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TV Recap: AMERICAN HORROR STORY FREAK SHOW "EDWARD MORDRAKE PT 1"

TV Recap: AMERICAN HORROR STORY FREAK SHOW "EDWARD MORDRAKE PT 1"
By: Suepafly

The medical community has always been fascinated by freak shows. At the morbidity museum they not only embrace the differences, but celebrate them. Dr. Sylvestor Mansfield introduces his bright new assistant Maggie Esmerelda. She looks at one specimen in pity. Dr. Mansfield believes that the the specimen was a loser in life, and at least in death they have value. One of his specimens are brought into questions, as are his medical credentials. The curator tells him that they're obviously creative people, and if they bring her some truly authentic specimens then she would happily take them. She use to get calls from actual freak shows when one of their passed, selling the bodies to her museum, but there are few freak shows left in the country. The liver of a pair of conjoined twins alone brought in $5000.00. Mansfield and Esmerelda plot to head to Florida where one of the few freak shows remain to make their fortune.



It's Halloween, and one pretty fairy princess is terrified of clowns, and with good reason. The curfew is still in full effect, even though the cops claim to have caught the killer. Jesse spots twisty and runs to her mother, but she thinks there's nothing scary about clowns. She hasn't had the pleasure of spotting Twisty.

Ethel visits her doctor, and he has bad news. She has cirosis of the liver. She hasn't touched alcohol since Jimmy was born, but the doctor says that she may have had it for a long time. Worse, she doesn't have much time left, the prognosis is six months to a year. There is little that she can do beside avoiding meat, and all alcohol. The doctor is very sorry to have had to deliver the news. Ethel sheds tears, not over her dying, but because he is the first person to treat her with respect.

The Freak show is its normal rowdy atmosphere. Jimmy returns after digging Meep's grave. He sees all the performers as children that he cannot protect. Dot yells at them for being disrespectful, and suggests that they dedicate the evening show to Meep. But Halloween is the quietest night of the year at the freak show. They never perform on Halloween because of Edward Mordrake.


He was a handsome man, could have been a duke or something if things had been different, but Edward had an ugly, evil face on the back of his head. The face would whisper things to him, things only he could hear. Edward tried in vein to kill the other face, but it would not die. His family eventually committed him, but that left him alone, confined with only the face whispering to him. He tried to write poetry, anything to keep his mind off the whispers beckoning him to do bad things, but it didn't help. Eventually he slaughtered his guard, and ran off to the Freak Show. They billed him as the two faced prince. He would delight the crowds with his graceful piano skills and then he would take a bow and reveal his other face. There was no one like Edward, and he wasn't happy. One Halloween Edward snapped and murdered every freak in the troupe, and then he hung himself. In his death the second face was still smiling. They don't perform out of respect, but fear. Those who perform summon the spirit of Edward Mordrake, and he doesn't leave until he takes a victim with him.

Jimmy is upset over Ethel's story, scaring everyone, but she has experienced his presence at another show where they were made to perform on Halloween. The human cannon ball died a horrific death and his face had an eerie smile just like the second face of Mordrake. Jimmy confronts Ethel about her drinking. She'd sworn off the stuff for so long, and her sudden drinking has him worried. He wonders if its because of Dell, and its not. She's glad that there is a man around, so that Jimmy is now free to leave like he's been asking to do.

At Casa de Crazy, aka the Mott residence, Gloria prepares for a glorious Halloween. Everything is set in place for her psycho brat Dandy. The poor house keeper, Dora, is forced to dress as Woody Woodpecker. Dandy can't wait to go out trick or treating to terrorize the neighborhood, but his mother reminds him that he can't with the curfew still in effect. Gloria has Dora bring out Dandy's costume, but he throws an epic tantrum when he sees that its Howdy Doodie. She rushes out to find him something else. Gloria may be doting, but Dora isn't putting up with his crap, and leave him amiss the mess that he's made. He takes his costume, and refashions it into a clowns.

