A new chapter begins in the American Horror Story saga, and it is clear to me why Jessica Lange says this season will be her last.
Trigger Warning: Avoid if you have a fear of clowns
Review (with Spoilers)
In my opinion, if the series started off with Freak Show, it would have likely been cancelled. For truly, out of all the seasons, this may end up being worse than the latter end of Asylum. For while the serial killer is probably the scariest of any we’ve seen, honestly the season premiere seems to be more living off Coven being a hit more than anything.
Topic 1: Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch)
We get to meet Twisty, a serial killing clown who could probably compete with Pennywise for the most fearsome clown in history. For with a crazy looking smile, a love for kidnapping kids, and him never saying a word, he is so off putting that after the episode is over any sounds you hear may make you think he is near.
Truly, compared to the rubber man and Bloody Face, Twisty is the sole villain who lives up to the idea of American Horror. He isn’t subtle, he is violent; he has a smile broader than The Joker, but is much more hands on when it comes to murder; and with him skulking around the freak show camp, and throughout the town of Jupiter, Florida, where the season takes place, I honestly feel so uncomfortable being alone right now.
Being that Bette and Dot are conjoined twins, in the 1950s, much less the south, their mother felt compelled to hide them away for most of their lives. Something Dot has come to accept, for it means peace, but not Bette who wants to be a normal girl. So, upon being denied the chance to go to a show, Bette stabs her mother to death. Then, to cover their tracks, it seems Dot stabs Better to make it look like a robbery. Thing is, the cops don’t see things that way. So in comes Elsa to save them, as well as Jimmy (Evan Peters), who not only save them, but also provide them a home. One where they will become the main attraction.
While I love Lange, and do like her German accent, I must admit that compared to her playing off Angela Basset last season, she is boring. For, as the ratings of the last season shows, she needs a good adversary to really challenge her. And going against some no named cop, or even having little spats with Frances Conroy’s character, Gloria Mott, won’t cut it.
As for Sarah Paulson, while it is interesting for her to play a conjoined twin, and it being cool the twins can speak telepathically, again there is this sense of boredom. Mostly because seeing conjoined twins feels like a beautiful special effects gimmick which doesn’t do more than make you wonder: how did they pull that off? However, when it comes to the actual characters of Bette and Dot, with them being predictable opposites, in nearly every way imaginable, and again no real challenge besides no name cops, you aren’t given reason to give a damn about their survival. Pretty much, once you see two heads on one body, you have the episode’s peak before a quick decline.
Topic 3: The Freak Show – Elsa, Bette/ Dot, Jimmy and Ethel (Kathy Bates)
When it comes to the actual freak show, and their lives on Elsa’s leased land, we are presented a show in which really the freaks are an opening act for Elsa. Someone who wishes to become a big star and uses the freaks to bring an audience. However, despite saying that, it should be noted that Elsa is the Olivia Pope to these freaks. She took them in, provided employments, food, and homes, and all she asks if for them to exhibit what makes them different. Whether it is how small they are, deformities, or even oddities, she just wants them to be them and let her profit off of it.
While Lange singing “The Name Game,” in American Horror Story: Asylum, was entertaining, her number in this episode, as Gloria Mott (Frances Conroy) puts it, was certainly ghastly. To the point where, as noted in the intro, if this episode was season 1/ episode 1, I truly think this show would not last. Though what really doesn’t help is that the true reason last season was a hit, Angela Bassett, is nowhere to be found. Also, Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe, Michael Chiklis, and even Patti LaBelle are nowhere to be seen. Something which seems foolish idea for the episode really has 0 appeal, outside of Twisty.