‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Episode 3 Recap: Carny Tales

*** WARNING: Contains spoilers! Please do not read on unless you've seen Episode 3 of "American Horror Story: Freak Show," titled "Edward Mordrake (Part 1)." Or if you don't mind spoilers, go right ahead! ***

Tonight's episode was a talky one, wasn't it? The past two instalments of "American Horror Story: Freak Show" have been fast-paced and jam-packed, and we've been treated/subjected to gruesome murders at the hands of Twisty. Tonight was more about storytelling, building the foundation for what's to come. We're also introduced to three new characters and given Ethel's messed-up backstory in full detail.

You can tell the powers-that-be behind "AHS" have learned a thing or two from "Coven." Where "Coven" was more of a throw-s**t-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach, it's apparent that "Freak Show" is working to establish more of a thorough story, with character depth and interlacing stories, no matter how ludicrous some may be. In this particular instance, they're sacrificing some of the artifice and going for substance. So tonight we get not one but two genuinely touching moments -- Dell and Ethel bonding over a flask of hooch and Ethel thanking the doctor for showing her respect. Unusually heartfelt for "AHS."

"Freak Show"s answer to Papa Legba (sigh, remember Lance Reddick in that costume? And those red contact lenses?) is Edward Mordrake (Wes Bentley). We're told the "carny tale" of his sorry life, of his imprisonment in an asylum after his second face drove him mad, and how he hung himself after murdering a bunch of other freaks. The tale passes the absurdity line when Ethel tells the rest of the crew that if they perform on Halloween, Mordrake is summoned and takes another life. At first I thought this makes absolutely no sense, but then I remembered this is "AHS," and the only way to approach the ridiculousness is to shrug your shoulders and just accept it. One thing I will not and cannot accept, however, is Bentley's British accent. Sorry, dude. Come to think of it, I'm not even 100 percent sure he was supposed to be British.

Two-face Mordrake is a cool concept, but it's too bad they decided to make him a ghost character. It would've been more exciting to see him truly interact with the others as a live human rather than some top hat-wearing agent of death. Also: not enough of that second face. More, please!

Esmerelda and Dr. Mansfield ("doctor") as freak curators are a more interesting pair. Emma Roberts has shed the bitch persona in order to inhabit this more innocent, good-hearted character, and I already like her nerd chic infinitely more than her witchy Madison. Denis O'Hare, as always, plays the creep/opportunist with aplomb, and he's got something up his sleeve pants. (Does anyone have any creative guesses as to what it is? I'd love to hear them in the comments!)

Things between Bette and Dot are getting worse. They share a dream/nightmare about Dot getting Bette's head removed from the body, and when they wake, the gloves come off and we see that Dot has absolutely no qualms about murdering her conjoined twin in order to live a better life. The stage is set here for one of them killing the other, though as I said last week, I predict that by the end of "Freak Show," both Bette and Dot won't be alive. Either one living while the other one dies is too easy. A jealous, power-hungry Elsa is also on the periphery, and I'd say that she's a bigger threat to the twins than anybody else. (She's also a threat on stage. Zing! Lange singing Lana Del Rey was the stuff of dreams.)

And we can't ignore the larger, looming threat: Twisty and his new minion, Dandy. Dandy's become even more unhinged -- especially after Gloria gives him a Howdy Doody costume to wear -- and he crafts his own creepy clown ensemble. Slow clap to "Freak Show" costume design for making two very different freaky clown costumes. In this case, the clothes do not make the murderer, as Dandy is too weak to kill Dora. He doesn't get a chance to kill Twisty's captives, either (would he have? I doubt it), as the clown arrives home with a new victim before he gets the chance. Methinks it's only a matter of time before Dandy graduates to full murderer; something needs to push him over that edge, and it just might be killing Twisty and taking his throne.

We'll see next week, when Part 2 hopefully draws to a more exciting finish.

Freak Of The Week: Edward Mordrake wins solely for how awesome the concept of his freakdom is. Weirdly, his second face reminded me of Kuato from "Total Recall" -- the second time that movie has had relevance in the context of this show (the first for the three-breasted woman).

