American Horror Story: Freak Show Recap: Better Off Dead

American Horror Story Freak Show Recap

And now, the end is near… But, despite the fact that American Horror Story: Freak Show had already killed off Ethel, Twisty, Meep, Dora, Regina, Gloria, Ma Petite and Dell — and then some! — it still managed to scare up another victim for its penultimate episode. For whom was “Show Stoppers” closing night? Read on and find out!

REST IN PIECES | Since last week Maggie and Desiree exposed Dell’s role in Ma Petite’s murder to Elsa — and she exacted swift vengeance — it stood to reason that this week Stanley would get his overdue comeuppance. And did he ever. After dismissing Chester from what appeared to be a farewell party for Elsa, the freaks presented the villain with a gift: museum curator Lillian’s head in a jar! Next, he was strapped to the wheel and stabbed in the leg. Elsa killed Ethel, he shouted — to no avail. The freaks, armed with all manner of pointy things, chased him under a trailer and served him his just desserts.

LOBSTER TALES | The following day, Elsa disclosed to Jimmy that the freaks had done in his father for breaking their code and killing Ma Petite. She added that the lobster boy should be grateful to Maggie for coming forward; if she hadn’t, a lot more freaks would have met their maker. Unfortunately, he remained too bitter and depressed to believe that the reformed grifter really loved him. (Then again, did anyone really fall for their romance?) Shortly thereafter, Massimo Dolcefino — you remember, the artist responsible for Elsa’s legs — arrived at the fairgrounds, at her request, to fashion Jimmy a pair of wooden hands.

IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE | Meanwhile, Dandy — determined as ever to win back the Tattler Twins — tried to reveal to the sisters their new lover’s blood-spattered past. (And if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle psycho, I don’t know what is!) Though they refused to listen to a word, the file that Dandy left behind filled the siblings’ heads with doubts, so many that they declined to continue as Chester’s assistants. Growing increasingly upset, the magician suggested that they instead play the victims that he sawed in half. Again, they said no, at which point Maggie volunteered to fill in. Worst. Timing. Ever. Chester came completely unglued, manacled Maggie’s ankles together and sawed her in half in front of his horrified staff! WTH do they do now? Since Stanley’s ex-partner had it coming, Desiree suggested that they “steal her jewelry and bury the bitch.” (As for Chester, he killed Marjorie to keep her from leaving him — crazy-person logic — then presented her “body” to the police.)

PAYBACK ISN’T ALWAYS A BITCH | As the freaks reconsidered Stanley’s accusation against Elsa — with Paul suggesting that “there’s only one way to secure our future: Make sure [she] doesn’t have one” — she revealed to Jimmy not only Massimo Dolcefino’s handiwork but their star-crossed romance… and the fact that Hans Gruper (Dr. Arden from Asylum!) had been the Nazi mastermind behind her mutilation! Later, Bette and Dot, of all people, warned Elsa that her freaks were planning her murder as payback for Ethel. When Fraulein Mars noted the irony of their saving her, Dot (or was it Bette?) replied, “Now we’re even.”

THE SHOW MUST GO ON | On her way out of town, Elsa met with Dandy and collected $10,000 — payment, it turned out, for the freak show! No sooner had the troupe’s latest boss taken a practice bow on stage than he heard a strange noise. Investigating, he discovered — holy crap! — Stanley, alive and anything but well! The freaks hadn’t killed him, they’d turned him into a horrifying composite of all of them! Finally, as the hour drew to a close, Jimmy tried on his new hands… only they weren’t hands at all but wooden flippers. “They’re perfect,” he told Massimo Dolcefino. “Thank you.”

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the episode? Were you more surprised that Maggie bit the dust or that Stanley didn’t? Given what the freaks did to him, I thought she got off easy! 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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54 Comments
  1. Fka Tae says:

    Maggie dying literally shocked me, I wasn’t expecting that to happen at all. It was quite disturbing and that was the point. It worked.

