're not prepared. But I can teach you. ..."
BEN: "I'll take my chances."

Sofie and Harlan are on top of a blanket on the floor, having sex. Harlan is moaning and carried away. Sofie isn't all that into it. Harlan rolls off her and Sofie wipes tears from her eyes. She dresses quietly. Outside, the weather has returned to normal. Then, Harlan seems pained by the sudden realization of what they did. "It's okay," mutters Sofie. "It was the storm."; Jolene opens her front door, to let Samson out. He hands her money "for the statue." Jolene tells him, if he's ever in the area again, not to come back; Jonesy reassures Dora Mae that Apollonia will be all right. Felix says she's lucky. Things could have been worse; Osgood escorts Samson back to the carnival. Osgood's grinning like a fool. He proclaims Jolene a "real wingdinger." Samson tells him to shut up.

Samson's trailer. A sign that says "Management--Keep Out." Jonesy knocks on the door, inquiring if Management is all right. No answer from within. Jonesy looks around to make sure no one is watching, then removes a set of keys from his pocket. He unlocks the padlock hanging on the trailer door and steps inside. Jonesy looks around, asking "Everything okay? You all right in there?" He gathers his nerve and pulls back Management's curtains. It's a shelf. And it's empty; Ben pulls the truck into the carnival grounds and gets out. Lila approaches. She asks Lodz if he got what he wanted from the kid. Lodz answers in the affirmative and tells Lila there is work to be done; Sofie is inside her trailer. Apollonia lies still, encrusted with dust, mud around her mouth. Sofie apologizes. She didn't know he was married; Samson greets Jonesy, asking if everything's fine. "Just fine. Right as rain." Jonesy stamps off angrily.

Mintern. Iris walks into Justin's bedroom. She puts her hand on his forehead and he wakes up. She informs him that there's been a fire at the ministry; The blackened remains of Chin's. Justin moves into what was the front doorway of his ministry, now an open space of black cinders.

JUSTIN: "My God. Where are the children?"

Iris turns her head in the direction of a tarp, on the ground in front of the ministry. Justin walks past the smoking debris. He looks down and sees, sticking out from under the tarp, the burnt and bloody legs of one of the children. He staggers to his knees, throws his head back, and howls in anguish. Around them, people stand around, surveying the damage. Policemen mill about. A photographer starts documenting the wreckage. Justin continues to rock with grief in front of the tarp, in Iris's embrace. The building continues to smolder....