AHS: Freak Show "Magical Thinking" Review: A Farewell to Dickfingers (PHOTO RECAP)

American Horror Story S04E11: "Magical Thinking"

All the great TV shows are basically just pushermen, but instead of delectable crack rock they're selling twists and fakeouts. The problem is, we're onto these guys by now. These days, twists and fakeouts are so commonplace on television that we've come to expect them. So guess what's happening? Non-twists and double-fakeouts! That's some next-level twist and fakeout action. In the most recent episode of American Horror Story: Freak Show, which aired 10,000 weeks ago or whatever, who can be sure, we saw a scene in which Maggie discovered lobster hands in the freak museum. They couldn't have been Jimmy's, right? There had to be some kind of twist. NOPE. Turns out: Nope. Those were Jimmy's hands. A classic non-twist. Or remember in that even earlier episode when Ma Petite was dream-sequence killed before she was almost-killed before she was killed for real? DOUBLE fakeout. AHS knows what we expect and continues to work feverishly to subvert those expectations by any means necessary. Does it always work? Probably not. Is it nonetheless commendable? Absolutely. Poor Jimmy!

"Magical Thinking" was a good and solid episode of Freak Show that was full of thrills and chills and spills, but part of me felt like it should've been a midseason episode rather than the third-to-last. How could this show STILL be introducing main characters at this point in the season? But you know what? I'm glad it operates by zero rules. Harder to see things coming, you know?

Let's talk about it!

We started with a bit of a flashback: Jimmy in a jail cell with two fully intact sets of dickfingers!

And even though he knew full well that chopping off appendages for cash was not the greatest plan, it only took a few minutes of Stanley's sweet talk until he was all...

So Jimmy agreed to sell ONE of his hands. The left one. The less sexy one. Then we were treated to the step-by-step process of how Stanley was able to chop off a prisoner's hands without the authorities caring too much. It involved ipecac syrup, puking, a hooker pretending to be an ambulance driver, and a hospital that asked no questions. Suddenly Jimmy woke up in this hospital room surveying the damage.

And that is the story of how Jimmy got conned out of his dickfingers. Poor Jimmy!

But just as one freak was losing a huge degree of sexual agency, two more freaks were gaining theirs!

Yep, ever since Bette and Dot had frenched Jimmy their flowers were bloomin'! Suddenly they were writing in their diaries about how horny they were, then BURNING said diaries (always my favorite thing to see on a TV show), and then basically interviewing all their fellow performers to see which one would be giving them the roll in the hay they craved. And let's just say the interview process was grueling.

I mean, who could turn THIS down? Toulouse was a freak in the sheets and everybody knew it, but sorry, Toulouse. Not this time.

Fortunately a new guy arrived and he knew how to turn a trick or two.

It was Neil Patrick Harris! He brought lizards and charisma, as well as finely tailored vests and MENTAL PROBLEMS. Right from the get-go, the metal plate in his head from an old war wound started vibrating and he got horny looking at the twins because to him they looked like this:

Believe me, Bette and Dot were BOUT IT.

Meanwhile Dell was not thrilled about Jimmy's condition.

I loved that he immediately knew Stanley had f*cked Jimmy over and it was the final straw. Man, I'm loving these Dell/Jimmy bonding scenes. This part was especially touching, when Dell realized that he'd never fed Jimmy as a baby, but now he finally could:

Sorry, that was just poignant as h*ck. It made me think I should feed MY kids also instead of just letting them eat out of the trash.

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Jan 11, 2015
It was nice seeing Jamie Brewer again and Neil Patrick Harris is a cool addition. Dandy always cracks me up haha
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Jan 10, 2015
Yes to all the questions! ;)
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Jan 10, 2015
Shit just got real (I hope!). Will we finally see Elsa take revenge on Stanley?
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Jan 11, 2015
oh yes... I'm waiting for that moment, too!
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Jan 09, 2015
I hope they don't copy the old Twilight Zone episode next week and have Chester become the dummy and Marjorie become the living human.
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Jan 09, 2015
I really like AHS but after season one , it's always lose its momentum through the season
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Jan 09, 2015
I think it is funny that gay NPH always plays the womanizing character. Now THAT'S some acting...
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Jan 09, 2015
Jessica Lange is such great actress. Her reaction to seeing Ma Petite dead body was heart breaking :`(
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Jan 09, 2015
Puppets aren't born evil they are spawned from hell, dreamed into existence from the manifestation of all nightmares and horrors the sickest most f#cked-up minds can think of.
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Jan 09, 2015
I find Jimmy's scene so difficult to watch in this ep. It was so cruel. But I think Evan Peters played his character well. Hes a pretty decent actor.
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Jan 09, 2015
luv you Jamie Brewer
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Jan 09, 2015
NPH was amazing! His acting was phenomenal, I don't know if anyone noticed this but every so often he got little twitches in his eyes which just subtly made the character. He is extremely talented and Im glad to see him on the show! This episode was another great episode and was full of chills and unexpected turns. It also progressed the story of Dandy vs. The Freak Show. It'll be interesting to see how they wrap up the story. I personally wouldn't mind seeing the bad guy win this season and have Dandy go on a killing rampage and then take Bette and Dot to kind of switch things up from previous seasons.
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Jan 09, 2015
NPH was just so brilliantly out there last night. His insanity really built last night up to maybe the best episode all season. Great to see Jamie Brewer again as well.

