By Krista DeJulio – Features Editor
American Horror Story is currently in its fourth season with the newest installment called Freak Show. This season takes place in gloomy Jupiter, Florida, in 1952, where the term “freak” is socially acceptable. The show returns with fan favorites Jessica Lange as the mysterious Elsa Winters, Evan Peters as the charming Jimmy Darling, and Sarah Paulson as both Bette and Dot Tattler. This season also introduces Finn Wittrock as Dandy Mott, who steals scenes and leaves audiences captivated by his every move.
This season’s theme revolves around a circus where freaks roam freely around the camp, but are ridiculed when they try to eat at the local diner in town. Jimmy only received service in the past because he hid what made him a freak, but when he brought friends, they were asked to leave multiple times because people felt uncomfortable by their appearance.
The weird duo of Stanley (Denis O’Hare) and Maggie (Emma Roberts), who pose as fortunetellers, threaten the lives of the freaks when they come into town to collect the freaks, kill them, and sell them to museums to make a small fortune. The drama intensifies when Maggie wants to run away with one of the freaks and get out of the business with Stanley.
During all the drama, there is a town curfew because of recent murders and kidnappings occurring due to a deranged clown, Twisty ( John Carroll Lynch), whose backstory is both sad and terrifying. Once part of a different circus, he was misunderstood both as a person and a clown. He failed as an entertainer, toymaker, and even at committing suicide.
Things turn around for the freaks when Jimmy saves two children and a teenage girl from Twisty’s captivity in the woods, quickly boosting ticket sales with instant gratification from the townspeople, who show nothing but support for their newfound hero. Later, Twisty is murdered by Edward Mordake (Wes Bentley), whose appearance has likliness to Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone.
Twisty’s copycat is Dandy (Wittrock), a good-looking, young man, who is babied and controlled by his mother but has deeper problems than that. Dandy starts off by killing his cat, then helping Twisty keep the children captive, and finally killing the family maid. Dandy attracts and holds the audience better than any other character this season with his classic good looks, childish ways and, of course, his murderous rampages.
This season holds many pop culture references, from Elsa singing Lana Del Rey’s “Gods and Monsters,” an ode to the workout scene from 2000’s American Psycho starring Christian Bale about a murderous cannibal and the obvious reference to Edward Mordake, who was a real man with a face on the back of his head during the 19th century.
With the show only halfway through the season, audiences can only predict the twists and turns that will happen at the circus and to the freaks. The plot thickens each episode, revealing another backstory that will shock viewers. This season shows diverse and defining characters that will not be forgotten once the season ends.