American Horror Story Recap: Curfews are for Poor People
American Horror Story: Freak Show returns this week with a very special Halloween episode. According to both the freaks and the people who study freaks on AHS, Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year to flaunt the very features that society shuns them for!
In episode 3, Dr. Mansfield (Denis O’Hare) and his promising assistant Ms. Rothschild (Emma Roberts) are offering to sell a pickled baby Sasquatch to the American Morbidity Museum. In the age before Google, however, Ms. Hemmings and her appraiser already know the pair are a fraud, identifying the specimen in the jar to be a fetal goat with the jaw of a cat attached to it. Come on, son. Even if no one has ever seen Sasquatch, you can’t revamp its look just to make a few dollars. Ms. Hemmings, sympathetic mark that she is, admits that the museum has seen better days, and tips the pair off on where to find quality product she would be interested in buying, no questions asked: southern Florida and Coney Island. Dr. Mansfield decides on Florida.
Meanwhile, Jupiter citizens are trick-or-treating in daylight in the next town over due to the curfew. Twisty, feeling left out, stalks them. Ethel has a doctor’s appointment, during which she is diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. Her doctor prescribes hope, telling her she has a year to live, tops, but less if she falls off the wagon. Back at the camp, the freaks are partying in the main tent, bobbing for apples, contorting, and heaving hay around. Jimmy’s been digging a grave for little Meep, too wrecked to enjoy the festivities. Deep-thirst-Dot chastises the troupe for having fun in the wake of Meep’s death, and demands that everyone work harder. Ethel arrives in time to fix herself a drink and explain the tradition of not performing on Halloween: Edward Mordrake (Wes Bentley). The legend says that Mordrake lived in England in the 1800’s. Being born with aristocratic blood didn’t spare him from a life of pain and misery: Mordrake had a demonic face on the back of his head. Its whispering drove him crazy, and after a stint in an asylum, he joined a freak show, where his extra feature was better appreciated. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to quiet the whispering, and on October 31, 18-something-something, he murdered his entire troupe before taking his own life. Ethel claims that performing on Halloween will summon Mordrake’s spirit, and that he will couch-surf around the campsite until he’s taken the soul of another freak. Jimmy questions her drinking, and in lieu of an explanation, she lashes out at her son.
Gloria has cooked up a slamming Halloween party for Dandy without consulting any bullshit Pinterest boards. Dora, the help and only other person in attendance, is forced to wear a Woody Woodpecker costume. Dandy has assumed he will be going out to terrorize trick-or-treaters later, reasoning that “curfews are for poor people,” but is crushed when Gloria says it’s not an option. To make up for it, she presents him with a Dora-made Howdy Doody costume, over which he loses his shit in the worst way. Dora is not having it, and stomps off in her marigold footwear. In another part of the house, Dandy gets all Project Runway, hacking circles out of bright red cloth and pasting them to white satin charmeuse as if Tim Gunn were barking at him to “MAKE IT WORK.” Later, Dandy, fully-dressed as a solo clown droog, threatens Dora with a knife, who dares him to kill her until he backs down. This show is officially Dora’s show. Twisty, man of mystery and purpose, sneaks into a Jupiter home and kidnaps another citizen. Dandy drops in on the captives in Twisty’s decrepit school bus to show off his new outfit and torture them a little before Twisty gets home with the addition to their happy home. Their union is cute now, but the honeymoon phase won’t last forever.
Dot dreams of being separated from Bette, which in turn is Bette’s nightmare. The once-cautious half of the forked pair is so obsessed with the idea of having a future with Jimmy that she would kill half of herself to get it, disregarding Bette’s insistence that she’ll be a plain Jane with just one head. Meep’s funeral service is short and sweet, ending with the troupe tossing chicken gizzards into his grave. Ms. Rothschild, now going by the name Maggie Esmeralda, arrives at the campsite posing as a psychic looking to join their troupe. Jimmy points her in the direction of Elsa’s tent with his boner. Maggie has been in the game long enough to know how to read a mark before telling a false fortune, and Elsa falls for it face-first. To be fair, Elsa has spent the day chiefing opium in her tent. Maggie plays to her fragile state, guessing that Elsa was a victim of greed and ego. I’ve had pairs of pants that would make the same claim against me. Elsa admits that her career was stolen from her by a lady named Marlena, but Maggie squints into her crystal ball and says it’s Elsa’s turn to shine now. Before pratfalling, Maggie describes an impresario, who sounds suspiciously like Dr. Mansfield, who will come into Elsa’s life soon.
Dell’s dick is dead. His wife is a sexy “hermaphrodite” with three boobs, yet he can never rise to the occasion when she summons him for conjugal servicing. Losing what scrap of temper he has left, he bumps into Ethel in a field while walking it off. She shares her flask with him and asks if he ever loved her, and why he led her on about keeping their family together. Dell concedes he could have been a better father to Jimmy. Is there room for feelings in his leotard after all? She confides in him about her condition and asks him to give Jimmy the guidance he’ll need after she’s gone. Over in the main tent, Elsa kicks Dot and Bette out of their own rehearsal so that she can sing her own piece, against the wishes of the freaks. Mordrake arrives at the campgrounds, bringing his green mist and carnie souls with him. Elsa mistakes him for the impresario Maggie described, really putting it on when he appears before the stage. The first camp-dweller they visit is Ethel. His demon face asks him to ask her to recite her downfall in the freak show game in exchange for her life. She tells Mordrake and Mordrake’s demon face about how her love for Dell when they were young led her to bad decisions, including allowing Dell to sell admission to people who wished to witness the birth of a freak baby–their son Jimmy. Satisfied, Mordrake leaves her be.
Next week’s episode promises more of Edward Mordrake, and I sincerely hope he is the pickup artist his outfit would have us believe!
One Response to “American Horror Story Recap: Curfews are for Poor People”
[…] up his lobster-hand special, he pulls back a bloody claw. Ethel’s compassionate doctor from episode 3 treats Desiree, asking her about her life to distract her from the painful examination. We learn […]