Does anyone else feel like we’re missing something this episode? This week focused on Dandy (Finn Wittrock) and the twins (Sarah Paulson), the ever more despicable Elsa (Jessica Lange) and surprising Paul (Matt Fraser), with a dash of Stanley (Dennis O’Hare) and Esmerelda (Emma Roberts).
As expected, Elsa has told the freaks that Bette and Dot have run off. Of course she wouldn’t admit to ditching them at the Mott residence. That’d be insane. I enjoyed her opening monologue and thought it set the tone for this episode well. Lange is tremendous at balancing Elsa’s selfishness with her desire for family. I believe, in the beginning, Elsa really did care for the freaks she “rescued,”believed she was giving them a haven and a chance to live without fear, but her own desires for stardom warped her kindness. Whenever anyone threatens her chance at fame—like the twins—Elsa eliminates them. Her entire monologue is a dedication to her, as Paul calls it, “demonic soul.”
Paul’s no fool; he knows exactly what Elsa is up to. He tries to tell Jimmy (Evan Peters), but Lobster Boy isn’t buying it. The first ten minutes had me pinning Paul as our next freak to die. He’s too smart. In an unexpected turn, it looks like Paul’s been sleeping with Elsa for quite a while. Even though Elsa claims it’s nothing serious, she still gets pissed when she finds Paul’s been sleeping with someone else. Re-enter Grace Gummer as Penny, our orgy-loving candy striper from the premiere.
With the whole freak show now awake and gathered, Elsa rails at them for talking behind her back. She believes “her monsters should be grateful” for all she’s done for them. Ethel (Kathy Bates) asks what they can do to make it right, and Elsa demands a true test of faith: one of them must strap into the titular bullseye. Of course, the volunteer is Paul. And of course, Elsa hits her target. Paul doesn’t die, but he’s in terrible shape. She knew exactly what she was doing.
Second on the death list is apparently Ma Petite (Jyoti Amge.) Her death is Esmerelda’s idea (what happened to refusing to kill?) and we get yet another fake-out, along with Esmerelda going through with the plan. She can’t do it, then begs Jimmy to run away with her. I still feel like I’ve missed an episode or something because last time I checked, Esmerelda wasn’t into Lobster Boy. She could just be trying to save him from Stanley.
It’s probably obvious by now that Dandy has quickly become my favorite character this season. Oh, you liked Dora (Patti LeBelle) better than the new maid? Maybe you shouldn’t have killed her then.
Quote of the Week goes to Gloria for her reply: “Hindsight is 20/20, dear.”
Dandy is extremely different when he’s with Dot and Bette, whether he truly feels like he belongs or if he’s just trying to calm his bloodlust. At first, I thought he was full of crap protesting to Gloria (Francis Conroy) that he’d never defile the twins, but seeing him with them…I think he’s serious.
Bette is over the moon for Dandy, but Dot realizes she can use him for the money she needs to get her surgery. Dot considers their position slavery, but also a faster way to freedom. I do wish we’d gotten more of the twins and Dandy in this episode because so much is changing with the three of them: Bette is (God help her) in love with Dandy, Dot is still daydreaming about becoming her own person, and Dandy, in a very beautiful monologue, declares himself a being never meant to feel love, but one designed to bring death. Gloria just looks…lost. I feel so bad for her. All she wants is to make her son happy, but there is something so deeply wrong with Dandy that nothing will be able to fix him. Dandy is incapable of cultivating the love he desires.
In the same token, so is Elsa. Her birthday wish is for love, but look at how she treats people, especially her beloved freaks. She even calls Ethel her sister, but she’s been lying to her all along. I firmly believe Ethel’s promise to kill Elsa if she ever finds out she’s lying. I hope she makes good on it. I’ve also heard a rumor that Mr. Edward Mordrake (Wes Bentley) may return. Honestly, though, Mr. Mordrake, I’d reconsider taking Elsa for your undead freak show. She’s just so unpleasant.
Looks like next week we’re back to the overabundance of death episode. I’m praying Paul pulls through, but all bets are open: which freak do you think will be the next to bite the bullet? Or be brutally stabbed in the chest? Or drowned in formaldehyde?
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.