Evan Slead ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Leave it to American Horror Story to utilize the Halloween holiday by making a two part episode revolving around the customs of all hallows eve. The first part of the Edward Mordrake (Wes Bentley) character-focused episodes revealed that when the freaks celebrate the holiday on stage, it conjures him into being. Viewers are treated to several back stories of lesser known to major characters like Elsa (Jessica Lange). The most provocative and surprising focus of the episode goes to the portion about Twisty the Clown. Up until this point, there had been no distinct personality or human quality attached to this monster-like man. However, once Edward approaches the clown, there is much more to Twisty than meets the eye.
Writers and creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have had a great run this season with the way they dole out information about each of the characters. There doesn’t seem to be any wasted information about the characters, in general. Dandy (Finn Wittrock) is one prime example of a character that seemed to be a side specimen to the freak show plot, but has now become one of the most intriguing aspects to the season.
This “boy next door” looking man has quickly become the most dangerous and brutal character in the cast, and that is including Twisty. It’s a nice comparison to have Dandy so closely tied to Twisty. The evil that lies dormant within Dandy is the opposite when compared to Twisty. The clown looks gruesome with the scalp placed hastily on his dirty head, and a crooked wide smile forced on his face through a mask. But underneath the horrifying appearance is a very complicated and somewhat kind- hearted man.
Viewers learned that Twisty used to be a clown for children that visited the circus. He was a very simple-minded man who didn’t understand evil, and the complexities that life offers. The other circus members decided to ruin him due to his positive outlook, which caused Twisty to look at life in a more twisted way. He is seen as a victim, which could have been a heel digging course of action, however, the writers made sure to distinguish between victim and murderer. When Edward hears Twisty’s story, he is touched by the mistreatment and simple-mindedness that the clown possesses, but he calls out the evil which has found its way in.
The development of Elsa reached new heights as a parallel to Twisty as well. Her time in Germany was severely painful and anguishing. Nights of sexual torture calloused her to see life the way that she used to in her dreams. The show has made it clear that her love for fame has brought her to where she resides now at Freakshow, but how she got there wasn’t explained fully. Elsa was forced to be in a snuff film that featured her leg being chainsawed off by nylon wearing psychos. This character development was an extremely important illumination on Elsa’s role in the show.
Viewers are used to Lange playing a villain-type character in the entirety of the American Horror Story series, however, Freakshow made her a softer and more relatable character instead. She feels jealousy towards the twins’ singing abilities, but her motives and actions do not reveal her to be nefarious. That, added with her backstory, is the reason that Elsa could be the saving grace for any future evil that comes into the circus.
The growing relationship between Maggie (Emma Roberts) and Jimmy (Evan Peters) is an interesting one, but overall is obvious. Their flirtatious banter comes off a bit pandering to the young love aspect of the show, however, the inclusion of Dot/Bette (Sarah Paulson) in the love triangle is what takes it out of the cliche. Jimmy is a character that truly cares for the members of the circus, and its obvious that he has romantic feelings for Maggie and Dot/Bette as well. There are building blocks of conflict that have been stacking slowly over the course of the season, and surprisingly, the outcome of this love scenario could become the most interesting.
American Horror Story: Freakshow airs at 10/9c on FX.
Overall Episode Grade: A