Last night, American Horror Story: Freak Show teased around with a lot of our favorite characters and it was not cool. Not cool at all. But on the plus side, Jessica Lange went full-Lange this episode, and it was fantastic.
The Big Top came down on Elsa last night and there was so much scenery chewing to be had and prop items to be thrown. It was delightful. Then the show took a bit of a turn and threatened the lives of the two very best freak cast members, Paul and Ma Petite.
Gifs via American Horror Story Tumblr.
Let me be very blunt. If you hurt either of these characters, I will come after you, American Horror Story. They are the rock of this series and the true new stars of this franchise. Mat Fraser and Jyoti Amge are just wonderfully captivating and perhaps for that very reason, AHS decided to dangle their characters over the hot flame of death for a solid episode.
Turns out Paul and Elsa have been sleeping together for an implied amount of time. However, this physical affection doesn't seem to impact Elsa in any real way. After a night together, she tosses Paul an emotional bone and offers him the role of chauffeur, once she's made it big in Hollywood. Why? Because he pleases her? But of course he would be just the driver if a proper love came around. But Paul twisted the knife into Elsa when he put two-and-two together on the disappearance of the twins (whom Elsa had sold to Dandy). Pair that reveal with Paul's decision to stop sleeping with Elsa because he's in love with (surprise) that candy striper from the pilot that they all had orgies with. And she's in love with him too.
This discovery throws Elsa into a wonderful jealousy tantrum that she cleverly disguises as disgust that her freak family was gossiping about her behind her back. Lange goes full freakout, throwing her birthday gifts (oh, did I mention it's her birthday?) and pointing the finger and reminding her "monsters" that they all owe their lives to her, a fact that is probably true. Elsa did help a lot of the members of her show out of dire situations, but that doesn't mean she can sell them off, or worse, do what she does to Paul.
After cackling and ca-cawing in a most splendid manner, Elsa demands one of her freaks get on the spinning dart board so she can throw knives at them. This will be the physical proof that they all trust her.
And since he was the one to let the twins gossip spill, and because he feels guilty, Paul volunteers.
Not one second passed during this scene where I wasn't certain that Elsa would stab Paul with a knife. But the look on Lange's face when she finally sinks the blade into his torso is priceless (and horrifying).
Of course, Elsa puts on a horrified face seconds later and pretends it was all a mistake. But clearly Elsa hit her "Bullseye," which was also the title of this episode! So Paul is near death and of course Elsa lies about calling a doctor and he's just sitting there bleeding out and growing weaker and weaker when Candy Striper Girl shows up. Fingers crossed this appearance will save our dear Paul, because losing this guy would be a terrible shame for the series.
Paul was the first character to call Elsa on her bullshit, the first freak to see her as she really is. It's only a matter of time before the rest of the cast catches on as well. Hell, the Bearded Lady straight up threatened the Queen over her own birthday cake. It will be interesting to see what Elsa does for damage control.
Then there was Ma Petite. Oh, this was so, so, so, so cruel. Unwilling to kill Jimmy the Lobster Boy and chop off his hands, Esmerelda lays out a fantasy killing scenario for little Ma Petite. It was brutal. The idea was to put her in a jar and fill it with formaldehyde, drowning the poor character in her own eternal prison. It was awful, awful, awful and when Esmerelda woke her up and carried her into the moonlight all I could do was mutter, "No, no, no, no, no," over and over.
Thankfully, Esmerelda cannot pull the trigger. But that didn't stop her from putting Ma Petite in the jar whilst the little character cooed, "Ooh, like a butterfly" and made butterfly hands in her glass tomb. It was endlessly cruel and a wonderful relief to see her alive and excited as hell about hotcakes.
AHS, DO NOT TOUCH MA PETITE.
And finally there's the Dandy saga. For a brief moment in his life, the spoiled little man child found love in the two-headed sisters. Unfortunately, that love was not meant to last, because Dot is a moron and has a burn book/diary that Dandy finds, opens and then has a tantrum over. What comes of this tantrum is a truly precious monologue about being a desert inside. Even though Dandy had a lot of good catchphrases in last week's American Psycho homage, this moment felt like we were meeting the character for real. This was the first time we were really seeing Dandy, not some version of Dandy or Dandy the wannabe actor or wannabe murderer. Watching him get rejected and then react in this manner showed a bit more of his inner workings to me. More so than watching him oil up his body and say he's built for killing or acting and then being like, "No, I love the twins now." This reaction felt earned, at least for the psycho that he is.
Overall, it was a pretty great episode. the actions and insane reactions all felt earned. I want to spend time with these people now. I want to see what will happen. I'm also very interested to see how Elsa will behave when the very last bit of her fame in the freak show is stripped from her.