It's the penultimate episode of "American Horror Story: Freak Show," which means Ryan Murphy and his crew are going at full throttle. There are horrific flashbacks, a murderous doll, sexy conjoined twins, revenge, revelations, and lots of blood. This episode isn't called "Show Stoppers" for nothing!
Gabba, Gabba, Hey!
It isn't a coincidence that the long dinner table that they occasionally use in the main tent looks an awful lot like the set-up in Tod Browning's seminal horror film "Freaks," and they finally got right down to it. When Stanley arrives for dinner, Elsa announces that evening's entertainment will be one of her favorite movies, "Freaks," and then Eve, Paul, Suzi, and the other performers explain how the "freaks" in the movie take their horrific revenge on the person who betrayed them, then gather their own weapons and chase Stanley through the fairgrounds. I was expecting more of an homage or something a little more subtle, but hey, this is "American Horror Story."
Whether you bought Maggie's change of heart or not, she met her own ignoble end tonight as well when she volunteers to be in Chester's act. The twins have gotten hip to Chester's awful past, thanks to Dandy and his private dick, and decide it's really in their best interest to give up their job as his assistant. For his next act, Chester wants to saw them in half, but again, they politely refuse. Maggie volunteers to be his girl in the box, but alas, he handcuffs her legs together so she can't perform the trick, and as Chester hallucinates the faces of her dead wife and her dead lover and hears them taunt him about the plate in his head and so on and so forth, he saws poor Maggie in half. And then he actually says, "Ta daaaa!" He tries to put Maggie back together, but that's not really how that works.
Desiree, Eve, Paul, and the rest of the gang are mostly just disgusted by the goo and guts all over their stage. In between all this mishegoss, they've been mulling over something Stanley said right before they did terrible things to him, which is that Elsa killed Ethel. They decide it's true and that Elsa has to pay for killing a freak, just as Dell had to die for killing Ma Petite. So, they begin scheming. Lucky for Elsa, Dot and Bette tip her off just in time. They owe her one, right?
A Change of Heart
Remember how Jimmy really wanted to pass as "normal" at the beginning of the show, even going so far as to wear gloves so he could flirt with girls in town? He's really sorry now that he has no hands at all! Elsa calls in a favor from her old pal Massimo, the dude who saved her from the grisly amputation scene, made her new legs out of beautiful wood, taught her how to walk, got revenge on the guys who hurt her, etc. etc. (While it's always a pleasure to see Danny Huston, his Italian accent is ludicrous.) Massimo promises to make Jimmy beautiful new hands, but no, he doesn't want hands! He wants hooks! If he can't have claws, he wants hooks so he can at least hold his own cigarette or something! Anyway, whatever, Jimmy has a few more tantrums, and when Maggie comes by to nurse him, he's mean to her too, which he'll come to regret after she's sawn in half by Chester.
In the very end, Massimo fits Jimmy with a pair of beautifully designed and carved appendages. Rain pours down and lightening flashes like something out of "Frankenstein" as Jimmy holds up his new... claws. That's right, Massimo made Jimmy exact replica of the hands he was born with, at Jimmy's request. One of us, indeed!
And Then There Was Dandy
Just before Elsa tootles off into the rainy night, narrowly avoiding a fate similar to Stanley's, she has a clandestine meeting with Dandy. Money changes hands - a cool $10 grand, to be exact. The next day, Dandy walks into Elsa's Cabinet of Curiosities like he owns the place. Because he does. He bought it.
Did you see what they did to Stanley? Don't blink or you'll miss it. And you definitely don't want to miss it.