Quick, what do the following four things have in common: a ghost in desperate need of therapy, a man terrorized by aliens, a teen heartthrob frankenstein, and a lobster-fingered freak? If you said "characters played by Evan Peters on FX's American Horror Story"... congratulations, you're right! If you answered "my past four roommates"... well, you have a much more interesting life than I do. And what do Tate Langdon, Kit Walker, and Kyle Spencer all have in common? They all wound up dead before the end of their respective seasons: Tate was already dead before Murder House began, Asylum's Kit got pancreatic cancer and was re-abducted by aliens in his old age, and Kyle was killed in a horrific bus crash in Coven's premiere. So it's only a matter of time before Freak Show 's Jimmy Darling dies, isn't it?
Showrunner Ryan Murphy has a bit of a reputation for not always living up to the promises that he makes to his own fans, but so far he's been true to his word when it comes to the death toll on Season 4 of AHS. Before the season even started, he stated definitely that Freak Show would have a high body count and, unlike last year's Coven, there would be no coming back once a character bit the dust. "This season, once you die, you're dead."
So far, Murphy and his team of writers have done a bang-up job of keeping that promise: Meep (Ben Woolf), Twisty the Clown (John Carroll Lynch), Andy (Matt Bomer), Ma Petite (Jyoti Amge), Ethel Darling (Kathy Bates), and Gloria Mott (Frances Conroy) have all kicked the bucket in only eight episodes (not to mention numerous nameless citizens of Jupiter, Fla. as victims of Twisty's rampage), with nary a magical resurrection in sight.
Here are the many, many dangers Jimmy needs to watch out for if he hopes to live through the bloody events at Fraulein Elsa's Cabinet of Curiosities:
A Delusional Boss
Elsa Mars, whose pipe dream of Hollywood fame has driven her nearly insane, proved that she wasn't above murdering her best friend when she threw a knife through Ethel Darling's eye in last week's episode. If she could kill her staunchest confidant and right-hand woman without a second thought, why would she hesitate to kill the woman's son? Jimmy has already shown that he's willing to stand up to Elsa, accusing her (rightly) of getting rid of the Tattler twins. Will Jimmy be meeting the business end of Elsa's throwing knives before the season's end?
An Abusive Father
Dell Toledo already came this close to offing his own offspring during "Test of Strength." Of course, he chose to squish the life out of adorable Ma Petite instead, but could he and Jimmy be heading for another mortal conflict later in the season? With Ethel dead, the messed up father/son duo have lost the buffer that kept them from clashing. They say that kinslaying is the greatest sin of all... but I'm pretty sure Dell doesn't read Game of Thrones, so maybe he doesn't know that.
A Murderous Conman
Although he already scored one dead freak for the Museum of Morbid Curiosities in the form of Ma Petite's tiny, tiny corpse, Stanley's quest for fame and fortune is far from over. The oily conman is bound to attain at least one more "specimen" (read: victim) before the season is out, right? And while a two-headed lady would be the ultimate prize, I'm willing to bet he wouldn't say no to a strapping young lad with lobster claws for hands.
A Lying Girlfriend
Of course, Jimmy doesn't know that his fortune-teller girlfriend Maggie Esmerelda is a total non-fortune-teller who's actually conning him and everyone else at Fraulein Elsa's in order to help Stanley pick off the freaks one by one. Sure, she's been doing a pretty bad job so far — she couldn't even bring herself to drown Ma Petite in a jar — and she's been begging Jimmy to run away with her, which is just about the opposite of murdering him. But Maggie is just as scared of Stanley as she is smitten with Jimmy, so it remains to be seen which one will win the battle for her soul... and, as far as I know, no pair star-crossed lovers has ever not ended in tragedy.
A Sadistic Serial Killer
Jimmy fans were prepared for the worst when Lobster Boy entered the Mott Family House of Horrors a few episodes ago to retrieve Bette and Dot Tattler. Of course, he made it out of that confrontation with Dandy alive, but the blossoming psychopath has undoubtedly painted a target on Jimmy's back after the hunky freak stole the twins and denied him a part in the Cabinet of Curiosities. What a jerk, amiright? I'm fully expecting the season to end in some sort of confrontation between Jimmy and Dandy — and, this being a Ryan Murphy production, the outcome of said confrontation is far from certain.
A Vengeful Ghost
OK, so there's one exception to Freak Show's "dead is dead" rule. Viewers were surprised when Twisty, who appeared to be the season's main villain, was killed off only four episodes in. Taken aback by the overwhelming reaction, Murphy assured fans that they would be seeing Twisty again. The showrunner revealed that the murderous clown will be returning with Edward Mordrake later in the season. And if Mordrake is returning, that means another freak will be shuffling off this mortal coil to join the ghost's undead demon circus. Could it be Jimmy? The young man's story has gotten a lot more pathetic since the last time Mordrake visited Fraulein Elsa's — his mother was murdered, his father and his girlfriend have both tried to kill him, he's become a raging alcoholic... Maybe Two-Face should just do the honorable thing and put Jimmy out of his misery.
A Chameleon Salesman
Very little is known yet about Neil Patrick Harris's character, who will be joining Freak Show in Episode 11, other than that he's described as a "chameleon salesman." Knowing Harris's affinity for magic tricks, I wouldn't be surprised if his character turns out to be a magician of some sort, but whatever the role, it's probably safe to assume that his eleventh hour arrival in Jupiter won't be good news for everyone. I'd love to see Murphy embrace Harris's success in this year's smash hit Gone Girl and totally play up the actor's creep factor. To be fair, we don't even know if Jimmy and the chameleon salesman will be interacting at all, so file this entry under "Unknown Quantity."
Of course, if none of the above options do Jimmy in, there's always cirrhosis. Ethel was a raging alcoholic, and her son has been following in her footsteps ever since Dell took him out for a drink with an attempted murder chaser. Jimmy's been hitting the bottle even harder since his mother died, and — knowing how bleak AHS can get — it's very possible that Jimmy will simply drink himself to death before the curtain closes on the Freak Show.
Images: Michele K. Short/FX (8); Giphy.com; Toby Canham/Getty Images