Warning: Contains major spoilers. Obviously.
Finally! The American Horror Story that we’re accustomed to is back! This is truly the first episode all season that has excited me in such a way that I can’t wait to see what happens next! When Twisty was killed off, I wasn’t sure what that would mean for the show, since he really was the “horror” in this season’s horror story. However, I think the writers struck gold with Dandy as a serial murderer and he is a very amazing villain! This week’s episode also teased a future with several of our beloved freaks murdered by Stanley and Maggie “Esmerelda”, and put on display in the Human Oddities Museum. Since none of these murders occurred in this episode, I’m really intrigued to see it unfold.
This week, we see Stanley persist in his deception of Elsa, attempting to persuade her that having a television show (on Warner Bros., no less) would be the best career move for her, as television is the future of entertainment. Ah, what it must have been like in the fifties, unaware of the power of television. Can you imagine a time when your life wasn’t controlled by that magic talking box? The thought is almost terrifying in its liberation, isn’t it? Anyway, Elsa flat-out refused, insisting that television was too gauche for a woman of her talents. Disappointed, but undeterred, Stanley leaves her tent, claiming that he was looking forward to seeing and enjoying her act. He, it turned out, was the only one, as Elsa’s act (another goddamn rendition of “Life on Mars”) was booed and catcalled into oblivion, making it a bigger disaster than the live performance of
Milli Vanilli Ashlee Simpson Cassie any failed musical act in recorded history. A thoroughly humiliated and destroyed Elsa later calls Stanley in to accept his television offer.
Before Elsa’s catastrophic “performance”, more was happening with the other freaks. Esmerelda has clearly taken a liking to Jimmy, offering to read his palm while he practised his act. Her “reading” warned him of a smooth-talking newcomer whom Jimmy should avoid at all costs… even if it meant having to leave the freakshow that very night. At Jimmy’s reluctance at the suggestion, she tries to convince him that he is smart and good-looking enough to be able to do anything that he wanted. However, when he tried to go in for a kiss from her, she pulled back, indicating that despite whatever chemistry the two of them may have, there are still limitations to romance when physical appearance is concerned.
Since Jimmy’s heroic revelation of Twisty’s murders, the freak show has experienced newfound success. However, despite a packed audience, Dell is nowhere to be found. When Jimmy goes off to their caravan to find him, he only finds Desiree, intoxicated and depressed from Dell’s absence. Jimmy, still in mourning over Meep’s death and freshly stung by Esmerelda’s rejection, seems to require just as much comforting as Desiree, and their mutual sympathies turn into passion. Before much happens, though, Desiree pushes Jimmy away in pain, and Jimmy notices his fingers covered in her blood. Ethel rushes Desiree to her doctor – a brilliant and wonderfully kind man – who informs Desiree that contrary to what she’d thought about herself her entire life, she is not, in fact, a hermaphrodite. Biologically and genetically, she is all female, and what she’d always thought to be a penis, was only an enlarged clitoris, which he informed her could be surgically reduced. The bleeding that she’d experienced turned out to be a miscarriage, and while tragic, also meant that she could try again for a baby if she so desired.
Over at Motts Manor, Gloria (Frances Conroy) discovers the body of Dora on their kitchen floor and, despite Dandy attempting to pass it off as the doings of a burglar, she knows immediately that he is the culprit. He apologises and blames his decision on the fact that Dora was “saying mean things” to him. Gloria doesn’t call the police, though. After all, that would mean that Dandy would have to take responsibility for his heinous actions – and a
grown growing monster man-child boy cannot be put under such pressure! She, therefore does the next best thing, and sends him to his room. I mean, the horror! Such a severe and fitting punishment for the murder of an innocent woman! If she were any more of a monster, Gloria probably would have threatened him with no dessert that evening! *shudder*
In his room, Dandy exercises away some of his frustration, and I truly hate myself for admiring his body, but I’ve gotta give Jack
the Ripper his jacket; homeboy looks good! After working up a sweat, Dandy comes to the conclusion that his future begins tonight, and he gets dressed up, clearly going out in search of a new victim.
