“American Horror Story” returned for more bloody goodness when episode 12 of Season 4 aired Wednesday, Jan. 14. What happened in the anticipated installment “Show Stoppers”? Where do we even begin?
The episode kicked off with Stanley (Denis O’Hare) crashing Elsa’s (Jessica Lange) farewell party/Chester’s (Neil Patrick Harris) welcoming dinner. The former owner then politely asked Chester to leave so the original troupe could enjoy one last meal together before she went off to become a big Hollywood star – and take revenge on Stanley.
But before they avenged Ma Petite's (Jyoti Amge) name, Elsa and the gang spooked Stanley to the core by showing him just how they go about seeking justice. That’s when they brought out the decapitated head of the American Morbidity Museum owner.
Stanley pleaded for his life, even insisting he knew people in Tinseltown who could help make Elsa a star. But the fraulein wouldn’t hear any of it.
“You tried to kill my dreams, but they cannot be murdered. But what you did brought death into this place and for that you must pay,” she responded.
After getting a knife thrown into his leg, Stanley revealed to the freaks, attempting one last time to save himeslf, that Elsa was the one who killed Ethel (Kathy Bates). That’s when the fraulein advised him to start running. But the limping fraud could get only so far before the vengeance-seeking freaks caught up to him.
Elsa paid Jimmy (Evan Peters) a visit, where she broke the news to him about his father's death. She explained “they all” killed Dell (Michael Chiklis) because he had admitted to killing Ma Petite. Jimmy was beside himself, and seeing the treacherous Maggie (Emma Roberts) made matters worse. He tried to banish Maggie from his tent, but Elsa told Jimmy that Maggie's job was to stay and help heal his wounds.
“I have found an old friend. He’s coming to help you,” Elsa said, explaining why Jimmy needed to gain his strength. “He will make you new hands – a fresh start.”
As Elsa prepared for the upcoming show, a shadowy figure entered the main tent. It was Massimo (Danny Huston), the man responsible for giving Elsa legs after they were viciously cut off in a snuff film.
Meanwhile, the Tattler twins (Sarah Paulson) enjoyed their second rendezvous with Chester. During the sensual scene, they asked Chester to put Marjorie (Jamie Brewer) down so that the three of them could relish the intimate moment – and surprisingly enough, Chester obliged. But Marjorie wasn’t too happy with Chester’s quick decision to cast her aside, which is when she suggested that Chester needed to kill Bette and Dot.
As Chester plotted the twins' death, the freaks were preparing to off another member of their troupe, Elsa. They had pieced together that Elsa was the one responsible for Ethel’s death -- and for that, Elsa would have to pay.
“We know what we do when people come after our own,” Paul (Mat Fraser) said before plotting Elsa’s demise.
The twins, however, had no part in planning Elsa’s impending death. Instead they spent their time trying to cast Dandy (Finn Wittrock) out of their tent. Dandy showed up “in friendship” to warn the twins about their newest beau.
“I’m not half the man you deserve. The one thing I can offer is protection,” he said, revealing the gruesome details of Chester’s past. “Your Chester is an absolute, beastly sicko.”
But Dot wasn’t interested in hearing Dandy’s alleged lies and sent him away.
Elsa, unaware that she was on the chopping block, brought Massimo to Jimmy’s tent. But Jimmy detested the idea of sporting wooden hands. That’s when Elsa showed him Massimo’s fine work by exposing her own wooden legs.
Shortly after, Massimo explained how he hunted down the men who turned Elsa into an amputee. “I made sure he would not die quickly,” he said of the leader behind the horrid act. But instead, it was Massimo who was slowly tortured. The artist explained he eventually fled. Although his body survived the torture, his mind did not. Unfortunately for Elsa, Massimo can no longer love. Now if that’s not a horrific tale, we don’t know what is.
Back at the camp, Bette and Dot explained to Chester during the team meeting that they no longer wanted to be his assistant. That’s when Chester proposed an idea to lure them back into the act with an exciting twist to their position. Instead of assisting him, Chester offered them the starring role of being cut in half. But two brains are better than one and they turned down that idea. Instead, Maggie offered herself as tribute.
The show’s newest owner sent everyone away before strapping Maggie into the box. As she slid in, he couldn’t help but see images of his late wife’s mistresses flash in place of Maggie’s face. Chester then strapped Maggie’s ankles down so she was unable to slide her legs up through the box and began sawing away. Maggie screamed for her life as Chester cut through her flesh and bones.
Hearing the screams of agony, the freaks went to the stage to see what had happened.
“She had it coming,” Desiree (Angela Bassett) said, adding that they should “steal her jewelry and bury the b----.”
Amazon Eve (Erika Ervin) explained to Jimmy that Maggie was dead (although she didn’t give him the gory details). She then dished that Elsa would be the next to die for the chaos she caused. Jimmy was on board with the plan. However, the twins weren’t.
Bette and Dot visited Elsa’s tent to warn her that her monsters were going to turn on her and kill her. The Tattler twins then urged Elsa to leave the camp that very night.
“But where will I go?” Elsa asked.
“Anywhere but here,” Bette responded.
The freaks prepared to murder Elsa in her tent, but she was nowhere to be found. Instead viewers learned Elsa was making a deal with the devil himself. Dandy appeared to slip Elsa cash before she made a getaway to Hollywood. That’s when it was revealed Dandy would be the newest owner of the freak show.
“I’m here to take inventory. I’m your new owner,” Dandy said, telling Paul to fetch him a lemonade.
So what happened to Chester? He turned himself in to the police for killing a young woman. As the authorities unveiled a blood-soaked towel, it was revealed that the young woman was actually Marjorie.
Dandy explained it was a dream come true to own the freak show. As he looked around his camp, he uncovered the show’s newest addition. Instead of the freaks killing Stanley, they cut down his limbs and threw him into a feathered costume, turning him into the late Meep (Ben Woolf). Did anyone else see this coming?
But the last scene of episode 12 showed Jimmy getting fit with his new hands – or should we say claws?
What did you think of “Show Stoppers”? Sound off in the comments section below and make sure to tune in to the Season 4 season finale of “American Horror Story” when “Freak Show” airs episode 13, “Curtain Call,” on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at 10 p.m. EST.