The American Morbidity Museum is jam packed with memorabilia & specimens of medical oddities of both humans & animals. If you pause & look at the close-ups shots of the exhibit you will notice the inspiration for the haunting AHS:FreakShow opening main title credits showcasing freaky skeletons & a wiggling Lobster Boy doll. Did you see the taxidermic two-headed baby chick? Maybe that is some foreshadowing about the fate of the Tattler twins? Meep would have had an orgasm in his feathered onesie if he was alive to see it.
The museum is struggling with attendance due to a stale exhibit and the Ed Sullivan show, and it could use some new inventory to bring in paying gawkers. Con-artist Stanley is impersonating a scientist along with Maggie as his fake pupil/assistant, and is waiting for the museum’s appraiser to verify the Sasquatch fetus in a jar. Maggie hints at some sensitivity for the exploited freak human remains that are doomed to be on permanent display, but Stanley disagrees “They were losers in life but at least now they have some value.”
Fake Dr. Stanley is indignant when told that his credentials are just as fake as his baby Big Foot. The curator appreciates his hustle, but if he brought her something authentic & truly priceless she’ll pay him good money with no questions asked. After learning the going the rate for a conjoined liver is $5000 he starts scheming to find a whole conjoined freak. The curator suggests he goes straight to the source, the Freak Shows of Coney Island or South Florida. I would suggest the Big Brother house. #Shade
Even though there is a curfew in Jupiter, parents are still too scared to let their kids trick or treat in town so they take them to West Palm Beach instead. The neighborhood looks exactly like the neighborhood I grew up in, except we didn’t have Twisty lurking in yards; but we did have a neighbor we called ‘Nosy Nandez’ because he was a window peeper. Oh God Twisty even makes standing still in broad daylight frightening. His costume is so dirty & grimy, but after butchering so many people his costume is blood stain free. #Tide. Twisty is stalking a young girl in a fairy costume who is terrified of clowns. Earlier her older brother pranked her while wearing a clown costume. Ummm he will pay for that one later. Stay tuned.
This episode was RULED by Kathy Bates’ brilliant acting, and this is the first scene of many in this episode that highlighted her acting talent. She’s at the doctor because she has cirrhosis of the liver with 6-12 months to live. The doc advises her to not drink or eat meat which will only accelerate her death. Ethel is brought to tears, but not by the news that she’s dying. She’s touched by the fact that he is the first and only doctor to treat her with respect, and that’s more than anyone else has done during her ‘freakish’ life. I rarely tear up over TV, but this choked me up.
Back at the carnival camp Jimmy just finished digging a grave for Meep while the rest of the freaks are boisterous & carefree with fun & games. Bette declines to bob for apples because “we just washed our hair.” Please ignore my subject/verb errors because conjoined twins are bad for my grammar. Jimmy is upset & feels guilty for Meep’s murder because he couldn’t protect him which prompts Dot to scream at the freaks. She lectures them on how disrespectful they’re being to the dead & Jimmy’s grief, and she suggests they dedicate the next show to Meep.
Ethel shoots the idea down because carnival freaks never perform on Halloween night because of Edward Mordrake. She is off the wagon and has disregarded her doctor’s instructions. As she swigs whiskey she is narrating the tale of Mordrake presented to us viewers by way of a black & white silent film accompanied with a beautiful & haunting gothic dirge.
He was an English aristocratic nobleman in the 1800’s who was a scholar, poet, & musician, and a FREAK too. He had another hideous face on the back of his head. His 2nd face whispered to Edward incessantly of “things only spoken of in Hell.” Even after trying to drown it he couldn’t kill Evil Face. He went mad, and his family had him committed to the Bedlam insane asylum; but the voice kept telling him to do things. One night he escapes by murdering his way out, and joins a freak show billed as “The Two-Faced Prince,” an act where he plays the piano and then scares the shit out of the audience by revealing his second face. #ReneZellweger. One Halloween night Edward snaps and murders every freak in the troupe, and then Edward commits suicide by hanging. Though Mordrake was dead, Evil Face still smiles & grins as he lightly spins & sways from his death rope.
The freaks say if they perform on Halloween it will summon the spirit of Mordrake, and he will take one of them back to Hell. Jimmy calls it bunk, but Ethel insists it’s true and says it happened when she performed in the Barnum Circus in 1932. A little person human cannonball who performed on Halloween hung himself the next day. Jimmy is fed up, not about the superstition, but about Ethel’s drinking as he grabs her whiskey bottle & slams it on the table. He asks if it’s because of Dell, and she puts him Jimmy down by telling him now that there’s a man around he’s free to go since she knows he’s “itching to take awwfff.”
