Last night American Horror Story aired Part II of their “Edward Mordrake” episode, filling in a lot of character backstory and wrapping up a few story lines in the process.
The episode began essentially where last week left off, with Mordrake getting the freaks accounts of how they became who they are today, each story more tragic than the last. Eventually Mordrake comes for Elsa and we understand how she lost her legs. A casualty of one of the first German snuff films, Elsa was bound to a bed and they were sawed off by a chainsaw all happening as the cameras rolled. When she finished her tale, devastated by reliving the account, she begged Mordrake to take her, essentially putting her out of her misery. Instead, he found his way to Twisty the Clown, forcing him to tell his tale.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Darling and Esmerelda still find themselves stranded on the road and with curfew still in effect, not many cars pass them by. Suddenly, one of the children held captive by Twisty bursts from the woods only to be reclaimed by Twisty and taken back to his school bus. Jimmy follows them back to try and help and Esmerelda follows. They are both captured by Dandy and Esmerelda awakes to find herself about to be sawn in half. Jimmy is able to break free from his ties and hit Dandy and free Esmerelda as she and the kids run to the road to find help. Jimmy watches from afar as Twisty is visited by the ghost of Edward Mordrake.
When series like American Horror Story book major actors for an arch on the show, you have to assume that it’s going to be worth it for the talent involved. Regarding AHS, I know that I’ve found myself telling friends, “You don’t hire John Carroll Lynch to hide his face behind a mask and be without speech for the entire run of the show. It just doesn’t make sense.” Last night, through flashback, we saw how Twisty the Clown began and how he became the monster we’ve come to know throughout the first four episodes of Freak Show. Born to an alcoholic mother and neglected as a child, Lynch’s tragic clown found himself slightly developmentally disabled and working on the carnival circuit. When rumors of child molestation began to swirl (we don’t ever find out if they’re true, either) he is run off by the others in his show. He reveals to Mordrake that word traveled fast that he was a child abuser and no one would hire him. He attempted to refashion old junk as toys and sell them to the local toy shop (the owner of which met a grisly end earlier this season) but when he was refused, he became aggressive and became isolated and ostracized. Twisty tried to take his own life with a shotgun but, unfortunately for him, he only succeeded in blowing his jaw off. Mordrake’s evil appendage decides that Twisty is the one and Mordrake puts him out of his misery. Twisty’s soul joins the rest of the dead freaks and returns to hell. Jimmy departs just before Dandy wakes up to find Twisty dead but not before taking his mask and returning home to actually kill Patti LaBelle’s Dora the maid.
Because of Mordrake killing Twisty, Jimmy is looked on as a hero, saving the children who had been held captive. The next morning while talking to the police, Esmerelda confirms that Jimmy saved the day and she seems to be growing a sincere affection for him. Meanwhile, Jimmy hasn’t forgotten the unjust murder of Meep and lets the detective who is interviewing him and who is responsible for his friends death know it. When Esmerelda and Jimmy return to the tents, a group of locals arrive almost simultaneously. Esmerelda braces herself to be evicted but instead, it is the parents of the children who were set free, coming to thank Jimmy for what he has done. They all mingle with the freaks, greet them with treats, shake hands and purchase tickets to that evenings show.
The episode ended with Dennis O’Hare’s Stanley (or, “Richard” for now) finding his way to the Freak Show in Jupiter to join Esmerelda in potentially killing one of the freaks to sell them to the museum. He is posing as a Hollywood agent which is irresistible to Elsa. The tease for next week promises that the peace that fell over the Freak Show towards the end of the episode won’t last long.
I’m loving this season of American Horror Story, which feels just as dangerous and gruesome as past seasons but with a lot of the heart and character drama of Murder House. We’re only a third of the way through the season, so there’s still a lot more story to go. This week we didn’t see much from Dot and Bette, from Del or Desiree or from Ethel, stories that have mostly taken center stage so far this season. There is surely a lot more to come from them as well as from Francis Conroy’s Gloria Mott and her dealings with her very naughty son Dandy.
One more thing to note is that now that Twisty the Clown, who is been referred to as the seasons “Big Bad,” is dead and assuming that we’ve seen the last of him this season, are we to assume that Dandy is filling the shoes of Twisty or does American Horror Story have something else in store for us? Stay tuned!
American Horror Story: Freak Show airs Wednesdays at 10PM on FX.