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Fräulein Elsa's Cabinet of Curiosities

    Bette & Dot 

Bette & Dot Tattler

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tatler_twins_5001.jpg
"There was nothing we could not work through when we put our heads together."
Played By: Sarah Paulson

Bette: For the first time in my life, I dare to imagine myself surrounded by beauty.
Dot: Dear Diary, my soul plumbs new depths of despair.

Conjoined sisters who are recruited by Elsa to join the freak show. They have dicephalic parapagus: their conjoined body consists of a single torso with one pair of arms, one pair of legs, but two distinct heads and necks. Bette is on the left side and Dot is on the right (from their own perspective). Bette, the more innocent and friendly of the two, loves Hollywood glamour and movies and perceives their new life to be like show business, whereas Dot, the more cynical twin, distrusts everyone and remembers their old, sheltered life as one of safety.


  • Abusive Parents: Their mother Eudora treated them very badly, belittling them, locking them up and even physically striking them. So Bette killed her.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Dot is crushing hard on Jimmy, who doesn't show much interest beyond being his usual charming, flirty self. He's the only man who's ever been kind to Dot (or even talked to her for that matter) and with his natural good looks, it's not surprising that she forms a quick attachment to him. When Dot finally confesses her love in "Tupperware Party Massacre," he turns her down, as he is in love with someone else (most likely referring to Maggie). On the other hand, the twins are the object of Dandy's love, which Bette (but not Dot) seems to reciprocate.
    • Of course, as of the Distant Finale, this trope gets eventually subverted between Dot and Jimmy (and Bette too).
  • Babies Ever After: They get pregnant with Jimmy's child in the finale. It was mentioned at the hospital in the first episode that they share a single reproductive system, so any child they have will be both of theirs.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Bette wants to join the freak show despite objections from her sister. She quickly becomes second fiddle to more talented Dot, who plans to separate from her (which would kill her).
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Sweet, kind and gentle Bette was the one who snapped and killed their mother. She also shot Dandy in the arm.
  • Blessed with Suck: Dot has a great singing voice, unfortunately making her the main focus of the twins' act (when she doesn't want to perform at all) while Bette, who loves to be on stage, is forced to keep quiet because she's completely tone-deaf.
  • Cain and Abel: One reason for Dot's determination to be surgically separated from Bette is that she believes the operation will kill Bette.
    • Averted as of The Tupperware Party Massacre. Both have reconciled and are fiercely protective of each other.
  • Conjoined Twins: As the star feature of the Freak Show, billed as Siamese Twins.
  • The Cynic: Dot is distrusting of just about everyone around her, and unfortunately she has good reason.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Bette has stated she had done this while Dot has claimed she "drifted" off, not feeling it.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Very gradually, Dot is letting her guard down mostly due to Jimmy.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The twins share a dream in which they are surgically separated, killing Bette. They both believe that it is a premonition.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After resolving their rivalry, and arranging Dandy's downfall, the sisters are shown to be living a normal life years later, married to Jimmy and pregnant.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Bette has had a makeover, including a new blonde dye job, as part of her transition to an aspiring funnywoman à la Eve Arden.
  • Fake Nationality: In-Universe, Dell hailed them as Siamese despite them being obviously Caucasian.
  • Happily Married: To Jimmy in the finale.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Bette, compared to her sister who's surprisingly a great singer.
