American Horror Story: Freak Show Recap: Playing Chicken

American Horror Story Freak Show Episode 2

In this week’s episode of American Horror Story: Freak Show, the arrival of Ethel’s ex, hot-tempered strongman Dell Toledo (Michael Chiklis), set off a power struggle so intense, it left one member of Elsa’s troupe headed for the big top in the sky.

Who basked in the glow of the spotlight for the last time? Read on; I’ll tell you…

MISERY HAS COMPANY | As “Massacres and Matinees” began, it seemed as if everyone was suffering. Tormented Twisty the Clown distracted himself from his woes by visiting a toy store to continue his murder spree. But there was no such relief in the (ahem) offing for Elsa, who worried that the curfew being imposed to protect Jupiter’s citizenry from the homicidal maniac at large was going to bury her already-struggling business. Meanwhile, neophyte killer Jimmy’s guilt over dispatching Detective Bunch ate away at him until he even lashed out at his makeshift family (in a scene that was clearly a loving homage to Tod Browning’s classic, Freaks), and frustrated thespian Dandy complained to his mother that he was “turning to dust from boredom” (in largely the same tone that Veruca Salt once used to demand that her father get her an Oompa Loompa). So, all in all, argh!

THE ODD COUPLE | Just when it looked like the going couldn’t get any rougher at Fraulein Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities, up rolled Dell, fresh blood on his hands (figuratively speaking), and on his arm, wife Desiree Dupree (Angela Bassett), a head-turner blessed with “three titties, proper girl parts and a dingaling” to boot. Thinking that the freak show could use some more muscle with the cops sniffing around every other day, Elsa hired the tough guy and almost as quickly came to regret it. Not only did he force — gasp! — matinees on her so that they could sell tickets in spite of the curfew, but he gave her billing at the bottom of the flyers next to icky poultry enthusiast Meep the Geek! The newcomer’s short fuse wasn’t exactly a treat, either. Spying idealistic Jimmy trying to help the freaks assimilate into society by taking them to lunch at the local diner — in other words, putting on a free show — Dell beat him to a pulp without ever mentioning that the lobster boy is his son. (In fact, the son whose neck he would’ve snapped when the kid was an infant, had Ethel not intervened.)

SERVING CLOWN REALNESS | Since Jimmy refused to let Dandy join the freak show, the brat returned home in a foul mood… until he saw the surprise that his mother picked up for him on the side of the road: a clown! And not just any clown, either, but Twisty! (I know Gloria’s supposed to be as nuts as Dandy, but who lets that get in their car?!) Though the play date started off awkwardly (a King and I puppet show) and ended worse (Twisty clubbed Dandy after he found the toy shop clerk’s head in the clown’s bag of tricks), the two eventually bonded when Fancypants helped his new pal prevent his abductees from escaping. (No wonder the Motts’ maid — Patti LaBelle — believed he might be the mass murderer stalking Jupiter. He’s certainly creepy enough. And speaking of creepy, thank you, AHS, for the night terrors that the sight of Twisty’s rotting, toothless maw are sure to give me.)

FOWL PLAY | After suggesting to Elsa that he was more than brute enough to protect the freak show — and revealing that he’d even killed Detective Bunch to keep the Tattlers from being hauled off — Jimmy went to work framing Dell for the crime. Unfortunately, the strongman wasn’t all brawn, no brains — he discovered the evidence that the lobster boy planted in his trailer and RE-planted it in Meep the Geek’s before the cops arrived! Horrified by Meep’s arrest, Jimmy decided that he had no choice but to turn himself in and face the music. Alas, by then, the chicken-lover’s goose was already cooked: In a matter of hours, the hooligans in the clink had made short work of Meep!

