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American Horror Story Freak Show - Monsters Among Us - Review "Life On Mars" 



   Last night, American Horror Story was back for its fourth season and it introduced us to the wonderful land of Freaks ! No more Witches (thanks God), and welcome to Siamese sisters, Lobster Boy, Bearded Lady and others. “Monsters Among Us” was a nice introduction, maybe not the one I was expecting but American Horror Story is always at its best when unexpected.


   The first half of the episode was focused on Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) trying to recruit a new freak : Bette and Dot (Sarah Paulson). The introduction of the Siamese sisters was great, but not very surprising- we knew about them for over a month. Sarah Paulson totally rocked in this episode. She is wonderful at playing Bette and Dot, because those two share a body but they have quite different personalities. Bette is more fun and light while Dot is cold and serious. The fact they can communicate through their minds is brilliant, and it can be a great tool in the story.
   Bette and Dot’s back story was interesting and a clever way to start the season : Their mother was found dead and they were found injured in their home. It turned out their mother died at least two days before they were discovered. They tried to hide the truth but Elsa caught them in their lies and after escaping the hospital, they finally told Elsa the truth : Bette killed their mother because she didn’t want to let them out. And afterwards, over guilt, Dot stabbed her sister in the heart, thus stabbing herself. Luckily, they have two hearts (and four kidneys, one bladder and four lungs) so they survived. But as the police was closing on them, they didn’t have anywhere else to go to, so they went to the Freak Show.


   Since the beginning of the episode, I really wanted to see the show, and discovering it through Bette and Dot’s eyes was perfect. It was so luxurious, Bette loved it instantly, feeling like a star while Dot was more reserved, surrounded by all those freaks.
   We got to know Ethel (Kathy Bates), the Bearded Lady. She was, like each freaks in the show, saved by Elsa. By the way, how gorgeous Jessica Lange looked in that flashback, she was astonishing. I can’t wait to see more of Katy Bates too, she is pure talent. And Ethel might have some dark secrets, only time will tell.
   Ethel is also Jimmy Darling’s mother, aka the Lobster Boy (Evan Peters). And he is quite the womanizer. He found something to do with his claws hands I’ve never expected : please the ladies. Oh the American housewives in the 50's were quite bored, and anything was an entertainment. I knew I was watching AHS when I watched Evan Peters fingering that woman with his freaky hands. It was quite shocking and so weird, I loved it.


   Jimmy Darling is a very interesting character, I’m glad Ryan Murphy gave Peters something better to do that last year. Jimmy is the face of one the main theme of the show : freaks vs people : who are the monsters ? Those freaks look like monster but inside they’re just human people, and they're very caring and protective of each others, while the regular people are acting like monsters, they’re cruel with the freaks and they want to use them as they were objects. Like the housewives did with Jimmy.
   I’m glad acceptance will be one of the main theme of the season, as a gay man I always enjoyed those storylines, especially from Murphy, where the minority wants to be considered and treated equally to the majority. I’m sure it will deliver some very strong moments during the season. We all know they are not going to win at the end, because even in our days, freaks are always considered as freaks, but I’m looking forward their fight and they will handle it. Sure it will be a bloody one.
   The freaks has already made their first victim : a police officer who came to arrest Bette and Dot, but when he called them freaks, Jimmy lost his temper, tired of hearing this word over and over, and so he slit the man’s throat ! God, that was crazy ! But the best part when all the freaks got reunited around Jimmy and the dead body and they listened to his speech.  He was great, especially when he said “they want to call us monsters, fine, we’ll act as monsters” . That doesn't sound too good for the quiet town of Jupiter, Florida.


   But the best part of the episode was Elsa Mars’ show. She sang “Life On Mars” from Bowie and it was absolutely divine. I really loved it in Asylum when she performed “The Name Game” but this time it was more powerful and so emotional. The lyrics, the music, the whole song was a perfect choice, it really was a great way to open up the Freak Show and end the premiere.
   As always, Jessica Lange is perfect portraying Elsa Mars, with her German accent and her attitude. As soon as she appeared on the screen, she was Elsa Mars. And I’m loving this woman. She is strong, fierce and funny. And for once Jessica Lange doesn’t play a horrible and selfish character, Elsa admitted her selfishness bringing the twins just so people could see the star she is, but unlike any other character she has played (expect for Jude at the end), it seems like Esla really cares for her people and she actually has a heart (something Constance and Fiona didn’t have). I'm reallu looking forward Lange's work on Elsa Mars, especially when it was revealed at the end Elsa is an amputee. She is also a freak, but how that happened to her ? The war ? During her childhood ?

