Most people who love American Horror Story, like myself, have long come to terms with creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s choice to focus on characters and moments over plots. TV is clogged with case-by-case procedurals and this series’ “anything goes” mentality allows for things that other series can’t offer. In the case of “Bullseye,” it’s dedicating the B-stories to freak show performer/lothario Paul the Illustrated Seal and a serial killer falling in love with conjoined twins. It’s either “high art” or “art if you’re high.” I can’t tell.

Elsa Just Wants to be Loved

I guess that justifies a bunch of straight-up awfulness, right? If you steal money from a friend without him realizing it, do you then get mad at him if he suspects you of the theft? Elsa shipped twins Dot and Bette off to the Mott family, but gets extremely pissed off when anyone aims their suspicions at her. Particularly when that person is Paul, whom she’s been sleeping with. Elsa’s got this weird plan to use the knife-thrower wheel in her TV act, but she isn’t going to get that greenlit by actually injuring Paul. If he dies, she probably wouldn’t want that kind of controversy following her. Yes, I realize The Elsa Mars Hour isn’t real and that it doesn’t matter.

I could have done without the knifethrowing as the metaphor for how Elsa sees how choices in life are made, but it was an interesting look into her life nonetheless. The daughter of two parents forever mourning their short-lived first born. Elsa strives for attention, and brother, does Jessica Lange attract it in that one breakdown scene. She really unlocked something in that scene, her eyes revealing an even more broken hamster wheel in her head.

”There is nothing left but the dust and the scorpions inside of me.”

Last week, we were vaguely worried that the twins would be killed by Stanley. This week, we’re vaguely worried that we might have to watch a sexual act between them and Dandy. He’s in love with them, and Bette is reciprocating the emotion, though Dot is not so keen. She’s only interested in using him for his money to find a surgeon to take the twins apart. Tis a shame about that one twin who died. This entire angle made me cringe, but I cheered with glee when Dandy and Bette’s hands met up in the popcorn tub. So good.

Of course, Dandy eventually reads Dot’s diary and realizes that she will never return his love. So, of course, he snaps. (After all, he tried to take responsibility for taking down Twisty, which everyone thinks Jimmy did, and Dot loves Jimmy, and gross.) Jimmy heads over to the Mott household looking for the girls, and we don’t really know what happens to him. Ethel serves Elsa a pointed threat at the end of the episode about her potentially lying about the twins. If Elsa is even partly responsible for Jimmy getting harmed, she may wake up with a beard-created hairball shoved into her throat.

Casanova the Illustrated Seal

Paul is knocking boots with everybody this week. Well, just two women, but still. It’s Elsa, who eventually throws a knife into his torso and leaves him to die, and that candy striper woman from the earlier episode. The one who got all drugged up and orgied out. Matt Fraser delivers his lines amazingly well and fits right into this half-soap opera, so I’ll be really pissed if he’s gone by the time next week’s opening credits role.

The story wild card here is the candy striper, whose father is very protective of her, seeing as how she’s constantly run away from home and put her mother in the loony bin. She’ll be back next week for some kind of a family showdown, but I don’t think I give a shit about that story at all. More Paul! More Paul!

The Butterfly Game

There’s nothing good happening with Stanley and Emma Roberts. His whole schtick is just having fantasy sequences about the freaks getting preserved for that museum he aims to sell to so badly. This week, Ma Petite was drowned in a jar while screaming in her signature little squeak. Emma Roberts is meant to actually kill her but she chickens out in the end, making Stanley more dedicated to taking Jimmy’s claw hands. The only redemption I thought Emma Roberts would have is being so devious that she wouldn’t let her lame love for Jimmy get in the way of her schemes. That all went up in flames, and hopefully she gets put into a jar soon.

All in all, this wasn’t too great of an episode, though I can’t say I was particularly bored. We found out a little more about Pepper’s orphanage past that will no doubt come up again in the future. Bette and Dot had a weird Snow White thing going on which was creepily cool. And then there was whatever meta thing was happening with Elsa referring directly to TV audiences. I’ve already reached the point where I give up pretending to understand what’s happening on American Horror Story. See you next week.

Thoughts Floating Under the Big Top

“I go by my full name now that half of me is gone.” There’s no way I would have ever stopped laughing after writing that line.

“My very own hot water bottle to cuddle up with at night.” Ma Petite was a breath of fresh air tonight.

“I like Dora better.”
“Hindsight is 20/20, dear.”

Evan Peters isn’t a natural color in this series. Is Bronzer a race?

“Dandy, I brought you snackies. I have RC Cola, too.” One has to wonder how weird actually living inside that home would be.

If FX sold American Horror Story: Freak Show merchandise of Dot’s framed diary entry about Dandy, I would think hard about buying it.

I think Dandy’s symmetrical face has something to do with his love for the conjoined twins. Does that warrant a scientific paper? Are they called something more technical than “scientific papers”?

When has anyone ever reacted well to being asked to pose as a chauffeur after having sex?

“I’m going to take my business to Woolworth’s. They’ve got ice cream.”

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