I have a complete and utter love hate relationship with Ryan Murphy. Totally won other by his diverse, fun and musical television show Glee in its first series, I’ve been in utter dismay as it dwindled into obscure and nonsensical storylines. As for American Horror Story, apart from the (what I think) excellent Asylum, the seasons have all been blighted by an overexcited ringleader who is trying to emulate “shock” rather than write thick episodes that are truly engaging and terrifying (throwing in rape and violence because they can and their audience will gasp). For a while, Freak Show toed the line of what was excellent and what was bad, feeling more like a character excavation which in turn made it brilliant. It’s a shame because all the elements are there.
The ferociousness of this week’s episode was playing with (unoriginal) themes that fails to smatter of writing excellence. The series continues to underline the entire “verses” mentality. Men vs women, freak vs human, twin vs twin and gay vs straight. Unsurprisingly, it’s women who take a brunt of the episode this week with attempted rape, disfiguration and murder as men assert their strength and intelligence over the females. In the hands of anyone other than Murphy, it would be impressive. But true to form, he and the show are picking up parts of horror farce and splicing them together to create a volatile television show that has little attention or depth.
Needless to say, American Horror Story Freak Show is ok, but dry. It’s repetitive and somewhat dull. While it has genuinely good moments, the season is falling into pitfalls by clearly trying to hard to be either controversial or shocking. Rather than play with the creeping human nature that twists into nightmares, American Horror Story would rather launch all guns blazing become more camp than anything. It’s becoming increasingly disappointing. And one character's departure is simply a let-down .