Luckily (??) for us, his hunt takes him to a gay bar, where we surprisingly find Dell, carrying drinks over to the always delectable Matt Bomer, guest starring as Andy, a male prostitute with whom Dell is apparently in love. Now, you guys know that I love me a good gay storyline, but this one initially threw me. I mean, why the hell was Dell suddenly gay? It didn’t take me long to realise, though, that this made perfect sense. After all, the only two women with whom we know that he’s been are Ethel and Desiree, one who sports a beard thick enough to intimidate Gandalf, and the other who everyone had always believed to be half-male. Allow me to say that so far, I’ve hated Dell, but I must admit that his teary little speech to Andy about knowing that Andy is with men who don’t care about him like Dell does genuinely touched me. Nicely played, Mr Chiklis… nicely played. Unfortunately for Dell, this isn’t Pretty Woman, and the prostitute does not return the affections of the john in this case so when Andy lets him know that the feeling isn’t mutual, Dell storms off, only to have his now vacant seat taken over by Dandy.
Dandy pays Andy (huh, that’s an awful rhyme) one hundred dollars to follow him to the woods and if there’s anything that Patrick Bateman has taught us is that when a wealthy sociopath pays a prostitute far too much for their services, said prostitute is going to wind up chopped into little pieces! Sadly, tradition held true. Now, seeing Finn Wittrock together with Matt Bomer gave me a nostalgic flashback to The Normal Heart, and I need Ryan Murphy to know right goddamn now that he is pairing these two up in the fucking worst possible ways ever! This needs to change! All my thirst aside, the resulting scene was absolutely horrific and I don’t know what’s worse: the fact that we saw Andy stabbed a dozen times and horribly dismembered… or that he somehow managed to stay alive through most of it. Someone needs to tell the writers of Saw that they need to step their game up. I also hated myself for finding it incredibly funny when Dandy sincerely chastises Andy for “making him feel bad” by not dying immediately, though he continued hacking away at his limbs. I swear, it’s like there are no more decent sociopaths left in this world.
Gabourey Sidibe made a guest appearance (awesomesauce) as Dora’s daughter, inquiring after her mother’s whereabouts. This, I take it, might bring a little unwanted attention to Dandy’s new hobby. The most confusing part of this week’s episode (and one of the most intriguing) was the interaction between Stanley and Bette and Dot. Earlier we saw their dismembered heads floating in a jar of formaldehyde earlier (Bette’s looking awfully deformed), so it makes perfect sense when we see Stanley – under the pretence of giving them their own television show – present them with poisoned cupcakes. Dot refuses, but Bette takes a bite, leading her to become poisoned and eventually die. The pain, both physical and emotional, for Dot is excruciating and she begs Stanley to take them to a hospital, but he instead proceeds to smother her to death. However, later on, we see Dot refusing the cupcake before her sister manages to take a bite, and they both live. So, I have no idea what the hell is going on… and I love it! I know in last week’s review I said that this was the first time that I didn’t really like Sarah Paulson’s character, but I think I’m reconsidering this. Dot is undoubtedly a bitch, but she is also incredibly clever and innately suspicious of the most mistrustful characters – traits that Bette is far too naïve to possess – and I admire that about her. When Elsa learns that Stanley is also wooing the twins for a ‘television deal”, her envy once again kicks in, and she informs them that she will be their mentor. As such, she has scheduled an appointment for them with the best seamstress in town. When she takes them, however, she leads them not into town, but directly to the Mott’s house, where the episode ends with her informing Gloria that she has brought something that Gloria wants.
This was, from beginning to end, an amazing episode – the best of the season so far and, if the rest of the season continues in this fashion, Freak Show is going to be a wonderful treat for all of us.