TV Review: American Horror Story: Freak Show (Episode 13, Season Finale)

Last Updated on August 2, 2021


THE SCOOP: As Dandy preps for his show-stopping debut performance, his naive new ownership erupts into a full-fledged, hyper-violent, balls-to-the-wall-freak-coup! Elsa escapes the madness and lands in Hollywood.

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: The book has been closed…the has been dropped mic dropped…yes indeed, the curtain has been drawn on Freak Show, the well-imagined 4th season of American Horror Story. So what did you all think? After last week's penultimate setup for a hell of a season finale, we found ourselves immediately under Dandy's naive new ownership this time. He blames Paul for not selling a ticket to his brand new broadway act in a half hour, but the hostility backfires and soon a cordon of freaks have ole' Dandy pinned to the ground and surrounded. They spit in his grill and declare he'll never be one of them, he's too boring. How does the psychotic baby-boy react? This f*cker goes postal! He loads and cocks a golden revolver and somehow pumps about 12 rounds of blistering lead into almost the entire cast of ancillary freaks: Paul takes one to the forehead, Penny gets lit-up, Babs gets whacked with one, the Tall Woman, the half-lady, and about another half dozen random camp-folk get mowed down as well. Dude went f*cking Columbine with it! That is, until he made a play for the Tattler twins, begging them to come with him.

So soon they marry, and retreat back to Dandy's mansion to live. All a huge ruse on Bette and Dot's part, a long-con, as they poison Dandy's scotch one day and bring in Jimmy and Desiree (dude, Angela Bassett with three-tits in a maid's uniform is HEAT) to share in the much deserved comeuppance. Dandy's faints and awakes to find he's chained inside a giant dunk-tank. The freaks spout some self-righteous indignation, Jimmy declares "freaks shall inherit the Earth" before cranking the water on full blast and drowning Dandy's ass. The foursome sit back and laugh as they marvel at the season's most hideous monster finally floating lifelessly in a 12-foot tank of water. Honestly, even if it wasn't the most violent exit, it was good to see Dandy finally go. Props to actor Finn Wittrock for cranking up the camp factor all season long…dude was hilarious. Afterwards, Jimmy and the twins end up settling down together, having a baby and living happily ever after.

Meanwhile Elsa lands in Tinseltown and soon finds it isn't all palm-trees and sunshine. She gets rejected instantly, can't land an audition for her life, and even endures berating from a studio secretary claiming her look and act are unoriginal. She melts down. But Elsa's a fighter, and soon cut to the future where Elsa enjoys great success – to the tune of three Emmys – for the Elsa Mars Hours TV program. She indeed became a star, living the high-life with her new hubby in Beverly Hills. But she's bored, jaded, alone, and confides all this to Massimo (in one last callback for Danny Huston). He's dying though, with only a month to live, and this is where the show really bogs down into some weepy melodrama, likely meant as one last chance for the great Jessica Lange to do her thing. Doesn't work though, it just takes all the air out of the scenes back at camp. We learn Elsa's contract is soon to run out, and she'll perform one last time on Halloween. And oh dear, the less talked about the better, but karaoke night returns after something like a 6-week absence. Horrendous!

Truthfully, I think last week's episode "Show Stoppers" packed more of a punch you're looking for in a season finale. I enjoyed the overall wrap up this week, the obligatory character callbacks and necessary story resolutions, but the second half with Elsa in Hollywood – capped by that god-awful rendition of "We Could Be Heroes" of hers – yeah, not the way you want to go out in my opinion. I am very glad however – and raising my rating a point solely because of it – to see Elsa get savagely butchered smack dab in the middle of her show. On stage and on live TV. The ghost of Edward Moordrake (Wes Bently) reappears and cold slits Elsa's throat. Still, even with that, I think the show peaked with Dandy's torturous drowning scene at the midway point. Again, not really what you're looking for in a season finale.

As for the series as a whole, I had a lot of fun with it. I definitely dug it more than last season's Coven, and probably rank it as my second favorite season behind the first. Props to the great cast, across the board from Oscar winners to amateurs, and the showrunners for creating a creepy-cool world of a 1950s Florida Freakshow. It definitely has my attention for what season five has in store!


  • Gunshot wound to the forehead of Paul.
  • Penny gets shot, blood splattered on hanging sheet. Barbara takes on to the body.
  • Tall Woman gets shot in the leg, bleeds out.
  • A tent-full of dead bodies on full display, some more chewed up than others.
  • Elsa gets her throat slit on stage and live television.

KILL OF THE WEEK: A lot of lost life this week, as you'd expect in a finale. But none bigger than that of Dandy – the deranged baby-man of a psychotic murderer. Dude finally get what he deserved for all the evil he inflicted during the entire season. Freak justice prevails!

WTF CHARACTER MOMENT: I know Dandy's a lunatic and all, but did he really have to go Clint Eastwood across the camp? Sheesh. Dude cooked more shells than a taco hut.

WTF! MOST BIZARRE SCENE: I'd say the most outlandish scene was when Elsa got her throat sliced and went up to carnie heaven, reuniting with the entire cast of the show. Part surreal, part cool to see the callbacks,

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.