Last week on American Horror Story: Freak Show. We were introduced to Elsa Mars (Lange) and her group of performers she calls “monsters.” Business is dry and Elsa’s looking for her next big star. Lucky for them (or her), she stumbled upon conjoined twins, Bette and Dot (Paulson).
Though they might share the same body, both have different personalities. Bette’s the dreamer while Dot’s the scowler. While Elsa’s busy managing her “Freak Show“, another character is busy terrorizing the quiet town of Jupiter, Florida. Twisty the Clown (Lynch) is slashing and hacking the good people of Jupiter, abducting Bonnie (Samuels) and Corey (Dodson) for unknown reasons.
We also got a taste of Elsa’s performance of David Bowie’s, “Life on Mars?”, Jimmy’s (Peters) fit of rage as he slit the throat of a police officer after calling them “freaks,” and Elsa’s secret of not not having legs.
The pilot episode garnered 6.13 million viewers in the US, helping renewe AHS for a 5th season. The thrills and chills it established on its pilot escalated on the recent episode, “Massacres and Matinees.” Here’s our review.
Do not read if you haven’t seen the 2nd episode. Spoilers ahead.
The first few minutes of the 2nd episode really set the mood. The poor toy store clerk and owner is going to be the next victim of Twisty. The scene itself was just über creepy and scary which reminded me of films like Scream, Halloween, and Friday the 13th.
I’m not surprised on how Murphy wanted to portray murder and gore. He’s outdone himself again since last season’s whacking of Witch Hunters.
Yet again, Lynch, who portrays Twisty, was spectacular even without speaking lines. Just the way his eyes played around and how he stands in that bozo stance was more than enough to scare the shit out of me.
Meanwhile, Gloria (Conroy), is this wealthy socialite who bores the hell out of his son Dandy (Wittrock). We see Dandy, pissed off at his mother and having a fit for not allowing him to become a theater actor.
Clearly money doesn’t buy happiness. Soon after, Gloria was confronted by their maid Nora (LaBelle) about finding the remains of the neighbors cat in their tool shed. Nora suspects Dandy but Gloria shrugs it off.
I’m not sure if I’d be more creeped out by Dandy’s childish tantrums or Gloria’s continuous patronage of his son’s spoiled attitude. C’mon, she lets his son drink cognac from a crystal baby bottle with his name engraved on it. That is one weird family.
And that’s not the end of it. Gloria luckily came across Twisty while driving off somewhere. She hired the murderous clown and invited her to entertain Dandy.
Who picks up a dirty clown in the middle of nowhere?
No one. Gloria is simply cuckoo up there.
He knocked off Dandy with one of his pins after finding him going through his bag. Went back to his home (an abandoned van) and decided to check out on his prisoners. Unknowin to Twisty, Dandy has discreetly followed him.
I was expecting more torment for Bonnie and Corey from Twisty. But that moment made me look at Twisty in a different light. He looked exhausted and wanted to sincerely entertain the two. There must be a reason why his abductees were still alive.
Bonnie and Corey were hesitant when Twisty showed the wind-up robot he stole from the toy store. Frustrated after seeing no reaction from the two. He pulled out the head of the the toy store clerk. Panic set in and Bonnie smacked Twisty with a loose board.
Twisty’s lower mask fell off and showed that he is jaw-less beneath. I nearly fainted after watching that.
Bonnie and Corey made a run for it! They ran off in different directions. Bonnie suddenly bumped into Dandy and asked for help. To her and my surprise, Dandy picked her up and called for Twisty. Unfortunately, both were captured again and it seems that Dandy is Twisty’s new helper.
Wittrock was spectacular this episode. Showing real depth to his character rather than just a spoiled little bastard (he acted it really well). I think that Dandy’s character is more sinister than Twisty’s, seeing that a new serial killer is born. And he does it for fun, no motives, just pure bliss and satisfaction from killing.
At the carnival. Elsa and everyone were visited by police officers looking for their missing colleague and informing them about a curfew due to the recent murders. Elsa pointed out how easy targets they were when things turn to the worse. Disagreeing that the police needs to show a search warrant before even accusing them of murder.
Jimmy, who slit the throat of the missing officer, dug the dismembered body they buried and decided to burn it and throw the ashes away. He gave Eve (Ervin) and Paul (Fraser) a speech that them “freaks” should be recognized as humans and should not be rejected by society.
I really like Evans character this season. Although his best was Tate from Murder House. His sense of pride and courage against discrimination is admirable. 2 episodes in and he really embodies this cool and charming leader who wants to make a difference. Aside from the fact that he looks hot in that 50’s get-up.
Ervin, the real-life lovely 6’8″ woman and Fraser born with phocolemia or malformation of the limbs were not just a stand-out because of their difference, but with how they make it look that being odd is special and not a hindrance.
However, their acting skills are not yet at par with the other veterans of the show. The arc they have for being maltreated and looked at as sick, contagious human beings way back in the 50’s resonates in their faces. Who doesn’t like to root for the underdog?
