Okay, it’s 3 weeks into the 4th season of American Horror Story, and it has the legs to be the most terrifying season yet. I’ve followed along every year and there’s always something so intriguing about the way they paint their characters. No one is fully good or bad, they can fall into their darkness so quickly, and the cast that was chosen plays a huge part in how successful the franchise has been. After the magical blackness of Coven, Freak Show feels much more dirty, as well as full of the juxtaposition between that 50’s facade of perfection and the extraordinarily weird. Let’s break down what we’ve seen so far by character:

1. Elsa Mars

Oh Ms. Lange… This powerhouse actress takes her throne as the ringleader of the circus. Constantly strung out on opium, she’s a worn out actress who still has dreams of being a star. Esmerelda’s fake fortune reading made this clear. BUT will this go too far?? With the emergence of Bette and Dot as the new attraction, jealousy is clearly rising. She’s even trying to make them turn on each other, which makes no sense to me because if they try killing each other again they both die, right??? I assume they BOTH realize this?? So why would you try to kill yourself??? And what about her relationship with Lobster boy? I mean, I’m a cougar but come on. Evan Peters is hot AF, even I couldn’t pull that at 60. I guess it’s different because he’s a freak, and let’s face it, there’s a limited selection of women available there… But I’m thinking the more women that enter this freak show the more likely he is to ditch Elsa. Also, does HE know her legs are prosthetics?? End of episode 1, we learn WHY she’s so invested in this freak show, even though she seems fairly normal. It’s too soon to tell whether Elsa is good or she’ll go nuts.

2. Bette and Dot Tattler

I understand killing your mother who kept you basically locked in a closet for 20 years, and I get them wanting their freedom. It’s actually kind of sad how people gawk at them in the hospital and how their only choice is to go to the freak show. But these two are probably the most complex characters so far. Dot has an amazing voice and Bette sounds like a strangled bird, so these two are set up to cause more drama than any other character. It doesn’t help that Bette is the one with big dreams and no talent, but Dot’s dream/Bette’s nightmare of them being separated is super telling of where this series is going to go. I’m sure it’d be hard being a conjoined twin, but killling off your other head?? What would you do, have 2 hearts, 4 lungs, a giant shoulder/neck scar and expect to have a normal life?? PS – glad they addressed the awkward having one vagina conversation episode 1.

3. Jimmy Darling

Those hands though. I understand him being the defender of the freaks and tired of people being unaccepting of him, of him being the bearded lady/strong man’s son and of him killing a cop, but WHY is he prostituting his hands to housewives?? This was already probably the most disturbing scene so far. I get that he’s trying to make money for the freak show, but… ugh. The fact that he made eye contact the whole time grossed me out more than anything else. And WHY ELSA. Yeah she’s hot for an older woman but still… she’s vain, acts like his mother, nags, and is constantly high. I don’t get it. He’s finding someone else that Elsa will soon hate. I’m sure of it.

4. Ethel Darling

Oh Ethel… Once a star and proud of her beard, Ethel does her best to help the circus get by. We really got to see a glimpse of who she is this episode. She went from star to penniless and humiliated, subjected to making the birth of Jimmy into a freak attraction. Her hard life has made her turn to booze, and cirrhosis of the liver gives her 6-12 months to live. She’s full of regret, but there’s some sort of honor and pride that comes with her honesty about it. She’s genuine and level headed. I knew it couldn’t be so easy when Edward Mordrake came to take her; she’s about to die anyway. So who will he take?? Will she admit to Jimmy she’s dying? WILL SHE STOP DRINKING??

5. Dandy Mott

I can’t. I don’t understand. This is the guy that bought $70 socks and bragged about it in high school. No friends, temper tantrums, unlimited cash, spoiled as shit. Apparently he had a propensity for killing animals that led him to weirdly loving his new Twisty the Clown friend. Is he so desperate for a friend that he wants to be friends with the clown? Or is there something darker? I didn’t know “wanting to be an actor” and not being able to was grounds enough for becoming a murderer/torturer. Hey, then again Hitler didn’t get into art school and we all know what happened after that.

6. Gloria Mott

Why the hell would you pick up a hitchhiking clown that looked like Twisty. This lady is seriously delusional and clearly more symbolic than anything else. She’s the ignorance of the 50’s, when everyone pretended to have it together. I hope we see more of her. I hope Twisty and her end up having a rendez-vous.

7. Twisty the Clown

WHY. WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME AHS. I was never afraid of clowns before now and I’ve been completely ruined. I can’t look at Ronald McDonald without a quick shriek of terror. So what is this guy’s story? He seems to genuinely want to entertain the kids he kidnaps. I mean, I guess that’s one way to go about it. But why does he want to kill people? My theory is that mask on his face is covering a horrific injury people made fun of him for and he got so mad he just started slashing people. I read that we find out his story episode 4, so I *hope* we find out next week. But seriously, I made my friend walk me to my car tonight because I was so afraid of walking to it so bravo.

8. Maggie Esmerelda and Stanley

FINALLY we see Emma Roberts!! I think the setup of this episode was trying to tell us that they’re con artists who make money by selling frankensteined “freaks” to museums and their latest venture is trying to find a freak to cut up and sell. Stanley is clearly some kind of freak of his own (if you know what I’m saying), and I think Maggie is just good at conning people into thinking she’s psychic. Will her character get with Jimmy Darling? He seems to have taken a liking to her. Since they’re engaged off stage, I think I can see them writing this in. But honestly, why wouldn’t he after being with someone 40 years his senior… wait this has to happen.

9. Desiree Dupree

Three boobs, one vagina and one dick. We haven’t heard much of her yet, but it’s clear she’s hypersexual, glamorous and proud. I feel like she’s going to be very jealous if anyone gets in her way of being the most attractive attraction at the show. Angela Bassett is a strong presence and there’s no way her character isn’t going to stir something up in the coming episodes.

10. Dell Toledo

Lots of testosterone, trying to compensate for… something… as we saw in this last episode. I kind of feel bad for him; he seems so insecure that he has to boss people around and feel important. Obviously he’s Jimmy’s father as well, and regrets that he wasn’t there for him. Honestly, I think he loved Ethel at one point and they’re going to rekindle their romance… which will bring a lot of drama with the “lovely” Desiree.

11. Meep

… RIP. Poor Meep 🙁

What do you think so far? Any theories??


I'm a 23 year old graduate student studying Digital Media and Design at the University of Connecticut. I have an unparalleled love for coffee and currently spend my days balancing a social life and design work. Love to seek out mini adventures and make every day count. Follow me on Instagram! @alexxamberr

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