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AHS Recap: Freak Show's Glorious Premiere Has Flipper Sex and Jessica Lange Singing David Bowie

Alright, my peppermint angels. American Horror Story is back with its latest installment, Freak Show. And all I have to say is: What the effing eff?!

Sadie Gennis

Alright, my peppermint angels. American Horror Story is back with its latest installment, Freak Show. And all I have to say is: What the effing eff?!

The majority of the premiere introduces us to the basics of the world — a failing freak show, lots and lots of murder — and showcases Jessica Lange's fabulous wardrobe (hats for days!). But in between the exposition and hyper-stylized direction, we got some actual plot and character development. And as expected, it was completely bonkers.

How freaky are the AHS freaks actually?

Set in 1952 Jupiter, Fla., Fraulein Elsa's Cabinet of Curiosities is on the verge of closing until Elsa (Lange) discovers Bette and Dot (Sarah Paulson), a set of conjoined twins. The duo (can you call them a duo if they share a body?) has been hospitalized after being found injured in the same house where their mother was simultaneously discovered stabbed to death. Only — shocker — the wounds were self-inflicted and Bette murdered their mother because she wouldn't let them see Singin' in the Rain in theaters. (Totally understandable.)

Elsa doesn't waste time before she begins to seduce the twins into joining her freak show — by talking about their genitals. Not the right way to make friends and definitely in violation of the employer-employee code of conduct.


Eventually, they give in because it's 1952 and Viola Davis wasn't born yet so they don't know how to way to get away with murder. They go to the freak show where Dot immediately begins to fall for Jimmy "Lobster Boy" Darling (Evan Peters). Jimmy's quite a ladies' man around town, getting hired out to Tupperware parties where he — and I suggest you put any food or drink down before continuing — pleasures them with his oversized dildo claw hands. His mother calls it "flipper action." It's horrifying.



Meanwhile, a clown in major need of a shower is terrorizing the area, murdering and abducting unsuspecting people — who, in all fairness, deserve what's coming to them since they don't run away the second a bloody clown approaches them with clubs. Compared to everything else that's going on though, the clown is by far the least exciting story line so far. Maybe if he were wearing one of Lange's furs or turbans I'd be more excited for his scenes.

AHS's Pepper and more beauties behind the beasts

Back at the freak show, Jimmy whines to his mother, the Bearded Lady Ethel (Kathy Bates), about how he wants a better life and is tired of acting like "a common criminal." Immediately afterwards, like a seasoned criminal, he murders a detective who had come to arrest the twins.

But the show must go on! Especially since a socialite (Frances Conroy) and her sociopath son bought out all the tickets to that night's performance. Only, we discover that Elsa's freak show isn't really about the freaks at all. The actual headliner is Elsa because, of course it is. 

Elsa takes the stage in a delightfully dated powder blue pantsuit (with matching eye shadow up to her brows, mind you) and does the most fantastically awkward, German-accented rendition of David Bowie's "Life on Mars" that has ever and will ever exist. Not that there's a lot of competition in that area. As she shimmies around on stage, people shove swords down their throats, contort their joints, and my heart swells with glee.

Everything after this performance is kind of eh, because how do you compare to Jessica Lange in a pantsuit singing David Bowie? Short answer: You can't. Frances Conroy and her crazy son try to buy Bette and Dot, but they refuse to leave. Jimmy and some of the other freaks bury the detective's body while he gives a rousing speech about making their own happiness. It would have been very touching if there weren't a corpse involved. Oh, and Elsa cries about how she only recruited the twins to bump up her own stardom and then removes her — gasp — two prosthetic legs.

But at least she looks incredible doing it.


What did you think of AHS: Freak Show?