Angela Basset

Big News About AHS Freakshow’s Twisty the Clown!

(Spoiler Alert!)


Twisty the Clown isn’t done yet!  Ryan Murphy confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that fan favorite Twisty the Clown isn’t done yet, even though he vowed that this season, once you die, you die.

When Twisty became Edward Mordrake’s victim in the second half of last week’s two-part episode, Twitter was ablaze with #RIPTwisty hashtags.  Once his tragic history was revealed, fans became even more attached to the psychopath clown, mainly because his story was a true tragedy.

Ryan Murphy said that he loves John Carroll Lynch’s performance (he saw several Twisty the Clowns on Halloween) and wants him to return.  And return, he will!

Read the entire article here!

Poor Twisty the Clown (Spoilers for AHS S4E4)

A few weeks ago I wrote that Twisty Clown was more than meets the eye.  While some AHS fans were almost (or wanted to be) sympathetic to Madame LaLaurie last season, Twisty has captivated audiences since his debut.  Here at the same time is a character who is childlike in one moment and horrifically brutal in the next.

In Edward Moredrake Pt. 2 we get to see the man behind the clown.  Social media was aflutter with fans who wept as they listened to his story.  While it’s undeniable that he killed people, it’s also easy to see how it all came about.  He was “simple” and gentle until some mean people did mean things to him.  He loved children but the dwarves taunted him and made him flee the circus that he so loved.  He wanted to make toys but he was shunned.  He lived in a time when being different–in any form–was not accepted by society, and this was particularly difficult for people with special needs.  When he said he was so stupid he couldn’t even kill himself, my heart broke for him.  Hell, even Edward Mordrake’s demon familiar wept for him.  Twisty wanted to create a happy place for the kids, but he didn’t understand that he was hurting them.

Twisty was the ultimate tragic character.  He garnered sympathy from fans who caught a glimpse of his pain early on. He was not a brutal killer.  He was a misunderstood soul who was alone in the world, desperate for some human connection.  Dandy is the one we must fear. Dandy is sick.

I hope Twisty finds happiness and peace with Edward Mordrake and his coterie of lost souls.  He deserves peace.

(For the record, I still can’t believe they killed Twisty so early in the season, but I can see why they had to…)

Lily Rabe, Neil Patrick Harris to Join AHS Freakshow

EW is reporting that AHS veteran Lily Rabe will reprise her role as Sister Mary Eunice from Season 2’s Asylum.  Her appearance will intersect with Pepper’s backstory and how she ends up in Briarcliff. She will be seen in the 10th episode winter cliffhanger.

Also joining the Freakshow are Neil Patrick Harris and husband David Burtka, who will appear separately.

See the complete article here:

American Horror Story Freakshow Recap S4E4: Edward Mordrake Part 2

American Horror Story Freak Show, S4E4: Edward Mordrake Pt. 2

Original Airdate: October 29, 2014

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock


Happy Halloween (early), boys and girls!

Let me say that Wes Bentley makes a wonderful two-headed ghost.  He’s as delightful as Papa Legba was in Coven.

It’s night at the Freakshow and the fog is moving in.  It’s a green fog, and it’s headed for Legless Suzi’s tent.  Edward Mordrake wakes her up from her bed by tossing her across the room.  He pays a visit to Paul, and to Salty and Pepper as well.  He’s looking to add another freak to his unhappy number.  In order to pass his test, his potential victims must answer his questions.  Suzi admits that she committed a sin.  Her legs were amputated when she was two, and then her parents abandoned her.  She ended up on the street.  At Edward’s urging, she confesses that she stabbed someone in the leg because she was jealous of his legs.  He died.   Paul was born, and that was his crime.  He was at home in the dark, watching movies.  He couldn’t make a living the way he is, so he decided to become the monster everyone wanted him to be.  He tattooed himself all over, but he avoided his face because he likes how he looks.  He didn’t want to sully his handsome face.  Can you imagine, he asks, what he would look like on a regular body?  Edward and his familiar listen to their stories.  Neither are his intended victims, and Salty and Pepper are too innocent for what he has in mind.

Edward goes to Elsa’s tent.  She has been expecting him.  She chides him for running off after her number.  Perhaps, she says, he must have needed a moment to collect himself after seeing her talent.  Elsa has done herself up for the moment, thinking him to be her salvation.  She needs a new arranger to develop a more modern nightclub act.  When Edward doesn’t respond, she thinks it’s because he is overwhelmed by her talent.  He laughs and says that he’s speechless because of her presumption.  She banishes him from her room, thinking it all a prank.  He shows both of his faces and his ghostly minions pin her to the bed and pull off her legs.  It’s sad, he remarks, that the “zookeeper” pretends to be normal, when in fact she’s worse than her charges.  As he strokes his thumb along her jaw, he says that it’s time for her to tell him her secrets.

Jimmy and Maggie ride along a dark country road.  The bike stops and Jimmy thinks that they ran out of gas.  She thinks he’s making it up.  He says they need to get off the road because of the curfew.  She says that she still isn’t sure about him.  Jimmy feels the same about her, really.  He doesn’t just trust her because she’s a pretty face, especially not because of the way the “normal” people in town treat him.  A car’s headlights interrupts their chat.  They duck into the bushes.

Mike and the Jane talk while poor Tommy slumbers fitfully from lack of food.  He asks if they’re going to make it out alive, and Jane says they will.  They all will.  Twisty doesn’t feed them, she says, he just makes them watch his “clown stuff.”  Her hands are tied behind her back so she asks Mike to untie her feet.  They can hear Twisty approaching, so they return to the way they were sitting.  When he comes in, he bows to them.  While he’s bending to pick something up, she rushes him and runs out the door.

Back on the road, Jimmy is about to start walking again when they hear screaming.  Suddenly Jane emerges from the bushes, but she is quickly subdued by Twisty, who picks her up and walks back into the woods.  Jimmy makes to follow them, to see if he can help her.

Edward has returned Elsa’s legs to her.  She thanks him sincerely for them, as she prefers to he “upright” when entertaining gentlemen.  But Edward isn’t a gentleman anymore.  His familiar wants her dark secrets.

Weimar Republic, 1932.

Elsa says that it was a sexual playground.  Men took out their frustration at the German defeat with their cocks, she says.  In private clubs, men paid to do all kinds of things to all kinds of people.  Elsa was a Dominatrix  of sorts.  She was paid royally to humiliate men and put them in submissive situations.  She never allowed them to touch her.  We watch as she puts a collar on a man and leads him around like a puppy, then she forces him to use the toilet, but instead of standing, he must sit on a toilet rimmed with nails.  As he sits, he thanks her for the pain.  In the background there are people watching.  She says they were the Watchers, and they paid the most money of all.  Edward is intrigued by the story, but this has nothing to do with her pain.  He wants to hear about her legs.  Elsa takes a deep breath.

Jimmy is hot on Twisty’s trail.  He tells Maggie to stay put, but of course she doesn’t listen.  Jimmy goes on top of a tree so he can peer into the trailer.  He sees the missing kids and tells Maggie that they’ve found the killer.  He’s a maniac, Maggie says.  Ironically, he’s not the one they need to worry about.  Dandy hits them both on the back of the head.  He pulls off his clown mask and smiles.  Now it’s time for Halloween to begin, he exclaims.

Hotel Olympia, Brandenburg, 1932

Elsa’s Watchers paid her to make movies.  They said that she made men “ejaculate gold.”  In the most intent movie, she was dressed in black leather and told to quote the line “am I ready for my close up?”  They drug her, and while they roll cameras, they cut her legs off with a chainsaw.  “Snuff films,” she says they called them.  They told her she was the lucky one.  They left her to die.  Her soldier boy saved her life.  He’d fallen in love with her and saved her, which she’ll never forgive him for.  The movie went all over Europe, and she was a star.  But her career was over.  She had no legs.  They had been so beautiful.  Edward’s familiar whispers and says that she’s the one.  She’s ready, she says.  She wants to be taken.  She screams and begs for him to kill her, but he never drops the knife.  He hears music.

