Thursday, December 18, 2014

American Horror Story: Freak Show Recap: Episode 10 "Orphans”

I finally got what I wanted from American Horror Story: Freak Show, it just didn’t come at the right time.  Ever since episode 6, “Bullseye,” it’s been clear that the Freak Shows supporting cast deserves more than a scene here or there, and now Naomi Grossman further proves it.  Pepper’s always been a fine, likable member of the troupe, but “Orphans” takes the character well beyond just being the resident pinhead.  It’s easily one of the most moving episodes of the season, but it’s hard not to wonder, why now?  Perhaps it’s my own fault for having specific expectations for the final episode before the holiday break, but at the end of “Orphans,” I had more interest in revisiting American Horror Story: Asylum than seeing what’s to come on January 7th.

Let’s begin by assessing the episode as its own entity.  “Orphans” is a tragically beautiful character piece.  We barely got to know Salty (Christopher Neiman), or get a clear sense of his relationship with Pepper for that matter, but the episode manages to turn that around in mere minutes thanks to Grossman’s wholehearted performance and a particularly effective flashback.  Coming to learn that Pepper was Elsa’s very first monster is a game changer for both characters.  It makes me wish we got to see that connection a little earlier on in Freak Show, but that in no way changes the strength of the episode.




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