American Horror Story: Freak Show S04 E07: Test of Strength


Remind me not to attend Elsa’s next birthday bash. She throws killer parties. In last week’s episode of “American Horror Story: Freak Show” we witnessed bad people doing bad things which left me wondering if Twisty the clown died too soon. I would have loved to introduce him to bully Del, slimy Stanley and jealous Elsa. Speaking of bullies, Del better watch his back, there’s a lynch mob of females coming for him.


Dandy is not a happy boy not when Jimmy arrives to take the girls home. He paid good money for the girls, who are dressed like dolls. They think that Dandy is a hero. He saved the kids from Twisty or that’s what he told them. But, Dandy makes a big mistake when he tells Jimmy that Dot wants to get surgery. It’s not happening. Remember Dandy can only feel normal if the twins aren’t, but Dot knows that Dandy read her diary and they leave.


Jimmy, who wants to sing a Nirvana song for the show, tells Elsa that he knows she sold the twins to the Motts, but Dot has a plan and sides with Elsa. Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” was somehow perfect for tonight’s episode. So why are Dot and Bette with Elsa? Show business! Bette wants to be a comedian, become a blonde like Eve Arden, eat caviar, and get 20% of the ticket sales. Elsa is not thrilled with sharing center stage let alone profits and plays the sisters against each other.


We’re still talking choices here and right now Del has all the women at the freak show ready to lynch him. Del is the side show strongman, but it’s not the women he chases after. He is strong, but he uses his strength to beat up people. Desiree and Ethel are shocked to learn that the doctor who could do the surgery on Desiree is dead thanks to Del who is a male chauvinist and a poor excuse for a father. When Stanley blackmails Del; threatens to force him out of the closet, Del agrees to bring him a freak. When his attempt to kill Amazon Eve fails (she beats the crap out of him) he goes after his own son, Jimmy.

Del has always settled arguments with his fists. He’s a bully, but while getting Jimmy drunk, a part of his lizard brain reminds him that Jimmy is his son and those lobster hands on his boy is an inherited trait for the Toledo men. Jimmy’s pleas to be acknowledged as a son, is heartbreaking, especially since we know that Del was planning on killing him. It doesn’t take a strong man to get a woman pregnant, but it does take strength to be a decent man. Del is lacking in this test of strength.


I enjoy watching Evan Peters act. Sure, he’s young but his acting skills are on point. Over the past four seasons, he’s played characters that were just a bit off or a bit crazy and we were never quite sure what we were dealing with or which side of the moral scale his characters would stand. Evan Peters’ character this season, Jimmy, has us cheering for the underdog. We know that Jimmy is a good man in a bad place, but he puts his friends first. Maybe, that’s the reason Del made the choice to spare Jimmy’s life.


The good news is that Paul is still alive thanks to the care he’s received from Penny, but Penny’s father is not at all happy about his reputation being ruined by his daughter’s side show love affair.


Tonight’s episode was about choices, most of them, bad. Maggie wanted Jimmy to run away with her, but he’s got things to take care of. He knows that Dandy was the one who tried to saw Maggie in half, but he needs proof.  Elsa is stuck with the twins taking the spotlight off her and asking for half the profits, but Stanley makes an offer she can’t refuse. Too bad they were overheard making their plans.


Penny made the choice to live her life with the man she loved. Her father made a choice to disfigure her. The need to control his daughter and save his reputation was more important to Penny’s father than her happiness and unfortunately, Penny now fits right in with the other performers of the freak show.

The women of the Freak Show should have taken care of Del when they had the chance. He, like Stanley is a parasite who lives off the living, but they made the choice to wait and that’s a shame. Ma Petite, the most vulnerable of them all and the most loved, has found her way to the museum of morbidity, but not as a guest. Goodbye Ma Petite.

Stanley, Del and Dandy are due for a large serving of karma… bring back the clown.



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