American Horror Story Freak Show 4×02 – Massacres and Matinees

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How can something so creepy be so enjoyable to watch? But I guess that’s what makes American Horror Story so powerful as a brand. The show has completely taken over pop culture, and it’s easy to see why: it’s so damn good.

It’s funny but I think Twisty and Dandy’s newly formed relationship might just be the coolest element about the show this year. They’re both so enormously demented, and I think that’s going to make for some truly disturbing television. I can’t say I was shocked to see Dandy drag the girl back to Twisty’s hellhole, and I have a feeling the worst is yet to come. The air is just so full of menace and perversion when these two share the screen, and I absolutely can’t wait to see more. Oh Gloria, what have you done?

As excepted, Angela Bassett and Michael Chiklis finally made their first appearance on Freak Show as a particularly bizarre couple: Dell Toledo is a stereotypical circus strongman, but Desiree is a three-breasted hermaphrodite! Naturally I’m much more fascinated by Bassett’s typically astounding turn, but the added layer of Dell being Jimmy’s father is a welcome complication. Also, he almost killed him as a child. Damn.

While it wasn’t very subtle, I loved the entire diner sequence where the circus gang was ostracized for being different. It beautifully paralleled the feeling of loneliness and isolation that so many minorities (different races, sexual inclinations, etc…) experience. Furthermore, the scene was powerfully bookended by Del viciously beating his own son (who didn’t even know it was his father doing the beating). Now I want to say Meep’s death was equally powerful and affecting, but apart from the cuteness factor, we didn’t really have time to forge an investment in the character. Still, it was a well executed turns that adds a good sense of urgency to the proceedings.

 It’s fascinating to see Elsa express superiority over her freaks (“your kind will be blamed”). Although she has a disability herself, she puts herself on a pedestal, and it was especially compelling to watch her manipulate Bette and Dot by turning one sister against the other (and providing a murder weapon in the process). Why do I have the sinking feeling someone is going to try to surgically separate the two before the season is over? God knows this show always crosses every line there is (and that’s what makes it so special).

Frightful Bits

– All the scenes between Gloria and Dandy in the mansion are glorious. Top-notch performances and stunning cinematography all throughout.

– The flashback with Dell killing the man sleeping with Desiree was seriously twisted.

– I honestly laughed out loud when Gloria hollered at Twisty in the middle of the road (“Yoohoo clown”). Just the fact that they keep filming Twisty in broad daylight and he’s STILL terrifying speaks volumes.

– The smallest woman in world is pretty darn adorable. Her reactions and facial expressions are just priceless.

– Like I needed another reason to love Sarah Paulson, the scene with Dot singing beautifully (contrasted with Bette’s terrible off-tune screeching) was superb.

– Cheer-worthy moment with the captive girl hitting Twisty in the back of the head. And that shot of his hollow jaw? Nightmares I tell you

– So Jimmy tried to frame his dad unsuccessfully. Something tells me he’s going to pay for that.

Spooky Slurs

Dandy: I told you a million trillion times, I did not touch her. She was just miffed ’cause I said she reminded me of the pregnant hippo we saw on safari.

Elsa: Do you bark?
Dell: Hell I’ll even howl if you like.

Elsa: Nein. No matinees. No, no, no. People don’t come to see freaks in the heat of day. They come in the evening. When the darkness moves in and speaks of mystery. The unknown. When logic loosens its vice grip and the imagination comes out to play. The night allows the stars to shine and we come alive. No. Daytime is for kiddie shows. Clowns and kewpie dolls. Maybe that’s what you’re used to. But you’re in a real freak show now. My freak show!

Conclusion
Massacres and Matinees is an incredible hour that’s equal parts horrifying and amusing.

Nad Rating
A

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