Jessica Lange

AHS Freak Show Nabs 19 Emmy Nominations

American Horror Story Freak Show nabbed a whopping 19 Emmy nominations this morning, second only to the HBO juggernaut Game of Thrones.

Here’s a look at the nominations:




















Yep, you read it correctly–there is a three-way race for best supporting actress.  Who do you think will win that one?  Personally, I think it’s a travesty that John Carroll Lynch wasn’t nominated for his portrayal of the tragic serial killer Twisty the Clown.  How do you feel about the incomparable Frances Conroy being left out?  And Naomi Grossman, who brought us to tears with her daring performance as Pepper.

What do you think of the Emmy nominations?  Was anyone left out?  Who are you pulling for?

American Horror Story Freakshow Season Finale Recap S4E13: Curtain Call

American Horror Story Freakshow, S4E13: Curtain Call

Original Airdate: January 21, 2015

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock


It’s the final night of the Freak Show, ladies and gentlemen!

Dandy Mott is going to sing Cole Porter tunes.  The Freaks are out hanging new show posters, and while they work Penny contemplates leaving the show.  Paul points out that their show is a dying breed.  At least Dandy has money, so for the time being, they need to stick with him.

Speaking of Dandy, he’s in the main tent chastising the light guy for confusing the red and blue light for his rendition of “Anything Goes.”  Magenta is for the spirited performance.  Duh!  He’s surrounded by “amateurs.”  The Freaks return from their task and Dandy wants to know how many tickets have been sold.  Paul says that they haven’t sold any tickets, which angers Dandy.  Surely they have done something wrong, even though they just put up the new signs 30 minutes prior.  Dandy thinks they are washed up and suggests that they need new talent.  When he suggests that Penny should have horns, Paul pushes him away from her.  Dandy says he owns them, which pushes Eve over the edge.  She punches Dandy in the nose and lays him out while the other Freaks pin him to the ground.  Paul tells Dandy that he has no talent, that he does an abominable Cole Porter, and that while he had been willing to “eat shit” to keep the show going; now he’d rather starve.  Paul announces that they all quit.  He takes Penny’s hand and they walk away, leaving Dandy on the ground with a bloody nose and an empty playbill.

Elsa arrives at the network to see the vice president.  The secretary reminds Elsa that he only sees people by appointment, and she doesn’t have an appointment, same as the day before and the day before that.  She says she has new headshots and that she will wait.  The hours tick by as the ashtray fills.  When the office closes, Elsa wants to know why the VP didn’t walk past her.  The secretary informs Elsa that he snuck out the back to avoid her.  The guard is close by, so when the secretary tells Elsa that “Marlene did it better,” and when Elsa slaps the girl, the guard is close by the restrain her.  She falls to the floor weeping when a man runs out and offers her his hand.  His name is Michael Beck (he changed his name because he was German—a communist…and is he also the one who cut her legs off??).  Elsa lights up when she hears this.

Dandy is finishing his makeup.  He looks quite dapper in his red and white suit.  “Showtime,” he declares. He walks out of his tent and down the dirt road, humming to himself.  Paul is waiting for him and he wants to know about their last week’s pay.  Dandy shoots him in the head.  Penny sees this and ducks into the laundry.  Dandy approaches and shoots her, then he goes into the mess tent and shoots Toulouse.  Suzi tries to dodge him but he follows behind her and shoots her in the head.  Desiree hears the shot from her trailer.  As the Freaks flee, Dandy keeps shooting.  Eve finds Paul’s body and grabs an ax.  Dandy shoots the Fat Lady, then heads to Desiree’s trailer.  She’s hiding and he screams when he can’t find her.  Eve bursts in and tackles him, and for a moment she manages to get the gun away from him but he gets it back and shoots her in the leg and then in the head.  He hurries back into the trailer but still can’t find Desiree, who managed to switch hiding places while he was outside.

Dandy to his own trailer, where he has the twins tied up.  They’re bound and gagged, and he leans down and takes the gag out of Dot’s mouth.  He tells them to come with him.

Jimmy, equipped with his new hands, makes his way to the camp to find food.  He’s starving.  That’s when he sees how quiet it is.  He calls for Elsa and goes to her tent only to find that she’s gone.  He calls out for anyone, but there’s no answer.  When he goes into the main tent he sees all of the dead Freaks lined up in a row going down the main aisle leading to the stage.  He falls to his knees and weeps, and when a hand grabs his shoulder he falls over in terror.  It’s Desiree.  She hugs him and sobs.

Dandy has taken the twins back to his mansion.  They’re in a wedding dress and he’s in a tux.  A harp player and a flutist play music as they walk down the aisle, with all of his stuffed animals serving as witnesses.  The minister pronounces them man and wife.  “Mrs. Mott,” Bette breathes.  He hopes that Dot doesn’t feel like the third wheel, and she assures him that she will just leave her body.  He hopes she’ll join in from time to time.  “A stallion needs his mares in line,” he says.  They have prepared a feast for him.  He hopes they can have little Freak babies.  He’s drinking more and more champagne, and that’s when he starts to feel funny.  Desiree sits down at the table.  He doesn’t recognize her at first, thinking her to be the maid, but she reveals her ample cleavage.  She says that wedding night has been cancelled.  Dot and Bette tell Dandy that they wouldn’t dream of being with him after he slayed their entire family.  He was ready to give them everything he has, that they were going to be together until death.  Death can’t come fast enough, Bette says.  She shoots him in the arm when he tries to get up.

Desiree calls for the next course, served up by Jimmy himself.  We see that the twins snuck him in while Dandy wasn’t looking.  The tray has a note that says Mr. Dandy Mott will be performing.  He’s going to be a real Freak, Jimmy says.  Dandy passes out.

Dandy wakes up in his underwear, locked in chains, and in the glass box used for the water escape trick.  Earlier, Desiree looks at the box and asks Jimmy if they can cut his balls off.  They agree that this is what the other Freaks would have wanted.  Returning to the present, Jimmy says that he has to escape in order to live, that he killed good people.  “I’m good people too!” Dandy insists.  He says he was just doing what God put him on this earth to do.  It’s his purpose.  He pleads with the twins to let him go, and he says he forgives them and that marriage is hard.  He wants to go home.  Bette says he’s going to hell, and that she hates him for taking her friends away from her.  Desiree says that many of their kind have been killed, starting with the ones Stanley killed and put in jars.  She says that Dandy may look like a dream, but he’s the biggest freak of all.  She starts filling the tank with water.  Dandy says that he’ll give them money, he has tons of money.  Jimmy says that they will always win because they defend each other.  “Freaks shall inherit the earth,” he says.

As the tank fills, Dandy screams and fights to break the chain holding him down.  Desiree eats popcorn and watches as Dandy struggles and screams that he hates them.  Dot laughs with Bette.  The water passes over his head, and suddenly Dandy goes still.  “Heck of a show,” Jimmy says.  “That boy is a star,” Desiree declares.

(Ooh, look, a preview of The Strain!)

1960, Hollywood, California

The newsreel shows the creation of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and this week they’re celebrating Elsa Mars, Friday night’s darling, who has three Emmys and music awards.  She’s married to Michael Beck (who happens to be the man who cut her legs off).  We see Elsa filming a coffee commercial, and eventually she stops filming because she thinks the writing is shite.  Beck brings her a publicist who wants to do a Halloween spread for Parade Magazine, but she says she will not perform on Halloween, as per her custom.  Beck tries to convince her, but she turns to the publicist and starts talking trash to him.  Later, we see that Elsa is in control of her husband in more ways than one (as in the kinky way).

