‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ 4.02 Recap and Review: Massacres and Matinees

Tonight we heard Dot belt out a mean tune, gained a strongman and lost our first “freak” and now I’m not sure I can stand to see any of the others go. Let’s get into this week’s recap and relive the horror.

Freak Show

As Jimmy and the “freaks” listen to the radio, they find out that Jupiter’s killer is still on the loose, and now the cops know that they’re detective is missing and we all know the last place he was seen going. As if on cue, the coppers show up and begin questioning Elsa about the whereabouts of their missing detective and also tell her that there’s now a town curfew…no one out past 9pm…which they know is no good for the freak show’s business.

Bette and Dot walk into the tent (bad timing anyone?) and when the issue of the dead detective comes up, Dot has to pull Bette’s telling gesture down (a nice display in the difference in personality between the girls). The policemen sense that something fishy is going on and threaten to come back.

Toy Store

A delivery guy enters a toy shop looking for Mr. Hanley. After a few times calling him and getting no answer, delivery guy goes to investigate…something we know never bodes well in horror, especially on this show. He follows a small trail of blood coming from a robot to a shelf (and right past Twisty the Clown) and it’s there that he finds Mr. Hanley…or his head, at least.

Delivery guy is immediately startled and unfortunately Twisty’s knife is right behind him to help un-startle him. Repeat after me: NEVER GO INVESTIGATE.

Freak Show

The “freaks” are enjoying a nice family meal while chanting “Kill the Copper,” an act that’s generally frowned upon when you’ve actually killed a copper and his body is still buried on your grounds, but I digress… Jimmy snaps at his family, telling them to shut up.

The next scene is Jimmy and co. digging up the detective’s body and plan to burn it, because in his mind there’s no crime if there’s no body. Paul the Illustrated Seal makes a comment about how he hates the word “freak” and Jimmy agrees that if people gave them a chance, they’d see the “freaks” are just like everyone else.


When the crew finishes with the body, Jimmy hangs on to the sheriff’s badge…smart.

Mott House

Gloria and Dandy Mott are having the WASP-iest of WASP dinners at their WASP-y home. Dandy is glaringly bored with the meal, his surroundings and his mother and annoyingly flicks at his fork. Gloria rings for the maid to bring their food, and out pops Patti LaBelle! (Seriously Ryan, how did you convince THE Patti LaBelle to play a maid?!) Dandy shockingly isn’t impressed with his meal and goes to refill his CRYSTAL BABY BOTTLE with liquor. Gloria asks if he’s irritable because of “what happened with that Christian girl” to which Dandy replies he never touched her and that she was was just pissed because he told her she looks like a pregnant hippo.

Gloria continues about how she had said issue cleaned up, thanks to knowing the sheriff. She’s clearly the worst kind of parents…the ones who overlook and praise to her child regardless of what they do…a helicopter mom of the worst degree.

Gloria wants Dandy to settle down and have a family, but he thinks that sounds boring (I kind of feel him on that). What Dandy wants is to be a thespian, but blames Gloria for ruining it. Cue a glorious Frances Conroy speech about how the Dandy family is well bred and she’s only trying to protect him from “a life of degradation”. Dandy storms off and the Patti LaMaid comes back and tells Gloria that she found some fur and teeth behind the tool shed and that people are still missing all over town. Gloria simply chalks it up to her clearly sociopathic son being bored.

Freak Show

Ethel approaches Bette and Dot and tells them it’s time to start getting their act together for the show. Shortly after the talk, Ethel sees a truck and camper pull up and a look of disbelief crosses her face.

Out steps Dell the Strongman, who walks around the car to let his wife, Desiree Dupree, out of the camper. Angela Bassett knows how to make quite the entrance, but this time she looks highly unimpressed.

Dell and Desiree talk to Elsa about needing employment and we find out through flashbacks why. Jimmy isn’t the only one who gets off on using his special parts to pleasure the opposite sex…Desiree was caught in the act trying to turn a gay man who just wanted to be “normal” (this show continues to present the question what is “normal”?). She asked him if he needed her to bring out her “extra bit of business” to help move things along, but when Dell walked in, he wasn’t ok with that, and you don’t want a strongman to not be ok. He instantly snapped the man’s neck. Now the couple needs new jobs.

Desiree flaunts her three-boobs to Elsa, revealing that extra bit of business meant that she’s a full on hermaphrodite (boy bits and all!), but Elsa replies she can’t afford them, but Dell is prepared to take what they can get. The freak shows are a dying breed and Jupiter was the last stop on the trip. Elsa replies that the camp could use some muscle with all the murdery issues the town had been having as of late, and just like that, Dell and Desiree are the newest “curiosities’ in Elsa’s cabinet.

Meanwhile, Gloria is driving down the street and happens upon none other than Twisty the Clown, out for a nice non-kill-y stroll! Gloria tries to hire him to entertain Dandy, and somehow ends up alive after the exchange. (Seriously, how does NO ONE, notice how creepy this guy is?!)

