The Halloween episodes of seasons past have always been some of the best offerings AHS have brought us. From zombies, to teen ghosts and this year an urban myth come to life; que this weeks episode Edward Mordrake (Part 1) (Mordrake being the myth). The appearance of this ghost, and legend, was definitely intended to be a terrifying attribute to Wednesday night’s episode, it didn’t quite live up to that expectation however. The introduction of Mordrake was most-certainly interesting, but not in the way it feels that AHS wanted him to be (y’know that scary kind of interesting, the enigma of what will he do, and to who). His back story made for fascinating fare and his conversation with Ethel, where this evil spirit takes sympathy with her, was a touching moment for season four. But still, there is something missing with Freak Show; the tone, aesthetic, captivating characters…this new season seems to lack pieces of all of these and more.
In previous seasons, exactly like this, there have been an ensemble cast playing characters who all share the spotlight, with Freak Show this doesn’t quite seem to be the case. Three episodes in we know little about Jimmy, apart from what has landed him and his mother into Elsa‘s care and as acts at the show, Bassett’s Desiree has barely said a word, and the most we know about Paulson’s Dot and Bette is that they dislike one another and killed their mother. There are no traits on show that compel us to be involved with these characters and their stories (so far), excluding Bates’ Ethel who this week had her moment in the spotlight as she shared her unhappy past. Its a trending theme now that AHS is starting to disappoint rather than intrigue. But, just as it seems that all may be lost, Lange (like is often the case) was on hand to once again bring some light relief to viewers eyes, and ears. This weeks song was Lana Del Ray’s Gods & Monsters, and the performance was really rather brilliant. As a lover of old meets new, its these junctures that are my favorite. Lange’s performance as Elsa brings us a slice of theatrical originality, and scenes like these stand out as a piece of kooky cinema, rather than an FX television show.
AHS welcomed back veteran Dennis O’Hare and Coven‘s Emma Roberts as a duo lacking a conscience and interested in making a quick buck. If this pair, and the others that have already been introduced can mold together and bring back the charisma seen in previous seasons Freak show could be saved from becoming an unmemorable, and frankly quite boring, addition to a generally great series. I’m rooting for it.
The problem with this weeks episode of the new AHS series Freak show, was it bordered so far on the surreal that it was hard to take the majority of it seriously. The only moments of real interest, and in fact sorrow, came in the final half when a cruel injustice saw Meep wrongfully imprisoned and killed. Apart from these moving moments, which saw AHS at it’s best, Massacres and Matinees fell short, and is up there as one of the weakest episodes to date. Another problem with Wednesday nights episode, is it was so boring that it leaves you with little inspiration to wonder what will happen in next weeks installment; disappointment is certainly the right word here. Monsters Among Us looked hopeful, giving the audience just enough insight about the protagonists that we were intrigued to see what’s to come, but little about the clown antagonist and his past to add the horror element the show is so obviously famous for. This unique series, like every season there has been, is the most out-there yet, and perhaps not in the fascinating way it first seemed.
This weeks offering welcomed new characters, que Angela Bassett (the shining star of Coven) playing hermaphrodite Desiree, and newbie Michael Chiklis as ‘strongman’ (and murderer) Don Teledo, Desiree’s frightening, and clearly unforgiving husband. These two provided some of the only interesting scenes, as they made themselves firmly at home in the camp, despite the reservations of Jimmy and his bearded mother (there’s a history there). If Freak show can restore itself in the episodes to come, this could prove to be one of the best yet, but if it continues to follow a formula that feels all to familiar, what are meant as shocks and twists could just become the same old. Next weeks preview looks to step things up, and lets hope so, because if AHS gives us more of the same, ratings could see a dip.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this weeks episode, leave a comment to share your insight!
Chiklis, Laing and Peters in American Horror Story Freak Show
American Horror Story returns with a new setting, a new array of eclectic (and rather scary, in some cases) characters and a whole new narrative for us to get our teeth stuck in to. Freak show is the perfectly apt name of the fourth season of one of the best and most original television horror series’ there’s been in a long, long time. Self-explanatory as always, this season follow the lives of a group of people cast out by 1950’s society, taken in by the astoundingly good Jessica Lange (based on Marlene Dietrich, and sporting a German accent) and trained as acts of one of the last-remaining freak show’s in America. Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Kathy Bates and Frances Conroy all return, once again playing characters completely unlike their predecessors.
For me, the worry of will I enjoy this season, will it be too much (like Asylum proved), or will I have to wait until season five to enjoy it again reigned over me before I began watching. However, twenty minutes in to the hour episode I was intrigued to see where these characters stories would take me, and what horrors would be presented in this so far ambiguous season. Hardly any personal details, apart from physical deformities were revealed leaving plenty of time for those poignant, and often harrowing flashbacks that AHS is now so known for. The most terrifying element so far, is the unnamed and truly haunting murderous clown of Jupiter, Florida where this season takes place. He pulls at the deep-seeded fear that many have of clowns, and gives the previous antagonists of AHS a run for their money.
Monsters Among Us, the seasons pilot premiered giving fans a lot to mull over. Paulson plays Dot and Bette, conjoined twins with spectacularly different personalities who narrate the episode, giving us insight into their sheltered lives. Peters plays ‘Lobster Boy’, a man with syndactyly, making his hands look like lobster claws (the way in which he uses this to his advantage is one of the more humorous moments of the dark episode). Lange takes center stage, which has been the case since Connie Britton’s departure in season one as a David Bowie singing glamor-puss who harbors a secret (well, many I’m sure). The main question for most is what will be the fate for this group; Asylum character Pepper is the first to make a return appearence to the show and the fact that she ends up at Briarcliff doesn’t bode well. I’ll continue to hold out hopes that despite the horror-filled episodes to come, a positive ending could yet be in sight.