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American Horror Story: Freak Show – S4E7 – A Test of Strength

Previously on American Horror Story: Freak Show, ‘Bullseye’

I missed last week because my laptop’s trackpad decided to commit suicide and #1) my bank account does not allow for me buying a new mouse all willy nilly like that and #2) I sure as hell wasn’t going to leave my laptop with some “repair man” to fix it cuz, as Nina said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” But this week I’m back and not really looking forward to the episode. I feel like the entire season I’ve been waiting for things to happen. There’s movement and character development here and there, but overall I’ve found it to be slow and lackluster. Not my favorite season. And this might sound bad, but I’m really hoping somebody dies tonight. So let’s see how it goes.

This week we start out with Jimmy coming to visit Bette and Dot at Dandy’s house. They’re dressed like Alice in Wonderland and eating an ice cream sundae. Naturally. Jimmy tries to convince them to come back to the show. They don’t want to go. Dandy knows Dot is torn because she wants the surgery, she wonders how he knows about it. Uh, because you wrote all about it in your diary that you didn’t even hide or put a lock on. Duh. Dot wants to leave. Dandy won’t allow it. He and Bette are in love and “love trumps everything.” Even psychopathic murderers who BUY HUMANS. Dandy pleads with Bette to stay but she chooses her sister. Which, ironically, is the wrong choice. Her sister would chop her head right off and not even blink an eye. But they leave anyway and Dandy looks pissed. Which he always does.

Back at the freak show and we have another musical number. This time it’s Jimmy trying his hand at some Nirvana. Come As You Are. One of my favorite songs from the grunge era. And he’s not horrible, but he’s not Kurt Cobain. And this show isn’t fucking Glee, so can we please stop having these?

Dell is having a beer at a bar looking for Andy. Bartender says he hasn’t seen him and to “never fall in love with a hustler.” And like any rational person, Dell breaks a bottle over his head and slams his face into the counter. ‘Roid rage much? God, this character is so one-dimensional.

And Jimmy is still “singing.” Elsa offers up her critique but Jimmy ain’t having it. He’s putting his damn foot down cause he “don’t take orders from liars.” Enter the twins. And, for whatever reason, Bette concocts a lie to backup Elsa’s story. Claims that Elsa took them to the Mott’s by request and that Elsa was trying to help them, but they were ready to come home. Elsa welcomes them with open arms and Jimmy storms off. Probably to sing more auto-tuned angsty 90s alternative rock songs in his trailer.

Desiree and Ethel are making their way to the good doctor’s office. But there’s a sign (really, it’s a post-it) that says “closed for business.” But the door is unlocked and they just waltz right in. His daughter is collecting his things and tells them that the doc is dead and she is no fan of theirs. She thinks Ethel killed him. Metaphorically speaking. He supposedly “blew his brains out” after smashing his hands with a hammer. How that’s physically possible (you try holding a gun with 8 broken fingers, let alone pulling the trigger), I have no idea. She kicks the “freaks” out and they scamper.

American Horror Story Freak Show S4E7 Desiree and Ethel

Stanley is at the fair twiddling with the strong man’s mallet. Dell is not amused. He’s “in the mood to hurt someone” (other than the bartender, I guess). He takes the mallet and rings the bell effortlessly. Stanley acts impressed and offers to get a drink. Oh, but Dell’s already had one. And Stanley knows all about it. And Dell’s affinity for the “hustler.” Dell moves to hit him with the mallet but Esmeralda pops up to interrupt. Smooth move, Stanley.

American Horror Story Freak Show S4E7 Dell and Stanley

And then I get a little confused. I think Esmeralda called Stanley “Richard” and then Stanley refers to Esmeralda as “Maggie” but why would they reveal their “real” names to Dell? Stanley has some sort of blackmail plan for Dell and threatens to reveal his bi-curious nature. But the dude married a woman with what everyone thought was a penis. Would it really be that much of a shock? Still, Stanley scares him into making the deal. He wants Dell to kill one of the freaks, keep it clean, and make it look like a disappearance. This one’s weak for me. To keep his little secret (which is really not that big a secret, and let’s face it, Desiree probably already kinda knows) he would kill somebody? Yeah, I don’t think so. But Dell ponders it anyway.

Jimmy and Esmeralda are curled up somewhat naked in his trailer. She tries to get Jimmy to run away with her right now. But he says no, it doesn’t feel right. Esmeralda accuses him of stalling. He says he just needs time to get Dandy to pay for what he did. Esmeralda calls bullshit. But he still doesn’t agree to go.

