American Horror Story Season 4 – Freak Show
American Horror Story Season 4: Freak Show is the fourth season in the American Horror Story anthology.
It was confirmed by FX in November 2013 that the season will be renewed with clues hidden on the final episodes of the third season. It was then revealed that that AHS Season 4 is set at a carnival by producer/writer Douglas Petrie. Murphy also revealed that it will take place at the year 1950 saying: “If you look historically what happened in the year 1950, there’s some more clues in that year. It’s a period piece. We try and do the opposite of what we’ve done before. Jessica Lange has already started practicing her German accent so I’m very excited!”
Murphy also added the the season is inspired by Tod Browning’s Freaks and Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls and has the largest set that is ever constructed for AHS.
“We had to build an entire city. We built an entire huge compound and then we had to build the interior of all those buildings on set. It’s all period. And it’s all based on production designer Mark Worthington’s immaculate research,” Murphy said.
In the fourth season of AHS, it is set in Jupiter, Florida back in 1952 wherein it follows a troupe of people who works in the last freak shows during that time, the Fräulein Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities owned by Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange). Performers in the show are a bearded lady named Ethel Darling (Kathy Bates) with her lobster-handed son Jimmy Darling (Evan Peters), a strongman Dell Toledo (Michael Chiklis) with his three-breasted hermaphrodite wife Desiree Dupree (Angela Basset), and a newly recruited conjoined twin sisters Bette and Dot Tattler (Sarah Paulson).
Bette and Dot were discovered at a farmhouse after their mother was found stabbed to death. When Elsa learned about them, she brought them to the camp where they met seal-like Paul the Illustrated Seal (Mat Fraser), Amazon Eve (Erika Ervin) who is the largest and strongest woman, and a the tiny Indian performer Ma Petite (Jyoti Amge),the smallest woman in the world. For Bette, it was heaven to be brought to the show but for Dot, she looks at it as exploitation.
Meanwhile, there are a series of killings, murders and kidnappings in the town done by serial killer Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch) but Bette and Dot were arrested accusing them for the killings. The detective was murdered by Jimmy after he threatened to drive them out of town.
A performance bought out by Gloria Mott (Frances Conroy) introduced her emotionally stunted son Dandy Mott (Finn Wittrock) to Bette and Dot. He offered to buy the twins for $15,000 but Mars declined the offer. Dandy then decided to join the freak show but Jimmy turns him down.
In order to cheer up Dandy, his mother Gloria brought home Twisty whom he found on the road. But Dandy found a severed head in the clown’s bag and Twisty ran away. Dandy follows Twisty to an abandoned school bus where he found kidnapped kids. The two then worked together.
Dell and his wife Desiree are new members of the troupe. The two fled from Chicago after Dell killed a man whom he have seen having sex with Desiree. Dell then worked as the show’s bodyguard. One person who is not happy to see Dell is Ethel, who is his ex-wife. They separated when Dell tried to kill his own son, Jimmy. Dell even beat Jimmy after he took the freaks out in a dinner and he also degraded Elsa. Meanwhile, Ethel made Dell promise that he will take care of Jimmy when she dies.
Stanley (Denis O’Hare) and Maggie Esmerelda (Emma Roberts), who are con artists, came to the troupe and hopes to make money by selling the corpses of the freak’s to a museum. In order to penetrate the troupe, Maggie pretended to be a fortune teller and she soon falls in love for Jimmy.
During Halloween, Elsa had a performance which summoned Edward Mordrake (Wes Bentley), who is a man that is born with two faces wherein the other one is at the back of his head. Mordrake will be taking a freak with him going to hell. He first set eyes on Elsa but realized she isn’t the right freak after knowing how she was amputated by Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell).
Meanwhile, Jimmy and Maggie tried to rescue the kids kidnapped by Twisty but Dandy left them unconcious. As the pair escaped, Mordrake visited Twisty and learned about his story. He then killed Twisty after knowing about his misdeeds. Since Twisty is dead, Dandy continued with the killings. He killed their maid, Dora (Patti LaBelle) and a prostitute named Andy (Matt Bomer).
Dandy’s mother Gloria told him to consult a therapist in an attempt to end his madness. Since she was insisting, Dandy killed her by shooting her on the head. Stanley pressured Maggie to murder Ma Petite and Jimmy but she finds it hard to do that. Hence, Maggie asked Dell to kill Ma Petite by blackmailing him about her knowledge on his homosexuality.
