They’re back! “American Horror Story” returned tonight from its short winter hiatus with episode 11, “Magical Thinking.” And you can bet that the hit FX series resumed its Season 4 installment with an even more gruesome -- and creepy -- plot.
“Freak Show” kicked off with Jimmy (Evan Peters) still imprisoned and donning his lobster claws. However, Stanley (Denis O’Hare) offered the freak show performer an offer he just couldn’t refuse. Stanley told Jimmy that the only way he could get out of jail was through an attorney -- and the only way Jimmy could afford one was by chopping off his prize-worthy hands. Stanley then handed Jimmy an elixir that made the freak so violently ill that the prisoner was rushed to a hospital. But when Jimmy woke, he was no longer a Lobster Boy -- instead of sporting claws, he was handless. Stanley had cut off both of Jimmy’s hands despite the original plan of slicing off only the left one.
“Can you believe that’s a thing -- selling your hands?” Jimmy said to Dell (Micheal Chiklis), who was in shock that his son had made a deal with someone so untrustworthy. As Dell fed his son, he opened up to Jimmy in a sweet father/son moment about his childhood. Dell explained that he felt like a freak in his own home because he was normal. Talk about ironic.
Meanwhile, a traveling salesman wandered into Elsa Mars’ (Jessica Lange) camp looking to sell chameleons. His name was Chester (Neil Patrick Harris) and he made the trip to Florida in hopes of trying out for the troupe. However, Elsa wasn’t too impressed with Chester’s magic tricks, nor his ventriloquist act with his dummy Marjorie (Jamie Brewer). However, she saw promise in the salesman when he handed over his journal that consisted of his finances for selling lizards. So, Elsa offered Chester the gig of warming up the crowd. However, he ended warming up more than he had anticipated.
When Chester first met Bette and Dot (Sarah Paulson), he seemed fixated on the two because they reminded him of old friends. (We learned later down the line that the women the Tattler Twins resembled was that off Chester’s former wife and her mistress, whom he killed.)
Chester won over the heart of the twins when he handed them a charming little music box. He then asked them to assist him in the classic “saw-a-lady-in-half” magic trick. Although they were skeptical at first, the girls finally agreed after Chester wooed them with compliments.
“He really seems taken with us,” Bette said. “He does. It’s magical,” Dot replied, before the two revealed that they’ve chosen Chester to deflower them. But when they attempted to pursue the show’s newest member, he flinched. That’s when the flashbacks revealed Chester had an interesting sexual history. According to episode 11, he used to watch his wife and her lover in bed with Marjorie on his lap.
“I’m sorry. She relaxes me,” he said to the twins, adding Marjorie to their ménage a trios.
It was revealed that the girls’ first sexual experience was documented by Dandy (Finn Wittrock), who had hired a private investigator to track down the twins. Dandy was completely distraught to find out that another man had won their heart. That’s when he decided to intervene -- especially after discovering Chester’s bloody past of butchering his wife and her lover, then blaming it on his doll. “What a freak,” Dandy replied to Chester’s gruesome past.
As the Tattler twins enjoyed their magical night, Jimmy spent his in hell. He was being dragged from the hospital straight back to his prison cell -- well, that is until Dell and Amazon Eve (Erika Ervin) intervened. The two put their strength together to kidnap Jimmy from the cops and hide him. But their plan to set Jimmy free resulted in the death of two officers -- a murder scene that would send the cops straight to Elsa’s camp.
But before the police made their way to the freak show to search for Jimmy, Elsa had taken Chester up on a business offer of selling the freak show to him. She explained that she saw something in the way he handled his finances with selling chameleons. However, her faith in Chester quickly wavered when he mentioned making Marjorie the headliner of the show.
It wasn’t until Marjorie went missing did Elsa truly see how mentally unstable his potential business partner was. As the police arrived to the camp to look for Jimmy, Chester pleaded with them to help find his missing doll. But it was no use. Instead he was forced to look alone, until he bumped into Dandy. Dandy claimed he found Marjorie and that she told him she was very upset with Chester for what he did with the twins. The manipulative freak show-wannabe then told Chester that if he wanted to find Marjorie, he would have to look in the big tent. When Chester arrived, he found Marjorie sitting on a chair eating grapes. She nonchalantly told Chester that he needed to saw the Tattler twins in half.
But the real drama came at the very end of episode 11. Maggie (Emma Roberts) and Desiree (Angela Bassett) had returned to the camp from their emotional journey of finding out how Ma Petite (Jyoti Amge) really died. As Maggie ran straight to Elsa’s tent to inform her of the dreadful news, Desiree forced the truth from Ma Petite's killer, Dell. Originally he pleaded the fifth, claiming the only people he killed were the cops who locked away Jimmy. But after a few moments of prying and a guilty conscience, Dell broke down. He told Desiree that he was blackmailed, which is why had had to kill Ma Petite. After explaining how he murdered the tiny performer, Elsa shot Dell execution style.
“That’s all I needed to hear,” she said, concluding the episode.
“American Horror Story: Freak Show” will air episode 12, “Show Stoppers,” on Wednesday, Jan. 14, at 10 p.m. EST.