Out in the woods, Dandy is putting on a show for Tommy, Jane, Mike and Jimmy.  Maggie is in a box about to be sawed in half.  Dandy introduces Twisty as his assistant, and Twisty claps in the most childlike way.  As Dandy prepares to make the cut, Jimmy frees himself (so much for Dandy’s knot-tying), knocks out Dandy and rescues Maggie.  He tells everyone to run while Twisty is distracted by his own attempts to make everyone laugh.  Twisty manages to capture Jimmy and drag him into the trailer.  That’s when the green fog seeps in.  It’s Edward Mordrake, and he wants to see a show.  Twisty’s eyes grow large.

Dandy screams at the departing audience.  Maggie tells Jane to go to the road and follow it, then she gives Dandy something to chase.  When he can’t catch her, he says she ruined his Halloween and he hates her.  He hates her, he hates her, he hates her.  Yes.  He hates her.

Edward asks Twisty again to talk to him.  He tells him to take off the mask, and Twisty slowly complies, revealing a hideously deformed face.  Edward wants him to focus his mind and tell him story.  Suddenly, Twisty’s voice returns.  It was 1943 and he was the Westchester special children’s clown.  He loved making the children laugh, but he hated the freaks.  The freaks were mean to him because he was simple.  As the freaks watched, they plotted to stop him.  Later that night, they lure Twisty outside and tease him that he was dropped on his head.  They tell him that the children say that he does things to him, and that the police are coming to take him away.  He ran away.  Edward hands him a handkerchief to wipe his tears.  Word had spread along the Carny circuit so he couldn’t get work as a circus clown, so he went home to Jupiter but his mother had died.  So he set out to make toys from garbage, turning it into gold like Rumplestiltskin.  But when he went to the toy store, the owner, Mr. Haney, didn’t want his toys made from garbage.  The little boy in the shop was afraid of him.  Mr. Haney threatens to call the police when Twisty throws a tantrum, and so he flees.  Dejected, Twisty returns to the trailer and puts a shotgun in his mouth.  He says he’s so dumb he can’t even kill himself.  With a piece of gauze around the gaping wound where his mouth once was, he has the idea to draw a face on the bandage.  Next we are at the Freakshow, where Jimmy is barking for people to come see the human oddities on display.  Twisty is there making balloons animals, but Twisty isn’t part of the show and you’ll have to pay Jimmy for a balloon.  Edward immediately senses the inequality and injustice done to him.  Twisty continues by saying that he saved his children from the freaks.  We flash to see Twisty killing Tommy’s parents, and killing Jane’s boyfriend.  He did it to give them happiness in his own twisted way.  Edward hears his familiar talking.  Twisty’s story has made the demon weep, which means he is the one.  Twisty doesn’t understand what Edward is talking about. Edward stabs him repeatedly in the chest.  The other ghosts gather around until Edward extends an invitation for Twisty to join them.  Twisty’s ghost stands up, and his face is back to normal.  In a weird way, Edward has granted freedom to this tortured and misunderstood soul.  Jimmy watches the whole thing in wonder, seeing the ghosts exiting the scene.

Dandy walks up and sees Twisty’s dead body.  He starts to get mad…but then he takes Twisty’s mask and puts it on.  His eyes go wild with excitement.  Sirens blare in the distance, so he runs off.  Jimmy sighs in relief.

Maggie sits in the back of a police car and smokes a cigarette.  The cops are gathered around the scene and they want to know if Maggie or Jimmy saw the other man in the clown mask.  The detective is congratulating Jimmy on being a hero, but Jimmy says that he isn’t a hero, that the real hero was Meep, and the police are going to pay for what they did.  The detective’s face falls when he realizes what could happen.

Jimmy and Maggie ride up to the breakfast tent the next morning.  Elsa wants to know where they were.  There’s a curfew, after all.  Jimmy says the curfew has been lifted, and Maggie says that Jimmy saved the day, caught the killer and rescued the kids.  She runs off the pee (try holding it for five miles on a bike) but she doesn’t hesitate to give Jimmy a kiss.  Elsa says that they had a visitor last night.  Jimmy knows who it was-Edward Mordrake.  But he tells Elsa that he claimed his victim.  Before they can say anything else, cars start pulling up outside the Freakshow.  Elsa thinks they are being run out of town…but instead they find the whole town assembled to meet Jimmy, the hero who saved them.  One man wants to shake his hand, and seeing them coming together in this moment is a huge turning point for everyone.  A little girl offers browning to Jimmy, then she sees Desiree and asks if she’s a real lady.  Her mom chastises her, but Desiree smiles and says she is, “and then some.”  Elsa sees the opportunity to invite everyone to a command performance tonight.  Jimmy looks at Dot, but beyond her is Maggie.  Dell steps out of his trailer and sees the crowd.

Elsa tells everyone that the show is sold out.  She tells Dot and Bette that she’s made a change to the show.  They think they’re warming up for her now, but they’re actually warming up for Salty and Pepper.  Bette is outraged, as is Dot, but a stranger interrupts them.  It’s Stanley, the con man with a thirteen inch ding-a-ling.  He’s a talent scout from Hollywood and he’s there to see the show. Elsa says she’s sure that they can find a seat for him.  This might be the man she has been waiting for.

Nora is setting the table when Dandy walks in wearing Twisty’s face mask.  She tells him to take the tray to his sick mother.  She taunts him, and Dandy cuts her neck open. As she bleeds out, he pulls off the mask and stares.  At first he looks horrified, but then a smile forms on his lips and he starts to laugh.

Twisty may be gone, but Dandy the Clown is rising.

Well, that was a huge episode tonight.  And honestly, for the first time in the history of AHS, I truly feel sorry for Twisty.  He was a sad, misunderstood character hiding a pain that most people wouldn’t be able to understand.  Hopefully we’ll get to see him again.

What did you think of tonight’s episode?  Be sure to leave comments below!


American Horror Story Freak Show Recap S4E3: Edward Mordrake Pt. 1

American Horror Story Freak Show, S4E3: Edward Mordrake Pt. 1

Original Airdate: October 22, 2014

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock


I’m going to go ahead and say that Dandy and Twisty are the Violet and Tate of Season 4.  If you don’t know who Violet and Tate are, you need to go back and watch Season 1.

Tonight’s episode is the first part of the two-part Halloween episodes.  These two episodes are so super-exclusive that the producers didn’t send out screeners for the media.  So…without further ado, may I present Edward Mordrake.

There is a docent talking about the fascination that people have with different physical mutations.  She is at the American Morbidity Museum.  The docent sees two people and goes to greet them.  Welcome to Denis O’Hare as Stanley and Emma Roberts as Maggie Esmeralda.  But today these two are Doctor Rothschild and his astute assistant, come to present a baby Sasquatch to the Museum.  The docent fetches the curator, who calls this duo out as frauds and says the baby Sasquatch is nothing more than a goat fetus with a cat jaw sewn in.  They called Dr. Rothschild’s contacts at Harvard and he’s bogus.  The curator storms away, but the docent remains and says that her museum is in trouble unless they get some new specimens.  Stanley’s ears perk at the sound of that, and he asks where they typically get their specimens.  She says that they have come from all over, but it used to be the case that freak shows would call when one of their own passed away.  They only have a few freak shows left-Coney Island and South Florida. Stanley inquires about the conjoined liver in a jar.  It belonged to Chang and Eng, and it’s worth $5,000.  Coney Island is a bit cold this time of year.  Hmm…

It’s Halloween in West Palm Beach and the kids are all out during the daytime trick or treating.  A nice and colorful clown walks by.  The moms wait while the little angel goes to the door.  Her brother dressed as a clown to terrify her.  The moms note that there are more kids out because the Jupiter kids are in Palm Beach because of the curfew.  The little angel turns and sees a dirty clown behind the bushes.  It’s our friend Twisty.  He’s all over the place, apparently.

Ethel heads to see Dr. Myron Bonham.  Her stomach is tender and she guesses that the biopsy she had done was positive.  He reveals that she tested positive for cirrhosis of the liver.  Even though she hasn’t had a drink since Jimmy was 18, the doctor says that it could have been there a while.  He feels bad that she has had a hard life and has seen the worst in human nature.  He gives her six months to a year to live.  “Well, shit,” she says.  He apologizes and advises her not to eat meat or drink.  Ethel starts crying, but it’s because he’s the first doctor who has ever treated her with respect.  Her life could have been different had she seen him sooner.

