American Horror Story: Freak Show closes lackluster season with (you guessed it) more death


Sabrina Kerns

Reporter Sophia Mackey has mixed feelings towards FX’s American Horror Story: Freak Show. Every Wednesday night, the show features scenes that both bore and excite its audience.

Sophia Mackey, Reporter, Artist

On Wednesday January 21, American Horror Story: Freak Show premiered its season finale, and thank goodness this freak show closed.

While directors Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk continued with their original macabre plots and dark, complex characters, the shock value simply lacked this season. Sure, Freak Show featured terrifying moments, but they were few and far between and ended quickly. For example, the highly-touted terrifying clown, Twisty, invited the audience in to watch this season, but died early on, lasting only five out of the thirteen episodes.

For AHS first-timers or mere bystanders, Freak Show probably seemed creepy or disturbing. However, for most AHS lovers and fans like myself, Freak Show felt dry and inadequate, compared to previous seasons.

While Freak Show should not completely mirror the previous seasons, the directors and writers lost the thrill found in other seasons and the excitement necessary for any show in the theme change. I feel the writers thought their characters’ bizarre appearances would make up for any story line they assigned them. Murphy and Falchuk kept the grisly scenes and unconventional camera shots, but these factors could not keep the slow plot from becoming just that: slow.

Episodes often left me craving for more horror and waiting it out until the next episode. Then, the next Wednesday night I would maintain high hopes for the next week and the week after that. I finally realized after the season finale that I had nothing left to expect and I felt dissatisfied with the season as a whole. Unlike all other seasons of American Horror Story, I simply did not care that the season ended; a conclusion more frightening than the season itself.

The way I describe Freak Show may make it seem like this season remained a complete wash, but I am also a harsh critic. Of course, the show still occasionally included beautifully terrifying moments. After all, the masterminds who created all other seasons of American Horror Story (and Glee) also created this one.

For example, I fangirled when they revealed the two-headed twin sisters, Bette and Dot, and Twisty the Clown’s gaping jaw. I exploded with fear and excitement when the maniacal ventriloquist Chester Creb sliced the fortune-telling scam artist Maggie Esmerelda in half.

In terms of plot, Dandy Motts’ and Elsa Mars’ story lines compelled me the most as these stories contained the most gore and gut-wrenching drama. Finn Wittrock’s portrayal of an insane serial killer mixed with Dandy’s story from beginning to end practically forced me to continue watching this season. And, as usual, Jessica Lange performed with excellence all season long, finishing both her story in Freak Show and her acting in the American Horror Story series as a whole on a strong note.

For more clarity on my stance, I enjoyed the American-Horror-Story-esque factors of Freak Show, but I found the rest of the season a bit bare.

Hopefully, next season will follow the trend of those previous. I find that the themes of each season sway like a pendulum between modern and previous eras. Season one focused on a modern family and their haunted house, season two on a 1960’s cruel insane asylum, season three on a contemporary witch coven in hiding, and season four on a crumbling freakshow in the 1950’s. As a huge fan of seasons one and three, I desperately hope Fulchuk and Murphy continue with my theme theory and create a fifth season that takes place in current day.

Despite this season’s lackluster episodes and the future loss of Jessica Lange, my hopes remain high for next year and beyond. Until then, I will continue to binge-watch seasons one and three on Netflix and google Finn Wittrock and Evan Peters in my free time.

The Chant‘s grade: B-