American Horror Story Wiki
American Horror Story Wiki

"Curtain Call" is the thirteenth episode of Freak Show. It premiered January 21, 2015. [1]


The Freaks rebel against new management. Dandy prepares for his debut performance. Elsa arrives in Tinseltown.[1]


Eve and Paul roll out a banner to publicize Dandy's new act while Penny and Ima discuss Dandy's odd behavior. Paul admonishes them and bids them to ride the gravy train of his money as long as possible.

Dandy gives impulsive stage direction, incredulous that they haven't sold any tickets in the 30-minutes since hanging his banner. He blames the performers for being boring and mediocre, thinking audiences want a "new type of freak." He is further rude to them and threatens mutilation. Further simpering brings retaliation from the freaks. Paul, having had enough, stands up to him. Eve punches him in the face, knocking him to the ground, where they pin him and call him boring and pretentious. They quit the freak show and leave Dandy reeling on the ground in the big top.

Elsa arrives in Los Angeles to see the president of the World Broadcasting Network, but without an appointment. She is rebuffed for the third day in a row by the receptionist. After a full day of waiting and many cigarettes later, night has fallen and Elsa remains in the lobby. Her hoped-for contact has slipped out the back to avoid her. The receptionist makes a crack at her, saying Marlene Dietrich performed Elsa's act better. Elsa slugs her in retaliation, fighting off a restraining security guard. An executive, Michael Beck, comes to her rescue. He admits that they are of similar backgrounds, as his family were Germans as well. She thanks him for his sympathy and he replies that he also happens to be a Junior Vice President of Casting.

Dandy applies stage makeup, humming to himself. After exiting his tent, Paul confronts him, wanting to talk about last week's pay. Dandy shoots him in the head, and subsequently a hiding Penny. He goes into another tent and shoots Toulouse and Suzi. Several carnies come out of another tent, hearing the ruckus, accidentally exposing themselves to Dandy, who manages to shoot three of them. Ima Wiggles tries to hide behind the curtain of a tent, but he finds and kills her as well. Desiree manages to evade him as he is stalked and attacked by Eve before he shoots the Amazon as well. After the fight is over, Dandy returns to a bound and gagged Bette and Dot in their tent. He asks them to come with him.

After nightfall, Jimmy returns to find signs of the carnage, but no bodies. He calls for Elsa, not knowing that she is long gone. Jimmy walks into the big top, where finds his deceased friends (the freaks and carnies Dandy shot) in a trail leading to the stage. Desiree finds him and they hold each other, sobbing.

Bette and Dot walk down the aisle in Dandy's Playroom in a lavish wedding procession. Dot assures him that she will send her mind elsewhere during the wedding night, but Dandy hopes that she will stay from time to time.  He warns her of his temper  if he feels that she isn't respecting him. They toast everything to come during their private dinner, from the honeymoon to children. As his vision begins to blur, Desiree emerges as the cook and housekeeper. Dandy doesn't recognize her until she exposes her triple breasts. He reaches to stab Desiree with the table knife, but Bette shoots him in the right arm. Jimmy shows up as butler. They taunt Dandy and tell him that he is to be the star attraction of the new show as he passes out. 

He awakes in his briefs, chained to the floor inside Hardin Houdini's water tank. He pleads that he's fulfilling his God-given purpose and says he forgives and loves the twins. They tell him that he is about to head straight to Hell. Bette yells at him for killing her friends and family and says she hates him. Desiree insists that for all that they are, Dandy is the biggest freak of them all. As water fills the tank, Dandy struggles to escape or break the tank, screaming in fury and drowns as the four watch in satisfaction.

In 1960 Hollywood, a news reel announces the start of the Walk of Fame with three-time Emmy Award winner Elsa Mars, now famous for the groundbreaking "Elsa Mars Hour" and her gold recording albums. She and her now-husband Michael Beck film a commercial for Campfire Gold coffee. She cuts the film to balk at the script and the product. In her dressing room, Michael brings the network's VP for publicity to discuss a spread for Parade magazine about a Halloween performance. Elsa refuses to perform on Halloween, also remembering an experience of sexual domination of her husband. She comes home to see Massimo, who she has not seen since Florida. He worked in Nevada with the US Army to build villages for atomic testing.

Elsa is bored and lonely, surrounded by sycophants and a cheating husband. She feels cursed by both evaporating and realized dreams. Her 1952 birthday wish was to be loved, but was driven away by her own actions, and now she wants to run away with Massimo to Rome. Massimo tells her that he has a terminal illness and has only a month to live.

Later, Michael brings Mr. Gable, the president of WBN, to see her. Elsa's old snuff film has been discovered, and is to be written about in the media. In addition, detectives have discovered her involvement in the Freak Show. To her horror, Gable tells her that a mass grave was found with the freaks. The morals clause in her contract nullifies further involvement with her, and they will pay out the remainder of her contract. She then agrees to Halloween performance after all.

Elsa performs on live television on Halloween night. Her show is viewed on television by Desiree, who is now married with kids, as well as Jimmy and the twins, who are now together and expecting a baby. The Halloween performance summons Edward Mordrake, and his troupe of dead freaks, including Twisty the Clown. Mordrake stops Elsa's performance and notes that she summoned him as an act of suicide. Elsa begs for him to take her. Edward kills her, but tells her that she does not belong with him.

Elsa awakens back at her freak show. All the dead freaks are present. Elsa is welcomed back in an unknown afterlife by Ethel and Ma Petite, who welcomes her by applying makeup for her show. She joins her family in a performance for the dead, finally finding peace in her death.


  • The episode title Curtain Call may be a reference to Jessica Lange's retirement from the series.[2]


  • Paul: "We don't trade in boring, we're freaks. And you'll never be one of us."
  • Elsa Mars: "You know my motto: always leave them wanting more."
  • Dandy Mott: "Do bear in mind, Dot. I can get very nasty if my manhood is compromised. A stallion demands a certain respect from all his mares."
  • Ethel Darling: "It's like you always said, sweetheart. Stars never pay."