When we left last weeks American Horror Story it was All Hollows’ Eve and the spirit of Edward Mordrake was searching the fairgrounds for the purest of freaks.  In last nights “Edward Mordrake: Part 2” he continues his tour of their darkest moments. But there are just as many treats as tricks this week as Ryan Murphy and company take a few surprising turns.

Everyone Counts | We open the episode with not one, but two backstories as Mordrake demands the stories of shame from Legless Suzie and Paul the Illustrated Seal. As we saw with Ethel in Edward Mordrake: Part 1, he has not come to simply torment and punish the freaks. He is searching for something specific, a freak “perfect in its monstrous perfection.” Like Ethel, he demands their stories and makes it clear what he desires:

“Make me weep tears of sorrow for you. Lay bare your greatest shame.”

AHS-Freak-Show-episode-4-recap-Paul-insertWith such an enormous cast as American Horror Story has, it was great to spend some time with those who are filling out the scenes. Legless Suzie lost her legs as a child and was abandoned by her parents. Living on the streets she stabbed a man who she felt was taunting her with his dancing, accidentally killing him. Paul the Seal was hated and ridiculed for his small arms, deciding to tattoo his entire body as a type of rebellion, if he couldn’t make the world love him then they could fear him.

Yet, these sins are minor in the eyes of Judge Edward. Suzi took her tragedy as inspiration to perform and Paul may have tattooed his body but he didn’t touch his face, calling it “handsome.” Like  the innocent pin-heads, Suzie and Paul are not the ones and Edward has other people to visit.

Love your Mask | Why is Elsa a “freak”? We have seen her prosthetic legs, which she hides from the others and we have seen her obsession with the spotlight. Blind to the possibility that she has actually conjured the spirit of Edward Mordrake, Jessica Lange’s Elsa treats him as nothing but a charlatan, and yammers on about being an “authentic talent” and how her shining star has awed him to silence. Elsa has some serious delusions and Mordrake calls her out on them, calling her a “pernicious disease” as his spirit helpers surround her and he demands her story:

“He wants your misery, he wants true darkness.”

American-Horror-Story-Freak-Show-4x04-2And thats what he gets. It seems that Elsa’s obsession with stardom has subsumed her entire life. Her damning need to be special, to be the star, worshipped by others, led her down a deviant path that she has never recovered from. In the Berlin of 1932 Elsa sat amongst the hedonism of those in-between years. It was a time of sexual experimentation and perversion. God was dead and pleasure was king. Any deviance you could imagine was available. And Elsa became a star.

In the roll of a dominatrix, with her leather outfits and wig, she gained clients and fame. She even had her own groupies, who would simply watch her take her German Officer client with whips, flogs, or even spiked toilet seats. Her fame grew, but her soul began to die. Elsa has always been obsessed with fame to an unhealthy extent and her slide into the darkest perversions was ripping at her very sould:

“You trade away your humanity, trick by trick. In the end I wasn’t Elsa. I was nobody. A ghost. Like you.”

Yet, Edward sees a more true darkness and a deeper misery, asking her about her legs. And boy do we get one. Elsa was famous and rich, a star amongst the deviants. But her flirtation with the darkest sides of the underground led to a film, and there were no co-stars, just men with pantyhose over their faces and drugs in her drink. In a scene even more terrifying than the leg chopping from American Horror Story: Asylum (we will never forget you, nympho Shelly), or the leg chomping on Walking Dead, the men take out chainsaws and make a snuff film of them chopping off Elsa’s legs. This was genuinely terrifying and I’m glad they did it through quick flashes and not long closeups.

Edward hears his master whisper “She’s the One” and he is about to take a welcoming Elsa but suddenly hears playful music on the wind. Elsa is certainly deserving, but something has called him and he runs off.

Out of Gas | Back at Twisty’s bus we see the teen bully from last week is in the cage with the young boy and older girl. With a bit of help she’s able to free her hands and when Twisty comes in and unlocks the door she rushes out, pushing him down and fleeing out and into the woods.

And so it was quite fortuitous that Jimmy’s motorcycle ran out of gas, stranding he and Maggie close enough to hear her screams.  She doesn’t get far as they see Twisty run out of the woods and drag the girl away, carrying her over his shoulder. Jimmy hasn’t been the kind to wait for help and heads out to see if he can help, with Maggie reluctantly following. But they don’t get far as Dandy, in his ill-fitting clown mask, hits them over the head and takes them back to Twisty’s camp.

Time for a Magic Show | Dandy is hosting a magic show, and Maggie is the star. Jimmy and the kids from the bus are the tied, helpless audience and the trick is the woman in a box. Dandy has a long saw and begins sawing, with no magical escape for Maggie, while Twisty plays his toy xylophone. Luckily Dandy is not the best at tying people up and Jimmy slips from his bonds, slamming Dandy aside while Twisty claps happily at the chaos. Maggie runs with the kids, escaping, but Jimmy is caught.

american-horror-story-freak-show-twistyClowns are people too | Holding a knife above Jimmy, Twisty is hesitant and unsure before we see Edward Mordrake. It is time for Twisty’s story, and he is going to tell it even if his face is half destroyed. Twisty was a child-like simpleton who simply enjoyed making children laugh. He was ridiculed and bullied by the freaks who made up stories about him doing “funny” things to the kids, branding him a pariah. He tried to make toys out of scraps, but his reputation followed him again and the toy-store owner threw him out. Shunned from everything he loved, Twisty decided to end his life, shooting himself in the face and and leaving him the disfigured clown we see today.

And so we understand Twisty at the end. The toy-store owner he killed earlier in the season refused to sell his toys. He was trying to save the children and took the teenage girl as their babysitter. In his both simple and twisted mind, the freaks were stealing the children’s love from him and he was saving them, to give them his clown love. He was good to them. He made funny shows, gave them candy and didn’t make them do any chores.

Twisty is the one. As Mordrake says “you make him weep” he stabs Twisty and our killer clown is no more. He has gone to join the Spirit Crew, and much like Darth Vader it’s a good deal for him. Spirit Twisty has his mouth back and all is well in freakdom.

Hero’s Welcome | With Twisty dead, the curfew is lifted and maybe all can go back to normal. Jimmy is now the hero, having saved the town from Twisty and that’s good for business. So far, this seasons American Horror Story has focused on the freaks as the outcast others. But with Jimmy as the hero who saved the town, it looks like things might be changing in Jupiter, Florida.

But that doesn’t mean all is hunky dory under the tents. Del doesn’t look happy as he’s exiting his camper and Dot surely isn’t pleased about being second fiddle to the pin-heads. She’s also probably not thrilled about the one-headed Maggie getting closer to Jimmy-Flipper-Fingers. And finally, we get Hollywood talent scout “Richard Spencer”, he with the wondrous wand and Maggie’s con-artist partner, played by Denis O’Hare. We’re only four episodes in and one monster is already down. I’m sure there are a few more to go.

Freakbits |

  • So, who is our villain now? It needs to be more than just Dandy.
  • I am just going to ignore Patti LaBelle’s tragic death by Dandy. She deserved better, and a song.
  • Are Evan Peters and Emma Roberts a destined couple across time? I thought it was he and Taissa Farmiga?
  • Freak Show exists in the same world as Asylum, with Pepper in both.
  • Lily Rabe will be returning later this season to reprise her Asylum role of Sister Mary Eunice.
  • Mordrake was a great way to introduce some backstories, but he was a surprising low key “villain” for the Halloween episodes.
  • Kathy Bates’ Ethel was completely absent from this episode, and sorely missed.
  • Next Week: Magic Cupcakes!