I haven’t been doing weekly posts about “Freak Show” because I didn’t really feel like it (physically or otherwise), but now that the season has concluded, I’m ready to post about it.
Honestly, I think I’ve been watching a different season than almost everyone else has. “Freak Show” has been taking a critical and Internet beating nearly everywhere I look, and I really don’t understand the disdain.
Was it perfect? Oh, no. It won’t overtake “Asylum” as my favorite AHS season, but I’d definitely rank it on a level with “Murder House”, and in my mind it was miles ahead of “Coven.” There wasn’t a single episode of “Coven” that I had any desire to rewatch after it was all over. I can already think of several episodes of “Freak Show” I’d like to see again.
Random thoughts that will probably be spoilery for both “Freak Show” and previous seasons:
- Ryan Murphy will likely give Finn Wittrock whatever he asks for to come back next season, and deservedly so. But I hope he also brings back the delightful Mat Fraser. Next to Wittrock, Fraser was the standout AHS rookie for me.
- Maybe he’ll even bring back John Carroll Lynch in some capacity. I’ve always liked Lynch, but Twisty the Clown gave me a whole new appreciation for him. Even when half of Twisty’s face was obscured by that mask and he couldn’t talk, I could almost always tell what Twisty was thinking thanks to Lynch’s performance. He gave the character a real pathos even before we finally got Twisty’s origin story. One of Freak Show’s big mistakes was getting rid of Twisty way too early.
- The whole Edward Mordrake subplot made me wish that Murphy would produce an AHS season that’s pure Gothic horror, set in the 1800s. I know this scene is campy and silly and cheesy, but even if it’s not “The Name Game,” it made me very happy anyhow:
I keep trying to get into the Showtime series “Penny Dreadful.” It seems like it should be right in my Eldergoth wheelhouse and I like all the main stars, and yet I’ve never been able to get through a whole episode. I bet Ryan Murphy could make a premise like that really, really entertaining. I know he said he’d never do vampires or werewolves, but he’s done a lot of stuff he said he’d never do. C’mon, Murphy. Take vampires back from “Twilight.”
- A lot of people griped about the use of pop songs that hadn’t yet been written when “Freak Show” took place, but that didn’t bother me. Your ability to roll with this kind of thing will probably go a long way towards determining if you enjoyed “Freak Show” or not.
- Dandy’s final “IHATEYOU IHATEYOU IHATEYOU” was perfection.
- I’m guessing a lot of people aren’t going to be happy with the ending, believing that Elsa deserved something much harsher. I can’t argue with that, and yet it didn’t bother me. Maybe I was just happy with one last chance to see Ethel and Ma Petite again. Maybe it’s just that this is more than likely Jessica Lange’s final season of AHS, and she deserved a send-off like the one Elsa got. When I was first watching “Murder House” and not so sure I liked it, her performance was what compelled me to keep watching. If she really is done after this season, she will truly be missed.
So anyhow — even if it puts me in the minority, I liked “Freak Show.” I remember a lot of people hating “Asylum” while it was running, and yet it’s now widely viewed as the show’s best season. I wonder how hindsight will treat “Freak Show.”