American Horror Story: Freak Show Recap ‘Magical Thinking’: I Like to Watch

In the latest American Horror Story: Freak Show recap, a new benefactor comes along to buy the freak show and he quickly befriends the Tattler twins much to the dismay of Dandy Mott…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

There’s no easy way to put it — American Horror Story: Freak Show has been a hot mess.

One week the show is sizzling with steamy affairs and gory horror topped with an entitled brat turned American Psycho the next week the story shifts entirely and the focus is lost and there’s little left on the palette worth devouring. If there was one great hope for the series as the final episodes aired in January it was that distance would make the heart grow fonder. American Horror Story had been away for several weeks on winter hiatus and with only a couple of episodes to go, the return on Wednesday night was definitely an anticipated treat.

It seems we were tricked again, however, as the hour dissolved into a convoluted charade about Neil Patrick Harris’ guest appearance and a back story involving his character that gnawed through about 75-percent of the scenery and time this week despite the fact that there’s only an hour of the show left to go.

There was almost a feeling like creator Ryan Murphy was just trying to get to the end of this show so he could focus on ‘American Crime Story’, ‘Scream Queens’ or maybe the next installment of ‘American Horror Story’ because it certainly didn’t feel like he put his best foot forward with this season. It’s not to say there haven’t been some brilliantly delicious moments and the discovery of Finn Wittrock was nothing short of genius, but the great moments have been mired in mediocrity all season long.

Truth be told, I’m ready for the next installment to begin and for this odd mix to come to an end. With that, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ titled ‘Magical Thinking’.

Handy Man

If you forgot the tail end of the last episode of ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’, Jimmy Darling, wrongfully imprisoned for the massacre of a bunch of housewives at a Tupperware party, was just waiting to get railroaded by the same system that saw his good friend Meep get killed in prison. Out of nowhere his white knight arrived in the former of Hollywood agent Richard Spencer aka con artist Stanley, who promised to hire him the best lawyer money could buy — after he chopped off Jimmy’s lobster hands and sold them to the highest bidder.

Jimmy resists and first, but ultimately decides that he can part with one of his claws if it’s going to get him out of jail. He fakes sickness to get sent to the hospital, except the ambulance picking him up is an associate of Stanley. When Jimmy awakens in the hospital, he’s tied down to the bed and to his horror when he stares down at his arms, Stanley didn’t just take one hand — he took both. Jimmy’s bloody stumps greet him along with a nurse who can’t bother to offer him any pain meds because her friend was one of the people killed in that Tupperware massacre.

Jimmy’s dad Dell Toledo shows up to see him and he’s just as horrified to see that his son’s hands have been lopped off and when he hears that Stanley was involved, he knows this was all just a plot to get his lobster claws and there was never going to be any lawyer for his boy. Dell is finally starting to realize what it means to be a father as he’s forced to feed his son dinner since he now has no hands to do it himself. Dell is determined to break Jimmy loose, but to do it he’s going to need some assistance from the folks at the freak show.

He enlists Amazon Eve to help pull off the escape and sure enough when the cops try to transfer Jimmy back to the prison, they get ransacked and ran off the road before Dell smashes their faces in and helps get Jimmy out of the truck. Dell finally did right by his son, but he’s still got plenty of sins to pay for and a few are going to be cashed in before the end of this episode.

The Magic Man

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Oh yes there’s trouble. Right here in Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities. It starts with ‘T’ and that rhymes with ‘C’ and that stands for Chester.

Out of nowhere this week a wandering chameleon salesman/wannabe magician shows up at the freak show and his name is Chester and he’s looking to unload a few reptiles and maybe get the chance to warm up the crowd with his special brand of trickery. Elsa has no interest in employing him until she has a look at his ledger and sees that the odd businessman is really good with numbers and has socked away quite a small fortune during his travels. She decides to let him open the act for the time being and he’s overjoyed.

