American Horror Story Recap: ‘Magical Thinking’ [Episode 11]

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Finally! Freak Show is back – and with new blood. We return to Stanley visiting Jimmy in jail, telling Jimmy that if he would allow Stanley to cut off just one hand, it would fetch enough money to hire a lawyer. Stanley strikes a low blow reminding Jimmy of what happened to Meep when he was behind bars. Jimmy agrees and drinks the ipecac that Stanley provides, causing him to throw up. When Jimmy wakes in county hospital, chained to the bed, he sees that both hands are nubs, and screams.

Bette and Dot are identical once again and decide that they are where they belong – with the freaks – and the possibilities are delicious. They are ready to discover sex and ready to interview gentleman callers. Burning their diaries signifies that they have nothing to hide anymore. (As if that really worked since they could read each others thoughts.)

Neil Patrick Harris (yay!) is on the scene as Chester. A traveling salesman of chameleons who has a penchant for freaks and magic. Chester once auditioned as a magician for Ringling Brothers but they told him to disappear. He sees Bette and Dot and is reminded of two other women he used to know. Bette and Dot are also taken with Chester.


Dell visits his son Jimmy in the hospital and can’t believe Jimmy trusted a lying prick like Stanley. Dell feeds Jimmy – something Dell never did when Jimmy was a baby because he freaked out and ran away. They talk of buying the freak show from Elsa and calling it Toledo and Son. Too bad they won’t get the chance to fulfill this pipe dream.

Chester is obsessed with the show and wants to be part of it. He tries to audition for Elsa, but she’s not interested in magic from a non-freak. Chester tells Elsa about Marjorie. She’s not interested in a dummy. He asks to sell his chameleon’s and provides Elsa with his accounting ledger to show how well he’s done. Elsa’s impressed – with his bookkeeping. She agrees to let Chester warm up the crowds if he’ll work on the books. He says that Marjorie will be forever grateful. AHS fans will recognize the voice of Murder House and Coven star, Jamie Brewer! And she doesn’t mind putting Chester in his place.

As Elsa is packing her clothes to leave for Hollywood when Dell storms into her tent demanding to know where Spencer is, threatening to kill him for what he did to Jimmy. Hot head that he is storms off when he doesn’t get answers. Amazon Eve follows Dell and tells him it’s time they put together the Strongman/Strongwoman act for Jimmy’s sake.

Chester visits Bette and Dot and magically makes a gift appear. They are charmed by him and the jewelry box with two ballerinas twirling inside. Chester tells the twins that he’s found a sawing box and would like them to be his assistants. It would be magical. Dot doesn’t want to be sawed in half anymore. Chester tells him them they are beautiful and remind him of two old friends. Flashback to a sex scene with two women in bed together. Chester is sitting in the corner watching – with Marjorie on his lap. 

Dell and Amazon Eve rescue Jimmy while he’s being transported back to jail. Dell bludgeons one of the police officers to death, bashing his head to a point where his own mother won’t recognize him. Dell was shot during the rescue, but they trio get away.

Back with Bette and Dot and Chester, the twins make a pass at him. At first Chester is into it, but when they reach for his manhood, Chester tells them to stop. His head aches when he gets worked up, but Marjorie tells us he’s just not into girls. Chester is back in his flashback with his wife Lucy and her friend Alice are in bed having sex. Lucy says it’s okay to join them, just so long as he doesn’t touch Alice. Chester declines preferring to go to the garage and work on his magic. Alice tells Chester the Molester that she’s going perform her own magic and make her fingers disappear into Lucy.


Back to the present with Bette and Dot, they give it another go, and this time Chester’s into it. Why? Because he brings Marjorie into the threesome and makes it a foursome. Marjorie relaxes him and it works. Chester is able to “perform” and Bette and Dot each have smiles on their faces. But a quick switch over to Dandy’s place and the private investigator that kills for him informs Dandy about Bette and Dot and what they are up to with Chester. Dandy sheds a tear. The twins are supposed to be his.

Chester tries to put Marjorie into her crate, but she won’t go. He says the twins make him happy and really want to include him, unlike two other women Chester used to know. Marjorie says if he puts her away she’ll tell everyone his secret. There is another flashback and he can’t find Marjorie. His wife’s girlfriend Alice appears and tells Chester he is off is rocker. Chester can hear Marjorie telling him it’s time to get rid of these two.

Over at Elsa’s tent she is selling the freak show to Chester for $1,000. He signs a contract stating no one is to be fired and no changes in the line up are to be made. Chester is so excited to give Elsa’s tent to Marjorie, and can’t wait to tell her, but when he opens the crate Marjorie is gone.

The sheriff shows up at the carnival looking for Jimmy and the persons responsible for killing the officer. In a panic, Chester tries to tell him that Marjorie is missing, but no one cares. As Chester sets out to look for Marjorie, he runs into Dandy who informs him that Marjorie has run away. Yet another flashback to the private investigator telling Dandy that Chester killed his wife and her friend who fell in love while their husbands were fighting in Normandy. Flashback within the flashback, Marjorie is now full size, no longer a doll, and murdering the two women with an ax. Dandy tells Chester where to find Marjorie. When Chester finds her, Marjorie informs Chester that she wants top billing and for the twins to be sawed in half.

Dell goes to his trailer to grab a bottle of alcohol. Desiree is waiting for him with a gun. In a series of quick scene switches, Maggie Esmerelda takes Elsa to see something. It’s Ma Petite in her jar of formaldehyde. Elsa screams. Desiree demands that Dell confess to everyone he’s killed. Dell only admits to the policeman he killed earlier, but Desi presses for more. At last he admits to smothering Ma Petite. As soon as the words escape his lips, a bullet pierces his head and Dell drops to the floor. Elsa is behind him holding the smoking gun.

Things to Ponder:

  • Have you noticed that if you combined Monster House, Asylum, and Coven, you still wouldn’t reach the homoeroticism in Freak Show?
  • The diminished role for Emma Roberts (Maggie Esmerelda) this year compared to the bitch-witch she played on Coven if very disappointing. Such a waste of talent.
  • Jessica Lange’s part in this episode was merely gratuitous, if that. It was almost as if she wasn’t there at all, until the end.
  • And finally, the past three seasons finales have had flawless endings. I don’t see how Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk are going to pull it off with only two episodes remaining – but I can’t wait to find out!


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