Elsa goes home to find her old German friend there.  It’s Massimo.  He says he has been to Nevada, but he wanted to come to her.  She confesses that she’s in a horrible marriage and both she and her husband cheat on each other.  She has everything she wants, and yet she has nothing.  She tells him the story of Ethel baking her a cake and making a birthday wish to be happy.  She begs him to go away with her, so that she can be with someone who loves her.  Massimo says that he’s there to say goodbye, as he has lung cancer that has spread to his bones.  He has a month at most.  “There will be no one left,” she cries.

Beck returns home and Elsa is drinking.  Beck has Mr. Gable from the network with him.  She thinks he’s there to convince her to do the show on Halloween, but that’s not why he’s there.  He says that someone got their hands on the 8mm films from Germany and the tapes are at the Times.  She had told Beck she lost her legs in a rail accident, but she lied.  The media is going to publish the article the following week.  Beck says he’s going to leave her.  He also says that Ms. Hopper at the Times hired a private eye and found out about her time in Jupiter.  He says that all of the Freaks are dead, which troubles her because she didn’t know.  Gable says there is a morals clause in her contract and that she will be released, with pay, of course.  Elsa, sensing that the end is near, agrees to perform on Halloween after all.

Elsa gets set to film her scenes.  The Halloween Spooktacular.  There is a live audience in the house as the lights come up and the music starts.  She is back in a white suit and she’s signing “We Can Be Heroes.”

Elsewhere, Desiree walks down the street with her husband, the man we saw back at the show who came to visit.  She has kids, too.  She looks happy.  She sees Elsa performing on a shop television and smiles.  Jimmy is sitting down for a TV dinner, served up by the twins—who are very pregnant.  He praises Elsa’s pluck.  Bette turns off the TV, declaring that they have seen this before.

As she sings, the green fog rises around them.  The producers didn’t order fog yet!  Edward Mordrake is here, and Twisty (Yay, it’s Twisty, and he’s not deformed!!) is with him.  Edward senses that Elsa’s pain has led her to a suicide.  He raises his knife and Twisty tells her that it only hurts for a moment.  “Your place is not here with us,” Edward tells her as she falls to the ground.

Elsa is dressed in black and she’s moving toward the main tent.  Ma Petite is there to greet her.  Paul and Penny welcome her.  They got married.  Ethel is on stage.  Elsa asks where they are.  “Sins of the living don’t add up around here,” Ethel says.  Elsa thinks she needs to pay for what she’s done, but Ethel points out that actors don’t get arrested for playing their parts.  She says it’s great there, with full houses every night.  They miss their headliner, and she’s a terrible friend and she can’t cook, so what else is she going to do?  Elsa preps for the show with Ma Petite while Ethel warms up the audience.

The curtains part and Elsa is on her throne in her powder blue suit.  The music starts and Meep and the Freaks clap from offstage as she goes to the front of the stage and looks at the audience in wonder.

So ends Season Four of American Horror Story Freakshow.  As up and down as the season was, I felt oddly at peace with the final moments of the show.  Given Dandy’s horrific tantrum, I think he got off too easy, but hey, that’s life.  Finn Wittrock was the highlight of the season after Twisty left.  I really wanted more of Twisty…I hope we see him again.

What did you think of tonight’s bloody episode?  Was it a fitting finale?

American Horror Story Freakshow Recap S4E12: Show Stoppers

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.

Bye, Stanley.

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!

American Horror Story Freakshow Recap S4E10: Orphans

American Horror Story Freak Show, S4E10: Orphans

Original Airdate: December 17, 2014

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock


Well, the dreaded Episode 10 has arrived.  S4E10.  If you’re new to the AHS franchise, Episode 10 marks a turn toward the end of the show, when all of the rules change, things you have held as sacred are torn apart, and anyone—anyone—could die at any moment.  Now, we know from media reports that Lily Rabe is set to reprise her role in tonight’s episode, marking the second character crossover after Naomi Grossman’s Pepper.

And so it begins.

The beginning of the end.

Elsa starts out narrating what it’s like to lose one of the monsters.  We see Salty and Pepper sleeping together.  Only Salty isn’t sleeping.  He’s dead.  Paul gently explains that Salty is just a shell.  She still clings to him.

Elsa tells Eve that she understands Pepper better than anyone.  Most “pinheads,” she says, die before they’re 40.  Salty died in his sleep, probably due to a stroke.  But Pepper was with him until the end.  Elsa tells Stanley that she tried to teach Salty with flashcards, but he couldn’t learn.  Pepper could learn, though, and she did.  Stanley tells Elsa that she is a woman besieged with worry.  The telegram from the network executives has arrived that asks for her to rest so that she can be ready for the opening coming up in the schedule. While he says to rest, Elsa says that she must take care of Pepper.  Stanley proposes that Salty be cremated, so that Pepper can keep him close to her.  He wants to take care of the body.  When Elsa acquiesces, we flash to a scene of Stanley “taking care of things.”  He chops Salty’s head off, pausing to cast the ashes of his cigarette into an urn.  Then we see Salty’s head on display next to Ma Petite in the museum.

Pepper is in Desiree’s lap listening to her read a bedtime story.  Dell comes in and tells her that her rendition of the story will make her a great mom some day.  Dell pulls her outside and says that she saved his life, and that he doesn’t want to give up on their relationship yet.  Desiree tells him that she can’t make him happy, and that he needs to move on.  She returns to Pepper and tells her that she will finish the story after the show.  Pepper falls into a rage, throwing everything all over the tent.  Desiree watches her until she’s finished, then she orders Pepper to clean up the tent while she’s gone.

Elsa invites Desiree for a drink.  She explains that Pepper has only ever known abandonment her entire life, until Elsa found her.  They toast.  Desiree wants to know what happens when Elsa leaves for Hollywood.  First Ma Petite, then Salty.  Pepper will be beside herself when Elsa leaves.  Elsa launches into a tale of the time when she came to America.  It was Boston, 1936.  Work was scarce all around.  Elsa was in a gypsy camp, and then a carnival show.  She was in a chorus line, but she needed to be in charge.  Wartime was coming, and she had vision.  With the boys going off to war, they needed entertainment.  Come for the freaks, stay for the beautiful headliner.  So Elsa went about collecting freaks, starting with an orphanage, since that’s where people throw away unwanted kids.  There we see Pepper in a window, cradling a bundle in her arms.  Elsa goes inside and sits down with Pepper, playing with her blocks.  Pepper starts to play with her.  She never knew her father, and her mother died.  Her sister loved her but couldn’t care for her.  She was 18 and alone, and she had the mind of a child, which made the adoption process easier since she was an adult.  Pepper was Elsa’s first Monster.  With Pepper, she felt unconditional love for the first time.

We see Pepper’s first performance, and Elsa knew from the start she was a keeper.  As she collected monsters, she knew Pepper had needs as a woman.  She could never breed, but her maternal instincts were strong.  The answer arrived later, when the Maja Rajah came to the show with a young Ma Petite.  Elsa wanted her, though the Maja Rajah would never part with his favorite pet.  Elsa offers him a soda, and she ended up buying Ma Petite for three cases of Dr Pepper.  With Ma Petite, Pepper had a new friend.  Elsa had never seen her so happy, but she wanted more.  She needed a spiritual husband.  Eventually, an orphanage in Cincinnati wrote that they had another microcephalic.  Soon Elsa was officiating a wedding between Salty and Pepper.  It was a simple ceremony considering that they knew six words.  Ma Petite was their child, and Elsa was the fairy godmother.  Desiree feels horrible that Pepper is all alone in the world and has lost everyone.  She suggests that they try to find her sister, that perhaps the sister will be able to handle her now.  With a sad sigh, Elsa reasons that their little angel might need to leave.