Back at the main tent, there is an apple bobbing contest.  It’s mayhem.  Jimmy comes in and Dot wonders where he has been.  He has been digging a grave for Meep.  Dot screams for them all to stop and be respectful to his memory.  They should dedicate the show to him.  The performers tell the twins that they don’t perform on Halloween.  It’s an old superstition dating back to the mid-1800s, and based around the legend of Edward Mordrake.  Ethel comes in and pours herself a drink.  She explains that he was an aristocrat with tons of titles, but he had been different.

We flash back to the 1800s.  Edward Mordrake, played by Wes Bentley, was a scholar, poet, and incomparable musician.  “What was wrong with him?” Bette asks.  He had a face on the back of his head that spoke to him all the time.  It said evil things to him.  He tried to kill it but it wouldn’t die.  He ended up going mute, and his family sent him to the crazy house.  While there, he wrote poetry and finished an opera.  One night Edward escaped the asylum and ended up at the local freak show.  He was hailed as the handsome prince, but when he took a bow he’d scare the audience with his alter ego.  Edward wasn’t happy, though, and then one Halloween night he went and killed the entire troupe of freaks before hanging himself.  His alter ego was smiling even unto death.

Bette wants to know if they aren’t performing out of respect, but that’s not it at all.  It’s fear.  It is said that if you perform on Halloween he will appear and kill a member of the group.  Once he’s appeared you can’t get his voice out of your head.  Jimmy thinks it’s all bunk and doesn’t want to scare the twins.  Ethel swears it’s true.  Back in 1932 when she was with Barnum, they made them perform and the Human Cannonball was found hanging in his trailer.

Ethel finishes her story and then tosses back another drink. Jimmy wants to know why she’s drinking so much after swearing off the alcohol.  She tells him that she’s back on the drinking wagon.  He asks if Dell’s presence has caused this, but she tells Jimmy that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and that with Dell around it means that Jimmy can finally leave.  She knows he has been dying to leave.  Jimmy stares in shock at her as she walks away.

Gloria Mott calls for Nora to help her. There is a huge Halloween feast being prepared, complete with a black cat cake.  It’s almost sundown.  Nora doesn’t want to be a bird.  In fact, she is dressed as Woody Woodpecker because that’s Dandy’s favorite cartoon.  Gloria orders her to do the famous laugh, which she does.  (Seeing Patti LaBelle do Woody Woodpecker is shocking!!)  Dandy enters, looking chipper after his nap.  He goes straight for the snacks.  He’s ready to go out to terrorize the neighborhood.  Gloria informs him that there is no trick or treating because of the curfew.  Dandy thought the curfew was just for poor people.  She presents him with his costume.  Howdy Doody.  Dandy screams in a rage and throws the brightly colored costume to the floor.  He shatters a few crystal bowls as well.  Gloria rushes out to buy him a better costume.  Dandy orders Nora to clean the mess, but Nora isn’t afraid of Dandy and says she only works for his mother.

Upstairs, Dandy takes a pair of scissors to the red fabric.  He looks a bit like Michelle Pfeiffer from Batman Returns as he works.  He’s making his own costume.  A clown.

Jimmy and the gang gather to celebrate Meep and his life.  A small wooden coffin lies at the bottom of a big hole.  He loved Halloween and used to toss a chicken head into the kids’ bags.  He was a better man than any of the people who came to their shows.  The group says goodbye to their friend and they toss in some meat and take a drink from Paul’s flask to celebrate him.

As soon as they finish, a taxi pulls up.  Jimmy tells the woman that there’s no show today, but she’s there looking for a job.  Her name is Mystic Esmeralda.

There are bright lights.  Bette and Dot are on an operating table and a doctor and nurse bustle around preparing for surgery.  Dot is peaceful while Bette looks terrified.  Dot says that there is a man who loves her and wants to have babies with her, bit that means Bette has to go.  The plan, according to the doctor, is to use the new bone saw to separate Bette from Dot’s body.  They give ether to Bette and the doctor starts to make the cut.  He gets splattered with blood.  That’s when Bette wakes up and tells Dot to wake up as well.  Dot had been in the middle of the best dream, she says.  Bette reminds her that the dream wasn’t so nice for her.  She can’t understand why her sister would want to do something that like to her, given that it would mean certain death for one of them.   Bette calls Dot mean, but she still loves her, even though she has already tried to kill her.  Dot vows to save her money and find a doctor who will do the surgery.

Elsa is in her tent smoking opium.  She tells Jimmy that most fortune tellers are fake, but he says she isn’t a gypsy.  Esmeralda walks in and says her gift chose her.  Elsa asks for her fortune.  Esmeralda quickly glances at the clues around the room, then she settles in front of her crystal ball and tells Elsa to open her mind.  Esmeralda tells Elsa that she was wronged.  There was a woman who is receiving much applause from her performance.  Marlena? Marlena Dietrich stole her career, Elsa says.  Esmeralda says that the future shows that she is singing and the crowd is going crazy for her.  There is a man in the wings, an impresario who helps her reach new heights.  She’s about to say more, but Esmeralda collapses to the ground.  “You’re hired!” Elsa cries.

Dell is lifting weights when Desiree walks into the trailer’s living room, dressed in a cute black and white dress.  It’s a French maid costume.  She takes a drink and says that he did well, moving in and taking over.  He kisses her while she grabs his manhood and gives him a hand job.  However, his manhood has other plans.  He goes soft and she complains that it’s always something.  She can’t take this anymore.  Apparently the ED is a bigger problem for the couple.  Desiree says she can be happier with a doorknob…which sends Dell into a mad rage.  He throws her up against the wall and says that he deserves her respect. Desiree doesn’t back down, though, and she says that she doesn’t have to put up with him, either.  She storms off, leaving Dell alone with a look on his face that suggests that he knows how close he is to losing everything.

Ethel is sitting outside drinking when Dell stomps past the trailer.  She asks if he’s having trouble with “triple tits.”  He doesn’t like that nickname for his wife.  Ethel offers him some of her hooch.  She says she has been meaning to talk to him.  She needs a favor.  He laughs, which makes her ask if he had trouble “getting it up.”  She wonders if he was ever happy with her.  Dell tries to be tough, but clearly he has feelings for Ethel.  He listens as she tells him that he can never tell Jimmy that he is his father, but she asks him to be a good role model for him.  He needs guidance now that he has one foot in the freak show and one foot outside in the other world.  Dell wonders why she’s being so sentimental, and why she needs his help given that Jimmy always listens to her.  Ethel reveals that she’s dying, which hits Dell hard.   He says that he woke up wondering what it would be like to have been there while Jimmy was growing up.  He asks what Jimmy used to be for Halloween.  Ethel says he was always the same thing: a soldier.

Amazon Eve returns to her trailer.  Ma Petite jumps out of a pumpkin and scares the crap out of her.  This might be the last moment of levity we get to see…

It’s Halloween Night.

Dandy is in his costume.  All we can see is what he sees through the eye holes in his clown mask.  He chooses a knife and goes into the dining room where Nora is cleaning up.  We get to see his brightly colored clown costume.  Dandy is wearing a plastic mask and he holds the knife up.  Nora laughs and challenges him to hurt her.  She says she raised him and knows what he is—and isn’t—capable of.  She says she told his mother about the animal parts.  What she really wants to know is whether Dandy had anything to do with the murders.  When he can’t kill her, she laughs and said that she knew he didn’t have it in him.  He rips the mask off and screams how much he hates her.  After he storms out, Nora mutters that she hates him more.

Esmeralda calls home to Stanley.  She’s at a payphone and Jimmy is waiting for her on his bike.  She says she’s in, but she’s surrounded by freaks.  She can’t take it anymore.  She tells Stanley about running into the twins.  Dot sees Jimmy with Esmeralda and asks why she’s there.  Customers aren’t allowed in their living quarters.  Jimmy introduces her as their new spiritualist.  Esmeralda offers them a free reading, to which Dot replies that readings probably aren’t the only things she gives away for free.  Stanley doesn’t care about any of that.  He needs to know how big of a jar he needs for their body.  And how many arms and legs do they have?  Esmeralda didn’t sign on for murder.  Stanley assures her that he will take care of everything. That’s when a police car pulls up and Esmeralda has to go.  The police officer tells Jimmy and Esmeralda about the curfew, but Jimmy points out that they have ten minutes.  The officer thinks Esmeralda should stay away from people like Jimmy, but Jimmy reminds him about what they did to Meep.  Esmeralda calms the men down and they get on Jimmy’s bike and ride away.

