Friday, October 17, 2014

American Horror Story Freak Show Season 4 Episode # 2 "Massacres and Matinees" - Recap and Review

Sarah Paulson as Bette and Dot Tattler the Siamese twin sisters in American Horror Story Freak Show Season 4 Episode 2 Massacres and Matinees
As readers might remember, at the end of the last episode, Detective Bunch (Dane Rhodes) tried to arrest the Siamese twin sisters, Dot and Bette Tattler (Sarah Paulson). He is killed by Jimmy Darling (Evan Peters) and the rest of the group help Jimmy to bury the body.

Bunch's disappearance does not go unnoticed and compounded wit the series of murders , a curfew is imposed. Local cops check with Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange), since Bunch's last known assignment should have ostensibly led him there.

Concerned by this official scrutiny, Jimmy accompanied with Amazon Eve (Erika Ervin) exhume Bunch's corpse.Amazon retrieves the cop's badge and gives it to Jimmy.

Michael Chiklis as strongman Wendell Dell Toledo with Angela Bassett as triple breasted Desiree Dupree in American Horror Story Freak Show Episode 2 Massacres and Matinees

Strongman Dell Toledo (Michael Chiklis) and triple breast hermaphrodite Desiree Dupree (Angela Bassett) are the latest recruits. Dell is a figure from Ethel Darling (Kathy Bates)'s past, having fathered Jimmy Darling.

Dell has just killed someone in Chicago and is desperate to join the group. His physical skills and no-nonsense attitude convince Elsa to make him in change of the security.

Dell proposes to introduce matinee shows, due to the curfew. Despite Elsa's objection, he goes ahead and starts to post  advertisements.

The idealistic Jimmy  tries to get local people familiarized with his friends, in the hope that the town will accept them as one of their own. He takes them to the local diner. The patrons and the diner employees are not comfortable with their presence and quarrel ensues.

Michael Chiklis and Evan Peters as strongman Dell Toledo and Jimmy Darling in American Horror Story Season 4 Episode 2 Massacres and Matinees

Dell observes these developments and orders  the group to leave the diner. He drags jimmy out and roughs him up. He reprimands Jimmy for exposing the group to the town folks, as it would eliminate their curiosity and would impact the ticket sales.

The infuriated Jimmy complains to Elsa and exploits her thirst for fame to get rid of Dell. Jimmy plots to have him arrested for the murder of the local cop, by hiding the cop's batch in Dell's trailer. The shrewd strongman turns the tables on Jimmy by incriminating Meep (Ben Woolf) instead. 

The cops take Meep into custody and the same night return his corpse in a body bag.

Jessica Lange as Elsa Mars in American Horror Story Freak Show Season 4 Episode 2 Massacres and Matinees

In the meantime, the matinee show happens on schedule as Dell had planned. Dot's singing talent proves to be a hit with the audience, much to the chagrin of Elsa. To get even, Elsa visits the sisters in their tent at night time and tries to turn Bette against Dot.

There are two other secondary storylines in the show and both came together nicely to promise a exciting new thread in the future episodes.

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As seen in the previous episode, rich socialite Gloria Mott (Frances Conroy) and her son Dandy Mott (Finn Wittrock) tried to purchase the Tattler sisters and failed.

Dandy is one really bored chap. Even the delicious looking Escargot, prepared by their cook, Nora (Patti LaBelle) does not excite him. To get some much needed excitement, Dandy kills the neighbor's cat and dismembers it.

Frances Conroy as Gloria Mott the socialite in American Horror Story Freak Show Season 4 Episode 2 Massacres and Matinees

His real intention is to become a thespian. In desperation, he tries to convince Jimmy to join the group. Jimmy turns him down.

Gloria is driving along, when she notices Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch) walking along. Twist has been busy himself and has added two more murders to his collection - a toy store owner, Mr. Hainey (Tony Bentley) and his employee.

Gloria enlists Twisty's help to make Dandy happy. Twisty attacks Dandy and returns to his hideout in the woods. His hostages, Bonnie Lipton (Skyler Samuels) and Corey Bachman (Major Dodson) make an escape attempt.

Bonnie runs into Dandy, who has followed Twisty all the way from his house. Instead of saving her, Dandy takes her back to Twisty and advises him to make better restraints for his captives.

Michael Chiklis as Dell Toledo the strongman of the Freak Show in American Horror Story Freak Show Season 4 Episode 2 Massacres and Matinees

The show continues its strong run in the second episode. The acting talents are enhanced by the latest additions -  Michael Chiklis and Angela Bassett. The returning actors are excellent as well.

I personally liked Peter Evans, Sarah Paulson and Jessica Lange. Each is effective in their roles - Evans as the high minded Jimmy, Sarah as the talented & independent minded Dot and not-so-talented & naive Bette, and Lange as the attention craving and jealous Elsa.

As the story moves forward, each actor gets to display their acting chops as their characters face the consequences of their actions. Jimmy is heartbroken to see Meep's dead body as a result of his own scheme to dispose of Dell. Elsa has to come to terms with the rising popularity of Dot among the group and the ticket paying customers.

Fraulein Elsa's Cabinet of Curiosities Freak Show American Horror Story Season 4 circus carnival tent entrance wallpaper photo image screensaver

I also liked the clear contrast between Dell and Jimmy. While Dell is purely motivated by his greed to make money, without any concern about the impact of his actions on the concerned people. Jimmy is more of an idealist and wants his group to be accepted as part of the human society. Both actors deserve credit for bringing out these aspects of their characters well.

The production values are top notch and the recreation of the 1950s has been done with taste and dedication. The sets, the costumes, the props - all combine to create a classic period feel to the happenings onscreen.The music adds to the eerie atmosphere.

Kudos to the cast and crew for delivering such an engrossing episode.

A must watch for fans of Horror.

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Image Sources: Brad Falchuk Teley-Vision, Ryan Murphy Productions, 20th Century Fox Television, FX Network

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