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TV Recap – American Horror Story: Freakshow ‘Curtain Call’

6 min read

American Horror Story: Freakshow came to its final and bloody conclusion this week. Whilst the themes and ideas of Freakshow started out so promising, in typical AHS (and Ryan Murphy) form this season rapidly hit new lows as it struggled to contain its large cast and storylines. So without further ado, let’s get into this final recap of Freakshow.

Going into this finale I said to a friend, “you know what? It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even care about the characters anymore… they should just kill everyone.” And that’s exactly what happened. Whilst the freaks had agreed amongst themselves to tolerate Dandy as their new boss, his pretentious rich boy attitude soon comes through and the freaks let him know who’s boss. But as we know, Dandy doesn’t take too kindly to being told what to do. So he dons his makeup and utters ‘showtime’, as he hunts the freaks down one by one and massacres them. I have to say that I loved this sequence; it definitely fit with Dandy’s character and the murders added to the horror that I’ve felt was missing from the show since Twisty left. Amazon Eve saves Desiree’s life and almost manages to subdue Dandy – realistically I’m pretty sure she should have won. But alas she too was shot in the head. Dandy arranges all the bodies into a lovely display on the freakshow stage, where Jimmy happens to find them after convieniently being absent. He and Desiree comfort each other in their grief.

There was one freak Dandy didn’t kill – he saved the twins Bette and Dot. Once Dandy decides he wants something he must have it, and the twins were no different. After longing for them for several episodes, he and Bette wed, much to Dot’s disgust. It’s one of the happiest days of Dandy’s life, as he discusses the possibility of having a three-headed baby (as you do). But Bette and Dot have arranged a special surprise for their wedding feast: a chef by the name of Desiree. She and Jimmy appear just as Dandy comes to the realisation that his wine has been poisoned. Personally I feel this was a little bit too easy a way to capture a psychopath like Dandy, but I suppose he was too happy because of his wedding and whatnot. Anyway Bette shoots him in the shoulder, which is awesome, and then Dandy blacks out.

He wakes up at the freakshow: he’s on stage! And he’s about to give the performance of his life. One of Houdini’s greatest tricks was escaping a tank filled with water whilst being handcufffed to the bottom. But Dandy doesn’t know this trick; he’s happy to perform, but he doesn’t know the trick! Desiree, Jimmy and the twins sneer at him through the glass. He pleads with Bette, “but you love me!” He obviously wasn’t prepared for her response: “I HATE you. I finally found friends and a family, and you killed them!!” Yeah she’s hit the nail on the head there. As Dandy pleads for his life, the water starts to pour in as Desiree, Jimmy and the twins sit in the front row with popcorn. This was definitely my favourite scene; the dry humour along with Dandy’s screams of I HATE YOU I HATE YOU were just the perfect combination. As Dandy’s body stops thrashing about and it becomes clear that he’s dead, Desiree offers her final thoughts on the situation as she enjoys her popcorn: “That boy’s a star.”

American Horror Story Freakshow Popcorn

And that is most definitely where the episode should have ended. Instead it then became the Elsa Mars show (that’s a pun); as it seems likely that Jessica Lange is leaving after this season, we shouldn’t be surprised that we got a lengthy look into her future. When Elsa first arrives in Hollywood, she finds getting into show business is a little bit harder than she thought. She doesn’t really understand the concept of making an appointment, choosing instead to wait all day for a man who doesn’t want to see her. After an unfortunate tussle with the receptionist Elsa is rescued by her knight in shining armour, vice president of casting Michael Beck. Fast forward eight years and Elsa’s recieving a star on the walk of fame for The Elsa Mars Show and her singing career. She’s also married to Beck and the two of them are super rich. But money doesn’t equal happiness and that certainly shows during the filming of a coffee commercial. Elsa’s diva attitude comes through and it becomes apparent that her marriage is on the rocks. Things are also shakey because her boss wants her to do a Halloween themed show. Elsa refuses because of the carney mythology that we found out was true in the ‘Edward Mordrake’ episodes.

She goes home to meet her old friend and lover Mossimo. Elsa’s decided she’s had enough of fame, and wants to run away and live with someone who loves her. But alas it’s not to be, with Mossimo confessing he only came to say goodbye. He has a fatal illness and only a month to live, so there would be no point in leaving together. Things just get worse from there as husband Michael and boss Gabler come home to a drunk Elsa. It turns out a journalist has dug up the video of Elsa getting her legs cut off, and plans to expose it to the world. She also found out that Elsa used to run the freakshow, which doesn’t look good for the glamourous tv star. Gabler talks about paying out her contract and whatnot – her career is over. But Elsa has suddenly changed her mind: she will do a Halloween special after all. May as well go out with a bang, she mutters.

Of course we all knew what was going to happen. As Elsa starts to perform, Edward Mordrake appears to her, along with his troupe of dead carney folk. He confesses that whilst he has thought about her since their last meeting, she is not destined to join his travelling freakshow. Edward DOES kill her though, and we then move on to one of the strangest finale endings I’ve seen. Elsa ends up in her own version of the afterlife: a reincarnated freakshow. Everyone who was dead is now once again alive, and they get to perform to a packed house every night. No one’s even mad at Elsa for killing them, or handing them over to Dandy, or for any of the other horrible things she’s done. They’re all just happy and performing. Oh, Desiree is happily married with children and Jimmy and the twins got together and are expecting a baby. The end.

To be honest, everything ended far too happily for me. I’ve been saying in my last few recaps that Freakshow wouldn’t be able to fix their lackluster season, and I was correct. Season four has been lacking in the sex and gore that made AHS popular in the first place and that we saw in the first two seasons. Those elements and consistent plotlines go a long way, and unfortunately Freakshow ended up with neither. Dandy, portrayed by Finn Wittrock, was by far the best character on AHS this season (with Twisty a close second) but was a casualty to poor writing. Season 5 is meant to see a drastic overhaul of American Horror Story; let’s hope, for their sake’s, this is true.

I’ve enjoyed bringing you these weekly recaps and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them just as much! (We obviously have the same disturbed taste in tv shows and humour as we’re both watching AHS). Let me know what you thought of this finale and what might happen for Season Five! I’d love to know your thoughts. And feel free to leave any suggestions on shows you would like to read weekly recaps of next!