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American Horror Story: Freak Show “Massacres and Matinees” 

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FX
Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FX

On this week’s episode of American Horror Story: Freak Show titled, “Massacres and Matinees,” we got to see what’s behind Twisty’s mask. Ladies and gentlemen, it sure ain’t pretty!

Twisty is a curious villain this season. He hasn’t spoken a word yet and he chooses selectively who to kill and who to capture. There were several shots throughout the episode where he remained motionless. I find these to be where he’s at his most terrifying. It’s the anticipation of what he will do next that sends a shiver down my spine. Who is this man, and what happened to his face? Yikes! That was definitely an unpleasant sight when his mask came off. His mouth looked cut up and mushy. I don’t know how else to describe it frankly.

However, it looks like Twisty may have found a new friend in Dandy. This is one stunted, spoiled boy, and quite possibly a full-on psychopath. His relationship with his mother is clearly unhealthy and she’s ignoring the psychosis that’s staring her right in the face. It’s a widely known fact that killing small animals is a precursor to becoming a serial killer. He may be well beyond the point of no return now that he’s teamed up with Twisty. Those poor kids had one shot to get out of the bus and Dandy had to come and ruin everything. What does Twisty plan on doing with them in the long run and does Dandy’s presence get in the way of his intentions? Dandy’s everlasting boredom will probably get himself killed in the end, probably by Twisty’s doing.

Over at the freak show, Jimmy is struggling with not only killing someone for the first time, but also losing his status as the big man on campus. There’s a new act in town and he’s nothing but a big bully. In this episode, we met Dell Toledo (Michael Chiklis), the strongman and Desiree Dupree (Angela Bassett), the three-breasted woman. Dell and Desiree, his wife, immediately make their presence known by voicing their opinions about the acts. Dell doesn’t like that Elsa is in charge and doesn’t hesitate to do things his way.

Ethel is horrified to see Dell. She doesn’t want Jimmy to find out Dell is his father and with good reason. He tried to kill Jimmy as a baby! Dell is clearly a bully and has the temper to match, as we saw when he beat Jimmy. Later, after catching Jimmy hiding the cop’s badge in his trailer, he puts it inside Meep the Geek’s things instead. Poor Meep was thrown to the wolves and didn’t stand a chance. Hearing him yell rape in the jail cell was one of the more horrifying moments in this episode. Jimmy knows it’s his fault and now he has two deaths hanging over his head.

Meanwhile, Elsa was stunned to find out that Dot is quite the singer. I’m not sure how I feel yet about the modern songs being used in the show. I enjoyed the use of David Bowie last week, but Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” felt more out of place for some reason. Perhaps it was the moshing and crowd surfing, but that’s just me. However, “Criminal” and “Dream a Little Dream of Me” were good song choices to highlight Dot’s growing attraction to Jimmy.

Elsa may get in the way of any happiness for the twins if she continues to warp Bette’s mind. She’s trying to pit her against her sister. I understand jealousy, but is Elsa really that dark? She handed Bette a knife at the end of the episode. A knife! I would imagine that if Bette killed Dot, she would only end up killing herself in the process. They do share a body after all. Although, I’m sure Elsa probably had that in mind when she handed her the knife.

The direction in this episode was brilliant. Like I predicted in my review last week, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon took the Tod Browning‘s film, “Freaks” and used it as inspiration for a number of shots. The obvious example is toward the beginning of the episode where Jimmy is sitting at the head of the table while the freaks chant, drink, and eat around him.

The context for Jimmy’s outburst is different than the outburst the woman has in the film, but the setup of the table, the freak making her way down the table and the chanting is eerily similar. I’ll be thrilled if the show continues to pay homage to classic horror films like this.

Questions to Ponder:
– What will Twisty do now that Dandy has decided to become his new playmate?
– What’s the deal between Dandy and mother? I’m getting some series icky vibes between them.
– How will Jimmy react when he finds out Dell is his father?
– Will Bette turn on Dot like Elsa hopes?

AHS: Freak Show airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.

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