'American Horror Story' recap, 'Bullseye'

Mat Fraser, Erika Ervin
Mat Fraser, Erika Ervin (Michele K. Short/FX)

Last week's episode featured a kidnapping, a miscarriage, a violent beating, the return of the horrifying clown mask and one of the franchise's most gruesome murders to date. Really, it's just another Wednesday night in "AHS" world. So, it probably shouldn't surprise you at all that things get even weirder this week.

Happy birthday, Elsa Mars. It's Elsa's birthday week and she's just basically sold two of her performers into human slavery, so what's a girl to do? Drag out a giant spinning red wheel and revive her knife throwing act.


Apparently this used to be her thing, before she started singing David Bowie songs. She's considering whether the Wheel act would work for her new Hollywood TV show, but let's be real this sequence is probably included solely because Jessica Lange looks *awesome* throwing knives at people.

Anyway, everyone's forced to take part in a week-long celebration of Elsa's special day -- including an Iron Throne-esque scene where the freaks bring her gifts like tribute -- but there are disgruntled rumblings surrounding the fact that Bette and Dot are missing and have reportedly run off.


Elsa's adamant that everyone just shut up and have fun, because if the girls don't appreciate their amazing freak show family, then they don't deserve them anyway.

Meanwhile, back at the Motts. Aren't we glad we watched Matt Bomer get brutally murdered last week, just so we could not have it mentioned at al during this episode? Ugh.

Despite his newfound love of killing, Dandy seems to have things remarkably together at the moment, as this is the most "normal" he's appeared since episode one. He even admits that he liked Dora better than their new replacement maid! ("Hindsight is 20/20, dear," replies Gloria, sagely.)

Actually, Dandy's in full-on proper-gentleman mode, now that he's got some (imprisoned) ladies to woo. Bette's actually surprisingly fine with this, and thinks Dandy's pretty dreamy actually. Dot, on the other hand, thinks Dandy's basically repulsive, but she is pretty into the fact that he's rich enough to pay for that surgery she wants to get in order to separate herself from her sister and win Jimmy's heart forever.


Plus, to be honest, Dot’s pretty darn scary herself with the way she fantasizes about her sister dying for the sake of her own freedom.  We’re all monsters in our own ways, you see.

Dandy even confesses to the girls that he was at the site of those horrible serial killer clown murders, but says that he, not Jimmy, had been the hero who took down Twisty. Which technically is sort of true.

Dot immediately starts defending her crush, insisting that Jimmy's awesome and wouldn't lie about such things. This is all it takes for Dandy to spiral into a room-destroying tantrum. Good luck with that, ladies. What a catch.

Who knew Paul the Illustrated Seal was such a major player? In addition to sleeping with Elsa (surprise!), Paul's also been getting busy with that annoying candy-striper girl whose name you don't remember from the first episode. You know, the one from the orgy. (Her name's Penny, actually, but even I had to Google it.)

They’re in love, or something, and we know it’s legit because we’re forced to listen to ol' What’s-Her-Name’s Father rant about her poor life choices in true “Papa Don’t Preach” style.  This is relevant only because she’s the reason Paul’s at the drugstore trying to buy her fave perfume, where he runs into Dandy and notices that he’s inexplicably buying a bunch of girl-related beauty products in batches of two.

Paul immediately tells Jimmy that he thinks Bette and Dot are with Dandy, and suggests that maybe Elsa got jealous enough to get rid of them on her own.

Paul, because he is kind of dumb, next decides to just accuse Elsa directly of being responsible for the twins' disappearance. This does not go well. Elsa has a full-on meltdown, screaming about how she can't believe how ungrateful everyone is, how dare they gossip about her after all she's done for them, why don't they believe in her, etc.

Jimmy tries to calm the situation and says of course everyone trusts Elsa, but she needs proof of their devotion. She decides that what she needs is for someone to go on the Wheel and let her throw knives at them. Why? Who says yes to this? Oh, wait, obviously Paul volunteers. He says it "should" be him. (See also: Kind of dumb.)

Of course Elsa nails him in the stomach with her final knife, and then does a remarkable job of feigning horror that she has such terrible aim.

The fake death sequence is the new magic fixed it. Stanley and Maggie meet in secret to discuss their poorly formed plan to get paid for murder. Stanley wants to chop off Jimmy's lobster hands and sell them, but Maggie's not so into this, since she is into Jimmy, for reasons that haven't really been very well established for me.

She instead suggests Ma Petit, since, as she's very small, she'll be easy to transport and there won't be a lot of mess dealing with her body. There's another gruesome imaginary death scene here – like the twins and the cupcakes last week – where Ma Petit is drowned in what looks like a giant test tube.

This is clearly "Freak Show's" answer to the magical reset button used so frequently in "Coven" to kill a bunch of people without actually killing them. It's disturbing *and* pointless.

Anyway, Ma Petit thankfully remains just fine, because Maggie can't go through with the murder. Instead she tells Jimmy she wants to run away with him, an idea he's surprisingly fine with. They kiss, and I hope none of you had been waiting to see actual development in this relationship, because that's all you're getting.

However, Stanley's waiting for Maggie in her tent and says that since she cost him the payday of one freak already, she's definitely going to have to bring Jimmy to his weird torture barn now.

Everybody Just Wants to Be Loved. Paul's taking forever to die, and people are starting to get suspicious that no doctor has been summoned for him. Ethel brings Elsa a piece of birthday cake, both as a gift and a promise -- she tells her to make a wish, and declares that she'll kill her if she finds out Elsa had anything to do with whatever happened to the twins.

Dandy's still moping over Dot's diary and tells Gloria that he's not destined to find love, only to bring death. And also be really dramatic, apparently, if the weird desert metaphor is anything to go by. He digs a knife out of his toy chest, but before he can unleash another murder spree on anyone in his home, Jimmy shows up, looking for Bette and Dot.

By the way -- Elsa’s wish over her birthday cake was “I just want to be loved,. Which, ugh, gut punch. Lange is so good at playing sympathetic crazy -- I just want Elsa to be loved too, darn it. Plus, I feel  like the last time a Lange character said something like this, the Axe Man showed up, so fingers crossed…

Odds and Ends

·         • Where’s Gabourey Sidibe? Wouldn’t she have noticed that -- again -- her mother didn’t call her when she was supposed to? No mention of her character’s existence at all this week.

·         • No sign of either Angela Bassett of Michael Chiklis this week. I’m not sure whether I think this is just an attempt to manage cast bloat, or a sad side effect of the fact that the cast is skirting “dangerously unwieldy” in size.  Given the events of last week, their absence is strange.

·         • Will Paul die? Could we just get on with that maybe? Preferably before we have to deal with any more of Penny?

·         • At the very beginning of the episode, when Elsa’s first practicing her Wheel act, she envisions throwing knives at Maggie, Jimmy and Pepper. What’s that all about?

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