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Freakshow: Pink Cupcakes

Nathaniel's in LA for the week so welcome Adam, who previously covered True Blood, for the latest AHS: Freakshow epsiode. Here's the rundown and commentary. How'd you like the episode?  

The Motts. They're the best part of "Freakshow," yes?

Plot: Elsa continues to plot against Bet and Dot since they’re in the position to replace her front-lining status at the Freak Show. Stanley and Maggie conspire to murder the Freaks, choosing money and notoriety over human compassion. Gloria and Dandy each come to terms with his new 'hobby,' she in the way of clean up and him in the embracement of his murderous urges. Desiree realizes she may not be as “freakish” as she once thought, while the Strongmen combats his inner self-loathing for that which he cannot change. 

The Strong Man joins the rest of the planet in lusting after Matt BomerGuest Star of Note: Matt Bomer!  ♥ In what begins as a slightly boring intro, more needed for its revelation of the strongman’s love for a man than anything else, becomes exponentially more interesting when Dandy enters the picture. Also, that hair and those eyes. *swoon* (Gabourey Sidibe makes a brief Horror Story return as Patti Labelle’s inquiring daughter, but that scene was more about revealing Gloria’s inner pain from being an absent mother than announcing the presence of a new character.) 

QUOTABLES & SPOILERS after the jump...

Most Quotable

a little meta joke about Lange's career?

I would rather be boiled in oil than on television!"

Most Quotable: Elsa’s dry rebuff to Stanley’s offer to put her on TV! “I would rather be boiled in oil than on television.” Or Gloria’s example of other famous family cases of inbreeding. “Jack the Ripper was a Windsor for God’s sake.”

Best Line Reading: For how seductively he expresses his menacing desires, Dandy’s voiceover during his workout regiment: “…to introduce me to the sweet language of murder…” 

Episode MVP: Angela Bassett. When Desiree is told that she is biologically a woman – a tip-off from a once-thought impossible miscarriage – the camera holds on her face, the voice of the doctor drowning out as her facial muscles convey her newfound sense of self. What ostracized her from the majority of people for most of her life, what has been her sole identifier as a freak, is an attribute that can be changed, reversed, erased. Her womanhood can be restored. The hermaphroditic appearance that has been crippling her, insofar as remaining married to a man only because she doubts her worth and desirability to other men and limiting her role in society to performing under big tops, is no longer inalterable. She can be the woman she was always meant to be. 

Movie References: American Psycho! That voiceover was on point. Missed opportunity: An American Psycho tribute without a blue face mask or shots from Dandy's post-workout shower? 

Body Count: 1. Just Matt Bomer, but his murder was a perverse, homoerotic and macabre frenzy of maniacal butchery that really cut to the dark core of what AHS can be when it actually tries. When he pleads for Dandy, who’s feeling slightly guilty when faced with Matt Bomer’s body refusing to die, to kill him after one arm has already been dismembered, only to have the other arm hacked off instead was truly frightening.  

Was That Really Necessary?: The fantasy sequences in the beginning of the episode and midway through involving Stanley and Maggie (one showing the human seal’s corpse on display and the other featuring Bet & Dot’s death and heads exhibition) could’ve been exciting ‘gotcha!’ moments but were instead labored, overly-long and ultimately wasteful of time that could’ve indulged in other more interesting storylines. Stop giving us filler-bullshit, AHS!

Funniest Moment: For the simplest of reasons, Ma Petite’s miniature violin just slays me. 

Musical Break: Elsa’s shattering and mostly silent number in which the audience members of Jupiter outright reject her. They barrage her with popcorn and other objects, crushing her deluded sense of vocal and performance talent. Her face registers years of pent up insecurity finally welling to the service and bursting through at the first crack.

Episode Grade: B. Were it not for Elsa’s been there, done that storyline the grade would be much higher.

A Note on the Season So Far: Jessica Lange is the backbone of the series. As far as I’m concerned, the show lives and dies on the stability she creates. So far – and I’m willing to be proven wrong – her character’s storyline this time around is nearly the EXACT SAME as Coven’s. The once Head-Bitch-in-Charge is being usurped by younger protégés and drastically retaliates. The first season of the show was singlehandedly responsible for Jessica Lange’s career resurgence, just look at her stack of Golden Globes and Emmys for her performances in this series, and this is how she’s repaid? By playing the same character repeatedly? She deserves better than that, and we viewers deserve more from a show whose ratings boundlessly grow with every season. 

