American Horror Story Freak Show, S4E12: Show Stoppers
Original Airdate: January 14, 2015
Recap by Sarabeth Pollock
We’re back this week with NPH on the loose at the Freakshow. With one episode left, there’s no telling what might happen!
A car pulls up in the rain at the fairgrounds. It’s Stanley. He’s feeling cocky (excuse the pun). There is a huge banquet going on in the main tent where Elsa introduces Chester as the new owner. She hopes he cherishes the monsters as much as she does. Chester and Marjorie get up and he thanks her for her faith and wishes her well in the “land of make believe.” Marjorie is hoping that the “sour Kraut” leaves soon so they can take over. Elsa asks Chester to give the original family of freaks a moment alone. He leaves, and Elsa thanks Stanley for transforming their lives. The women at the table exchange looks. Maggie smiles coldly at him. As the troupe says cheers, Elsa announces that they will all be on her television show. And later that night they will all watch “Freaks.” Stanley hasn’t seen it. The freaks give Stanley a summary of the plot, making sure that he is adequately scared by the innuendo. He stands up to leave, but Elsa insists that he stays. Maggie tells him to shut up and sit down. He deserves this, she says. A big box is placed in front of him and the freaks gather close to him. He opens the box to find the embalmed head of the curator inside.
After Maggie fainted at the museum, she and Desiree were taken to the curator’s office. The security guards had been sent home already, and when the curator bends close to Maggie, Desiree strikes.
Stanley is horrified, and terrified, that his secret is out. He tries to play off what he did, but Elsa won’t hear it. Her Hollywood dream was just a dream. As thunder claps above, Eve grabs him and he is strapped to the wheel. Elsa grabs her knives and starts throwing. Stanley says he really knows people in Hollywood, but Elsa isn’t listening. They take him off the wheel and she throws a knife in his thigh. As he screams, he tells the freaks that he helped Elsa kill Ethel. Elsa’s composure slips slightly, but the freaks don’t notice. They take out their knives and chase Stanley out into the rain. He screams when they surround him.
Elsa pays Jimmy a visit in the shed where he’s being hidden. Maggie is with her. Elsa tells Jimmy that his father was an accomplice to the death of Ma Petite. Jimmy doesn’t want to hear it, but Elsa insists that she heard him confess. She says that she watched him grow up, and without his mother the duty of caring for him falls upon her. She has a man coming to make him new hands, but first he must allow Maggie to put new bandages on for him. She leaves, and Maggie tries to clean his wounds. Jimmy screams in agony even though he thinks her only role was to hurt people. Maggie says that she still loves him, that they can still go to New York. She tells Jimmy she is going to make things right. She has changed. Jimmy suggests she gets the hell out of dodge before he gets his new hands.
Elsa is on stage yelling at the stage hands about how to focus the spotlight. A stranger enters the tent. We’ve seen him before in Coven, only then he was known as the Axeman. Now he’s someone from Elsa’s past, someone she cares very much about.
The twins are getting it on with Chester. They see that Marjorie is watching them as they do the deed and they beg him to put her away. He dumps the doll on the floor and they have a spectacular orgasm. Later, Chester apologizes to Marjorie and tells her that the twins don’t like her watching. She says the twins are using him, but he says they can cure him. Marjorie says that he’s a murderer, but he says that Marjorie was the killer. “That’s impossible,” she says, “I’m a doll.” We see a vision of Chester on the bed killing his wife and her girlfriend. Marjorie says that he doesn’t need the twins when he has her. “Those twins have to go,” she says. He knows.
The freaks are gathered around looking at pictures Ethel during her heyday. They wonder if Elsa will still leave now that Stanley is gone. Suzi can’t stop thinking about Stanley said about Elsa’s involvement in Ethel’s death. Paul never really believed the story in the first place, because Ethel would never kill herself and leave Jimmy and the rest of the freaks. He knows what happens when you cross Elsa, but that’s all the more reason to take care of it to protect their own interests.
Bette and Dot are at the mirror primping. They look happy. Bette didn’t think it would ever feel like that. She’s glad they asked him to put Marjorie away. That’s when Dandy shows up. He insists that he comes in peace and he wants to give them information about their situation. Dot is immediately defensive, but Bette still smiles at him. He says that things have changed since his mother suddenly died, and it has put things in perspective for him. Bette is incredibly sympathetic. He says that he needs to reach out to the people who he cares about. Bette tells him that they’re with another man. He knows this, and he insists that he comes in friendship. He says he hired someone to check into Chester’s background and Chester is a sicko. They knock the papers out of his hands, and Dandy backs off. His job is done.