   “Monsters Among Us” not only introduced us to the Freaks, but also to the new maniac of the season : Twisty, the Clown.
   He is very scary and frightening. I don’t know how they could have thought of such a twisted and dark clown.
Clowns never really scared me, nor interested me. Most of the time, I find them annoying. They're not funny when they try to, and they never quite scary either. Maybe this new clown will make me change my mind. He's a terrific killer.
   But he is not just a killer, he also kidnaps people, for what purpose ? He wants to have friends to play with ? Well, with that face, it’s not a surprise nobody wants to play with him. I wonder what is going to happen to that poor girl and this poor boy. I don’t think they will survive very long.
   But my favorite scene with the Twisty Clown was at the end, when he watched Jimmy and his freaks friends butchered that detective. The look on his face was so touching, he is not alone anymore. There are other people, freaks and murderers like him out there. But I don’t expect Elsa to accept that clown in her show.


   This new installment of American Horror Story looks very promising. It must admit, when I first heard AHS would be doing Freak Show this year, I wasn’t that excited. First, it wasn’t a big surprise because there were rumors of Freaks since the end of season one, and clowns and freaks don’t scare me or frighten me. I have more pity on them than fear.
   But after watching “Monsters Among Us”, I am more thrilled about this new season. The only disappointing part, for me, is having Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson as leads, again. I’m not kidding,
   I absolutely love and cherish Lange and Paulson’s work on AHS. They are both extremely talented actresses, capable of pretty much anything. But, since Asylum, every season is about Lange and Paulson, the whole season revolved around them. It was especially the case last year, Fiona and Cordelia’s relationship was the only thing that evolved between episode 1 and episode 13. In Murder House, Lange and Paulson both had supporting roles, and they were excellent in it. Last season, we had some other excellent supporting characters from Frances Conroy, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Emma Roberts etc… They are all back this year, but always as supporting. It's really a pity, they all deserve more. I really want to see a new season of AHS with Bates or Bassett as leads, and still having Lange and Paulson in the show too.
   Anyway, “Monsters Among Us” was a great season opener, did you love those Freaks ? Hit the comments !

Carnies notes : 
• What's behind the Clown's mask ? I'm not sure I want to know actually... Who do you think he is ? The former clown of Elsa's Show ?
• Pepper is back ! I'm so happy to see her again ! Can't wait to find out more about her. And is that her brother with her ?
• Watching Jessica Lange dressed as a 50’s nurse was priceless, thank you.
Frances Conroy is still using her Myrtle Snow’s voice for Gloria this year, it's delightful. I love her so much. I can’t wait to see more of her and of her weird and complex relationship with her son.
• How long Bette and Dot will stay virgin ? I’ll take your bets. I say episode 3…
• Horrifying murder scenes and shocking sex scenes : this is what I love from AHS ! When the clown murdered that poor man and when Jimmy used his magic fingers, I knew AHS was back !!!
• Oh God, that opening sequence… Seriously, the new music is terrible, it’s not scary at all, so slow but the footage are very nice, maybe too much. In a word, it’s not scary anymore (I missed Murder House and Asylum’s, they were so creepy).
• Which freaks is your favorite for now ? I'll say Bette and Dot,even though the special effects are not always that good (or maybe it was my screener)

About the Author - Romain Ossust
I'm a 28 TV addict. Here is a non exhaustive list of my favorite shows : Orphan Black, True Blood, Dexter, Weeds, Person of Interest, Criminal Minds, The Strain, 24, Ab Fab, Carnivale, The Leftovers, Lost, The Americans, Hannibal, American Horror Story, Once Upon A Time, Bates Motel, Desperate Housewives, Rectify, Ugly Betty, Scandal, Looking, Sleepy Hollow, Fargo, Banshee, The Walking Dead, Raising Hope, Orange is the New Black, Grey’s Anatomy, Reign, HIMYM, Girls, Game of Thrones, The Fall, Power, Black Sails, True Detective, ... For SpoilerTV, I'm reviewing The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Looking, Sleepy Hollow, The Americans, True Blood & Orphan Black
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