TV Recap: American Horror Story: Freak Show, ‘Test of Strength’

American Horror Story: Freak Show Poster

Many secrets come out this week on this week’s episode of American Horror Story: Freak Show, “Test of Strength.” Dandy is pinpointed as the other clown killer, Dell’s secret nightlife lands him in a sticky situation and Elsa (Jessica Lange) is blackmailed over her involvement with the disappearance of the Tattler Twins (Sarah Paulson).

Jimmy (Evan Peters) arrives at Dandy’s house to bring the Tattler Twins home to the Freak Show. Jimmy becomes aware that Dandy was the man in the clown mask back at the bus in the woods with Twisty (John Carroll Lynch) and begs the girls to come with him. Despite her love for Dandy, Bette chooses to go with Jimmy to make Dot happy.

We finally get a new music number from someone other than Elsa and the Twins. Jimmy delivers us a Nirvana cover that is actually pretty decent. I am still not a huge fan of the songs being inconsistent with the time period but they do manage to pick great songs.

Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/FX
Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/FX

Stanley (Denis O’Hare) finds himself a solution to Maggie’s (Emma Roberts) inability to kill the freaks. While at High Noon, the gay bar a few towns over, Stanley spots Dell. In exchange for Stanley’s silence on Dell’s homosexuality, Dell must deliver the body of a freak.

For whatever reason, Dell seems to think attacking Amazon Eve (Erika Ervin) is a good idea. Considering that literally every other freak in the place would have been an easy target, Dell obviously isn’t very bright. He gets his butt kicked by Eve, who rats him out to the rest of the clan.

The Twins, who told the Freak Show that Elsa had helped them by dropping them off at Dandy’s, upon their request, blackmail Elsa for bigger profits and a bigger part in the show. She has no choice but to agree to their terms or else she will be run out by the freaks who already have trouble trusting her. Dot has an extra term for Elsa, one that Bette cannot know about.

Paul (Mat Fraser) has begun to heal from his knife wound and Penny (Grace Gummer – Meryl Streep’s daughter) has decided to leave home to be with him. Her father, however, has other ideas. He knows he cannot stop her from leaving so he hires a tattoo artist to disfigure her so she will be as much of a freak as the ones she wants to join.

Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/FX
Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/FX

Jimmy confronts Dell about what happened with Amazon Eve, which leads them to a bar and extreme intoxication. Just as Dell is about to hit Jimmy over the head with a brick, Jimmy declares that he knows Dell is his father. For the first time, we really see love from Dell. With both Andy (Matt Bomer) and Desiree (Angela Bassett), we see desperation but with his son, there is real love.

It is this love that keeps Dell from killing Jimmy and taking his hands for Stanley. However, knowing he must deliver something, Dell is forced to take a life. Where Maggie failed previously, Dell picked up and the museum finds themselves with a new exhibit.

Dell is in deep trouble. It is only a matter of time before that character is discovered to be missing and, after the attack on Eve, all eyes will be on him.

There are just six episodes left in the season. This week was a huge step in a complicated direction. The next episode promises to be nothing short of violent. I can’t wait.

Rating: 7/10

 American Horror Story: Freak Show airs every Wednesday night on FX.


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 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.