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Jan 09, 2015
Dell was all over the place. Right before he accepted Jimmy as his son and had a heart to heart, he was about to kill him. So much to like and so much evil to despise. Which made him a great character. Seems like justice for him to finally be killed.
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Jan 09, 2015
I'll agree with you on what we all watched. Dell's scenes were emotionally powerful!
Still, I have to question his emotional honesty. We so him having such heartfelt, intimate moments with Ethel and Ma Petite, as well - and we know how he treated either of them.
Getting killed was more than justice for him. It was his salvation.
It was catharsis, in the metaphorical way Aristotle originally used it in his Poetics.
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Jan 11, 2015
jeez... we must be given the chance to correct our typos... I just saw that "so" and it killed me... lolll... of course I meant to type "saw." We saw him... darn it... lolll
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Jan 09, 2015
Oh, and the way Dell ended, that's how Vic Mackey should have ended.

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Jan 09, 2015
Are you joking? The ending to The Shield is one of the most genius endings ever put to television.
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Jan 09, 2015
Yeah, it was cruel as hell. I still wanted Vic to die for all he did.
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Jan 09, 2015
At least Neil didn't poop into a hat. What a treat seeing Jamie...
I don't really care where it's all going, but I wish it was going to more than two more episodes. Dayum..
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Jan 09, 2015
I do find myself going, where is this all going? I mean, Dandy is a orator, if he has some grand plan, he would have told us by now. We already know Elsa leaves. So, maybe we are back on a "one of us" plan but this time with Richard? I sort of feel like the show couldn't decide what it was going to do exactly. Like, it wants to make all the freaks the normals and the visitors the crazies, then it wants to introduce weird drama in the freak show. I am already looking forward to the human experimentation and possible extra terrestrial SETI related stuff which is my guess for next season.
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Jan 08, 2015
There's another Fourgy that's gonna get Screwed.... The four Actors unlucky enough to be nominated for Best Guest actor in a Drama Series Emmy with NPH.
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Jan 08, 2015
NPH is my hero. The best part was that I didn't know before I watched the episode that he would be appearing on the show. To say that I loved this episode would be an understatement, it was legendary... ;)
I was a lil sad when Dell got shot, mostly for Jimmy. But when I think about what he did... hell, the multiple things he did.. A brief time spent loving his own son, and a couple moments of respect spared for Ethel when she was dying...Doesn't make up for a lifetime of being a murderous, selfish dick. Great acting from Chiklis and Bassett in that scene.
I knew Jamie Brewer was coming back in some capacity for a lil while now but man oh man, I never would've thought it would be like this! That doll is uber creepy... I flip-flopped a couple times on whether or not the doll is actually alive, like it holds a spirit or something... Otherwise Chester is just straight up crazypants, which is where I'm leaning with it now.
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Jan 08, 2015
Magical Thinking was a dance; a dance in and out of a reality. It was about irrational thinking and unrealistic beliefs. It was about hope; the hope that thinking and believing in a brighter future, will have a causal impact beyond normal cause and effect. It’s about the illusion that will alone can affect the real world.
Neil Patrick is the king of this inverse Cartesian universe, were “I think” doesn’t necessarily lead to “therefore I am”. He’s the Drosselmeyer and the Nutcracker; the magician and the illusion; the human and puppet. His scenes were amazing, his dialogues unique! Alice calls him a “dummy with a puppet”, he accuses Marjorie of putting words in his mouth, and Paul tells him he looks like wooden soldier in all that makeup. His magical thinking addresses one and one goal only; becoming a real man!
Chester isn’t alone in this futile pursuit of belonging, of becoming real. Elsa is still in pursuit of her dreams, Jimmy wishes to exit his prison alive and Dell wishes to redeem himself. Motivated by their loneliness and their need control the future, they lose themselves in hopeless magical thinking. But as their life was never a fairytale, they are ignorant of one basic rule; all “magic” backfires.
Thus, Jimmy loses his identity, Elsa faces reality on Ma Petite’s disappearance and Dell was redeemed the hard way – by losing his life.
“Magical Thinking” was another episode full of symbolism and allegories. Harris’ addition was exceptional, but it came a bit too late!
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Jan 08, 2015
Very well said.
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Jan 08, 2015
also this was so random and creepy:


