American Horror Story: Freak Show/ Episode 10 “Orphans” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)


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Overview

As we focused on the abandoned, and especially Pepper, the season has a rare moment of heart.

Topic 1: I’m Going To Be Happy – Desiree

Topic 2: Save The Freaks – Maggie & Desiree

Topic 3: Everyone I Love Keeps Leaving Me – Pepper & Elsa

Review (with Spoilers) – Below

Topic 1: I’m Going To Be Happy – Desiree

With Angus by her side, and Desiree talking to Dell as if they both know it’s over, it seems she is prepping for her next life. However, with what is noted in topic 2, things won’t be easy. After all, not only does she still classify herself as a freak, and is fiercely protective of her own, but she has a lot of work to do on herself to keep Angus happy. Most of all: Learning to cook.

Commentary

I said it once, and I’ll say it again: What the hell? I mean, I love Ms. Bassett, god knows I do, but Ryan Murphy killed her dead with this character. For while Desiree may have three breast, and could fool Dell into the idea she has a member, what else does she have? A sudden storyline after her being on the show since episode 2? One so slapped together it is like the only reason it exists is because Kathy Bates found better things to do. But, either way, it is nice to see her character happy.

Topic 2: Save The Freaks – Maggie & Desiree

With Jimmy arrested, and Maggie tasked with helping him by Dot and Bette, she is forced to help the boy who dumped her for her polar opposite. Something which left her quite bitter, even to the point to take a crap on Desiree’s happiness. However, being that Desiree is the mother hen of the freaks now, even with Elsa around, Maggie goes to her in order to help Jimmy. First by revealing she and Stanley are con artist, and then she reveals why they came down to the freak show. Leading to Desiree seeing Ma Petite, Salty’s head [2], and then Jimmy’s hands [1].

Commentary

With Desiree knowing everything, I can only hope her end doesn’t happen like Regina’s. Much less, I hope that the story between Stanley and Dandy somehow combines so Desiree can take them both out. For while connecting Desiree to Dandy is a stretch, it isn’t like this show doesn’t move mountains and create new plausible situations on a whim to create stories. Though, if possible, hopefully Dandy kills Maggie before Desiree takes him out.

Topic 3: Everyone I Love Keeps Leaving Me – Pepper & Elsa

The show breaks down Pepper’s story from when Elsa discovered her at 18, to how she ended up in Briarcliff. It begins with Elsa wanting her own freak show, and wanting the freaks to bring the people in so she can be the star; Pepper being the first one she found, who she got out of an orphanage, and fell in love with; her getting Pepper a baby in the form of Ma Petite; her finding Salty to be a husband [3]; and then what happens in modern times.

Elsa is ready to go off to Hollywood, under the guise of Stanley, and with Salty gone Pepper is lonely and a wreck. So, to help give Pepper some stability, she takes her to Massachusetts to her sister Rita’s home. Thing is, Rita doesn’t want her, and neither does her husband Larry. However, Elsa feels Rita’s home is the place for her so she gives a sad goodbye. Leading to the events which got Pepper committed: Rita, at around 49, having a deformed baby; Larry and Rita’s marriage being horrible, and neither Pepper or the baby helping such; Larry murdering the baby and pining it on Pepper; then, to finish things off, Rita having Pepper committed and giving a convincing tale so Sister Eunice doesn’t ask questions.

Commentary

While not on the level of Twisty’s backstory, which stinks since it isn’t like Pepper is a completely new character, I must admit it was sort of nice to see Naomi Grossman give a bit of depth to this character who, thus far, has been almost like a weird comic relief. That sort of ended with this episode though. For while Grossman and Lange don’t perform to the point of making you cry, they presents perhaps the rare praise worthy moments of the season in which it doesn’t seem like these characters weren’t just made out of passing amusement with no long term planning. Which I don’t say to make it seem the connecting of Freak Show to Asylum was superb, but more to highlight how nice it is that this season doesn’t wish to be completely horrible.

With that said though, I do wonder why is this show nominated as a mini-series still with it now being established the seasons are, even if by one character, connected. Also, considering while Pepper was in Briarcliff she saw a picture of Elsa, who basically looks exactly like Sister Jude, it leads me to want to look back on Asylum and see how the two of them got along. Especially since Elsa was the first real parental figure to Pepper, since her mom died and dad had nothing to do with her.

Things To Note

[1] We aren’t given a 100% confirmation those are Jimmy’s hands. However, Stanley, despite the twins giving Maggie money to get Jimmy a lawyer, makes it seem that Jimmy giving up his hands maybe the only way. So it could be plausible those are his hands.

[2] Salty, Pepper’s husband, seemingly died in his sleep. And I only say seemingly since Stanley is still lurking around, but it doesn’t seem he had a hand in Salty’s death. He did, however, cut off Salty’s head and send it to the freak museum.

[3] Up to this point I was under the impression Salty was her brother or twin.

We learn Maggie was an orphan and Stanley, to a certain degree, took her in after she was caught stealing.

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