    • Justified, however, in that Dot's the one whose posture carries her upright, while Bette's has her head tilted at all times, limiting her vocal range.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: Bette eventually dyes her hair blonde, though it's more of her personal self-empowerment than to tell her and Dot apart.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Bette, when talking about Dot and herself as a "before and after" picture following her makeover.
  • Lovely Assistant: They become this for Chester, who makes it clear that he wants them for their beauty, not their condition. However, in "Show Stoppers" they jump ship when Chester tries to get them in the sawbox, thus quitting as his assistants.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Dot to an extent from "Magical Thinking" to the following episode "Show Stoppers" - she seemed to had let down her guard a bit too low for Chester, even as far as to (understandly) ignore Dandy's warning about him) , but eventually wisens up in the latter episode.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: Bette and Dot appear to have been free to roam around their house, but Eudora Tattler never let them out of the house. The neighbors all thought she lived alone.
  • Multiple Head Case: Bette and Dot have very different personalities.
  • Mythology Gag: Bette becomes blonde post-makeover, much like Sarah Paulson's characters in Seasons 1 and 3.
  • Noodle Incident: Something... happened when they were very young in Alabama that forced them and their mother to relocate.
  • Nice Girl: Bette is incredibly sweet, helpful and kind her murder of her cruel mother not withstanding.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Dot's real name is Dorothy.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: They have very distinct personalities; Dot is stern, irritable and morose while Bette is out-going, childish and innocent. Now visually enforced as of "Test of Strength", when Bette gets a makeover and blonde dye job as part of her transition to a comedienne. That last part becomes moot after the two reconcile, as Bette no longer feels that she has to reinvent her identity.
  • “The Reason You Suck” Speech: Both twins a hefty one alongside Desiree and Jimmy to Dandy in the finale.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Bette is more out-going compared to the largely apathetic Dot. Ironically, the former is the one wearing the blue headband, while the latter is the one wearing red.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Dot ends up happily married to Jimmy.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Dot, to the dismay of both her fame-obsessed sister and Elsa.
  • Slut-Shaming: Dot immediate does this to Maggie when they first meet. She also uses this against her own sister to stop her from going on about touching themselves. Eventually, in "Magical Thinking" Dot begins to embrace her sexuality, with her and Dot having a hook-up with Toulouse.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the finale, both of them managed to acquire the assistance of Desiree and Jimmy to take down Dandy, and poisoned his food during dinner. Hell, as Dandy prepared to stab Desiree right after, Bette of all people shot him!
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Sure, Dot was cold to strangers, but she was never willfully disdainful. Just an episode after her first big performance at the freak show, the reception is enough to get to her head.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In "Tupperware Party Massacre", Dot reconciles with her sister and becomes more protective of her.
  • Twin Telepathy: They can communicate in thought between each other.
  • Twincest: When Bette masturbates, Dot can feel it. Dot claims to 'drift off' but Bette asserts that she likes it.
  • When She Smiles: Dot's default expression is a withering, dour look, but when she first meets Jimmy, this trope happens for the first time onscreen.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Bette is much more idealistic than eternal pessimist Dot, swallowing every single one of Elsa's lines about making the sisters into a star.
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    Jimmy 

