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This week’s episode of American Horror Story, titled Blood Bath, sees the show continue to build the body count although the title of blood bath seems a bit more fitting for the next show where it looks like Dandy goes all out. Before then, however, Ethel and Elsa have a showdown, prompted by the bearded lady overhearing Mars speaking with Spalding about killing the twins. This accidental eavesdropping occurred after Darling told her friend and employer that if she ever found out that Elsa had lied about the Tatler sisters, she would kill her.
Ma Petite’s clothing is found all bloody, but the little woman’s body is not recovered. It will not be found unless one of the troupe wind up at the museum where the tiny corpse has already been procured from Spaulding. Ethel and Elsa clear the air, and Mars slaps her bearded friend after she accuses the freak show owner of faking her grief over the missing little woman. Darling pulls a gun and tells Elsa that she intends to kill her and herself.
When her employer turns to leave her tent, Ethel shoots Elsa in the leg and discovers to her horror that Mars’ legs are not real, but prosthetics. Ethel is given the shorthand version of how her boss lost her legs and in the flashback, Mars explains who gave her the appendages. At this point in season five, the audience are treated to another appearence of season four’s Axeman, Danny Huston. This time the actor plays a prosthetic “artist” who lovingly crafts Mars’ new legs. Jessica Lange and Huston do play very well off each other and even in this very short scene it is a delight to see the two together again.
In American Horror Story: Blood Bath, before the end of the episode, another Freak Show member is dead. This one is taken out by Elsa herself, who proves that having a skill in knife throwing is very handy if one is threatened with being shot by a bearded lady. Spaulding helps Elsa to cover up her culpability in the woman’s death by staging a car accident which strikes horror in Maggie who discovers the body. Regina, the murdered housekeeper’s daughter apparently has no sense of self preservation and she may well become another victim before the end of season five of American Horror Story with her insistence that she will not leave till she sees her mother.
Penny, along with Desiree, Amazon Eve and Legless Suzi join forces to mete out some punishment to the now tattooed girl’s father by tarring and feathering the man. Desiree wants to cut off his genitals and then shoot him. Maggie hears the man’s screams as they pour the burning hot tar over him and she talks Penny out of killing her father. Maggie tells the “Lizard Girl” that she will change forever if she takes the man’s life and although it is close, in the end Penny agrees but only after telling her father that if he ever comes near her again, she will kill him.
Dandy goes to see the psychiatrist, who recommends to Mrs. Mott that he should be committed. This idea from the doctor is prompted by the young man’s behaviour during his evaluation. At the end of the horror filled peek into this disturbed young man’s head, he asks the specialist if eating another person is the only way to take their power or could bathing in their blood work just as well. Regina threatens that if she does not see her mother soon, she is going to the police.
The doctor also tells Mrs. Mott that he fears for her safety. Her son reveals to his mother just how messed up he is, full of anger about her incestual marriage and the inbreeding that created him. She goes to get her gun from her purse and discovers that Dandy has it. He puts the weapon to his head saying it is time for “this madness to end.” When Mrs. Mott pleads with him not to kill himself as she will not be able to carry on if he does, Dandy replies, “Okay,” and shoots his mother in her head, killing her.
Maggie and a drunken Jimmy Darling have a row and he chases the girl off. After Maggie leaves, Darling goes to the new fat woman in the show and buries his face in her more than ample bosom crying. By the end of American Horror Story Freak Show: Blood Bath, Ethel has been buried, Mrs. Mott has been shot dead, thereby sparing her the horror of the things Dandy will be getting up to in the next episode, and her son is soaking in a tub filled with her blood. No one sang in this week’s show and Jessica Lange continues to give Elsa Mars more depth and intensity. Angela Bassett turned in a brilliant performance this week, “Not in my house.” American Horror Story says goodbye to three characters in this episode; Ma Petite, who was murdered last week, Ethel Darling and Mrs Mott. Elsa recruited a replacement for Ethel and Spaulding proves just how gullible the Freak Show owner really is when it comes to her dreams of stardom.
By Michael Smith