American Horror Story Season 4 Episode 2 – TV Review
I was overly presumptuous last episode: Emma Roberts still isn’t here.
So more droning from Jimmy the Whiner, then.
TL;DR Angela Bassett and Michael Chiklis join the freak show and rattle some cages; Dot (the serious Paulson head) turns out to be an amazing singer, but Bette (the sweet one) sucks and is sad about it; Dandy is Twisty the clown’s new apprentice; a plan to get rid of Chiklis backfires and results in the death of one of the freaks.
Naturally, being the impetuous bleeding heart he is, Jimmy reacts wildly.
The freak show denizens are still adjusting to the addition of the Paulson twins, as well as some extra police scrutiny now that Detective Rude Man is missing (the one Jimmy murdered out of misplaced righteousness, remember?). Then Dell (Chiklis) and Desiree (Bassett) turn up to add a strong man and a three-boobed hermaphrodite to the show. Elsa tries to turn them away, but Dell is an aggressive businessman, and hustles to make the show host matinees in light of the recent nighttime curfew the town of Jupiter is enforcing due to the clown murders. Elsa puts up with it because it draws business, but Jimmy convinces her to get rid of him by showing Elsa that his matinee advertisements downplay Elsa’s importance. Oh, vanity. Jimmy tries to frame Dell for Detective Rudeboy’s murder, but Dell anticipates it and frames Meep, the animal decapitator. Who dies in jail. Aww. Meanwhile, Twisty is spotted and hired by Gloria (Frances Conroy) to cheer up her son Dandy after Jimmy refuses to let Dandy join the freak show. Dandy is intrigued by Twisty’s murderous ways, and ends up helping Twisty thwart an escape attempt by his two captives. Minor subplots include: Jimmy making a big fuss about taking the freaks out to eat at a diner; Dell being Jimmy’s father, but Ethel telling him to stay the fuck away because Dell tried to kill Jimmy as a baby; Bette’s jealousy explosion over Dot’s singing talent; and Elsa fostering said jealousy to tear them apart.
Once a tired-ass showgirl, always a tired-ass showgirl.
I’ll stress again that I understand I am at fault for being so totally over American Horror Story. I wish I could view it with fresh eyes. But having seen all three prior seasons, these eyes are jaded and old.
As is American Horror Story.
Maybe Twisty could get me some new eyes?
Why I hate this episode:
I still really don’t have any sympathy for Jimmy. He’s an idealistic, wannabe do-gooder, and that is not my style at all. His little excursion to the diner to prove a point is textbook SJW: he just wants somebody to oppose him, so he can then rant about oppression. He’s always fishing for oppression points, and I haven’t got any shits to give about that.
I don’t care about Meep dying, either. He was a professional animal killer. I’m no militant vegan, but anyone who earns their living by biting the heads off chickens for others’ amusement isn’t going to be missed by me.
The Jupiter police are amazingly useless. They come to the freak show looking for clues on Detective Rudedog, and they see the Paulsons just chilling there. And they totally don’t do anything about it. The detectives joke about how the girls ran away from the hospital. Aren’t they still the prime suspects in their mother’s murder (let alone the fact that we know they did it)? What the hell, boys?
Speaking of being inconsistent, Twisty is annoyingly erratic. I get that he’s a horribly violent killer clown with a monster face under his mask, but isn’t it just so convenient that he wastes several opportunities to kill Dandy for no discernible reason?
I’m still tired of the overused Dutch angles.
The new opening credits are full of CGI shit and aren’t even a touch on those from season three.
One of the pinheads is Pepper from season 2. Good God, get ready for the continuity wanking. It all begins here.
During Dot’s matinee song, a bunch of audience members randomly start moshing in front of the stage. It’s dumb.
Oh, and my one biggest peeve with this season so far has to do with the sound design. In almost every tense scene (and given that it’s American Horror Story, there’s a lot of them), there’s this backing track with a repeating metallic sound that is akin to the noise a respirator makes. It’s loud and conspicuous and I can’t stand it.
But it’s not all bad:
Twisty gets another slasher-fabulous kill in. If we can get at least one of those an episode, it’ll be a start in the right direction.
Dandy is forming to be a character to watch. He’s a psychopath-in-training, as he’s been mutilating cats. He catches the girl from the lake when she and the kidnapped boy make a run for it from Twisty’s trailer, and even follows Twisty back inside with her. This could be the start of a beautiful and bloody friendship between Dandy and Twisty.
Gloria is also wonderfully hammy as his infantilising, enabling mother. Dandy drinks booze from a crystal baby’s bottle, for goodness’ sake. He’s living the trust fund kid dream.
Dell is a brash jerk, but I can’t not love a guy who tries to murder his own baby for being too noisy. He gets a second chance at crushing his son when he scolds Jimmy outside the diner for making a scene. Yet another rational reaction to Jimmy, the eternal obstacle.
As a foil to Dell, Desiree is a nicer package. She comes across as bawdy and sultry, but she shows her softer side and her willingness to actually do work. She could go far if she wasn’t saddled with Dell.
Elsa gets best line of the episode. She accepts Dell’s plan of holding matinees out of pragmatism (they need the business, you know). But when Jimmy informs her that the flyers Dell has been using to advertise the matinees have Elsa’s name as a tiny speck at the bottom, Elsa knows what to do: “He’s got to go.” Never let a little thing like livelihood get in the way of your ego. That’s why I’m a blogger.
Dot’s singing is fun. After Elsa has her little chat to stoke Bette’s jealousy, Better considers stabbing Dot in her sleep. I love dischord.
The girl captive in Twisty’s trailer uses a board with a nail in it to attack the clown during the escape attempt.
Twisty’s face covering falls off in the escape attempt, revealing a sloppy gash of a mouth, with teeth and tongue flying everywhere. Delicious.
Oh, and Gloria hires Twisty when she sees him walking down the road. Did she give him a lift in her car or what?