Last night’s installment into the American Horror Story Freak Show series was the aptly titled “Blood Bath.” Gloria discusses Dandy’s childhood, Elsa and the other freaks discover Ma Petite’s death, Ethel loses her mind, and Regina returns, looking for her mother. (Arr—there are spoilers below here!)
Origins of Dandy
As we open, Gloria is in psychotherapy, discussing Little Dandy. Gloria’s worried about Dandy. She recalls a time when she complained about the cat digging up her azalea bushes. But oh, not for long. A little blood, a little fur, and no more cat-in-the-bushes. Gloria says she watched him after that, watched him so closely to keep him from hurting anyone. But when he made a friend, a little boy named Emil, she relaxed her vigil. Mistake, of course. Emil and Dandy ran off one day, and Emil was never seen again.
Oh dear, dear. And of course, the therapist wants to meet with Dandy. Turns out, that’s not a really good idea.
Meanwhile, Back at the Camp:
The gang is searching for Ma Petite. All they can find, though, is her shredded dress, an indication that they take to mean she’s been carried off by a wild animal. Everyone is upset—and Ethel’s been drinking again. She becomes suspicious of Elsa: apparently she hasn’t yet forgiven Elsa’s attempt to get rid of the twins. But this time she really is barking up the wrong tree, of course–and it doesn’t end well.
As Elsa storms away from Ethel’s accusations, Ethel shoots. She’s drunk, and Elsa’s moving, and purposely or not, what she shoots is one of those wooden legs. Cue flabberghast from Ethel, who has no idea that Elsa’s legs aren’t real. Cue Elsa finishing her origin story. She was taken to a sculptor named Massimo (Danny Huston), who fashioned her a pair of legs after she recovered. Elsa assures Ethel that that are many things she doesn’t know about her.
Still determined to kill Elsa, Ethel agrees to have an another drink before she does. But Elsa uses the opportunity to flex her skills with a blade, turning and throwing a knife into Ethel’s eye-socket. Exit Bates.
And Enter Stanley…
To help cover up what Elsa’s done. They manage to rig up a car crash with Maggie as the witness. Ethel’s committed suicide in quite the elaborate fashion, wrapping a chain around her neck to slice off her head, ensuring her death by car crash.
But it’s convincing enough. The freaks dig a grave and hold a funeral. Desiree mourns in her own way–using the moment to create a bit of a feminist uprising. Amazon Eve, Legless Suzy, and Penny stand at the grave with her. They’re making a battle plan.
Back at the Mott’s Home…
Dora (Gloria’s maid) has a daughter, Regina (Gabourey Sidibe), who has finally shown up at the Mott’s, looking for her mother. Gloria is a terrible liar and cobbles together an odd tale of Dora going to buy squash in hurricane season and bring back Moorish candlesticks on the way home. Regina’s not buying it.
Gloria sends Dandy to the psychiatrist, where he’s faced with a Rorschach test. He sees the things one might imagine he sees—a man with his arms torn off, his blood all over the wall, his insides splayed out. Because you know. He and the doctor discuss whether or not you can absorb someone’s essence by bathing in their blood and story about native cannibalistic Papua New Guinea tribesmen who believed that consuming the flesh of another meant you consumed their power.
In Miami and the Freak Show…
Elsa is recruiting. Barbara (Chrissy Metz) is a debutante, and she is a large, large woman. Her family is embarrassed by her, and they’ve put her in a sanatorium. Elsa convinces Barbara to come along with her, where the freak show will reward her poundage and she can eat all she wants.
When they return, Jimmy is drunk and in the Depths of Despair. They argue a little bit, and Elsa quips that he should take comfort in the “enormous bosom” he now has as a place to mourn his mother’s death. Weird.
Desiree and the girls make their way into Penny’s father’s house and manage to kidnap him. They bring
him back to Desiree’s trailer to tar and feather him…And then presumably to kill him. Naturally, he’s not exactly silent as they begin pouring the tar over his body, begin throwing feathers at him. Maggie comes running and manages to convince the group that although she’s a pretty little white girl with no idea of how tough it can be, they’ll never get away with the murder and it’ll ruin their lives, etc. etc. It’s enough to calm them some, and Penny tells her father “I am the astounding Lizard Girl. You get to live because I say so.” Well.
Jimmy manages to send away Maggie, in his sorrow and drinking, and he finds himself crying with the Fat Lady. Elsa, you’re damn near prophetic.
And One Last Thing at the Mott’s…
Dandy threatens Gloria, trying to get her to kill Regina. She doesn’t want to, of course. Gloria isn’t made for killing. When Dandy aims a golden pistol at himself, in despair, she pleads with him not to do it. Instead, he shoots her.
And then he takes a bath in her blood. Shudder.
Episode Grade: B. This was a pretty strong entry, especially given its focal point on mothers and mothering in such a strangely crafted story.
Next week, looks like we’ll see more of the Tattler sisters.