American Horror Story: Pink Cupcakes
November 5, 2014 7:40 PM - Season 4, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Surprise! Evil still stalks the big top! We learn more about Desiree. What will Dandy's mother do now? And cupcakes! Will we be favored with another anachronistic song? Did I mention the cupcakes?

Comcast has been having major problems with their X1 boxes, so maybe I'll get to watch. :-/ Perhaps Edward Mordrake should pay a visit to their executive suite....
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So was that opening bit at the museum of oddities a fantasy, or a flashforward?

And seriously, this season is squandering everything it had going for it. There's no compelling overarching story. They killed Twisty, who was the only thing creepy. And I really don't care about Danny boy or Vic Mackey's life as a carnie once he was drummed out of law enforcement.
posted by bfranklin at 8:10 PM on November 5, 2014

I think the show has recovered nicely from an early wobble in the second episode, but I still feel like this is a great premise in search of a plot. Or rather: There are a bunch of really cool subplots, and they're cool enough I'm invested in them, but no plot-plot, which is...odd. Dandy is turning out to be less awful to watch than I'd feared, but he doesn't have it in him to be a compelling presence the way Bloodyface was...hell, the way Twisty was, even. Dell shows real menace now, but ultimately he's more pathetic than evil. The townies and the cops generally don't like the freaks, but they're too faceless and bland an enemy. Poison guy is a schmuck. So the conflicts are there, but there's no one conflict that defines the story. And the characters are becoming more realized -- Ethel in particular -- but there's no one figure we really relate to. Did I mention I'm digging the show? I really am, but I don't know if it can go on for more eight hours without being about much in particular and still be fun as hell to watch. Maybe it can!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:40 PM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hi Matt Bomer! ...Bye Matt Bomer!
posted by mstokes650 at 9:01 PM on November 5, 2014 [4 favorites]

Yeah the wheels are coming off, as is always the problem with AHS. Great actors, interesting characters, strong settings, more insanity than you can imagine, but very little story and what it does have it tells ineptly. I still find it enjoyable, but coherence seems to be too much to ask for.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:42 PM on November 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ooh, I very much disagree. I prefer it when AHS has no single plot that acts as the spine. If you have a single throughline, that makes it feel like all the other sideplots are timewasters unless they contribute to the main plot. I think this is what ruined Coven (although I guess Coven had two main plots: the search for the new Supreme and the battle between the two Covens). All the sideplots felt like they were just spinning wheels. The witchhunters could have been interesting, but they felt like a distraction because they didn't really lead to a resolution of the storyline about the Supreme. Asylum, on the other hand, was just a mishmash of cool short stories, and it was the most successful season so far.

I actually think that Freak Show is pretty admirable in intertwining all the stories and characters without letting any single one dominate. You can kind of tell that the writers learned from both Asylum and Freak Show and are figuring out how to balance the two sorts of structures.

I also don't know why you guys dislike Dandy! I think he's great. I have no idea what they're going to do with him. I really loved his mother's matter-of-fact attitude about rich people being prone to psychopathy. American Psycho and Society make up a rich horror subgenre that hasn't yet been co-opted by any other seasons of the show. Twisty, on the other hand, had nowhere to go: he was a one-note scary clown and they couldn't have done anything with him. (Well, they could have turned him into a supernatural demon, but I expect that will still be coming.)

Other thoughts on this episode:

Dell is the worst. That doctor was the sweetest character in the show. I hope Dell goes down in a horrible way. But he provides a lot of good conflict, so he'll probably stick around until nearly the end.

The reprise of Elsa singing Lost on Mars was really well done. Very interesting cinematographic choices. I have to say that I find her story a little boring though. She is much too delusional. She's clearly not going to make it as a singer, so there's no audience tension over her prospects. She needs a new storyline. Selling the twins to Dandy's mom might lead to something interesting; I predicted after the first episode that Dandy's mom might start a rival freak show, and although that didn't seem to be in the cards for a while, I can see it happening now (to placate and occupy Dandy). Getting Elsa to abandon her dreams of hitting it big and instead rally behind her performers would be a good move for her character. In the first few episodes she had a proud, motherly attitude toward them, and I miss that. I think it was a better character note for her than thinking that she is above them all.

