With scattershot vigor, the series roots through pop culture old and new to borrow images, sounds, and tropes.
“Curtain Call” ends American Horror Story: Freak Show on an unsurprisingly dour and haphazard note.
Freak Show helps to confirm an unofficial rule about the series at large: The more a season actively utilizes its chosen setting, the better it is.
“Magical Thinking” finds the series resorting to its usual bag of boring, hyperbolically over-plotted tricks.
“Orphans” finds Freak Show taking a surprisingly earnest detour from its usual preachy, ultra-violently “relevant” shenanigans.
You may be inclined to wonder throughout the typically atypical murder sequences and arbitrary character epiphanies how this series is written.
“Blood Bath” is another of American Horror Story: Freak Show’s housecleaning episodes.
The episode is intended to remind audiences who Freak Show’s denizens precisely are before a break for the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Bullseye” sports a tempo that’s decidedly slow, obsessive, and damn near ponderous for Freak Show.
With the series belaboring the freaks’ theoretically unexpected likability at every possible turn, it’s the villains who stand to walk away with Freak Show.
Creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk seem to forget that if everything is “shocking” and “subversive,” then nothing is.
With “Edward Mordrake (Part 1),” Freak Show plays to its strengths, sounding its themes through action rather than talk.
It allows us to leisurely soak in the considerable atmospherics of Elsa’s financially imperiled Cabinet of Curiosities.
It’s clear that creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have returned ready to play.
Freak Show is an excuse for American Horror Story to literally let its freak flag fly higher and prouder than ever before.