In ‘Bullseye,’ Elsa’s lies begin to unravel. However, she is able to twist the suspicion in the camp to her benefit as she plays a dangerous game with Paul The Illustrated Seal. Also, Dandy has manpain. Full ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ recap below!
Now that Dandy (Finn Wittrock) has playthings to keep him company in the form of Bette and Dot (Sarah Paulson), he mellows for a hot second in “Bullseye.” However, it doesn’t last — nor does Elsa’s time in the spotlight following the twins’ “disappearance” as the camp becomes suspicious. Also, Stanley (Denis O’Hare) puts the screws to Maggie/Esmerelda (Emma Roberts) in their plot to sell off all the freaks to the American Morbidity Museum — expect to see a freak in a jar in the Nov. 12 episode of American Horror Story: Freak Show! Recap below.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Elsa Simply Cannot Believe That Bette And Dot Chose To Run Off
Since Elsa (Jessica Lange) was passed over by Stanley (Denis O’Hare) for Bette and Dot, she is fairly hellbent on getting her variety show. We see her set up a spinning target wheel and throw knives right into the wood as she explains in a voiceover that she, essentially, has always been out for number one. No matter the cost, her focus has always been on surviving and getting ahead.
Elsa tells Ethel (Kathy Bates) that Bette and Dot snuck away when she took them dress shopping, and blasts them for their ingratitude. Hey, at least she’s sticking to her story. She goes on about how she gives the freaks everything she has and how she intends on bringing them all on her TV show. Ethel agrees that Elsa is just sooo gracious and that, in fact, the whole campground is preparing presents for her birthday.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Gloria Gives Dandy Some Condoms And Tells Him To Play Safe — Gross
Of course, the twins are over at the Mott house. Gloria (Frances Conroy) has gifted Dandy with some condoms — the inbreeding in the Mott family that led to his psychosis was quite enough, thank you, so she insists he use them with Bette and Dot for his “needs.” Gross.
He’s obsessed with Bette and Dot, but his love for them isn’t sexual in nature; they make him feel normal, and he intends to marry them both. Gloria is not down — it’s not as if they can present at a Cotillion.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: It’s Elsa’s Birthday And She’ll Cry If She Wants To
It’s Elsa’s big day! In feathers and diamonds, she sits atop a throne above her freaks. It’s all very grim; they’re all standing in line as they present their gifts one-by-one like so many sacrifices proving their love.
When she notices their long faces, they explain that they miss the twins. This makes Elsa lose her mind, shouting that Bette and Dot were fed, housed and clothed, and they still chose to run off. Elsa really does deserve her shot at acting, you guys.
In the next scene, we see Paul the Illustrated Seal (Mat Fraser) in bed with Elsa. Scandal! She offers to take him with her to LA when she starts her big TV show that is never, ever, ever going to happen. When she has a “normal suitor,” however, he’d have to pretend that he’s her chauffeur. Geez, Elsa.
Then, she has Paul bring Ma Petite (Jyoti Amge) from where she was resting just outside their sex den to act as a heater for Elsa. You see, Ma Petite was knit right into a warm, pink cozy for Elsa’s birthday. So, so weird.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Paul The Illustrated Seal Is Hooking Up With Meryl Streep’s Daughter
A bit later, we see Paul in bed with Penny (Grace Gummer). If you’ll recall, she was candy striper from the first episode who spent a number of days in a drug-fueled orgy that looked not entirely consensual.
Mid-canoodle, Penny’s father barges in and demands to know who she was speaking to, but Paul is hidden under the bed. Disaster averted, for now; her father shouts a bit and then leaves.
The next day, Paul goes to buy his lady love some perfume, but he is not treated well by the man behind the counter. More importantly is the fact that Dandy arrives with an armful of hair accessories, makeup, and other girly things. Paul recognizes Dandy, and we know the jig is up.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Bette Is Enamored By Dandy; Dot, Not So Much
Over at the Mott house, Bette writes in her diary — she is totally thrilled by her new circumstances and enamored by Dandy and his doting affection.
Dot, of course, knows that something weird as hell is going on. As she describes it, she’s fully aware of her “gilded cage”; when she asks to go back to camp to fetch her personal belongings, the Motts deny her and offer to buy her brand new things, instead.
