TV Club: American Horror Story: Freak Show: “Show Stoppers”
American Horror Story has a genuine appeal: A stable of talented actors, lavish period costuming, the pulpy delight of unabashedly lurid storytelling. When it’s on, it’s on, spilling out jolts and moments of hilarity in equal measure, creating striking scenes with its highly stylized imagery and wry scripts.
But American Horror Story: Freak Show takes the easy way out at every turn. It churns out dozens of potential plotlines, then chops them down, one by one, with no suspense or sense of anticipation. It sets up relationships and dynamics, then discards them willy-nilly. It trades tension and drama for gore, or for punchlines, or for sheer numb repetition.
The first act of “Show Stoppers” is AHS: Freak Show‘s most overt homage to Tod Browning’s Freaks, with a feast for the remaining family of Fraulein Elsa’s Cabinet Of Curiosities, then a low-angle chase scene as Elsa …