American Horror Story Season 4 Episode 10 – TV Review
Skitty’s back, bitches.
But she really shouldn’t have been.
TL;DR Continuity taints everything; Pepper gets backstory that we never asked for; Elsa tries her hand at a sympathy grab with some maternal sentiments; Esmerelda reveals to Desiree what she and Stanley are up to; Mare Winningham pays the bills with another guest role undeserving of her.
God, even her turn in season 3 was better than this.
The episode is bizarrely devoted mainly to Pepper. The other pinhead, who we find out was her husband (what?), dies. So Pepper goes into meltdown. Elsa regales Desiree with Pepper’s tragic backstory: she was abandoned by her sister to an orphanage, and Elsa recruited her to her fledgling freak show out of sympathy. Elsa then bought Ma Petite so Pepper would have someone to treat as a baby, and recruited the other pinhead for Pepper to marry. Now that Ma Petite and the other pinhead are dead, Elsa decides it’s time to dump Pepper back with her negligent sister, a drunken Mare Winningham. Mare and her husband, naturally, then murder their deformed baby and pin it on Pepper, which is how she ends up with Skitty (my pet name for Mary Eunice from Asylum). Who cares? Meanwhile, Desiree puts her detective hat on and badgers Esmerelda with suspicions, leading to Esmerelda’s admission of what she and Stanley are doing. Including a trip to the morbidity museum. That’s honest of you, girl. Minor subplots include: Desiree being a good faghag to Dell; Desiree getting romantic with some new dude; Stanley selling the other pinhead’s head to the morbidity museum; and Stanley possibly convincing Jimmy to sell his hands to the museum to help pay for a lawyer to fight against Dandy’s accusations.
And here I was thinking Stanley’s proposal was of a more sexual nature. How deflating.
Oddly, the continuity creep of Skitty’s involvement isn’t what most bothered me about this episode.
Instead, it was the fact that it was a dull, overly melodramatic Pepper episode that was bloated with flashbacks that only serve to steal runtime from the actually relevant plot threads.
Like I said: who cares?
Why I hate this episode:
Not me. I don’t care. If that hadn’t been apparent enough.
Elsa’s mopey little reminiscence about how she thought of Pepper as a daughter and all the motherly things she did for her was garbage. I don’t want to see Elsa playing good mummy. I want to see Elsa exacting revenge and scheming with freak-murdering jerks. Hell, I’d settle for her screeching out another song at this point. Just stop with all the “Hey, Elsa is actually really nice when she isn’t being a reprehensible, selfish tyrant.” We had enough of that from Fiona last season.
I feel like Skitty’s inclusion was just to throw Lily Rabe a bone. What, they couldn’t have just made up some other, one-shot character to give her a go? They had to introduce definite continuity? It’s all downhill from here.
Elsa bought Ma Petite from some rich Indian who was passing by her show one day. She says how he would accept no price for her, but then settles for three cases of Dr Pepper once Elsa gives him a taste. Firstly, Dr Pepper is foul. Secondly, what the fuck? That’s not comedy. That’s just dumb.
Jimmy is unsure of if he killed the Skanky Housewife Brigade because he was blackout drunk at the time. Groan.
We don’t get to see Mare’s deformed baby. Like Stanley’s penis from last episode, why not? This is American Horror Story, right?
Oh, and every Dutch angle from now on gets an eye roll from me.
But it’s not all bad:
Skitty is still Skitty, no matter how bad the implications are for the future of the show. I’ll always have time for her.
Stanley is the surprise winner of the episode. His only scenes see him carving up the pinhead’s body for sale to the morbidity museum, and then later visiting Jimmy in prison and supposedly convincing him to sell his hands for lawyer money. You go, girl.
Desiree isn’t far behind, mostly by virture of screentime. She’s the one who Elsa tells her flashbacks to. And then she gets on Esmerelda’s case, which leads to their horrifying visit to the morbidity museum. And she even has a man on the line. She’s a triple threat.
Dell proposes they get back together, and she subtly tells him that she knows he’s gay, and wouldn’t do that because she couldn’t make him happy. She’s a gem.
Mare does a good job as the drunken, heartless sister of Pepper. Her and her husband’s scheme to kill their baby and frame Pepper for it is wonderfully cruel. And they pull that shit off, no problem. Points for efficiency.
Oh, and the most exciting tibdit of the episode comes right at the end. Pepper, in 1962, is organising a library for Skitty. She comes across a magazine cover from 1958 that shows Elsa made it as a huge TV star. We did it, baby.