Stanley, in the meantime, is watching the naked Viking in his hotel room.  He says the naked Viking is missing a sword.  He invites him to take his pants off.  It turns out that Stanley has a thirteen inch sword…

The moms in Palm Beach are drinking while they wait for Halloween to be over.  The little angel is in bed playing with her dolls.  Her brother comes in, having stolen her candy.  He taunts her and tells her that he’ll give it back provided that she calls him Master Mike and does his chores for a week.  She’s not listening.  She’s watching Twisty approach behind him.  Twisty puts a finger to his mouth to keep her quiet.  Mike sees his sister’s terrified look.  When he turns around, he screams.  The moms come rushing in and ask where her brother is.  “The clown took him,” she says, pointing out the window.

Bette and Dot chide Paul and Eve for being superstitious about doing a rehearsal on Halloween.  Elsa walks in and says that she’s willing to take the risk because the mystic says that an important man is coming to help her career and she needs to be ready.  Dot says Elsa can rehearse when they’re done, because they’re the headliners now.  Elsa threatens to take them out to the swamps.  She is a professional and has been performing for decades, and they are nothing but freaks.  Dot and Bette storm away from the stage.  Elsa calls upon Paul and Eve to play for her so she can practice.

The music comes up and Elsa starts singing Lana Del Rey’s “Gods and Monsters.”  As she sings, the band gets into the song.  So does Edward Mordrake, who rises from the great beyond to wreak havoc on the freak show. Elsa sees him and beckons to him, thinking him to be her salvation.  She takes a bow…but he has disappeared.  She looks around in terror.

Night has fallen at the freak show.  Ethel is in her trailer and she starts to hear voices.  She looks around and sees nothing, but then she looks again and sees the ghost of a woman whose throat has been cut open.  A green fog is rising from the doorway.  When she turns back again, Edward Mordrake is there.  He apologizes for scaring her, but he blames his alter ego.  Edward argues with his violent familiar.  Ethel tells him that she didn’t summon him and she doesn’t want to die, but Edward says he can’t grant a reprieve.  She has been chosen to join their group of freaks.  He says there are questions that must be asked, and his familiar will know if she lies.  He notes that she wasn’t always in such a bad way.  Edward wants to hear the story of Ethel’s fall.  She says it’s true, that she has fallen more than once.  She used to have an act where she was surrounded by pretty girls and the audience loved her.  She had Dell with her, and he became her manager.  He gave her advice and told her that she shouldn’t go for laughs, but should perform the classics.  That didn’t work out so well, and this time she was the joke.  Edward’s familiar says that he knows that she has a darker pain.  He asks what happened when they returned to the stage.  Ethel said they were poor and she was carrying Jimmy at the time.  She couldn’t perform like that, so instead Dell made a show of her giving birth.  Dell grabbed the newborn and tried to get money from people who wanted to hold him.  She’s upset that Jimmy had been exploited from the start.

Edward thanks her for sharing her pain.  When Ethel looks up, she sees the ghosts of the other freaks that have died.  Ethel says she’s ready to go.  Edward listens and hears his familiar say “Not the one.”  It looks like Ethel has earned a reprieve.

Back at Twisty’s van, the boy and girl hear a noise.  It’s Dandy, and he’s singing the trick or treat song.  He has candy for them, which he holds out in his hand.  When they grab for it, he calls trick and tries to stab them.  He pokes at the duo with a stick, but then he hears Twisty arriving.  Dandy goes outside to see Twisty dragging poor Mike.  “More fun!” Dandy exclaims with glee.

To be continued….

Clowns of America International Angry at AHS Freak Show

The clowns of America aren’t weeping.  They’re pissed.

EW reports that the organization Clowns of America International isn’t laughing at the portrayal of Twisty the Clown.  It’s hurting them, both in reputation and in terms of finances.  What loving parent and AHS fan will pull a Glora Mott and hire a clown for Junior’s 8th birthday party?

Coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, is a real thing.  We’re a horror movie family, and I watched Stephen King’s It when I was little.  Clowns terrified me after that. (And it became a family prank to leave balloons filled with red food coloring out for other unsuspecting family members…)  My 5th birthday party was traumatic because my good-intentioned mother hired a clown for my party.  I spent more time trying to get away from him than I did anything else that day.

As EW points out, you can’t really blame AHS for playing upon peoples’ fear of clowns.  John Wayne Gacy was a clown.  He was also a serial killer.

Face it, clowns have always gotten a bad rap.

Click for a link to the full article.


American Horror Story Freak Show Recap S4E2: Massacres and Matinees

American Horror Story Freak Show, S4E2: Massacres and Matinees

Original Airdate: October 15, 2014

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock


Congratulations to American Horror Story for getting a fifth season renewal and for smashing every viewing record on FX!  That’s a huge accomplishment…and it says a lot about what types of shows the viewers want to see on television….

It’s a new day at the Freak Show.  The gang is gathered around the table.  The Geek is polishing eggs.  Jimmy rushes up and turns on the radio.  The announcer says that the town of Jupiter is terrified with all of the murders of the past two weeks.  Paul, Eve, Suzy and the Geek listen with Jimmy as the radio talks about the heinous crimes, knowing that they had a hand in one of the deaths. The radio even mentions the disappearance of the police detective, and notes that the police are out for blood. (We flash to the diner where the waitress remarks that business has been down because of the murders)  That’s when they hear the police sirens.

Two officers approach the tent and ask for the proprietor.  Jimmy indicates which tent belongs to Elsa Mars.  Inside, Elsa says that while they have nothing to hide, she cannot allow the police to search without a warrant.  Pepper is helping her prep her wardrobe.  Elsa insists that her “monsters” value their privacy.  The detectives advise Elsa that they’re implementing a curfew in light of the murders, which enrages Elsa because that will damage her business.  The cops don’t seem too upset about it.  When Dot and Bette make an appearance, the police want their statements.  The police believe that the twins escaped from the hospital, which makes Elsa laugh considering that they weren’t sick anymore and they could leave of their own free will.  Bette stops her sister from biting her nails, and tells the officers that she smelled whisky on their attacker’s breath.  The police leave, but it’s clear that they’re not convinced that all is what it seems at the Freak Show.

A young man walks into the local toy shop with coffee for the proprietor, Mr. Hanley.  There’s no answer inside, but there is a little toy robot that has been wound up.  The little toy robot is also trailing a long stream of blood.  The man follows the trail of blood, walking past Twisty the Clown himself, who has positioned himself with other clowns on display.  The man goes to the Halloween display, where the trail ends in a puddle of blood.  He looks up and sees Mr. Hanley’s head on the shelf.  But that’s all he sees, because Twisty the Clown is behind him, and Twisty the Clown puts a knife through the man’s neck.

Cue the creepy credits, please.  This episode is warmed up and ready to shock us….

It’s dinnertime under the big top.  Legless Suzy slides along the table on a makeshift skateboard, collecting wine from Pepper while the gang chants “Kill the Copper.”  When Suzy reaches Jimmy, he’s had enough.  “Shut Up!” he shouts, knocking the cup away.  Next we see the gang digging up the cop’s body.  Apparently, the shallow grave by the swamp isn’t good enough in case the police return.  They need to find a better way to dispose of him.  Fire.  And then spread the ashes as far away as possible.  Jimmy apologizes for snapping, but he’s never killed anyone before.  Eve says he did what he had to do, given that the cop was going to take the twins away.  They might have taken all the freaks away.  “I hate that word,” Paul mutters, giving Eve a hand with…a severed hand.  Jimmy wonders if the cop had a family.  He knows what it was like being raised without a father.  If only the people of Jupiter could get to know them for who they are.  Then they’d know that they’re not freaks after all….

