We're getting to that point in a season of American Horror Story when they start throwing in interesting new ideas for half of an episode to terrorize the characters (see also the manatour, killer Santa, the Black Dahlia, etc) before being cast aside. The synopsis for the next episode of Freak Show says that Elsa will add a "dangerous new act" to the show, possibly to make up for the loss of Bette and Dot to Dandy Mott. Judging by the episode title "Bullseye," Elsa's hiring a knife-thrower — a classic circus/freak show trope that's backed up by all the loving close ups of knives in the "Bullseye" trailer. Now, pointy objects have a long history of being put to good use in carnivals and freak shows. We've even seen a sword swallower in the background of a few episodes of AHS so far. But with tensions running high between the members of the show, having sharp weapons in the hands of a stranger probably isn't the best tool for harmony.
Elsa's jealous mania at the idea of being on television has already led her to ditch two of her biggest stars. Once she realizes Stanley isn't actually a talent scout, heads — or some other, more grotesque body part — will roll. Dell's already threatened Desiree out of fear that she'll leave him and has blackmailed his son by sending Meep off to be killed. Jimmy's got a bad temper of his own, and let's not forget about Edward Mordrake and his cavalcade of misbegotten and misunderstood performers. And this still that FX released in advance of the episode definitely makes it seem like Elsa's cast members might be feeling as through they are in danger. Just look at Paul's face.
That is not the face of a confident performer ready to appear in a well-planned and well-practiced act. That's the face of someone who is afraid that throwing knives are going to be hurled at random into their body while spinning head over foot. It looks like our favorite performers will be put into jeopardy from a stab-happy carny added to the cast as the new headliner. Now, when AHS introduces a villain of the week, you can expect that they'll be dispatched in a grisly way, often by one of the characters who you'd least expect to conduct a murder. So, who will take them out? I refuse to take bets on this show — it's too damn unpredictable. But if I had to guess, I'd say Kathy Bates' Ethel is overdue for a heroic moment.
Images: Michele K. Short/FX (2)