Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen American Horror Story: Freak Show Ep. 6 – “Bullseye.”
“Speaking of cheap perfume.” — Elsa
So… this episode happened.
Why does American Horror Story do this? It had a brilliant concept, a freak show; a decent subtext, who are the real monsters; and laser focus like its never exhibited. But then it went and muddied it all up by introducing a bizarre “love” triangle, relegating Jessica Lange to yet another one note woman driven mad by her jealousy over youth and generally abandoning the idea that it’s a “horror” show.
AHS may have its flaws, but there’s no denying that when it’s operating on all cylinders it can’t be topped. That’s how it became such a cult hit in the first place. At the start of this season it really felt like the stars had aligned and all the things that make AHS great (excellent, over the top characters; edgy, taboo topics; and disturbing imagery that burns itself into your mind) were coming together into one season for the first time. This week, though, felt like it was back to business as usual for the chronically stumbling show.
Oh sure, there was plenty of disturbing imagery; from (yet another) fake out murder of Ma Petite to the actually attempted murder of Paul. But for the most part this episode was all about love. And the one thing AHS does not do well is love; even truly freaky, demented, psychotic love.
The candy striper, who I had all but forgotten, reentered the story. Apparently she really did enjoy her time as a drugged up plaything. And Paul is inexplicably in love with her even though he’s also got a steady gig as Elsa’s secret paramour. Maggie suddenly wanted to run away with Jimmy when last week she wouldn’t even kiss him. Bette decided she loved Dandy because she’s seriously dumb and Dot is still harboring feelings for Jimmy. None of it makes much sense from a narrative perspective, but I suppose that shouldn’t surprise us.
And watching Elsa tear apart another tent and Dandy having yet anther meltdown just felt like a whole lot of wheel spinning. So Dandy came to the realization he wants to kill. I’m pretty sure we already established that two episodes ago when he started getting his stab on. This episode didn’t hit any new beats or introduce any new ideas. In short, it committed the worst sin a piece of entertainment can; it was boring.
Although, speaking as someone else who is enjoying their birthday week, I quite like the idea of sitting in throne and being presented with gifts. To any friends or family reading this, lets start a new tradition.
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