Maggie is in her tent playing with a card that has Jimmy’s picture on it.  She has been drinking.  Desiree comes in with Angus.  They want a reading.  She tells Maggie that they met the night that she debuted her new tassles during the show.  Indeed, we see Desiree swirling the tassles in the tent.  Angus was sold.  His days as a bachelor were numbered at that point.  Maggie sees that he’s a salesman, which he confirms.  She sees that he a romantic, a dreamer, out West with a big house and a picket fence.  Maggie sees their love and she starts to fall apart.  Eventually, she says, they will hate each other and things will go to shit.  Maggie sinks back and says it all ends the same.

They leave her, and she ends up on the carousel alone.  Desiree finds her and tells her that she is seeing her own dismal life.  Maggie reveals that she’s not a fortune teller.  She says that she and Stanley are business partners, that he isn’t a Hollywood producer.  We see them back at their humble beginnings, when Maggie was a newsie and pickpocket.  Stanley spots her in a hotel right before she gets arrested for theft and offers her a job.  Desiree can’t believe her parents let her go off alone, but she had always been alone.  Desiree wants to know what they want with the freaks.  Maggie says that they were fleecing their customers.  Maggie calls Desiree “Triple Tits” and stalks off, but Desiree catches up to her and says that things have been happening since they arrived, and if she finds out that they had anything to do with the recent deaths, she would come after them.

Maggie barges into the twins’ tent and lies on their bed.  Bette offers her an envelope full of money, telling her that they had been saving up but now they want to use the money to hire a lawyer for Jimmy.  Maggie scoffs at the idea, and Dot wants to punch her, but Bette urges her sister to let her handle Maggie.  Maggie says that they are simple minded idiots, but Dot speaks up and says that Jimmy thinks she walks on water.  Dot doesn’t see it.  And the last thing they want is for Jimmy to end up like Meet.  She will do right by Jimmy.  They toss the money at her and leave.

Jimmy has a visitor.  It’s Stanley.  Jimmy isn’t thrilled to see him.  Stanley says he lost his mother when he was young.  He was an orphan and he got into trouble, but not Jimmy’s kind of trouble.  He asks Jimmy if he did the crimes.  Jimmy isn’t sure.  He can’t remember.  He’d had too much to drink and everything was black.  He just can’t believe he killed them.  Stanley doesn’t think he killed them, either.  Stanley has found him a top-notch lawyer who will want a retainer.  Jimmy doesn’t have any money.  Stanley leaves, but he returns with an idea on how to raise the funds.  He points at Jimmy’s hands.

Back at the camp, Desiree is preparing a feast.  Maggie shows up and can’t believe she’s seeing Desiree trying to be Betty Crocker.  Desiree hasn’t forgotten their conversation and she doesn’t know what she’s going to do with the information.  Maggie pulls her into the tent and says that she wants to help Jimmy, but if they don’t act then every freak in the show is going to be dead soon.  She needs Desiree’s help first before she can help Jimmy.

Elsa pays a visit to Pepper’s sister’s house.  Pepper is sitting on the couch with a box of her belongings.  They’re in Sudbury, Massachusetts.  Rita, the sister, knew that she wouldn’t have had a chance at a real life if she had to take care of her sister.  But she couldn’t have kids, so she’s alone now.  Elsa tells her about the things that she taught Pepper, from caring for others to preparing Singapore Slings.  But Rita doesn’t know what she’ll tell her husband.  She must take Pepper in, Elsa says, because she will probably die of a broken heart if she doesn’t have someone who loves her.  Rita goes off to prepare a room for her, muttering about how angry her husband will be.  Pepper cries and begs Elsa to stay.  Elsa tells her that she loves her and she will always be her family.  She kisses Pepper and tells her that her sister will make mistakes but Pepper must forgive her because she is trying her best.  Elsa leaves.

Maggie drags Desiree to the museum and shows her what Stanley has done.  Desiree first sees Ma Petite, then she sees Salty’s head.  All the while, the docent leads a tour and is about to reveal their newest acquisition: Lobster hands.  Maggie realizes that they’re Jimmy’s hands, and she faints dead away.

Rita explains that she and her husband tried everything to take care of Pepper.  We see that she’s talking to Sister Eunice.  It’s 1962.  Eunice asks for a reason for Pepper’s confinement.  Rita says that she never thought she could have children but one night she went to the hospital and found out she was pregnant.  She had a baby, but he was severely deformed.  Pepper helped out while Rita was confined to bed.  She mixed drinks and cared for the baby while Rita stayed in bed and drank.  Larry came home and wanted Pepper to go downstairs with the baby.  Soon, Rita says, Pepper was walking around naked.  Eunice says that shock therapy, along with caning, helps with that.  Rita says that Pepper had a killer instinct, though neither she nor her husband saw what happened.  Rita was ready to go out to a party.  She needs to get out because she has been stuck at home with Pepper and the baby that she never bonded with.  They’re on the same page…they need to go.  Larry has a plan.  Rita asks Pepper to give the baby a bath, and she does so, lovingly.  Larry shuts Pepper out of the room and while she tries to get back inside, the baby is dead.  Rita says that Pepper snipped his ears off and drowned him.  We see Pepper put into a straightjacket and taken away to Briarcliff.  Rita made a good show of making it look like Pepper was guilty.

Pepper is taken to Briarcliff where Sister Eunice tells her that self-pity will do nothing.  She says that what Pepper did was the most awful thing ever.  But when she sees the tears in Pepper’s eyes, she thinks that it’s remorse.  Pepper becomes her special project, and she takes her to the library and has her work to clean it up.  Eunice is excited to think that Pepper might one day work in the bakery with her.  Pepper finds a magazine with Elsa on it.  She puts her hand on her cheek and kisses the magazine.

The caption from the 1958 issue reads TV’s Elsa Mars: She Still Owns Friday Nights.

Ah, Pepper.  You will be missed.

American Horror Story Freakshow returns on January 7 with Neil Patrick Harris, and the return of Jamie Brewer.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

My Interview with Naomi Grossman: AHS’s Pepper

I recently had a chance to interview American Horror Story’s Pepper, played by Naomi Grossman.  Grossman’s talent knows no bounds.  As a theater alum at Northwestern, as well as an alum of Improv Olympic, Grossman has been involved in a variety of projects, ranging from the famous Groundlings Sunday Company to theater productions.  We already know that she’s a talented actress, but she has also written, produced and starred in a number of films and comedy shorts that have been screened everywhere from the LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival to the Fringe Theater Festival in Scotland.  Her solo-shows Carnival Knowledge: Love, Lust and Other Human Oddities and Girl in Argentine Landscape were both critically acclaimed across the globe.

Fans of the series were ecstatic to find out over the summer that Grossman’s Pepper would be the first character to appear in multiple seasons of the show; in her case, Pepper is featured in a crossover from Asylum to Freakshow, and her role in Freakshow would give us the background to how she ended up at Briarcliff years later.  Freakshow takes place in Jupiter, Florida, in 1952, and yet we find Pepper locked away in the New England mental hospital in 1964.  Fans have to wait until Freakshow’s Episode 10 for answers.    Now it’s time to meet the amazingly talented actress behind the meatloaf-loving microcephalic.

From where do you draw inspiration for Pepper’s character?  Are you given any latitude in developing her character (this season, or during Asylum)?

The Pepper character was modeled after Schlitzie, a real-life microcephalic and star of Tod Browning’s 1930’s film, “Freaks.”  As far as latitude goes, “do Schlitzie” was about all the info the producers gave me.  Which was the perfect amount—I knew precisely what they wanted, yet never felt micromanaged.  I created a whole back-story for Pepper, which actually pales in comparison to the one the writers have created for her.  I can’t reveal any more, except that Pepper fans are in for a treat!

