‘Pink Cupcakes’: Recap of ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’

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With our beloved Twisty gone, this week we needed another character to fill his big clown shoes. (Big in intrigue and interest, not necessarily size. But sure, that too.) And I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that this week that character is Gloria.

Gloria happens upon Dora’s dead body laying in a pool of her own blood, when it is a quarter passed seven in the morning and she “doesn’t hear the percolator on.” (Best line of the episode.) Dandy  tries, not very well, to pretend it wasn’t him, but Gloria knows what her son is. Though she willfully spends most of her days in the dark when it comes to Dandy, the discovery of her deceased housekeeper forcers her to deal with his ways. She is so disgusted with what he did, she screams at him, “I don’t want to see your face for the rest of the day!” (Okay so maybe that is the best line of the show.)

To disguise Dora’s death and hide her body, Gloria decides to lay a bed of narcissus daffodils in her garden. It doesn’t escape me that the flower decided upon was called narcissus, considering Dandy’s mental state. I doubt there’s a strain of lily called sociopathy.

While dropping the bulbs in the dirt that covers Dora’s body, Gloria sheds light on Dandy’s ahem “illness,” and states that it is due to inbreeding amongst the “extremely affluent.” As a way of keeping money in the family, cousins marry cousins and there is bound to be crazy or two in the mix. She even goes so far to say that it is a “rite of passage to have a psychotic in the line.”

Jesus. I really just think all of Gloria’s lines this week were extraordinary. But it does explain why she’s borderline apathetic towards Dandy and his murderous streak. She’s not happy with it but she basically accepts it as an inevitability, especially since it turns out that Dandy’s father was also a crazy killer who ended up hanging himself.

Another telling scene of Gloria’s was a phone call with Dora’s daughter, Regina, wondering why Dora missed their weekly phone call. Regina is played by Gabourey Sidibe, who delivers a hugely mediocre performance. After Gloria tells Regina that Dora is just remarkably busy out buying winter squash all day, she asks Regina to recall on her life playing with Dandy and what Gloria was like as a mother. Regina says that Dandy bit all of his maids and Gloria was never around. In her defense, Gloria retorts she raised her son like she was raised. But that one day, Dandy called for her, but since she didn’t know how to handle it, she sent his governess in. Through tears she then says that Dandy never called for her again.

I really wish we could have heard more, but to Gloria’s confession, Regina says, “I’m feeling really uncomfortable, so I’m going to go now.”  (WAS THIS THE BEST LINE OF THE SHOW?! I DON’T EVEN KNOW ANYMORE! As indifferent as I am about Gabourey’s performance here, the deliberateness with which that line was delivered was just hilarious.)

But what Gloria divulged does shed light on a lot of her motives. She has experience dealing with crazies in the family AND she feels pretty damn guilty about her absence in Dandy’s upbringing. Her guilt is what fuels her to help her son, and her experience in hiding bodies may be her greatest skill. At this point I’m wondering how far her aiding Dandy will go.

In a less stimulating plot line, Desiree had a miscarriage. She had said miscarriage while she and Jimmy were fooling around. They were fooling around because Jimmy had just been rejected by Maggie when she was trying to warn him about Stanley. Maggie was trying to warn Jimmy about Stanley because at the beginning of the episode Stanley confirmed his plans to kill all the freaks and sell them to the oddity collector.

So Desiree went to the really nice doctor from previous episodes and found out she is “100% woman.” The excess testosterone in her body gave her an enlarged ladypart and the excess estrogen trying to battle the testosterone gave her an extra boob. She was rather relieved to find out she has always been a woman. Due to the enlarged ladypart that resembled a “dingaling” (her word), she was mislabeled a boy at birth. I can’t imagine that made for an easy life for her. Well that, and the very obvious third boob.

Desiree was super pumped to have a baby with Dell until Ethel told her about Jimmy and how Desiree hates Dell because, I’m sure, of all of the stuff we learned about Dell in Edward Mordrake: Part One. She leaves Dell, tells her she’s going to have her dingaling removed and have a normal life with someone else. Dell gets pissed and mutilates the doctor’s hands. Oh, and Dell’s gay.

Whew.

This bit is mostly interesting to me because of how the word “freak” is thrown around in this episode. Desiree seemed to come to terms with her freakness since she found out she was 100% woman. She calls Dell the real freak because of the way he treated Ethel and Jimmy. When Dell is hanging out at the local seedy gay bar, his artistescortloverboy Andy aka Matt Bomer tells him he already hangs out with freaks so he should come out as gay. Dell refers to himself as a freak for being gay.

I guess I’m not sure what comment this is saying about being gay or being a hermaphrodite.  Why can’t Desiree love her body the way that it is? She just found out she was a woman, great, but up until now she’s seemed to own who and what she was. I do, however, appreciate that Dell is a freak not for being gay but for being a overall shitty person.

Oh yeah, and Dandy killed Matt Bomer. God that’s such a shame. They made a ridiculously good looking couple. Dandy is coming into his own as a murderer, mirroring his perfect body with how perfect a killer he’s going to be. His voiceover admits, “The clown was put on earth to show me the way.” The way to kill, of course. I’m glad that Dandy sees the silver lining. His mentor is dead, but everything happens for a reason, right?! Delusion at its finest.

RANDOM NOTES:

– Even Stanley’s fantasies are pathetic. You can’t even be the guest of honor in your own delusion. (Cue another Office reference.)

– Why are Maggie and Stanley together? Their partnership is odd to me for some reason. I think that story needs to be fleshed out more because I’m really not buying why she would help him at all.

– There was a lot of talk this episode about television, and I caught a few references to TV affecting culture in previous episodes this season. Elsa states she’d rather be “boiled in oil” than appear on TV and calls it the “death of art and civilization.” Why all the hostility? I’m inclined to believe our showrunners think it’d be a gas to make fun of the genre in which they’re participating and that’s why all this talk. Great.

– As much as Elsa talks about how much she hates the idea of television, she cannot handle a live audience. Every time we’ve had her in front of a group of people who don’t know her, she falls apart. Coming from a person with a degree in theatre, people like Elsa exist and maybe they should just quit while they’re ahead…

– AND as Elsa was crumbling before our very eyes, the line she sang from the familiar Bowie song “Life on Mars?” was: But the film is a saddening bore. I see what you did there, RMurph.

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