TWISTED SISTERS | Nearby, Elsa also fixated on death. However, untroubled by things like a conscience, she was focused on a demise that she wanted to facilitate, not prevent. See, it turned out Dot was quite a vocalist. (Bette was positive that she herself would be able to sing. Bette was mistaken.) And, as you can imagine, Elsa did not see the spotlight as being big enough for herself and Dot. So, sensing Bette’s discomfort at her sister’s newfound star status, Fraulein Mars whispered in her ear — tricky as that is, with a conjoined twin! — that Dot was “a dark soul” who had “deliberately eclipsed” her during their performance of Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” (watch below). There was only one thing to do, Elsa suggested. And, since she gave Dot a knife, I think we all know what that one thing is.

OK, your turn. What did you think of the episode? How badly do you wanna just give poor Jimmy a hug — and Dandy the spanking of a lifetime? And gross as Meep was, didn’t you feel awful for him when the inmates closed in on him? Hit the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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48 Comments
  1. Dan says:

    I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry during the scene with Dandy and Gloria at dinner. I think this was the weirdest 81 minutes of TV I’ve ever watched.

  2. Allicat says:

    Poor Meep. I actually got upset over that particular incident. And I am loving Angela Bassett’s character.

    Overall, good episode, but needed more Twisty.

    • I cried when Meep died… I really did… He was terrified… Beaten up… This is why the world cannot be trusted with the bad people in it! It was the most saddest scaring scene I’ve ever seen in a show ever!

      • I cried too! I’m glad I’m not the only one. I felt ridiculous but he really pulled at my heart strings! When he was screaming “meep” and crying being taken away in the cop car… then when he was terrified and backed into the corner.. oh my gosh I’m getting emotional thinking about it again. So sad.

        • Those guys in jail should’ve known that he NEVER killed anyone, those stupid freakin’ cops assumed that he was the one, they didn’t have to put him in jail with murders and people like that!

  3. Ebony says:

    I freakn look love this show!!!! Can’t wait to see what happens next!!!

  4. Joey says:

    Very entertaining, as per usual. Didn’t seem as slow as last week, either.

  5. Ellen says:

    Just wanted to say Veruca salt wanted a goose that could lay golden eggs.

  6. Kait says:

    Loving Angela Bassett’s character. I mean “this señorita could shoot ping pong balls right outta her pop*shake*pop*shake*pop*shake*.” Fantastic.

  7. Scott says:

    That shot of Twisty in the toy store between the other two clowns, yikes! Loved this episode, the power struggles are going to be interesting to watch play out. And love the camera work, it’s really quite beautiful and disturbing at the same time.

  8. abz says:

    Anyone else not a fan of the accent of Kathy Bates character? I don’t know I just don’t like it. It feels off.
    Twisty is actually creeping me out. First the scene at the toy store and then the scene at the trailer where his mask fell off (I shudder thinking about it).
    Didn’t feel too bad about Meep, mainly because I cringe during the chicken head scenes (seriously not a fan of that).
    Dandy and his mom… I was just too fascinated and creeped out at the same time.
    Good start so far. The only downer for me is Elsa is so predictable and she’s way too much like Fiona Goode. The moment I saw Bette sing and it switched to Elsa’s reaction, I knew what would happen and I was hoping they would stray from the usual route. Oh well.

    • Sarah says:

      Not a fan of any of the accents. In my opinion the accents throw me off, the first episode I couldn’t concentrate on the show because I was trying to understand all of the accents.

    • Tabby says:

      Everytime I hear her accent I think of John Travoltra’s accent when he played the mother in the Hairspray movie! They sound exactly the same!

    • CountryQueen says:

      They’re both doing spot on accents wonderfully! Kathy Bates is Baltimore (and yeah, it does sound strange to my mid-western ear), and of course, Jessica’s is German. Both studied hard to get them down just right. I don’t have a problem understanding them, but perhaps closed caption would help you? I’ve heard of others that do that.

      • abz says:

        It’s not that I don’t understand what they’re saying, I follow along very well. I’m just not a fan of the accent for Kathy Bates’ character. It just feels strange to me. I don’t mind Jessica’s that much.