Dell is creeping around the back of Amazon Eve’s trailer with a cloth soaked in whatever it is that makes people pass out when they inhale it. And despite him being the “strong man”, she overpowers him and beats the shit out of him. She literally kicks him out of her trailer and says, “Who’s the strong man now?” Ha, love it. But seriously, if you’re trying to kidnap someone, it should’ve been the one with only a torso, or the tiny girl. Not the giant woman. How exactly were you going to “slip away” with a seven foot person over your shoulders? This guy’s an idiot.

Jimmy wants to report Dell to the cops but Ethel isn’t having it. Freaks handle their own business; they don’t need no law enforcement. Ethel wants to just kill him her damn self. Jimmy says no. Eve says that if Dell had come for Maggie (did I miss a scene where Esmeralda declared herself a different name? I must have), Jimmy wouldn’t feel that way. All the ladies want to off Dell. I’d like that, too. His character is useless and his storyline is boring. Kill him! But in the end, they give Jimmy the chance to handle it. But if he doesn’t, they will.

Outside, Dell is heckling some kid named Ralph for not being able to ring the bell with the mallet. Uh, hello sassy pants, you just got your ass whooped by a girl several hours ago. Who are you to be making fun of anyone? Jimmy comes storming out and Dell’s laughing stops real quick. Jimmy wants a man to man talk. Dell, trying to be clever (and again forgetting a woman beat him up), says “When the other man shows up, I’ll talk to him.” Then agrees to let Jimmy buy him a drink in town so they can talk, all the while Stanley is watching them. Yes, good choice, Dell. Because the next easiest target is Jimmy. And that’s his son! Ugh, I hope this guy dies soon.

American Horror Story Freak Show S4E7 Dell

In Elsa’s tent, she asks the twins what they want in exchange for keeping her lies a secret. Elsa offers not to “compete” with their Hollywood show, but they say they aren’t going to Hollywood. They don’t trust Richard Spencer (Okay, so where did I get the name Stanley from? This is what happens when I watch shows at 10PM. I can’t even hear properly after 8:30.) Bette starts rattling off her demands: to be a comedienne, to have caviar for breakfast, to dye her hair blonde. Dot gives her some pretty stellar side-eye, but doesn’t argue. Bette demands 20% of the box office and the money Gloria paid for them. Dot demands 50%. Damn. Girlfriend really wants to get that surgery. Wouldn’t it be awesome if they got it and Dot ended up being the twin to die?

At the bar, Dell and Jimmy are kicking back shots. Dell claims he never attacked Eve and he just wanted to propose a duet act. Jimmy isn’t buying it, but agrees to take some more shots anyway. His lips get loose and he starts babbling on about some camping trip. He’s sitting there with a man who had just tried to kill his friend but after three shots, he’s chit chatting away like they’re buddies. Way to “handle it” Jimmy. Dell tells Jimmy to take his glove off and that he’s got nothing to be ashamed of. They take more shots and laugh and then Jimmy has to hurl. Come on, dude, that’s pitiful. Talk about not being able to hold your liquor.

As Jimmy’s yacking, Dell picks up a brick but doesn’t hit Jimmy with it. Jimmy is sweaty and pukey and crying and tells Dell he knows that he’s his father. Dell gets all teary eyed and finally admits he’s Jimmy’s father and then drops the brick. Oh for fuck’s sake. This is American Horror Story. Ain’t nobody got no time for touching moments.

In the morning, Dell and Jimmy stumble in drunk and singing. Elsa comes out of her tent with the astute declaration “You two are drunk.” No, really? Then she says she won’t have them caterwauling (yet we were subjected to her caterwauling on several occasions). Desiree comes out, annoyed at having been woken up. Dell declares that Jimmy is his son and Jimmy cheers. Elsa ain’t impressed and she sends them to bed. Dell tells Jimmy not to let a woman tell him what to do. Jimmy says he wants to “keep his balls” and tells Elsa things are going to change. Then falls on his face. All the women just stare at them as they stumble away into the trailer.

Dell tucks Jimmy into bed as he says, “goodnight dad” and Dell says “goodnight son.” Is this supposed to make me feel bad when Dell is inevitably killed off? Or is this to build more sympathy for Jimmy when he eventually loses his father? Cuz damn it, it’s kinda working. Outside the trailer, Richard is having a smoke. He tells Dell that Dell is “trying his patience” and saunters off.