    • Brandon B says:

      Yes it was very disturbing. At first I thought it was all in his head, but nope. The pile of blood and entrails really topped it off!

    • Lucy R says:

      Same! Except if you looked closely at the promo for this episode you kinda knew it was coming…there’s a short clip with Maggie screaming in the box.
      Emma Roberts’ characters always get the worst deaths but at least she only died once this season lol

  2. Sloane says:

    Let me just say you skipped a HUGE Point in the episode tonight. You failed to mention the flashback scene where the man who made Elsa’s legs went to find the people who sawed them off. The LEADER of the film production was Hans Gruper. Aka Doctor Arthur Arden from Asylum. You’re welcome! 😊

    • Hektor Relms says:

      I knew who it was as soon as I seen him take off his mask in the snuff film lol it was awesome. I love how the seasons link now. It’s great.

      • Lucy R says:

        I really like all the connections they are making to asylum but what about the other seasons?!? I want to see some links to coven and murder house!!

        • Sloane says:

          There are theories a about Madison Montgomery from Coven connected to the Montgomery’s who first owned murder house. Also Something about Vivian Harmon’s sister in Florida is connected to the freak show somehow. And I think Elsa may come across the Murder House while she’s in Hollywood but that’s all just speculation. Something to think about, though.

    • The Beach says:

      Question: Was that really James Cromwell playing Gruber last night? It sure looked like him but so much younger. If that was really him, not an actor that looks like a younger Cromwell, then big congrats to the make-up department.

    • Everleigh says:

      You must have skimmed over the paragraph but they did indeed mention it. ” she revealed to Jimmy not only Massimo Dolcefino’s handiwork but their star-crossed romance… and the fact that Hans Gruper (Dr. Arden from Asylum!) had been the Nazi mastermind behind her mutilation! “

  3. Hektor Relms says:

    I thought it was so kool how they ‘took care of’ Stanley by copying that Freak movie they were telling him about lol awesome episode! Love this season! Ready for next week’s finale!

    • Saphy says:

      I don’t think they copied the freak movie. I think that was them basically saying, ‘this is what is about to happen to you’.

      • debra sparks says:

        Yes, they did, if you’ve ever seen the movie FREAKS, the go for the woman in the rain, crawling under wagons, with knives…just like last night.

  4. r0ckmypants says:

    I just want to know what’s so weird about Stanley’s genitals. Is it huge? Because we’ve seen him in boxers, and nothing seemed to be abnormally bulbous. Does he have two? Or a leg, like in the opening credits?

  5. JeffDJ says:

    I was really shocked by Maggie’s gruesome fate. That’s gotta be one of the most horrific deaths on AHS yet!

  6. Malan says:

    I thought Elsa sold the freak show to Chester last week? How did she sell it to Dandy this week? Did I miss something?

    • Joey says:

      I just figured that in Elsa’s mind, she can do whatever she darn well pleases. :P

    • Saphy says:

      Well, Chester did just murder Maggie. And then went to the police over a puppet, so my guess is that he will be spending some time the Asylum and so any claim on the show is murky at best.

  7. Paula says:

    My toes actually curled as Maggie cleaned Jimmy’s arm stumps. Awfully well done graphics.

  8. J.P says:

    I want to know why the hell they killed the museum curator Lillian! She was innocent. It’s not her fault Ma Petite died or Jimmy got his hands lopped off. She was just working! I love American horror story but im getting the same vibe i got from last season like they are short on episodes and don’t know how to wrap the story up on time so they just try to kill off as many characters as fast as possible before the finale. Like come on you finally get Maggie on the right direction and then BAM she volunteers to be sawed in half and no-one really cares not even Jimmy?? Chester and Margaret have been on the show a whole two episodes and the second episode they fictionalized Margaret’s death and have Chester turn himself in? His whole purpose in the show was to kill a puppet, chop Maggie in half and De-flower the twins??? And don’t even get me started on how the freaks were on Elsa’s side one moment and then in a blink of an eye they just go HEY!? The guy that was conspiring to manipulate everyone into killing us for his gains just said our leader and former savior is trying to kill us! LETS KILL HER!! Just to give Elsa a reason to leave the camp and become a star. I hope the finale picks things up a bit because im not liking the tall tell signs of a bad ending to a great season.

