As with all American Horror Story seasons, Freak Show is finally hitting its "What the hell is this? I don't even..." crest, in which the show no longer exists as an actual form of serialized television, but rather a collection of weird/entertaining moments.
Last night's episode had a lot of very rewarding moments, but they were moments that aren't really going to help thread together this hodgepodge of random scenes and characters. These moments were simply things that happened. Slightly scary things, weird things or bizarre things, but overall this series continues to feel like it was written by a demented 7-year-old spitting out a bizarro wish list of upsetting ideas. "Lobster Boy should sing, and then make the tall lady fight the big guy. Add a floating head, and then let's have steak for dinner."
I just don't see how this show will ever be a cohesive creation, and that's a shame because Michael Chiklis acted the hell out of his Strong Man-centric episode, titled "Test of Strength." GET IT? You get it.
The episode started with Lobster Boy springing the twins from Dandy's house, thus getting them out of that plot they were written into, allowing Dandy to remain in the picture for some reason, and now giving the twins leverage. They in turn use this leverage to get a new hair style. I fucking love this new hair. I'm not even kidding around; this was my favorite scene. I'm glad Bette is getting her moment in the sun, or under the hair dryer or whatever.
But of course this is all a show to entertain Bette whilst Dot continues her obsession with getting the "twin separation surgery," a ridiculous pipe dream. Cue two scenes where Elsa and Dot speak to each other via black and white floating head split screen. I'm sure this was some sort of homage to a horror movie from the past (maybe something from The Twilight Zone) as most things this series are (we've already spotted American Psycho and Halloween in this season alone), but honestly it just felt like shtick for shtick sake. And it's a bit odd to run the twins all the way to Dandy's house just to bring them back with leverage. But here they are, back at the the Freak Show.
The real meat of this episode was Del. This would be his big character reveal moment as he's forced to be the Strong Murder Man for Stanley. You see, Stanley discovers Dell's big secret and threatens to push him out of the closet unless he murders somebody for Stanley's big museum of oddities paycheck. And Dell is just a sad colossal failure at strong arming any of the freaks into death. He actually goes after Amazon Eve first and she promptly kicks his ass. It's fantastic, second favorite scene of the night.
After a ridiculous loss, Dell turns to his son; maybe he'll murder his son. Also, pause break for all the freaks basically telling Jimmy NOT to turn Dell in to the cops because they may murder Dell like they murdered Meep. Seriously? WHO CARES? He tried to kill Eve. Let the cops kill him. But alas, the freaks have spoken and they will deal with Dell the only way they know how, poorly.
So Dell and Jimmy go drinking and instead of killing Jimmy, Dell admits he's his father, boo-hoo. They cry and then sing a little bit. As you can see, the Strong Man is actually very weak when it comes to killing anyone, but super good at breaking the hands of doctors who then kill themselves also for unknown reasons. So what does he do? The lowest thing he can think of: he kills Ma Petite. The poignancy was not lost on me because American Horror Story delivered this "oh the Strong man picks on the weakest because he is weak" moment like a hammer to the face. And it sucks. After last week's threat to kill Ma Petite, this just felt shitty. This death felt unearned, random. True it works for Dell's cowardice, but now we've had to watch Ma Petite die twice and almost die another time before it. I'm emotionally tapped out on horror for Ma Petitie dying, but full up on "fuck you." This slaughter just felt crappy.
Another horrifying/interesting moment in this baffling collection of actions and songs, Paul's girlfriend was horribly violated by her own father. He turned her into a "freak" by paying some guy to tattoo her face and fork her tongue. Now she's the lizard lady. That was truly, truly, truly horrific and absolutely devoid of any kind of human emotion whatsoever because I'm sorry AHS, but I have no interest in this character I can't name. But tattooing someone's face and cutting up their tongue against their will while they are asleep is really terrible. You got me there!
Who knows where this series will swing to next? Looks like Dandy will have to deal with killing Patti LaBelle next week when her character's daughter comes home, because we're all really invested in this random character getting justice? Sigh.