Candy Striper comes home and dad is waiting up for her. To be honest, I thought this dude was her husband at first. But he asks if she was with the freak again and she says she’s just there to pack up and go back to her freak for good. He says he’ll kill her before he lets her do that. He’s got a business to run and he can’t have her messing up his reputation. She says she’s going anyway. He says he’s not a murderer but he’s still going to give her a proper send-off. Some tatted up guy named Morris comes out and dad refers to him as “an artist.” Not clear what the threat is here, but Candy Striper seems concerned.

American Horror Story Freak Show S4E7 Candy Striper

A blonde Bette is happily getting her make-up done and admiring herself in the mirror. She tells Dot that they make the perfect “before and after” picture. Dot is not amused. Elsa slips Dot a note before leaving the tent. Later, when Bette is asleep, Dot pulls the note out of her pocket. Elsa wants to know what Dot wants with all the money and says they’re “in this together.” Yeah, sure.

Dot replies to Elsa’s letter and makes her demands clear: Elsa’s secret is safe so long as Elsa helps Dot cut Bette’s head off. So much blackmail in one episode, all over some kept secrets. Secrets that aren’t even that great. Secrets that really aren’t worth murder, that’s for sure. But, like Dell, Elsa appears to accept the “deal.”

Back at Candy Striper’s house, it turns out that “The Artist” is some sort of tattoo piercing guy that has “disfigured” her. He’s tatted her entire face and forked her tongue (which, by the way, takes weeks to heal even in modern medicine, let alone a hack job in some dude’s living room). Not sure what dad’s big plan was here. Did he think her “freak” wouldn’t want her anymore so she’d come back home? Cuz if that happened, what would he do with his now disfigured daughter? This whole storyline makes no sense to me. How this girl is normal at all after being gang-banged and drugged by a bunch of carnies is beyond me, but what dad’s done ought to really do her in mentally.

In Elsa’s tent, she’s eating dinner with Richard and asks for his help locating the doctor in Chicago that will perform the separation surgery on the twins. Richard instead suggests a mercy killing for “those poor things.” Ethel comes in proudly presenting her Jell-O dessert. Richard declares her “a regular Betty Crocker.” Ethel says he’s too kind. Which he is. Betty Crocker at least baked. Jell-O is water and powder that sat in the fridge. Ethel leaves and Richard digs into the Jell-O as Elsa says she’s found a manager who would kill for his clients. Yeah, you’ve found yourself a real winner there, Elsa.

Finally gathering a bit of sense and realizing the easiest target there is the also the smallest one, Dell brings a present to the tiny girl – an obvious ploy to kidnap her. It’s a new dress. She says thank you and then goes to try it on. She’s so innocent and tiny and smiley that this is breaking my heart. She reaches up for a hug and Dell holds her tightly to him and shushes her tiny screams until he snaps her neck. Oh my God. This is horrifying. Why did they leave her unguarded? She was so helpless. And why did they just let Dell stay when Jimmy didn’t “handle” him like he said he would? Ugh, this is like when Mufasa died in the Lion King. I just want to yell at my TV and turn it off. I’m so sad! Damn you, AHS! When I said I wanted someone to die and something to happen and to feel something, these are not the feels I wanted!

But, in the interest of finishing my recap, I press play and continue the show.

Reptile guy gets startled awake but it’s just Candy Striper. (Her tattoos, like her tongue, have healed remarkably fast.) And he just bursts into tears and says it was all his fault. Well, yeah, it kinda was.

Back at the Morbidity Museum, they happily reveal their newest exhibit. And it’s tiny girl. In her pretty new dress. And I’m sad all over again. Stupid Dell. I’m yelling at the screen, “It should’ve been you!” Hopefully, eventually, Dell dies a hideous death. Screw what it does to Jimmy to lose his dad. That man needs to rot.

While this episode brought out the most emotion of any episode of the entire season so far, I’m still waiting. Things are moving, but they’re moving incredibly slowly. Too many storylines, not enough depth to any one of them because there’s just too many of them to really catch hold of. It’s still an interesting show with some of the best acting on television right now but it’s failing to really captivate me. I’m horrified by the death of Tiny Girl but I’m not on the edge of my seat to find out what happens with anyone. Hopefully all of this build-up and foundation will ultimately pay off to some spectacular shit shows in upcoming episodes. Because this is AHS. And I expect no less.

