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American Horror Story: Freak Show – S4E2 – Massacres and Matinees

Previously on AHS: Freak Show, ‘Monsters Among Us’


Dell and Jimmy

Okay, here we go. Week 2 of AHS: Freak Show and I am so ready. The first episode last week hit the nail on the head for me and I am looking forward to some triple-boobed Angela Bassett and to see where the twisted minds of the AHS writers will take me. Not so much for Mr. Clown, but I’ll be brave.

Tonight we open up on some of the freaks gathered around the table and listening to music. Jimmy Darling comes over and changes the station to a news report. There are four unsolved murders and two missing children. The work of Mr. Clown, of course. At the coffee shop, there are no patrons on account of the murderer on the loose and folks keeping their families home and safe. Good luck with that guys. Mr. Clown will break right in and kill you slowly and then take your kids. The radio news reporter also mentions a missing police officer. This one is not the work of Mr. Clown but instead of Jimmy and his fellow freaks. They look a tad nervous as what I think is a police car pulls up.

Jimmy confirms the body was “taken care of” and they all face the two officers who have come to visit. Not sure why they’re not in uniform or don’t flash badges or anything. I guess back in these days, a black car with a siren was enough to grant you “police entry.” They ask for the proprietor and Jimmy points them to Elsa’s tent (which is strikingly lavish for a failing circus). She says they have nothing to hide and they can see all they have to offer with a ticket to the show. The police decline and instead tell her there is a new curfew set on the town until the killer is caught. Elsa complains this will ruin her business. Since her last show had two whole audience members, I highly doubt that.

Dot and Bette enter. Is it just me or does the special effects on the two-headed twin look… odd? I know it’s supposed to be “freakish” but there’s something off. The chest isn’t wide enough to house two sets of lungs, but I think the doc in the first episode said they each have their own pair. And it just sort of tapers off into a single waist. Something’s not right. Or maybe I just really don’t like Sarah Paulson and will tear apart any character(s) she plays.

We cut to what appears to be a toy shop with some ominous drum music playing. A young man is bringing “Mr. Hanley” some coffee, but Mr. Hanley is not answering. Something tells me the guy is dead. And I’m just hoping Mr. Clown doesn’t come jumping out at the young man to finish him off before he can tell anyone. The young man calls out several times and slowly goes looking for him. There is a drum and some drumsticks haphazardly laid on the floor. He replaces it on its shelf and an electric robot comes walking around the corner. I shit you not, I jumped five feet convinced it was Mr. Clown. But then we see that the robot has been trailing blood behind it. A whole freakin’ lot for it to be thick, dark streaks like that. Listen, young man, you seem nice. Run for your damn life. Do not be a hero. Mr. Hanley is clearly dead. Just run.

But of course he doesn’t. He follows the trail of blood, right past Mr. Clown. Good God in heaven, I gasped and nearly dropped my laptop. I know what’s going to happen, and if it wasn’t for this recap, I promise you, I would’ve fast forwarded. But I braved the scene. He follows the blood to its end: what I assume was Mr. Hanley’s head perched on a shelf. He gasps and walks backwards right into the end of Mr. Clown’s knife. Yikes, that sounded juicy. And with a terrifying close-up of Mr. Clown’s face, we cut to commercial.

Back at the freak show, they are eating, drinking and being merry. And Jimmy will have none of it. He jumps up and orders them to shut up before heading out back to dig up the dead cop. He wants to burn the body parts and scatter the ashes as far as they can. He apologizes for killing the cop and the giant lady and the lizard guy (I’m sure they have names, I just haven’t learned them yet) say he had no choice. He wants to let the people get to know the freak show, so they can see they really aren’t so different. A noble idea, Jimmy, but that is not going to end well. Giant Lady (whose name is Evie!) finds the cop’s badge and Jimmy says he’ll take care of it.

The Motts are at the dinner table and Dandy is being his normal pain in the ass self. He’s had 5 minutes of screen time and I already know he was named ironically. Even the stupid handlebar moustache curls of his hair irritate me. He is incessantly flicking the tines of his fork and his mother, about a hundred miles way at the other side of a ridiculously enormous table, sips her water and couldn’t give two shits. She rings a bell and a black servant brings out their food. Dandy complains that snails are “boring” and his mom… oh Lord have mercy, is that Patti Labelle? Oooh, it is! And she doesn’t like Dandy any more than I do.

