‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’: Oedipus wrecks

American Horror Story: Freak Show
“Test of Strength”
November 19, 2014

So Jimmy is invited inside the Mott mansion to see for himself that The Twins are perfectly happy in Dandy’s playroom, in their Alice in Wonderland dress-up, eating ice cream sundaes. Jimmy urges them to leave with him, only to have Bette ask Jimmy about the whole “saving the kids from Murder Clown” thing, because Dandy says he was the hero while Jimmy was unconscious. This triggers a flashback for Jimmy of Murder Clown Jr. as he was about to saw “Esmerelda” in half, and Jimmy’s all:

NOT SURE.

Jimmy urges The Twins to come with him, NOW, only to have Dandy argue that “listen, Dot? He gets it, she has mixed feelings and wants that surgery to separate from Bette, but she needs to know that he cares too much to ever allow The Twins to go through such a horrible procedure.” “Yeah, because you’d never saw a girl in half,” Jimmy sasses back. Dot realizes that Dandy’s been snooping in her diary and it like, “WE ARE OUT OF HERE.” But Dandy reminds everyone that she can’t go anywhere without Bette, and he and Bette are in love, and love trumps everything. Sorry, not sorry. But Dot telepathically whispers to Bette that she knows full well there’s something wrong with Dandy and they GOTS TO GO. And so, to Dandy’s fury, Bette chooses her sister. BYE, CRAZY, BYE.

Back at the carnival, Jimmy rehearses a version of “Come as You Are” for some reason, who even knows why. WHO KNOWS WHY? Elsa, she ees not impressed. But Jimmy doesn’t care what Elsa thinks, he won’t be taking any orders from lying liars who lie. He knows what she did to The Twins, how she sold them off to Dandy, and in fact here they are now to confirm this! The Twins appear, but instead of calling Elsa out for pawning them off to the Motts, Dot claims that they asked Elsa to take them to the mansion. They wanted to experience the finer things in life, right Elsa? But now they are back and Elsa said they were welcome home anytime, RIGHT ELSA? And Elsa, relieved and confused, is like, “Ja, liebchens? I guess zat ees vat happened?”

Meanwhile, The Commish returns to the gay bar to look for Dreamy Matt Bomer, only to have the bartender warn him that he should never fall in love with a hustler. THE COMMISH MAD. THE COMMISH BREAK BARTENDER. Unfortunately for The Commish, however, he’s not the only one from the carnival that frequents the gay bar, and “Richard Spencer” saw the entire thing.

Time for Desiree’s lady parts surgery! She and Ethel make their way to Dr. Empathetic’s office only to find a note taped to the door saying that he’s closed for business. When they barge in anyway, they find his daughter packing up his office who furiously explains that her father smashed his hands with a hammer before blowing his brains out, and it’s all their fault? Somehow? Because freaks? I don’t know. I don’t know, Ryan Murphy! This doesn’t actually make sense, Ryan Murphy!

Back at the carnival, “Richard Spencer” sidles up to The Commish and is like, “Hey, guess what, you’re gay and I know it and you can’t kill me because ‘Esmerelda’ is watching us talk to each other so I have a witness and we’re going to go inside the main tent and talk about how you have to do whatever I say or I’ll out you and what I want you to do is kill a freak for me, cool?” And The Commish who is like, “Cool. It guess I have absolutely no other options because I don’t really think things through!”

And so that night The Commish heads into Eve’s caravan while she’s sleeping to try to suffocate her, because he’s an idiot. Eve is NOT HAVING IT and beats the rocks right out of The Commish’s big dumb head.

Later that night, “Esmerelda” tries to convince Jimmy to leave town already, but he wants to wait a few days to try to figure out if Dandy is Murder Clown Jr. or not. Still not sure.

STILL NOT SURE.

“Esmerelda” foreshadows sighs that they’ll never leave this place. Probably not, “Esmerelda!”

The next morning, Eve, Ethel and Suzy are ready to kill The Commish, because NO SIR, but Jimmy is like, “Hey guys, how about we just go to the police instead?” Ethel gives some long monologue about taking care of their own and the nature of goodness and how hope will crush you, or at least that’s what I think she said.

And the long and short of it is, Ethel agrees to let Jimmy try talking to The Commish, but if he can’t handle him, they will. Or at least I think that’s what she said.

Over in Elsa’s tent, she has a sitdown with The Twins to discuss their demands for keeping what she did on the down low.  Bette would like: 1. to become a comedienne 2. to bleach her hair 3. and 20% of the box office. As for Dot, she would like: 1. 50% of the box office. Off the top.

Meanwhile, Jimmy and The Commish go to a bar in town where against Jimmy’s better urges they start doing shots of moonshine or some nonsense, and Jimmy is like, “DUDE, You can’t be attacking the talent!” The Commish tries to claim that he just went into Eve’s caravan to chat, but Jimmy is like “Whatever, I’m just trying to give you a heads up that the ladies are super mad at you and you need to watch your back.”

