DEADtime TV – American Horror Story: Freak Show – Tupperware Party Massacre

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Finally, American Horror Story: Freak Show pulls together its unconnected plot lines with “Tupperware Party Massacre,” but even that doesn’t make it a good episode in how it deals with what this season has already laid the groundwork for. Freak Show has been disappointing in many ways, especially after Twisty the Clown was swiftly dispatched; but the most disconcerting part of this arc has been its odd twists and turns, those avenues that add some texture to slow episodes but rarely make any solid progress in the story. That Freak Show has yet to capitalize on what it really wants its point to be is suspect; after “Tupperware Party Massacre,” this season has four more episodes to prove its point or GTFO.

At least Dandy’s role in Elsa’s Cabinet is becoming less vague. In a surprising turn of events after he kills off his mother, Dandy decides that he doesn’t just want to kill people: he’s also missing his crown jewel, Bette and Dot. And who took them from him? Jimmy Darling. Inexplicably and seemingly without reason, Dandy makes it his goal – now, of all times – to go after Jimmy and destroy everything he loves, starting with the women he tickles at Tupperware parties.

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The episode is oddly reasoned all around, not just with Dandy’s sudden obsession with Jimmy but also with Jimmy’s new choices. It’s kind of like Freak Show jumped an episode without telling us; suddenly, Jimmy’s now a drunk who finds himself feeding the freak show’s new fat woman and plowing her soft behind; Elsa and Stanley are quickly attempting to procure Dot and Bette’s separation; and Dell tries to end his life after losing his girlfriend, his boyfriend, and his free will, and also plagued by his secret sexual orientation.

None of these things are tackled with a semblance of order. The way “Tupperware Party Massacre” decides to just go with the flow means that the audience is certainly going to feel like they’re missing something. Unfortunately, they’re not, and the problem that Freak Show has tried to juggle all along comes purging to the surface: the show hasn’t done any of the work to make these themes and subplots stick, or even feel remotely worthwhile. When Dandy shouts “I am a god!” and offers a cop a million dollars to shoot Regina in the head, there’s nothing there but the laughable feeling that Freak Show has always been flying by the seat of its paints, hoping things were going to fall into place like they did in other seasons. This time, though, it’s painfully apparent that none of these loose ends will be effectively sewn together.

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Gabourey Sidibe’s character Regina is a great example. She’s been a small character ever since her mother was killed by Dandy, but for what reason? So she could return to the house and give Dandy a scary run-in with the law? No – “Tupperware Party Massacre” stifles her, making her a useless and unnecessary person in this universe. She does nothing, gets nothing, changes nothing: she’s the epitome of a stock character that, had she not been there, could have just allowed more time to one of the other substories without conclusions right now.

Overall, “Tupperware Party Massacre” is just a mess of storylines jumping around, trying to make something work when American Horror Story has failed to create anything worthwhile. It’s unfortunate, because this season started off with some very cool scenarios (and its opening is a great mix of taboo imagery). Now, it’s become clear that there’s no rhyme or reason to the story, and they’ve bitten off more than they can chew – the songs have dropped out, some of the characters are no longer featured, and there’s little resemblance to the first episodes of Freak Show. This episode is even more deformed than the freaks it features.

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