Dot changes her tune, though, when Dandy reads an article about a successful operation that separated a pair of conjoined twins; she goes to a black-and-white fantasy land in which her name is now “Dorothy” and Bette died in the surgery. She meets up with Jimmy (Evan Peters), and that’s when the two, in her mind, will finally have their chance at love. No matter that Jimmy is all about Maggie, and the fact that she has confused the slightest bit of genuine, friendly affection for love. Dot is going to go off on someone this season.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Paul Tells Jimmy That Elsa Probably Shipped Off The Twins
Back at the campground, Paul tells Jimmy what he saw at the store — that Dandy was buying a bunch of girly things.
Paul isn’t as blind as the rest; he gets slapped in the face for it, but he tells Jimmy that he’s convinced that Elsa had a hand in the twins’ disappearance. After all, Elsa hated how much attention they got.
Jimmy is stubbornly disbelieving; for all his jaded outlook on what it’s like to be a freak, he’s still about as innocent as they come. As Paul points out, Jimmy can pass as “normal” and so he gets to live a relatively carefree life.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Dandy Loses His Mind After Dot Calls Him Out
At the Mott house, it turns out that one of the conjoined twins they read about died. Bette thinks it’s an abomination to have tried to separate the twins in the first place, and Dot is as scornful as ever of Bette’s idea of “God’s will.”
Dandy butts in and notes that Dot’s diary is always locked. She’s like yeah, it’s my one refuge, thanks, and she gives him the dagger eyes. He encourages them to share all of their secrets — in turn, he’ll share some of his own! He takes credit for Twisty’s death, but Dot calls him out on his tall tale and insists that Jimmy would never lie.
The screechy strings that indicate Dandy’s brain has gone scrambled with rage play on the soundtrack. He goes into an absolute fit, throwing stuff around and calling Dot a bitch.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Stanley Urges Maggie To Kill Lobster Boy
In a clandestine meeting, Stanley urges Maggie to kill Jimmy and chop off his lobster hands for a payday now that Bette and Dot have disappeared. Maggie panics, and in an effort to keep Jimmy safe, she tells Stanley that there would be too much blood — instead, they should take someone who can be easily transported and put straight into a jar.
That is, Ma Petite. In a fantasy sequence, Ma Petite is put in a jar while Maggie looks coldly on. In the present, Maggie suggests that they shred Ma Petite’s clothes by the bog; everyone will assume an animal got to her. Maggie is praised for her ruthlessness and she says she can be, when she has to be. Calling it — she’ll kill Stanley at some point this season, or at least play a role in his death.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Paul Accuses Elsa Of Getting Rid Of The Twins — Paul Is Clearly Not Very Bright
Elsa sings Tony Bennett‘s “September Song” to an unimpressed-looking Paul, who, knowing that Elsa rid herself of Bette and Dot, tells her that she sounded amaaazing in order to keep up appearances.
He begs off for the evening, however, telling her that he “feels dodgy.” When he acquiesces to a goodnight kiss, Elsa smells perfume on him and demands to know who he’s sleeping with. Paul’s kind facade slips pretty quickly and he goes right into accusing Elsa of getting rid of the twins. Not smart, Paul. He brings everyone else into it, too, telling her that all the freaks are talking about it.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Elsa Stabs Paul
Elsa calls everyone into the main tent to give them hell for their gossip. She reminds them, sobbing, of everything she has done for them — bribing guards, rescuing Pepper and Salty from an orphanage, etc.
Jimmy tries to convince her that it’s not true. Indeed, it mostly is — it’s really only Paul who truly suspects Elsa of wrongdoing.
She cries that the only way for her freaks to prove their unwavering trust and loyalty is for one of them to get on her wheel and hope that her aim is as good as it ever was. Jimmy offers to get on the wheel first, but Paul takes the bullet.
For a minute, it almost seems like this will go off without a hitch. Instead, a knife lands squarely in Paul’s abdomen; for a brief second, Elsa’s face shines with the thrill of success until she adopts a horror-stricken expression for the sake of her freaks. As far as we know, this is the first time that Elsa has actually sought to kill someone for getting in her way, and it just shows how desperate she is for her moment in the sun and for love in any form she can take it.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Penny Is Still A Thing
Back at Penny’s house, she tries to leave at 2 in the morning to meet up with Paul and her father pulls a gun on her. She tells him that she’s in love, and that she’d rather die than live in his house. He lets her go.