Jimmy Darling

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/darling_james_8155.jpg
"I tell you, sometimes I can't take it. The way they look at us. The way they treat us. It ain't right."
Played By: Evan Peters

The son of Ethel and Dell. Born with severe syndactyly, he performs as the "Lobster Boy" in the freak show. He dreams of being able to leave the freak show and living a normal life.


  • An Arm and a Leg: After being framed for murders committed by Dandy, Stanley convinces him to give up his lobster hands in exchange for money to get a defense lawyer. He eventually gets a pair of prosthetic hands made for him by Dolcefino.
  • Artificial Limbs: Got prosthetic hands/claws courtesy of the same specialist who created Elsa's prosthetic legs.
  • Badass Biker: Owns a Vespa(?)-like motorcycle and is one of the most badass characters in the show.
  • Berserk Button: Being called a 'freak' sets him off. This makes his career choice a little odd.
  • Big "NO!": Has quite the habit of doing this.
  • The Charmer: Despite his deformity, Jimmy has a silver tongue. He's first seen charming a young waitress with ease and even the naturally distrustful Dot isn't immune to his flattery.
  • Chubby Chaser: Following Ethel's death, Jimmy takes an emotional refuge in Barbara's bosom, originally as a soft motherly chest to rest his head on, but it eventually turns into a brief sexual relationship. Granted, Jimmy was drunk for the majority of it, the idea is still there.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Takes to this first after Meep dies and then completely falls into a drunken depression after his mom's death.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After being framed for murder and losing his hands, Jimmy ends up with prosthetic claws and takes revenge against Dandy. He's shown years later, living a normal life and happily married to the twins, with a baby on the way.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Jimmy is very, very quick to anger, even when his Berserk Button isn't being pushed. It looks like it's In the Blood.
  • Happily Married: To one of the twins, apparently Dot, in the finale.
  • Hollywood Healing: He is fitted with artificial hands only shortly after his real hands were amputated.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: He earns spare money for his family by working as a male prostitute.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: He longs to leave the freak show, live a normal life in society, and for himself and the other freaks to be accepted as ordinary people.
  • Iconic Outfit: In his first appearance, his outfit's a dead ringer for Marlon Brando in The Wild One.
  • In the Blood: According to Dell, Jimmy got his lobster hands from his paternal lineage.
  • Incest Subtext: His brief attempt at sex with Desiree, who's married to his father.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Acts like this for the Freak Show crew.
  • The Mourning After: Averted - he didn't appear to give a damn when Maggie died.
  • My Beloved Smother: It's all but stated that he's still with the freak show due to his mom, who he was estranged from until Elsa reunited them when she recruited her. The first episode had him make a case for the two to leave and start anew in normal society but she shot him down.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Jimmy is distraught by his murder of Detective Bunch, and his subsequent attempts to cover it up result in Meep's arrest and death.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Is responsible at least partially for Dandy and Twisty's descents into killing and madness. He brushed off Twisty as a "kook" instead of trying to let the clown into their freakshow, which was part of Twisty's motivation to start killing. And he also coldly brushed off Dandy very rudely, which is what inspired Dandy's hatred of the freakshow. He's also unknowingly responsible for Dell killing Ma Petite; Dell targeted Jimmy first, but Jimmy chose that moment to reveal he knows Dell is his father, making Dell feel unable to go through with killing him.
  • Nom de Mom: Jimmy uses Ethel's surname rather than Dell's, likely because the latter walked out on them when he was still young. That being said, Jimmy doesn't count as a Heroic Bastard since his parents were married.
  • Power Perversion Potential: It's not really a power, but he uses his large, fused fingers to pleasure housewives.
  • Red Right Hand: Appropriately, his deformity are his crab-like hands.
  • The Rival: Tensions always rise everytime he and Dandy have a scene together.
  • Rousing Speech: Jimmy establishes why he's the top dog after giving a passionate speech to his fellow freaks following the murder of Detective Bunch.
    "Friends, this lawman was supposed to protect and serve the innocent. But instead, he judged us guilty before he even set foot into our camp. All we've ever wanted was a place where we could feel safe and be just the way we are. But no one is going to hand it to us. We're going to have to rise up and take it! Don't we deserve to be happy? When bad things keep happening to good people, you start to question what is right and what is wrong. Well, I say it's time we make our own right and wrong! I say it's wrong for them to treat us like shit and kick us around like the scum of the earth! They want to call us monsters? Fine, we'll act like monsters!"
  • Sex for Solace: After his mother's death, he attempted this twice to take his mind of the pain (along with drinking). First with Ima, then immediately proceeding to his prostitution work.
  • Skyward Scream: In "Massacres and Matinees" after Meep is killed, and in "Curtain Call" when he returns to see the aftermath of the freak show massacre.
  • The Teetotaler: Jimmy stayed away from alcohol, until recently when Dell's arrival and Meep's arrest drove him to it.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Sick of being treated like a 'monster', Jimmy declares that if people want a monster he'll give them one.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: See Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!.

    Dell 

Wendell "Dell" Toledo

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/toledo_wendell_9785.jpg
"The pain don't define me. But I still feel it."
Played By: Michael Chiklis & Edward Gelhaus

"Dell Toledo the Stupendous Strong Man! You probably heard of me."

Father of Jimmy, ex-husband of Ethel, husband of Desiree and the strongman of the freak show, he and Desiree come to Elsa desperate for work after all the other traveling shows have closed. Dell is also on the run from the law due a series of disastrous events he had a hand in initiating.


