If American Horror Story were a religion, Jessica Lange would be its high-priestess. Her virtuoso performances throughout each of the series so far have made her almost synonymous with the show — to the point that there have been numerous articles posing the question of how and whether the show can go on without her.
If she indeed leaves.
But somewhat overlooked in that has been Evan Peters, who has been in each series from the beginning, but here seems to have taken on even more of a leading man role. We’re approaching the end of this season, odd thought that is to say, and I am newly enthused of his abilities to drive forward American Horror Story.
After Ethel’s death last episode, Jimmy is in a despairing, alcohol-driven rut. Pushing Maggie away, turning up drunk to his *ahem* tupperware party gig. And when his path crosses with Dandy, who he pegged as the second clown on Halloween night, Dandy swears to ruin Lobster Boy for taking the twins away from him. Meanwhile the twins look to Elsa’s promise of the separation surgery, and Dandy embraces his inner “god”.
So as I started, Jimmy is set up as the centrepiece here. He has been, in a way, all series long, given that he is the more democratic leader of the freaks — whilst Elsa rules through debts owed and love demanded, Jimmy inspires. So his fall from grace leaves a hole in the carnival.
It hits Maggie hardest, who seems to genuinely have fallen for him, and when he rejects her for the new obese girl whose name I don’t know, she winds up heartbroken. Maggie, though, seems to have found her own place in the troupe. Stepping in as Penny’s conscience last episode, and attempting to stand up for Desiree.
Dandy, similarly, has gone completely mad. Errr… After murdering an Avon lady, to sew her head into Gloria’s body and make himself a Bette and Dot puppet, he brazenly confesses all to Regina, and when she brings a policeman round, he offers a him a million dollars to work for him — and the lawman promptly puts a bullet through Regina’s head.
But it’s Dandy’s plan to ruin Jimmy which is the most interesting part. Both characters have lost a mother figure, and are mirror images of each other. Jimmy falls to pieces, whereas Dandy sets about breaking everything. His suave appearance at the tupperware party contrasts with Jimmy’s drunken departure, and of course ends in a swimming pool full of corpses.
For which, naturally, Jimmy gets the blame.
The other main feature is the twins. They still think that they are getting the surgery, leading to a touching conversation where they finally address the misery of their position, and rather than despairing embrace each other. Bette’s willingness to give her life for his sister to have a shot at a normal one is one of the most moving moments of the series yet, but ultimately the fact that they embrace their freakiness.
This manifests through them offering themselves to Jimmy — though it’s never clear how much Bette is meant to be involved in this, whether she’s an active participant or just humming and looking the other way. Jimmy, sadly, shoots them down, realising that he really loves Maggie, just in time to be hauled off by the police.
Earlier on, the freak show was referenced as one of the last two. It’s starting to feel like this safe haven is falling apart, through Jimmy’s despair and Elsa’s disinterest — it’s telling that she barely appears this episode. And as those who wear their freak on the outside suffer misfortune after misfortune, Dandy, representing the inner freak, stands supreme.
His fall will be magnificent to behold, I am sure.
- So Paul is fine now? We’re just forgetting the whole life-threatening knife wound? …okay then.
- Del hasn’t been the most fascinating character on the show this season, but his guilt at killing Ma Petite gives him another dimension, as does Desiree cutting him down when he tries to hang himself.
- Actually, that whole attempted suicide scene was very well shot.
- I guess the freaks aren’t doing very many shows these days.