Could Stanley's Imagination Be the 'AHS' Future?

by Kayla Hawkins

There was something a little off about the cold open from the latest American Horror Story: Freak Show . It was passed off as the fantasy of how con man Stanley imagined things would go once he was able to kill and dismember the "freaks" in order to sell them to the oddities museum, which came as a relief, since it would be a waste to kill off Bette and Dot before we even got to know them. But is it possible that his partner in crime, Maggie Esmerelda can really sense the future, and these twisted visions will actually turn out to be true?

I know we saw her run what looked like a pretty clear crystal ball cold reading scam on Elsa. But she has empathy for the "freaks" of Elsa's show, and that could be because she's one of them, blessed with some kind of supernatural ability to see or guess the future. And it would be a nice jolt of the supernatural in what so far has been a pretty normal season of AHS. Why would Stanley fantasize about being passed over and ignored at what is supposed to be his big event? And with a skeptical, concerned Maggie by his side, rather than the loyal lackey he seems to believe her to be?

But not everything lines up perfectly. First of all, Bette and Dot's picnic with Stanley when they eat the cupcake really does seem like a fantasy — because we get the real version, where they rebuke the offer of sweets, right after. Plus, Dot is wildly out of character. She'd be thrilled to get a moment without Bette, even if it quickly turned to horror. But in Stanley's fantasy, she's weepy and pained, not tough and pragmatic like we know her to be.

And if Maggie can see the future, why would she take the time to warn Jimmy if she already knew that Stanley would be targeting Bette and Dot and completely bypassing Jimmy's hands? Then again, that could be a tease for what's coming up — if she does have the gift of clairvoyance, she could be predicting something that happens later — and is even worse news for the denizens of Jupiter. Whether Dell goes on a rampage, Dandy returns, or Edward Mordrake turns out to be more threatening than he appears, there can certainly be more than one threat to the freak show that will come in the shape of a tall, dark stranger.

Images: Michele K. Short/FX; Giphy (2)