Look, I didn't exactly love (or understand) Kathy Bates' accent on American Horror Story: Freak Show , but I sure as hell enjoyed having her back on my television. Unfortunately, Elsa Mars just killed Ethel Darling on AHS , so our Kathy Bates dreams are at an end. I may not believe that AHS, itself, is Emmy worthy, but I Ms. Bates sure is. But alas, she's dead and Ryan Murphy told us death was for keeps this season, so she's not coming back.
But it's simply too soon to lose Bates. She was only just getting interesting — she had a disease, a drinking problem, and a major problem with Elsa. Ultimately, that problem is what killed her, but it seemed so ripe for much more. Luckily, there is one silver lining to this rash and sudden death: It actually made this season interesting.
We were hitting a bit of a lull in AHS' freaky season — connection theories be damned. Something needed to wake up the sleepy couple of episodes. Sure, we lost Ma Petite, but we all saw that coming from a mile away. I did not, however, expect Ethel to shoot Elsa in the leg, hear her life story, and then get Elsa's knife in her eye socket. I especially didn't expect Elsa to team up with Stanley to rig up Ethel's body to make it look like she beheaded herself with her car and a rusty old chain. Man, that was HARSH.
When Elsa started all her caterwauling, I understood why Murphy robbed us of more Batesy goodness: We just some actual character development in both Elsa and Ethel's grieving son Jimmy.
I'm not totally OK with the method of this madness, but I do think (Or should I say "hope"? This is AHS after all.) that this is the wake-up Freak Show needed.
Then again, as I write this, AHS is already switching gears from Ethel's eulogy to Angela Bassett's determination to take revenge against Penny's sadistic father. So...
Image: Michele K. Short/FX