We’ve toured the Murder House, we’ve checked into the Asylum, and we’ve had a magical time with the Coven. Now, the tent is officially open for the Freak Show. I was super amped up for this season of FX’s American Horror Story not only because last season was the best season yet (in my humble opinion), but because I find the idea of a freak show particularly interesting—maybe due to my affinity for HBO’s short-lived Carnivàle, which has a somewhat similar vibe. So how did the premiere episode fare? Here are the particulars:
What I liked:
- The opening sequence. It is the freakiest and most interesting opening yet. AHS always has eye-catching openings, but after a few episodes, I normally stop paying attention. But this weird stop-motion sequence is one that you just can’t tear your eyes away from…
- The atmosphere. It’s not just the freak show stuff—which, yes, is very, very cool—but also the fact that it’s set in the ‘50s. After seeing this episode and the ‘60s/’70s setting of Asylum, I have to admit that Ryan Murphy has a way with period pieces.
- Jessica Lange as ringleader Elsa Mars. I am a huge fangirl for Lange because of AHS, and she doesn’t disappoint with character. Elsa’s got sass, style, and a heck of a commanding presence. Also, Murphy manages to sneak in an opportunity for Lange to sing again, and it is even more magical than Asylum’s “The Name Game.” (Hint: DAVID FREAKING BOWIE)
- All the other amazing actors/characters. Murphy and co. definitely know how to pick ‘em, and they also know how to place their veteran actors in just the right roles. Evan Peters as charming “Lobster Boy” Jimmy. Kathy Bates as his kind, simple mother, Ethel, the Bearded Woman. Sarah Paulson as both Bette and Dot, a very complicated two-headed woman. Plus, we’ve got the world’s smallest woman (Jyoti Amge), a 6’8” Amazon (Erika Irvin), a woman missing the lower half of her body (Rose Siggins), and so many more. Plus, Asylum’s Pepper (Naomi Grossman), and she has a buddy!
- TWISTY THE CLOWN. John Carroll Lynch barely has to do a thing to make this character terrifying because HE IS AWFUL. Which, of course, I mean in the best possible way. That mask…I mean wow. So scary. Bravo, Freak Show. Bravo.
What I didn’t like:
- Sometimes it seems like AHS is trying too hard to shock us. I can think of one scene in particular involving Jimmy and a certain…erm…we’ll say service that he offers. Stuff like this just feels a little forced.
- Though Bates’ character seems like she’s gonna be great, her accent kind of drove me crazy in this first episode. Is she supposed to be Canadian? Or just from somewhere up north? I can’t place it, but it’s weird and a little distracting.
- I’ve already expressed my love for Jessica Lange and all that she does, but I will say this: why can’t she ever play a different kind of character? Don’t get me wrong—she’s great at the sharp-tongued, scheming, aging woman desperate for youth and/or fame, but she’s been playing that for four seasons now. I hope she gets to break this mold a bit.
- TWISTY THE F#*!ING CLOWN. I know I listed him as a good thing because for horror lovers, he really is a wonderfully terrifying creation. But he might permanently scar people who are severely scared of clowns. He’s that awful.
The Potential: If this season is as interesting and creepy and weird as the first episode, then this could be American Horror Story at its finest. So far, I love pretty much everything about it, and there are already several interesting threads. I’m very eager to see what comes next. Keep it up, Ryan Murphy, you wonderful, twisted man.
My Grade: A
15 thoughts on “Premiere Particulars: American Horror Story: Freak Show”
The clown. THE CLOWN! That clown is amazing 😀
Amazing and terrible and the scariest thing ever. Yes. Hahaha.
My god that clown is creepier than the one from Stephen King’s “It.”
(Hey, that rhymed!!)
You’re a poet and you know it! 😉
And yes. Twisty is the scariest clown of all time. *shiver*
I thought about you after I saw it and wondered what you thought too. I loved it!! And that lobster boy scene haha I was cracking up. So weird and creepy, but hey he’s got skillz. That clown, good God! So freaky, isn’t that like everybody’s nightmare. That is just horrible, but so perfect for this show. Great post!
Thanks, Melissa!! Twisty is seriously one of the most messed up creations I have ever seen. Freaky. As. Hell. But SUCH a good season so far!! Glad to hear you’re loving it, too, lady!! 😀
Hmm… Clowns. Er… No thanks. 🙂
I hated the first season of this show, so… I dunno…
Twisty is horrifying. Yeah, if you didn’t like season one this may not be your cup of tea, my friend…Too bad because I am obsessed with this one!
I just can’t tell you how excited I am for this show to finish up so I can start watching (I am weird like that… can’t do the weekly weekly thing). I am such a fan of Jessica Lange, and I love American Horror Story, though I won’t lie, Coven started with SUCH a bang and turned out to be the biggest disappointment for me ;( Plus Evan Peters was horrifically underused in that one…
Yeah it seems like a lot of people were disappointed by Coven. I will say that it didn’t end as strongly as it could’ve and, yes, Evans Peters was definitely underused, but I still loved the season as a whole. So far, I think Freak Show is pretty awesome though. And Peters has a much better part. He’s a lot like Kit from season two, and that makes me happy. 🙂
It’s just if you look at how dark and demented Coven started, I thought we were going to get some super heavy stuff. Instead… not so much. And nobody died and stayed dead, and everyone was all bitchy and bla bla bla. Very sad 😦 Not like awful or anything, but didn’t pack the punch of the previous two. Big fan of Murder House and Asylum though.
Really?? YESSSSSSSS. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together. The cast is strong, but I DO wish with all my heart and soul and every fibre of my being that they would bring Zachary Quinto back 😦 He is so awesome.
I do think the “people don’t stay dead” thing hurt the season, but ultimately I loved all the bitchiness and I thought it went some interesting places. Asylum was a disappointment in the end for me though, so maybe it just elevated Coven in my mind. Lol.
Yeah, why the heck DON’T they bring Zachary Quinto back??? He was one of my favorites from the first two seasons!!! I know he’s busy and all, but come on… 😦
I don’t know, Asylum was really great for me (except Peters having two women and they were down with it). I’m actually going to start rewatching them all when my pesky exams are done so that I can wax lyrical about them 🙂 It’s like one of the greatest series concepts to have come in ages!
😦 😦 😦 Let’s petition THIS. I want more Quinto. He may be busy, but he is in demand! ❤
Seriously! Quinto come baaaaaack!!!
P.S. I heard today that Neil Patrick Harris and his husband are apparently going to be on Freak Show!
REALLY??? Yes… I can get on board with that.