American Horror: Story Freak Show Episode Four ‘Edward Mordrake Pt. 2’ Recap

by on 10/30/2014

Tonight’s episode is the second of a two-parter. You can find our recap of the first here. And so, we’ll pick up where we left off, with everything well and truly screwed up in Jupiter, Florida.

The episode begins with Edward Mordrake’s supernatural green fog wafting through the freak show. Mordrake attacks Suzi the half-lady in her tent both physically and with exposition, explaining that he and the ghost freaks that follow him around are asking questions looking for one more pure freak to add to their ‘unhappy number.”

A montage of scenes gives the impression that the other freaks are being subjected to the same interrogation about their darkest deeds that Ethel the bearded lady went through in the last episode. Mordrake judges the pinheads too innocent to have shame, but we see  Suzi the half lady and Paul the Illustrated Seal’s stories. Both are tales of Depression-era poverty and misery.

Suzi stabbed a man in the legs in a hobo camp, jealous that he had something she did not. She hit an artery and the man bled to death.

Paul hated that people stared at him, so he covered his whole body in tattoos to give them the “monster” that they wanted. He only spared his face, because he believes he has a handsome face. Having a handsome face on a deformed body is a source of terrible bitterness for Paul and he breaks down crying in front of Mordrake while talking about it.

Neither of these stories is dark enough to meet the twisted needs of the evil face on the back of Mordrake’s head, so he moves on to Elsa’s tent. Elsa thinks Mordrake is the “maestro” the scam artist/fake fortune teller Miss Esmerelda told her would make her a star in the last episode. It’s interesting to see a ghost uncomfortably confused as Elsa prattles on about her talent and setting up an act.

Mordrake finally gets mad and calls her on her “delusional ignorance.” He says he will have a story and when Elsa rebuffs him has his ghost freak entourage rip her prosthetic legs off as she pathetically mewls that she is “their minder” and “not one of them.”

Mordrake says Elsa is pretending to be the “benevolent zookeeper” when she’s really just another “diseased animal” herself.

“Now, tell me all about your darkest hour,” he says, wiping a tear from her cheek. End of teaser.

Jimmy the lobster boy and Esmerelda are riding on a dirt road at night, out after the curfew that was set in Jupiter because of Twisty’s murder spree. Jimmy’s motorcycle sputters to a stop, out of gas.

Esmerelda thinks Jimmy is about to rape her and sarcastically asks him if he wants to go for a stroll in the woods, but he answers yeah, because they need to get off the road to avoid the cops and getting arrested for breaking curfew. When Jimmy tries to touch Esmerelda she recoils at his misshapen hands.

Jimmy gets angry and tells her not to worry that she’s not “his type” and that it’s the townies and cops she really has to worry about. A car comes and they run into the woods.

The woods is where Twisty and Dandy now have three captives in their bus o’ fun,  Bonnie, the boy Twisty kidnapped, and “Master Mike,” who thought it was funny to dress as a clown and scare his sister Jessie. Bonnie tells Mike that she refuses to die in an evil clown’s run-down bus.

The boy is too weak from hunger to move. Bonnie says the clown makes them watch him do “clown stuff” but doesn’t feed them. She and Mike try to untie the ropes biding their hands behind them, but Twisty comes back at that moment.

When Twisty opens the cage Bonnie jumps up, hands still tied, and knocks him over and makes a break for it.

Jimmy and Esmerelda, who are still hiding in the woods, see Bonnie reach the road but get taken down by Twisty. After Twisty leaves with her Jimmy goes after him to help and Esmerelda reluctantly follows.

Elsa has regained her composure and her prosthetic legs. She thanks Mordrake for letting her have them back. She tries to use her sex appeal on Mordrake, but he says that the face is only interested in pain, regret, hopelessness and the delicious bleeding of a broken heart.

Elsa tells her tale, and unfortunately for her, Marlene Dietrich does not figure into the real story at all. It begins includes a flashback to Berlin, Germany in 1932 and some fetish sex scenes, including a woman peeing into a dish, a pregnant woman, and other quick flashes of stuff that are harder to describe. Elsa says the citizens of Germany expressed their pain over losing the first world war with their cocks, and that any deviance imaginable including animals, scat, amputees and hunchbacks was available.

