American Horror Story Recap: Wrap Your Troubles in Lies
In episode 8 of American Horror Story: Freak Show, the least sympathetic characters try on some new lies for size and kick around some old ones.
Every able body on the campgrounds has joined the search party for Ma Petite, including her murderer, Dell. It’s Jimmy who finds her bloody, tattered dress in the swamp and returns it to Elsa, who howls with grief in front of everyone. In private, however, Ethel accuses her of being responsible for the tiny woman’s fate, pointing to Elsa’s vanity and delusions as motives. Ethel had ear-hustled her conversation with Stanley in episode 7, during which he proposed they murder Dot and Bette, and Elsa hadn’t disagreed. Busted, Elsa concedes that she wants to be rid of the twins, but Ethel has already decided to close Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities for good with her pistol. Elsa ends the conversation by throwing a knife into Ethel’s eye.
Not one to admit her wrongs, Elsa enlists the aid of Stanley to help stage Ethel’s suicide-beheading. Maggie makes the ghastly discovery, and Elsa gives a daytime Emmy-winning performance of showing ample grief in the meadow where Ethel’s body was found. After her twilight burial, Desiree vows before Amazon Eve, Legless Suzi, and newly-christened “Astounding Lizard Woman” Penny, to make the people who have made their lives miserable pay for it, starting with Penny’s father. They abduct him from his home to tar and feather him, but before they completely lose their chill, Maggie intervenes and asks them to rethink murdering him. There’s no way an inherently evil guy allowed to live will seek vengeance in a later episode, right?
Elsa visits a health spa in Miami where women of varying sizes are being tortured with ancient exercise machines and calisthenics. She discovers Barbara, a young debutante from New York, and persuades her to join the Cabinet of Curiosities as the new 800-pound attraction under the name “Ima Wiggles.” Jimmy denounces this obvious replacement for his mother, whose coffin is still settling underground in a nearby field. Before he storms out, Elsa daftly suggests that he seek comfort in Barbara’s bosom sometime. I hope to offer the same advice someday.
Jimmy hits the bottle to cope with his loss, and everyone sees it. When Maggie tries to give him a pep talk to lift his spirits, it leads to a spat during which he tells her goodbye forever. Barbara happens to be near, and she kindly allows him to find comfort in her bosom. I suppose there are worse things that happen in this show.
Gloria is unraveling like fake cashmere. She confides in a faceless psychoanalyst about Dandy’s ongoing problematic behavior. She explains how, as he worsened during childhood, she sought softer kid gloves to handle him as a way to deal with it. His latest hobbies have pushed her to the brink of… asking her shrink to talk to him. He insists on committing the maniac, but Gloria can’t live without her Dandy. Dandy later sits through the Rorschach test and flaunts his most insane notions to the mystery doctor, closing with a monologue about bathing in an enemy’s blood. He isn’t too happy about being sent to a psychoanalyst, but Dandy promises his mother that he’ll keep seeing the doctor if his mother murders Regina in return while they decorate their white Christmas tree. Regina’s arrived unannounced from New York to investigate the whereabouts of Dora, her mother. Gloria has already tried spinning a terrible story about how Dora was sent off to buy squash, but it isn’t good enough for Regina. She will inevitably report them to the authorities, and Dandy promises to take his mother with him to the electric chair if she doesn’t take care of Regina herself. Gloria resolves to ride the Queen Mary to European exile but Dandy can’t accept this resolution, and plants one bullet in her skull with a gold-plated revolver. He bathes in her blood in front of his stuffed animals to unwind.
One Response to “American Horror Story Recap: Wrap Your Troubles in Lies”
[…] the American Morbidity Museum) will be a really good thing for everyone involved. Before dying in episode 8, Ethel had stashed them in a motel to keep them away from Elsa, but they were found anyway. […]