In the Halloween episode of ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show,’ we learned that even murderous clowns have their tragic backstories. However, the show went way too far in redeeming Twisty The Clown while Jessica Lange’s Elsa got the shaft! SPOILERS for ‘Edward Mordrake Part 2’ below!
Every superhero has their origin story, and so, too, do parent-killing clowns. In “Edward Mordrake Part 2,” we saw a glimpse of Twisty The Clown’s backstory and his “reasons” for his transition from a carnival clown into a violent murderer. If nothing else, American Horror Story: Freak Show proves that Freaks: They’re Just Like Us. Everyone has their story, sure, but I think that the show went way too far in redeeming Twisty while simultaneously vilifying Elsa. SPOILERS for the Halloween episode below!
Twisty The Clown’s Backstory In ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’
When Edward Mordrake (Wes Bentley) heard Twisty’s story, his freakish demon face wept. “I have met many a craven killer,” Edward told him. “Many a sniveling coward in my time. Every one of them could admit the blackness in their hearts when their hour came.” Instead, Twisty really believed that he was helping children by stealing them, murdering their parents, starving them, and forcing them to watch his ghoulish, violent shows.
John Carroll Lynch did an incredible job at making Twisty appear sympathetic as he told his story, and that’s all well and good.
However, Edward’s killing of Twisty was one of mercy; when Twisty joined up with Edward’s coterie of dead freaks, he finally found a place he belonged. For all the violence inherent in the act, it was almost a sweet moment.
That said, however tragic Twisty’s story was, he didn’t deserve a happy ending. He was a murderer, and a particularly violent one at that. A lack of remorse is not a romantic declaration of the good in someone’s heart; it’s sociopathic and psychotic.
Edward Mordrake Derided Elsa For Her Delusion While Celebrating Twisty’s Own
Compare how his backstory was received to Elsa’s. Elsa (Jessica Lange) was drugged and nearly killed when her leg was forcefully amputated for a snuff film at the height of her career as a dominatrix. She was punished because she consented to filming porn.
Elsa’s crimes are only that she lives her life in a state of mild delusion; sure, she thinks she’ll become a star one day. Sure, she thinks that she’s above her troupe of freaks. However, she hasn’t killed anybody (that we know of), and I can’t help but think that she was punished by the show for being a female sex worker.
Seriously — Edward derided her for her delusion, and celebrated Twisty’s own. Isn’t that pretty messed up? Yes, Edward is evil himself, but that’s not the image that AHS is projecting — more than anything, Edward is written as a benevolent reaper with a soft spot for a tragic tale.
Now that “Richard” (Denis O’Hare) the talent scout from LA is in town, he will undoubtedly use Elsa as a way to eventually put her freaks in jars for cash. Elsa will continually be punished by the show for her “crime” of being hopelessly deluded, where Twisty got a happy ending.
Elsa begged for death at Edward’s hands, and she was denied. Twisty has friends for (un)life.
Somehow, I don’t think that that egregious double standard will be addressed by AHS any time soon.
HollywoodLifers, do you agree with me? Or do you think that Twisty was redeemed? Do you agree that it’s totally effed up to canonize a murderous clown while vilifying a woman who was deeply violated and who deals with that in a way that is relatively not harmful to others? Let me know.
— Amanda Michelle Steiner