“Audiences want a new type of freak. Something different,” Dandy proclaimed. The season finale of Freak Show was not exactly different from its sister incarnations, but we did get some nice (and by nice, I really mean absolutely horrific) moments during “Curtain Call.”
Dandy (Finn Wittrock) is as much a whining brat managing a freak show as he was attempting to be a serial killer. Man, does Dandy go through hobbies or what? He just can’t make up his mind! The freaks are having none of it. With Elsa (Jessica Lange) out of the picture, they’re through being used as pawns. Paul (Matt Fraser) remains my favorite, my darling voice of reason:
“I’ve heard you sing and you’re not special: you’re rubbish. Even worse, you’re boring. You’ll never be one of us, and you don’t own us.”
Eve (Erika Ervin) punching Dandy in the face was also a nice touch, but in typical American Horror Story fashion, nothing is that easy and nothing is ever okay.
The Freaks quit.
And within the first twenty minutes of the season finale, Dandy murders everyone.
The only people left alive are Bette and Dot (Sarah Paulson), Jimmy (Evan Peters) and my front-runner, Desiree (Angela Bassett). It was like a freaking shooting gallery.
Meanwhile, in Hollywood, Elsa still doesn’t have an appointment to see WBN owner Mr. Gable.
Enter the receptionist, totally throwing shade: “Marlene did it better.”
Who cares about Elsa? Jimmy wanders into the main tent to find his friends—his only family—lined up off the stage in a string of corpses. I knew people were going to die, but I didn’t expect a freak show massacre. Okay, yeah, I should have, I know. Especially Paul because he’s too smart and I loved him too much.
In an American Horror Story first, we also have the rare treat of a wedding. What the hell is this? I thought it was a hallucination or another fake out, but NOPE. Oh, and Dandy only married Bette, which won’t be at all awkward come the wedding night. The gentlemanly thing to do is of course extend an invitation for a threesome with your conjoined wife’s other half.
“A stallion demands a certain amount of respect from his mares.” Of course, Dandy. Of course.
“I’ve always found babies to be so boring, but freak babies?! Do you think we can make a three-headed girl?”
You know, Bette always wanted to be an actress. She gave a damn good performance as someone in love with Dandy, to which extent she let Desiree “the maid” poison him without batting an eyelash, followed by shooting him with his own golden gun. The freaks always win in the end.
And we’re treated once more to Dandy in his undies in an escape tank. I love the zero tolerance for Dandy’s bullshit.
“You’re about to go home. Right down to hell,” Dot says, a smirk on her face. But you know who steals the show? My girl Desiree. She is the queen bee at this freak show and you knew she’d be one of the last women standing. She nails everything as she opens the hose to drown Dandy in his glass prison.
“You may look like a motion-picture dreamboat, but you are the biggest freak of them all.”
And then the four of them sit down to watch Dandy drown. While eating popcorn.
“That boy is a star.”
You know I was praying Dandy would just walk away from this unscathed, but I’m oddly satisfied with his death. He wanted to be a freak, he claimed to be immortal, and he totally got what he deserved. I’ll still miss him though.
Speaking of just desserts, although Elsa Mars gets her star on the Walk of Fame eight years after the freak show murders, she’s as miserable as we all hoped she’d be. She married Michael Beck (David Burka), their relationship is a sham, she has no friends, and she’s bored and alone.
“I am cursed. First by having my dreams ripped away, and now by having them all come true.”
Good. You’re a murderer, a bitch, a liar, a terrible friend (to say the least) and you didn’t mind stepping on people to get what you wanted. And now it turns out you don’t want it. Sucks to be you, Elsa.
Icing on the cake? Massimo (Danny Huston), her beloved Italian, has cancer. Perfect. Scrap that plan about running away and growing old together.
Elsa, dear, haven’t you learned to be careful about what you wish for? Someone found the snuff film. Her dream comes crashing down, but the paper trail doesn’t end there. Oh, no. They know she ran a freak show, and with everyone, you know, dead, Elsa’s in breech of the morality clause in her contract. She has Fatty Arbuckle to thank for that.
The defining moment of this finale is how cyclical it is. Remember when I raved about the Edward Mordrake (Wes Bentley) episodes? He’s back.
Elsa takes the stage one last time, singing yet another David Bowie tune (love Bowie, still hate the musical numbers), and when the green fog starts rolling in, you just know Edward is coming back for Elsa’s decrepit soul.
The surviving freaks are seen watching Elsa’s final moments. Desiree did in fact marry Angus (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), and Jimmy married the twins. Or at least Dot. Or both. I’m not sure how that legally works. And they’re pregnant!
Back on stage, Edward asks Elsa if this is her suicide. Fan favorite Twisty (John Carroll Lynch) assures her it will only hurt for a moment, then Edward stabs her in the chest.
As much I enjoyed Dandy’s death, I didn’t enjoy Elsa’s. Edward tells her (and us) that her place isn’t with his freaks, and in a rather lovely shot, Elsa is pulled through the mouth of her own freak show. Call me morbid, but I sort of wanted the freaks to have their death wounds. Everyone Dandy murdered is back in Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities, no worse for wear. Hell, Paul and Penny (Grace Gummer) frolic down the way and exclaim that they got married!
I’m as surprised at Elsa by her absolute lack of punishment. I wanted her to have a comeuppance, not have her family restored. I wanted the bad ending. I wanted Elsa to get as good as Dandy got. Oh well.
Overall, I enjoyed Freak Show. I felt the story didn’t get away from the writers too badly, even though they dropped several of the story lines (murderous clown, murdered detective, Jimmy being on the run…for murder), but I think we’ve come to expect that from them. Hopefully, this means they’re getting the hang of things and next season will be even better.
As for next season, I have no idea what to expect. If the show stays true to pattern, we’re due for another modern day setting. Jessica Lange has gone from “no season five”to “maybe.” (Although, honestly, Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett have stolen the show.) I only have one real request:
Please, for the love of everything, no more aliens.
Thus the curtain drops on another season of American Horror Story. What did you think? Did Elsa deserve her redemption or were you, like me, vaguely disappointed? What do you think Ryan Murphy has in store for us next October? Leave your comments below and tell us about your experience at Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities.
The freaks are waiting.
Meghan Harker grew up in a small, awkwardly-named town in Georgia. She attended Brenau University, where she earned her BA in English and a minor in Graphic Design; she also attended the University of Cambridge, England, where she didn't quite master the perfect Oxbridge accent. She's an avid reader, writer, and fire spinner. She's currently working her first novel, a paranormal thriller. Visit her blog at ExquisitelyOdd.com.
Read all posts by Meghan Harker for Criminal Element.