TV Review: American Horror Story: Freak Show (Season 4, Episode 9)


THE SCOOP: A pathetically besotted Jimmy continues to mourn the death of his mother. Meanwhile, as Maggie rekindles the murderous rage in Dandy, Elsa and Stanley once again try to seize control over the Tattler twins.

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: It's hard to follow up last week's refreshingly gruesome Blood Bath, but hey, after dumping some dead weight, why not celebrate with a motherf*cking Tupperware Party Massacre?! Makes perfect sense, right? That's indeed what we did with the ninth frame of Freakshow, which I thought did a pretty good job of giving us more of what has worked well this season, and less of what hasn't. And it pretty much all started with that chilling pre-credits double showdown with Dandy, first with Maggie, then with Jimmy. Absolutely loved that scene of Dandy decapitating his mother's visiting friend, only to attach her disembodied head to his own mothers, creating a human Siamese-twin marionette he affectionately refers to as Dot and Bette. Sick shit! Then, when Jimmy, sozzled to the gills, actually calls Dandy out for being the crazy-killer-clown #2, Dandy threatens old flipper-fist something fierce. Something's gotta give, right!

Meanwhile, Stanley and Elsa have tracked down Bette and Dot in a seedy motel, much to their surprise. The two hucksters once again make a hard push for the twins having separation surgery, so they can then pursue different careers in Hollywood while the girls stay behind. I think that's the plan, after-all, Bette and Dot don't much like each other (one now brunette, the other blonde). But get this. The foursome whisk away to some backwoods ranch house where some bastard called Dr. Sugar is set to perform some kind of twisted hayseed surgery. As you might imagine, the twins ain't too thrilled. In fact, claiming barbarism, Dot doesn't agree to the surgery. In a touching moment later on, Bette professes that, through the burden of it all, she'd rather give her life to see her sister have a full one of her own than to risk the surgery going afoul. Finally, a really great scene for Sarah Paulson to not only show what a great actress she is, but also one that makes the twins feel real. Part of that is the way it's shot, mostly in close-up so you can't see the gimmicky CG...but regardless, this was one of the best acting moments all season. Not for nothing, but so too was the scene when the twins court a bereft Jimmy back at camp later that night.

Speaking of, Jimmy starts slovenly slingling dick, porking the Fat Lady, hallucinating disapproving visions of his mother. At one particular client's, ever living up to his promise, Dandy shows up at the house Jimmy is servicing claiming car trouble. What's he do? He fucking wipes the place clean...leaving an entire indoor swimming pool of opaque red liquid afloat with 8 female corpses. Dude's gnarly! I mean, that isn't the half. Then, holed-back-up in his mansion, he holds Regina more or less hostage, forcing her to share a fresh bloodbath with him. My man's ill in the head! Real shite, it's time to give it up for Finn Wittrock, who plays Dandy. This dude's 100% committed, even if way over the top at times. Ok, most times! He's clearly one of the standouts though this season, I suppose it's no surprise he stars in the Angelina Jolie flick UNBROKEN this year. Later in the episode, when Regina summons the coppers, Dandy shows another color, coolly playing the "it's my word over hers" game, which is not only successful, but ends in her death at the hands of another (a cop he'll pay a $1 million to). Dude's just as icy and calculating as he is a murderous man-child. Deranged!

So yeah, I was definitely onboard this week. I loved the two-pronged Dandy storyline, both at home and at the camp. I actually dug the twins the most I ever have this week, thanks in large part to the great acting of Sarah Paulson. Hell, I even kind of felt for Jimmy and his booze-addled, grief-stricken escapades, which landed him in a frame for the pool-house murders. The only things I think didn't really fly this week were the two subplots that were merely glanced over. Desiree's old flame reappears in the form of Malcolm Jamaal Warner (yeah, let that sink in). And when Dale, too ashamed of being a closeted gay, tries to commit suicide, the ghost of Ethel compelling him, he's saved in the nick of time by Desiree who cuts the rope mid-swing. Not bad, just not enough time committed compared to the other subplots. Even so, plenty to hang on to this week before laying off until after the New Year. Happy Holidays mofos...see you in January!

KILL OF THE WEEK: Probably has to be Regina, since it was the only main character to die this week. Also, the way it happened was a bit surprising. Just when you thought Dandy might betray his word and do her in, the greased-off copper pulls the snub and fires. Dead from a dome-shot!


  • Post-decapitation blood-puddle of Dandy's mother's friend.
  • Sewn on human heads...turned into twin-human marionettes.
  • An entire indoor swimming pool filled with blood, as the bodies of 8 lifeless middle-aged broads float lifelessly.
  • A second, smaller bloodbath prepared by Dandy.

WTF CHARACTER MOMENT: Why the hell did Regina go back to Dandy's? Sure, call the cops, sick the SWAT team on his ass, but accompanying a single detective back to the mansion. Not saying she got what she deserved, but WTF?!?

MOST BIZARRE SCENE: Has to be that flashback scene of Stanley foully beating off his deformed piece for Dale under the moonlight. I'll just leave it at that.

Extra Tidbit: How would you rank this episode?



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