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Jan 08, 2015
So finally got to review the damn thing in a decent time afterwards! I think Neil Patrick Harris was absolutely great, but even better was Jamie Brewer who I have to ask: is she actually real? I think she is which could mean more connections to previous seasons! Bat. Shit Crazy.

Check out my review if you'd like here: http://mikeydislikesit.com/2015/01/08/american-horror-story-freakshow-magical-thinking-review-do-you-believe-in-magic/

Lots of gifs and screencaps with hilarious results!


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Jan 08, 2015
Did anyone even care that Jimmy let himself have his hands cut off. Simply atrocious writing.
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Jan 08, 2015
Of course he didn't wish to end up dead in prison like Meep - but to my opinion - he was lured too easily by Stanley's scheme.
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Jan 08, 2015
his character is supposed to be dumb though :)
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Jan 08, 2015
Loved it as always....poor Jimmy....loved with the two strong ones did to get him out.
I am not sure if it was a good idea of Elsa to sell the show to Chester...she should obviously see that something is not normal about him. I am so confused about the whole doll thing. Is she seriously alive, or does she come to alive?? Or is he all seeing it in his head and killed his wife and girlfriend.
I have to say, the sex scene betweens the twins and Chester was nicely done...very realistic....loved how his head, was between their heads...hahahahahaahahahaa...
I wonder what will happen, now Else hopefully found the truth about her hollywood guy......so exciting we are almost at the end of this season..2 episodes left...how the hell is this all going to end..??
I think they are going to take revenge for all those that are killed...
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Jan 08, 2015
Whoever had conjoined twin ventriloquest dummy 4-way wins AHS bingo
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Jan 08, 2015
Am I the only one who is hoping Feinblum is really Dr. Arden or somebody else we already know from a past season?
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Jan 09, 2015
I was hoping dr threadson
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Jan 08, 2015
That's an interesting idea..
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Jan 08, 2015
I keep wanting to find some common thread running throughout the season, a story structure, or something. But there's not even an overall theme, or a tone, like bleakness. It's sort of just a list of things that happened.

Just as it gets running with one plot line, it does an "Ooh, shiny!" and starts a few others. It's like a combination of fan service and just shoveling stuff in at the end. Ah, well, just two more to go.
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Jan 08, 2015
Three things made this episode magical:

1. Jamie Brewer as Marjorie.

2. Neil Patrick Harris' butt. Don't lie you enjoyed seeing it too.

3. The incredibly deep philosophical question presented - Is it a threesome if there are three heads but only two bodies?
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Jan 08, 2015
I was honestly super annoyed the NPH's appearance this late in the game.
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Jan 09, 2015
Maybe NPH will play a main character next season?
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Jan 08, 2015
Why? They've been having celebrity appearances throughout every season - even if it's for one episode. (i.e. Eric Stonestreet in season 1)
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Jan 08, 2015
Because it brought the entire story to a grinding halt, while at the same time introduces new elements into and already crowded story. Sorry, but I'm too invested in what's going on with the characters we've been with for 10 episodes to really be bothered to care about this guy. If they wanted to do a character like this, they should have brought him in earlier or waited until next season. The story ALREADY has two reprehensible and evil villains, Dandy and Stanley, and suddenly they are both playing second banana to this guy and his puppet. Introducing this guy just zapped all the momentum the story had.
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Jan 08, 2015
it's not that they just added a character! Chester has the weight of a main character! His story is so rich! His emotional baggage is overloaded!