Who is Pepper for you?

Pepper to me is pure love.  I think that’s what makes her so refreshing and dear.

What has been your favorite scene to shoot this season?  Who is the most fun to do scenes with?

Again, my favorites have yet to air!  Other than that, the musical numbers and party scenes really allow me to flex my improv/comedy muscles and let Pepper play, like only she can!  I couldn’t say who’s the most “fun”—Sarah Paulson is VERY fun, but with her two heads, he scenes take four times as long.  Which is not fun.  That said, other than “The Name Game” and select party-scenes, “fun” isn’t the first adjective I’d use to describe AHS.  Not that it’s not “fun” per se—it’s intense…emotionally exhausting, grueling, fulfilling, and inspiring.  Going out in New Orleans after a 100 hour work week is more “fun”!

Do you do anything special to get into Pepper’s head space?

It depends on the scene.  For the lighter, more playful Pepper, no.   I know her so well, I can just turn her on and off.  As for the more emotional stuff, I don’t get a chance to do that every day, so yes, I have to go to a dark place.  Which I’ve found incredibly gratifying, and has taught me so much, not just as an actress, but as a human being.

Talk about the differences in the role when Pepper became “enlightened” in Asylum.  Which version of Pepper was more challenging to play?

For me, the enlightened version.  I’m very comfortable doing big characters.  I come from a Groundlings comedy theater background, where I would contort my face in a cartoonish way on stage weekly.  Having to be subtle and still and communicate with just my eye (since my other eye is blinded), has forced me out of my comfort zone.  I think I’ve underestimated myself though—I haven’t done drama at this level since college.  I’m glad to know I still got it!

The orgy scene in Freakshow’s  “Monsters Among Us”—WTF?  What was filming like that day?

If I didn’t know AHS was a real, bonafide show, I’d have thought I wound up in a porno!  I’ll never forget Eve lying on her back with her leg up, and Toulouse swinging around it like a stripper pole…All the while, Ryan [Murphy] shouting from the sidelines, “Hump the leg! Hump the leg!”  I don’t know if you caught me in all that grainy footage fist-pumping as I orally pleasured Evan Peters.  HIS idea, by the way!  I remember thinking, “This is every teenage girl’s dream.”  I actually felt funny about it afterwards… At the time, all I could do was fist-pump and make it my own.

How does it feel to play the first/only character to cross over between two seasons of American Horror Story?   Would you like to return in the fifth season as a different character?

Well, Lily Rabe reprised her role as well—but I like to think it all began with Pepper!  It’s tremendously flattering.  They broke all their own rules.  Changed the entire game with the recent reveal that the seasons are all connected.  Of course I’d like to return as a new character!  I’m an actor!

I know that Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk keep a tight lid on plans for upcoming installments of the show.  Do cast members ever provide suggestions?  If you had your way, what would your dream AHS season be about?

I wouldn’t know where to being.  I don’t know that the other actors have opinions either.  Again, my backstory for Pepper wasn’t nearly as good as the one they wrote for me, so I really couldn’t begin on future seasons.  I watched a great round-table entertainment show hosted by Jim Rash called “The Writer’s Room” in which Ryan and Brad [Falchuk] joked about a last season entitled “AHS: Mime.”  I know they were joking, but I love the idea!

As a member of the Groundlings Sunday Show and an alum of the Inprov Olympic, does your comedy background help you with a character like Pepper?  Intentional or not, the meatloaf scene in “Massacres and Mayhem” was hilarious in its own way.  I don’t think any fan of the show will ever be able to think of meatloaf and not think of you!

Awww, that’s sweet.  Yes, it absolutely helps!  I think there’s a fine line between comedy and drama… Both are best when the stakes are high, though in the case of comedy, the characters’ intentions are often absurd, like getting one’s meatloaf.  Who gets that riled up over mixed ground meat?  Pepper, that who!  And why not—she’s hungry and she knows that she wants.  She should have it!  Either it, or a tantrum.

I loved seeing your Tweets as you shopped for wigs for the AHS Freakshow season premiere party.  Ultimately you went au naturel—i.e. bald.  How liberating has it been to play a fan favorite like Pepper and have the ability to define yourself based on your performance and not your looks?  Are you surprised by the number of people who can’t believe what you look like in real life?

That was a joke, and a social media stint.  I love a good wig, though I knew that was best kept to Twitter, and NOT the red carpet.  Although I knew there’d be a lot of competition out there, what with 2 foot tall women, and 7 foot tall women, and major stars like Jessica Lange!  To answer your question though, it’s been very liberating.  But then, I was never going to garner fame based on my looks.  Not that I’m ugly, but Hollywood beauties are just a whole other thing.  I’m very realistic about who I am, and what I have to offer.  You cast me because you want something unconventional and quirky and interesting, hot in an Almodovar-girl kind of way, or perhaps ugly in a Pepper way!  The good news is that I offer range, which traditional beauties don’t necessarily.  It’s true—people’s reaction to me has been funny—they can’t believe how beautiful I am!  Which is hilarious to me unto itself.  I don’t know that I’ll ever be “over it,” though it’s astounding how surprised people are, 10,000 blog posts later.

What is one thing that AHS fans would be surprised to know about you?

I’m an open-book.  Between my solo shows and You Tube vids, I’m pretty sure I’ve told all my secrets.


American Horror Story Freakshow Recap S4E9: Tupperware Party Massacre

American Horror Story Freak Show, S4E9: Tupperware Party Massacre

Original Airdate: December 10, 2014

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock


After last week’s kill-off-a-character-palooza, tonight’s episode didn’t leave us wanting.

Maggie is doing a reading with Dandy.  He says that he has been having trouble with the fairer sex lately, and Maggie correctly surmises that he’s worried that the one who took care of him won’t be there anymore, and that he’ll be caught.  We see a flashback to when the Avon lady comes calling to the Mott Residence. Dandy welcomes her inside, and Miss Pink Suit thinks she has hit the jackpot, but she has no idea that Dandy is walking behind her with a candlestick.  He knocks her out, and when we see her next he is in the playroom humming “If You’re Happy and You Know It” while the decapitated body of the Avon lady is on the ground.  He’s sewing her head to his mother’s body so that they can be his version of the Tattler Twins…and his own puppet.  Maggie assures him that the future is clear and his indiscretions will be forgotten.  He slams a hundred dollar bill onto the table, and tells her that it would be a shame for her talents to go to waste.  Maggie has no idea who he is, of course, because she’s not a real psychic.

Jimmy is feeding Imma.  She says she’s too good for him.  Eve and Paul watch in disgust as Jimmy, who is totally smashed, tells her that she needs to keep eating.  Suddenly Jimmy hears a familiar whistle, and he rushes out of the tent to find Dandy walking away.  Dandy easily dodges him, showing his disdain for such a waste of life.  Jimmy accuses Dandy of being the other clown and of stealing the twins, but no one takes him seriously because he’s so drunk.  Eve and Paul walk away when Jimmy takes a swing at Dandy and falls to the ground.  Dandy bends down and tells Jimmy that Jimmy ruined his chance at happiness and that he is Jimmy’s god.  As his god, he wants Jimmy to suffer.  And suffer he will.

Stanley and Elsa find the twins in a hotel room.  Stanley says that a mob is outside and that they cut off Ethel’s head.  In reality, Elsa found Ethel’s note after she died and Ethel had hid the twins in West Palm Beach.  She left instructions for Jimmy to find them.  The twins don’t know what really happened to Ethel, of course, and so they cautiously believe them.  However, you can see that they’re still suspicious, especially when Elsa says they found the surgeon who separated the other set of twins and he wants to meet with them.