Dandy lives in a splendid world of fine china and a large salt shaker with his name on it.  Doting mom Gloria is seated at the opposite end of the comically long table, watching her son with a mother’s affection.  He’s bored, tapping his foot and picking at his golden fork in irritation.  Gloria rings the little silver bell on the table and the maid (Nora, played by Patti La Belle) comes in with dinner.  “Snails?” Dandy scoffs.  That’s what they ordered, Nora reminds them.  Just like in Paris.  Gloria is overjoyed, while Dandy continues to pout.  Nora mutters under her breath at how Dandy is wearing on her last nerve.  Dandy sighs and grabs the salt shaker, only it’s not a salt shaker.  It’s a baby bottle, made of crystal, and his name is inscribed on it.  He goes to the decanter and fills it with cognac, sipping it from the bottle like a child.  Gloria says he can’t live on sweets and cognac.  She has tried to introduce him to so many nice girls.  She wants a grandbaby—what fun that would be.  But Dandy sees babies as the most boring thing ever.  He wants to be a thespian, but his mother won’t let him because of his proud lineage.  Gloria thinks she’s doing him a favor, but he feels like he’s turning to dust under her control.  He storms out of the room, ranting about finding real caramel corn.  Nora returns and tells Gloria that she found some “parts” and some teeth and fur, and the neighbors have been looking for their cat all day.  And with those murders….  But Gloria won’t have it.  Dandy is not a bad child.  “He’s just bored.”

Ethel goes off in search of the twins, who are out in the field near the Ferris wheel.  She tells the girls (in her awesome accent—is that Pennsylvania Dutch?) that performers need to sing for their food, but Bette insists they aren’t performers.  “Speak for yourself,” Dot replies.  In the distance, a car approaches with a trailer hitched behind it.  The twins wonder who it is, and Ethel replies that it’s someone she used to know.

The car stops, and we see on the side of the trailer that the big bald man is Dell Toledo, the Strong Man.  He goes to the trailer and opens the door, offering his hand to the woman inside.  Now we get to meet Angela Bassett as Desiree Dupree.  Desiree isn’t happy—she says this had better be a rest stop.  Dell says it could be their Garden of Eden.  “So says the snake,” Desiree replies.

Dell explains to Elsa that they are there in response to her ad, and that it took a while to travel from Chicago, where they worked for the famous Giuseppe Brothers.  Dell admits that his wife was the star of the show, but the Giuseppes favored animal acts over her.  Elsa compliments their love story but doesn’t see how they can offer her anything.  We flash back to three weeks prior, when Dell arrives back to find two gay men waiting for their friend, who is inside trying to “change his stripes.”  Indeed, inside the tent, Desiree is helping the young man discover the joys of being with a woman.  He’s so thankful to have his predilection “cured” so that he can marry a woman and have kids.  Desiree cautions him to “come first” before he gets ahead of himself.  Dell storms into the tent and says that Desiree is his wife.  He twists the man’s head a full 360 degrees.  Elsa asks if the police will be coming after them for murder.  “There ain’t no murder if there ain’t no body,” Desiree laughs.  No Chicago police are going to care about a dead gay man, because the gays rate below “us freaks.”  Elsa wants clarification—Desiree is also a freak?  As it turns out, she is.  Desiree pulls off her shawl to reveal that she has “three titties, full girl parts and a ding-a-ling.”  She’s a hermaphrodite, and Dell is the “happiest man on earth.”  Desiree glows, her three breasts and their pasties on display.  Elsa thinks them a nice couple, but she can’t afford them considering how bad business has been.  Desperation appears on Dell’s face, and he tells Elsa that he will sign any contract.  The carnies are a dying breed, and they don’t have anywhere else to go.  Elsa studies Dell’s calloused hands and decides that a strong male presence just might do them some good.  “Do you bark?” she asks.  Dell vows to howl if she wants him to.

Gloria is driving around looking for Dandy.  She sees a man walking on the side of the road.  It’s Twisty the Clown, walking along in broad daylight.  As she pulls the car up next to him, we get a great look at his face.  Clearly, he is wearing someone else’s skin as a mask, and then the smiley face mouth is attached to it.  There are bloody strings holding everything together.  Gloria calls out to the clown and asks if he does private parties.  Here she is, driving a classic car (even for the 1950s), wearing expensive clothes, and she sees a filthy clown on the side of the road and wonders if he does kids parties.  She’s a trip.  At any rate, she’s willing to pay handsomely for his services.  Twisty gives her a long look.

Jimmy and Dandy walk into the tent.  Jimmy thinks Dandy is there for the twins, and even though they’re a great piece of tail, he doesn’t think Dandy belongs there.  Dandy is munching on caramel corn.  He tells Jimmy that he wants to be a part of the show.  He knows show tunes by heart.  He begs Jimmy to reconsider, as he will be saving his life.  Dandy isn’t the person Jimmy sees on the outside, rather he is a whole other person on the inside and that person is begging to get out.  Jimmy grabs Dandy’s hand and says that Dandy’s life doesn’t look so bad from his perspective, that he’d give anything to touch a girl and not have her be terrified.  He tells Dandy to go back to his mansion.

Outside the tent, Dandy smashes his forehead into the steering wheel and says “I hate you” over and over again.  Suddenly he stops.  He has a cut on his head.

Back at the Mott Mansion, Gloria waits for her son’s return with a fish wrapped daintily with cucumber and salmon.  She hears Dandy return and chases after him, Nora in tow.  Dandy storms up the stairs and tells his mother that he hates her and hates his life, but she’s not listening.  Gloria tells him she brought him a friend.  She takes Dandy into a room and he walks in and sees Twisty, and Dandy’s eyes grow big.  Gloria leaves them alone to get to know each other.  The room is large and bright and full of adult-sized toys: a life-sized plastic horse, a croquet game, a puppet theater.  Twisty stands at the end of the room. Dandy approaches in awe. Twisty merely stares at him.

Ethel smokes a cigarette outside her trailer.  She watches as Desiree leaves Dell’s trailer and goes into another tent.  Ethel summons her resolve and goes to Dell’s trailer.  He seems surprised to see her, and she tells him that he’s not welcome there.  And if he goes near her Jimmy, she’ll have her friends tear Dell apart.  Dell doesn’t know Jimmy…but a quick flashback reveals that Dell is Jimmy’s father, and that he had tried to kill Jimmy when he wouldn’t stop crying.  Ethel pointed a gun at Dell back then and threatened to kill him if he hurt their son.  Back in the present, Dell laughs at the memory and tells Ethel she shouldn’t threaten her new boss.  It turns out that Elsa has hired Dell to be the man around the camp, in hopes of beefing up their security.  Ethel’s eyes are wide at the revelation.

Inside the main tent, Desiree is perched at the piano while the twins are on stage.  Bette is trying to sing but she’s way off key.  Elsa tells her that they’ll have to find something else for them to do.  Desiree can’t fathom finding something else for the headliners to do.  Elsa won’t listen.  Suzy and Ma Petite attend to Elsa’s nails while she watches the rehearsal.  Desiree recalls a woman in Mexico who can shoot ping pong balls from her you-know-what.  Jimmy asks Dot if she can sing.  Bette is quick to say no, but Dot says she doesn’t know the song.  Jimmy tells Bette to sing to him…  She starts singing “Dream a Little Dream,” and it captures everyone’s attention.  She can really sing!  “Not bad,” Dell drawls, walking into the tent.  He announces that they will perform a matinee the next day.  Elsa says that people don’t come to see freaks in the daytime.  There will be no matinee.  Dell doesn’t only disagree, but he says there will be a matinee every day until the curfew is lifted.  Desiree cautions him to listen to Elsa, his boss, but no woman is the boss of him.  Jimmy steps up to defend Elsa, and Dell pushes him aside.  There will be a matinee, with paying crowds in the seats.  Elsa has a problem on her hands.

Dandy is entertaining Twisty with a puppet show.  He has seen “The King and I” multiple times, of course, including opening night.  But Twisty isn’t amused.  Dandy suggests that the clown amuse him.  He’s had a rotten day and he knows his mother has paid a large sum for his services, so he asks to be entertained.  Only then does Dandy walk a circle around Twisty.  Dandy isn’t stupid—he knows there is something off about Twisty and his appearance, but he’s so bored he overlooks it all.  Twisty holds his bag close, giving nothing away.  Dandy goes to the toy chest and tells Twisty that he must earn his keep.  When Twisty sees the toy box, he drops his bag and goes to the toys.  Dandy hurries over and starts going through the bag.  Twisty notices this just as Dandy sees something that makes his eyes grow wide. That’s when Twisty knocks Dandy in the back of his head with a juggling bowling pin.  While Dandy howls in pain, Twisty takes off.  As we watch Twisty retreat into the woods, we see that Dandy is close behind him.

