more from decider

What's New On Netflix August 2017: Netflix Movies, Netflix Shows, Netflix Originals, And More
What's New On Netflix August 2017: Netflix Movies, Netflix Shows, Netflix...
What's New On Amazon Prime Video August 2017: 'The Tick', 'Nick & Megan: Summer of 69', Meryl Streep, And More
What's New On Amazon Prime Video August 2017: 'The Tick', 'Nick &...
What's New On Hulu August 2017: 'Spider-Man,' 'Difficult People,' 'Saw,' And More
What's New On Hulu August 2017: 'Spider-Man,' 'Difficult People,' 'Saw,'...
What's New On HBO Now August 2017: 'The Ring,' 'Incredible Hulk,' 'Fantastic Beasts,' And More
What's New On HBO Now August 2017: 'The Ring,' 'Incredible Hulk,'...
The 12 Best Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix: August 2017
The 12 Best Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix: August 2017
What's New On Showtime August 2017: 'Ray Donovan', 'Hell or High Water', 'Whitney: Can I Be Me', And More
What's New On Showtime August 2017: 'Ray Donovan', 'Hell or High Water',...
What’s New On STARZ August 2017: 'Charlie's Angels,' 'The Patriot,' 'The Birdcage,' And More
What’s New On STARZ August 2017: 'Charlie's Angels,' 'The Patriot,' 'The...
What's New On Sundance Now August 2017: 'Bronson,' 'All Good Things,' 'Take This Waltz,' And More
What's New On Sundance Now August 2017: 'Bronson,' 'All Good Things,'...
What's New On Shudder August 2017: 'Cooties,' 'Battle Royale,' 'The Wraith,' And More
What's New On Shudder August 2017: 'Cooties,' 'Battle Royale,' 'The...
The Best Reviewed Titles Added To Netflix In August
The Best Reviewed Titles Added To Netflix In August
The Best Reviewed Titles Added To Hulu In August
The Best Reviewed Titles Added To Hulu In August
What's New On BritBox August 2017: 'In The Dark,' 'Vera,' 'Life of Crime,' And More
What's New On BritBox August 2017: 'In The Dark,' 'Vera,' 'Life of Crime,'...

‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Recap, Episode 10: “Orphans”

Where to Stream

American Horror Story: Freak Show

“The death of a beloved monster is always a sorrow,” Elsa tells us through a dramatic voice-over, “but it’s never a surprise.” It’s a sad day at the carnival because yet another freak has died, although this one not by the hand of another carny. Poor Salty, one of the pinheads, died in his sleep. I mean, if I was him, I’d probably kill myself not because of my station in life but because it’s not safe in the freak show for any of these kids anymore. And poor Pepper is devastated to lose her best friend, and Elsa waxes poetically about life and death and love and blah blah blah, she’s still the worst.

Denis O’Hare could care less, for the first time, about a dead freak. Instead, he continues to convince Elsa that he’s some hotshot Hollywood agent and that he’s going to make her a big TV star. He tells her that he wants to take the burden of Salty’s funeral off of her shoulders by cremating him, so of course he gets another freak head to sell to the museum of medical oddities that turns a convenient blind eye to the fact that he’s just dropping off a lot of dead things lately.

Dell wants to make amends with Desiree after he sees her comforting Pepper with a bedtime story. When Desiree tries to leave in order to put her makeup on (“the show must go on,” after all), Pepper acts out and throws a fit and plenty of stuff around the tent. She tells her to BUCK UP, and then walks over to Elsa’s tent where she shares a sip of schnapps and some thoughts about love and loss and whatever, which conveniently allows Elsa to provide another flashback to her days after leaving Der Vaterland faster than you can say “tomorrow belongs to me.”

Elsa moved to Boston and joined a circus, working as a chorus girl, because she felt comfortable with the gypsies. So there she was, working alongside the common folk like The Guy With No Hands and The Chick Who Can Deep Throat a Sword, but she was not feeling it because she has control issues and needs to be in charge (which, to be fair, is understandable as she was a prostitute who was drugged and made to star in a snuff film in which her legs were amputated. I’d like to be in charge, too!). Because all of the boys are going off to war, Elsa decides to become the Rosie the Riveter of the circus set and start up her own freak show, and that’s why she rescues Pepper from an orphanage.

Elsa has a heart after all! Sure, it’s black and steely and German and every good intention she exhibits is based entirely on her ruthless capitalist desire for money and control. And she also has a tendency to murder other performers who outshine her. But I guess she’s not all bad, huh? (Just kidding, she’s pretty much 95% terrible.)

