In American Horror Story Freak Show: Bullseye, Elsa marks the spot when she brings out the spinning wheel which was part of her act some time ago. Bearded lady Ethel Darling asks Elsa why she has brought “that old thing” out and Mars says they need something to liven up the show since the twins “left.” In reality, the leader of the troupe obviously remembers all too well the last time she sang in front of a paying crowd and the end result. Now that she has driven Bette and Dot away and “sold” them to Dandy Mott and his mother, Elsa is looking for something to keep her in the spot of main attraction.
The wheel could also be a sort of stress reliever or confidence booster. Ms. Mars does say in her opening voice over, while imagining various members of her troupe on the device as she throws knives at it, that she controls her destiny and no one else. On her birthday night, as the freaks pay their respects to their leader with gifts, it is revealed that the rest of the performers are concerned about the Tatler twins and viewers learn that Paul “services” Elsa regularly.
The “Seal Boy” goes to meet his real lover Penny, played by Grace Gummer, at her home, the same woman met in the first episode whom he makes love to in front of all the freaks. The girl’s father comes in and Paul has to hide under the bed when the man enters with a shotgun in his hands. It is revealed that Penny’s homelife is not ideal and her father has an unnatural, or at the very least unhealthy, interest in his daughter’s well being. It is no wonder the the woman has run away from the all American nightmare of her father’s apparent obsession with her.
Bette is overjoyed about living with the Motts. Dot is not enamored with Dandy or being “held captive” despite the rich trappings of her surroundings. Bette tries her first caviar, “slimy fish eggs,” says Dot in her mental communication to her sister, and the happy twin likes it. Young Master Mott decides that he is in love with the girls and before telling his mother of this fact, reads an article to the Tatler’s about siamese twins who are separated. Dot realises that Dandy has enough money to make her dream of having Bette removed come true and she dreams of being with Jimmy Darling.
Paul learns that the twins may be living with Dandy and his mother while trying to buy perfume for Penny. Mott accuses the man of trying to rob him and tells the freak show performer that he has no rights, “you’re not even American.” After being insulted and refused service, Paul leaves telling the druggist that he will take his business to Woolworths, “they got ice cream.” Paul spits on the window in the door on his way out. Back at the freak show campground Paul tells Jimmy about suspecting that Dandy is buying things for the twins and after Darling strikes him for suggesting that Elsa is not what she seems, things begin to go sour for both Paul and the Tatler twins.
In American Horror Story Freak Show: Bullseye Stanley is pushing Maggie to kill Jimmy for his hands and since she likes “lobster boy” she marks Ma Petite for death telling Stanley that authorities will be less likely to spot her murder as there will be no blood or mess to clean up. When Elsa learns that Paul has a lover and confronts him, he accuses her of doing something “nefarious” to the twins and also tells Mars that everyone else believes it as well.
Mars throws a fit and demands that her freaks pick someone to go up on the wheel and Paul volunteers after Jimmy initially says he will do it. Dandy and Dot have big falling out and later he reads her diary learning how much she detests him. Penny runs away from home to be with Paul and unfortunately, her all American dream looks like it will end before it begins. On this week’s episode of American Horror Story Elsa sings to her sex toy before attempting to murder him. The song is the old Frank Sinatra ballad September Song which is not a anachronistic number for once, the American pop standard was written in 1938 by Kurt Weill, and it feels oddly out of place.
After Elsa stabs Paul with the knife, Penny shows up to find her lover most probably near death. Maggie tries to kill Ma Petite but loses her nerve. She talks Jimmy into running away with her but when she goes to pack Stanley is in her room and he tells his accomplice she has to deliver a freak’s body or else. Just as Dandy has obviously decided that he is going to murder the Tatler Twins, Jimmy comes to collect the girls from the Motts’ house. Ethel saves a piece of cake for Elsa and tells the woman that no one wants to celebrate out of concern for Paul.
The bearded lady also tells Mars that if she learns that her boss has lied about the twins, she will kill her. In American Horror Story Freak Show Bullseye Elsa may be living on borrowed time and despite her marking Paul for death, he may just survive although Penny seems to be in a spot of trouble. Stanley is starting to get more than a little desperate for a freak corpse and Ethel’s son in American Horror Story seems to be facing potential death from more than one direction. This season of the show is the darkest yet and it contains clears signs of its ending in a blood bath. American Horror Story Freak Show airs Wednesdays on FX.
By Michael Smith