Evidently the diner is the hub of “normalcy” this season.  The waitress hears Jimmy enter and is happy he’s back (he always wore gloves, so she never suspected him of being a freak), but when she turns around she sees a whole gang from the freak show, including Paul, Eve, Suzy, Salty and Pepper.  Jimmy would like to be served.  Several diner customers leave.  One mother says that the group is scaring her daughter.  The waitress is about to take orders when Paul grabs a plate from one of the departed guests and starts eating, which upsets the waitress because that food wasn’t for him.  Pepper starts clamoring for meatloaf, which excites Salty, and then things start to get out of hand.  Coincidentally, Dell is outside hanging signs for the show.  He hears the noise coming from the diner and realizes that the freaks are inside.  He storms in and grabs Paul, which upsets Jimmy.  Dell says that they’re giving everyone a free show, but Jimmy is tired of being called a freak.  They’re people, just like everyone else.  This makes the manager and the waitress uncomfortable, because they had been judging them.  Dell grabs Paul’s plate and dumps it in front of Jimmy, and then he orders everyone to leave.  He grabs Jimmy and drags him outside and beats the crap out of him while the other freaks watch from inside the diner.  This is their new boss.

The girl and boy trapped in Twisty’s trailer are trying to find a way out.  The little boy is wearing a Daniel Boone coonskin hat.  He tries to help, but soon he gives up, defeated.  The girl manages to loosen a board with a long nail protruding from the end.  There’s a noise outside, and they know Twisty is returning.  She hides the board behind them before he enters.  We also see that Dandy is still following Twisty; he’s outside looking at the toys hanging from the trees all around the trailer.

Twisty is carrying his bag and a set of keys.  He opens the cell door and sits down across from the children.  Actor John Carroll Lynch does an amazing job exuding emotion in Twisty’s gaze.  You can tell that Twisty is after something, and while his means might be sinister, I’m thinking that he’s not really out to be evil, necessarily.  Something is wrong with him.  He pulls out the little robot from the toy shop, winds it up, and starts mimicking its motions as the boy watches in terrified silence.  Twisty seems to sigh, and he slowly starts to stand up.  He reaches back into his bag as the girl grasps the board.  When Twisty stands again, we see what Dandy caught a glimpse of in the magic bag: the severed head of the young man from the toy store.  The boy screams, and the girl takes this opportunity to hit Twisty in the back of the head.  This gives them a chance to run out of the trailer.  As they leave, we see that Twisty’s smiling mouth has been knocked away, revealing a gaping hole where his mouth and cheek should have been.  Twisty is hiding a deformity with his mask(s).  The girl and boy run in opposite directions, and she runs straight into Dandy, who asks what’s wrong.  She says the clown is crazy, which seems to make him even more excited.  He scoops her up and walks back to the trailer, calling for the Clown.  Twisty walks up with the boy.  “You’ll have to do a much better job at confinement,” Dandy admonishes, and he follows Twisty into the trailer.

The gang returns to the fairgrounds.  Jimmy storms into Elsa’s tent and tells her about the altercation with Dell.  He knows that Dell is going to tear their group apart.  Elsa seems to have resigned herself to the fact that they must do the matinee in light of the curfews.  She says they need protection from the police, and that Dell can provide it.  Jimmy hands her the badge and says that he was also protecting the group, and the badge is the last thing the left of the detective.  She grabs his hand and presses it to her chest.  Jimmy uses his final weapon against Dell: one of the posters from town.  At the bottom, under the top billing for the twins and Desiree, is the addition “with Elsa Mars and The Geek.”

It’s show time, and Dell is the Master of Ceremonies.  Dell introduces the Geek, who bites off the head of a little chick, before introducing their headliners: the Siamese Sisters.  The curtain rises and Dot and Bette are center stage.  Jimmy sits to the side of the stage in Bette’s line of sight.  Elsa is in her powder blue outfit watching from the back of the tent.  Paul pounds the drums and Eve plays piano while the rest of the troupe plays other instruments.  Bette looks out at the crowd and starts to sing that she’s “been a bad, bad girl.”  Suddenly the crowd starts to rise from its seats and goes to the front of the tent, forming a mosh pit in front of Bette and Dot as Bette belts out a cover of Fiona Apple’s “Criminal”.  People are dancing and reveling in the music.  Dot tries to keep up with her sister but Bette is clearly the star.  Jimmy looks over at Elsa, who gives him a nod.  He walks past Dell, telling him he’s going to take a piss.  But he’s on a different mission.  The little man rushes the crowd and starts crowd surfing.  When she finishes the song, the crowd goes nuts.  Dot looks desolate, and Elsa is furious that she has been replaced.

The next morning, the police descend upon the fairgrounds.  They have a warrant to search the premises in conjunction with the disappearance of the police officer.  Elsa looks over at Jimmy again, and Dell asks why Jimmy looks so smug.  The police finish searching Dell’s trailer, finding nothing. They move on to the other trailers.  It looks like someone called in a tip about Dell.  Dell pulls Jimmy aside and tells him that he knows what Jimmy tried to do.  We flash to the performance the day before, when Jimmy went to the bathroom. Dell had seen Jimmy go into Dell’s trailer.  He’d been planting evidence.  Dell is smarter than that.  An officer announces that he found something: the detective’s badge was under the Geek’s bedroll.  They drag the poor man out of his trailer and he is clearly terrified.  The officer tells Elsa that the badge belonged to the detective. She shrugs and walks away.  Jimmy realizes that no one is going to step in to save the Geek.  He is put into the car and taken away.  The Geek turns and looks back at the group as the car drives from the fairgrounds.  Elsa grabs Jimmy’s arm when he steps toward the departing car.

The officers know that the Geek is not the mastermind behind the murders, and they doubt that he did anything wrong, but they know that a night in confinement with the general population will probably make him sing like a canary.  The poor Geek is dragged into the cell, where he retreats into the corner as the huge men gather around him.

Back at the fairgrounds, Elsa goes into Bette and Dot’s tent.  Bette is sleeping with her eyes covered by a mask.  Dot wakes up and sees Elsa.  Elsa and Dot have a special relationship that Bette doesn’t approve of.  When Bette starts to wake, Dot says she’s talking to Elsa, but Bette is still half-asleep and thinks her sister is making things up.  Dot laughs and puts her finger to her lips.  Elsa laughs with her.  Dot says her sister is angry with her, and that she’s acting like a different person.  Elsa tells the girl that she can do something about it.  She leaves a knife under Dot’s pillow.  Remember that it was Bette who stabbed Dot after Dot killed their mother.  Looks like jealousy is going to drive a wedge between the Siamese Sisters.  (Sorry, I had to say it)

Ethel finds her son getting drunk on the main stage.  He’s never been drunk before, but his guilt over what happened to the police officer, and subsequently the Geek, is eating him alive.  Ethel says that the police had no right to rough him up the way they did.  That’s when Jimmy reveals that Dell was the one who beat him up.  She urges Jimmy to stay away from Dell, but Jimmy reminds her that he has a contract and he is their boss now.  It will be impossible to get rid of him given the success of the matinee.  Jimmy storms out of the tent, with Ethel behind him.  Jimmy is barely outside of the devil’s mouth when a truck pulls up.  The police officer is at the wheel and two guys are in back.  They throw a bundle out from the bed and it lands at Jimmy’s feet.  They pull away quickly.  Jimmy starts to open the bundle and we see the Geek’s blue feathers poking out from underneath the blanket.  When we see his face, it’s clear the Geek has been beaten to death.  “No!” Jimmy screams.

Well, that was quite the ride tonight, wasn’t it, folks?  I don’t know about you, but I’m not as scared of Twisty as I was last week.  I feel bad for the poor guy, even though he’s a terrifying killer.  He’s a sad soul, hideously deformed.  All he seems to want is a companion…and now he has the perfect companion in Dandy.  And I’m terribly saddened about the Geek.  Truthfully, I watched this episode a week ago (thanks to the FX press people), and this scene has stuck with me all week.

I can only imagine what’s coming up in the next episode….

What did you think?  What shocked you?  Which character do you want to learn more about?






AHS Freak Show Smashes Records, Gets 5th Season Renewal

Congratulations to the cast and crew of AHS Freak Show for setting FX ratings record with the fourth season premiere last week.  Even the encore performances set records.

FX was quick to respond by awarding the show a 5th season renewal.

