Dell Actually Killed Ma Petite on 'AHS' In The Most Heartbreaking, Brutal Scene

He really did it. Dell was blackmailed into killing a freak, and while he couldn't bring the hammer (or brick) down on his own son Jimmy (thank God), he did bring it down on Elsa's smallest freak. AHS ' Ma Petite is really dead. And this time, she won't be coming back because Ryan Murphy has promised death is for keeps on Freak Show and because this freak death wasn't a dream sequence.

Of course, the death scene was made a bit easier, because we became accustomed to the notion of Ma Petite meeting her end last week when Emma Roberts' Esmeralda toyed with the idea of pouring formaldehyde over the tiny woman's head. That dream sequence was arguably more brutal than watching the newly gentle giant, Dell (yeah, that Dell), giving Ma Petite a new dress before smothering her and snapping her neck. But it didn't quite ruin the tragedy of the situation, as I'd feared all these excessive "what if" sequences could.

While the dream versions of Stanley's freak murder plots were callous and uncaring, Dell's actions towards Ma Petite are violently tender. He clearly doesn't want to do what he's doing and he tries to make her final moment as painless as possible, but it's Ma Petite or his own son — all of the other freaks are on way too high alert to allow him to get close enough to take them out (Dell's attempt to kill Amazon Eve ensured that). And while he could avoid the situation, Stanley doesn't seem to be willing to let up.

What's strange is that while the cast was tweeting all night about how crazy the episode was going to be (admittedly, Penny's new face is pretty insane), the episode was actually rather tragic and heartbreaking more than it was spooky or scary. Dandy was nearly nowhere to be found and in his place, we found a broken man who connects with his son at the last possible minute and desperately attempts to find a means to maintain that connection.

The real tragedy is that while Dell seemed to kill Ma Petite to save Jimmy, in doing so, he probably just lost his son forever.

Image: Michele K. Short/FX