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

5 Comments on American Horror Story: Freak Show – S4E7 – A Test of Strength

  1. Fuck this episode of AHS Freak Show. Fuck it to hell, and
    beyond.
    1. Del ? You son of a bitch! You sir, are a piece
    of shit. I want you to die a horrible death. I don?t even know who I want to
    kill you, but it better happen. Soon too. How dare he attempt to kill Jimmy,
    and then later kill Shorty Bop? What the fuck, man. Is staying in the closet
    THAT important? I knew as soon as Spaulding aka Richard saw Del in that club that
    it would be some sort of leverage for him. Sure enough it ended up being the
    cause of bullshit. Imagine that, Del being blackmailed by some Dick. Anyway,
    Del gotta go. It?s way past his time to die.
    2. Elsa ? Dumb ass.
    3. Bette/Dot ? Bette is really feeling herself now.
    She?s becoming a diva already. Meanwhile, Dot is over there plotting on her
    ass. I still don?t get why she thinks she?d survive a surgery to remove Bette
    tho. I mean, I guess it?s possible, but how likely is it? Also, they better
    watch they shared ass. Dandy is on their trail. You know he?s gonna try to get
    some payback soon.
    4. Jimmy ? Your mama looks like a man, and your
    daddy ain?t shit! Go ahead and marinate on that for a moment. Plus, you have
    fused fingers. That has to suck! Anyway, I hope Jimmy doesn?t really start
    being friendly with Del. That night of drinking and morning of douche baggin
    back at the camp ground was annoying. He was really acting like Del?s son in
    those moments. I hope he finds out what happened with Shorty Rock and finds
    some way to avenge her. At this point, Jimmy needs to find ways to get justice
    for her and for Meep.
    5. Ma Petite ? Ammmmaaaazziiinnnnggg Grrrraaaccccceeeeee,
    how sweeeetttt theeeee sooooouuunnnnddddd?. Y?all know the rest. Damn, yo! Why
    did they do Shorty like that? She?s not even a character that most of us have an
    emotional connection to. She?s pretty much been in the background for most of
    the season. But, she?s tiny and cute, and wasn?t bothering anyone. She seemed
    like a nice person who was only there because of her size. Some of the others
    had really tragic stories and ended up there because of them. Petite just
    happened to be really short. Not to say that her life hasn?t been hard, but
    people like her and the tall woman are only seen as ?freaks? due to their
    height. Llast week when they teased us with Petite?s death lots of people were
    upset. Like a lot of folks, I assumed that her surviving last week meant that
    she was in the clear. I thought she?d be alright the rest of the way. Then they
    actually did it this week, and had Del do it. Seeing him crush her to death was
    terrible. If it was gonna be like that, they should have just killed her last
    week and gotten it out of the way. Just
    like Meep she didn?t deserve that shit.
    6. Streep Jr.s Dad ? Man FUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKK
    You. You are the only person close to Del in the piece of shit father category.
    You had your daughter disfigured so she wouldn?t leave the house and date? Die.

  2. RIP Ma Petite and… This picture sums up how I feel.
    Goddamnit Ryan Murphy… This isn’t Glee.

  3. Least favorite episode of the season! The only good part was Amazon Eve beating the shit outta Dell! I wish she’d killed him! Cause then we would still have cutie pie Ma Petite with us. Her & Meep are together again. And the nice Doc is with them. Damn Dell! That asshole needs to die horribly!! Like now! Let’s see, he killed that poor boy trying to become straight between Desiree’s thighs. He led to Meep being killed. Crushed the poor doctor’s hands and poor dude kills himself. And now Ma Petite! All these innocents dying cause of this asshole! I want the whole Freakshow to gang up & kill his ass like they jacked up that chick in the 1930s movie Freaks.

    Dude from Generation Kill & a whole bunch of other stuff is trying to give Dell a challenge for the title of shittiest dad of the year. I knew Paul wasn’t gonna care that she was made to look like that. That’s his heart & she and him are gonna tear her crazy ass father a new one!

    Elsa & Russell are pieces of shit! Ethel heard them plotting. She’ll take care of it. They won’t know what hot them!

    That’s all I can think of for now. Still pissed about Ma Petite! It was bad enough to hear the sound effects of him killing her! But to actually show her in that damn jar??!!! Noooooo! That was uncalled for! Poor little gal! RIP little one.

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