Elsa is a dominatrix  catering to a clientele that likes extreme punishment including leashes, stabbing them with her high heels, making a guy sit on a toilet seat filled with spikes to pee. She never actually has sex with anyone or lets them touch her but her creative sexual violence makes her popular, and her sessions are attended by wealthy “Watchers” who treat them like performance pieces.

Although Elsa says the experience made her “a ghost,” Mordrake is not satisfied. He wants to know about the legs.

Jimmy and Esmerelda follow Twisty back to the bus ‘o fun. Just as Jimmy realizes he’s found the killer and decides to go for the cops, Dandy shows up his homemade clown costume and cheap plastic clown mask and clocks both Jimmy and Esmerelda.

Dandy removes his mask and says “Time for the real Halloween show to begin.”

Elsa’s next flashback is to Brandenburg, Germany, also in 1932.  The “Watchers” have been making porn films featuring Elsa. Usually there’s a boy or a girl, a streetwalker or runaway, in the films, but the one we see being made is different. It’s just Elsa and she has been drugged.  Elsa asks the pornographers, in German, if they’re ready for he closeup, echoing Gloria Swanson as Norman Desmond’s famous line in Sunset Boulevard. But the porno guys say no.

Instead the men making the porno pull stockings over their heads and smear lipstick on them. Elsa is chained to the bed and her legs are cut off with a chainsaw. She says she was told she was one of the lucky ones to survive being in a snuff film because the filmakers simply left her there to die. A soldier who was one of her clients saved her.

Elsa’s film is very popular, but not having legs ruins her career.

“I had the most beautiful legs,” she says.

The demon face says Elsa is the one and Elsa overhears and agrees, asking to be taken because there’s nothing left for her. Mordrake prepares to stab as she begs him to take her, but he hears music and stops.

The music is being played by Twisty on a toy xylophone. In the woods he and Dandy have set up a perverse Halloween show, mirroring the freak show with Dandy and the Barker. Jimmy and the rest of the captives are the audience.

Esmerelda, however, is part of the act. Andy has her in a box to do the “sawing a woman in half” magic trick, but it’s pretty clear Dandy doesn’t know any real magic. Before he can separate Esmerelda into two parts Jimmy gets up and lays a brutal show-stopping blow across Dandy’s face.

Twisty gets up like he’s going to attack Jimmy, but he stops and mimes a clapping motion to his audience, demanding they clap along. That gives them time to run and only Jimmy is caught by Twisty, who chokes him out and puts him in the bus. He’s about to stab him when Mordrake shows up.

“Don’t stop now, we came for a show,” Mordrake says.

Dandy is chasing the others through the woods, screaming he hasn’t finished his show. Esmerelda sends the Bonnie and the kids one way to find the police and then calls Dandy out to get him to chase her. A cheap plastic clown mask from the 50s isn’t a great thing to wear while running in the woods and Dandy trips over a log, then has a tantrum.

Mordrake and Twisty have left the bus and are sitting by a campfire. Mordrake demands that Twisty remove his mask. Please no. But he does, and we another look at the wormy, diseased horror show under there. Since Twisty can’t talk, Mordrake uses his magic to help.

Twisty’s story starts in 1943, when he was a real, non-evil children’s clown in a traveling carnival. Some of the freaks at the carnival are jealous of Twisty for his job, specifically the part where the kids sit on his lap and wiggle. They plot against him. Twisty was an innocent who suffered from a mental disability. He admits his mother drank and dropped him on his head.

The freaks tell Twisty that there’s talk he molested the kids and that the cops are coming for him. He runs away from the carnival and because he can’t get carnival work and his mother is dead, starts living in the abandoned bus o’ fun in the woods.  He still wears his clown costume and makeup, apparently he never takes it off.

