After a two week intermission, American Horror Story Season 4 Episode 11 kicked off the season's final act bringing Neil Patrick Harris as Chester Creb and his maniac puppet Marjorie to Fraulein Elsa's Cabinet of Curiosities.
Is it just me or should Neil Patrick Harris have been a part of the freak show all along? Is there any character the man can't play?
Before we get into the central story of the episode, we have to lay Ma Petite to rest for good. After Blondie and Desiree went off on their fact-finding mission, they returned to camp eager to see Dell pay for his murderous ways. All it took was Elsa seeing Ma Petite's jar and hearing the words from Dell's mouth and that was the end of Dell Toledo.
Right after he bonded with Jimmy, too.
Dell visiting Jimmy in the hospital and sharing the story of how he grew up the freak in his family for being normal was quite touching. Dell realized he'd been a terrible parent for running away and Jimmy realized life hadn't been so great for his father. When Elsa learned Stanley/Spencer had sold Jimmy's hands to hire an attorney (supposedly), she told Dell it was his responsibility to get Jimmy out of jail – and he did, with help from Amazon Eve.
Then he died. And that was the end of the night's B-plot.
The real meat and potatoes of the episode centered on the one and only Neil Patrick Harris as Chester Creb and his puppet, Marjorie.
Despite the amazingness that is NPH, bringing a new character into the series this late in the game was a gamble that didn't pay off very well in what is already a disjointed season when compared to the previous three AHS installments.
From out of nowhere, Chester Creb, his chameleons, and his weird puppet Marjorie, showed up at the freak show. He, like so many before him, begged Elsa for a place in the show and she saw dollar signs, but not those of high box office numbers. Chester seemed to have money, a love for the freaks, and he was her ticket out; particularly once it became clear that Stanley/Spencer wouldn't be coming through for her after all.
Chester assimilated well into the show, being damaged enough from his time in the war, or maybe from before then, to know that he didn't exactly fit with regular society.
Then there was the thing about the double murder he was running from.
The confusing thing about Marjorie (Jamie Brewer, "Nan" from American Horror Story Season 3) is whether or not she's a figment of his imagination and he's the one committing the crimes or some sort of magical Chucky-style puppet who gets her kicks from killing people. When he's talking to the doll, it's clear she's a puppet, but once she steps out in flesh and blood, things get a little muddy; even if he's the only one who seems able to see her.
It has to be that he's the murderer and the madman and the doll is really just a doll, right? (Stranger things have happened, you know?)
Dandy Mott has been spying on Bette and Dot and confronted Chester about Marjorie and the murders after Dandy learned that Chester deflowered the twins. What Dandy doesn't know is that they went to Chester seeking said sexual encounter. Would knowing that cause him to continue his murder spree with the sisters in his sights?
Anything is possible, because right now we have no idea how things will end.
At this point in the season – with only three episodes remaining – closure or resolution for the existing characters should be the focus, at least in my opinion. Yet I still found myself very intrigued by Chester and his dummy, Marjorie, and what his hallucinations of her mean. Perhaps that makes this decision to bring a new character to light so late in the season fit with the narrative we've been watching all along:
We're all a little weird and there is no escaping it.
Maybe that's the reason so many stories have been told with no real rhyme or reason or connection to the histories of the other characters. The connection is the convergence of so many freaks in one place, living together, seeking pleasure and finding family.
The question now is whether the family can endure without its matriarch since we know Elsa does eventually make it out of there.
What do you think? Was bringing Chester Creb into the story this late in the game a good move? How will it all end in the next two episodes?
If you missed a single minute of Neil Patrick Harris' appearance, you need to watch American Horror Story online to check it out!
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.