        • CountryQueen says:

          My closed caption suggestion was for Sarah – thought it might be able to help her concentrate more. :) It is a weird accent, but it’s true to Baltimore. Guess Ryan wanted us to know that.

  9. Yellagurl says:

    Im LUVN this installment……… Freakshow is everything I anticipated and more so far!!! The revelation of Twisty’s raggedy ass mouth tho!!!! Literally made me jump outta my chair…..disgustingly horrifying! I LUVIT!!!

  10. Lisa says:

    I felt so bad for Meek . He didn’t deserve to kill that way.😢

  11. JeffDJ says:

    So far I’m not really loving this season. Coven was a lot of fun right out of the gate, but Freak Show is…I dunno, a bit too high on the Weird-O-Meter for me. For now, it’s Twisty the Clown’s story that will keep me tuning in, moreso than the denizens of the freak show itself.

  12. shboogies says:

    Yeahhhh the only thing Im liking about this season is Twisty the Clown’s story. The rest had me wanting to press fastforward,

  13. Guest says:

    I was sad about meep! Even though I turn away with the chicken scenes meep was just as jimmy stated “weird” lol. I don’t know why I was under the impression that Dell was jimmy’s older bro not his father so that surprised me! Angela is just amazing at everything she does and so glad she came on this season! Dandy..oh goodness that boy has problems but at least he made a new friend..I guess lol I have an idea that Matt bomer’s character will be an adult dandy or dandy’s son if he ever goes that that terrible dark road I think he might :/ good episode! It’s more bizarre than coven so I’m happy! :) major feels for jimmy though he just wants to be a normal good guy but vigilante is not the way to go jimmy!! Don’t go to the dark side even if they do make things more fun! Lol

  14. roki says:

    the more i see elsa the more she becomes like fiona with the jealousy to dot and the manipulation. i hope it will not go that way through this season

  15. Jane says:

    I’m having trouble getting into this season even though I was really looking forward to it. Maybe if they had let us know the characters a little I might care about them but they are just all coming off as vile and nasty. They shouldn’t have killed Meep but honestly his act disgusted me so I won’t miss him. Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, and, Angela Bassett are what kept me watching last year after I lost interest in what little story there was but this year Kathy barely has a part, Jessica is just sad, and Bassett doesn’t seem that interesting. Twisty is the only thing interesting but honestly who would pick up a clown with a dirty nasty costume that obviously had blood on it? That was just stupid. I usually start thinking about giving up on AHS about 2/3 in because of the lack of real story but have always made it to the end. The fact that I’m already thinking about giving up doesn’t bode well for my making it to the end. Hope it gets better.

    • Rain says:

      I’m pretty sure you just jumped in my brain and wrote my comments out for me!

    • aquarius1271 says:

      Exactly my thoughts.. these freaks all seem mostly evil inside so why should one pity them? Just for the sake of their being freaks? Sorry i am not buying it ryan murphy. These characters are huge fails in my opinion. I cannot feel any emphaty for any of them

  16. alistaircrane says:

    So far, so boring. This season is a dud compared to the first three.

  17. CountryQueen says:

    I can’t help but think that Twisty must just smell awful. Not only from his clothes – but it sure looks like he’s wearing a real scalp. How could the toy store guy not smell him? That was an amazingly creepy scary scene though. And yikes – his real mouth!

    I think it’s interesting that Dandy looks normal and is not. His tirade to Jimmy was sad. Jimmy was pretty callous when he said Jimmy could save his life, and instead he sent Dandy home. Jimmy wasn’t listening. As much as Jimmy wants to be seen as normal, he doesn’t seem to realize that so called normal people can be bigger freaks than any at the show. He should know that the outside doesn’t reflect your inner-self, but he can only see his side. He can’t see past Dandy’s shiny pretty boy outsides to see he actually, as Dandy said, belongs there (though he also has no idea of what he speaks as he just thinks the people that look weird must be as broken inside as him).