Back at the camp, Desiree and Maggie are on a search.  They run into Angus T. Jefferson, and Maggie threatens to give him a black eye if he doesn’t leave Desiree alone.  Desiree sends Maggie ahead, and she tells Angus that he had better behave.  She returns to Maggie, who is in one of the tents, and explains that Angus is her lover.  They hear a noise and find Jimmy screwing Imma.  He’s still drunk, and when Imma tells Jimmy not to worry about Maggie, she says that Jimmy will screw anything right now because he’s drunk.  Jimmy seems more concerned that he didn’t get off as planned.  He tells Maggie to leave because he prefers Imma, but when Maggie leaves, he doesn’t want her to go.  Maggie tells Imma that she might as well be a sock, which upsets her.  Unfortunately, Jimmy doesn’t come to her defense.  He’s too busy puking.

Local Jupiter ladies are discussing the benefits of oral sex.  It tastes like salty skin, the woman tells her friends.  And it worked, because she was given a brand new stove for her efforts.  Another woman comes out of the bedroom.  Apparently, Jimmy missed and didn’t give her an orgasm because he’s so drunk.  He stumbles out looking for the next client, and then he sees a vision of his mother telling him that she’s rolling in her grave.  She gave birth to him in an orchard and worked so hard to make sure he had everything in life, but he’s wasting his life away.  And she wasted her life on another drunk, like his father.  The other women nod in agreement.  Jimmy comes to his senses and realizes he has been burying his face in the lap of one of the women, not his mother.  They order him to leave, and no sooner is he gone is there a knock on the door.  It’s Dandy, looking dapper as ever.  He charms the lady of the house and tells her that his car broke down.  Might he use the phone?

Stanley’s car drives out to the shack.  He and Elsa have set up a little room for them to “protect” them, and it will also be a good place for them to meet the doctor.  Bette freaks out at the sight of the table.  We see Stanley telling Elsa that he knows someone who knows the doctor, and that by giving Bette and Dot the chance for the surgery, they will get what they want, though they’ll die in the process, and that will clear the way for Elsa to take center stage.  The more Stanley talks, the less Bette wants with the surgery, but her sister silences her, telling her that she wants to be a normal woman.  Stanley agrees and says the doctor can split them right down the middle.  He and Elsa take their leave, leaving the twins in the dark shed.

The Tupperware woman’s husband is home, complaining about his wife’s friends’ cars blocking the driveway.  But they aren’t in the living room, even though the music is playing, the pink Christmas tree is still lit, and the Tupperware is all over.  No, he wanders out to the pool room and finds the women floating in a pool full of blood.  He screams.

Regina climbs the stairs in the Mott Mansion, searching for her mother.  Dandy is preparing a blood bath when she finds him in the playroom.  She tells him she has been to the police about her mother, and he casually tells her that he killed her mother.  That’s when she sees the blood on the mirror and on the teddy bear.  He says he killed her mother weeks ago, and that his mother helped him bury her.  Then he killed his mother.  Now he’s a big fan of blood baths, and tonight’s bath is courtesy of the women at the Tupperware party. He corners Regina and says that he has finally realized his destiny.  He wants her to bathe with him, the way they did when they were kids.  He strips off his bathrobe and stands before her, nude, as he proclaims that he is a god among men.  Regina doesn’t want to bathe with him; she wants to go home.  He is sorely disappointed because he thought she was the only one worth a damn in the house.  But he lets her go.  He sees himself as being above the law.

In the shed, the twins stare at the operating table.  Bette thinks Dot is mad at her.  She says she isn’t dim and that she knows that only one of them is going to survive the surgery.  Bette is tired of this “arranged marriage.”  Dot doesn’t want her sister dead, but she never dreamed one of them could lead a life together.  Bette reminds Dot that their mother bought them lace-up shoes, even though she never thought they’d be able to tie them.  But they worked at it and made it happen.  Bette says that love is about sacrifice.   She has the same longings as Dot, but Dot doesn’t think Bette could survive without Dot.  Bette agrees that she couldn’t be alone.  Bette would want Dot to have a chance at life.  She would give her life so that Dot would have one.  Dot receives this news in tears and they proclaim their love for each other.

Dell is in his trailer writing a letter to Desiree.  He crumples it up and tries again, this time to Jimmy.  That one ends up in the trash as well.  Later that night, Dell is drinking when Stanley finds him on the road.  Stanley says that everything Dell does concerns him, and that he shouldn’t go back to the gay bar because his beloved Andy is gone for good.  Stanley whips out his 13 inch penis and shows it to Dell, who calls him a freak.  Wait til he’s angry, Stanley quips.  He starts working himself, telling Dell to touch it.  It will be their secret shame.  Dell is fixated.  We return to Dell’s trailer where he has finished the letter.  A noose is over his shoulder and Ma Petite appears and tells him to sign the letter.  As he makes his way to the noose, Ethel appears and chides the “strong man” for being weak.  She says she’s there to watch, though she calls him a coward.  He can’t take the shame of being what he is anymore.  He is a freak, and he doesn’t know how she ever dealt with it.  Ethel says that being a freak is who they are, but his pain is on the inside, feeding on him until he rotted.  Dell says he doesn’t have the fight left in him. She tells him to step up to the rope and get it done.  Slowly he climbs the chair and puts the noose around his neck.  The chair breaks and he flounders around violently, blacking out.  Desiree appears and cuts him down, cradling him in her arms.  He apologizes to her.

Stanley is in a hotel with a young man dressed in a doctor’s coat.  He’s clearly not a doctor, judging by the way he takes his coat off to reveal a very find physique.  Stanley wants him to run through his lines, but the poor boy is more brawn than brains.  There is one line he needs to nail about the Brody twins, and then he will be putting the twins down like a sad puppy.  Euthanasia.  The kid likes puppies.  Stanley tells him it’s time to “suck his cock” and the kid forgets sad puppies.

The doorbell rings at the Mott Manor.  Dandy answers it to find Regina and Detective Copeland, the man who investigated the freak show.  Dandy tells him that Regina has never lied, and that if she says he killed his mother then she must be dead.  As he rants about his money and being a god, the detective pulls out his gun.  But Dandy is too smart for that.  He tells the detective that he wants him to dig a hole for Regina, because he will pay him a million dollars cash to kill her.  He shoots her in the head and asks for a shovel while Dandy looks on with glee.

Jimmy wants to know why Eve and Paul are taking down Ethel’s banner from the show’s entryway.  Jimmy is still drunk and he stalks off to his trailer, where he finds the twins waiting for him.  Dot tells him that she thought they were going to do something wrong.  She thought that being separated would fix the problem, but it was herself.  Her sister Bette is not the problem, and now she knows that.  Jimmy says that nothing, not even family, stays.  Dot takes his hand and places it on her cheek, telling him that she was sorry to hear about his mother, and that he doesn’t have to be alone anymore.  She has loved him from the start.  They peel off their bathrobe and let it fall, telling him that they are like him, and they want to take his pain away and replace it with love.  Bette supports her sister and says they can have their privacy.  They kiss him, and he says that while he cares for them, he can’t be with them.  He puts their robe back on and says that he’s in love with someone else.  “She’s a very lucky girl,” Dot manages before leaving.  Jimmy throws his liquor bottle and screams just as the sirens start up.

The police are there to arrest Jimmy for the murder of the Tupperware women.  His glove was found at the crime scene.  They load him into the car even though Maggie can provide an alibi.  They take him away as the freaks watch in silent horror.

As we lead up to the highly anticipated tenth episode, I’d say that this season is getting interesting.   Slowly but surely.  And Finn Wittrock is a star.