    • J.P says:

      *Marjorie, excuse me

    • Cory says:

      It is made very clear in an earlier episode that the museum curator knew exactly how far Stanley was willing to go and she was okay with it, so she had it coming.

    • no way she was innocent! She was as evil as Stanley… and for that, she deserved to be in a jar! I can’t wait for next week!!

    • The Beach says:

      If you’re looking for a coherent plot you’d better look somewhere else. This is so typical Ryan Murphy…first couple of seasons have great plots and then they just sort of go off the rails. See: Nip/Tuck, Glee, AHS. As long as you know that going in, it’s a fun ride.

    • Tadeo says:

      I could not agree more with your comments. I thought the same in every line you mentioned. Ryan Murphy’s tv shows are always the same after 2 or 3 seasons do not make sense. Too bad.

    • Marcelino says:

      I agree, they were on her side, and even knew that she wasn’t lying about Ma Patite, but one little “ramble of a desperate man” changed all of their views of Elsa. Despite her practically saving them all. They don’t even mention to interrogate her on why she killed Ethal. What ticks me off the most is that the newest memeber, Deborah, is alright with these violent acts. She doesn’t even attempt to change their minds. It’s moronic. She seemed nice, and even appreciated Elsa for taking her in. Yet, decided “Hey!? If these guys are gonna kill the one who saved me, let me help.”. Also, when Eve or that tall transgender told Jimmy they were going to murder Elsa, Jimmy doesn’t even flinch or show any hint of detest. Nor did he help Eve acknowledge the fact that Elsa gave him a shot at new hands. It’s provocative. Don’t even get me started at what they did to Stanley, i get it was for revenge but, subjecting someone to look like a former freak is sickening. Also, the fact the twins say that Ethal was more of a mother to them than Elsa was, when… Elsa saved them all from the dumps. Never did i see Ethal act like a so called “mother” to any of the freaks. Well, except Jimmy. When i was most upset, is when no one even cared when Maggie died, that was most confusing. She basically saved them along with Elsa, and they still resented her like they would’ve lived without her confession. “Steal her jewelry… and bury the *****”, that was where i drew the line, they act like she was nothing but garbage who did not confess to her transgressions. Maggie was barely starting to go in the right path yes, but they kill her off. Unexpectedly might i add… her death was unorganized and pathetic. She deserved a more noble death. Less stupid too. I’ve got to say, of all the episodes of Freak Show, this was the one with more entanglements and less thought put into it. I do hope they untangle things in the season finale. I am shaming the writers of this episode.

  9. ... says:

    Absolutely hate the connections to Asylum. Defeats the entire purpose of this show being an anthology.

    • Andy says:

      I agree. I mean, I know Pepper’s a pinhead, but we’re really expected to believe she never once was curious why an asylum she was committed to had a patient and was run by a person she had virtually grown up with and had another patient that looked surprisingly like the two-headed girl she had very recently met? She remembered Elsa all the way until 1962, but suddenly has no recollection of her when Jude Martin comes to Briarcliff two years later?

      It would be one thing if the writers had the presence of mind to set up these connections during Asylum and then loop back to the loose ends now during Freakshow, but they didn’t. It’s seriously breaking the illusion the casting creates for me.

  10. Fleur says:

    No one seemed to catch the reference in the opening to “The Sign of the Cross” film? Sister Jude screened it in Aslyum Nor’easter. Loved that little connecting detail.

    • lupieblonde says:

      I read a TV recap hook about a new connection between Freak Show and Asylum and when I heard she wants to watch Sign of the Cross again, I thought that was it until Gruper showed up. Lol. Ruan Murphy must have been tortured with this movie.