When Ethel learned that Elsa wanted to get rid of Bette and Dot through Stanley, she confronted her and shot her on her legs which Ethel discovered were actually made of wood. Elsa then killed Ethel by throwing a dagger on her head. Because of his mother’s death, Jimmy got drunk and was framed for a crime in a Tupperware party that Dandy did.
A traveling magician and salesman Chester Creb (Neil Patrick Harris) came to visit the freak show and falls in love with the sisters. Since Elsa is going with Stanley to Hollywood, she sold the show to Chester. Dell tried to hang himself but was stopped by Desiree. After he admitted that he murdered Ma Petite, Elsa kills him.
Since the freaks learned about the real intentions of Stanley, they turned him into Meep. While rehearsing with Chester, he asked Bette and Dot to be his assistant but they refused and left. Maggie then volunteers but Chester had a hallucination seeing Maggie as his wife who criticized him and she killed Maggie by sawing her in half. He also killed Marjorie inside his caravan believing that she is the cause of his hallucination. Chester then turns himself to the police.
The freaks now planned to kill Elsa that night but Bette and Dot told her about it. Elsa then sold the show to Dandy and she went to Hollywood. While under Dandy’s management, the freaks quit which resulted into a killing spree with only Desiree who was left to survive while Bette and Dot were tied inside the tent. Jimmy was also away that time and when he came back to the tent, he saw all the freaks are dead and Desiree was the only survivor.
Bette and Dot then married Dandy which is actually an act of vengeance. Desiree then drugs Dandy and chained him in Harry Houdini’s Chinese torture tank where he drowned while the freaks watched him.
As for Elsa, she already has her own TV show and also has multiple hit songs but she isn’t happy. She met her former lover Massimo Dolcefino (Danny Huston) who refuses to run away with her because he is dying. The president of WBN informed Elsa that a copy of her snuff film has surfaced and that her freak show members were all murdered which shocked her. She was told that if this is released, it will ruin her career and marriage.
Hence, Elsa was forced to perform on Halloween and summons Mordrake once again. Mordrake killed her and banishes her to a reincarnation of her freak show involving all the dead freaks. With that, she was able to find true happiness.
Meanwhile, Desiree got married and had two children, and Bette and Dot are pregnant after being married to Jimmy.
American Horror Story Freak Show Episodes
Naomi Grossman as Pepper
Grace Gummer as Penny
John Carroll Lynch as Twisty the Clown
Chrissy Metz as Barbara/Ima Wiggles
Skyler Samuels as Bonnie Lipton
Patti LaBelle as Dora
Lee Tergesen as Vince
Malcolm-Jamal Warner as Angus T. Jefferson
Jamie Brewer as Marjorie
Angela Sarafyan as Alice
Mare Winningham as Rita Gayheart
Matthew Glave as Larry Gayheart
David Burtka as Michael Beck
Special Guest Stars:
Celia Weston as Lillian Hemmings
Wes Bentley as Edward Mordrake
Gabourey Sidibe as Regina Ross
Danny Huston as Massimo Dolcefino
Neil Patrick Harris as Chester Creb
Matt Bomer as Andy
Lily Rabe as Sister Mary Eunice McKee
Erika Ervin as Amazon Eve
Mat Fraser as Paul the Illustrated Seal
Jyoti Amge as Ma Petite
Rose Siggins as Legless Suzi
Christopher Neiman as Salty
Drew Rin Varick as Toulouse
Major Dodson as Corey Bachman
PJ Marshall as Detective Colquitt
Ben Woolf as Meep
Jerry Leggio as Dr. Bonham
Dalton E. Gray as Mike
Shauna Rappold as Lucy Creb
Kathy Deitch as Young Ethel
Edward Gelhaus as Younger Dell
John Cromwell as Young Arthur Arden
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Harnick, Chris (March 17, 2014). “American Horror Story Season 4 Set at a Carnival, According to Writer”. E!. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
4. Stack, Tim (September 15, 2014). “Ryan Murphy on ‘AHS: Freak Show’: ‘This season, once you die, you’re dead'”. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
5. American Horror Story. IMDb. Retrieved April 9, 2016.