Calling another death — I’m thinking that Paul will survive the knifing, only for him to die by Penny’s father’s shotgun.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Maggie Puts Ma Petite In A Jar
In the dead of night, Maggie steals Ma Petite from her bed and takes her to Stanley’s nearby murder barn full of jars and chemicals.
She tells her it’s a game, and then puts her in the jar. “Like a butterfly?” “Yes, like a butterfly.” As Ma Petite flaps her hands like a butterfly, Maggie goes to pour in the formaldehyde.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Elsa’s Real Problem With Paul Is That He Betrayed Her
When Penny arrives at the camp, she finds out about Paul and is predictably distressed.
Before Penny runs into his tent in a panic, Elsa leans in real close and tells Paul that she wouldn’t shed a tear if he died — not because he’s a freak, but because he betrayed her.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Maggie Didn’t Kill Ma Petite; She Convinces Jimmy To Run Away With Her
The next day, Ethel is frosting Elsa’s birthday cake. Or, “frawsting.” That accent, man. Jimmy is kind of incredulous that Ethel is still going to celebrate Elsa’s birthday as Paul lays dying, and tells her what Paul told him. Indeed, he wouldn’t believe it himself at first, but the knife in Paul’s abdomen has granted Jimmy some perspective.
Amazon Eve (Erika Ervin) interrupts their convo to tell them, frantically, that Ma Petite has gone missing.
As it turns out, Maggie couldn’t go through with it. She walks back to the campground with Ma Petite in tow, and tries to convince Jimmy to run away with her. He agrees, and she runs to pack her bags.
In her tent, Stanley is there waiting for her and is on to her game. He’s pissed, and he wants to go back to his plan — to kill Jimmy.
Here’s the thing — that is emphatically not easier. Putting Ma Petite into a jar is clearly the easiest thing ever. Stanley, you’re just being difficult.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Blah Blah Dandy’s Manpain Blah
Mott house. Gloria has brought Dandy “snackies” and “icy cola.” He’s in a sulk while the twins walk around the grounds. He has read Dot’s diary, and he tells Gloria to read it out loud. Um, it’s rough. He calls Dandy a boring man-boy and reveals her intentions to steal enough money to run off and perform the separation surgery.
He sobs to mummy, telling her that his heart is like a dry desert, blah blah, the twins were a “cool stream of glacier water,” blah blah, destined to never feel love, blah blah, blames the women in his life for his “suffering,” blah.
“I must accept this emptiness as a blessing,” he says, pulling a knife out of a trunk, “not a curse. I know why I was put here, mother. My purpose is to bring death.” Ugh, this rich white boy, I swear. She watches him walk off with a knife tucked into the waistband of his pants. Normal stuff.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Jimmy, You In Danger, Girl
The bell rings, and it’s Jimmy. “I’m here to see your son. I’m a friend of his.” “My son has no friends,” Gloria responds. Hilar. Jimmy’s there for the girls, and as he shoulders his way into their house I can’t help but worry for him.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap: Ethel Tells Elsa That She’ll Kill Her If She’s Lying
Ethel is the only one to arrive for Elsa’s birthday. Is her birthday a birthweek? How many days has this episode spanned? Three, at least. Anyway, the rest of the freaks are with Paul. To her last supporter, Elsa cries that the others simply don’t know her heart, and calls Ethel the sister she never had.
“I’ll tell you one thing. If I ever found out you were lying, and that you did wrong by those girls, I’d kill you with my own two hands.” Blow out the candle and wish that Dandy kills Jimmy and is never able to take the girls home, Elsa!
“I just want to be loved” is her voiceover wish.
So, HollywoodLifers, what did you think of “Bullseye?” Will Paul die of his knife wound, or because Penny’s father is going to shoot him? Will Dandy kill Jimmy before Stanley can? And is Ethel going to straight-up lose her mind once she eventually finds out that Elsa lied? Let us know your thoughts below!
— Amanda Michelle Steiner