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Reader Comments (16)

This season is growing worse and worse by each passing week. I gave this show another chance and it sucks that AHS has been so disappointing. The only story line they really have right now is Dandy's psycho behavior. Other than that mostly everything that was introduced and could have turned into a better story line has been quickly solved the very same episode. There is no conflict and nothing making me want to come back and watch more. The only reason I still tune in is because I already started, but that doesn't stop me from turning it off mid way through to do better things like sleep!

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

Annie - This season definitely doesn't compare to the previous three, not that all didn't have their (sometimes exceedingly large) faults. Regardless, any series that kills off Matt Bomer after less than twenty minutes of screen time is doing something very wrong.

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Why no picture of Ma Petite with her tiny violin!?!

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterUnamused

Gabourey's valley girl accent was so distracting! She should've made more of an effort. It reminded me of the story Lena Dunham told sbout being fired from Mildred Pierce for her uptalking.

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

unamused -- absence of promotional episode photos perchance?

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

I thought Bomer's murder was heavily disturbing. I mean being stabbed several times, being dismembered and pleading for death? I was kind of surprised that it could make it to air. I mean, good for the show to have some actual horror to it, but damn.

Or maybe i can't get over that Bomer and his NEXT LEVEL brand of handsomeness got murdered in such a way.

Plus, Patti LaBelle deserved more than ending up as fertiliser.

I think the real problem of the show is that there's no core storyline. I have no clue where the story is going with the end of each episode. Plus, Elsa is probably the least interesting part of the show.

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

Still finding this season much stronger than Coven.

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I read the episode breakdowns and comments to see if I need to tune in to this, but I'm actually more and more assured that I have made the right decision to avoid it. I watched about half the first season of AHS but even naked Dylan McDermott couldn't keep me interested.

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I liked this episode, and yet I don't feel there's anything pressing to talk about? I agree with Annie about the lack of central conflict, but at this point I'm content to just learn about these people and their world. But that can't last forever.

This episode more than others made me hyper-aware that every minute matters when there's so much going on. The fantasy (or whatever) sequences would be okay if the show was two hours, but we've got places to go, murders and musical numbers to witness! And I'm pretty constantly reminded of how (despite his talent) I don't need another Evan Peters hetero romance story on this show but....*sigh* you can't always get what you want.

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia

Bia - I thought Gabourey's acting was SO flat! I mean, I know the dialogue wasn't doing her any favors, and it was only a quick introduction, but still...

unamused - Apparently, I was so enamored with the size of her stringed instrument that I became temporarily blinded of my better judgement to snap a screen shot. I'm. the. worst.

Derreck. - In a sense, he's too pretty to be killed off so brutally quick. OR maybe the show is just reversing our sense of the "slut" archetype in horror narratives, killing off the incredibly attractive and sexually open male figure just to remind us, "Oh no, keep that cock in your pants, you crazy gays!" I actually did enjoy how this episode delved into the theme of freakdom by honing in on being homosexual in the 1950s. Even in the beginning when Maggie warns Stanley to hide his porn magazines because the only thing worse than being a freak in Jupiter is being a poof. Maybe a little on the nose, but the proceedings from this warning to Matt Bomer's grisly demise grounded the horror into just being human, and if that person strays from this socially constructed idea of normal then freak is the only appropriate identifier.

Paul Outlaw - It certainly *looks* prettier, I'll give you that ;)

Olivia - Evan Peters is sorta getting the same character treatment restrictions across seasons as Jessica Lange, and it's a damn, damn shame.

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Dandy can murder mah bussy. Mmmhmm.

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTheElusiveChanteuse

HERE I made this for y'all

PS the first person to dress up as Dandy in his bloody tighty-whities for me gets my everlasting love and devotion

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJA

JA, awesome! This is my new avatar.

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Adam, it just seems to me that the scenes thus far with Dandy, his mom or the twins are better than anything in Coven (except Frances Conroy's scenes in that season). And now they've brought the twins to Dandy and his mom, so I couldn't be happier.

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Paul Outlaw - I'm fucking STOKED to see Sarah Paulson, Frances Conroy and Finn Wittrock all act opposite one another

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

I watched this at my parents' house (awkwardddddddd) and Frances Conroy is the best part of the show right now. She's just as funny here as she was as Myrtle Snow, and that's saying something.

"Darling, it's 1952. You can't just pick up vagrants off the street and kill them. People miss them."

November 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjakey

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