What did you think of tonight’s episode?

Are You Watching AHS Freakshow Tonight?

With only a handful of episodes left, are you watching American Horror Story Freakshow?

Call it curiosity on my part. I tend to look at each series as a whole, and then as a season. I won’t give up in a show, rather I will prefer one season over another. (This happened a lot during True Blood)

There has been quite a bit of backlash about Freakshow and I think it caught producers off guard. To this day I still see more search activity on who killed Twisty…which is interesting considering how long it has been since he died.  I don’t think there was a plan for fans to become so enthralled with his character.

And so I ask you, dear readers: Are you still watching Freakshow or not? Why?

American Horror Story Recap S4E7: Test of Strength

American Horror Story Freak Show, S4E7: Test of Strength

Original Airdate: November 19, 2014

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock


Jimmy is at Dandy’s house and he knows that something is wrong.  The twins are there eating ice cream and Dandy and Gloria show him that they are not being held hostage.    Gloria adds that they paid good money for them.  Bette says that Jimmy lied about being the hero.  Dandy is the one who killed the clown.  Jimmy flashes back and realizes that Dandy was the clown trying to saw the twins in half.  Jimmy tells the girls that they aren’t safe there, and that they have to leave.  Dandy makes the mistake of mentioning that he knows Dot wants to have surgery, but that was something she only mentioned in her diary.  She becomes upset when he boasts that he read their diaries, because there will be no secrets between them.  He pleads with Bette to stay with him, but Dot tells her sister that there is something undeniably wrong with Dandy.  The trio leaves, and Dandy stares at them in a horror-filled rage.

Jimmy tests the microphone as Eve starts playing the bass to Nirvana’s “Come As You Are.”  He jumps into the song while Elsa sits in the audience and watches.  We see Penny caring for Paul in his tent.  We also see Dell in the bar asking about Andy.  He hasn’t been seen since the last time Dell had been there.  When the bartender says that you should never fall in love with a hustler, Dell loses his temper and smashes his far into the bar.  When Jimmy finishes the song, Elsa starts to give him feedback and Jimmy says that he isn’t changing the story.  Jimmy tells her that she was a liar, and all of the freaks know that she lied about the twins.  Elsa denies any wrongdoing, saying that the twins ran away.  But Dot and Bette are behind her, and Elsa is shocked to see them. Dot tells a different story, though, silencing her sister so that she can trick Elsa into welcoming them back to the show.  She says that Elsa helped them to experience the finer things in life, but the show is their home and that’s where they want to be.  Elsa is forced to graciously welcome them back or else she will look the fool in front of her performers.

Desiree helps Ethel walk up the walkway to the doctor’s office.  They exchange friendly banter about their surgeries when they see a sign saying “closed for business.”  They’re shocked.  Inside the office, the doctor’s daughter is packing his belongings because the doctor killed himself.  She blames them for what he did.  She says his beliefs were challenged and so he smashed his hands before shooting himself.  Neither woman can believe the story, but the daughter threatens to call the police if they don’t leave.  “Get out, you freaks!” she screams.

Stanley is practicing his skill at the strength meter game.  He manages to swing the mallet enough to register, and yet he can’t get halfway up.  Dell walks by and Stanley tells him that he feels like a fairy today.  Stanley teases him about not being able to “get it up.”  When Dell threatens him, Stanley says that he saw him at the gay bar, and so did other people. Dell is about to take a swing at him when Maggie interrupts and points out that Dell might hit Stanley if he isn’t careful.  Stanley is a master at manipulation, of course, and he planned to have Maggie around as a witness.  He takes Dell into the tent and says that Dell has what he wants: no moral code, strength, and that he must do everything Stanley says.  Stanley pulls out a gun and threatens to shoot him in the nuts if he doesn’t obey.  He needs one of the freaks, dead, but clean.  Dell doesn’t want to kill one of his own, but clearly he has no choice.  He has a day to get the job done.

Jimmy and Maggie are in bed together in their underwear.  He’s upset that the twins changed their story and made him look foolish.  She says that they changed their minds. Jimmy says he will leave with Maggie, but he wants to figure out who the other clown was.  He wonders if Maggie would recognize Dandy’s voice.  She thinks he’s stalling, that he doesn’t want to leave.

Outside, Dell pours chloroform on a towel and goes to Eve’s tent.  He tries to knock her out while she’s sleeping but she wakes up and beats the shit out of him, to the point that he cries uncle.  She throws him out of her tent.  “Who’s the strong man now?” she taunts as he lies on the ground, beaten and bloody.

Eve tells Ethel what happened to her. Jimmy is furious and wants to go to the cops, but Ethel says that they can’t go to the police.  They need to kill him.  Suzi and Eve remind him that he would be at his door with a gun if he’d attacked Maggie.  Ethel tells Jimmy that they need to remember that hope doesn’t exist for them.  They have to survive, and no one will take care of them but themselves.  He can’t get away with it.  “We can’t let the degenerate prick win,” she sobs.  Jimmy says he can handle Dell.  “You handle him, or we will,” she says.

Dell is teasing two men about the game, and the fact that neither one can ring the bell.  Jimmy walks up and says that he wants to talk “man to man.”  Pompous Dell tells him to let him know when the other man arrives.  Dell wants to go into town, and Jimmy can buy him a drink.  Then they’ll talk.  Stanley gives a nod of approval to Dell.

Elsa asks the twins what they’re after.  Bette drinks her drink while Elsa bemoans the fact that they have a Hollywood show.  Bette is doing all the talking now.  They don’t trust Stanley.  With Dot’s approval, Bette says that she wants to be a comedian, and she’ll perform between songs.  And they want 20% of the take.  Elsa prods Dot, who says she wants 50% of the box office.  And they want the money Elsa got from Gloria.  Elsa is in deep trouble now.

At the bar, Dell and Jimmy drink cheap liquor.  Dell wants another drink but Jimmy isn’t a big drinker.  He tells Dell that the women want to string him up by the balls.  Dell tries to say that he tried to talk to Eve about doing an act, but she smashed him up.  Dell tells Jimmy to take another drink.  Jimmy tells Dell that he has to get serious because the women are going to mess him up. Jimmy couldn’t care less either way, but the show has had enough trouble this year.  As Jimmy drinks, he starts talking to Dell about how nice it is to be out in the world.  One year they missed their Tampa booking and stayed in the snow.  It was freezing.  He killed a rabbit and made a coat for Ma Petite.  He enjoyed the cold because he could wear his gloves like every other guy.  Dell tells him to take the gloves off.  He tells Jimmy that if anyone looks at him funny he’ll break his skull.  “Unless it’s a girl, right?” Jimmy asks.  Both men start laughing.  Outside, Jimmy is puking when Dell almost clocks him with a brick.  Jimmy says that he knows who Dell is.  He has always known.  The famous Toledo Lobster Clan.  He knows Dell is his father.  Jimmy wants to hear Dell say that he’s his father.  He begs him.  Dell nods slowly.  “Yes, son, it’s true,” Dell says.  They hug it out, and you can see the fear in Dell’s eyes as he realizes the predicament he’s in.  He pulls Jimmy against him and helps him home.

It’s dawn when they get back.  They’re both singing.  Elsa tells them they’re drunk and she won’t allow them to wake everyone up.  Desiree tells Jimmy that it’s not too late to make something of his life.  Dell admits that Jimmy is his son.  Elsa tells him that it must be courageous to admit such a thing after 24 years.  Dell tells his son the Toledo Family code, that once you let a woman tell you what to do, you’re handing your balls over.  “I want to keep my balls,” Jimmy proclaims drunkenly.  Jimmy tells Elsa that they aren’t going to let her boss them around anymore.  They stagger off together, laughing at making noise. Dell puts his son to bed, and Jimmy says “Goodnight, Dad.”  Dell is floored.  Stanley is outside the trailer.  He tells Dell that he’s trying his patience.

