American Horror Story: Freak Show –
Edward Mordrake Pt. 2 (4×04)
Synopsis: We get to learn the back stories of the freaks before Edward decides which soul he wants to take with him – and boy are they sad. While Jimmy and Maggie are trying to hide from the cops after missing curfew, they encounter a victim trying to escape Twisty’s madhouse and become involved in his and Dandy’s twisted side show.
I was totally right guys – the extra long run time really is what’s been messing with the flow of the season. This week instead of being tricked into an extra long episode with more commercials than plot development we were treated to a usual 60 minute time slot. Because of this, the story moved at a great pace and the focus was given to only a few characters – something that definitely pulled this season out of its slump. I don’t know if they’ll be jumping from time to time, but I really hope they return to just an hour long show- the impact is just that much stronger.
And oh, what an impactful episode it was. This is going to be pretty darn spoiler heavy in not many words folks, just as a heads up.
I’ve decided now that Edward Mordrake’s appearance was actually pretty crucial to getting to know the back stories of the different characters of the show. While it was lazy writing to be honest (a character that forces others to tell him of their lowest moment? saves us having to worry about how to make these folks sympathetic), I did enjoy Wes Bentley’s incredibly brief jaunt on the show.
The episode starts off with Edward visiting multiple different freaks, and hearing their sad back stories and the “sins” they committed to get themselves to where they were. After he listens to the tales of “seal boy” (I can’t remember his name to save my life), Suzi, and Pepper and her twin he leaves them all, knowing just where to find his newest “grail” to add to his collection.
Cue in Elsa who immediately believes that Edward is there to have sex with her and hear her perform exclusively for him. He grows increasingly angry until he has enough of her arrogance and strips her down to what she really is – a freak like everyone else. After humiliating her by having his companions pull off her fake limbs, he forces her to tell him of her life, and of her lowest moment.
As a dominatrix in 1930’s Germany during the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, she had her fair share of problems to worry about. She was famed for never allowing her clients to touch her, was known for being incredibly brutal, and gained a cult following of people who would pay her just to sit in and watch her during her sessions with clients. Slowly she started doing more for these people she called “The Watchers” and allowed them to film her doing various acts with costars they would provide with her. One day though, they had a different idea for their snuff film and decided to make her the center of attention for a whole different reason; after being drugged enough so that she’s conscious of what’s going on but not so little that she can resist, they hold her down and take a chain saw to her legs.
The film spread throughout Germany and even made its way to Austria and she has to live with the pain.
(Side note, can we draw a comparison between the fact that she was drugged and filmed being violated and then had that film spread and then she turned around and did the exact same thing to that candy striper in the premiere? Cause I’m definitely still not okay with that and after learning that’s what happened to her, it makes me even more mad.)
She begs him to take her away from this and screams that she’s the one who deserves to be taken, but a faint music in the distance catches Edward’s attention and he leaves her in her tent.
While Edward and Elsa were having a little heart to heart, Maggie and Jimmy find themselves with a dead motorbike and a quickly closing in curfew. When they decide to hide on the side of the road to avoid being caught by the cops, our resident killer clown runs by and chases down the teenage girl who escaped from his bus. The two decide to go and rescue her and the others, but Dandy sneaks up from behind and knocks them out, refusing to let his fun stop.
Long story short, because this is just a side note in an otherwise crazy last twenty minutes, the clowns decide to put on a show but Jimmy, with the help of his deformity undoes the rope used to bound him, knocks out Dandy and tells the others to escape as Twisty takes him prisoner. Dandy goes to chase after the escapees and while he’s out searching for them Edward stops by for a visit.
I’ll be honest with you guys – damn did Twisty’s background make my heart break a little. I’m a crime show queen and I usually don’t care for the reasoning behind a serial killer at all but Twisty absolutely broke my heart. Twisty originally was a famous clown for children, and an incredibly popular one at that. He was bringing in money for the carnival and the freaks in the show weren’t. They didn’t like it that a “simpleton” like him was more important than they were. After tricking him into thinking that they were going to befriend him, they reveal to him that they told the cops he was a child molester and that he would never be able to escape that.
After years on the run, he returns home to Jupiter only to discover that his alcoholic mother (a woman who dropped him on his head while he was an infant leaving him mentally handicapped) has died and that nobody wanted to be around him or accept the toys he tried to make for the children. After a failed suicide attempt that only left him disfigured, the freak show rolled back into town and stole the children away from him once more, leaving him to walk down his murderous path.
Where he honestly thought he was helping the children by finding them a pretty babysitter, feeding them candy, playing silly games, and never making them do chores like their parents did.
It’s apparent that Twisty is the one who had to join him. After murdering him, Twisty rises from the dead with his jaw intact, and goddamn was John Lynch so expressive during these scenes. While I’m sad that he’s gone, Twisty’s exit from the show was exactly what was needed for Dandy to go off the deep end.
Let me just leave it at, “Okay so this is how Gabourey Sidibe is going to enter the show,” because hot damn did Dandy finally snap. While Nora was strong and didn’t take any crap from this man-child there was nothing she could do to stop him when he finally took that final step into the great unknown. While the townsfolk are happy with the freaks now, I don’t think they’re going to be happy when a new killer clown takes residence in their small town.
What did you all think of this episode? After a day of huge announcements cast wise (Neil Patrick Harris! David Burkta! Lily Rabe reprising her role from Asylum!) I was happy that the episode was paced well and that everything and everyone was used appropriately. By ignoring some characters completely we were able to get a better feel for the show and their surroundings, and I really enjoyed the lack of musical interlude. The music used this episode was absolutely perfect for setting the scene, especially during Twisty’s joining of Edward’s troupe.
I’m glad to see that AHS is returning to form, even though I wasn’t entirely charmed by the episode – mainly because it left me confused about the rest of the upcoming season and the plot for the remaining nine episodes.
The show must go on though!