Is he… drinking cognac out of a baby bottle nipple? Leave it to the dude not in the freak show to be the weirdest one of all. His mom laments on how he’s turned away all the nice girls she’s introduced him to, declaring them all “smelly cows.” Gloria wants grandbabies, but Dandy declares them “more boring than anything.” Yet, as a grown ass man, he will continue to use a baby’s drink ware. He declares that his mother is stifling his dream of becoming a thespian. She insists she’s only protecting him. He storms out, headed for Saint Petersburg where they have “real caramel corn.” Seriously? All the way to Russia for some popcorn? (Side note: After the episode, I googled this and it turns out there’s a Saint Petersburg in Florida. So, my bad.)

Nora (Patti LaBelle) reenters the room and lets Gloria know she’s found animal body parts in the backyard and the neighbors have been looking for their cat. She then subtly points out that humans are also missing. Gloria swears Dandy had nothing to do with the people and he’s only killing animals because he’s bored. Uh, yeah. So maybe read a book, take a walk, watch a movie? I don’t know, anything but taking the life of an innocent creature, perhaps? I never liked this guy.

At the freak show, Ethel beckons Dot and Bette to the show. Dot says they are not performers and Bette says to “speak for herself.” Wait. Wasn’t Dot on the other side of the shoulders before? A car pulls up and Ethel declares, “Christ on a wheel.” What in the hell does that even mean? Was the wheel invented when Christ was alive? Anyway, it’s apparently an old friend of Ethel’s. Oh my God, it’s Michael Chiklis! And, praise Lord, it’s Angela Bassett.

She steps out looking as fabulous as ever and Dell (Chiklis) leads her to Elsa’s tent. He’s the “strong man” with a hell of an escape act. Claims he studied under Houdini’s younger brother. But the real star is his wife, Desiree (Bassett). Well, that’s obvious. Look at that glorious beast of a woman.

Flashback to three weeks prior when Dell catches Desiree helping a fella get his groove back (ha ha, see what I did there?). With a quick snap of the neck, Dell lets the guy know that Desiree is his wife. He killed that guy pretty casually. That cannot have been the first and it is definitely not going to be the last murder this guy commits.

Back at the tent, Elsa says she’s heard of the tempers of strong men and that they’ve been known to murder. Desiree says, “No body, no murder.” Then she whips out her three boobs, nipples covered in tassled pasties. She’s got all the “lady parts and a ding-a-ling.” Well, that is…fascinating. I would pay to see that. Let’s be real: I would pay to see Angela Bassett like that. Even as a hermaphrodite, she is a goddess.

AHS: Freak Show Desiree

Elsa turns them away, says her open spot has been filled and that she couldn’t possibly afford them. Dell says that Elsa is their last hope and they’ll take whatever she’s got. Elsa asks to read his hands and likes the strength she sees in them. She asks if he barks, and he says he’ll howl if she likes. Well, okay.

AHS: Freak Show Dell

Gloria is out for a drive and stumbles upon Mr. Clown strolling down the side of the road. And asks if he does private parties for children. What in the hell?!? How do you see that terrifying clown and think, “yes, kids will love it!” No wonder her son is such a mess. She offers to pay him handsomely to cheer her son up. I guarantee Mr. Clown will bring no joy anytime, anywhere. But if he kills Dandy, I might get a little kick out of it.

Dandy is at the freak show and chatting with Jimmy. He wants to join the show. He’s had an epiphany and he knows the show is where he belongs. Jimmy says he wouldn’t last one day at the circus. Dandy insists he can and begs Jimmy to let him prove it. Jimmy declines. Sends him home. Danny angrily throws down his popcorn (caramel I assume) and storms off. He’s in his car, pounding his face the steering wheel and repeating, “I hate you” over and over. He finally stops and his eye is red and bloody and there’s a gash in his forehead. Awww, cheer up, Dandy. Mommy has a surprise for you at home.

Dandy comes home and Gloria is thrilled. But Dandy can only declare how miserable he is and how much he hates his mother. Oh, but no worries son, mommy has the cure for that. Companionship from a new friend! The oh-so friendly Mr. Clown! She leaves Dandy and Mr. Clown alone in the most random room I have ever seen. There’s a knight suit, a bicycle, a giant horse, a stuffed tiger, some ride-on toys and croquet mallets. Those ought to come in handy for Mr. Clown when he decides to bash Dandy’s head in.

