'American Horror Story: Freak Show' Review/Recap: "Pink Cupcakes"

Hannah Hunt ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Jessica Lange and Denis O'Hare in the American Horror Story episode "Pink Cupcakes." Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/FX.
Jessica Lange and Denis O’Hare in the American Horror Story: Freak Show episode “Pink Cupcakes.” Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/FX.
Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch) is dead. But true to the American Horror Story ways, Jupiter, Florida just might be in even more danger now. The killer clown’s murder spree has been taken on, with the creepy signature mask included, by the unapologetically insane Dandy Mott (Finn Wittrock). Dandy heads out to make his first murder in the trailer Twisty left behind after a Patrick Bateman from American Psycho inspired workout scene. The audience learns his mother, Gloria Mott (Frances Conroy), is used to cleaning up after her son. His bloodlust is nothing new, making this episode’s American Psycho homage extremely fitting. Dandy is in fact the American psycho to this American Horror Story world.
This is American Horror Story’s second season that takes place in the past. The first to do so was Asylum, which told the story of a Massachusetts mental hospital in the 1960s. Also present within Asylum was the time period’s social issues regarding race, gender, sexuality and religion. The presence of these issues added to the context of the season, making it clear to the contemporary viewers this season’s world was set several decades in the past. Freak Show is set in the 1950s and until this episode there had been nothing but the aesthetics, including the costumes and vintage cars, to take the audience back to the time of the setting. In this episode, Elsa (Jessica Lange) and Stanley (Denis O’Hare) argue about the future of show business considering the current rise of the television. This context of the television holding a new and some-what unknown role within society has finally given something to anchor the audience into the 1950’s time period. Elsa, initially, is turned off by the whole idea and says she would rather be boiled than be on television. Considering how much the audience knows she craves the spotlight it is more than likely it is only a matter of time for her opinion to change.
Evan Peters and Emma Roberts in the American Horror Story episode "Pink Cupcakes." Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/FX.
Evan Peters and Emma Roberts in the American Horror Story: Freak Show episode “Pink Cupcakes.” Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/FX.
Possibly the most stressful point in the season so far was that the audience saw Bette and Dot (Sarah Paulson) die. Their murder, committed by Stanley and his poisonous pink cupcakes, was followed by the con artist holding responsibility for the twins’ heads being in a display case at a museum. However, after all of this unfolded it was revealed it did not actually happen. Dot refused when she was offered the poisonous cupcake. Even more troubling was that there was never any indication to whether this successful attempt on the twins’ life was a hallucination, a dream or a wish made by Stanley. It was just a scene that didn’t really exist in Freak Show’s reality but for a few minutes it did exist in the viewers’ reality. Which is disturbing. But nothing was more disturbing than seeing Dot laying next to Bette’s dead head.
As deaths continue to occur in this horror series, more and more back-stories continue to be revealed. Even though there are a lot of freaks, possibly even too many to ensure episodes avoid feeling disjointed, each of the individual storylines this week were interesting and entertaining. The audience learned even more about the main freaks of Elsa’s cast. Desiree Dupree (Angela Bassett) has struggled with her identity since childhood. Jimmy Darling (Evan Peters) really just wants to be loved and to love someone. Maggie Esmerelda (Emma Roberts) might be the person that can make this happen for Jimmy. Possibly the biggest reveal was that Dell (Michael Chiklis) is dating and has dated men. Something he has kept hidden from others his entire life. The audience also witnessed how far Elsa is willing to go to satisfy her desire for the spotlight. And it is really far. Elsa, feeling threatened by the attention the Tattler Twins were receiving from Stanley, delivered the two herself into the home of Jupiter’s most dangerous since the death of Twisty: Dandy. Its safe to say Bette and Dot are in trouble.
In other Freak Show news, Ryan Murphy revealed that each of the show’s seasons, previously thought to be stand alone seasons, are connected. The different American Horror Story worlds are in fact intertwined in some way. Its obvious the return of Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) and Pepper (Naomi Grossman) from Asylum in this season is a huge clue to this new reveal. So as this season progresses, happy clue hunting to all.
Overall Episode Grade: A

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