American Horror Story: Edward Mordrake, Pt. 1

Posted on October 23, 2014

American-Horror-Story-Freak-Show-Season-4-Episode-3-Television-Review-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLOMichael Chiklis and Kathy Bates in FX’s “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

 

Not even gonna front, you guys. We’re dealing with flu shot hangovers today and we’re only putting the bare minimum of effort in before we hit the bed face-down and don’t move for a good 12 hours. The best we can offer you in terms of a review are talking points, because composing paragraphs sounds exhausting at the moment.

Ready? Go.

 

– Kathy Bates got her Emmy reel scene last night. We half-wonder if Ryan Murphy didn’t promise to write her a much more sympathetic character after last year’s Immortal Super-Racist. Having said that…

– The “birth” scene struck us as pretty ludicrous. We realize the show is making a point about how mainstream society mistreats its freaks, but we simply can’t buy that a bunch of middle-class, well-dressed women would pay money to watch another woman be humiliated in that manner. Yes, people are the real monsters; we get it. But Murphy always had a problem portraying evil acts. He always takes it to a cartoony place, which works against what he’s trying to say.

– As an aside, the casting of the young Michael Chiklis and Kathy Bates was almost startlingly accurate.

– Angela Bassett is the Queen of All Scary-Crazy Bitches, because she has never NOT nailed such a character. We could feel our testicles shrivel up at her scorn.

– It is not everyday that you get to read a TV show review wherein the reviewers reference their own genitalia. Savor this moment.

– We finally entered the world of the supernatural this episode. We were starting to wonder if we were just going to be treated to real-world “freaks” and serial killer clowns for the whole season. LOVED the entrance of Edward Mordrake, complete with sickly green fog and a theremin soundtrack. It was like watching an old Hammer Horror film for a brief moment there. Although we’re surprised to see an English character on a show that has always been about pure Americana.

– The concept of one conjoined sister having a dream that the other conjoined sister is trapped inside is such a rich one that we’re almost sorry to see the whole story isn’t built around that one horrifying idea;that someone can trap you in their own dream.

– This season can rightly be characterized as “Creepy Glee,” what with all the musical numbers. We suspect at some point they’re going to go to that well once too often. While it’s true this show doesn’t offer realism and pretty much doesn’t care about plot holes, repetitiveness, or narrative tangents that lead nowhere. It’s always about sitting back and enjoying the ride without thinking about it too much (which always makes reviewing it a challenge).

– Having said that, this is the tightest scripting the show has ever managed. For now, the various stories make sense and you can see how they’re eventually all going to come together (we hope). There’s still a confident pace to the scripts that appeals to us. For now, at least, all the characters are acting consistently and with clear agendas. So far, the creative team is managing to keep all the balls in the air at once. Of course it’s going to come crashing down at some point, but not today, Satan. Not today.

– More naked Viking gays, please. It is imperative.

– Patti Labelle doesn’t have time for your foolishness.

 

[Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/FX]

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