In my recap last week I asked for the old American Horror Story to come back; the show that filled us with anticipation and suspense on so many occasions, yet seems to be lacking it at the moment. Alas, my prayers were heard and Freakshow delivered a much more substantial episode this week in ‘Test of Strength’.
The episode starts immediately where it left off, with Jimmy finding Bette and Dot at Dandy’s mansion. Despite my feelings that Dandy was going to go all muderous clown on Jimmy’s ass, he decides to be civil and tells Jimmy that the girls are there of their own free will and can leave whenever they wish. Jimmy begins to realise that it was Dandy who almost killed Maggie the night Twisty was murdered, and begs the twins to come back to the freakshow. Dandy believes that Bette’s infatuation with him will make them stay, but aftering realising he betrayed their trust and privacy, Bette chooses her sister and they leave with Jimmy. From the look on Dandy’s face, something tells me that he’s going to be out for revenge.
After an epic cover of Nirvana’s ‘Come As You Are’ by Evan Peters (although I don’t understand this seasons penchant for musical numbers), Jimmy accuses Elsa in front of the cast of selling the twins. But Dot thinks quickly and lies, stating that the girls went to Dandy because they wanted to experience the finer things in life and Elsa helped them to achieve that. This puts them in the perfect position to blackmail Elsa; whilst Bette wants to be a comedian in the show, get a makeover and eat caviar for breakfast, Dot is intent on getting more money so that she can have the separation surgery. Elsa doesn’t think this is a bad idea, as when they die they’ll be out of her way and her ambitions of hollywood. She asks Stanley for his help in locating this doctor from Chicago; Stanley ‘jokingly’ suggests a mercy killing (I don’t think Elsa would object to this either).
Through his own desires, Stanley discovers Dell’s secret of being gay and uses this to blackmail him into killing one of the freaks. Dell’s first choice was Amazon Eve, and boy was that a bad decision. She gave Dell a beating and tells the other women that she believes he tried to rape her (kill her, rape her, it all looks pretty dodgy really). They hatch a plan to kill Dell until Jimmy steps in, promising to get him to leave the cast. Dell sees this as the perfect opportunity to nab his freak so that Stanley won’t out him, so he takes Jimmy out for a drink and gets him wasted. But just as he’s about to make the final blow, Jimmy makes an astonishing admission: he’s known all along that Dell is his father. The pair bond in their drunken haze and Dell can’t bring himself to kill the son he is suddenly proud to claim.
But Dell’s working on a deadline here and needs to choose a victim. His mind settles on the same victim that Maggie’s did last week: Ma Petite. With the sweet tiny woman so narrowly escaping death last week, it was heart-wrenching to watch Dell present her with a new dress and tell her she looked like a princess, only to break her neck with nobody to hear her small, high-pitched screams. Whilst it was kinda obvious that she was probably going to die at some point in the season, the death of Ma Petite was sure to shock and upset many viewers.
Hopefully the show can continue to build on this intrigue and suspense in the second half of the Freakshow season. I can’t wait to see what happens next, but am still hoping for something more from this season of AHS.