At the circus, Ethel goes to talk to Dell to let him know he’s not welcome there and to stay away from Jimmy. Dell assures her he did not come there for Jimmy or for her. Were they together once? Is Jimmy his son? I love me some Kathy Bates, but from bearded woman to three-boobed Angela Bassett… Chiklis got a major upgrade. Dell informs Ethel that Elsa has appointed him as security over the whole show. Ethel is not pleased and she leaves. I was hoping for a bigger fight than that, but I’m sure it’s coming. With legendary actors like these opposite each other, we are in for some incredible scenes.

The twins are on stage rehearsing Bette’s singing act and it is even worse than when Elsa performed. Elsa says it doesn’t matter what they do. She says they’re just a warm-up act and all that matters is that they have two heads. Desiree offers up an act she saw at another show where a lady shot ping pong balls right out of her vag. The idea gets shot down, but I kinda liked it. (Side note: Another Google search will find you lots of videos that prove this is actually possible. Don’t judge me!)


As it turns out, Dot isn’t a bad singer. Nothing special, but by the looks on people’s faces, you’d think Mariah Carey just belted out a tune. Dell offers up the idea of a 3:00 matinee, a show people can attend until the curfew is lifted. Elsa rejects the idea, says that people only come to see the freaks at night. Dell declares no lady is the boss of him and steps to Elsa. Jimmy tells him to walk outside and calm down and Dell whips around on him. Bette gasps but it wasn’t that big a deal. Dell storms out saying the curtain goes up at 3 the next day. For a man who was desperate to stay just a day ago, he sure got big for his britches.

AHS: Freak Bette and Dot

Dandy is trying to put on a puppet show with Mr. Clown. Okay, so NOBODY in this family thinks there is something seriously wrong with this clown? And why does this grown man have a damn puppet show? Then Dandy decides that the puppets won’t suffice and he orders Mr. Clown to amuse him. Mr. Clown says nothing and Dandy declares his silence “provocative.” Do you not think his weird ass grin and sewn on face are weird as hell? “Provocative” is not a word I would use to describe this dude AT ALL. Dandy decides to take a peek into Mr. Clown’s bag and Mr. Clown bashes him in the head with a bowling pin. Okay, so it wasn’t the croquet mallet, but I was pretty close. Like the idiot he is, Dandy goes to follow Mr. Clown into the woods when he leaves. Oh Lord.

Jimmy enters the coffee shop and at first the waitress is happy to see him. Until she realizes he’s brought all of his freak show friends with him. She’s no longer happy to see him. The freaks all take seats on bar stools and Jimmy reminds them that “manners matter.” The few patrons in the shop begin to leave and one of the mothers asks them to eat somewhere else because they’re upsetting her daughter. The kid looked fine to me. Jimmy brushes it off and everyone begins to order.

Dell busts in, angry that they’ve ventured off the circus grounds. Jimmy says they’re not bothering anybody. But the waitress is very upset that lizard man has taken the leftovers off of someone else’s plate. She tries to take it and lizard man slaps her hand. Dell grabs him by the back of the head and orders him to apologize. Jimmy defends him and Dell dumps the plate in Jimmy’s lap. The diner owner then exerts his right to refuse service and Pepper starts flipping out about not getting her meatloaf. Dell tells Jimmy he’s given everyone a free show so now nobody needs to buy a ticket. Jimmy says they’re not freaks, they’re just like everyone else. Dell grabs him by the arm and drags him outside to beat him up. The freaks all watch from the window, but do nothing to help.

In Mr. Clown’s child bus prison, the older girl is trying to break them loose when Mr. Clown returns, Dandy close behind. Mr. Clown unlocks the gate and sits down inside the cage across from the kids. He says nothing but for the first time, there’s something human in his eyes. He reaches into his bag and retrieves the robot from the toy store. He winds it up and lets it walk across the van to the little boy. Despite the creepy face and heavy breathing, I’m actually not even a little bit scared of him anymore. Oh, I spoke too soon. He whips the decapitated head out of his bag and dangles it in front of both kids. The girl grabs a wooden board and whacks him right across the face. It knocks off the creepy smile to show whatever in the hell THAT is where his mouth should be. There’s little nubs of what I think are teeth and a big gaping hole and slime and a wiggling I don’t know what and oh God, it’s hideous. It’s terrifying. Even worse than that mouth he reattaches. And it happened too damn fast for me to even think of looking away and I will NEVER get that horrifying image out of my head! And right as I was starting to feel a bit of humanity towards the psychopath. Damn you, AHS, you are good!

