AHS Freak Show: Ep. 1 – Monsters Among Us (SPOILERS)
So, American Horror Story is back! This time, it’s Freak Show! That will probably mean clowns. 🙁 We start with an ominous voice over by Sarah Paulson, and go right to a milkman entering a house because the milk he delivered previously was still outside. He finds an old woman dead, and hears noises upstairs. So, instead of doing the smart thing and going to the police, he decides to check it out…. with a rolling pin. Oh, you stupid milkman. He finds something horrifying up there, and we’re taken to a hospital, where the staff are very freaked out by a patient that has one bladder, three kidneys, four lungs, and two hearts with a shared circulatory system. Conjoined twins, y’all. Or, Siamese twins, since this takes place in 1952. They didn’t care about political correctness back then.
Jessica Lange sighting!! She’s looking FABULOUS, as usual. This time, she’s got a German accent, and is very keen on seeing ‘the monster’. Turns out that it’s Sarah Paulson… who we saw at the beginning of the episode without her twin. Hmmmm. And, in Jessica Lange fashion, she’s totally acting creepier than the so-called monster that everyone is afraid of.
Credits. If I wasn’t already disturbed by clowns, the opening credits would DEFINITELY have made me afraid of them. It’s all like “let’s see how many spinning clown heads we can fit into one opening credits!”
Elsa (Jessica Lange’s character) talks to the girls in a very creepy manner about lots of stuff. About show business, about their two hearts, but only one reproductive system. The twin on the left is friendlier and open, and the twin on the right is mean. They can also talk telepathically to each other. They also seem to not care for each other. I guess not. I’d probably hate my own Siamese twin, too. It’s someone you can never escape from.
omg, KILL THE CLOWN WITH FIRE. KILL IT. EEWWWW. So, the most disturbing clown in EVER interrupts a couple picnicking and kissy-facing. He’s got what looks like a mask fused into his face, with a still mouth in a giant-ass grrrroooosssss smile. He gives the girl flowers, and then starts pulling out his juggling pins. When the boyfriend comes back from the car, he knocks the couple out, and then starts stabbing the SHIT out of the boyfriend. I think this is the closest that I’ve ever felt to being scared while watching this show. I think it’s a good show, but it takes a LOT to make me scared. I’m not going to have nightmares, but my skin is definitely crawling.
Evan Peters sighting! Elsa’s in a diner being eccentric as hell, and sees Evan Peters talking up a waitress. She runs a freak show, and is being kicked out the field where their tents are set up. Evan Peters is one of the freaks (though we don’t yet know his affliction – the mitten motorcycle gloves give a hint, though). She says that she can save the show (the twins more than likely), but he says it’s over and storms out. She also storms out – but in high class star fashion, totally skipping out on the bill.
Turns out that Evan Peters’ affliction is messed-up hands where he’s kind of always doing the Vulcan salute because his fingers are fused together and all gnarled, but make for awesome tools of pleasuring disenchanted housewives.
We flash to various people listening to a radio report about a couple murdered in their home, bringing the death toll to 4 (including Esther Tattler, Bette and Dot’s mother). The gross clown did it, and now we see the girl from the picnic caged along with the son of the latest murdered couple. He does tricks for them, and gets pissed when his balloon animal pops, and starts going apeshit and kicking at their cages. You know, as much as I hate clowns, I kind of would like to know how to make balloon animals.
The twins escape from the hospital, but Elsa finds them about to leave town (and she looks AWESOME in a white suit and tie!). She shows the newspaper to the girls about the murders, and says that even if one of them was found guilty, the other would burn too on Old Sparky. We see flashbacks that Bette wanted to go to the movies, and her mother said no, and then slapped her when she started to talk back. Bette winds up stabbing their mother, and afterwards, Dot stabs Bette. They have a very messed up relationship. Elsa wants to save them (and make money off them), so the twins come to the Freak Show, which has the CREEPIEST clown mouth entrance. We also see that the initial shots of Sarah Paulson were just angled to not show her conjoined twins.
Bette is very happy to be in show business, but Dot is in a hellhole. They meet the bearded lady, Ethel (Kathy Bates). She points out that they’re safe here, and wants them to eat because they’re the main attraction now. She also points out to Jimmy (Evan Peters, who is playing her son), that they have nowhere to go. He wants a normal life, but they can’t be ‘normal’. He wants to lead all the drunks into AA and to normal lives, but she just wants him to make the twins feel wanted and safe, and to like it there.
Jimmy goes to pay a visit to them, but finds a creepy-ass detective there, who’s ready to arrest them (his thought process is actually sound in the murder of their mother), but he doesn’t care about giving them due process since they’re freaks. Jimmy screams not to call them that, after his posse shows up in protest to taking the twins away. Jimmy winds up slitting the cop’s throat with a razor, which I’m sure is a pretty shitty idea.
After the commericals, there’s an establishing shot of the carousel and the ferris wheel and it totally looks like Silent Hill 3. The performers are acting for just two people in the audience. It’s Frances Conroy and her son Dandy, who’s a total spoiled Dandy. He just wants to see the freaks, and when they start coming up, he’s impressed. As Elsa is singing, Dandy slips backstage to meet the sisters. He wants to buy them outright. The mother keeps raising the price, but the girls want to stay. Dot gives a small smile to Jimmy since he saved them from the cop. Frances Conroy insults Jessica Lange’s singing before leaving. Dandy stomps off like a child.
Another establishing shot of the freaky clown’s mouth entrance to the show, and the carousel, where gross clown is riding the swan bench. KILL IT WITH FIRE. He’s by far the biggest freak out of anyone on the show. When the troupe is getting rid of the body, Jimmy starts to pontificate about always being treated badly, and that they will always stick up for each other. Then they all hack the body of the dead cop apart while the gross clown watches on.
Elsa confesses that she brought the twins to the freak show not for their own good, but for herself because she wants to be a star, and nothing more. Ethel says that’s fine and she deserves that. Elsa’s pretty grateful, but when Ethel hugs her and her face cant’ be seen by Elsa, she seems less certain. And it turns out that Elsa has her own affliction – she is a paraplegic from the knees down.
So far, I like this season. My fave season of American Horror Story was by far Asylum. This one is hitting my ‘creep out’ spots. And it’s in no way with the afflicted characters and their deformities. It’s with the clown. Also, the CG with Sarah Paulson and her two heads is actually VERY well done. There was only really one place where you could kind of see the edges of where a green screen would have been. It looks really weird by default because your brain’s just not used to seeing someone with two heads (the same way that a decapitated body always looks fake because you’re just not able to truly process a body without a head), but most of the time, it doesn’t look like bad CG effects. I’m looking forward to seeing how other AHS familiar faces will fit into this cast of characters, like Denis O’Hare, Angela Bassett, newcomer Michael Chiklis, and Emma Roberts.