Random Thoughts:

  • So Ethel is "not the one." Who is? Who will Mordrake take with him to add to his dead body collection?


  • I received some emails and read all of your comments about Kathy Bates' accent. I will readily admit I've never been to Baltimore, so I've never heard anyone speak with this accent before. Mea culpa. All of you seem to think she's nailed it, so I have no choice but to agree with you.


  • Your accent may suck, Wes, but you're rocking those mutton chops like no one's business.


  • Can we talk about Angela Bassett (a.k.a. "Triple Tits") in that hot maid outfit? Dayum, girl.


  • Suddenly Viking helmets are in high demand for kinky sex play.


  • Pour one out for Meep, Jimmy.


  • A thing in life I never thought I'd see: legend Patti Labelle dressed up as Woody Woodpecker. Stevie Nicks as a witch is nothing now.


  • I think we can safely say that clowns are pretty much ruined for everyone now. Even that little girl's older brother (and eventual abductee) dressed as a clown was freakin' scary. People in the near future will probably wonder how anyone thought they weren't absolutely terrifying in the first place.


  • "Freak birth." Just no. Never even want to think about that scene again.



"American Horror Story: Freak Show" airs on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. EST on FX and FX Canada.

Episode 2 Recap
Premiere Recap


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Mark Consuelos Opens Up About The First Time He Laid Eyes On Kelly Ripa

Mark Consuelos can remember the exact moment he first came into contact with his wife Kelly Ripa, but, as it turns out, getting a date with her wasn't the first thing running through his mind.

He was auditioning for a role on "All My Children" and screen testing alongside series regular Ripa. In an interview with HuffPost Live on Wednesday, he recounted that he remembered predominantly "being really concerned about getting the job."

He also was convinced that the longtime "Live!" co-host would never be interested in him.

"I thought she was adorable, hot and sexy and all that stuff," he recalled. "But I was very focused -- I didn't really think I had a chance with her, so I wasn't really focused on that."

Sure enough, the "Alpha House" actor got cast in the show, where he then went on to play Ripa's onscreen lover.

"We became friends really quickly after that," he said.

And, as we all know, the rest is history.

Watch the rest of Mark Consuelos' conversation with HuffPost Live here.

Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live's new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!
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Jimmy Kimmel Says Bill Murray’s Parenting Advice Is ‘Right On!’

As the father of six children, Bill Murray knows a thing or two about parenting. In his appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" last night, the movie legend shared some of his quick tips.

While interviewing Murray, new dad Jimmy Kimmel said that the actor previously gave him some great advice while his wife was pregnant -- he told him to bring an oscillating fan and nightlight to the hospital when his wife goes into labor because delivery rooms get very hot (especially for the sweat-soaked mom giving birth) and that the florescent lighting is unpleasant. The talk show host followed Murray's advice and found he was "right on!"

The actor's parenting advice isn't limited to delivery room tips though. During his "Jimmy Kimmel Live" appearance he also talked about tricks for getting babies to sleep, including pumping their arms and legs to tire them out and letting them suck peppermint. "Peppermint breaks up gas," he said, explaining that babies tend to scream when they first experience gas, which tends to come after they start eating solid food. "It usually happens around 6 months, when you're at the bottom of fatigue alley," Murray added.

"I don't know very much but I talk a lot about what I do know," the famous dad said.

We could listen to these two chat about parenting (or... anything) all day.



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An Open Letter to Matthew McConaughey About the Washington Football Team

Let me start by saying that I'm a fan. I don't mean that facetiously, like when people thank Obama. I'm serious; I'm a screenwriter by trade, raised by movies, and I've paid attention to the changing kinds of roles you've taken and masterfully executed, especially recently.



But then you did that interview with GQ. I was more than a little disappointed with the things you had to say about the Washington football team's name and logo, and I think we need to have a talk. There's a way to re-frame this issue that makes sense to the both of us.



"What interests me is how quickly it got pushed into the social consciousness. We were all fine with it since the 1930s, and all of a sudden we go, 'No, gotta change it'? It seems like when the first levee breaks, everybody gets on board. I love the emblem. I dig it. It gives me a little fire and some oomph. But now that it's in the court of public opinion, it's going to change. I wish it wouldn't, but it will."