Penny returns home and her father asks if she was at the camp again “with him.”  She says she’s going back and that he’ll have to kill her to stop her.  She taunts him and says that he’s too vain.  He says that he can make it so that no one will believe she is part of his family.  He figured she’d be leaving, so he invited his friend Morris to the house.  Morris is covered in tattoos.

Bette is now platinum blonde.  Dot says she looks like their mother.  Bette thinks she looks like Eve Arden.  The hairdresser has worked on people with two chins, but never two heads.  Bette proposes a new act—the metamorphosis, where the caterpillar turns into a butterfly.  Elsa passes Dot a letter.

The letter, from Elsa, notes that she didn’t say much during their negotiation. She questions what the money is for.  They must work together, the note says.  Whatever it is that she wants, Elsa will help her to get.

Pepper comes into Elsa’s tent with a note.  She sends her off for another drink.  The note tells Elsa that she wants something.  She wants the doctor in Chicago to separate them.  She needs help finding him, and her secret is safe if Elsa helps her.

Penny’s dad watches as Morris finishes his work.  She wakes up and cries that it hurts.  He stands over her and shows her a mirror.  He has had her entire face tattooed, and her tongue is forked.  She screams.

Elsa dines with Stanley.  He comments on her lack of appetite.  She wants to talk about a problem, that the twins are back and dedicated to destroying her.  Elsa says Dot wants to have the operation.  She needs Stanley to find the doctor in Chicago, and then they can be separated.  Stanley steals Elsa’s steak and proposes a mercy killing to end their suffering.  Ethel hears the whole conversation, and she doesn’t like what she heard.  You can see that the wheels are turning in Elsa’s head.  She says she has heard about managers who would kill for their clients, and now she has one.

Dell goes into Ma Petite’s bedchamber with a box.  She opens it and sees a beautiful dress.  She goes to try it on while he waits.  She looks gorgeous.  She needs his help with the zipper.  He says that she looks like a little princess.  He hugs her and smothers her in the process, twisting her neck just enough to kill her and not ruin her body.  “I’m sorry,” he whispers.

Paul wakes up when he hears a noise in his tent.  Penny walks through the darkness and into the light.  When Paul sees her, he hugs her and says that this is all his fault.

There’s a party at the museum.  Madame Curator says that they have a new gift.  It’s a very rare specimen that they believe will bring thousands of visitors.  She pulls the veil off to reveal Ma Petite’s body in a jar.  She’s wearing the purple dress that she died in.

Well.  Ma Petite is dead, Paul’s girlfriend looks like a lizard, and Dell is a bona fide murderer.

See you in two weeks, fellow Freaks!

American Horror Story Freak Show Recap S4E6: Bullseye

American Horror Story Freak Show, S4E6: Bullseye

Original Airdate: November 12, 2014

Recap by Sarabeth Pollock


There is a lot of activity at the campground as Elsa orders her workers to bring a giant red and white wheel into the main tent.  She comments that life is like that, a mess of choices between one thing and another, like tea or wine.  But we’ll all end up on the wheel eventually.  Once the wheel has been set up she starts to practice throwing knives at a stuffed dummy, only in her mind she sees Maggie and Jimmy.  She says she knows how to stay off the wheel; by staying in control of herself and not letting anything get in the way of what she wants.  Ethel sees her practicing and asks if they are bringing it back into the act.  Elsa says she used to be a master at the wheel but now it’s for the second act of her television series.  Ethel cautions her against leaving too soon, as the Tattler Twins are missing.  Elsa says they gave her the slip when she took them dress shopping, when really they should be grateful to her.  Ethel says everyone is grateful to her and it’s a special time because it’s her birthday week.  She has a big show.

Gloria has a gift for Dandy.  They’re sitting in the dining room at dinner.  Under the silver dome is a stack of condoms.  Gloria says that his affliction is the result of years of inbreeding, so he must be careful when seeing to his “needs.”  He is appalled—he’d never violate Bette and Dot. He loves them.  After all this time, he finally feels normal.  Gloria becomes angry with this news, reminding him that he could never take the girls to cotillions or balls. Dandy knows it’s because they’re freaks, and he reminds his mother that he’s also a freak.  He says that there comes a time in every mother’s life when she must give up her son to another woman.  He plans to marry Bette and Dot and they will be together forever.

A receiving line has been set up in the main tent as the performers pay homage to the birthday girl.  Indeed, a big banner proclaims Elsa’s birthday and the lady herself is perched on a grand throne.  Ethel gives her a nice gift while Paul gives her lingerie.  “Cheeky bastard!” Elsa laughs.  She loves it all.  Eve has a huge box.  Ma Petite is inside and Elsa is thrilled to have her there.  She clutches her to her chest and kisses Ma Petite’s cheek.  When she notices that everyone seems sullen, Elsa asks what is wrong.  Ma Petite says they miss the twins.  Jimmy wonders if they gave any indication of where they were going.  Elsa goes into a fury and says she gave them a home and they’re ungrateful.  She demands that everyone starts having fun, or else they will end up on her wheel.

Music is playing in Elsa’s tent and Paul is in bed with Elsa.  He’s kissing her back while she smokes her opium.  She tells him that they don’t fall in love, but she knows he is going to miss her.  He gets out of bed and he’s naked.  (Incidentally, she isn’t wearing her prosthetic legs)  She says he could be her valet in Hollywood.  He is impressed that she gave him a thought at all.  Elsa asks for her baby, so he brings Ma Petite to her and bids them good night.  Elsa cradles Ma Petite in bed and tells her how much she loves her.

Paul ends up in bed with a young woman whose bedroom is covered in floral sheets and wall paper.  It’s Penny, the candy striper we met in the first episode.  She asks if he wants her, and he says that he loves her more than anything.  He wants to get to know her as a man and not just as her lover, so that when they make love she’ll know it’s for real.  That’s when her father bursts in and demands to know who she was talking to.  Paul is stowed under the bed for now.  Dad looks pissed off.  He says that he’s trying to keep his little girl safe.

Bette is writing in her diary.  She’s in love and life is now wonderful.  Dandy bursts into the playroom with a tray full of one of each dish.  He introduces Bette to caviar and she loves it.  Dot is a bit skeptical, but as they eat dinner with Gloria, who tells her that they can have anything they want, Dot points out that Dandy doesn’t abuse them in any way.  Later, they have tea together in the playroom and dandy reads about a successful surgery on another set of Siamese twins.  Dot is very interested in the story, and suddenly she realizes that the money she’d need to raise for the surgery is at her fingertips with Dandy.  She envisions talking to Jimmy as a single person.  Bette would be dead, but she’s ok with that. Suddenly the gilded cage doesn’t look so cage-like.

Paul arrives at the pharmacy and asks for a bottle of Venetian Romance perfume.  The clerk says they don’t have any, but Paul sees it on a shelf behind him.  Dandy rushes up to the counter, dressed in a full suit, and asks for another hairbrush.  Paul recognizes him and talks to him while the clerk goes in the back room.  Dandy tries to pretend that he didn’t like the show, but Paul remembers that Dandy did like it, and he liked the twins even more.  That’s when Paul notices that Dandy has bought a ton of women’s accessories in sets of two.  The clerk returns and asks dandy if Paul is bothering him.  When he lies and says Paul tried to pickpocket him, the clerk tells Paul to leave.  Paul knows his rights, but Dandy says Paul isn’t even American.  Paul decides to take his business to Woolworth.  They have ice cream.

