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Last season on American Horror Story, the Coven storyline gave Kathy Bates a chance to be excruciatingly racist and immortal, and the actress also spent a couple of episodes as a disembodied head. This season, she gets to be Ethel, the Bearded Lady, and though it seems like a downgrade from the murderous Madame LaLaurie, she’ll probably end up causing even more horrifying events in American Horror Story: Freak Show. Above is one of our first looks at the premiere episode, and it shows off Bates’ grody-ass facial hair in all its scraggly glory.
Ethel is one of many performers in the titular carnival exhibit run by Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange), a German expat who is trying to keep alive one of the last traveling freak shows in America. Elsa is an ex-cabaret dancer and will undoubtedly exhibit the same dramatic style as all of Lange’s American Horror Story characters. Have your ballots ready, Emmy voters.
Ethel is Elsa’s second in command and is the mother of Jimmy (Evan Peters), whose “lobster hands” are his claim to defame. Take a peek at Jimmy and Elsa in the image below. Just don’t ask him if he wants to arm wrestle.
Michael Chiklis plays Ethel’s ex-husband Dell, who is hired on as the strongman in the group. He’s married to Angela Bassett’s Desiree Dupree, a performer with her own physical deformity, though hers is a tad more alluring, as she has three breasts, Total Recall style. She’s hiding them in the image below though.
Characters not making it into new images are conjoined twins Bette and Dot (Sarah Paulson), Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch), and those played by Frances Conroy, Wes Bentley, Emma Roberts, Denis O’Hare, Pattie LaBelle, Gabourey Sidibe and Finn Whitrock. You can find the rest of the new shots at Collider or catch American Horror Story: Freak Show when it hits FX on Wednesday, October 8. But first, head over to the next page to check out the latest teaser, in which curiosity doesn’t kill the cat, but rather the kid.