Check out the details with this article, courtesy of Dark Media Online:

Twisty the Clown: The Stuff of Nightmares

American Horror Story Freakshow, you have done it again.  Just when you thought it was safe, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk do it again with the introduction of Twisty the Clown.  With his filthy clown costume and ever present smile that would make Jack Nicholson’s Joker green with envy, Twisty is the stuff of nightmares.

His face is white, and his eyes are piercing and expressive, but clearly he’s wearing someone else’s skull cap.  Literally.  He has extra skin on his head.  Who does it belong to?

Who is Twisty? What is he after?

Will you be checking under the bed tonight? I will!

American Horror Story Freak Show Recap S4E1: Monsters Among Us

American Horror Story Freak Show, S4E1: Monsters Among Us

Original Airdate: October 8, 2014

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock


It’s here!  It’s finally here!

Sarah Paulson is walking with a dark look on her face.  She’s thinking of her diary, and she says she’s about to enter the gates of hell.  Oddly enough, the camera is tilted, so we don’t know which Sarah Paulson we’re looking at.  Confused?  You should be.  Sarah Paulson is playing double duty this season, portraying both Bette and Dot Tattler, the Siamese Twins.  More on this later.

Jupiter, Florida.  1952.  The milkman arrives at the Tattler house to find the old milk still on the porch.  He goes inside the house to investigate and comes upon an old woman dead on the floor.  She’s been stabbed multiple times.  In classic horror film form, instead of rushing out the still open front door, the milkman head upstairs.  He approaches a closed closet door at the end of the hall, and whatever he sees leaves him screaming.

Next we rush down the corridor at a nondescript though very sterile 1950’s-era hospital.  Orderlies and doctors alike rush up to the gurney, and many quickly turn away in disgust.  As the gurney passes through the doors at the end of the hall, a nurse runs out and heaves into the trashcan.  What is on the gurney?  We’re not meant to know…yet.  All we do know is that as the doctor runs an x-ray, he tells the nurse that this figure before them has two hearts, two spines, four lungs, a shared circulatory system, but one reproductive system.  The nurse’s eyes are as wide as saucers as she takes down the doctor’s notes.

A well-dressed (and fashion forward) woman arrives at the hospital carrying a large purse with a demonic-looking face on it.  She’s dressed to the nines, really, and seems out of place wearing a furry concoction in Jupiter Florida.  Penny the Candy Striper is telling the duty nurse that she would have drowned the creature in their wing upon birth if it had been hers.  The nurse doesn’t find her humor amusing, and instead she tells Penny that the supervisor will be upset that she has red lipstick on.  This young woman seems destined for trouble.

Enter Elsa Mars, played by Jessica Lange.  Elsa has a German accent and an affinity for strange things.  She claims she’s there to see her son, but she wants to know what lurks behind the only door with an armed guard.  Penny says it’s a monster, and this piques Elsa’s interest.  She offers Penny a cigarette (“It’s Lucky Strike, it’s good for you.”) and guesses that Penny is candy striping to make her mom happy (Penny says that it was that or reform school).  Elsa offers her business card and suggests that Penny would be happier leading a life of adventure.  Penny is intrigued.  She wants to know what’s inside Elsa’s “Cabinet of Curiosities,” but Elsa warns that she can only learn by entering.

Elsa has managed to con Penny out of her candy striper uniform, and she goes past the guard and into the room, bearing two balloons.  She walks around the curtained bed and pulls back the sheet, awakening the Tattler sisters, Bette and Dot.  Elsa doesn’t look upon them with fear, rather she sees nothing but opportunity.

Cue the creepiest opening credits to date.

When we return to the hospital, Dot and Bette are watching their visitor with interest.  Dot is surly and serious, while Bette is playful and juvenile.  Elsa busies herself by setting out a dress for the twins to wear once they leave the hospital, and she comments that the crime scene was pretty bloody, which doesn’t earn much of a response from the girls.  She gives Bette some magazines and offers her a puff of her Lucky Strike. (Interestingly, Dot is the one who exhales the smoke)  The girls can communicate with each other without speaking, and we get to see their perspective as the screen cuts to a split screen to mirror what they see.  Elsa informs them that their doctor shared their medical charts with her, and she notes that they only have one reproductive system. Has either of them ever had a boyfriend?  Dot remains silent, but Bette is quick to tell Elsa what happens when she touches herself.  Dot calls her sister a slut.  Elsa bids them farewell for now, reminding them that she is there for them.

There’s a young couple getting frisky on a picnic blanket in a field.  The young woman wants to keep going, telling her beau that she stole “two rubbers” so they can keep going.  He hurries off to the car to grab something, and as the girl gets ready for him, she spies a man standing across the field.  As he comes closer, she sees that he’s a horribly scary clown, with a mask of a grotesque smile plastered across his face.  She is scared at first, but then he presents her with flowers.  She laughs.  Then he slowly pulls out some batons that clowns use to juggle.  By now, her boyfriend returns and he assumes a protective stance in front of her.  The clown doesn’t like him at all, and he strikes both of them with the batons.  The girl wakes up in time to see the clown stabbing her boyfriend over and over again.  She screams and runs, but she can’t escape him.

Meet Twisty the Clown.  He’s the stuff of nightmares.

In a small diner, Elsa clips news articles with glee.  The waitress asks if she’s clipping coupons, but she’s really looking for movie reviews for her scrapbook.  She tells the waitress that the star was paid $200K just to “take a hot shit” on the movie.  Just then, Evan Peters enters.  His role this year: Jimmy Darling.  He’s wearing mittens of some kind, and he promptly engages in a flirtatious conversation with the waitress.  Elsa approaches and tells Jimmy that she can’t make her lighter work.  His eyes cloud at the sight of her.  The waitress asks if Elsa is his mom, but he shakes his head and tells her to scram.  Elsa immediately calls him selfish and says that she worked hard to find this place that they can call home and build upon the show.  He is jeopardizing all of that.  If not for Elsa, Jimmy’s mother would be in an asylum (which is a nod to season two, and foreshadowing to Pepper’s fate).  The only places for freaks, outside of Elsa’s show, are in state wards and asylums.  Jimmy angrily reminds her that the people of Jupiter don’t want freaks in their neighborhood.

Flashback: Elsa is sorting laundry with Ma Petite, India’s Jyoti Amge, also known as the world’s smallest woman.  She’s just a hair over two feet tall, and Elsa is cradling her and talking to her before setting her down so that Ma Petite can fold the stockings.  There is a man there telling Elsa that she needs to vacate the field because a revival is coming down from Georgia and they won’t want to see the freaks there.  Elsa is enraged that they would try to push her show off the land, even though the man points out that no one is going to see it.  They have a one-year lease.  She tells him that she has a bottle of schnapps hidden away…and that’s the end of that.

Jimmy can’t understand how she did it, but he says that they are over.  Elsa becomes furious, pounding her fist and startling the other patrons.  Jimmy pats her on the arm and takes his leave, and when Elsa gets up, the waitress tries to collect her bill.  Elsa tells her that it’s on the house, because “stars never pay.”

Next we see a lavish luncheon at a local house.  The ladies have all gathered for a special event, and while there may be a sales pitch coming from the hostess, most of the ladies are there because of what’s in the bedroom. One young woman is frightened, but her hostess insists that it’s okay.  She  found him at a roadside show, and he has shown her things that she never knew existed.  The young woman goes down several dark hallways until she comes across a bedroom.  Jimmy is inside, and he smiles at her.  She lies on the bed and hitches up her skirt.  Still smiling, Jimmy slides his penguin-flipper hand between her legs and shows her a whole new world of pleasure.  He smiles as she screams with pleasure.

Back at the hospital, Elsa asks the sisters about their mother’s murder.  Dot says it was a robbery gone bad, but the story has holes in it.  Elsa suggests that they try harder to get the story straight.  Their mother had died two days before the girls were found with a fresh wound.

Hospital workers gather around the radio to listen to a news story about the murder of a local couple.  It’s a particularly gruesome scene.  We flash to the scene itself, where Twisty the Clown has entered a house at night and kills the father, then the mother.  He steals the couple’s young son, who starts to scream as the terrifying clown bears down on him.

Dot listens to the radio report while Bette reads her magazines.  Dot knows that trouble is brewing, and she shuts the magazine, forcing Bette to listen.

