Synopsis: Violence seeps into the freak show as lives come tumbling down as quickly as the curtain. Chester slowly continues to devolve as Marjorie taunts him, while Stanley and Maggie find themselves finally paying for the evil they brought to the freak show. Dandy makes it his mission to make sure that the twins realize who their new paramour really is. A figure from Elsa’s past returns and Jimmy learns more about the elusive German.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

What did I watch last night?

I actually had to step away from the computer for awhile to process what happened after the second to last episode finished last night, and I’m still not sure if I fully accept that what happened was supposed to be the build up for the final episode.

This episode begins with the freaks gathered around a long table celebrating Elsa’s imminent departure to Hollywood and Chester newly acquiring the show. As Stanley sits and smiles with the rest of the crew, Elsa asks Chester if he could leave so that they could spend some quality time together for a final evening. He agrees, and that’s where things start to get insane. You see, as they all taunt Stanley with tales of a film where a woman who invades a freak show is murdered for betraying them, Desiree rolls out a present that she declares she worked incredibly hard on.

Turns out that the present is the head of the curator for the museum that Stanley has been selling the freaks body parts to. As he looks on in horror, the freaks strap him to the spinning wheel where Elsa begins to throw knives at him as the other freaks eagerly look on. It’s only when she releases him that he starts to scream that she is the one who killed Ethel and that he only helped cover the crime, but by this point the freaks are too far gone and they chase him underneath one of their caravans where he meets his demise.

The freaks aren't doing a good job of proving they're not monsters when they continually murder...[FX]
The freaks aren’t doing a good job of proving they’re not monsters when they continually murder… [FX]
But while Maggie was the one who let them in on Stanley’s scheme, Jimmy isn’t so willing to forgive her for any previous indiscretions. As he lies in the barn, hands gone and both parents dead, he cries that he hates Elsa even when she tells him she’s his mother now (which really bothered me that Elsa was doing this when she murdered both his parents) and that she wants Maggie to take care of him and he will just have to deal with it. She also alludes to having someone come into town who can help Jimmy regain something he lost, just as she did, and she flits away as Maggie promises that she will make everything right.

The surprise that Elsa has for Jimmy though is none other than Massimo Dolcefino (Danny Houston), the man who gave Elsa a new pair of legs after her’s were taken by the villainous Nazis. As Massimo explains to Jimmy and Elsa what led him to tracking her down and being able to help once again, we get our second connection to another season of AHS. Many fans speculated that one of the men who tortured Elsa back in the day had to have been Hans Gruper, the man who became Arthur Arden of Briarcliff Manor, due to his obsession with amputation and the fact that the timeline matched up. They couldn’t have been more correct. Massimo decides to enact his revenge upon everyone who harmed his love, but when he got to Gruper he was captured and tortured to incredibly gruesome and disturbing degrees. He promises to return with new appendages for Jimmy, but reminds Elsa that after the hell he went through for her, he has lost all humanity and cannot love.

Amazon Eve takes the role of caring for Jimmy after things get out of hand [FX]
Amazon Eve takes the role of caring for Jimmy after things get out of hand. [FX]
 Inside the tent though, the freaks are preparing for the next show with Chester as the owner, but the twins are having some second thoughts. You see, the night before, they were mid-coitus with their southern lover when they asked him to put the doll away, since it was ruining the mood. He obliges after some push, but Marjorie is not happy about that at all. After the twins go back to their tent she starts harassing Chester, telling him that if he wants her to stay then he has to get rid of the twins and he agrees. Meanwhile though, Dandy has appeared (I’m just going to say that Dandy is so lame now it’s not even funny, he went from a a vengeful murderer to a lame side note) saying that he wishes the twins nothing but the best, although he wishes he had been able to make them his bride. They are tentative about his reasons for being there, and when Dandy gives them a folder of the horrible deeds Chester has done, they tell him to leave and that they don’t care.

But boy do they really care. Bette quickly tells Chester that they no longer want to be his magician’s assistants and really don’t want to be cut in half. Chester panics, since this was his plan to murder them, but Maggie quickly steps in and fills the role. As she slides into the box, he begins to picture her as his wife that he murdered, and as Marjorie laughs violently in the background, he begins the magic act. Except he shackles Maggie’s feet so that she can’t pull them through the box and begins to violently saw her in half. As Maggie screams he continues and by the end of the trick it’s revealed that he has effectively murdered Maggie by sawing her in half. Marjorie runs off to prepare to leave again since Chester “messed up,” but he won’t have any of that and begins to stab Marjorie to death until she is unresponsive. Sobbing, he carries the doll to the police station and cries that he deserves the chair and that he must pay for his sins as he’s covered in blood with the broken doll.

Cold as ice... and out to avenge her freak sister, Ethel. [FX]
Cold as ice… and out to avenge her freak sister, Ethel. [FX]
Desiree declares that the bitch deserved it and that they better steal her jewelry and dispose of the body, and slowly starts to take control of the rest of the freaks. After getting rid of Maggie, they all confer about the death of Ethel and Suzi declares that what Stanley said about Ethel’s death makes sense. Paul agrees, having known Ethel for so long he found it hard to believe that she would kill herself in general but especially without leaving some sort of closure for Jimmy. Rallying the troops, they all rush to Elsa’s tent but she’s mysteriously disappeared. Turns out that the twins gained wind of their plans for Elsa and warned her, declaring themselves even.

As Elsa escapes she sells the troupe to Dandy, who takes pleasure in finally owning the show and everyone in it. But as he tours the grounds, he finds something that brings him immense joy, and this viewer immense disgust. Turns out they didn’t murder Stanley, they just cut off all his limbs, tongues, covered him in feathers, and shoved him into a birdcage to rot. I was disgusted by this act of violence (even though Stanley was a horrible human) and just by the violence on this episode in general. It ends with Jimmy gaining his new hands, which are a set of wooden lobster claws, but I could care less by that point – I was, and still am, completely confused over how they plan to end this season.

I haven’t hid my disappointment for this season this entire time, but it’s just out of hand now. Oh well, next week is “Curtain Call” and we’ll just have to see how Ryan Murphy and co. try to end this. I’ve given up on a satisfying ending, I just need an end to this madness.

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