Sep. 14, 2003
60 min.
HBO TV Network

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Carnivale tv show photo


Into each generation is born a creature of light and a creature of darkness... Carnivàl is set in the United States during the Great Depression. In tracing the lives of two disparate groups of people, its overarching story depicts the battle between good and evil and the struggle between free will and destiny; the storyline mixes Christian theology with gnosticism and Masonic lore.

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Ben Hawkins Carnivale
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Ben Hawkins

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  Played by:
Nick StahlNick Stahl
Nick Stahl was born in Harlingen, Texas on December 5, 1979. After his mother, Dona, took him to see ...

Character Bio

Ben Hawkins photo
Occupation: Farmer, roustabout, fugitive

Personality type: Quiet, secretive

Signature style: Overalls and a dirty shirt

Seen by others as: Rube, hick, dirt farmer, Okie, farm boy

Weaknesses: Stubborn, trust issues

Strengths: Stubborn, good heart, virtuous

Ben Hawkins backstory: Ben was a farmer in a small town in Oklahoma. He lost the farm to the bank when his mother got sick. He has amazing powers and talents, but hides them. His mother is dead, his father is a mystery,

Ben Hawkins, played by Nick Stahl, is the protagonist in Carnivàle. He begins the story as a young Oklahoma farmer and chain gang fugitive who is picked up by a traveling carnival when his mother dies. Ben has displayed inexplicable healing powers since childhood, and with the beginning of the series, he has begun to suffer dreams and visions of people unknown to him. As Ben learns from staying with the carnival, he seems to be related to Henry Scudder, a man who once worked at the carnival. He also learns that his powers come with a price – to give life, he must take life; to raise the dead, he has to deliberately kill someone else. When the beginning of season 2 makes the mysterious happenings in the carnival clearer, Ben is told to find the preacher of his dreams to prevent an unfolding chain of catastrophic events. Henry Scudder, at this point revealed to be Ben's father, allegedly knows the preacher's name, and after a number of near misses and harrowing encounters, Ben is able to bring Scudder before the carnival's Management. A fight ensues in which Ben is forced to kill Management, leaving him a full understanding of his powers. Season 2 concludes with Ben's setting out to confront Brother Justin in California, where they finally meet in battle in a cornfield. The carnies find Brother Justin slain and Ben passed out from his own grievous wounds. They take Ben back to their camp and leave New Canaan.

Episode Screenshots

02x04 - Old Cherry Blossom Road
Season 2, Episode 04
02x05 - Creed, OK
Season 2, Episode 05
01x08 - Lonnigan, Texas
Season 1, Episode 08
01x01 - Milfay
Season 1, Episode 01
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