Let's think about this for a moment: what else has been quickly pushed into the social consciousness? Like, say, since the release of Dallas Buyers Club in 2013? I bet if someone wrote about your "all of a sudden" career, you'd be a little Dazed and Confused. Here's a hint: that movie, your first, came out in '93, a year after Suzan Harjo brought the first legal challenge to the team's trademark on the grounds that the name was disparaging, citing the negative impacts to native youth. I'm sure you were probably really busy that year, working up to your big break, but there was a big break for us, too: the Washington team went to the Super Bowl in '92, spawning some of the first national coverage of Change the Name protests that had been ongoing since at least 1988.



But if two and a half decades is still feeling a little sudden, let's talk about when your football fandom began:



"First: 4 years old, watching Westerns, I always rooted for the Indians. Second, my favorite food was hamburgers. The Redskins had a linebacker named Chris Hanburger. When you're 4 years old, that's all it takes."



I get it. I've watched many a Western myself, and I've seen the displays at Urban Outfitters: Indians are the coolest. Hell, I've even been to a Washington football tailgate, and I've seen the "Nation" first hand. It's hard to argue with popular culture, and even harder when the topic is race. But please, if you're rooting for the Indians now, don't discount our decades-long struggle in an attempt to justify your support of a football team. You see, when 4-year-old you started cheering, circa 1973, there had already been at least two years of protests and discussion about the disparaging moniker and logo. And that's just what was covered in DC and National media outlets -- I'm sure you understand how hard it is to get the media to pay attention to the good work you're doing.



So, if this has been going on for decades, why does the name controversy seem so sudden, especially to a lifelong fan like yourself? With the advent of social media, Native Americans, for the first time since contact, have the ability to broadcast our thoughts and correct the stereotypes about our image and cultures without a filter. We're speaking to a global audience and we are finally being heard. Folks like you, Matthew McConaughey, are finally hearing us. And you of all people should know what that feels like. Just as your recent success isn't something that just came out of the blue, neither is the movement to Change the Name. It's just finally getting its due.



In closing, as a fan, I'm looking forward to Interstellar, which will probably be your biggest movie yet. I'm as sure about that as you are that the name will change. So, please, join us in looking forward to that day when all the hard work finally pays off. When we're finally afforded the respect earned by years of hard work. Just like you.



Migizi Pensoneau is a writer, producer, and member of the 1491s, a sketch comedy group. Follow the 1491s on Twitter: www.twitter.com/1491s and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/1491s.
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Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ellen DeGeneres & Chris Rock Reportedly Passed On The Oscars

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences apparently had its eyes set on some other people to host the Oscars, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In fact, producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron reportedly asked three other comedic heavyweights before tapping Neil Patrick Harris, the confirmed 2015 Oscars host.

According to THR, they approached Ellen DeGeneres, who delivered a massive ratings hit during last year's ceremony. Per THR, DeGeneres refused to host again (it would have been her third time as Oscars emcee). Chris Rock was second on the list, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus also declined.

Despite perhaps not being the Academy's first choice, Harris was thrilled to take on the challenge. "It is truly an honor and a thrill to be asked to host this year's Academy Awards," Harris said at the time. He also posted a video in which he crossed the gig off his long bucket list.

HuffPost Entertainment contacted reps for DeGeneres, Rock and Louis-Dreyfus, as well as Zadan and Meron. This post will be updated if and when they respond.
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Kate Bush Pens Letter Thanking Fans Following Concert Run

Kate Bush recently wrapped up a string of 22 sold-out concerts at London's Hammersmith Apollo, her first proper live shows in 35 years. The concerts were so "spectacular" that eight of Bush's albums jumped back into the Top 50 of the British album charts as a new audience discovered her music. Following the final performance on October 1st, Bush has penned a long letter on her official site to thank fans and share what the Before the Dawn concert series meant to her (via Pitchfork).

"It was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life. I loved the whole process," Bush wrote. "Particularly putting the band, the chorus and the team together and watching it all evolve. It really was the ultimate combination of talent and artists, both from the music business and the theatre world. I never expected everyone in the team to be so lovely and we all grew very close. We became a family and I really miss them all terribly."