Out in the woods sits an abandoned van.  Inside are tattered toys and various items that belong in a clown’s bag of tricks.  At the back of the van is a cage, where the girl and boy sit in squalid conditions.  The girl tells the boy he needs to eat, and he does, but sparingly.  Twisty the Clown returns, and he presents the captives with a clown toy.  The girl, believing that she needs to appease his pride, tells him that he is a very good clown and he should let them go so that they can tell everyone how wonderful he is.  But Twisty clearly has another game.  He pulls a long chain of blankets and garments from his pocket, and at the end is a rattle.  The noise startles the children.  Finally, he tries to make a balloon animal, but it pops, which terrifies the children and sends him into a fierce rage.  He starts throwing things all around, making the hostages scream in terror.  What is striking to me about Twisty is the depth of his expressions.  His eyes are amazingly expressive and he makes his whole face come alive with his eyes alone.

The Tattler girls are packing their suitcase.  They’ve left the hospital and plan to strike out on their own, but Elsa shows up.  She tells them that a massive manhunt is underway for the murderer, and though there were crimes committed while the girls were in the hospital, they are still suspects.  Dot sees through Elsa’s plan, but Bette is having trouble distinguishing Elsa’s intentions.  Elsa knows that they killed their mother.  We flash to a scene at the dinner table, when Bette is begging their mother to take them to the movies.  Their mother reminds them what a horrible time they had back in Atlanta, when they had to slip away in the middle of the night.  Bette insists that they could sneak in, but Mama won’t have any of it.  The girls have no idea what would happen if people knew of their existence.  Unfortunately, Bette is tired of their existence, and she wants to leave.  She grabs a knife and stabs their mother in the neck, over and over again, until Dot stops her.  Dot tells Elsa that Bette didn’t know what she was doing, but Elsa points out that Bette could have stopped her.  Bette asks what Elsa wants.  Elsa caresses their faces, making Bette giggle.  She wants them to help save her show.

Next we see Bette walking along.  We saw Dot scowling at the start of the episode, and now Bette walks along with a secret smile on her face.  Elsa walks behind them while they walk toward a devilish creature that serves as the entrance to the park.  The camera pans over and we see the other inhabitants of the show: Jimmy, the Penguin Boy, Paul the Illustrated Seal, Amazon Eve, and Ma Petite (who is in Jimmy’s arms).  They watch as their new family member joins them.  We also get to see the whole view of the fairgrounds, complete with Ferris wheel and merry-go-round.

Bette and Dot take to their journals to describe their first day at the freak show.  Bette describes their beautiful accommodations, and the new sights and sensations.  Dot describes the despair of it all.  She talks about going inside the mess hall to see the other residents.  Paul and Legless Suzy are there, along with a boy who channels his inner Ozzy (decades before the Prince of Evil rises, of course) and bites the head off a chicken.  Jimmy is there to reassure them that he was just excited.  He’s wearing a wife-beater and his hands are in his pockets.  He sweet talks them and winks at Dot, and she smiles in response.  Dot describes Ethel Darling, Jimmy’s mother, who is also the Bearded Lady.  She’s a tough old brute played to perfection by Kathy Bates, who relishes the role that has her wearing facial hair that somehow looks entirely normal on her.  Ethel, as it turns out, was saved from jail when Elsa appeared as an angel in white and bailed her out, and therefore Ethel owes Elsa her allegiance.  She’s a handmaid of sorts to Elsa, and she is also responsible for making sure the show’s newest stars eat.  Bette complains that Dot won’t let her eat, but Ethel won’t have it.

Eve, Paul and Jimmy hang roadside signs advertising the new headliners.  Eve doesn’t think it will matter, considering that no one ever travels the road.  Jimmy is worried about being raided, given that the twins are wanted for murder.  We flash to Elsa’s boudoir, where Pepper and Salty tend to her nails while Jimmy sits beside them.  Elsa has a plan for everything, which is what Jimmy tells Paul.  Suddenly, a car turns the corner and several men drive by, calling the group freaks and throwing bottles at them.  Jimmy wants to go after them, but Paul and Eve hold him back.  Jimmy doesn’t like people who call them freaks.

Later, Elsa sits in the tent watching old movies with disturbing acts taking place.  Ethel cleans up after dinner while Pepper and Salty clear the table.  Penny, the Candy Striper, bursts into the tent wearing a flimsy undergarment.  She claims that she has been assaulted.  If people only knew what was really going on out there, she says.  But Elsa is nonplussed.  No one was assaulted—Penny participated on her own.  Penny believes she was drugged…but then Elsa turns on the projector.  She has a tape of various sex acts being performed between the members of the family, and Penny was the guest of honor.  She welcomed it.  Penny watches, sickened.  Elsa reminds her of her place at the show, and then she picks up Ma Petite and leaves Penny to figure out what to do.

Jimmy is in his trailer with his mother, who is counting the money he earned doing his side jobs.  He’s shaving, and clearly Evan Peters has been working out.  But I digress.  Jimmy wants a better life, but his mother thinks their life is fine the way it is.  Ethel sees Elsa as their savior, but Jimmy thinks that Elsa is keeping them under her control.  He proposes moving away, buying land, and starting their own life, but Ethel won’t hear it.

Later that night, Jimmy is walking outside when he sees a shadowy figure in Dot and Bette’s tent.  He goes to investigate and finds a detective there, come to arrest the sisters for murder.  Jimmy tries to point out that they had been attacked as well, but the officer knows that the mother had been dead much longer.  The detective has no sympathy for the freaks, telling Jimmy he calls a spade a spade.  Jimmy becomes angry and whistles, calling the other members of the troupe to the tent.  The detective says there’s no room in Jupiter for freaks, which sends Jimmy into a rage.  He cuts the man’s throat, and he falls to the ground gasping for his last breaths.  Jimmy grabs the keys to the handcuffs and frees the twins, telling them that they are safe with them.  Dot seems to have a change of heart when she sees that Jimmy is willing to kill to protect her.

But enough of that….it’s time for the show!

Gloria Mott (Frances Conroy) is in the audience with her son, Dandy.  They’re the only ones in the audience and Dandy insists on switching seats to have the best view of the freaks.  He doesn’t like sitting there, and he’s quite the male-version of Veruca Salt.  His mother pacifies him until the show starts.  Ethel opens the show while Elsa prepares backstage, donning her best Bette Davis-Baby Jane blue eye shadow.  It’s creepy.  Downright creepy.  Ethel introduces the oddities, including Paul, Salty and Pepper, Eve and Ma Petite.  Dandy takes it all in with wide eyes.

When Elsa takes the stage, she’s wearing a powder blue suit that matches her eye shadow.  Her blond hair is like a halo.  She launches into a song about the wonders of Mars (her name is Elsa Mars, of course) and the members of the troupe perform with her.  It’s a visually stunning performance, and Jessica Lange is at her best with the vocals.  As soon as the number ends, though, she seems to forget where she is, and when she sees the empty audience she becomes upset.  Gloria and her son are interested in buying the Tattler sisters from Elsa.  Gloria is prepared to offer up to $15K to make her son happy, but the sisters insist that the show is their home.  Dot catches Jimmy’s eye and he winks at her.  Elsa laughs and tells Gloria that the show is going to be a hit with their new headliners.  Something tells me that something is very wrong with the Mott Family.

After the show, the troupe goes out to the woods and circles the body of the detective.  Jimmy gives a rousing speech about how they will not be bullied anymore.  The troupe raises its weapons and proceeds to hack apart the dead detective.

Back at the fairgrounds, Twisty the Clown rides the merry-go-round.  His face is truly disturbing.  Is that a face stuck onto his own face?

Elsa is in her tent and Ethel is fussing over her.  Elsa is smoking opium and Ethel has a haunted look in her eyes, as though she has a secret that she’s keeping from Elsa.  When Elsa is alone, she puts on some music.  She still has the garish makeup on, but now she looks more like a fallen angel than a proud performer.  She sits on the end of her bed and pulls up her dressing gown.  There are braces strapped to her thighs, which are covered in thick stockings.  Slowly, Elsa removes her legs.  Yes.  Elsa is an amputee.

So ends Chapter One of AHS Freakshow.  There were so many things going on in this episode that I don’t even know where to start.  So for now I’ll leave it to you—what did you think?

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to run away from clowns for the next few months.  (As if I didn’t already…)