  • Abusive Parents: In his debut episode alone, he beats the snot out of Jimmy for taking the Freaks to a restaurant. And nearly snapped his neck as an infant. From the moment Jimmy was born, Dell sought to exploit him.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: According to the story he told Jimmy, Dell's father and brothers, all of whom have the lobster hands, constantly mocked him for being normal.
  • Archnemesis Dad: He quickly becomes this to Jimmy. Ultimately averted as he gets to know him more.
  • Armored Closet Gay: Dell a closeted homosexual, filled with self-loathing and anger. He overcompensates for what he views as a failing by being overly masculine, controlling and aggressive.
  • Badass Gay: The Reveal of his sexuality doesn't take away how badass he is.
  • Badass Mustache: What he thinks it is. In reality, it's out of date, unimpressive and fake to boot.
  • Bald of Evil: He's a reprehensible, abusive man with a head that could outshine the sun.
  • The Big Guy: He's huge and is even (appropriately) dubbed "the Stupendous Strong Man".
  • Boom, Headshot!: Is shot in the head from behind and killed by Elsa after he confesses to killing Ma Petite.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Granted he is the strongman of the troupe, but he really should have thought twice about taking on 6'8 Amazon Eve. He doesn't make the same mistake twice.
  • The Confidant: Strangely enough, he becomes one for Ethel despite their strained relationship.
  • Control Freak: Dell is barely part of the troupe for a day before he starts trying to wrest control from Elsa.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: When his Hair-Trigger Temper is combined with his Control Freak tendencies, it makes Dell dangerously possessive. He has an outburst when Andy dismisses his passionate promise to leave Desiree and run away together and has the same reaction when Desiree announces that she'll have cosmetic surgery on her genitals and finally be able to live life as a complete woman.
    "There is no other man but me!"
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Driven to Suicide: Attempts to hang himself in "Tupperware Party Massacre," but is saved by Desiree.
  • Enemy Mine: He teams up with Amazon Eve to save Jimmy.
  • The Fettered: At first he appears to be The Unfettered due to his merciless attitude, but it's largely an act. Privately he expresses some remorse about not being a better and present father to Jimmy. His murder of Ma Petite also doesn't sit well with him at all.
  • Gayngst: Believes his homosexuality is his most "freakish" quality.
  • Genius Bruiser: Dell is physically powerful, yes, but he's also dangerously cunning.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He has a very short temper.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Tearfully confesses to murdering Ma Petite to Desiree, clearly distraught about what he did, but is shot in the back of the head by Elsa and killed before he can properly seek redemption.
  • Hidden Depths: In his first appearance, Dell seems nigh-unstoppable due to his physical strength, ruthless cunning, unfettered lack of morals and intimidating confidence but it's soon revealed that he has some rather severe issues himself, such as his ongoing erectile dysfunction. In reality, Dell is a closeted homosexual who's torn up by self-loathing, shame, desire, living a lie and the overwhelming need to appear powerful and superior. His outward confidence and casual cruelty is a mask for a vulnerable man who's barely holding it together.
  • Idiot Ball: When Stanley blackmails him into killing one of the freaks, he doesn't go after the mentally deficient Pepper or Salty, the diminutive Ma Petite or the legless Suzi. No, he goes after Amazon Eve, the largest and strongest freak in the show and a woman in full control of her mental faculties. He pays the price.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Dell has very cold, piercing eyes.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Although unquestionably an asshole, his decision to have a daytime show was bang on. The same goes for his point about Jimmy's ill-advised attempt to integrate the freaks into normal society. Jimmy wanting the freaks to be treated like regular people at the diner is understandable, but they weren't at all delicate about it, and given the way the situation escalates Dell seems perfectly justified in treating it like a stupid idea. Of course, his issue seems to be that they were displaying themselves for free, not that they were upsetting people.
  • Kick the Dog: He places Detective Bunch's badge among the harmless (unless you're a chicken) Meep's possessions, who is ultimately hauled off to jail on suspicion.
  • Large Ham: As a barker for the Freak Show, as is required.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: With women only, due to him being a closeted homosexual.
  • Mercy Kill: Dell seemed to be attempting this with an infant Jimmy.
    "You know what? Life's rough, kid. Especially for a mistake like you. I'm gonna save you a lot of pain."
  • Neck Snap: How he dispatched the unlucky sod he caught banging his wife. He was going to do the same to his infant son before Ethel stopped him. Unfortunately, he does the same to Ma Petite as well.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Elsa killed while he's in the process of making a Heel–Face Turn.
  • The Rival: To Jimmy and Elsa.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: A dime-a-dozen strongman act, with a vastly over-sized ego.
  • Stout Strength: Dell is not in fit shape due to his old age, but is nonetheless still strong.
  • Team Killer: He's willing to hurt or kill members of his own group and succeeded with one.
  • Tears of Remorse: After killing Ma Petite and before trying to commit suicide in the next episode.
  • The Unfettered: Dell doesn't blink an eye at framing someone for murder, beating a man to within an inch of his life or trying to murder his newborn son.
    • Increasingly subverted with each episode. He feels remorse for his awful actions.
  • Working with the Ex: He's Ethel's ex-husband.
  • World's Strongest Man: It's his job. He's a 'stupendous strongman'.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Kills Ma Petite. Attempted this on Eve beforehand, but she kicked his ass instead.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Dell tried to kill his newborn baby son. He also threatens to break the doctor's grandkids' fingers if he goes to the police about Dell breaking his fingers.