Gloria and maid Dora prepare an elegant Halloween themed spread in the mansion dining room with black balloons, pumpkins, pigs in the blanket, candied apples, and a black cat cake. Dora is bitching about her costume, and OMFG Patti LaBelle is wearing a Woody Woodpecker costume and does the trademark laugh. #ROFLMAO . There is no way in Soul Train Hell that Aretha Franklin would do that for Ryan Murphy. Gloria looks fabulously like a Doris Duke-June Cleaver hybrid wearing her finest while she eagerly & nervously tries to please & entertain her manboy child.
Dandy wants to go trick-or-treating to gleefully terrorize the neighborhood, but Gloria reminds him about the curfew. With elitist naiveté he replies, “Curfews are for the poor people.” Like it was Christmas morning he rips open his gift box with his costume in it, and then tears into a rage throwing & breaking crystal over his Howdy Doody costume. I would too because FYI I was mercilessly teased and called Howdy Doody for the first 18 years of my life. #RedHeadCurse. Gloria is desperate to please him and bolts to run into town to find a costume he likes. But Dora is NOT HAVING it with his temper tantrum & gets in his face, “You’re mother may be afraid of you but I’m not.” Taking his costume dilemma into his own hands, Dandy tears up his mother’s closet looking for suitable material to customize his own Halloween ensemble. #CopyCat. Am I a weird perv for finding Dandy kinda cute, especially when he’s bratty mad? Don’t judge me.
Jimmy is officiating Meep the Geek’s sparsely attended pauper-esque funeral with only a few of the freaks in attendance. Where the hell is Mama Elsa? Lady Gaga would not approve. # Mother Monster. Jimmy eulogizes Meep with a story about how he loved dressing up for Halloween and making kids scream by sneaking chicken heads into their candy bags. They honor Meep by passing around a brown bag with chicken heads & throwing them onto his casket and then topping it off with some booze. For my funeral I want the same, but I want Hooters 3-Mile Island hot wings, and I prefer them to be all drumsticks. It’s only a dollar extra. The funeral is interrupted when a taxi drives into the camp grounds. It’s Maggie giving us Faye Dunaway in “China Town” neo-noir glamour, and she’s ‘Mystic Miss Esmeralda’ working her scam as a fortune teller in need of a job.
Dot is having a fantasy dream, but for Bette it’s a nightmare that she is trapped in. The Tattler twins are on an operating table as a surgeon with a spinning bone saw hovers over them to separate them. Filmed with split screen effects with each of their perspectives; Dot is calm & Bette is in tears. This is a manifestation of Dot’s crush on Jimmy and the realization that she can sing. Dot tells her sister to stop being selfish because she has talent & a man who wants to marry her & have babies. Dot thanks God for making her separate & whole, and asks God to take good care of Bette. Then the doctor does the sign of the Holy Cross and starts cutting off Bette’s head with huge splashes of blood.
Bette’s left hand smacks Dot awake from her most beautiful dream. When Dot says Bette can’t hold her responsible for her dreams, Bette says it wasn’t a dream the last time Dot tried to kill her and asks if she would miss her. Dot says she is going to work hard, earn money, and find a doctor who will do the surgery which reduces Bette to tears, “But one of us will die.” Dot adds “And one of us has a chance at happiness” as Bette sobs at her sisters intentions to kill her. #ModernFamily
FINALLY after 31 minutes we get some Jessica Lange. In her divalicious tent Elsa is smoking opium while Jimmy tells her about Mystic Miss Esmeralda wanting a job. Elsa thinks the girl is too white to be a fortune teller, but Jimmy says she’s the real thing even if she is not Gypsy. Esmerelda enters to do a reading on Elsa as a tryout and sets up a crystal ball. She does a classic con-artist technique, pretending to prepare while actually buying time and looking around Elsa’s quarters for clues & tidbits about Elsa’s life. She notices music sheets and her Marlene Dietrich scrap book. She quickly realizes that Elsa is a fallen star desperate for stardom.
