TV Review: American Horror Story: Freak Show (Season 4, Episode 12)

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

EPISODE: “SHOW STOPPERS”

THE SCOOP: Dandy exposes a dirty little secret of Chester’s to his adoring Tattler twins. Elsewhere in the camp, the Freaks form one last bond of unity to inflict their own corporeal punishment on Elsa. Oh, and Maggie confesses her undying love for Jimmy.

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: Now how’s that for a goddamn “Show Stopper!” Indeed, in the aptly titled penultimate frame of AHS: Freakshow, the grisly and unpredictable action was served -up immediately as well balanced appetizer. In a final farewell feast before the Freakshow disbands and Elsa heads for Hollywood (under Chester’s new ownership), followed by a to-be screening of the great Todd Browning classic FREAKS (loved that touch), old Stanley get the tables turned on his slick huckster ass. Elsa, fresh off catching wind of Stan’s elaborate ruse, gets the freaks to pin Stan’s ass up on the human dart board. She fires a throwing knife near his dome, one lands in his thigh. After a futile escape attempt, I love how the aforementioned FREAKS became even further saluted with the rain-soaked night time chase scene, where Stan end up crawling under a bus, where the gang of freaks (led by the half-bodied woman) swarm and devour. We later find him mutilated, still alive, pent up in a chicken coup. Like I said, for a second to last episode, a hell of a show stopper!

Jimmy, sans hands, is upset over Stan’s death. He now has no way to pay lawyers and ultimately get his hands reattached. Elsa convinces him it was the just thing to do. Maggie consoles him, makes a maudlin, soap-operatic confession of her undying love and plans of New York led future. He’s despondent, dejected, but she promises to take care of him. Jimmy, sobbingly advises her ass to get out of dodge. Night falls, Elsa brings in her long lost doctor pal (Danny Huston) who, like Vinnie Price in SCISSORHANDS, crafted her artificial legs. At first I thought she was going to whack Jimmy, what with the booze and the needles she poured into him and all, but she’s called in the doc to fix Jimbo’s hands. We get another tight black and white flashback to the war era, this time with the Doc trying to avenge the atrocities against Elsa (sweet callback for James Cromwell and son!) But a knife-jab to the gut wasn’t enough to silence Cromwell, he came back and tortured the good doc something fierce, replete with testicular electrocution. Jimmy nuts up and finds gratitude for missing only hands.

Upping the fun is the segment of kinky, psycho-sexual-schizoid mania – in which Chester pumps the long bone into the two-headed Tattler twins, all the while being scoffed and taunted by his hyper-creepy puppet- ego Marjorie. The two sisters leave the trailer, and Marjorie – now played in live action by Jamie Brewer – berates Chester, chastising him as a murderer, yet maddeningly says the twins have got to go. We get a nasty wartime flashback of Chet butchering his gal pal and her friend, as we glimpsed in part last week. Old Chet’s good with a mallet! He agrees and promises to his sick and twisted alter that he’ll indeed slice the twins in half. I loved this bit, as, if you’ve seen GONE GIRL, Neil Patrick Harris can play quite the fucking creepshow. And when his eerie-ass doll jumps from inanimate to real woman, decked in red and MOMMIE DEAREST makeup, yeah, shit’s actually pretty damn chilling.

Dandy spoils the love party by exposing to the Tattler’s Chet’s true nature…a “beastly sicko.” The girls dismiss it at first, withdrawing from being his assistant, but when the try to confront Chester during rehearsal (in front of the whole clan), he spews vicious backhanded threats about sawing them in half, and how much of a sensation it’ll be. But suddenly, out of nowhere, Maggie jumps in saying she’ll help, she knows the act. And sure as shite, yup, Mags hops in the box. It ain’t long before Marjorie manifests into full murder-mode and soon Chet is truly lopping little Maggie plum in two. Mags wriggles, she begs, but Chet long-saws the bitch dead…a pool of dripping blood hits the floor. Chet blames Marj, who we see stomp off in a maniacal laughter. Chet, back at the trailer, then stabs the doll (animated) a dozen times in the chest with a butcher knife. He then takes the wooden corpse to the cops and sobbingly confesses. Dark humor at is best!

All in all, I f*cking loved this “Show Stopper” of a pre-finale. Not only was it one of the goriest and deadliest of all the Freakshow chapters, it was all so unforeseen. Stan’s punitive mutilation, Maggie’s gruesome demise, Chester’s psychotic outburst (okay maybe that last one was coming), Jimmy’s rebuilt hands, Dandy’s defection on Chester and ultimate usurpation of the entire Freakshow camp, all of it. The one storyline that may or may not yet be sealed up is the fate of Elsa, who, after orchestrating Ethyl and Stan’s death, is wanted for death by the rest of the freaks. But the twins alerted her of this in the nick of time, as the posse came a roving with pitchforks. She found aide in the unlikeliest of places, Dandy, as he paid her for the Freakshow property and gave her ride out of town in a quick hurry. How this all wraps up, how Dandy will see fit to run the place, how the freaks will react, how Elsa will survive or not? All next when the curtain drops folks, be there!

KILL OF THE WEEK: Wow, so many options here. Love it. How about Maggie’s bony little butt getting sawed the fuck in half by deranged Chester. She squealed, she pleaded, but he savagely tore through her ass like butter, her intestines, spine and vital organs on full display…a leak of gory liquid matter beneath. Sure was gorgeous!

  • BLOOD & GORE:
  • Decapitated head in large a mason jar, Celia Weston’s.
  • Throwing knife through Stanley’s thigh.
  • Black and white, HOSTEL style gore of Elsa getting her legs chain-sawed off. Waves of blade!
  • A knife to the gut.
  • A gunshot to the gut.
  • Maggie gets chopped in half, we see gory entrails and a pool of gore.

WTF CHARACTER MOMENT: After their up and down past, I was surprised to see the twins do Elsa a solid and warn her of the impending onslaught of murder-minded freaks. She got out just in time!

MOST BIZARRE SCENE: Mentioned it above, but the scene where Chet bones the Siamese twins while having schizoid convos with his wooden puppet Marjorie. Bizzzz-Arre!

Source: AITH

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Jake Dee is one of JoBlo’s most valued script writers, having written extensive, deep dives as a writer on WTF Happened to this Movie and it’s spin-off, WTF Really Happened to This Movie. In addition to video scripts, Jake has written news articles, movie reviews, book reviews, script reviews, set visits, Top 10 Lists (The Horror Ten Spot), Feature Articles The Test of Time and The Black Sheep, and more.