So are the Tattler twins, who have decided to embrace their roots at the freak show and get on with getting it on. They want to lose their shared virginity and now it’s about finding the right man to do the job. The few selections they make early on don’t pan out, but then along comes Chester with his fiery red hair and smooth talking and this seems like the perfect candidate to deflower them both.

There’s only one issue — Chester is as crazy as a shit house rat because in his spare time he talks to his ventriloquist dummy Marjorie (welcome back to the show Jamie Brewer!) and he’s in constant conflict with his wooden best friend. He has flashbacks to the time when he returned home from the war only to find that his wife had taken another woman as a lover. Now while this might seem like every man’s fantasy, Chester just couldn’t get excited by it and when Marjorie disapproves, he follows suit. When his wife’s lover taunts him about it, Chester returns home one night to find that ‘Marjorie’ has murdered them both in a fit of jealousy and rage.

Now the twins are throwing themselves at him and while he resists at first, eventually he succumbs to their charms and helps them feel something they’ve never felt before. And just like the last time he was tempted, Marjorie goes missing just moments after he seals the deal.

I Like to Watch

Now that Chester is the big swinging dick at the freak show, he’s also working on his magic act where he’s pulling off the old ‘saw a lady in half’ trick where he uses the twins as his assistants. Much to his pleasure in addition to his new act being a hit, Madame Elsa has offered to sell him the freak show for the sum of $1000 and thanks to his careful saving, he can pay that off no problem. Elsa is getting ready to leave for Hollywood but she wants to make sure she leaves the freaks in good hands and those hands will apparently be Chester’s.

Meanwhile back at Mott manor, Dandy (the only truly watchable part of this season) has paid a private investigator to keep an eye on the Tattler twins. When he reports back that a new stranger has swept into town and managed to take his place inside the Tattlers, Dandy is quietly enraged. Some additional digging by the P.I. shows that Chester isn’t a salesman traveling the dusty back roads of America looking to unload a few chameleons and mayb e a few more magic tricks. He’s actually on the run after butchering his wife and her lover.

So Dandy concocts his next plan to get the twins back into his favor. He steals Marjorie and has an encounter with Chester where he tells the cracked up war vet that his dummy ran away when she found out about his night with Bette and Dot. Dandy promises that he’s on Chester’s side and even gives him a hint where he might find his best friend in the whole world.

When Chester goes into the big tent he sees Marjorie sitting there waiting for him and he’s willing to do anything to get back in her good graces. She wants to headline the show and now that he’s the owner, that’s easy enough to make happen. She also wants him to put the Tattler’s into his act as the next woman to get sawed in half except this time there won’t be a trick. These bitches need to get cut in half or Marjorie is going to be very disappointed.

The twins are in trouble — will Dandy save the day or is this just payback for not loving him in the first place?

Reap What You Sow

The last segment of the episode this week was completely out of place, but then again everything has seemingly been that way on this season of the show. Dell shows up at home where Desiree is waiting for him with a gun. Meanwhile in another tent, Maggie grabs Elsa so she can share something horrible with her. When they get to Maggie’s hiding spot, she reveals a glass jar and the body of Ma Petit. Of course Elsa is horrified to see her long time friend not only dead, but perfectly preserved like an animal on display.

Back at Dell’s trailer, Desiree questions her husband about the murders he’s committed since joining the freak show. Oh there have been a couple of cops who were holding Jimmy, but we don’t care about them. No, Desiree is confident that Dell took the life of one of his own fellow freaks. Sure enough within seconds, Dell is confessing to killing Ma Petit by smothering the littlest lady to death.

Before he can squeeze out even a few tears, Elsa appears and blows his head off with a revolver. I guess there had to be a confession before she was willing to play executioner.

Now as we go into the final week of ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ it seems we will find out the fate of the Tattler twins, who become part of Chester’s act. Dandy might be their only savior but is his own bloodlust been satiated or does he have other plans in mind? And it seems Elsa’s plans to go to Hollywood have been slightly delayed because there’s still one more rat in the henhouse that has to be dealt with and Stanley is still out there somewhere.

Tune in for the next episode of ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ next Wednesday night at 10pm ET on FX.

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