The freaks gather to put Meep to rest. Halloween was always his favorite holiday. It was the one day that he felt like he could be one of the normal kids. But he wasn't like them, he was better. They pass around a bag, everyone taking an item out of it, they're chicken heads inside. They throw the heads in and pour alcohol on his grave to help send him off, and lay him to rest.

A yellow cab pulls up to the freak show. Jimmy heads out to send it away, the show is closed. But the newly blonde and no longer mousy Esmerelda tells him that she's there for a job. Again he tries to sends her away, thinking she doesn't belong, but she won't be deterred. She's come a long way, and she's a fortune teller.

Bette and Dot sit on an operating table. Bette cries that she never agreed to this, but Dot tells her that she's the one with the talent, and now a man wants to marry her. Bette thinks that he'd only love her because she was different, but Dot is willing to take the chance to be rid of her sister. Bette wakes Dot from her dream. She experienced it too, but it was a nightmare to her. She asks Dot if she'd miss her, because Bette would miss Dot when she was gone. Sometimes Bette wonders who Dot is especially since they've come to the show. Dot is a determined person. She plans to save her money and find a doctor who can perform the surgery to separate them. One of them will die, but one of them will have a chance at happiness.

Jimmy goes to Elsa about the fortuneteller. She's not a gypsy he says, but Elsa is the one that will determine her gift. Esmerelda is brought in to perform, she claims that she didn't chose it, the gift chose her. As Esmerelda prepares her reading she takes a quick look around for clues. Esmerelda tells her that she can only do the reading if she's receptive. Esmerelda talks about misdeeds, and greed ruining her past. Someone stole her spotlight in the past, and Elsa perks up. Esmerelda feeds her more information. Elsa can become the star of her dreams once more, a man with piercing eyes can help her become a star. Esmerelda falls to the ground, spent after her reading, and Elsa hires her.

Dell pumps some weights, as his wife Desiree prances around in a new costume. He doesn't want to take part in the alcohol consumption, needing to stay focused. Desiree rubs up on him, and at first he's receptive, but things soon get limp. Desiree is tired of it, and Dell doesn't take her rejection well. She should be grateful for all that he's done for her, but she warns him not to put his hands on her, or she'll leave forever.

Dell has a run in with Ethel outside. Ethel saw the three breasted Desiree run out. Dell barks over Desiree, but Ethel tells him to calm down, and have a drink with her. She needs to talk to him anyways. She asks what the fight was about, but he doesn't want to talk about. She asks what their problem was. He says the beard for starters, but they were together long before she had Jimmy. He starts out harsh, that men will jump on anything, and then gets a little softer. He could have been a better father. She reminds him that he can never let Jimmy know that he's Jimmy's father. They once thought about having a cookie cutter life, but Ethel knows that they would have never lasted. She's dying, and she wants Dell to look after Jimmy, help him make something of his life. Dell had been wondering what his life had been like if he had stuck around to watch Jimmy grow up. He asks what Jimmy like to dress up like as a kid. He always wanted to be the same thing, a soldier.

The tiny lady pops out of a pumpkin scaring the amazon. It's Halloween night at the freak show. Someone walks down the stairs, humming. He looks at knives, its Dandy in his clown costume, and there's about to be another killer clown on the loose in Florida. He raises the knife at Dora who is busy dusting, but she doesn't think is threat is real. She knows all about the dead animals, she even told hia mother about them. She raised him and she isn't afraid of him. She asks if he killed the people, but knows that he didn't. He wants so badly to be a serial killer, but isn't quite there yet. Dandy unmasks and raises the blade at Dora. He hates her, and she hates him too, but he doesn't strike her.