I wish they had introduced him much earlier in the show, as well!
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Jan 08, 2015
#butts
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Jan 08, 2015
But me no butts!
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Jan 08, 2015

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Jan 08, 2015
3. It's a foursome. Don't forget Marjorie was right there too...
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Jan 08, 2015
I've sort of just begrudgingly accepted that this season is going nowhere and that I need to just enjoy what Freakshow will serve up for the next two episodes. So if the writers want to show me Bette and Dot in the midst of a sexual revelation, or Neil Patrick Harris selling iguana's and hanging out with creepy dolls, why not?
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Jan 08, 2015
Amen.
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Jan 08, 2015

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Jan 08, 2015
Good to see Jamie Brewer again. I thought the whole scene with the cops threatening to turn the camp upside down went nowhere - one minute there are cops everywhere, next minute it's a quiet night and Dell is sneaking back to his trailer.
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Jan 08, 2015
Seriously! That scene cut out entirely- course, this season has ADD so the writers probably saw something shiny or remembered something spooky or from a goosebumps novel involving an evil dummy, and decided that was critical and forgot what they just had happening.
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Jan 08, 2015
Let's play this little game called 'Haaaaaave you met Marjorie?'
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Jan 08, 2015
I like what you did there :)
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Jan 08, 2015
Well that was different. As usual. I still don't know where it's heading but it's got my attention. I've tried running it through my head a few times but I'm pretty sure only NPH could pull that role off and make it actually work the way he did.
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Jan 08, 2015
They should start the show in august or something, by the time January comes along, the whole horror thing gets old, (its good for the fall when in season but come on....)
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Jan 08, 2015
You only watch Horror movies etc. during October and Halloween? I'm sorry but that's kind of closed minded. Horror's always welcome in my opinion.
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Jan 12, 2015
different strokes for different folks, (so who is closed minded here? Your comment had a bit of hypocrisy/irony...)
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Jan 12, 2015
"Your comment had a bit of hypocrisy/irony..."

Well imo (yes I respect that everyone has an opinion) it didn't. It just pointed out a fact about your comment. Your comment assumes that Halloween and the time around it has become for Horror movies/TV like Christmas movies are for Christmas.

Horror has a much larger market than a seasonal holiday tradition unlike Christmas movies. I'm not saying people are freaks if they watch Christmas movies at other times of the year, just that it's a lot less common to find a Christmas movie fan who watches them all year round than a Horror fan who does. That's because Horror is a much larger market than being held under the confines of Halloween and October/November viewing.

It's not pretentious for someone to think this way, and it's far from hypocritical for me to make the comment I made when thinking people should only ever watch Horror movies during one or two months of the year is clearly a minority view whether your entitled to your opinion (which you are) or not.

I'm not closed off to the fact some people may only want to watch Horror at one time of the year. I just think people who do are shutting themselves off from a rich universe that people have associated with a season when it should be able to be appreciated all year round whenever someone feels in the mood to do so.
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Jan 08, 2015
One suspects the holiday break that they typically take has more to do with it than anything. This year the joint Christmas and New Years Eves hurt the momentum more than anything.
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Jan 09, 2015
For a regular 20+ episode season it isn't so bad but when the season is only 13 episodes that time gap definitely hurts the show, especially when the season is in it's final stretch.
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Jan 08, 2015
This comment has been removed.
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Jan 08, 2015
This episode was everything I'm sorry
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Jan 08, 2015
No don't be sorry. It was one of the best episodes all season. I think Chester will give Dandy a run for his money, NPH is a brilliant cast for that role. And, O.M.G. YAY Jamie Brewer as Marjorie! As soon as I heard her voice I did a little happy clap, too perfect AHS!!
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Jan 08, 2015
Seriously this season is the worst. Nothing is happening....story lines are all over the place, I don't care about any of these characters.
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Jan 08, 2015
This has been a fantastic season. Easily one of the best coming in behind Asylum. This season is just very different and it is working great.
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Jan 08, 2015
If you ask me Asylum was the worst, then this one. I liked Coven and Murder House
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Jan 09, 2015
Coven was easily the worst and I know that the majority of fans would agree. Coven was not scary in the slightest.
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Jan 08, 2015
Well, it's my second favorite season behind Asylum. Matter of opinion, I guess.
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Jan 08, 2015
Right there with ya. If I had to choose a season I liked the least, it would be Coven.
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Jan 08, 2015
Uncool NPH spoiler, yo. Keep it outta the title!
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Jan 08, 2015
Not a spoiler considering they have said for months that NPH would make his debut in episode 11.
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Jan 08, 2015
It was in the preview, the promotional material, and every commercial for the last month. Not a spoiler in the slightest...
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Jan 08, 2015
That doesn't follow. Previews often contain spoilers.
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