American Horror Story: Freakshow: S4E1 “Monsters Among Us”

8.7 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Characters : 8/10
Horror: 8/10

Bette and Dot Tattler | Twisty The Clown

Elsa's accent at times | Everybody falls for the sex field trick

Let me go ahead and say for the record that I like the Tim Burton-esque spin with the opening credits. They did not waste anytime getting into the thick of things this season. We are introduced to our villain, Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch) that I’m pretty sure is going to be giving a lot of people IT induced nightmares. (If you don’t know what IT is – rent it!) Fellow horror movie viewers – what’s the rule of trying to have sex in some open field? That’s right – you never do because you’ll never survive it. Try to reason with the killer? Yup, dead! Twisty is kidnapping kids and murdering people by the bunches. The creators have done a good job making a lasting impression with the first episode. I’m sure as the weeks go on, we’ll go further into the back story of this deranged character.

The 1950’s time period is a factor as well. The television is coming into play during these times, so the freak show mantle is ailing at best. There’s a good job of costume design and overall feel for the time at hand. You have radio, candy strippers and all aspects indicative of that decade. Every thing is seemingly clean cut on the surface – just on the surface however. The feeling of intolerance is abundant and prudent in this episode as well. Not bad at all.

Now it wouldn’t be a Ryan Murphy directed episode without scenes of sexual furtive. The opening conversation in the hospital with Bette and Dot Tattler (Sarah Paulson) and Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) and Jimmy Darling’s (Evan Peters) specialty with his…hands. Elsa Mars’ character is interesting as with Jessica Lange’s characters in past seasons. Elsa isn’t as sinister as Lange’s previous incarnations with the exception of Season 2. While Elsa did manipulate Bette and Dot into coming into the freak show, she is seem as some sort of savior. I’ll hand it to Jessica Lange – because she is able to play these roles that seem strong on the outside and has a huge flaw. She is the lead freak that we come to find out at the end of the episode.

Elsa has taken on the voice of the voiceless mantle as opposed to Jimmy who symbolizes a way out. (Hasn’t Evan Peters played a mutant before?) I think there is going to be a power struggle with the episodes to come. Not only between Elsa and Jimmy, but with the new saviors Dot and Bette. We can’t have too many heads at the table now. It will also be interesting to see how Ethel Darling (Kathy Bates) will come into play. On the one hand, she’s Elsa’s backbone and on the other is her son that wants a better life.

The freak show is a platform for Elsa’s fleeting sense of stardom. Now, I did not think that the David Bowie number was that bad, although the bleak audience did not agree. There’s still a sense of us vs them in that the “freaks” stick together. In the conversation with the nurse after a night of debauchery (and an early version of a “sex tape”), Elsa stands on the protecting the freak show for her own bidding. Jimmy is channeling a sense of empowerment that is more for the greater good and the people around him.

We got a good foundation here folks. Gore, suspense, freaks and all sinister you can find. I’m losing hope that I can get a proper horror fix on the big screen. Welcome back American Horror Story. Why don’t you stay a while?


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Author: Murjani Rawls View all posts by
Journalist, Self-published author of five books, podcast host, and photographer since 2014, Murjani Rawls has been stretching the capabilities of his creativity and passions, Rawls has as a portfolio spanning through many mediums including music, television, movies, and more. Operating out of the New York area, Rawls has photographed over 200+ artists spanning many genres, written over 700 articles ranging displaying his passionate aspirations to keep evolving as his years in media continue.

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