Esmerelda calls Mansfield, and she's gotta cut out. She can't deal with all the freaks. They wig her out. She tells Mansfield about the twins that she ran into. They were upset that she was back behind the tents with Jimmy as he brought her to her new digs. She tried for friendly, offering them a reading, but Dot was less than pleased seeing her. Mansfield's eyes light up with dollar signs at the mention of the twins. Jimmy sits outside of the phone booth listening. Mansfield plots the murder of the twins, and just how he plans to store the body. He'll meet up with her after he handles his business, which happens to be a demon horned beefcake. A cop comes to give Jimmy some trouble. There's a curfew, and he's out after dark, but they still have a few minutes before the curfew goes into effect. Esmerelda puts her pretty looks to good use, telling him that she was just calling her grandmother, and promising to hurry home. The cop gives her some advice, to stop hanging around with trouble makers. Esmerelda diffuses the situation, and off the pair ride.

Mansfield taunts his viking God. He's missing a sword he tells the stud. He orders him to take off his pants, and Thor may have signed on for more than he can handle.

Little Jesse's mother and her friend have some drinks after curfew and a long day of trick or treating. They don't notice that they aren't alone. Jesse's brother Mike continues to be a jerk. He's willing to let her have some of his candy if she calls him master and to do all of his chores for a week. Twisty has the girl's back though. Mike screams, and his mother and her friend rush in, but its too late. Twisty took the punk brother.

Dot continues to berate Bette. The amazon doesn't think even rehearsing is a good idea, worried that they'll summon Mordrake's ghost. Elsa arrives in full costume. She tells them to get off the stage. The fortuneteller told her that a man would soon arrive to reignite her career, but the twins have let their good fortune go to their heads. They want to renegotiate their salaries, since they are now the headliner. Elsa warns them against getting ahead of themselves, reminding them that she can dump them back in the swamp that she found them in. Elsa performs Lana del Rey's Gods & Monsters as a man walks out of the green fog. Elsa thinks its the man that Esmerelda spoke of, but it isn't. Its Mordrake that she's crooning to, and he's transfixed by the image onstage. Elsa takes a bow, but her mystery man has disappeared.

The evening is quiet at the freak show. Ethel prepares for sleep, but is spooked by Mordrake. He's not really there. She sees another ghost. It's a large woman stabbed through the heart. The eerie green fog rolls around. Mordrake introduces himself. She tells him that she didn't summon him. It doesn't matter who summoned him, only that they were summoned. He will stay until they have a new companion. Ethel doesn't want to go yet, she has so much to do. Mordrake argues with his worse half. It isn't up to him who lives or who dies, but up to that evil little face. Ethel goes to face Mordrake. He questions her. She was not always in her current state. It's true. She once had a real act. She surrounded herself with the prettiest girls, and then dare the crowd to look at anyone except her. The crowd loved her, and she loved Dell. He became her manager, and he convinced her to leave her big act. He billed her separately, and without the laughs. No one enjoyed it. Mordrake feels sorry for her, but he digs deeper. He wants her deeper pain. She delves deeper. They were penniless, and she was pregnant. She couldn't find work in her condition, so Dell arranged a different kind of performance, a live freak birth. People gathered around her in a field. She gave birth next to a tree. The baby was born with lobster hands, and Dell tried to sell the option to even hold a freak baby. Poor Jimmy was exploited right from the start. Mordrake rises, offering her his handkerchief. The other ghost freaks surround her, and Ethel is ready to join them. She thinks that she deserves it, but she is not the one.


The girl and young boy still sit on the bus. Dressed in his new clown costume, Dandy comes in and tries to mimick Twisty. He offers them a trick or treat, and when they go to the offered candy, Dandy stabs at them, but his knife isn't long enough. He finds a stick, to make the blade longer, but before he can use his new weapon he hears Twisty approach. He rushes out to meet his demented friend, who carries his latest prize. Dandy lights up at the opportunity for more fun.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook and make sure to follow us at @SandwichJFilms on Twitter, and follow the author Sue Lukenbaugh on Twitter at @suepafly.

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