7 user 13 critic


A death at the camp causes Elsa to seek out a new home for Pepper. Meanwhile, Desiree has enough of Dell's failure as a husband, and Stanley lends Jimmy a hand.


Bradley Buecker


Ryan Murphy (created by), Brad Falchuk (created by) | 4 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Sarah Paulson ... Bette Tattler / Dot Tattler
Evan Peters ... Jimmy Darling
Michael Chiklis ... Dell Toledo
Frances Conroy ... Gloria Mott (credit only)
Denis O'Hare ... Richard Spencer / Stanley
Emma Roberts ... Maggie Esmerelda
Finn Wittrock ... Dandy Mott (credit only)
Angela Bassett ... Desiree Dupree
Kathy Bates ... Ethel Darling (credit only)
Jessica Lange ... Elsa Mars
Lily Rabe ... Sister Mary Eunice McKee
Celia Weston ... Lillian Hemmings
Malcolm-Jamal Warner ... Angus T. Jefferson
Naomi Grossman ... Pepper
Matthew Glave ... Larry Gayheart


Pepper is upset and nearly uncontrollable after Salty's death from a stroke. Elsa tells Desiree that Pepper was the first freak recruited after she had decided to open her own show. Pepper had been living in an orphanage which was more than happy to just let her leave. Soon after, Elsa acquired Ma Petite from a Maharajah in exchange for 3 cases of Dr. Pepper. Now, Elsa manages to convince Pepper's sister Rita to take the girl in. In a flash-forward to 1962, we learn where Pepper ends up. Desiree and her new friend Angus T. Jefferson go to Maggie for a reading but don't quite get what they want. Maggie tells Desiree a little too much about her relationship with Stanley and takes her on a little trip. In jail for the Tupperware murders, Jimmy gets a visit from Stanley who says he may have a solution to his predicament. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Horror | Thriller


TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

17 December 2014 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Evan Peters plays Jimmy Darling in AHS: Freakshow. His character is based on the real life "Lobster Boy," Grady Stiles Jr.. See more »


(at around 26 mins) While talking to Maggie, Bette/Dot stands up and Dot's collarbone is clearly visible, minus Belle's head. See more »


Desiree Dupree: I wasn't born on a farm, but I know bullshit when I smell it, and that's a whole lot of bullshit.
Maggie Esmerelda: Go to Hell, triple tits.
See more »


References Let Us Live (1939) See more »


American Horror Story Theme
Written by Cesar Davila-Irizarry and Charlie Clouser
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

From Out Of Left-Field, A Monumental Episode!
21 December 2014 | by explorer801See all my reviews

I was a bit concerned viewing the 1st episode for "Freak Show". Not because I didn't love it, but because it was so phenomenal that I wondered if they could keep it up! Lange, Bates, and Paulson(s!) gave so much depth in that episode and it almost seemed to be bringing too much "WOW" to the table much too quickly.

Which I even admired, but wondered about the "too much, too soon" HOOK-EM QUICK charade. Then Lange so tragically/beautifully performed Bowie's "Life On Mars" near the end. I was in complete awe & in that moment I somehow just knew that "Freak Show" was going to redeem "Coven". (A fan of previous seasons, though "Coven" had it's issues"). "Life On Mars", accompanied by her fascinating "monsters" was so haunting and well-designed/produced. It was during that song on that 1st episode that I was in that rare "mouth-open/this could be truly special" mode! Then as more musical numbers came rolling in following weeks, I wondered if it was only playing off the success of "Asylum"s pristine "Name Game" montage (Or even more scarier, a version of AHS: Glee!")

I worry about overkill with Ryan Murphy. Examples: "Glee", "Nip/Tick", and sadly last year's "AHS: COVEN" which began beautifully then lost itself somewhere in mid-season, becoming: "Who's the Most Annoying, Evil Bitch" by the finale episodes, spiced up with a moment or two of awkwardly-staged (bless her heart)-- Stevie Nicks cameos that seemed like music videos to me. It's good we had Kathy Bates' delicious role with a few other cast members to keep it afloat during those "red flag moments". By the finale I literally was just rooting for Lange to just keep it going as Grand Supreme. I could almost not have cared any less. Not intending to reminisce on the pilot and "Coven" so much, but Twisty the clown was gimmicky to me. YET--it still brilliantly worked due to it's timely manner...and because of the actor's incomprehensibly expressive performance using almost entirely only his eyes to act. Dingy, dirty,blood-stained, deformed clowns are terrifying enough in any case. But a murderous clown in a public park, on a lovely summer's day doing such dastardly things to his victims is indeed fresher & more visceral.

I was already sick of hearing about the new season and the scary damned clown...too gimmicky for such a smart show. But no sooner was I getting a bit irritated (merely because it deserves to be remembered as more than the "Eerie Clown" season), when Finn Wittrock (Dandy) was tousled in. That made Twisty seem less awful as the season has progressed (Wittrock is an AMAZING actor; very fun to watch).

So this one tonight was the "PEPPER" episode that loyal fans have been salivating over! And it was worth the wait. I have noted how carefully they have had Pepper shuffling around in the background this season, but doing nothing to progress the plot. This episode was her moment to shine, even more so than she was able to in "Asylum".

I refuse to spoil anything here, but Naomi Grossman takes every opportunity to show us who Pepper was and she does it convincingly with heartbreaking results. If Pepper had been a bigger part I am sure she'd be looking at award nominations for this.

This episode also provided the opportunity to bring back two "AHS" alumni: Mere Winningham as Pepper's sister, and the "oh-so-missed" Lily Rabe...if you haven't heard...reprising her "pre-possessed" Sister Mary Eunice character from "Asylum"!

Without ruining the episode, I'd like to state that it was the most lovely, poignant episode of the season thus far. It really shifted gears! Lange & Grossman have scenes that almost brought me to tears. It also showed yet another layer of Elsa for us to decipher...this time a sincere, compassionate, maternal side to stuff in the proverbial "Elsa Box".

It was a pleasure to see so much of Grossman acting her ass off; great to see Lange unveil yet another facet of her complex character; bravo to Lily Rabe's Mary Eunice return (albeit too brief); and there were some big developments for Angela Bassett finally. With Ethyl gone, it seems she's taking the reigns and the troupe seem to be in good hands.

Not much going on with Jimmy, Dandy, or others this week, but Pepper deserved and received a complete episode!

--Does anybody else feel like Michael Chikilis (Dale) has done fine, but now just seems to be walking around with bottles all the time? They completely wasted the talents of Evan Peters in "Coven". It killed me to watch him grunt around all season.


**ONE NAGGING QUESTION--Wouldn't Pepper (who is far from an idiot) notice in the following years as Sister Jude (Elsa), Kit (Jimmy), and Dot/Bette (Lana) entered the asylum? Minus 2 wooden legs, one head, and webbed-hands, they don't appear any differently between seasons. I like the connection of seasons idea (if they don't overdo it), but does anybody else sense the implausibility here? No matter, it's been an appetizing, most welcome season thus far...(now praying: "Don't ruin the finale episodes, Ryan Murphy! When you're good, you're SO GOOD).

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