Tuesday, December 9, 2014

American Horror Story: Freak Show, Episode 7 & 8

Two episodes to score this week, so let's get right into it.

Episode 7
  • Being from a carnival and promising conjoined twins that your carnival friends can protect them when most of the carnival friends that would be doing the protecting are dead. = -2pts
  • Not even trying to find a reason to insert a musical number into your show that is not Glee. = -10pts
  • Acting like a smug asshole while another person lies for you. = +4pts
  • If you think Vic Mackey is the kind of guy to roll-over and murder one of his own to save face and earn a few bucks, chances are you must have read his diary, because that's exactly the kind of guy he is. = +5pts
  • Ah, the '50s! Back when Ma used to keep a handy bottle of chloroform next to the Vic's vapor rub for the days when the ground beef wasn't settling well in the ambrosia salad and patriarchy had broken her spirit. -2pts
  • Strong Man < Amazon Woman. = +10pts
  • Kathy Bates accent remains immaculate, lived-in, and unbearably annoying. = 0pts (For being the best of both worlds.)
  • Jimmy Darling should think of changing his name to Jimmy Ex Machina. = -2pts
  • The Toledo Code: The Scorecard's new way of describing something that we've just made up that will likely be discarded in the next scene. = +5pts (Because that's just how we do.)
  • Tattooing your daughter's face to prove a point to everyone what a deranged psycho father you are. = -5pts
  • Didn't being a carnie used to mean that you were the one good at conning people? I guess that's just another example of the Toledo Code. = +4pts
  • Ma Petite is on a rocket ship to that great glass jar of formaldehyde in the sky and she ain't looking back. = -10pts
Episode Score: -8pts


Episode 8

We here at The Progressive Cinema Scorecard would like to thank you for continuing to read on after last episode. Will things continue to get better or will more beloved characters get killed off?
  • Talking to a psychoanalyst about your son’s insanity after he’s already become a serial killer. = -3pts
  • Elsa cries over Ma Petite with such sincerity that Ethel accuses her of killing “innocence itself.” = -5pts
  • That moment when you realize the leg you just put a bullet through was made of wood. = +6pts
  • How Elsa Got Her Groove Back, starring the Axe Man. = +10pts
  • Kathy Bates’s Bostidelphamore accent makes her pronunciation of “Ma Petite” sound like “Muppet Teat.” = +2pts
  • Elsa is ever determined to prove everyone around her wrong, even the guy who coined the phrase, “Never bring a knife to a gunfight.” = -15pts
  • “Went to buy a squash” is white folk lingo meaning that your mother was murdered by a psychopath. = -4pts
  • Giving Jimmy a proper chance to mourn his mom without Elsa making it all about her. = +6pts
  • Forming a She-Ra Man-Hater’s Club over the grave of your deceased friend (and not ending your meeting by shouting “Girl power!”). = +7pts
  • Giving such disturbing answers to psychoanalysis questions that the doctor does little more than fidget nervously with his hands. = +5pts (So metal!)
  • Decorating your Christmas tree with the animal skulls as you ask your mother to murder your childhood friend. = +10pts (So fuckin’ metal!)
  • While trying to recruit exceptionally voluptuous vixen Barbara as the freak show’s obligatory Fat Lady, Elsa goes straight for the throat with the line, “You have a pretty face,” and then unwraps a Baby Ruth. = -25pts
  • Rather than provide actual motherly support to a drunken Jimmy Darling, Elsa suggests he motorboat Barbara instead. = -4pts
  • The She-Ra Man-Hater’s Club: fulfilling female revenge fantasies since 1952. = +5pts
  • Having your tar-an’-featherin’ ruined by white privilege… again. = -3pts
  • In true Frances Conroy fashion, Gloria Mott only takes offense to being called worse than the Roosevelts during Dandy’s tirade about her marrying her own psychopathic cousin just for the money. = +10pts
  • Matricide with a solid gold revolver. = +15pts (So precious fuckin’ metal!)
  • Rejecting a scrawny prognosticator for the ample bosom of Ima Wiggles. = +12pts
  • Bathing in the blood of your murdered mother. = +20pts (So goddamn fuckin’ metal that we had a METALGASM)
Episode Score: +49pts
Season Score: -3pts

Yes… beloved characters were killed off, but not senselessly this time! “Blood Bath” was proof that Freak Show is doing the opposite of what Coven did: it’s actually improving after the Thanksgiving break. There were no useless sideplots this go-round, just character development and game-changing consequences.

The death of two power players (creating a theme that Francis Conroy can’t stay away from Death and that Kathy Bates can’t keep her head) was poignant and visceral. As Jimmy Darling begins to lose his spark and sink into both debauched depression and the love pillows of Elsa’s newest recruit (who we hope will be a positive portrayal of a woman of size in television rather than the curvaceous butt of cruel jokes), his foil Dandy Mott becomes even more dangerous (and kind of badass) now that the silver tether to his mother was shot off with a golden bullet. Can the show keep up this momentum? Given that Neil Patrick Harris has yet to shown up (as Dr. Sugar, we can only hope), our Magic 8 Ball says… “reply hazy, try again.” Well, shit.

Score Technicians: Sean McConnell & TJ Geise

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