Last week, yet another season of American Horror Story came to a close, leaving audiences everywhere in a state of conflict about how the writers chose to end this season of the newest hit-craze for Netflix bingers everywhere. Beware, all you AHS fans out there that don’t have cable—there will be spoilers.
American Horror Story: Freak Show was perhaps the most hyped season to date, leaving a million different possibilities for humor, horror, and amazement—all elements of the previous three seasons. Creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk kept the theme of this season a secret as long as they possibly could, attempting to build up anticipation with fans of the show.
This season started by introducing Bette and Dot, the conjoined twins played by Sarah Paulson, what some would think to be an on-screen impossibility for just one actress. Somehow, Murphy and Falchuk managed to make their idea realistically come alive.
Other characters included actors and actresses with physical abnormalities playing the parts that they portrayed in real life. All of these aspects make for shiny elements to newcomers that are just now getting on the bandwagon, but they quickly become old hat.
While it kept my attention for the first four or five episodes I watched, the concepts quickly became routine, even as all of the characters’ backstories began to unfold. Speaking of backstories, let’s take just a minute to compare season four to season two—Jessica Lange plays the misunderstood, “mother monster” character with a tragic history that nobody seems to understand, Evan Peters plays the rebel child who no one listens to until the very end, and Sarah Paulson is the savior.
I understand typecasting, and realize that every actor and actress has their own strengths and weaknesses, but my question for the writers is this: how many times can we watch Jessica Lange drink away her sorrows?
Perhaps it was my dislike of season two’s setup that made me cynical about season four, but that brings me to yet another point. In the series, we have been led to believe that each season is a different universe in itself. Different characters, different stories, different elements each October when FX airs the premiere, right? Well, this season, Pepper, the loveable pinhead, returned to the silver screen, and we found out that it’s not all that simple.
With an entire episode dedicated to the backstory and epilogue of Elsa Mars’ beloved “pet,” Pepper, characters find out that Elsa is present, even in the asylum. But wait—Pepper stayed the same. How is Elsa Mars identical to Sister Jude? Are they twins? If that’s the plan, Murphy and Falchuck, please just go ahead and spare us yet another bad horror cliché.
To me, part of the appeal of American Horror Story was that there was a “reset button” every season. Nothing was ever the same in the plots, even though the characters were reoccurring. Will I stop watching? No. Am I disappointed? Very.
Regardless of the portals between worlds, it is certain that the finale of Freak Show was a rush job, putting a bullet in all of our hearts as Amazon Eve fought for the freaks until the very end. (And I won’t say I didn’t enjoy watching Dandy drown…)
I’m very curious to see what directions Murphy and Falchuk are going next. Let the speculations of next season begin!