Jimmy is sleeping fitfully when Elsa arrives in the shed. She offers him some water and a shot of penicillin. Her companion, Massimo, is an old friend, a carpenter, who can make him new hands. Massimo says that they’ll be mostly decorative, but that’s better than rusty hooks. Elsa reveals that her legs are made of wood and that she would have died without his help. We flash back to the night Elsa’s legs were cut off. He cared for her for two years, and he went and hunted them down. When he came upon Hans Gruper, Gruper shot him and tortured him. Massimo was rescued by an SS officer until the war was over, and then he came to America in 1947 and tried to reconnect with Elsa. Now, however, he feels he has no soul left to love with.
The next day Chester has a meeting with the freaks to talk about the new show lineup. Bette and Dot debate internally about Chester’s innocence. Dot says that she isn’t going to let Dandy’s file change her mind until there is proof. They tell him they don’t want to be his assistant anymore. He wants the twins to be part of his finale, only now he wants to saw them in half. They don’t want to get in the box, but Maggie, eager to help, volunteers. Chester, who is brimming with anger, tells her to get in the box. In his mind he’s rehearsing for the show. Maggie’s face is replaced by that of his wife’s lover. He announces a new component to the act: manacles around the feet to hold them in place. Maggie starts to get uncomfortable now that he’s deviating from standard procedure. But Chester isn’t aware of her anymore. He’s talking to Marjorie, to the dead lover. He grabs the saw and starts sawing. Maggie screams, and when the freaks come out from backstage, the deed is done. Blood pours from Maggie’s mouth and Chester pulls the boxes apart with flourish. Maggie’s entrails fall all over the floor.
When it’s done, Chester is covered in blood and the freaks are all around him. He seems to come to his senses and insists that he can put her back together. Marjorie laughs in the background. He tells everyone that Marjorie made him do it. He runs off and the freaks gather around Maggie. “She had it coming,” Desiree drawls. She says they need to steal her jewelry and bury the bitch.
Chester is furious with Marjorie back in their tent. She’s packing their bags, telling him that he screwed up and they have to leave. He doesn’t want to leave, and before we know it he’s stabbing her to death. Once she’s dead, he begs her not to leave him.
Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Dayton, Ohio. 1946.
Jimmy is throwing up while Ethel is at the mic introducing the next act. The act is her own son, “Lobster Boy” Jimmy. He’s supposed to juggle but he’s nervous. She gives him a pep talk and tells him to go out and make her proud.
Eve is in Jimmy’s shed. She tells him that Maggie is dead and asks if he wants the details. He shakes his head. She says that Elsa is next, that very night. Eve sees the plans for his new hands and says that he has a shot at a normal life. She’s happy for him.
Bette and Dot go into Elsa’s tent and catch her without her legs. They tell Elsa that she’s next, that the monsters have been plotting her death all day because she killed Ethel, who was more a mother to them than she was. Elsa wonders where she will go. “Anywhere but here,” they say.
Desiree gathers the troops. Eve reports that Jimmy would be there if he could. She takes a shot in Ethel’s honor and go off in search of justice. In Elsa’s tent, however, they find a record playing but no sign of Elsa.
Elsa is driving in the rain. She looks very unhappy, having been cast out. Dandy is with her. “I never refuse a lady in distress,” he says. He gives her a wad of money and leaves.
Chester goes into the police station and confesses to a murder. He has a parcel in his arms and the police order him to drop it slowly. Inside is Marjorie’s body. “Send me to the chair!” Chester laments.
The next day Dandy pulls up to the freakshow. Paul and Eve meet him. Dandy declares that he’s the new owner and he wants to take inventory. Elsa sold the show for ten thousand dollars. Paul asks him if it has been Dandy’s dream to be in show business. Dandy confirms that this is his dream. He orders Paul to get him a lemonade with a paper straw. Dandy takes center stage and bows before the imaginary crowd. There’s a noise coming from offstage. In a pen made of chicken wire, Dandy finds a “new” Meep: Stanley, with his arms and legs cut off.
Massimo brings the new hands to Jimmy, who tries them on. When he holds them up we see that Massimo didn’t make normal hands—he made hands that look like Jimmy’s lobster claws. “Thank you!” he says.
And that’s it for this episode of Freakshow. Justice was served as Stanley loses his limbs and becomes a freak, while karma deals Maggie a blow.
With one episode left, anything can happen!