Previously on AHS: Freak Show, ‘Show Stoppers’
Alas, we have come to the season finale. It wasn’t my favorite season, but with the arrival of Neil Patrick Harris, the entire show just lit up, so I am sorry to see it end. Well, I’m sorry to see NPH go because I’m pretty sure he’s gonna die. Most everyone else already has, so let’s start the show and see who makes it out alive.
We start out with Dandy having his new show sign hung on the side of the road. The freaks don’t think anyone is going to come to the weird new show, but they don’t have any other options. To be honest, Dandy is the most interesting thing in the freak show right now, so they really should stick around.
Dandy is on stage yelling at someone about the lighting he demands. I don’t recall him aspiring to be a singer. He better not have some ridiculous Fiona Apple musical number. This isn’t Glee, Ryan Murphy. I’ve had enough of those. Luckily, there is no music. Just Dandy losing his shit over them not having sold tickets in the last half hour. Sweetie, you aren’t Taylor Swift; it’s gonna take some time. Dandy says it’s because the freaks are too boring and he wants to add some oddities to them. Eve punches Dandy in the face and Lizard Man slaps him with some cold, hard truth before he spits in Dandy’s face and quits. Oh Lordy, there’s gonna be some death tonight.
Elsa is at WBN (World Broadcasting Network) and tries to see Mr. Gable (the president of the company). His secretary politely says, “Not gonna happen, lady” but persistent Elsa says she’ll wait. She waits all day, but Mr. Gable has snuck out the back to avoid her. Elsa ain’t happy, but secretary says “That’s Hollywood” and Elsa slaps her across the face. A guard restrains her, but a man named Michael Beck rescues her. She sobs in happiness and discovers he’s the president of casting. Well, what a lucky break.
Back at the show, Dandy is carefully applying his make-up: some black eyeliner and a ravishing shade of pink lipstick that makes him look like the missing member of My Chemical Romance. He steps out onto the grounds and shoots Lizard Man right in the head. His loving girlfriend hides behind a blanket (well, he’s obviously dead, it’s not like she could’ve saved or helped him) but Dandy finds her and shoots her, too. He saunters into another tent and knocks off another freak and torso lady makes a run (crawl? She doesn’t have legs so I’m not sure the right term to use) for it. But he gets her in the back of the head anyway. He’s nothing if not efficient.
He continues his trek through the camp and shoots any freak he comes across. Eve comes out of her trailer to see the carnage, including a very chunky mess of Lizard Man. Dandy is still shooting (without having reloaded…how many bullets are in this handgun?) while Eve fetches an axe. He puts a bullet between Fat Lady’s eyes and heads to Desiree’s trailer. Just as he’s about to find her in the closet, Eve tackles him to the ground. Not sure where the axe went because she’s just punching and kicking at him, but he has a gun, so obviously he wins. Somehow Desiree managed to hide again during their scuffle and he doesn’t find her.
Didn’t I tell you there was gonna be some death tonight? Damn, that was a massacre.
But he hasn’t killed the twins. He’s got them gagged and bound in his trailer. He should’ve killed them first. I kinda liked most of the other freaks. These two gotta go. But Dandy likes them so I guess they’re safe for now.
Of course, Jimmy chooses now to show up with his weird Pinocchio hands. He notices it’s quiet, but seems to have missed the slew of bodies on his way in. Well, actually, there are no bodies. Guess Dandy had a busy afternoon getting rid of all of them. Like I said, homeboy is efficient. He’s got them all laid out in the main tent and on the stage. Jimmy finds them and just cries. Boy, you better run. Desiree comes in and they both cry some more. Damn it, mourn later. Get yourselves a weapon or a vehicle and get the hell out of there. Do you have no sense of self-preservation? RUN!
At the Mott house, there’s a double wedding – the twins are marrying Dandy. Happily, so it seems. Is this a fantasy? When the priest says to kiss the bride, he only kisses Bette. Uh… awkward. Dot says no big: she can “leave her body” while they’re consummating the marriage. Dandy says sometimes she can stick around. After all, a stallion demands a certain respect from all his mares. This man is so sick and twisted. He’s awesome. They toast to their marriage and talk babies: he hopes they have a 3-headed girl and can have their own freak show.
But then his vision starts to blur and Desiree walks in dressed like a French maid. Turns out: they’ve poisoned him. He’s shocked and appalled. He whips out his gun, but Bette’s got one of her own and she shoots him in the arm. They call in the butler and it’s Jimmy, looking dapper in his tux. And then Dandy faints. That better not be how he dies. This psychopath needs a death as sadistic as he is.