Back at the big top, Dandy has run away to the freak show and meets up with Jimmy to express how much he belongs there. He says on the inside he feels how they look. Jimmy isn’t convinced because Dandy is a rich, fox with regular hands, and tells him to scram. Dandy runs off with his tail between his legs. How does he deal with rejection? Not. Well. Dandy ends up beating his head into the car steering wheel until he bleeds.

Mott House

Once he makes it back home, he berates Gloria about how unhappy he is and she tells him she has a surprise for him…a companion. She brings him to his playroom and it’s there that he finds Twisty waiting for him. Watching Dandy examine Twisty is almost like looking at a jacked up version of the Dorian Grey painting. Twisty’s outer reflection mirror’s Dandy’s inner.

Freak Show

Ethel and Dell finally have a conversation and we learn how she knows him. He’s Jimmy’s father and through another flashback we learn that he tried to kill Jimmy when he was a baby, causing Ethel to kick him out. She threatens him to stay away from her son and Dell acts like she doesn’t even know who he’s talking about.

Elsewhere at the camp, everyone is trying to help Bette and Dot get a routine together. Bette says she can sing, but like most people who think they can sing, she probably sounds best in the shower. In a stroke of genius, Jimmy asks Dot to try belting out a tune and wouldn’t you know it, she’s fantastic. Elsa looks pretty threatened.

After Dot’s song, Dell tells the crew that due to the citywide curfew, the show will now take place at 3pm. Elsa protests, saying that the show needs the ambiance of the night, Dell puffs up his strongman chest and states that no woman is the boss of him. Jimmy tries to intervene and Dell shrugs him angrily shrugs him off. Uh-Oooh.

Mott House

Dandy is trying to entertain his new companion by performing The King & I with marionettes. After he grows bored of it, he orders Twisty to perform for him. Twisty performs a disappearing act, knocking Dandy out and making a break for it. I honestly don’t blame him, but I did wonder why he didn’t kill Dandy.

Dandy follows Twisty, who heads back to his bus and kids in the woods.


Jimmy decides to take the freaks for a day out and they go to the diner. The patrons don’t appreciate the new company and one woman even asks them to eat somewhere else because they’re scaring her daughter (who actually looked perfectly fine). Jimmy and the crew proceed to order (Pepper wants MEATLOAF! and Paul the Illustrated Seal says eff it and just eats some guy’s leftovers) and Dell walks in fuming. He’s been posting new flyers for the show’s new matinee time and yells at Jimmy that no one will come see the show if they get a freak show for free. Dell yanks Jimmy out into the street and proceeds to beat the crap out of him. Worst. father-son. time. ever.

Twisty’s Bus

The kids have been preparing for Twisty’s return in their solitude and the girl holds on the a plank of wood with nails and tells the little boy to prepare to run. The clown goes in to check on them and tries to entertain them with the robot from the toy store he visited earlier. When that doesn’t work, he pulls out his showstopper…the toy store delivery guy’s head. The girl takes the opportunity to whack the clown and make a run for it and we briefly catch a glimpse of what’s under Twisty’s mask…a mouth that legit looks like a rotten crabapple. It was pretty gross but not as scary as I was expecting.

Freak Show

Jimmy complains about Dell to Elsa, who is unphased until she learns that he’s billed her alongside Meep the Geek.

Dell’s show has started and he introduces Meep, who bites a head off a chick, and then it’s Bette and Dot’s debut. Dot belts out “Criminal” by Fiona Apple and the crowd begins to go wild. Elsa looks on, visibly shaken.

Jimmy sneaks out just before the cops show back up to search Dell’s camper thanks to an anonymous tip. After the cops find nothing, they search the entire camp and find their missing detective buddy’s badge in Meep’s tent. Dell taunts Jimmy, telling him he saw the entire set up, and in turn set Meep up. This time Jimmy looks on, visibly shaken.

The cops arrest an upset Meep and take him to jail immediately. He’s thrown in with the other criminals, who gang up on him as he cowers in a corner, screaming.

Back at the camp, Elsa wakes Bette and whispers into her ear like the snake in the Garden of Eden. She tells the twin that her sister is jealous of her and that she’s really the star. Before she slips back into the night, she leaves Bette a present under the mattress, a knife.

Ethel finds Jimmy drunk and laid out on the big top stage and asks him what’s wrong. He feels guilty for letting Meep go to jail and is thinking of turning himself in, as Meep’s “not tough, he’s just weird”.

Just as Jimmy is prepared to go turn himself in and spare Meep, a truck pulls up throws something out of the back and drives off. Jimmy unwraps the bundle to find a dead Meep.

Things to Freak Out About:

What will Elsa continue to do now that she’s found out Dot has more talent than her?

Did the reveal of what was under Twisty’s mask scare you?

Poor Meep! Who will be the next freak to join the Big Top in the sky?

Twisty has an apprentice now! I propose a new AHS ‘ship name: Twandy.

Tune in next week for an all-new episode of American Horror Story: Freak Show at 10pm on FX and live-tweet with me at @TheJasmineAlyce weekly!

Photo Credit: FX Networks


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