Alex Conrad watches from the audience as Jim and Alice Freeman perform their clown/acrobat routine. Once they're done, Tim comes out and announces Zarno the Magnificent, and his trapeze act. Zarno and the Flying Calvitos take to the ring, while Corky and Joey congratulate the Freemans. Jim wants to stay and watch the act, and Alice says that she doesn't like flying acts and goes inside. He wishes that he was up there with the Calvitos, and Joey assures him that he will be some day. Alex gets up and walks away, and bumps into Joey. Joey recognizes Alex and calls to him, but Alex tries to get way. The clown runs over and says that Alex can't get away from an old friend that easily, and Alex tells him that he's mistaken him for someone else. Joey insists that he couldn't forget Alex, the greatest trapeze catcher in the business, and Alex asks him to let him leave quietly. Ignoring his request, Joey insists that they talk in his wagon.
In the wagon, Joey takes off his makeup and Alex says that he's been on the move working as a farmhand. Joey says that he belongs with the circus and asks him to come back with him, but Alex tells him that after what happened with the Flying Falcons, he can't. Alex disappeared after the accident, and Joey tells him that it wasn't his fault. The older man insists that he killed the Falcons, and Joey claims that Jess woke up before he died and said that it wasn't Alex's fault. He was suffering from rheumatism and kept it secret from his wife and Alex because he hoped it would improve. Alex realizes that his hands didn't fail him, and Joey points out Corky and how he's Jess' son. He offers to introduce Alex to Corky, and Alex asks him not to say how he was involved in Corky's parents' death.
Corky asks Alex if he's going to be with them, and says that he'd like it there. Joey says that Alex has been around the circus longer than he is, and Alex admits that he knew Corky's parents. They go to see Tim about Alex's job.
Later, Jim prepares to go up on the trapeze. Alice refuses to watch him, and Jim says that their act isn't flying. When he jokes about making her a widow, Alice goes into their wagon. Jim goes to the trapeze with Corky, and explains that Alice used to be part of a flying act with her father and brother. Her brother fell and broke his back. Alex is checking the rig, and Corky tells Jim who he is. Joey comes over and says that Alex was also one of the greatest catchers in the world. Jim wonders if Alex would teach him, and they call to Alex to come down. Alex insists that his catching is in the past, and Jim says that Zarno won't let him go up with his catcher.
Corky goes after Alex and asks why he won't teach Jim to be a catcher. Alex says that a good catcher has to have confidence, and he doesn't have it anymore. He figures that someone will teach Jim, and Corky asks Alex to meet him at Zarno's rigging in half an hour so that he can show him something important. Alex agrees and after Corky leaves, Zarno comes over and tells Alex that it's a little late to try improving his grip.
A half hour later, Joey and Corky point out Jim on the rigging. Jim starts performing, and Alex tells Joey that he's not interested in what Jim can do. Joey insists that Jim is good, and Alex stops to watch. Alex starts calling instructions to Jim, and Jim finishes up and drops into the net. The older man warns Jim that he's looking at a life of pain, but agrees to start teaching Jim the next day.
Later, Zarno sees Alex training Jim with Alice joining the act. She tells Jim that no matter how she feels about feeling, she feels like she belongs with him. Tim arrives just in time to see Jim miss a passing leap and fall into the net. The owner comes over and asks if they'd like real audience. Alex warns that there are a few rough spots, but Jim insists that they can give the audience a good show. Despite his concerns, Alex agrees.
When Tim goes back to his wagon, Zarno barges in and demands to know why Tim is putting on two trapeze acts. Tim says that their act is better than Zarno's, and points out that Zarno has been dropping difficult tricks from his act. The trapeze artist refuses to risk his life for small-town yokels who wouldn't notice the difference, and Tim tells Zarno that he hasn't shown talent for months. Zarno concedes the point but refuses to work with another trapeze act. Tim refuses to give in and Zarno quits.
Outside, Zarno passes Alex and tells him that he'll have the trapeze all to himself. As Corky overhears him, Alex asks why Zarno has it in for him. Zarno says that he remembers what Alex did to the Falcons and was there the night Alex dropped them. When Alex repeats what Joey said, Zarno says that Jess didn't regain consciousness after their fall, and figures that Alex will kill Jim as well. When Alex realizes that Corky heard Zarno, he goes over and admits that he was part of the Flying Falcons. Shocked, Corky runs off.
Alex finds Joey and asks why he lied to him. Joey says that Jess would have told Alex the same thing if he lived, and Jess was planning to quit the show at the end of the season. Alex tells him that he can't go up, and tells Joey that Corky found out about his involvement in his parents' deaths.
Joey goes to the wagon and tells Corky that he's wrong about Alex. He explains that Alex loved Corky's parents and what happened was an accident. He tells the boy that he'll have to figure out how he feels, but he can't fill his heart with hate. Joey tells Corky to ask God if he should forgive Alex and leaves.
Later, Joey, Alex, and Alice watch as Jim misses a pass in rehearsal. Zarno's catcher Sebastian, working with Alex, comes down and says that Jim doesn't know the first thing about trapeze. Sebastian refuses to work with him and tells Alex to work with Jim if Jim is so good. Corky is watching and comes over as Alex says that he can't catch. The boy asks Alex to do it for him, figuring that he must be the greatest catcher in the world because he worked with his parents. Alex agrees and assures Corky that their first performance will be one of the greatest acts in the business.
Later, Tim introduces the new acts with Alex the Great as their catcher. The performance goes perfectly, and Sebastian tells Tim and Joey that he deliberately riled up Alex to get him back up. Jim and Alice perform the passing leap, and Alex tells Jim that he's the boss. The couple performs the passing leap and Sebastian tells Corky that he was wrong about Alex.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 12, 2017