In his bus Twisty makes creative toys out of garbage, but we see he can’t sell them to the owner of Jupiter’s toy store or its customers. This is the same toy store Twisty beheaded the owner at in an earlier episode, so a method to his madness starts to emerger.

Also,  Twisty is dirty here but he still looks normal. Amazingly, though, people are scared of him in his less horrific form in a way they’re not  when he becomes fully demonic later.

Twisty scares a mom and her son trying to sell his toys and the toy store owner accuses him of being a kiddy diddling clown. It makes him furious and he goes crazy, screaming that it’s a lie and that he’s a good person as he tears up the store.

So Twisty goes back to his bus, takes off his costume and clown nose, and puts a shotgun in his mouth and pulls the trigger.  He doesn’t die and we see him with his mouth bandaged.

“I thought I’m so dumb, I can’t even kill myself. But then I had one good idea,” Twisty says. He begins to painfully draw a mouth on the bandages with greasepaint, which mixes with blood.

There’s a scene that shows Jimmy doing the barking at the freak show entrance as customers pay to enter. Twisty is there, fully horrific with his grinning mask on, trying to hand out pathetic balloon animals. Again, no one is scared, but they won’t take the balloon animals. Jimmy tells the crowd not to mind Twisty because he’s little bit kooky and that if people want a balloon they have to pay Jimmy. Twisty runs off.

Twisty tells Mordrake that he saved the children from the “evil mean freaks.” He was jealous that the freaks were stealing them. So he took them, got rid of their mean parents, made a “funny show for them” and got a “pretty babysitter” in the form of Bonnie. This is all intercut with scenes of the actual murder and mayhem that Twisty really did.

About this time Jimmy wakes up in the bus and peeks outside to see what happens next. Mordrake says that he’s met many sniveling killers, but they’ve all been able to admit their evil. Twisty has caused the demon to weep. It turns to face Twisty and says “You are the one,” which earns him a stabbing. His ghost joins Mordrake’s entourage, but at least he gets his mouth back.

Dandy returns and finds Twisty’s dead body. He takes Twisty’s mouth mask off and puts it on his own face. I don’t think Jupiter will have to worry about a killer clown shortage any time soon. In the bus o’fun, Jimmy hears sirens in the distance.

The next scene is the cops, including the ones who sent Meep to his death in prison, investigating the crime scene. A cop offers Esmerelda a cup of coffee. She tells them she never saw Dandy’s face. The cop says the kids and Bonnie did see the second clown’s face and might identify him.

Jimmy tells another cop her heard one clown talk but that the other one didn’t and that he might be able to identify the talking one’s voice. The cop tries to get Jimmy to admit that he killed Twisty, saying no one would blame him and it would be “a public service,” but Jimmy won’t agree.

The cops try to put Jimmy up as a hero, but he’s angry about how the police let Meep die at the police station and says he wants to tell the reporters all about it.

“Somebody’s going to pay for what happened to my friend,” Jimmy says.

Back at the freak show Jimmy tells Elsa that the curfew is lifted. Esmerelda says Jimmy was the hero who caught the killer and gives him a kiss on the cheek before running off to pee.

After she’s gone Jimmy admits that he saw Mordrake “claim his freak.”

A bunch of townspeople show up in cars at the freak show entrance. One is “Master Mike’s” dad. He wants to thank him for saving his son and even shakes his lobster hand. Jessie is there too and gives him a homemade brownie.

The freaks bask in the glow of genuine affection from the town. Elsa uses the opportunity to invite the people to a show that night.

As they get ready for the show Elsa tells Bette and Dot she’s changed the setlist and now they’re warming up for the pinheads. As the argument this kicks off goes on Esmerelda’s con artist partner enters and says he is Richard Spencer, talent scout. Elsa is pleased here “maestro” has appeared and says she can find him a seat.

Dandy returns home, wearing the clown costume and mask. The maid Dora yells at him for cutting up his mom’s clothes to make the costume and just generally gets in his face like she did last episode, but there’s something different about Dandy now. He lashes out and cuts Dora’s throat, then laughs. Nope, no killer clown shortage in Jupiter. End of episode.

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