American Horror Story: Freak Show Recap

By: Yayona Bangura 

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This is just a fraction of the topsy-turvy turmoil that’s involved in one of this fall’s most anticipated series, American Horror Story: Freak Show.

The show’s season premiere aired on Oct. 8, while Twitter timelines filled with AHS tweets and hashtags trending all across the country. Like usual, the episode’s sick themes and chilling plot twists did not disappoint.

This season, Jessica Lange plays Elsa Mars, a madam who relocates her carnival to keep it alive during a time where television has occupied everyone’s desire for live entertainment. She’s also on a hunt to round up new acts by rescuing people with strange abnormalities or talents from unfortunate circumstances.

The episode begins when a milkman who notices his delivery from days back has spoiled outside a home, enters to discover a mother stabbed to death in her kitchen. He then finds a pair of injured conjoined twins in a closet of the house.

Sarah Paulson plays the pair of twins, named Bette and Dot Tattler, who have two completely different personalities. Elsa takes care of them in the hospital after their rescue by pretending to be a nurse, while attempting to know more about them.

Bette is closed off, cold and reserved, while Dot is open, adventurous and mischievous. It is revealed that Dot killed their mother in anger for not allowing them out of the house, in fear of ridicule and embarrassment.

During this time, a ridiculously creepy-looking, murderous clown named Twisty interrupts a couple’s outdoor picnic, kills the man by stabbing and kidnaps the woman. He then enters a home, stabs two parents to death and kidnaps their son. Because the killings resemble the murder of the twin’s mother, the girls soon become suspects and decide to flee with Elsa to her carnival.

Kathy Bates plays a bearded lady named Ethel Darling, with a son named Jimmy Darling, played by Evan Peters, who has severe ectrodactyly, causing a cleft hand and clawed fingers.

Jimmy is the sexy, bad boy motor biker with a good heart, who aches to leave the carnival with his mother and start a normal life in the real world. In his spare time, he is paid as entertainment, using his defected fingers to pleasure sexually unsatisfied women. As you can imagine, this season’s AHS spared us little explicit imagery, every minute being enjoyable nonetheless.

A detective comes to the carnival to arrest the twins for the murders and all hell breaks loose as Jimmy kills him for calling them “freaks.” The carnies then form a bond by brutally chopping up the detective and vowing to kill anyone who treats them poorly due to their differences.

In the episode’s final scenes, Elsa performs a powerful number of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars” and later reveals, in her vulnerable state, that she brought the twins to the carnival for her own personal benefit of becoming a star.

The biggest surprise comes at the very end when we discover that Elsa is legless from the knee down, making her comparable to her beloved carnies. It’s a typical AHS habit to leave the audience begging for more with such a huge cliff-hanger.

Creator Ryan Murphy outdid himself with dreamy-saturated visuals and a truly bizarre storyline, with more to come. The season’s preview showed Coven actresses Angela Basset, Emma Roberts and Gabourey Sidibe making plot entrances later in the season. Catch AHS every Wednesday at 10 p.m. on FX. But if you’re afraid of clowns, don’t.


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