*** WARNING: Contains spoilers! Please do not read on unless you've seen Episode 11 of "American Horror Story: Freak Show," titled "Magical Thinking." Or if you don't mind spoilers, go right ahead! ***
After watching so many episodes of "American Horror Story," it's easy to become desensitized. It's almost to the point where I hardly bat an eyelash at anything that happens -- from Jimmy getting both his claws chopped off to Jamie Brewer's Marjorie bludgeoning that woman to death with a meat tenderizer -- but every now and then, usually towards the end of the season, Ryan Murphy and his team throw something at us that breaks the bounds of what we expect. Watching Neil Patrick Harris' Chester take Bette and Dot's collective virginity, all while holding a creepy puppet, is one of those things. Even worse, the scene is oddly sexy.
How did we even get here? We started "Freak Show" fearing Twisty the Clown, who's long gone; we moved on to Dandy as the main "evil" character; now we have Marjorie, who seems to be alive to Chester, seems to be capable of murder, but is really, by all appearances, just an ugly puppet in a red dress. All the while, Stanley has lurked in the background as the main nemesis to the freak show, picking them off one by one. We also can't forget Edward Mordrake, who showed up to take one soul. Looked at as a collective whole it's ridiculous, but viewed as a series of bizarre vignettes, "Freak Show" is itself a freak show, with acts that come and go, some wowing, some not. Chester, his puppet and his magic act (Harris puts everything he's got into this role), while totally tangential, are fun to watch, not to mention welcome in what was becoming a sad (Pepper, Meep, Ma Petite) and maudlin (Dell, Jimmy, Ethel) season.
It's like suddenly every character is stepping on the accelerator. Jimmy starts things off by sacrificing his claw hands to Stanley in exchange for his eventual freedom, or at least lawyerly representation. I don't know about you guys, but I feel like I'd need a little bit more convincing to part with both my hands, especially if they were such a fundamental part of my identity. Stanley brings up Meep, and it's a done deal. "You're in my hands now." Indeed, Stanley.
Bette and Dot decide to become sex-crazed, and they begin to prowl the freak show for the right candidate to take their virginity. After being spurned by Jimmy and abandoning Dandy, for some reason the twins burn their diaries and go on an outright crusade to be "de-flowered." When Chester arrives on the scene, it too is a done deal. The twins are reaching for his crotch within 20 minutes of meeting him. Like this episode, they get right to the point.
It's obvious that Chester ain't right. We're given many, many clues to that effect. He has a metal plate in his head that "acts up" when he gets excited, is a veteran who still wears his uniform despite the fact the war ended four years earlier, sees his wife and lover's heads on Bette and Dot's body, and talks to his puppet as if she's alive. But is she? Is she the "AHS" Chucky? Chester seemed to enjoy sleeping with the twins, so I'm not sure where they're going with this. Dandy is circling as well, with intent to kill him for sleeping with Bette and Dot, so his days are more than likely numbered. My bet is he'll be around long enough to saw the twins in two, and then Dandy will take his "half" and leave Dot to rot, while Marjorie will put Chester out of his undefined misery.
Elsa has her foot on the gas too, and not a moment too soon, as her precious babies are dying left and right. She's packing her bags for Hollywood and plans to sell the freak show to Chester ... but we all know that isn't going to happen. After Desiree and Maggie bring encased-in-a-jar Ma Petite back to show Elsa, she snaps and shoots Dell in the head, killing him. R.I.P., Dell. It's OK, he was getting boring. Once an "AHS" character starts talking about a happy, productive future, you can pretty much kiss them goodbye.
We're gearing up for a classic stand-off in these final two episodes. Not unlike our search for last season's Supreme, it's anyone's guess who'll come out on top on "Freak Show." Will Elsa take off for stardom at the end, leaving her freaks all dead and buried behind her? Will Jimmy buy the show from Elsa (and find out she killed his mother and then kill her) and lead it into a happier future? Will Stanley eventually get all of the freaks on display at the museum, as was foreshadowed several episodes back? (If the twins do get sawed in half, that flashback/flash-forward that we saw was completely accurate.) It's anyone's guess.
But just as we saw tonight -- a two-headed virgin having sex with a demented war vet wearing a puppet -- this show's plotline isn't something you can predict.
Freak Of The Week: Chester. Harris took this role and ran with it, and was as freaky deaky as they come. Watching your wife have sex with someone else while smoking cigarettes and wearing the damn puppet? That is all sorts of crazytown.Random Thoughts:
- This season could have used more Toulouse. "But I'm French!"
- Only on "AHS" could you have a lesbian making out with a gay man, both playing straight characters, and have it seem 100 percent authentic. Bravo.
- Ten points to whoever recognized Jamie Brewer as the voice of Marjorie before she was introduced on-screen.
- "Your Homo erectus bullshit." - Desiree
- I want a recording of Sarah Paulson saying "Dear Diary." It's so soothing. She should consider doing audiobooks.
- I've said it before in previous recaps, but damn, Evan Peters' characters are always getting wrongfully charged with murder. They also get an inordinate number of "Noooooooo!" scenes.
- Harris even had the eye twitch down. It was unsettling to look at him.
- Can we all agree that puppets should just be banned worldwide? I see no practical use for them anymore.
"American Horror Story: Freak Show" airs on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. EST on FX and FX Canada.