The Before the Dawn concerts were Bush's first full live performances since her Tour of Life in 1979. "I was really delighted that the shows were received so positively and so warmly but the really unexpected part of it all was the audiences," wrote the singer. "Audiences that you could only ever dream of. One of the main reasons for wanting to perform live again was to have contact with that audience. They took my breath away.

"Every single night they were so behind us," Bush continued. "You could feel their support from the minute we walked on stage. I just never imagined it would be possible to connect with an audience on such a powerful and intimate level; to feel such, well quite frankly, love. It was like this at every single show."

Despite the critically and commercially successful shows, Bush has yet to announce any plans to bring her show outside of London.

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Elvis Presley Photographer Alfred Wertheimer Dead at 85

Alfred Wertheimer had never heard of Elvis Presley when RCA records contacted him in March of 1956 about shooting their new artist, but he happily took the job - having absolutely no idea that over the next four months he'd capture some of the most brilliant and iconic images of the rock era.

Wertheimer - who died at age 85 on October 19th of natural causes at his New York apartment - took an estimated 2,500 images of Presley, often capturing the singer in unguarded moments, that have been reproduced in countless books, magazines and documentaries over the past sixty years. "I learned," he once said, "that when somebody is doing something that is more important in his or her life than having their photograph taken, you're going to get great pictures."

Weritheimer met Presley backstage at the Dorsey Brothers Stage show in New York City. At the time, he was meeting with a jeweler. "At that point Elvis didn't have a gold record, so he was just a well-known regional singer," Wertheimer said in a 2011 interview with Elvis Australia. "I soon realized what he was looking at was his brand new gold horseshoe ring. Since he wasn't very talkative with me and was focused on his ring, I decided to take out my two cameras and become like the fly on the wall. I started taking photographs." 

He spent a total of eight days with Presley, capturing him reading fan mail in his room at New York's Warwick hotel, playing "Blue Suede Shows" on CBS's Stage Show, interacting with fans on the street before his appearance on the Steve Allen Show, lounging around a train en route to Memphis, playing in a swimming pool and interacting with his parents. "A lot of people feel that I captured more of the essence of Elvis than anyone else," Wertheimer said in 2011.  "The only thing I wanted Elvis to do was to be himself.  Everyone else had something they wanted him to do."

Not long after the sessions, Elvis became one of the most famous men on the planet and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, greatly restricted access to the singer. No other photographer was ever granted the access that Wertheimer freely enjoyed during his brief time with Elvis. It wasn't until Presley died in 1977, however, that Wertheimer's work suddenly became a hot property.

"I think that he had an extraordinary eye, but more than that he had an extraordinary vision," Peter Guralnick, music critic and Presley expert, tells Rolling Stone. "His gift for observation both in words and pictures…the combination of the two made for a unique perspective. It's like he found truth in the ordinary. He was the epitome of the verite documentarian. A lot of photographers need to seek out or create the exotic moment to draw attention to their pictures. In Al's case, that was the furthest thing from anything he could have ever imagined. He captured the moment, the moment that existed, and found something that was so much more expressive than any staged moment could possibly be. There's no irony in his photographs. There's no commentary. There's a vision that is poetic and analytic."

Wertheimer was born in Colburg, Germany on November 16th, 1929. His family fled to Brooklyn when he was six to escape the Nazi regime. He got a degree in advertising design from Cooper Union. After his time with Elvis, he continued to work as a freelance photographer, shooting Eleanor Roosevelt, Nina Simone and many others. In 1969, Wertheimer worked as a film photographer at the Woodstock Arts and Music Festival.

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Charice Reveals The Painful Aftermath Of Her Father’s Murder — And Why She Now Feels Free (VIDEO)

Singer Charice Pempengco may have an impressive professional resume that includes chart-topping music, performances with the likes of Andrea Bocelli, and a role on television hit "Glee," but long before she had any of this success, she was a young girl living with her dad, mom and brothers in the Philippines. Charice spent her early childhood in a poor community -- and her family's modest home was wrought with violence, she says.