Jimmy then surreptitiously takes off his gloves so as to pour himself another shot, which gives The Commish some feels. Jimmy then tells this long story about wintering up in Wisconsin and how Ma Petite wore a rabbit on her head, don’t worry about it, it’s not important, the point is something about Jimmy’s gloves and The Commish orders him to keep them off, if anyone looks at Jimmy sideways, he’ll break their face.

Jimmy stumbles out to the alley to have the puke, and The Commish follows him out, stopping to grab a brick to bash Jimmy over the head with because I guess he’s over his feels now. However, before The Commish can brain Jimmy and collect those precious lobster claws, Jimmy announces that he knows that The Commish is his dad. In fact he knows all about The Commish and his family, “The Famous Toledo Lobster Clan,” so he can just go ahead and admit it now, please. So The Commish does and they hug and stumble home together. (WAIT, Jimmy knew The Commish was his dad this whole time? Well, that puts his hookup with Desiree in a whole new Freudian light …)

And so they go parading onto the carnival grounds singing and bellowing and waking everyone up and yelling misogynistic garbage about how they aren’t going to take any more orders from Elsa, YA HEAR THAT ELSA, before The Commish ushers Jimmy into his caravan and puts him to bed. Father-son bonding!

Hey, guess who’s still alive! Paul the Illustrated Seal is still alive, that’s who’s still alive. Meryl Streep Jr. has helped nurse him back to health, and has decided to officially run away to the circus carnival with him.

But first, she needs to swing by the house and pick up a few of her things. Unfortunately for Meryl Streep Jr., her awful father is there waiting to go on a long diatribe about how he can’t stop her from running off with the freaks, but he does have a reputation to protect, which is why he’s invited his friend Morris the tattoo artist to give her a “proper send off.” Now how he knew that Meryl Streep Jr. would return home on this particular day at this particular time so as to invite Morris and all of his equipment over on this particular day at this particular time is something of a mystery. Was Morris just waiting there all week? BUT ANYWAY, Morris and her father’s send off involves rendering Meryl Streep Jr. unconscious somehow, tattooing her entire face and forking her tongue. Father-daughter bonding!

Later, Meryl Streep Jr. returns to Paul who is all, “ZOMG! THIS IS ALL MY FAULT!” Of course, I don’t know how he knows that, because who would immediately jump to the conclusion that one’s girlfriend’s father tattooed his daughter’s face in a rather extreme reaction to her dating a sideshow freak, that seems like quite the logistical leap to make.

Meanwhile, Bette gets her hair did to Dot’s great irritation. While Bette admires how much her new blonde do makes her look like Eve Arden, Elsa slips a note into Dot’s pocket: “Dear Dot: Vat do you vant vith zee money? Name it, und I vill get it. Küsse, Elsa.”

And Dot writes back: “I want to go to Chicago to have separation surgery. Make it happen.”

So Elsa has dinner with “Richard Spencer” in her tent, where she explains zat Dot vants zis surgery from some doctor in Chicago, und she needs him to go und find zis Herr Doctor so she can send zem to him and get zem out of her life forever, ja? Of course, why she is asking the man who she thinks wants to take them to Hollywood to make them stars for this favor is unclear, but WHATEVER. The point is, “Richard Spencer” suggests that instead of going through all that trouble, how about they just kill them instead? Ja! Zis could verk! Elsa agrees.

Unfortunately for Elsa, Ethel who has prepared their dinner, overhears all of this and DOES NOT APPROVE. But she keeps that last part to herself, for now.

Later that night, The Commish sneaks into yet another caravan, this time Ma Petite’s to whom he presents a pretty purple dress, an act she does not find strange or suspicious. Instead, she puts on the dress and asks for a hug. And The Commish is like, “Sure I’ll hug you … TO DEATH,” and he squeezes her so hard, her little bird bones shatter.

Finally, we see Ma Petite’s body, being gawked at as it floats in a jar of formaldehyde as the Not!Mütter Museum’s newest acquisition. (Or not? Since none of the other “acquisitions” have actually been real? WHO EVEN KNOWS.)

R.I.P. Ma Petite.

Meanwhile, on tumblr:

I don’t have much to say about this episode, and even if I did have something to say about it other than “BLACKMAIL!” and “DADDY ISSUES!” and “LOGIC PROBLEMS! SO MANY LOGIC PROBLEMS!”, I wouldn’t have much time to do so before the next episode airs, despite having two solid weeks to post. Shut up, I was in a turkey coma.

So instead, I’ll leave two pieces here making some salient points about what AHS: Freak Show needs to do to get back on track: vulture.com argues that American Horror Story badly needs to establish some ground rules, and uproxx.com lists three things it can do to fix the season (1. lose the singing; 2. find something, anything scary; 3. seriously, though, lose the singing. I mean, when did Jimmy decide he even wanted to be a singer?). While I disagree with both of these pieces on their feelings towards Coven, which was THE BEST, they make some strong arguments that I hope Ryan Murphy takes some time to really chew over before we head into the remaining half of the season.

ALRIGHT, MY LIEBCHEN, I will see you sometime next week. Until then, Auf Wiedersehen.

American Horror Story: Freak Show aired on FX.

This post originally appeared on the Hearst site Tubular.

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