American Horror Story: Freak Show – “Test of Strength” Review

I do not understand Dot’s reason for creating an out for Elsa. On one hand, they’ve in a way assured that they have something to hold over Elsa. Dot surely must realize that Elsa would never let that stand. All that has been done is given Elsa an out without tarnishing her name even further. Maybe if they’d known about what she’d done to Paul they wouldn’t be so eager to play this game with her. We do watch it play out as they clamor to get what they want from each other. In Elsa’s case it’s getting the twins far away from her show. Bette just wants fame, but it’s Dot’s continued desire to get the separation surgery that is the interesting development. Potentially more interesting is Elsa’s reaction to killing the twins. She didn’t seem to like the idea of killing them, even though she wants them gone so badly. Which makes me think that her aversion to killing them will be easily swayed.

American Horror Story: Freak Show - "Test of Strength"Stanley is getting desperate in his desire to get a new freak to sell. So desperate that he’s give up on Maggie delivering and has turned to blackmailing Dell. It is a relatively decent plan. Dell has few morals, can be bought, harbors a secret he doesn’t want out, and he’s the strongest man on the campgrounds. Dell doesn’t have the smarts though. He’s tasked with killing one of them so obviously he goes after the only person that could have rivaled him, Amazon Eve, and got his ass beat. Which is why he went for the easiest target in the group. This time when we saw Ma Petite in a container it was real.

Dell and Jimmy had a moment together. Jimmy was there to kick Dell out for hurting Eve or the others would kill him. Dell was there to seize the opportunity to kill a freak like he was asked. It was Jimmy’s drunken stupor and declaring that he knew Dell was his dad that saved him. Their bonding over the fact that they were family was what drove them. Again Jimmy very much desires to be part of the normal world. It frustrates him that he is so close to being part of that world, so close that just wearing gloves allows him to pass. You can’t help but feel bad for him. He’s a sympathetic character unlike most of the characters on the show.


American Horror Story: Freak Show - "Test of Strength"Paul’s girl is not in a good place. It’s strange saying that on a show like this where every week gives us train wrecks and bad situations made worse. Paul’s girl really does have it bad. She drew a bad straw when she got that man as her father. She loved Paul and just wanted to see him, but that went against her father’s wishes. He tattooed her up to look like a lizard, even making sure she had a forked tongue. Then she was sent back to Paul, who’s alive (yay!) who could do nothing but take the blame.

There has been a song in almost every single episode this season. Tonight featured Jimmy singing Nirvana’s “Come as We Are” as though it was some song he’d thought of. Some people may like the out of era songs on the show. Personally I’m not a fan of them. Actually I’m not a fan of the songs in the episodes at all. Music in a show like this can be very effective. They can elicit a mood. When it happens week after, the power that they have diminishes. At this point, every song feels gratuitous. I want them to stop or add to the story rather than be time fillers.

What did you think of the episode?

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