The internet has been abuzz with previews, promotional photos, and behind the scenes videos of the newest installment of the American Horror Story franchise. The teasers for the show that have been airing for the past two months show deformities, amazing acts, and terrifying villains. None of those, however, will prepare viewers for the actual episode.
The first episode of “Freakshow” aired on Wednesday, October 8th, and the trailers didn’t do it justice. The episode, over an hour in its entiretly, is a roller coaster from the opening, where we meet Bette and Dot Tattler (Sarah Paulson), the conjoined twins. After the murder of their mother, Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange), the madam of an ailing freak show and carnival, convinces Bette and Dot that it’s in their best interest to come work for her at the show, where they will hopefully save the failing show. Dot is ready to enter Elsa’s world, bent on being a star; Bette, however, is more hesitant, not wanting to exploit herself and her sister for the pleasure of others.
Along with Bette and Dot, the rest of the freaks are introduced, including the tiniest woman in the world (Jyoti Amge), Amazon Eve (Ericka Ervin), Jimmy Darling the lobster boy (Evan Peters), his mother Ethel the Bearded Lady (Kathy Bates), Paul the Illustrated Seal (Mat Fraser), Legless Susie (Rose Siggins), and a host of other actors with real deformities who brave the world’s scrutiny to bring “Freakshow” to life.
Nightmares take form as Twisty (John Carroll Lynch), the horrifying clown villain of the show. Twisty is introduced in the first episode, and though that is uncharacteristic for a series, it works for “Freakshow”. Twisty, a serial killer clown with a deformed mouth, spreads fear in the town of Jupiter, Florida, where a series of brutal murders have been committed and no one has been arrested. Having nowhere else to turn, the police start sniffing around the camp of the freakshow stars, where things take a dangerous turn. However, the police aren’t the only thing the members of Elsa’s camp have to worry about. A very precocious and spoiled socialite’s son takes an interest in Bette and Dot, and his mother, ever needing to keep her son happy (Frances Conroy), makes Elsa an offer for her newest stars.
Overall, “Freakshow” was a big success. It is much darker than the past three seasons, but how else should it be when set in the dark world of a side show? Creator Ryan Murphy definitely ups the gore and horror of American Horror Story in this season, since Twisty’s murders are bloody and crude. This fact, along with strong language and strong sexual content makes the show not suitable for minors, so show caution when watching. As the episode ends with Elsa revealing a deep secret, Murphy definitely has us hooked, and viewers will be waiting anxiously for the next episode.
“American Horror Story: Freakshow” airs every Wednesday at 10/9 central on FX. Episodes are available for streaming on the FX websites and various other websites a day after the episode airs.

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