American Horror Story: Test of Strength
November 19, 2014 8:22 PM - Season 4, Episode 7 - Subscribe

The women of the Freak Show rally against Dell after his latest act of violence. A strange encounter with Dandy raises Jimmy's suspicion about the clown murders.

posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord (19 comments total)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:24 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

All I can say is .
posted by DRoll at 8:34 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Phew, what an episode. I don't even know what's going to happen to Dell after this, but it better be terrible.
posted by codacorolla at 8:37 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Good lord! I made the mistake of opening this thread before I watched the episode so all I can say is :-( until tomorrow!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:15 AM on November 20, 2014

posted by suburbanbeatnik at 1:41 AM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

The quick zoom in on Dandy just before the credits, ending in a camera shudder, made me laugh. I'm not sure I've ever seen a zoom-and-shudder like that. Is that an established cinematographic trope?
posted by painquale at 2:15 AM on November 20, 2014

Poor Ma Petite.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 9:19 AM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

No no no no no! Boooooooooooooo.

And two weeks until the next episode!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:09 PM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Recaps are up! No photo recap from yet.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:35 PM on November 20, 2014

Something I was thinking about after decompressing from this episode was how, with Mordrake, all of the supernatural has left the show, taking Twisty's preternatural strength and blank slate inhumanity with him. Unlike Asylum's constant otherworldly ghouls, everything that's happening after Mordrake is stuff that could really (and to certain extents has actually) occur in our reality.
posted by codacorolla at 2:11 PM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm surprised at all the negative reactions online to this season and this episode in particular. It seemed stronger than most episodes so far. Though I also recall a lot of hating on Asylum, whereas now it's held up as the AHS gold standard.

There also seems to be a lot of love for Twisty, but I thought he had the weakest of the subplots. And also a lot of hate for Gloria and Dandy, while I think Frances Conroy and Finn Witrock have the best, freakiest chemistry of the season.

I thought that this was a decent episode, although I also feel the season is at a 'make or break' point. It was around Episodes 8 that I realized that Coven was going to me a mess and never recover, and also where Asylum stopped being such a mess and hit its stride.

Other, random thoughts:

- The women were set to murder Dell. I expect some follow-through.
- Now that Stanley and Maggie have their freak in a bottle, their story line seems to have run out. Seems like it would be time for them to cut out.
- Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates work really well together.
- Sarah Paulson has been doing great work, but I think the CGI is limiting her. They have her sitting down and mostly immobile in every scene.
- After reading the interview with Mat Fraser (Paul the Illustrated Seal) I'm more acutely aware of who's giving the big speeches: the cis-bodied (is that the right term here?) folks in prosthetics and the ones in their natural bodies. Though I can understand some of the imbalance - the side characters are working alongside some great actors.
posted by kanewai at 5:08 PM on November 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

I mean this as a compliment, but that was just cruel.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:14 PM on November 20, 2014

I think some of the online criticism is valid: why does Edward Dildohands suddenly want to sing after never expressing that desire before? Why does the strongman suck at killing (especially since he's done it before, quite easily)? Why aren't the freaks watching Dell's every move after his attempt on Amazon Eve? Sure, he got drunk with Jimmy -- does that mean suddenly everything is cool?

Also, in the preview for the next episode, Meryl Streep's Daughter says "Locks can't stop us" when what she should be saying is "Lpff lfff lpff uffff."
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 9:49 PM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh I totally agree with a lot of the online criticism! AHS is erratic as hell, and manages to be both transgressive and banal. Sometimes it's great, a lot of the time it just sucks. I was more surprised that the dominant theme with the first couple sites I visited (AV Club, and I forget the other) were "Twisty was my favorite character" and "this is the worst season ever."
posted by kanewai at 2:09 AM on November 21, 2014

I think the love for Twisty comes from those of us who really enjoy the slow-burn suspense horror. This season has felt like a totally wasted premise. It's felt like a soap opera, rather than an unsettling atmospheric piece. Count me among those that sees this as a big step down in the quality of AHS. I still think Murder House was the best season, though -- it hit all the right buttons for me as far as unsettling and intriguing.

My biggest complaint about Twisty is that they traded something unsettling, preternatural, and mysterious for something silly and outlandish that I really don't care about (namely, the Dandy storyline).
posted by bfranklin at 3:35 PM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I do like this season, to be honest, but the scripts feel like the first drafts for a season I would have loved. So many cool ideas, but just not the coherence to do any of them full justice. I wonder if AHS wouldn't be better-served by the eight-and-eight split-seasons a lot of other cable shows seem to be doing now. An eight-episode storyline with a smaller cast might be a good change of pace, and the reduced scale might make it easier to refine the stories.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:05 PM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I wonder if Paul will recover from his injuries and go on to reject Meryl Streep's daughter, who he had loved for her 'softest, sweetest,' unblemished face?
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:29 PM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lee Tergesen has now been on both sides of the malicious tattoo, assuming that that which is applied with a cigarette counts.
posted by mr. digits at 6:22 PM on November 29, 2014

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