Soon Elsa realizes that Pepper wants a baby, and luckily for her a very rich slave owner pays a visit from India with Ma Petite in tow. Yes, that’s shining, smiling lil’ face is back! Elsa tries to buy her off of him, but he’s like “blah blah blah honor blah blah blah no, bitch,” but then Elsa offers him three cases of Dr. Pepper and he’s like, “K bye.” “Sweet irony, no?” Elsa says, proving she has a rudimentary, Morissettian understanding of literary devices.

With a “child” for Pepper, Elsa realizes that Pepper needs a husband, so she orders Salty from the freak catalog and they instantly fall in love. Or maybe just in like. I dunno. Let’s not think about this too much, OK? I’ve had enough lobster-claw fingerbanging to think about Salty and Pepper boning.

Angus, played by MALCOLM-JAMAL WARNER, is still all lovey-dovey with Desiree, and they go by Emma Roberts’ tent for some fortune telling. Also, we get this shot though another convenient flashback, because at this point the show is just American Horror Story: Crappy Cinematic Tropes and the Occasional Fish-Eye Lens.

Academy Award nominee Angela Bassett, folks.

Emma Roberts then tells Desiree and Angus that they will have a beautiful home together with a white picket fence and some kids, and then she has a freakout and tells them that everything that makes them happy will crumble apart and die, and also that Bill Cosby raped all those women. The pair are obviously uninterested in hearing this news, so they storm off. Later, Desiree confronts Emma Roberts on the carousel, because of dramatic scenery, and Emma tells Desiree that she and Denis O’Hare are actually grifters and that they’re stealing from the costumers (conveniently leaving out the fact that Denis O’Hare has been killing people). Of course, Desiree smells a rat, and she tells her that if she finds out if she had anything to do with the missing freaks, she’ll kill her.

Emma Roberts rushes back to her tent to find the twins sitting there and waiting for her. They bring her a big, fat envelope of cash so she can find a good lawyer for Jimmy. She tries to turn the twins away, feeling burned even more by Jimmy’s lack of interest in her, but then they throw the cash at her and tell her to do right by Jimmy.

Jimmy, stuck in the clink, is visited by Denis O’Hare, who asks Jimmy if he really killed those horny Tupperware ladies. Jimmy admits he was definitely drunk and in a rage over his dead mom, but that he doesn’t think he did it. Denis O’Hare offers to get him a great lawyer, Donald Barrow (son of Clarence), but, come on, we all know he just wants to pull off those lobster hands.

Elsa and Pepper trek up to Massachusettes to see Pepper’s birth mother, played by Mare Winningham (who you may remember from last season as the woman who tried to fuck her zombie son) (yeah, remember that?). Elsa tells her she needs to take Pepper back, and she can claim to her family and friends that Pepper is her sister. Pepper asks Elsa to stay (so much for being a great and caring friend, Elsa!), but Elsa delivers a tearful goodbye.

Emma Roberts pulls Desiree aside the next morning at lunch, and tells her that she needs her help to stop Denis O’Hare from his money-grubbin’, freak-killing madness. They travel up to to the museum, and Desiree sees for herself the body of Ma Petite and the head of Salty floating on display. Then, twist! The museum docent pulls out the newest display: severed lobster hands. It looks like Jimmy found a way to raise his defense fund!

Back in Massachusetts, Pepper’s mom stops by everyone’s favorite crooked asylum to visit everyone’s favorite nun who will one day be possessed by the devil and try to fuck everything in sight, including a secret Nazi doctor who feeds the yield of his creepy medical experiments to aliens, or something. Yes, that’s right: Lily Rabe reprises her American Horror Story: Asylum role as Sister Mary Eunice, and finally we get the story of how Pepper ends up in the dreaded Briarcliff Manor that none of us particularly wanted. Pepper’s mom weaves some story about how she had a surprise baby (a deformed one, naturally) just before her 50th birthday, and that Pepper was obsessed with it and her husband. She also tells the nun that Pepper killed the baby (although a flashback shows that her husband killed the child and blamed it on Pepper.)

American Horror Story: Families! 

So now poor Pepper is stuck in Briarcliff, Jimmy has no hands, Sister Mary Eunice is a really bad nun, and we’re left with this teaser of a shot:

 

Like what you see? Follow Decider on Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation, and sign up for our email newsletters to be the first to know about streaming movies and TV news!

Photos: FX Networks

Decider

Get the Newsletter.

Sign up for news, stories, offers, and more, all from Decider's Webby Award-nominated newsletter.

By clicking above you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

X