While Nathaniel catches up with his DVR post-AFI, here's Adam - Editor.
American Horror Story, and in particular this season's "Freak Show," has about as much forward progression as a treadmill. This week's episode trudged ahead with its story by the smallest margin possible that could still be labeled "forward". Miraculously, the episode somehow managed to contain four plotlines: Elsa, further displaying her ruthlessness to survive on her birthday of all days, reveals a dangerous new act for the Freak Show (after surely watching Theo James perform a similar routine in Divergent); Stanley exerts pressure on Maggie to murder the Freaks; Paul indulges in a secret romance with Penny as he juggles his illicit affair with Elsa; and Dandy attempts to woo Bette and Dot much to the chagrin of his mother.
Most Quotable: Elsa dismissing Penny’s entrance into her tent as she consoles a wounded Paul, “Speaking of cheap perfume.”
Best Line Reading: In the midst of Amazon Eve expressing her concern on Ma Petite’s absence from breakfast, she manages to still include her curiosity for her eating habits, “She never misses breakfast – I don’t know where she puts it.”
Best Entrance: A swaddled Ma Petite being opened from her box as Elsa’s birthday gift.
Episode MVP: Jyoti Amge, the world's smallest woman at 2'6", as Ma Petite. Runner up: Costume designer Lou Eyrich for Elsa's Temple Grandin outfit in the opening scene.
Movie/TV References: The chair Elsa sits in while she opens her gifts resembles the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones. How well do you think Elsa would fair in the world of Westeros? My guess is that Cersei would dispense with her with the same ease that Bette ate that spoonful of caviar.
Body Count: None, right? Unless I missed something, but Paul isn't looking too great.
Funniest Moments: At least this episode had a handful to get me through to the end credits, like Elsa cuddling Ma Petite on her throne, Ma Petite's butterfly imitation with her tiny figures inside a specimen jar. And Paul, accused of pickpocketing Dandy wiggling his fingers and dryly countering, “That’s a laugh.”
Episode Grade: D. As evidence I list for you the following scripted lines in all their subtlety:
- Paul articulating his loss of innocence, “Before life stole my innocence.”
- When prompted by Ethel to blow out her candle and make a wish, Elsa exclaims through voiceover that all she wants is to be loved by another person by saying, “I just want to be loved.”