She looks into the crystal ball and starts her hustle on Elsa. Esmeralda sees that she was the victim of a grave injustice, and terribly wronged due to greed & jealously and mentions a woman that looks like her. A woman named Marlene who gets an ovation than should have been for Elsa. “That bitch. She stole my career,” Elsa says. Now the fortune teller has found Elsa’s Achilles heel by telling her that she is still has a chance at stardom with the help of an impresario; an elegant refined stranger with dark hair & piercing eyes. Then suddenly Mystic Miss Esmeralda collapses onto the floor from her depleted energy from the reading. Chile please Whoopi Goldberg did it better in “Ghost”. This reminds me of a quote often attributed to Barnum who said there’s a sucker born every minute, and Elsa tells her she’s hired as she wondrously inspects the crystal ball. #DumDums
OK freaktards I have to shift gears and just do a bullet point recap & comments from here on for the rest.
It’s so ironic that the Strong Man Dell Toledo can’t get an erection. She did all that rubbing wood and still no fire; not even with 3 glorious breastesess in his face. When she emasculated him by looking for the nearest door knob to hump, he almost went all Ike Turner on her ass. She stared him down so coldly no wonder his dick is turtling. #WhatsLoveGotToDo WithIt
Now I know why Dell snapped the neck of the “poof” that was screwing his wife. #PenisEnvy
LOL at Ethel calling Dell’s wife triple-tits. Her hair is salt-n-peppa but her beard is red. So sad for Ethel to find out that Dell never loved her, and that he would fuck anything even if it had a beard…or ding-a-ling. Another great acting scene by Bates as she tells Dell she’s dying, and that she wants him to watch over Jimmy; but still to never tell him he’s his father.
The scene were Ma Petite jumped out of that pumpkin was so cute and judging by Amazon Eve’s genuine startled reaction, I bet that was a blooper outtake or prank that was filmed to get an authentic reaction.
Did you know that Amazon Eve is played by a transgendered actress? #BornThisWay
Did you recognize the direct homage to the movie “Halloween”? Director John Carpenter used the POV (first person point of view) type shot for the opening scene in “Halloween” just like the way we see Dandy’s POV through the eye holes of his mask as he is walking downstairs on his way to kill Dora. It allows the viewer to be both voyeur & perpetrator.
The spiral stair case is exactly the SAME stair case in used for the Coven set. It drives me crazy that I recognize the Coven set. #BudgetSaver
Dandy’s stiff plastic mask held by that one cheap rubber band is exactly the same type of Halloween masks I wore as a child. Those damn bands always broke.
Even though Dandy is wielding a knife at Dora, she’s the one that is scaring me. YIKES she is not playing games with that crazy boy as she dares him to kill her. And don’t get me started on her eyebrows.
Dandy’s copycat Twisty costume is his white silk pajamas with color circle cuts sewn on. Whatever that frilly ruffly thing around his collar is must be from his mother’s closet.
LOL when Stanley asked Maggie if the twins have four or eight limbs because he needs to get the right size jar for them.
Hmmm I see that Stanley’s seedy hotel room has elegant wall molding. That means it’s the old Coven set again. All production did was add some gritty green & red lighting to make it look like a hotel room neon sign was flashing.
Were you all disappointed that you did not see the “sword” that Stanley was about to battle the Viking hooker with? The hooker said ‘Holy Christ’ because he realized he should have charged by the inch instead of by the hour.
Though I criticize the set designers for re-using the Coven set, I love their attention to detail for the suburban homes. Inside the little girl’s house for example is puke green upholstery, paneled walls, & bric-a-brac just like a “old grandma house” of today.
Twisty is so fucking BIG. He swallowed up that entire door frame at the little girl’s bedroom. For some reason I thought of the movie “Poltergeist” and Carole Anne when the little girl pointed at the window.
Miss Elsa is not worried about the superstition of Edward Mordrake. She says she is only myth around here. You can blame David Bowie for Elsa’s blue eye shadow, but who inspired this green mess smeared on her face? I think it’s intentional for Elsa to look crazy when she’s in performance mode. It may be a visual way to relay to viewers that she is delusional that she is a “star”.
Elsa wants to rehearse new material because of what the fortune teller told her, but the freaks don’t want to do that because of the fear of Mordrake.
Not only does Dot have an extra head, but now her head is getter bigger as she becomes an ego-maniac. She won’t let Elsa rehearse because she needs to rehearse first, and taunts Elsa that she is the star of the show & wants J-Lo money too. Only until recently Dot never left the house; but now she is plotting to kill her sister and take over Elsa’s show.
