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TV Review: American Horror Story: Freak Show (Season 4, Episode 5)

11.06.2014by: Jake Dee


THE SCOOP: Stanley and Maggie concoct a nefarious scheme to murder the entire cast of Freaks. Gloria Mott does all she can to cover-up son Dandy's homicidal handy-work. Meanwhile, Desiree reveals a kinky new anatomical oddity.

The Following May Contain Minor-To-Major Spoilers. If You've Not Seen This Episode, It Might be Wisest To Stop Reading Here!

THE SKINNY: After dumping some dead weight last week - ancillary Nora (Patti LaBelle) and sure-to-be-missed Twisty (John Carroll Lynch) - the murderous motives are in no short order with our fresh episodic helping of Pink Cupcakes. This time, it's creepy ol' Stanley (Denis O'Hare) with intentions to kill. And his target? That's right, he pumps the titular pink goodies full of poison and merrily dishes them to Dot and Bette Tattler (Paulson). And to what end? Well, under the gleeful guise of Hollywood power-player Richard Spencer, Stanley's real wish is to execute death upon each and every one of the freaks so he can sell their remains to the American Morbidity Museum. Nice fella, right? Not so much. Even Maggie (Roberts) seems to think not, and combined with her newfound flame for Jimmy, is quite reticent to go along with Stan's plan. So what gives? A mere 5%, that's all it takes for the dirty trollop to abide. Who needs freaks with moralists like these!

And speaking of complying, when we return from break we find Gloria stumbling upon the gory remains of Nora. She freaks, then is quick to implicate herself by dotingly protecting her son. She helps hide the evidence left behind, and even reveals her own twisted traditions of affluent inbreeding and other sordid high-minded activity. One f*cked up family! Of course, Dandy blames his mom for the murder..."I just wanted to be an actor!," he decries. She calmly waters the garden and exclaims, this is 1952, you can't just go around killing vagrants. But Dandy just goes into a Patrick Bateman like rant about murder, sweatily rhapsodizing about his one true calling to kill people. And that he does! See, Dandy has a fateful run in with Dell and shall we say, a pal (read below). Well, that pal ends up on Dandy's hit-list...gruesomely butchered and dismembered with body parts dumped in a tub of lye. Think mother Gloria is gonna be happy?

Meanwhile, Lobster Boy (Jimmy) - after an encounter with Maggie, goes to find an AWOL Dell. He instead finds a drunk Desiree, who welcomes him in, and after confessing his everlasting guilt over Meep's death, he puts a move on the fiery 3-titted sexpot. She recoils at first, then obliges, but as soon as Jimmy crams a lobster-fist in her crotch, she goes bloodily screaming for help. The kicker? The violation was a revelatory one. Turns out the dick she thought she had her whole life was just a giant clit. How 'bout that! And the bleeding? A miscarriage, likely fathered by Dell. So where the f*ck is he? Well, it comes to light that, like Stanley, Dell is a closeted gay guy. Not that it was too far of a stretch having been shacked-up with a hermaphrodite for years, but okay. Anyway, Dell was hiding out in a gay bar, professing his undying love her his young boy-toy. Way too overplayed and ham-fisted was this scene, even given the 1952 climate. Thankfully credence was restored when Dell returned home to learn of Desiree's news. Reborn, she packs up and ships out. But is that the last we've seen of her? Let's hope not!

Overall, I think Freakshow's Pink Cupcakes went down pretty distastefully. Which is a good thing I think! Not only did the murderous mayhem stay strong after last week's bloodbath, we're starting to learn which characters really have what it takes to survive this sordid season. I really liked how much Denis O'hare as Stanley was featured this week. This dude's a tremendous actor (MICHAEL CLAYTON, DALLAS BUYERS CLUB), who, just by having increased screen time, makes the show better as a whole (loved his early scene with Lange on TV vs. film). I also dug how Dandy is becoming, despite his incessant whiny 6-year old disposition, an unstoppable killing machine. Seriously, when dude straps on the Twisty mouth-mask, it's f*cking GO TIME!

The only real issues I had with the episode was the overcooked confessional of Dell in his gay-bar hideout. Just felt overwrought and unoriginal. Also, was it me, or was the whole severed twin-heads thing a bit confusing? So obviously the Tattler twins are alive and well, and whisked off at the end of the episode to be Dandy's new plaything. But for a while there I thought Bette and Dot were toast! Also, I was a bit miffed by the general lack of screen time Elsa had this week, even if her Bowie-Karaoke was truncated as a result. That I did appreciate. Let's hope that sort of sentiment hits the "Bullseye" with next week's episode!

KILL OF THE WEEK: Most definitely the hyper-violent butchering of Dell's boyfriend by Dandy. Whoa! I loved the dark humor of the scene, as the victim wouldn't die, even when stabbed like 64 times and having an entire arm cut-off. This was good old slasher movie, large butcher knife type gore. Loved it!


  • Nora's stale gore-sodden body, a pool of blood.
  • Desiree's bloody miscarriage, red running down her legs.
  • Dell's boyfriend gets arm severed and violently stabbed multiple times in the chest and stomach.

WTF CHARACTER MOMENT: Has to be Desiree's anatomical revelation. Jeez. Chick lived some 50 odd years (you still look fantastic, Angela!) and never knew she was 100% female. Crazy. Even crazier to think her lady parts were comparable to what the brothers are packing. Sheesh! No wonder Dell's gayer than two-dollar bill!

MOST BIZARRE SCENE: I found the bizarre scene to be one of the more tranquil ones. It's in the affluent garden of the Motts', where, in a weird sort of teaching lesson I guess, Gloria speaks about her past as a not so civil socialite. She spoke of long lineage and protected wealth and incessant incest as a way for cousins to protect the mother. All very off-putting and rather out of left field for what we've seen from Gloria heretofore. Shite's creepy!

Extra Tidbit: What did you think of Pink Cupcakes?



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