Stanley finally gets a body, as Elsa deals with a rebellious freak show.

Review (with Spoilers)

In “Test of Strength” it seems things may slightly get interesting. For while Dell may not be a savior, he certainly makes for a better villain than Elsa. However, with Stanley as the puppet master, perhaps he is the one who deserves all the credit. For more on the episode, look below.

Topic 1: Daddy & Me – Jimmy & Dell

Something mentioned in topic 2 leads to Dell and Amazon Eve having quite a fight, one in which she wins, so the women of the freak show are ready to kill Dell [1]. However, being that Jimmy wants to be the leader of the freak show, he asks to talk to Dell and get to handle the situation. All that happens though is Dell and he get drunk, Dell looks at Jimmy as perhaps the answer to his problems, but what ultimately happens is Jimmy reveals he knows Dell is his dad [2], and Dell accepts him.


Now, I’m unsure how much Ethel has said to Jimmy about his dad, but with the two of them drinking all night long, and Jimmy quite happy to have their relationship in the open, it makes you wonder how long until the shoe drops? For, lest we forget, he put that woman through hell and, as Elsa notes, he knew of Jimmy’s existence for 24 years. So one night drinking shouldn’t solve all their problems.

In fact, with Dell’s misogynistic ways, and Jimmy wanting a more prominent role in the freak show, it seems Dell and him getting close will only cause issues. Especially since the women still want Dell’s head, and there being a possibility of him getting caught for what happens in topic 2.

Topic 2: Blackmail Solutions – Dell, Stanley, Bette, Dot, and Elsa

In the episode there are two blackmail situations: 1. Stanley blackmailing Dell over him seeing him in that gay bar and 2. Elsa being blackmailed by the twins after they return for the Mort home back with Jimmy. Now, beginning with Dell’s situation, being that he is deep in the closet, he pretty much is at Stanley’s beck and call. Though, really, all Stanley wants is a body. Leading Dell to first go after Amazon Eve, and failing, and then going for someone a bit more easier to handle: Ma Petite. Someone who was saved by Esmeralda being unable to kill her, but that wasn’t a problem for Dell.

As for the twins blackmailing Elsa, well when they get back to the freak show Jimmy is ready to use their testimony to have all the freaks turn on Elsa. However, the girls go with a story which makes Elsa seem favorable and all they want in return is more profit, a new act for Bette, and then Dot makes her own side deal. One involving a Chicago doctor who can split the two apart. Something Elsa approaches Stanley about, since he claims to want to be her agent. Though, instead of getting the doctor, Stanley talks about just killing the girls. Something Elsa doesn’t seem that against.


With 5 episodes remaining, and episode titles like “Blood Bath” and “Orphans,” one can only hope that something good comes from all these blackmail situations. For while Ma Petite isn’t a big loss, no pun intended, it would be interesting to see who Stanley targets next? Also, what Ethel and the rest of the girls do will about Dell, much less Jimmy who likely will defend his father until the full truth comes out.

But perhaps what I would like to see most is Regina come on down to Florida. For with murder, blackmail, and Dandy’s revenge soon to come, it would be nice to see Gabourey Sidibe amongst this madness. Especially since Angela Bassett isn’t doing a damn thing on this show besides collected a paycheck for her one to three scene appearances per every other episode. Which really is a waste of her talents, though the same could be said of Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates this season. For, as mentioned perhaps countless times, Freak Show does not, in anyway, compare with Coven.

Things To Note

  1. Ethel especially since not only because of what he did to her, but she discovers Dr. Bonham is dead because of Dell. Well, she doesn’t say outright Dell did it, but with Bonham’s daughter mentioning the damage done to her father’s hands, and Dell’s outburst when we last saw him, I’m sure her and Desiree can put the pieces to the puzzle together.
  2. From what it seems, Dell identifies as a freak because his brothers, like Jimmy, were born with lobster hands. Making it seem like a genetic trait of the family which just ended up skipping Dell.
  3. Penny is still around, still in love with Paul, and ends up paying for it. How? Well her dad has part of her head shaved, has her face tattooed, and her tongue split. Thus giving him no association with her as she decides to abandon him for the Freak Show and Paul.

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