TV Review: American Horror Story: Freak Show, “Orphans”

American Horror Story: Freak Show Poster

Orphans Plot Summary:

On this week’s episode of American Horror Story: Freak Show entitled “Orphans,” Pepper (Naomi Grossman) deals with the death of a loved one,  Maggie (Emma Roberts) tells her secrets to Desiree (Angela Bassett) and Jimmy (Evan Peters) has to raise money for a lawyer.

CR: Michele K. Short/FX
CR: Michele K. Short/FX

Pepper wakes to find that her partner Salty (Christopher Neiman) is dead from a stroke. She is unable to deal with the loss and the only person who understands her seems to be Elsa (Jessica Lange). This is because, when Elsa started her Freak Show, the first person to join her was Pepper, whom Elsa found at the orphanage. When Pepper started feeling maternal instincts, Elsa got her Ma Petite (Jyoti Amge) and when she needed love, Elsa wrote to every orphanage she could find until she was brought Salty and married them. Now that Pepper has lost both Ma Petite and Salty, she has lost everyone and Elsa thinks it is time to send Pepper back home to be with family.

With Jimmy in jail for murder, Maggie has started drinking out of self-pity. In a moment of weakness, she tells Desiree that she is partners with Stanley (Denis O’Hare) and that he isn’t really a Hollywood talent scout. Her excuse for why they are really there doesn’t hold water and Desiree is suspicious that they are responsible for all of the deaths happening around the camp.

Stanley offers to help Jimmy with his murder charges by finding him a lawyer but Jimmy has to pay for it. Without a penny to his name, Stanley makes a suggestion on how to raise the money. When Maggie takes Desiree to the American Morbidity Museum to show her proof of Stanley’s crimes, she finds out Stanley has gotten to Jimmy through the museum’s newest display.

Back in American Horror Story: Asylum, we learned from Pepper that her sister and brother-in-law put her in the asylum when they claimed she had murdered a baby. Elsa had left Pepper with her sister thinking it would be good for her to be with family, but it proved to be the worst thing for her. Pepper’s sister gave birth at age 50 to a deformed child and Pepper loved the child despite the deformities but her sister and brother-in-law did not. The only way to rid themselves of both was to kill the baby and blame it on Pepper. This is how we learned how Pepper was committed to the asylum, giving us the first real link between two seasons. Lily Rabe reprises her role as the sweet Sister Mary Eunice who hears the falsified story of the baby’s murder from Pepper’s sister and takes it upon herself to help Pepper with redemption.

CR: Michele K. Short/FX
CR: Michele K. Short/FX

“Orphans” is the most powerful episode this season. The relationship between Elsa and Pepper is pure and is the one thing in Elsa’s life that she has never been selfish about. She loved Pepper from the moment they met and she did everything she could to make her happy. While Elsa thought Pepper needed to be with family, it turns out she really just needed Elsa, who was the closest thing to family she would ever have. Where everyone thought Pepper was stupid and simple, she really was a lot smarter than people gave her credit for. All she ever wanted was to share love with someone and that love had been taken from her more than once. It is hard not to fall in love with Pepper after this episode and if Naomi Grossman is not, at the very least, nominated for an Emmy for her performance tonight, it will be a real crime.

Rating 9.5/10

American Horror Story will return to FX on January 7, 2015 at 10PM.

=========================================================================================================Ann Ann Hale is the horror editor for and a senior contributing writer, reviewing horror movies and television shows. She is also the American Correspondent for and writer for Ann attended East Carolina University, majoring in English Literature. She is a collector of Halloween (the film) memorabilia and is a self-admitted opinionated horror nerd. You can follow her, her collection and her cat, Edward Kittyhands on Twitter and Instagram @Scarletjupiter

Just a giant nerd in love with horror, 80’s action flicks, Star Wars and Harry Potter. Hit me up on Twitter or Instagram @scarletjupiter to talk horror or just to browse the horror collection.


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