The kids take off running and bump into Dandy in the woods. He feigns concern and then tosses the girl over his shoulder to bring her back to Mr. Clown. He says, “We’ll have to do a much better job of confinement if we’re going to have any fun.” Okay, look. Mr. Clown is hideously deformed and probably had some sort of shit life to make him that way and it made him completely batshit insane. This Dandy fellow had all the money in the world and a doting mother and no damn excuse for being that messed up in the head. But, well, his mother is off her rocker too since she thought Mr. Clown would be “fun for children” and he was probably a little crazy to begin with. So maybe his insanity is equally justified. All I know is that this is one hell of a messed up pairing and I cannot freakin’ wait to see what comes of it.

Jimmy barges into Elsa’s tent and says that Dell can’t stay there. He says Dell will tear them apart. Elsa says he could keep them together. If the town’s killer is not caught, they will start looking for a scapegoat, and the freaks are the easiest targets. She says they need a strong man around. Jimmy says they already have one. He tosses the dead cop’s badge on the table and tells Elsa he killed the cop to keep him from taking the twins away. Elsa is impressed. When Jimmy shows her that the signs Dell was putting up billed Elsa as a side note at the very bottom she declares, He’s got to go.” Well played, Jimmy.

We get to see some of the freak show, including the twins singing a song that doesn’t come out for forty years after this show is supposed to be taking place. And doing a pitiful job of it. Yet the men seem to dig it as they bum rush the stage. Sarah Paulson has got NOTHING on Fiona Apple and this whole scene upsets me. They’re setting the twins up – or more so, Bette – to be the stars of the show and neither Elsa nor Dot is going to like that very much. But they could’ve used a different song, or had someone who can actually sing do the voice of the twins, to make it easier to swallow.

The police are back at the freak show with a warrant to search the premises. They received an anonymous tip that leads them to believe the missing officer was murdered there. Elsa directs them to Dell’s RV. Elsa and Jimmy share a look and I’m certain they will find the badge inside – a nice little set-up. But they don’t. Dell foiled their plan and planted the badge under Meep’s bed.

Elsa Mars

I have to apologize, but my DVR did something crazy and chopped out about 2 minutes of the show. So I’m not sure what happened after they put Meep into the cop car. It begins recording again when Elsa is whispering to Dot that Bette intentionally outshined her. Dot feels like a fool and Elsa tells her that’s how Bette wants her to feel. But that Bette is the true star. Elsa tells Bette that Dot wants what Bette has and Bette will try to take it, but Dot must not allow it. Genius, Elsa, turning the twins against each other so they can’t try to take the spotlight from you. Not that she should have it either. Nobody on this show has any business singing, so let’s just cut that out right now.

Ethel finds Jimmy drunk in the tent. He feels like he can’t look out for anyone in the show anymore. They took Meep and it’s his fault. Ethel says it isn’t, but actually it is. If you’re going to frame someone, you should be more careful about it. Jimmy says he has to go get Meep out and he’s going to confess everything to the police. But before he can get anywhere, a truck drives by and drops a bundle at his feet. It’s Meep – beaten to death. Jimmy bursts into tears and I get pretty choked up by this, too. Poor guy. He didn’t even do anything wrong. Well, that oughta drive Jimmy further into insanity.

Another solid episode. Aside from the atrocity of Sarah Paulson trying to sing a beloved Fiona Apple song, I thought it was excellent. I love the twists and turns it’s taking, getting complex and devious from every angle. And even though Mr. Clown still freaks me the hell out, and Dandy really irritates the crap out of me, those two psychopaths together is somehow magic and I cannot WAIT to see what those two cook up in the coming weeks.

But before I go, can someone please tell me what the heck accent that is that Kathy Bates has? She seems to be doing a good job of it, but what the hell is it?

Until next week, I’ll be sleeping with the lights on and trying to forget what Mr. Clown’s “mouth” looked like.

About Maya Maldonado (43 Articles)
Maya Maldanado is the author of the Lust (The Immortal Shadows Trilogy).

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