I'm curious to see how they're going to weave Gabourey Sidibe into the plot. I'm a little nervous for her encounters with Dandy.

Prediction: Emma Roberts's character is going to sell Larry Harvey's character to the museum because of whatever he has going on downstairs.
posted by painquale at 3:29 AM on November 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

Hi Matt Bomer! ...Bye Matt Bomer!

Is he actually dead, though? It seemed to me like he kept surviving stabs that really ought to have killed him. And while this show likes its cameos, usually they last more than one episode. I feel like we've not seen the last of Matt - at least, some form of him anyway.
posted by dnash at 7:50 AM on November 6, 2014

Yeah, I think Dandy is going to...keep him.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:36 AM on November 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Aha, this is more like it. This is the AHS I know. The crazy-ass, incoherent American Horror Story I know and love.

Bits and pieces of it certainly showed up in earlier episodes this season, but now we're in full ridiculous swing and the show starts having a pretty difficult time keeping track of plot or characterization from one episode - hell, one moment - to the next.

This is also the point in the season when the writers start just throwing shit at the wall and not even hanging around to see what sticks, usually at the cost of what had appeared to be season-long arcs and storylines. I think this is best exemplified by the Coven season, portrayed initially as a conflict between the black and white witches, with Delphine somewhere in the mix. Then the witch hunters were introduced, and soon enough the conflict was forgotten about because one of the witch hunters straight up murdered all of the black witches except Angela Bassett and also it turned out, in the final estimation, that Delphine never, at any point, did anything of consequence.

So it is with Freak Show. Where are we now? Let's see:

Elsa went out of her way to recruit Dot and Bette because she believed they would be a smash hit in her freak show. Now, Dot and Bette are a smash hit in her freak show and she is very upset about this.

Dandy kills a dude. He needs to do this somewhere private, so he brings the guy to the crime scene where he narrowly escaped capture a couple days (?) prior. Twisty's death (and the subsequent freeing of his captives) has been all over the local news and everyone in town knows about it, so this is the perfect place to bring someone and make sure they won't be disturbed.

One of the freaks is...a woman who's kinda tall. Okay.

Desiree seems to be this season's Delphine, in that she's pretty much just set dressing and barely ever intersects with the plot. In this episode, she finally drives the plot in one tiny way, but only by providing Dell with the motivation to destroy a doctor's hands.

As far as Dell goes, he's pretty much just in a holding pattern of doing horrible shit until the writers can think up an endgame for him (my money's on them just having him on a plot treadmill and then realizing it's the season finale and they never came up with an endgame, like the Axeman last season).

And now Elsa apparently is going to take Gloria up on her offer to buy Dot and Bette, in a move which seems to be the writers' best hope of getting all the storylines to at least sort of start ambling towards one another. Where will it all go? I mean, off the rails, obviously. But how, specifically? I am excited to see.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 2:39 PM on November 6, 2014 [5 favorites]

Say what you will-that shot with Jessica Lange's face in five mirrors is amazing. It's worth watching the show just for that......ok that and the male eye candy.
posted by miss-lapin at 6:38 PM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

From the AV Club recap:

During Elsa’s on-stage meltdown, she looks around for sympathy, only to see Ma Petite (Jyoti Amge), the world’s smallest woman, actually playing the world’s smallest violin.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:51 PM on November 6, 2014 [14 favorites]

And the EW recap says that Dandy should update his LinkedIn title to Murder Clown and I am So. Tempted.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:12 PM on November 6, 2014

I should stop quoting from the recaps, but from
Elsa bombed so hard that the audio dropped out and she just frowned and ran away from torrents and torrents of popcorn, which, instead of being covered in rich creamy butter, that popcorn was covered in HATERADE.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:49 AM on November 7, 2014

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