Friday, October 24, 2014

Recap/Review: American Horror Story: Freak Show - Edward Mordrake Part 1

It's Halloween time (well, in one week) but for the freak show residents of Jupiter, it's more or less now and like the first and third seasons, it's enough to warrant a two parter, a very interesting one too.

Written by James Wong
Directed by Michael Uppendahl

Aristocratic Evil: Before you ask, yes, the legend of Edward Mordrake is real ( and here, he's played with eerie charm and a tiny malevelence by American Beauty's Wes Bentley. The freaks along with Ethel tell Bette and Dot the legend of the two faced man, with the latter being dismissive, though the rest of them never perform on Halloween in fear of summoning his spirit. However despite Elsa actually breaking that rule, it was a dying Ethel who ended up with the visit from Mordrake. Oddly enough, Edward seemed more sympathetic as he got her to reveal a lot more about her past relationship with Dell. If you loathed Dell in the previous episode, you'll loathe him even more by the end of this one. Actually, aside from one scene, he's just loathsome in general. As for Edward, he's looking for a pure freak to drag to hell and somehow Ethel didn't make the cut.

Innocence Lost: I wasn't particularly blown away with Elsa's version of Life On Mars in the opening episode but her version of Lana Del Rey's Gods & Monsters, well I'm listening to it as I write this recap. It's certainly better and it's almost a shame that it's a performance that isn't being viewed by a crowd, though it was enough to trigger Mordrake into action. This episode continued to highlight Elsa's vanity with Dot being overconfident about her own vocal talents and fake spiritualist Esmeralda (really it's a woman called Maggie and Emma Roberts making her debut) exploiting Elsa's desperation in order to get closer to the freaks.

The Psychic And Mr Big: Welcome aboard, Emma Roberts and Denis O'Hare. It only took three episodes for them to show up this season and already they've made an impression in their mission to acquire freak (watch out Bette/Dot). With Roberts, she's playing a slightly less bitchier character than last season but at the same time while Jimmy was too easily taken in by Maggie, Dot took an instant dislike to her and Elsa had to be tempted in order for Maggie to get into the camp. As for O'Hare's Stanley, well he seems to be the nastier of the two but it's nice to see that he has something rather freakish downstairs as his sex scene with a not convincing Thor lookalike implied more than showed. Even cable television has it's limits but I am intrigued to see this devious duo cause chaos and get further out of their depth as the season unfolds.

The Clown Took Him: The residents of Jupiter are a tiresome and intolerant lot. We know this through their attitude towards the freaks and also down to one mother being utterly dismissive of her daughter's sightings of Twisty the clown, who later kidnapped her horrible older brother. As for Dandy, he's still in psycho spoiled brat mode, both taunting Twisty's captives and coming close to killing Dora. I love that Dora challenged the little Joffrey in the making, because Gloria's mother is a lot scarier than either Mordrake and Twisty combined. As for Twisty, even he seems to be exasperated by Dandy.

Separation Anxiety: Could Bette and Dot literally end up separated? While Dot found the idea more than appealing, Bette on the other hand was pretty horrified by it. I have to admit the dream/nightmare sequence itself was freaky enough and the increasing bad feeling between the girls is believable as well but this wasn't really the episode for the twins. Other plots took precedence and aside from the scene where Dot laid into the rest of the freaks, I do think she was a little too harsh and dismissive at times. I do like that she's smart enough not to trust 'Esmeralda'. I just hope it doesn't backfire on her, along with her barely concealed feelings for Jimmy as well.

Next week, the second half of this two parter will see Mordrake paying Elsa a visit as further chaos descends on the camp and Dandy continues to lose it.

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