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With only a few minor tweaks, the American Horror Story: Freak Show finale “Curtain Call” would serve as a perfect reunion special for this season, had it ended at Episode 12 for some reason. Gone are the conversations between Neil Patrick Harris and his sex-watching ventriloquist dummy, and in are the time-jumps, wrap-ups and happily-ever-afters. The latter came few and far between though. R.I.P. 95% of the Cabinet of Curiosities.
”Heck of a Show.”
What was American Horror Story: Freak Show even about? Was it about Elsa’s hopeless quest for love and adoration, full of sadism, dictation and a lack of self-worth? Even when she was worth a ton in a monetary sense, she was still bored. The episode begins with Dandy’s image but ends on Elsa, a character whose niceness to her monsters never came without her reminding someone of how generous she was being. She was, for lack of words that make her look better, a rude, conniving, murderous bitch with far more nicotine in her body than compassion.
When her number is up and her embarrassing “home movies” are about to surface, ruining her career and name, she delivers a Halloween performance (of David Bowie’s “Heroes”) that calls up old back-of-the-head-face Edward Mordrake and Twisty the Clown. But she is rejected from their black soul society, and she makes it to her own heavenly afterlife, where all of the rest of the dead freak show members are there – minus Dell – and the chairs are filled with people ready to watch Elsa.
Even though she got her one true love torn away from her, it was because he had an inoperable cancer, so it still wasn’t quite her burden to bear. She had a successful TV stint along with gold records paying tribute to her German heritage. (An excellent detail.) She shouldn’t get to make it to heaven, regardless of how happy she is to see her crew again. It ain’t that easy, lady. She knocked a bitch down for saying she was less than Marlene Dietrich (among other things). Elsa deserved a worse fate in my book.
”I’m a song and dance man.”
Was this season about Dandy’s hopeless quest for love and adoration, full of pointless murder, hair gel and an abundance of self-worth? His money meant far less than having people bow down to him. The episode begins with the “rich nancy” trying to rule the freak show like he’s royalty, which gets him knocked down and put in his place by Paul, Eve and the rest. This leads to a sickening sequence where Dandy vengefully walks through the freak show grounds and murders everyone he can find. Let’s not talk about how terribly that fight with Eve was directed and choreographed.
Dandy forces the twins to marry him in one of the most jarring time jumps in TV history, one which I kept assuming would be followed by a “gotcha” moment when a character wakes up. But no, it’s actually all a ruse to get Dandy drugged up and transported into a giant water tank, where he is made to drown in front of everyone who survived his attack. It was a particularly morbid scene, and one with its fair share of dark comedy, which makes it the perfect exit for this ridiculous hot mess of a man-boy. Him trying to sway Bette and Dot to let him out by saying marriage is hard was possibly the best moment of the episode for me.
Oh Yeah, Those Other Characters That Lived
Was this season about Jimmy’s hands, or Desiree’s boobs? Neither one of these guys did much in this episode – Jimmy showed up after people got murdered, and Desiree hid from Dandy’s attack – until they brought Dandy to freak justice. Jimmy went on to get Bette/Dot pregnant, which should make for an amazing offspring, and Desiree and Angus T. Jefferson also have a happy little family kicking. It’s hard to find a critically relevant reason to talk about these two, as they ended up not meaning much in the end. Oh well. Neither did anyone else, really.
American Horror Story: Freak Show was never quite what I wanted it to be, and was quite often something I didn’t want it to be at all. And now that it’s gone, I won’t miss it. There should probably be some kind of a contrasting point that summarizes everything in a witty and affecting way, but there isn’t. It was all about clowns, freaks and accents as crazy as the wardrobes. And sometimes, but only sometimes, was it worth the price of admission. See you guys next season! Thanks for reading!
Other Thoughts Floating Beneath the Big Top
“I was willing to eat shit to keep this place going.”
Even the argument that Elsa had it rough because she had wooden legs can be countered with “But she had the best wooden legs.”
“Merry Christmas, Knuddelmaus” needs to exist, pronto.
I was surprisingly saddened by Paul getting shot. Mat Prater needs to act in everything.
“The mist doesn’t come up until the goblin sketch.” Classic variety hour line.
Was it “progressive” of the show to portray 1950s Americans as unafraid of hearing a dozen gunshots going off in the vicinity? Dandy’s massacre was a little too quick and clean. Not that it was quick or clean.
Slow clap for Finn Wittrock, who did an amazing job with an abysmally annoying character. Few actors can pull off those hilariously lame winks that Dandy shot Bette and Dot at their wedding, as he made references to having a quasi-threesome. I’d be glad to see him come back next year.
David Burtka guest stars on American Horror Story and gets called a pussy husband. Did Marjorie write that line?
Prediction for Season 5: It’s about the production of Season 1 being haunted by the ghost of one of the witches from Coven.
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