Dell (Chiklis) and Desiree (Bassett) also joined this episode as the Strong Man and Three-breasted hermaphrodite respectively. On the run from cops in Chicago after Dell’s murder of a young boy who was having sex with Desiree, Dell pleaded to work at Elsa’s Freak Show. Jobs for their kind was scarce and their last hope was Elsa.
Ethel (Bates) who was revealed to be Dell’s ex-wife and father to Jimmy, dropped by in the strong man’s trailer and threatened him not to get too close to Jimmy, not even an inch. While Dell lashed back and informed Ethel he was hired to be second-in-command.
It was then showed how Dell tried to break Jimmy’s neck when he was a baby. Jimmy’s constant crying annoyed Dell and called the baby a “mistake.” But not until Ethel showed up and pointed a gun at him.
Kathy Bates won the Primetime Emmy’s Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series or Movie for her role as Madame Delphine La Laurie last season. I just can’t find a gripping acting point for her this season. Though I’m hoping she will have moments in the coming episodes. Her story arc as Ethel is just blah!
I’m praying Murphy gives her justice. Since it was hinted that her character and Bassett’s Desiree will go head to head again this season, which I am looking forward to.
Going back, as everyone prepares for the premiere of their headliners, Bette and Dot. Elsa wanted to see what talents the twins are capable of. Bette began an awful rendition of “When I’m Calling You”. Making Elsa irritated and suggesting that both can stand there or try to juggle.
Jimmy, who is close to the twins, convinced Dot to give it a try. The shy Dot deflected the idea as she knows confidently she has no talent, agreed by Bette. Jimmy persuaded her more and Dot sang “Dream a Little Dream of Me”. To everybody’s surprise, Dot can actually sing! Bette looked disappointed while Elsa looked at Dot with pure envy.
Dell proposed of having a matinee while the curfew ensues but Elsa disagrees. Both had a heated argument and Dell will not bow down to a woman. Elsa then said, in her German accent, “the man is going to be a problem”.
Jimmy along with the other performers, went to town and had this idea of being served in a diner. The look on everyone’s faces as they entered the diner was of complete shock, disgust and loathing.
One lady even managed to scold them for upsetting her daughter (People back in the 50’s were total jerks when it comes to anything different).
The matinee began as planned by Dell. Bette and Dot both gave a glorious performance to Fiona Apple’s “Criminal.” Loud cheers and applause flooded the tent. Dot was ecstatic while Bette looked unhappy, and Elsa, being the fame whore bitch she is, looked at Dot with such intensity.
Though I have to agree that incorporating a bit of Murphy’s musical in the series is Fun-tastic, I believe they should not over kill it and make AHS look like a cross-over of Glee. But Paulson’s performance was by far the best this episode and I feel Elsa’s jealousy.
We rarely get to see two heads in one body harmonize to a perfect duet. I wish Paulson gets nominated again and now win an Emmy.
The episode concludes as the police return to their camp and now has a search warrant, after getting an anonymous tip about their missing colleague. The whole camp was tense as Dell was about to be framed by Elsa and Jimmy, using the police’s badge.
But clever as their plan could be, Dell outwitted them and instead placed the badge into Meep’s (Woolf) trailer (A flashback showed that Dell caught Jimmy breaking into their trailer). The police then arrested the poor little guy and was taken straight into jail.
Elsa, pretending to be upset over Dot’s overshadowing of the other. Sweet talked Bette into believing that she was the real star. How Dot’s new found fame is making her head big and that she must put a stop to it. Elsa then slipped a knife under Bette’s pillow, insinuating that Dot should be murdered.
Jimmy, who got drunk because of guilt when Meep got arrested, talked to his mother that he needs to confess to the police to save Meep. Ethel, confused on what’s happening, sternly suggested for Jimmy to stay away from Dell.
When both were outside, a truck threw a lumpy sack in front of them. When Jimmy opened what’s inside, he found Meep’s lifeless body (probably murdered by the prisoners). His cry of anguish was heard across the circus and all of the other “freaks” gathered and mourned for Meep.
Chiklis was so effective this episode. I hated his guts. His whole character as Dell is as annoying as Zachary Quinto’s arc as Bloody Face in Asylum and Kate Mara’s Hayden in Murder House.
I expect to see more of Chiklis’ wonderful performance as a villain this season, but part of me wants to punch him in the face.
Woolf’s performance this season might have been short-lived, but those final moments he had while crying, “Meep.. Meep..” inside that prison was gut-wrenching and a tear-jerker. I really felt sorry for his character.
His role might be this head-biting freak performer that could pretty much scare anyone, but deep inside they’re just as scared as we are of them. Even though some of these did not exactly happen in the past, the discrimination that took place was perfectly portrayed this past 2 episodes.
So far AHS: Freak Show is on the right track. With deeper stories for every character and the build up of their personalities. As I’ve said before, this could be their best season to date.
5 Stand-out moments/characters for Episode 2:
1. An unlikely friendship/bond forms between Dandy and Twisty.