After the commercial break we find him handcuffed in his tighty whities in a glass tank. Desiree had suggested they cut his balls off, but Jimmy smartly pointed out they’re carnies – they always put on a show. Oh, hell yes. Let the show begin! Dandy begs for his life, but he ain’t gonna get it. Desiree turns the water on and Dandy screams as the tank starts to fill. The freaks take a seat and enjoy some popcorn as they watch him die. Well, that was kinda cool. Not bloody and disturbing like I’d hoped, but getting to watch his life leave his eyes right in front of them was still pretty satisfying.
But now we’re left with some of the most boring people on the show. All the good ones are dead. Where the hell is NPH?
It’s now 1960 in Hollywood, and Elsa Mars is the “Queen of Friday Night” with Emmys, a variety show, and gold records. She married the Michael Beck fella and now has a star on the walk of fame. Yeah, no, that just isn’t realistic. But it appears to be real. Hold up, Michael is David Burtka. Hey, David, where’s your husband? This episode needs him! Elsa’s filming some commercial and being a total diva.
A publicist comes by to discuss a Halloween special, but Elsa refuses to perform on Halloween. Please do not bring back that ridiculous Edward Mordrake business. It was bad enough having to sit through the two-part special. After belittling her husband, Elsa puts her foot down: no Halloween show. And then she leaves. Oh David, you poor handsome devil. Go find NPH. You don’t need her BS.
Elsa is back at home and seeing her axe man. She’s complaining of being bored and alone. She begs him to be with her, but he says he’s cursed and he only came to say goodbye. He’s got cancer and is dying. He’s only got a month to live. And Elsa complains that he’s going to leave her truly alone. Selfish hag.
Later, Elsa is drunk at home but Michael has brought home Mr. Gable – the president of the network. She pours him a drink (which is nothing but cider or apple juice, it doesn’t remotely look like quality booze) and he tells her of some explicit tapes of her they’d found. I guess sex tape scandals date back further than I thought. She’s losing her show and her husband is leaving her. But in true Elsa style, she wants to go out with a bang. Thank goodness, cause this episode needs it.
Oh dear God, it’s a musical number. This is NOT the bang I was looking for. She’s singing I don’t know what, and it turns out it’s Halloween. I would happily take Mordrake back if she will stop the singing. And hey, it’s Theo! I don’t know where he went or what happened, but he’s back and he’s got some babies and he’s got Desiree. What a happy little life she ended up with. Yawn. But good for her.
Jimmy’s still got his Pinocchio claws and a pregnant wifey. A wifey that is the twins. Ugh, no. Just… no.
Oh look, it’s Mordrake. I called that one. And he’s got Twisty in tow. But he’s not even remotely scary without that mouth thing. He just looks like the morning after a Halloween party, all pasty and sad and makeup smeared. Elsa stops singing when she sees the green fog and the dead corpses coming in with Mordrake. She asks him to take her and he raises some knife looking thing that could be just a giant nail. He stabs her and she collapses as he says “your place is not with us.” She’s back at the freak show with all her dead pals. Including Ethel. And we have another awkward moment. And more of that awkward Kathy Bates accent. But it seems all is forgiven and they’re happy to have her and want her to perform. No ma’am not another musical number.
The hideous blue suit and garish blue eyeshadow is back. But thank God, it cuts off before she starts singing.
Wait a second, that’s it?
That, for me, was a completely unsatisfying finale. Like it took all the open ends of the show and just nipped them in the bud. Kill off everyone – pretty much literally – and tied the rest up in a neat little bow with their happy little endings. This is American Horror Story. I’m not looking for some cheesy happily ever after. Especially not one that was rushed and contrived like that. And not one moment of NPH! I assume he was locked up after taking the doll to the police, but he was seriously the BEST part of the entire season and I spent this whole episode looking for him. Not having him there felt like a letdown. It all felt like a letdown. I’m glad Dandy died, but even that was anticlimactic. Whatever happened to Spencer in the bird coop? Does Elsa really never have to pay for her mistakes? Isn’t Jimmy a wanted felon? I feel super unsatisfied.
This season had its highs and its lows, and a lot of the time it felt like it was trying too hard. Not my favorite season, and the formula is starting to get a bit bland. Apparently season five is supposed to be a huge reinvention and I think it’s time. A lot of the big stars are doing other projects, but I believe Evan Peters could single-handedly carry an entire season so I hope he sticks around. While Freak Show ended on a lackluster note, I won’t let that take away from the high ones it hit. And I will be back for whatever Ryan Murphy cooks up for us next season.