    Desiree 

Desiree Dupree

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dupree_desiree_4487.jpg
"Three titties, proper girl parts and a ding-a-ling. I'm a full blown hermaphrodite. Put that on your banner."
Played By: Angela Bassett

A woman mistaken for an intersexed person since birth. She also has a third breast. She is married to Dell and struggles for work after other traveling shows closed down.


  • Abusive Parents: Implied from her mother, who mistook her as a boy at birth and wanted her to follow in her father's footsteps.
  • Alliterative Name: Desiree Dupree. You may also want to consider the last two "ee"s.
  • Amazon Brigade: Rangles up Eve, Suzie, and Penny on a revenge mission during Ethel's funeral to take Penny's father after he turned Penny into "one of them".
  • And Starring: Angela Bassett gets the "With" credit which she shares with Kathy Bates (Ethel) before Jessica Lange's (Elsa) "And" citation.
  • Babies Ever After: She and Angus have a child in the finale after the Time Skip.
  • Badass in Distress: In the finale, she spends a good period in the finale understandably hiding in fear from a gun-toting Dandy.
  • Big Good: She has become a leader for the freaks after Ethel's death.
  • Cure Your Gays: She is introduced having sex with a gay man trying to do that. It seemed to be working before Dell discovered them.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: She's finally free with Dell's death, and narrowly escapes Dandy's massacre. She's shown years later, happily married with two children.
  • Fake Guest Star: Played with. Angela Bassett was a guest star in the previous season, but played a different character.
  • Hermaphrodite: She claims to be this, in addition to having three breasts. Upon a trip to the doctor in episode 5, she is informed that she actually suffers from hormonal imbalances that manifest through her third breast and enlarged clitoris (which everyone had mistaken for a penis).
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: After discovering she is a full woman, she leaves Dell and wants to live a normal life.
  • I'll Kill You!: To Maggie in "Orphans".
  • The Leader: Of the group she establishes with Penny, Suzie, and Eve. And after Jimmy's Heroic BSoD, she is this to the other Freak Show performers.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: She stabbed Lillian, beheaded her, and had her head displayed in a glass display just how Ma Petitie's body was presented. In the finale, alongside Jimmy and the Twins, she does this to Dandy as well by poisoning him and leaving him to drown in a glass tank.
  • The Missus and the Ex: She gets along fine with both Ethel and her stepson Jimmy.
  • A Father to His Men: She's genuinely caring of the other freaks, and comforted Penny over the mutilation her father had her go through.
  • Mama Bear: Takes Ethel's place as this after she dies, but vowed to avenge her. In "Orphans", Maggie ended up on the receiving end of her wrath. In fact, "Show Stoppers" revealed that in "Orphans", after seeing Ma Petite's body in the exhibit, she murdered Lillian in the same day.
  • Multi Boobage: Her whole selling point.
  • Pet the Dog: She's much more loving than she appears to be, and genuinely cares about the other freaks. In "Orphans", she read a bedtime story to Pepper, and was very distraught when seeing Ma Petite's body in the exhibit.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Again, technically (see Fake Guest Star above).
  • Revenge: Literally becomes her MO after Ethel's death and mutilating Penny's father. After finding out Elsa murdered Ethel and staged her murder as a suicide, she sets out with the other freaks to kill him. She sets out on one final mission after Dandy when he massacres the Freaks.
  • “The Reason You Suck” Speech: Gives one of her own alongside Jimmy and the Twins to Dandy in the finale.
    "You may look like a motion picture dreamboat, but you are the biggest freak of them all.
  • Sole Survivor: Of the Freak Show massacre.
  • Searching the Stalls: Hid in the trailer during Dandy's massacre and was nearly discovered before Eve came in to stop him.
  • Tears of Fear: During the Freak Show massacre.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Ever since she left Dell, vowed to avenge Ethel, and gave Penny's father a tar and feathers treatment, Desiree's become quite the badass. She even threatened to kill Maggie if she had any part in the disappearances of the other freaks, and that was after Desiree called Maggie out on the latter's jealousy of the former finding a new one when Maggie said Desiree's happiness would end. She has also become a leader for the freaks, and avenges them after they were murdered by Dandy.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Desiree cheated on Dell with a homosexual man looking to 'change his stripes', though it's heavily implied that their former employers forced her to do it because said homosexual man paid them for the service. She also tried to cheat on him with Jimmy before suffering a miscarriage.

