‘American Horror Story Freak Show’ review

By Matthew Saunders

The highly anticipated season premiere of “American Horror Story” was nothing short of spectacular for all who watched.

“American Horror Story” is a miniseries that runs on cable network FX. This season, named “Freak Show,” focuses on a group of “freaks” living in Jupiter, Florida in the 1950s. The group is led by German dancer Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange), who aspires to keep her freak show in business.

The season premiere told the story of conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tattler (Sarah Paulson), and how Mars convinces them both to join her freak show.

The episode sets the stage for the rest of the season by introducing the majority of the “freaks” and their backstories. Introduced characters include bearded woman Ethel Darling (Kathy Bates), her syndactyly-born son Jimmy Darling (Evan Peters), “freak” collector Gloria Mott (Frances Conroy) and her son Dandy Mott (Finn Wittrock).

Other recurring characters include Ma Petite, who is played by Jyoti Amge. Amge holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s smallest woman, standing two feet and six inches tall.

The season premiere also introduced the main villain of the show, a demented serial killer known as Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch). Twisty the Clown barely says a word the entire episode. Yet, he struck fear and absolute terror into the hearts of countless fans.

His gruesome acts of obscene violence and twisted sense of humor have definitely made this clown the most feared person in the “American Horror Story” series since Bloody Face from the Asylum installment.

In addition to Twisty, it seems like there is a lot that goes on behind the tent. There is existing tension between characters, and the struggle to keep the freak show afloat is apparent. The show may go under, due to the landowner wanting to take back the land for a better investment.

What this season is doing that has yet to be done in the franchise is performing covers of well-known songs and applying them in context of the episode. In the season premiere, Mars sings David Bowie’s “Life On Mars,” as part of her act. Creator Ryan Murphy confirmed that Lange’s character will perform a Lana Del Rey cover in the near future.

Although the season premiere did cover much of what needs to be known, there are still a few characters that will not be introduced until later episodes. Among these characters are fortune teller Maggie Esmeralda (Emma Roberts) and con artist Stanley (Denis O’Hare).

Murphy confirmed before the premiere that there would be a love affair between Peters’ and Roberts’ characters. This was anticipated, as both Peters and Roberts are engaged in real life.

This will be Lange’s last season with the series. Lange has been with “American Horror Story” since the first season, and is one of the most beloved actresses amongst fans of the show.

In summary, the premiere of “American Horror Story: Freak Show” proves that this season is the best of the series to date. Social media backs this opinion: hours after the premiere, “American Horror Story: Freak Show” and the actors on the show it were all trending topics on social networking websites in Los Angeles.

The show found a balance between terror and theatrics and kept viewers’ eyes glued to the screen and hanging on the edge of their seats. Murphy has been known to do that: In past seasons, Murphy wove intricate storylines, and within these stories, hid subtle clues.

With this in mind, the possibilities are endless as to where this season will go.

Regardless, one thing is for sure: the freak show must go on.

Courtesy 20th Century Fox Television

‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’

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