Elsa calls Dot a two-headed freak and threatens to throw her into the swamp. Elsa angrily knocks down the stand with Dot’s song sheet which we can see is titled “Criminal” and orders her freaks to rehearse with her whether they like it or not . Myth or no myth nothing stands in Elsa’s way for her 2nd chance at stardom.
Elsa starts rehearsing by performing “Gods and Monsters” by Lana Del Rey. I know the song choice is silly for obvious reasons, but I don’t mind the anachronistic use of them so far. I find them quite entertaining and inexplicably it just WORKS with the show even though she is signing about Jim Morrison. So y’all stop bitching about how Morrison was a kid in 1952.
Just as she sings about her soul & Jim Morrison we see Edward Mordrake mysteriously walk/float onto the Carnival grounds with eerily green lit smoke at his feet and lightning flashes in the sky.
Mordrake glides into the tent where Elsa is singing that nobody will take her soul away. Is that foreshadowing??? I’m getting Coven flashbacks of Papa Legba. Now that I think about it Mordrake’s character is like a Papa Legba/Grim Reaper combo special. As soon as Elsa’s song was over she takes a bow to her audience of one, and then Mordrake & his green smoke just disappeared, and Elsa looked freaked out.
Well Esmeralda’s reading to Elsa about a dark haired stranger visiting seems to have come true. Even though the reading was scam, I wonder if it will turn out that she is indeed a clairvoyant.
Mordrake visits Ethel. I am confused by the dead bodies that Ethel see’s when Mordake enters her trailer. Are they victims of Mordrakes? He called them his companions. They must be the bodies of the souls he has taken over the years. He takes off his hat and shows Ethel his Evil Face on the back of his head. Obviously the CGI special effects team has spent all the money on the double head twins because Mordrake’s 2nd face looks bad & cheaply done, but still effective because that thing is still creepy as hell.
Mordrake looks crazy as he talks to the back of his head calling Evil Face “vile & malevolent.” It’s funny how Mordrake rolls his eyes at how rude & annoying he thinks Evil Face it. He’s apologetic to Ethel, but he is a slave to Evil Face, and he has to do what Evil Face tells him. Mordrake sorta interviews Ethel for Evil Face to determine if she is a true freak with a corrupted soul. If she is, he will kill her and take her soul.
Ethel tells Mordrake her life used to be worse than it is now. We get Ethel flashbacks of her younger days performing Vaudeville when she first met Dell. I say the casting choices for the young versions of Ethel and Dell were very good. Dell became her manager and changed her act which BOMBED and she was out of work.
Evil Face starts making weird zoo noises that only Mordrake understands, and tells her that he knows she has some deeper pain with darker shame. Ethel admits that she was pregnant with Dell’s child, and couldn’t get any carnival jobs. They were penniless so Dell charged money for people to come watch a live freak birth. Does anybody want to see Ethel hug a tree while popping a squat giving birth? Well you do…. and NO JUST NO for this. Dell tries to sell off sneak peeks at the lobster clawed monster baby for 2 bits to the curious crowd. Ethel is ashamed at the exploitation of her baby, and for the way that she has cursed his life.
Evil Face whispers “Not the one” sparing Ethel from going to Hell, and Mordrake disappeared away looking for the one. I hope I’m not spoiling but I bet the top candidate for Mordrake is gonna be__________. I’m not telling because that won’t be any fun. Who do you think Evil Face is gonna chose? Who has corrupt flesh & a befouled soul?
I have to say Wes Bentley as Mordrake is HOT. I’m not even mad at his mutton chops sideburns because Edward is a hot Victorian piece worthy of being a character straight out of an Anne Rice novel. Mordrake is making me yearn for the Goth crowd that I hung out with back in the 80’s during my young years.
Well Dandy is showing off his Halloween costume to Twisty’s young victims locked up in his lair. He’s taunting & terrorizing them with a knife, but he is interrupted when Twisty shows up with another kidnapped victim to add to his collection of children. Dandy is all smiles, “more fun.”
Sorry Freaktards for being so late with my recap. Life is busy and these extended episodes are killing me. I don’t know why I’m finding this season much harder to recap than Coven, but I do. I think it’s because there’s more character development and a slower pace to the scenes which I actually appreciate as a viewer, but not as a recapper. I think the writers learned from their mistakes with Coven’s neck breaking speed, but it’s more work for me.
Please join the discussion below, and you can stalk me like Edward Mordrake without Evil Face on twitter @Urethra_F