    Ethel 

Ethel Darling

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/darling_ethel_9265.jpg
"Ain't nobody gonna take care of our people but us."
Played By: Kathy Bates

Dot Tattler: Perhaps worst of all is a bearded lady named Ethel, who serves as Elsa's henchwoman, the sasquatch champion of law and order in this hellish sty. You heard me right, Diary. A lady with a beard.

The freak show's bearded lady, the mother of Jimmy, and the ex-wife of Dell. In the 20s and 30s, she was a star in the circus and the vaudeville circuit before she had Jimmy. She then battled alcohol addiction and was rescued from a drunk tank by Elsa. She now serves as Elsa's second-in-command.


  • The Alcoholic: Was this prior to joining Elsa's Cabinet of Curiosities. When she's told that she'll die of cirrhosis within a year at the greatest, she immediately starts up again.
  • And Starring: Much like in Coven, Kathy Bates gets the "With" credit which she now shares with Angela Bassett (Desiree) before Jessica Lange's (Elsa) "And" citation.
  • Back for the Finale: She is present in Elsa's version of Heaven where she forgave the latter for her sins.
  • Death Seeker: She tearfully asks Edward Mordrake to take her to hell as she feels she deserves it. He refuses.
  • Eye Scream: Elsa kills her with a knife to the eye.
  • Girls with Moustaches: Due to being the resident Bearded Lady, of course.
  • I Was Quite the Looker: Ethel was quite cute in her twenties, even with the beard. It helps that her younger self was played by Kathy Deitch
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She can be abrasive and doesn't mince words, but she's a good person with a strong moral compass.
  • Lady Drunk: Before Elsa found her and after finding out she only has a year to live at most.
  • The Lancer: In virtue of being the Number Two.
  • Mama Bear: She nearly blew Dell's brains out when he tried harming infant Jimmy. She's also fiercely protective of her fellow freaks and tells Elsa in no uncertain terms that if she does wrong by the Tatler twins, Ethel will kill Elsa with her own hands.
  • Meal Ticket: Dell saw her as this early in their relationship.
  • My Greatest Failure: When Ethel and Dell got married, the latter became her exclusive manager and had her reciting Shakespeare instead of going through the vaudeville circuit because artistic merits mean money. Needless to say, it backfires spectacularly and their audience numbers plummet. Penniless, desperate for money and for work, and with a child on the way Dell decided to exploit the birth of their son to make ends meet, advertising the spectacle as the "LIVE FREAK BIRTH." She has been guilt-ridden ever since because Jimmy has essentially been exploited from birth.
  • Off with His Head!: How Elsa and Stanley end up staging her murder to look like a suicide; by forming a chain noose around her neck and putting the car in full drive after tying the chain to a tree.
  • Number Two: To Elsa Mars.
  • Off the Wagon: Jimmy expresses his concern about this after her visit to the doctor. Ethel has just been diagnosed with terminal cirrhosis and would die sooner if she drank another drop. For her, it's the sooner, the better.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Nobody saw her death coming.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Elsa, who she adores and won't tolerate a bad word said against her. Though, she warns Elsa that if she had anything to do with the twins' disappearance, she'll kill her with her bare hands. Eventually, it comes to that, but as Ethel hesitates, Elsa takes the opportunity to fling a knife at Ethel's eye.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: A Baltimore one, apparently.
  • Working with the Ex: Now that Dell, her ex-husband, has joined the troupe.

