The long-awaited fourth season of American Horror Story: Freak Show premiered with Monsters Among Us. It certainly did not disappoint. Nor did the trailers and teasers for the season feel like things had been overhyped. Every year, the show gets better and more experimental than ever.
The show started as it means to go on: creating a lot of questions and storylines that seemingly do not connect yet, but probably will do towards the end. The first was milkman Bill Palmer dropping off his milk delivery. Nothing out of the ordinary in that since it is 1952, but his previous delivery is still there. It turns out that his client is dead and there is something else in the house.
Cue Sarah Paulson. That is who is hiding in the house, as conjoined twins Dot and Bette. Both have very different personalities, with Dot being the protective, sceptical one. The audience gets to know the twins when Elsa Mars, played by the one and only Jessica Lange, turns up. This is set to be the last time Lange will be in American Horror Story, so it is likely her character will be set up to make people remember her forever.
Creators Brad Falchuck and Ryan Murphy definitely focused on the two different sides of this time period with the twins, and that is evident in the first conversation with Elsa. Dot is the more stereotypical 1950s housewife, while Bette likes to be experimental and seemingly more forward thinking.
American Horror Story would be nothing without its freaky creature killing innocent people, and that happened in Freak Show’s premiere, Monsters Among Us. After the conversation, the audience is treated to the killer clown—of course with a freak show and carnival tent, there had to be a clown. The murders make the headlines, but Elsa is not interested in that, suggesting that she already knows. She is more interested in the entertainment section; in particularly the section about Hitchcock’s Stage Fright.
Fans may have been disappointed in the pace of the show, compared to previous seasons. Every other year, the main setting, whether the haunted house, coven or asylum, have come up within a few minutes of starting. The freak show carnival, however, did not appear until mid-way through, when Paulson’s conjoined twins turned up on the doorstep.
It is then that the majority of the cast of American Horror Story season four is introduced. It is clear that Evan Peters’ Jimmy Darling resents his position as an entertainer. He knows he is being used, but with his very different hands there is nothing else for him to do. Many of the performers are fed up of being treated as second class citizens.
The carnival is failing, thanks to the growth of TV. People prefer to stay home, and the entertainers need a way to bring more people in. The best way to do that is introduce the new act of the double-headed woman. However, towards the end it is clear that Lange’s character is doing it all for herself. Fans may be happy to hear that her final season of the show will be all about her character’s ego. At least, that is what the premiere of American Horror Story: Freak Show titles Monsters Among Us makes it seem.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham