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American Horror Story: Freak Show “Curtain Call” 

American Horror Story: Freak Show “Curtain Call”
Sam Lothridge/FX

Well my beautiful monsters, it’s curtains for American Horror Story: Freak Show. Before I give my opinion on the season as a whole, let’s recap the finale which saw its fair share of deaths.

Sam Lothridge/FX
Photo Credit: Sam Lothridge/FX

As we saw in Episode 12, Elsa had sold the freak show to Dandy before skipping town for Hollywood. Unfortunately for Dandy, no one was interested in coming to see him sing Cole Porter songs. Dandy also wasn’t making friends with the freaks and got himself punched by Amazon Eve, while the others quit.

After being called boring by Paul, you just knew Dandy was going to let his psychopathic rage loose. Dandy gunning down Paul, Ima, Suzi, Toulouse, and Amazon Eve was a surprising sequence to watch. Thankfully, Desiree managed to hide from Dandy long enough to survive. It’s not that I didn’t mind the sequence, but the deaths felt to rushed and random. It felt like violence for shock value.

Dandy was never going to shoot the Tattler twins, because he had bigger plans in mind: marriage. Did anyone else really believe the twins would actually go along with this without a plan? Having Desiree and Jimmy appear while Dandy was drugged felt more inevitable than surprising. At least it led to my favorite scene in the finale.

Dandy was chained inside Houdini’s famous escape water tank. It felt incredibly satisfying to see him beg for his life. He took their family and friends away and now it was time for him to pay the price. Desiree, Jimmy, and the Tattler twins got to sit and watch as Dandy drowned. Still, not every villain got their just desserts.

Over in soul sucking Hollywood, Elsa’s attempts at fame proved fruitless until she met Michael, aka Neil Patrick Harris‘ husband, David Burtka. As we moved ahead to 1960, we got to see Elsa as the star she always wanted to be. Although, frankly, I don’t see why she became famous. Because of her singing? I don’t buy it. Sadly for her, her dreams were not all that they were cracked up to be. She hated her husband, and her past in snuff films and freak shows was about to be leaked. Oh yeah, and her true love, Massimo, was dying. Instead of living out her days in misery, she decided to perform on Halloween. As you can remember, that’s not a great idea for carny folk.

Photo Credit: FX

As expected, Edward Mordrake (and Twisty!) showed up to kill Elsa. Instead of bringing her along with him, he sent Elsa to an afterlife with the freaks. They embraced her once more as their leader and star of the show in the great beyond. Back in the land of the living, Desiree was happily married with kids, and Jimmy was now married to Dot and Bette who were now pregnant.

Elsa’s Final Performance:

Okay, here’s where I’m going to get critical. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy certain aspects of this season; it’s just that it all felt a little empty and pointless. There was no overarching mystery. There was no central villain. There was no central hero. What did we just witness? The freaks shall inherit the earth is not an ending.

I wish we hadn’t had to deal with Stanley. He felt like a much more tedious villain than Dandy. Dandy was a fantastic villain and his death was perfect. You know who’s death felt wrong… Elsa’s. Elsa was a horrible person who was selfish and greedy. Why does she get to go to heaven with the freaks? Why would Ethel welcome her back? Elsa didn’t deserve to spend eternity with the freaks she betrayed. After all, she’s the one who sold the show to Dandy. Then he went and killed everyone!

Elsa’s performance in the afterlife felt more like a sendoff to Jessica Lange than it did Elsa Mars. If this is indeed Jessica Lange’s final season on the show, then having her last shot be one of her on stage while a crowd applauds would be Ryan Murphy’s personal sendoff to his star. It just didn’t feel earned for her character. She just wasn’t likable at all.

The whole season felt like there was something missing. What that is, I’m not sure. The setting was spectacular and the inclusion of the freaks was terrific. If anything, the ending reminded me of “Murder House.” Except those deaths were earned. The family had to die in order to find peace. The deaths in “Freak Show” didn’t feel like the natural conclusion. I hope that next season, the storyline is tighter. There should be more focus on one or two villains. I think the show could also benefit from a smaller cast. I hope Finn Wittrock comes back because he was by far the best aspect of this season. I would also like to see Evan Peters return to playing the bad guy.

I’m not sure what clues were dropped in the finale that hint at where we’re going next season. I just hope it’s somewhere that will remind me of why I like this show and continue to watch it.

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