Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen American Horror Story: Freak Show Ep. 8 – “Blood Bath.”
“Although, for me, death would be preferable to Tampa.” — Elsa
Freak Show finally got a huge dose of what it’s been sorely missing: substantial amounts of Frances Conroy. Of course, substantial amounts of Frances Conroy also means substantial amounts of time setting up Dandy as the major villain of the back half of the season. Personally, I thought Twisty was the best, creepiest monster AHS has ever had and killing him off so early in the season feels like a pretty major misstep.
Not that Dandy isn’t exceptionally disturbing in his own right. It’s more that since Twisty’s exit Freak Show has, like most seasons of AHS, gone off the rails a bit. With Twisty, the suspense came from the anticipation to learn the root of his depravity and the reason behind his killings. And, though it came too soon, the answer to those questions was satisfying and fitting.
With Dandy, there’s no real mystery to why he’s killing. He’s a sociopath who has been allowed to indulge in his twisted perversions because his mother is too weak to stop him. That’s interesting and all, but it doesn’t add a lot of tension to the proceedings. And adding in a hereditary element isn’t as compelling as they seem to think it is.
In other news, Ethel immediately blamed Elsa for Ma Petite’s death because suddenly everyone is convinced that Elsa is evil even though she’s behaving exactly the same way she always has. And, being the worst shot possibly ever, her attempt to kill Elsa resulted in little more than a damaged prosthetic and an extensive, grainy flashback. In French.
Alternately, Elsa, an extremely good shot, took Ethel out with a knife to the eye. Hey, the episode is called “Blood Bath.” Someone had to get the ball rolling.
Then, because there wasn’t enough disparate stuff going on, the ladies started their own little women’s liberation revolt and decided the first man on their vendetta list should be Penny’s father. Solid choice, I’d say. Less solid was the elaborate way they went about it. A swift shot to the head would have sufficed, but I suppose if anyone deserves to be tarred and feathered it’s the man who drugged and mutilated his daughter.
But then Maggie showed up with her soapbox and ruined the fun for everyone. Also, ruining my fun? Killing off Frances Conroy. But hey, one murder does not a blood bath make.
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