American Horror Story may lose more than a few regular stars in Season 5, but the Hotel won’t lack for familiar faces. Following Matt Bomer’s check-in, fellow Freak Show guest star Wes Bentley has officially signed on as a Season 5 regular of FX’s American Horror Story.
American Horror Story: Freak Show
Late this past weekend saw American Horror Story Season 5 booking Matt Bomer and Cheyenne Jackson to for a stay in the Hotel, but questions of the returning major cast remain. Now. series lead Jessica Lange confirms her departure of the series, while fellow veterans Sarah Paulson and Denis O’Hare update on their status.
The future of FX’s American Horror Story remains a mystery in Season 5, considering Freak Show’s poor reception and series star Jessica Lange’s likely exit, but it seems we have a new Mother Monster. Lady Gaga herself will join the cast of American Horror Story Season 5, potentially dubbed Hotel, and nothing has ever made more sense, in the history of ever.
And with that, the curtain falls on another season of ‘American Horror Story,’ as ‘Freak Show’ does its best to come full circle and remember that it had established some plot threads that it should probably tie up. “Curtain Call” is filled with inevitable moments punctuated by maudlin theatrics, which should seem appropriate given the context of the fourth season—but with how much ‘Freak Show’ has meandered aimlessly from plot to plot, delivering half-baked ideas and even lesser-baked themes, very little of tonight’s season finale feels worth the journey.
FX’s ‘American Horror Story’ has admittedly struggled a bit in recent seasons, ‘Freak Show’ displaying some initial promise over the directionless ‘Coven,’ but similarly losing steam before this week’s coming finale. Now, with a fifth season confirmed for the fall, FX brass says claims the next cycle may reinvent the series far more than any previous.
For four seasons now, without fail, the penultimate episode of ‘American Horror Story’ has always delivered. Tonight’s episode of ‘Freak Show’ is no different, except in that it stumbles perhaps more than the others, the dark humor and melodrama wrestling with the horror in ways that can be a little jarring—and not in a great way. But “Show Stoppers” does feature at least a couple of show-stopping numbers, and it’s the kind of stuff that our old pal Dr. Hans Gruber’s dreams are made of.
‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ has proven just a bit more cogent than last season’s ‘Coven’ (while simultaneously connecting itself to the ‘Asylum’), but the FX horror drama’s January return will accomplish something no other ‘Horror Story’ has dared. Check out Neil Patrick Harris’ magical guest appearance in our first preview for the ‘Freak Show’'s antepenultimate hour, “Magical Thinking”!
For the second week in a row, ‘American Horror Story’ has delivered a pretty solid episode—it could be due in part to the increasingly smaller number of carnival performers combined with the show’s rotating system, which makes at least one cast member (or attraction, in the parlance of a sideshow) sit out each week in order to focus its narrative efforts elsewhere. And maybe “Orphans” works because it tells a story that’s genuinely sad, which accentuates the horror of the hour. And maybe I also think this episode is great because Lily Rabe reprises her role as Sister Mary Eunice, and she is a total queen.
Great news, everyone: The horror and darkness have creeped back into ‘American Horror Story’ at last. And while the continuing narrative of Jimmy the Hero vs. Dandy the Villain doesn’t quite manage to be something greater than the sum of its parts, the ‘Freak Show’ delivers the first solid episode in weeks. The ghosts of the past invade the present with a surreal quality that echoes the way Jimmy’s brain is clouded by alcohol, or the way Dell—through misery and frustrating uncertainty—writes and rewrites his intended suicide letter. But it’s Dandy and Stanley who bring the real discomfort and unease to “Tupperware Party Massacre.”
There is a figurative line, somewhere on television, between tedious melodrama and soap opera theatrics, and yet another line exists over which you can cross into the blissful, Lynchian territory of self-awareness and not-quite-rightness. In that surreal place, soapy theatrics and camp are embraced satirically and knowingly because this is a place that looks like somewhere you know but feels like an unsettling dream. I don’t think ‘American Horror Story’ is on the same level as David Lynch, but I’m starting to convince (delude) myself into thinking that maybe after tonight’s “Blood Bath,” it’s attempting to play with the same tones.