    I love how they shoot the twins in closeup- so you see one head on one side of the screen, and then the other on the other side of the screen. Dot looks so uncomfortable with her head like that.

    Hating the Strongman, loving his wife.

    Oh, and if you like this check out Katherine Dunn’s book Geek Love. It’s about a family of circus freaks who also want to create their own freak show. It’s great. Not dark, scary, and gory like this show, but very very good!

  18. Eboni says:

    Last night episode helped me understand the show a little more. Cause the first episode was all over the place. However I was truly upset about Meep I know his act was disgusting but he didn’t deserve to die like that. He had an innocent face with a mischievous smile. RIP Meep

  19. Eboni says:

    Last night episode helped me understand it a lot better. Cause the first episode was all over the place. Now it’s coming together. I just want to learn more of this scary clown. And poor Meep I was so upset over how he was killed his act was gross but he didn’t deserve to die like that. I cried about it. RIP Meep

  20. RAHSHEDAH says:

    So uncalled for what was done to Meep. My feelings are really hurt over that mess. REALLY.

  21. Anonymouse says:

    This is the first time watching an AHS series. While I’ve enjoyed both shows, the ep2 has been captivating from start to finish. Well done.

  22. Ana says:

    It’s not fair. AHS isn’t suposed to give me those feels. Meeeeep! Still had so many chickens to bite… :c

  23. Mike says:

    I love the fact that the ‘freaks’ are trying too be ‘normal’ while the ‘normal’ looking one [Dandy] is the biggest freak of all

  24. Sally says:

    OMG!!! Last night’s episode was awesome!!! Only 2 episodes in and these 2 episodes are better than the entire season of coven. This is my take on twisty..he’s related to someone at the carnival and when the carnival came to town that’s when the killings started. Twisty is creepy and scary but then so is Dandy (what a name) but it fits the character, and he’s not wearing a mask!!

  25. MahaloYall says:

    Elsa is really not using her heads here. Perhaps she thinks Tri-boob can make up for the missing Tattlers, plus, if the sisters are gone, they can take the fall for the dead cop and the heat will be off of the rest of the group. And yes, I want to hug Jimmy! …I want to do a lot of things with Jimmy…even with the flippers. Who am I kidding? ESPECIALLY WITH THE FLIPPERS! Every season, Evan Peters has control of all my feels. I even felt sorry for him when he was a vicious school kid murdering monster back in Season 1. I hope Dandy gets offed by Twisty before it’s all said and done, I hope Dell gets hacked up and fed to the gators, and I hope nothing bad happens to Jimmy. And I bet Twisty smells like a dead squirrel in a hot lunch box. Howcome people don’t seem to notice that he is caked with blood?????

  26. Natalie Ault says:

    I love this show!!!! It’s one of the most unique shows on cable TV. I can’t get enough of it. I was terrified by twisty and what he’s hiding under that scary mask. Leave the mask on!!!

  27. Noah says:

    Am I the only one who was actually sad about Meeps death??? All I know is that next week, the freaks will raise HELL, and I can’t wait!!!!

  28. Laura says:

    This was the first time I ever watched this show and when Meep died it tore me to pieces. It’s just so sad to see someone suffering and afraid like that. Especially someone who isn’t “tough, just weird” like poor little Meep. Just a show but still hurt my heart. And as with most other people, It was creepy seeing twisty standing with the other clowns in the toy shop.

    RIP MEEP

  29. blklips4lp says:

    felt bad for Meep too. He still had on his fly hat and feathers when they carted him off to jail. For a second, I wondered how many human heads he could chew off. hahahah.

  30. bl says:

    I honestly find this show to be the most disturbing, perverse and utterly gross piece of garbage I have ever seen. I believe anyone who could write this must be mentally disturbed. This is our youth that is getting absorbed in this trash. There is so much negativity in our world today, why not fill our minds and the minds of our young adults with something more positive