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AMERICAN HORROR STORY Recap: NPH Joins The FREAK SHOW in “Magical Thinking”

Well, well, well… American Horror Story still has a few tricks up its sleeve courtesy of none other than NPH himself, Mr. Neil Patrick Harris. American Horror Story: Freak Show returned from its mid-season hiatus with a BANG! But we’ll get to that later…

First, we did get confirmation that Stanley is the worst of the worst and those claw-like hands that were in the jar at the museum a few episodes back were, in fact, Jimmy’s. The scenario played out basically exactly as you could have imagined except with some fun Silence of the Lambs behind-the-bars-style imagery.

Next, we bounced back to the show grounds where we see Dot and Bette and learn that they are virgins and that freaks are into the sex. Alrighty then. Sure, why not. So the sisters are looking for the man to “deflower” them (their words!) when Chester, a handsome stranger played by the aforementioned Mr. Harris, comes to town. He sells pet chameleons and performs magic and wants nothing more than to join Elsa’s show. She declines at first but upon realizing that he is good with math, she invites him to stay and help her with the books and agrees to permit him to be the opening act of the show. Chester seems a little too happy to stay and we quickly learn that he is a war vet who is dealing with a lot after his service.

Chester is a ventriloquist and has a doll named Margery voiced and also played by the lovely Jamie Brewer who dedicated AHS fans will know as Adelaide from Murder House and Nan from Coven. Unfortunately for Chester, Margery brings out the worst in him and we learn she is responsible for the murder of Chester’s former wife and her lover. To be clear, this is still a ventriloquist dummy we’re talking about; Chester has visions of her as a real person. She is a very big part of Chester’s life as we learn when she ends up being a part of the previously mentioned deflowering of the Tattler Sisters. Yuck.


Back in Jimmy’s holding cell at the hospital, Dell pays his son a visit. When he learns that Stanley was behind the removal of Jimmy’s hands, he tells his son that he should never have trusted Stanley and they have some father-son moments. They also decide to buy the Freak Show from Elsa when she leaves for Hollywood (little do they know that Elsa has sold the show to Chester). This inspires Dell to spring into action and he decides that he needs to break Jimmy out. Amazon Eve decides to help and the two of them kill the two police officers transporting Jimmy from the hospital back to the jail. Speaking of police officers, Dandy still has his guy on the payroll and he is keeping close tabs on Dot and Bette. Needless to say, Dandy is no fan of Chester when he finds out what has been going on and he confronts Chester at the grounds after hiding Margery from him. There isn’t much resolution there, but one could imagine that this will conclude next week and it won’t be pretty…

Instead, the climax of the episode comes at the end when Desiree confronts Dell about the mysterious deaths of their kind that have been happening on the grounds. Remember, Maggie has taken Desiree to the museum and shown her both Ma Petite and Salty on display. Desiree pulls a gun on Dell in their tent and she knows that he is guilty. When he finally admits that he smothered and killed Ma Petite, he is shot in the head from behind by a devastated Elsa. In the most shocking move of the night, the episode ended there. Pretty crazy, right? Right as things started to get cooking, they pulled the rug out from under us and ended the episode!

One thing that I like about this season of AHS is Elsa’s consistent dedication to her “monsters.” For some reason, given the characters she’s played thus far on the show, I wasn’t expecting such a protective mother bear nature to her character. It’s been nice to see that sincere emotion played out through this season. And, there was ultimately to be no redemption for dear old Dell. Not that he was a great guy or anything, but a tragic character nonetheless, and now Jimmy has been left without his mother and his father. What kind of reaction will he have to the news? Will he fly off the handle once again like he did after Ethel’s death? How will Elsa react to Stanley now that serious suspicions have been raised about him? We know from the previous episode, “Orphans”, that Elsa does end up being a TV star… Does she get there without his help? There are only a few episodes left!

American Horror Story: Freak Show airs Wednesdays on FX.

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  1. kerrell says:

    Now this was a good episode of AHS. Had some suspense and a lot of weirdness.. lots of weirdness thanks to Neil Patrick Harris,who did a great job. That doll and his relationship with it is just disturbing. His character has made the show enjoyable again.