Those of you who were still holding out hope that this wouldn't be Jessica Lange's final season on American Horror Story may have found yourselves feeling particularly uneasy during AHS: Freak Show 's season finale, which resulted in Elsa's death. And while killing off Lange's characters is really nothing new (please see Asylum and Coven), this farewell seemed to carry a bit more weight behind it — as if the actress was saying goodbye to her fans for good. But let me back up here for a moment and explain how AHS: Freak Show ended up morphing into AHS: The Jessica Lange Show. (Something I would totally tune in for, BTW!)
Elsa's road to stardom ended just as quickly as it initially began. The press somehow got ahold of her insanely disturbing snuff film, proving that leaked videos was a thing even way back then. And later that same day her boss also discovered that most of her Freak Show troupe had been murdered. Suffice to say, this guy had certainly seen better resumes in his day and made it clear that Elsa was getting the boot from this little business we call show. So what does she do? She performs on Halloween in order to summon the spirit of our favorite green smoke supplier, Edward Mordrake, so she can be taken away from her now-miserable life. (Naturally, her song of choice was another David Bowie song, "Heroes." And while it was rather lacking in blue eye shadow it was still a great song choice.)
So being the standup demon that he is, Mordrake was more than happy to strike Elsa with a deadly blow, however, it wasn't his afterlife that she was sent to, but rather one reserved for the entire Freak Show gang in what can only be described as a Lost-style twist. YUP. Everyone who was on the island (I mean, sideshow) ended up going to the exact same place in death, thus allowing them to all be together as a family. (A Freak Show afterlife bubble, if you will.) Ethel, Paul, Eve, MA PETITE — they were all there and guess what? None of them were mad at Elsa anymore! So what if she murdered a few of them and used the rest as a means to her own end? Punishment is apparently for the living and in death bygones are bygones because #MurphyLogic.
So OK, this really didn't make any sense from a plot standpoint (or really any standpoint, for that matter). No one was mad or resentful or felt that their headliner needed to pay for her crimes. But I guess when you're played by Jessica Lange, that charm will get you almost anywhere… even in death. Which brings me back to my main point. The fact that Elsa went out on a high note (quite literally since she was about to perform in front of a live spiritual audience) could be very telling in regards to Lange's future on the show.
Her character had not redeemed herself in any way and yet she was given immortal fame and her friends back. Was this Ryan Murphy's way of sending his No. 1 star off in style? A big musical number and a happily ever after does have a very permanent feel to it, especially in comparison to last year's KNOTTY PINE?!?! Naturally, I will choose to be in denial of all of this since a Lange-less Season 5 is almost too much to bear. But if she truly must go, this was a pretty spectacular way to bid our ring leader adieu.
Images: Sam Lothridge/FX; she-wears-a-new-dress-everyday/Tumblr