In 2006, Charice returned to her hometown of San Pedro Laguna for the first time in more than a decade as a part of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Upon seeing her childhood home, the then-teenager broke down in tears, recalling painful memories of her abusive father, including a time when Charice says she saw him choke her mother and threaten her with a shotgun.

After that traumatic incident, Charice's mother took the children and left. Charice was 3 at the time and never saw her father again.

Then, in 2011, Charice's father was murdered in the Philippines. Despite having no contact for years, Charice tells "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" that her father's death affected her greatly and heightened difficult personal issues she had been struggling with, like her sexuality and gender identity.

"When my father got murdered, that's when everything fell apart," she says. "I got even more depressed."

At that point, Charice was also estranged from her mother (they have since reconciled), and felt completely alone in her struggles, depression and grief. When she attended her father's funeral, Charice hadn't seen him in more than 15 years.

"Losing my dad, knowing that we didn't have any closure, when I went to the funeral, I just saw him right there and regretted everything," she says through tears.

Tabloids reported that Charice attempted suicide in the aftermath of her father's death, but she tells Oprah that this isn't true.

"The rumor is not true," she says. "I did not slit my wrists -- but I thought of it."

Ultimately, Charice channeled her grief in an empowering way that allowed her to accept and embrace her true self.

"I took all those feelings, I took all the pain... [It] made me stronger, to tell myself that it's time to stand up and go out there," she says.

"Maybe I'm wrong, but correct me if I am," Oprah says. "Your father's death actually liberated you."

Charice is quiet for a moment.

"That gave me chills," she says, before getting emotional. "That feeling is just coming back right now. It was terrible... The feeling of after he died, feeling alone. I was alone."

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

"Oprah: Where Are They Now?" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on OWN.



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Jimmy Fallon Announces New Picture Book, ‘Your Baby’s First Word Will Be DADA’

Attention all parents and/or Jimmy Fallon fans! The lovable "Tonight Show" host and dad to 1-year-old Winnie Rose has written a hilarious new picture book.

Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, announced today that it will be releasing Jimmy Fallon's upcoming book, titled Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA.

jimmy fallon book

Jimmy Fallon wrote a children's book, Snowball Fight! back in 2005, but this is the first one he's written since becoming a father. In fact, Fallon's personal parenting experience directly inspired Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA. Baby Winnie Rose's first word was "Mama."

According to the official press release, the TV host's picture book is "a hilarious account of every father’s secret campaign to ensure that their babies’ first word is Dada -– not Mama!" Throughout the story, illustrated creatures -- from cows, sheep, and horses to mice and frogs -- try to coax their babies into saying "Dada."

"This is one of the few celebrity books that you can tell was actually written by the celebrity," Fallon says in the press release. "And my baby personally approved of the beautiful artwork by Miguel Ordóñez.”

The only thing that makes us sad about this book is that we have to wait until June 9, 2015 to read it.



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Cam’ron Is Selling The ‘Fashionable’ Ebola Mask You Never Asked For

Cam'ron's response to the devastating outbreak of Ebola in West Africa? A new line of gimmicky Ebola masks.

"Ebola is no joking matter.. So if u have to be safe.. Be fashionable," wrote the New York rapper last week in an Instagram post. His new line of "Cam'ron Ebola Masks" are printed with a throwback photo of Cam'ron wearing a pink mink jacket and holding a pink cell phone.

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Ebola is no joking matter.. So if u have to be safe.. Be fashionable. #CamEbolaMask get'm at @dipsetusa1997 nx week, made by @chinagram www.dipsetUsa.com

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"Wrap it up and protect yourself from Ebola just like Killa Cam!" says a description listing the masks for $19.99 each. "Provides complete protection while remaining light and comfortable. ... A full-width nosepiece guarantees proper fit. Latex-free ear loops."

But despite the masks' advertised "polypropylene outer facing," they would provide very little protection from the viral hemorrhagic fever making headlines as it sweeps through Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. Ebola is not airborne, but is instead spread through direct contact with blood or other body fluids, contaminated objects like syringes, and infected animals.

The World Health Organization said last week that some 4,555 people have died so far as a result of the current Ebola outbreak, which began earlier this year in West Africa. A total of 9,216 cases have been reported in seven countries, with nearly half occurring in Liberia.
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