  11. Infinite says:

    Does anyone remember the Flash-Forward a couple of episodes back where Stanley presented the twins heads at the museum. Please refresh my memory because I don’t remember if it were him or not but the twins heads were in the jar and he said something along the lines like, “This one died slowly” or something. Am I tripping or was that maybe a dream that he had?

  12. ok, so the new Stanley is the infatata from Murder house… this is delicious… of course I am speculating, but it has to be!

    • Kim says:

      Stanley can’t be the infantata from the Murder House as the Infantata was created by piecing together the remains of the The Montgomery’s children.

  13. alistaircrane says:

    Man, this season has been BAD! What do we have to look forward to in the finale? It’s all just Elsa, the twins, Jimmy and Dandy. I loved Dandy when the season began but the character changed for the worst when his mother left the picture. Evan Peters’ performance as Jimmy has been the most grounding element of this season. Hope he’ll be back for Season 5!

  14. puck says:

    I’m a coward, I only read the recaps and comments, but even the comments are starting to get to me, LOL, pretty sad I know. I’m a person who fear snakes and spiders, so you can imagine what this show would do to me.

  15. Joey says:

    Still don’t like the connections with Asylum, however, I think they did it the best way they could. Probably the best penultimate episode since Murder House, actually.

  16. Sally says:

    I am really disappointed in how this season is ending..freak show started out great and fizzled out..WTH?? I thought last night’s episode was gruesome, violent and a snooze fest..

  17. Jax&Juice's Girl says:

    Well Desi said it best ”she had it coming”. But still I didn’t think Maggie was going to go out like that….after saying all those things to Jimmy ”trying to make it right” with everybody. As for Chester he’s a F-in hot mess and Dandy out of all people is going to take over the Freak Show? Pleaaaaase ……….wonder who pulled the trigger on Elsa in the finale clip.

  18. Julie B says:

    I have been wondering how the whole NPH arc as Chester fit into the series since it was only for two episodes and didn’t seem to drive any story. Then it hit me that he DID deflower the twins and the first episode said they had a perfectly working reproductive system. Just wondering if they are going to be pregnant with a two-headed psycho baby and end up with Dandy running the show. Especially since Dandy is very aware with all of the incest in his lineage that he should not procreate. Not that he thinks in the most logical of terms!! Of course there is only one more episode but there could be a flash forward.

  19. Paule Pachter says:

    What they did to Stanley looked like a scene out of the film, “Freaks.” Justice was served. Wish there was more than one episode left.

  20. Rob381 says:

    I have watched all of AHS and I can say without reservation were I to buy it on DVD I would leave Season 3 out. This is the worst blood and gore I have seen in a while. After episode 6 the story just fell apart and became a guessing game on who was going to be drawn and quartered (or hammered to death in full color). This season is a complete waste and in my opinion may be because Fox has a proclivity to blood and gore in several other shows. The only redeeming character in the entire season has been Evan Peters and with his new hands and recovery I hoped Ryan Murphy was trying to twist the show into a more human ending — until Dandy showed up. The general theme seems to be if you are gay or a freak you must die a most horrible death. Complete and utter trash. I forced myself to keep watching, hoping something good would come out of all this genocide, and will watch the final episode with the same hope, but I have my doubts. As well as wasting all the good talent of the main actors and guest actors, and killing any story line on the way, this season is way past dead for me.

  21. Nick M says:

    Please please please don’t let there be any more musical performances in Season 5. I’ve never fast-forwarded through so much of a season as I did during this one. Truly awful. Confine your lame Baz Luhrman tributes to Glee, please, Mr. Murphy.

  22. manoucheka riviere says:

    Im an avid fan have been since day one. But im so not feeling this season.

  23. Courtney says:

    I can’t believe they killed off Maggie! I wanted her and Jimmy to get back together! And Stanley! Why didn’t they just kill him! And why why why why WHY did Jimmy get his claws back!? He could’ve been a real boy!