That night at the fairgrounds, Jimmy is cleaning up when Paul comes in.  The crowd, Jimmy says, was thin because people want to see the twins.  Paul tells him about Dandy, and he suspects that Elsa took them to Dandy to get rid of them. Jimmy slaps Paul, telling him that Elsa rescued every one of them and she saved their lives.  Paul doesn’t buy it.  Jimmy is close enough to pass as a normal man, but Paul knows that Elsa would do anything for one last shot at fame, including killing someone.  As Paul storms off, his words sink in with Jimmy.

Bette thanks Dandy for buying the perfect shade of lipstick.  Dot is reading the paper and it turns out one of the conjoined twins died, but the other is a miracle.  Bette doesn’t think science should interfere with the will of God.  Dot thinks that they are more of a cruel joke than the will of God.  Bette says they are what they are, and they will always be like that.  Dandy listens to the twins and he realizes that Dot likes to keep secrets.  He says they shouldn’t have any secrets between them so he proposes a game.  They will each share a secret with each other.  He tells the girls that he was the one who killed Twisty.  Dot says that Jimmy would never lie about that, while Bette is thrilled that Dandy is a hero.  When Dot refuses to share a secret, Dandy goes into a rage because Dot won’t play by his rules.  He throws a tantrum and leaves.

Stanley finds Maggie outside.  She tells him that the twins are gone and no one knows where they are.  Stanley needs something to transport so he suggests that they take Jimmy.  He tells her to lure him to their car.  All they need is his hands.  Maggie clearly doesn’t want this to happen, so she suggests that they take Ma Petite.  We see a vision of Maggie bringing Ma Petite to a barn.  Ma Petite says that Maggie is very nice.  Little does she know, Maggie and Stanley are going to put her in a jar.  We see Ma Petite stuck in a jar, and she screams when Stanley pours the formaldehyde in.  Ma Petite is soon pickled.  Back in reality, Stanley laughs at Maggie’s ruthlessness.

Elsa is in her tent practicing her singing.  “These precious days I’ll spend with you,” she sings, looking at Paul, who is watching her.  He says that the audiences will love it.  He moves to leave, but she wants to know if he will stay.  He’s got things on his mind, but it turns out that she smells the Venetian Romance on him and wants to know who he’s screwing.  She knows her monsters don’t wear perfume.  He says he’s not beholden to her.  He knows she did something to the girls and he tells her that everyone is talking about it.  She demands that he wake everyone.  They convene in the main tent, where Elsa rips down the birthday banner.  She asks Toulouse if he remembers how she rescued him from a chain gang.  Or how she found Salty and Pepper in the orphanage, where her own sister wouldn’t have anything to do with her.  They were gnawing on rats in their urine soaked crib.  Ethel wants her to calm down, but Elsa demands that one of them goes onto her wheel.  Jimmy volunteers, but Paul says it should be him.

Paul is strapped in and he tells Elsa not to miss.  “I always miss, darling.  That’s the point,” she says.  Elsa makes a show of the situation, telling the gathering that it takes a split second to separate life and death.  As the wheel spins, she throws a knife and everyone gasps.  She tells them that fate is the true master.  A knife lands between Paul’s legs. Then she throws the last one, and it plunges into his stomach.  She seems saddened by what she has done, but as soon as the others have taken Paul away, she wipes her forehead in relief.

Penny the candy striper is sneaking out when her father points a rifle at her.  He thought she could be a burglar.  She tells him that she is in love and she’s going to live her life.  If he doesn’t like that, then he can shoot her.  She leaves.

Maggie sneaks into Ma Petites bedroom and grabs her.  Ma Petite says the moon is beautiful, and that Maggie is beautiful.  Her present is in the barn.  Ma Petite is hoping for a pony.  Maggie says they are playing a game and she puts Ma Petite in a jar “like a butterfly.”  Ma Petite flaps her arms as if they were wings while Maggie prepares the formaldehyde.

Penny arrives at the fairgrounds.  Eve and the gang are seated at a table.  Penny says she’s looking for Paul.

Paul is in Elsa’s tent.  He takes a hit of her opium.  Elsa tells him that she doesn’t think the spinning wheel act is right for her television show.  It takes too long.  Paul knows that she didn’t really call a doctor.  Elsa says that she wouldn’t shed a tear if he died because he betrayed him.  That’s when Penny rushes in and demands to know when they called for the doctor.

Ethel is putting the finishing touches on the cake.  Jimmy can’t believe she is actually finishing it, but Ethel points out that the cake was already made.  She doesn’t like that Jimmy is questioning Elsa.  Jimmy says that the doctor never came, and that Paul had been trying to tell him something about the twins.  Ethel won’t hear it.

There’s a knock on the door and Eve tells Jimmy that something bad has happened to Ma Petite.  She wasn’t at breakfast or in her tent.  Jimmy says they’ll find her, but that’s when Maggie rounds the corner with Ma Petite in her arms.  Eve takes Ma Petite and Maggie says they were out hunting fireflies.  She grabs Jimmy’s hand and says that they should run away together.  She doesn’t care where, so long as they are together.  She kisses him and he tells her to pack her bags.  Maggie heads to her tent and Stanley is there waiting.  He has a train ticket with him and notes that Ma Petite is not in a jar.  Maggie says that with the twins gone, all of the freaks are on alert.  Stanley says it’s a good thing that there is no value in her dead body, so he’s switching back to his plan—Jimmy.  Or, more specifically, his hands.

Gloria takes a tray to the playroom.  Dandy tells her to go away.  He’s crying.  He has been reading Dot’s diary.  He tells his mother to read it.  She reads that Dot is tired of eating caviar and pretending to tolerate him.  He cries hearing that she is only after his money.  Gloria thinks that they might be able to bribe her by spoiling the other twin.  Dandy compares how he feels to when he had tuberculosis and they went to Iowa and they were surrounded by open space.  That’s how he feels.  Empty.  Now he knows what he is supposed to do.  He packs a knife in his belt.  “My purpose is to bring death.”

The doorbell rings. It’s Jimmy.  Dandy tells his mother he is here for the girls.  She lets him inside.

Ethel has a hunk of cake for Elsa and tells her that everyone else is with Paul.  They don’t feel like celebrating.  Elsa agrees that family should stick together.  Elsa says that she had a sister who died as an infant.  Her parents probably had Elsa to heal their pain, but she was nothing more than a reminder.  She made her own family.  She loves them all, but she sees Ethel that she’s like a sister.  That’s why she saved her.  Why can’t everyone else see that she loves them?  Ethel points out that there is a lot going on.  She lights the candle and hands the cake to Elsa.  She says that if she ever finds out that Elsa is lying or if she did anything to the twins, she’ll kill her with her own hands.  “I just wanted to be loved,” Elsa says.  She blows out the candle.

I have a feeling that things are about to go south really fast in the next few episodes.

What did you think of tonight’s episode?



AHS Freak Show Fans Stunned By Fate of Bette and Dot

(Spoilers for AHS Freak Show S4E5 Pink Cupcakes)

It was all a twisted dream!  Stanley didn’t actually kill Bette and Dot Tattler in “Pink Cupcakes” but it sure looked like it.  Seeing their decapitated heads floating in formaldehyde, dream or not, was shocking.  Watching Dot beg for mercy as Bette lay dying was gut-wrenching.

Of course, the fate of the Tattler Twins is still up in the air when Elsa Mars dropped them off as a gift for Dandy Mott, who has decided to assume the mantle, er, smiling face mask, of Twisty the Clown.

International Business Times talks about “Pink Cupcakes” and provides a list of the 9 most shocking Sarah Paulson scenes in AHS history.