    Elsa 

Elsa Mars

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mars_elsa_6929.jpg
"Everyone is living the life they chose."
Played By: Jessica Lange

"I have survived because I know one must be willing to destroy anyone, anything, even the things you love, to keep the gods in check."

A "German expatriate" who manages one of the last remaining freak shows in Jupiter, Florida in 1952. For 20 years, she has rescued "freak" circus performers who were going to be shipped away to asylums by signing waivers and becoming their legal guardian. Prior to coming to America after World War II, she was a cabaret performer and chanteuse in Germany.


  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Was sent to what we are left to assume is Heaven.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Her goal to be a star causes her to become manipulative to other people, specifically her crew, by using them as her 'front acts" and "disregards them" once she's "done" with them (or in Dot's case, a threat to her).
  • And Starring: As with all the previous AHS seasons, Jessica Lange gets the "And" citation. She also gets this In-Universe when Dell wrote her name at the bottom of the card, which pisses her off.
  • Anti-Villain: Elsa might be selfishly using her freaks to prop herself up in vain hopes of becoming a star, but she does show elements of conflict and tragedy. She might even genuinely believe they're better off under her care. She also has moments of self-awareness when she seems to realize that her dream has long since passed her by, before relapsing into delusion.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Her legs were horrifyingly hacked when she was "cast" in a snuff film.
  • Artificial Limbs: Elsa has no legs below the knee, using wooden legs instead.
  • Berserk Button: Being compared to Marlene Dietrich, and being told Dietrich "did it better", is enough to make her openly attack a woman.
  • Character Signature Song: She sang David Bowie's "Life On Mars" thrice.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Her knife-throwing talent saves her life when she uses it on a gun-toting Ethel.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Was once a dominatrix of sorts in a strange German brothel that got to star in "movies". But one day, she was drugged by a director and put in a snuff film, where they cut off her legs and left her for dead. The film was traded around globally, and she was a 'star', but her career was ruined.
  • Death Seeker: She was pretty eager for Edward to kill her. She turns into a complete one upon season's end.
  • Divide and Conquer: This seems to be the more effective way Elsa can use to get rid of the twins, first by arming Bette with a knife and then by promising Dot to get her to the doctor who can perform a separation surgery.
  • Driven to Suicide: Chooses to perform one last time on Halloween, her life recently ruined, with the intent to let Edward kill her.
  • Easily Forgiven: Even after killing Ethel and causing a lot of bad things to happen, the dead freaks all forgive her when she reaches Heaven.
  • Expy: Of Marlene Dietrich, down to the androgynous suits and cabaret singing. Interestingly, Elsa has a serious problem with Dietrich, right down to keeping a burn book of her poor reviews. She even accuses Dietrich of stealing the career that she could have had!
  • Friends with Benefits: It is shown that she and Paul occasionally and casually sleep together.
  • Germanic Depressives: Is German and undoubtedly takes "Elsa's Cabinet Of Curiosities" and her own stardom very seriously. Elsa is also shown to be melancholic about her own deformity to such a degree that she keeps it a secret.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: When Dot shows a natural talent for singing, Elsa is utterly horrified and quickly turns her plans against her. Shockingly, not even her Morality Pet Ma Petite was exempt from her jealousy.
  • Hypocrite:
    • She exposes her 'freaks' in the show, but keeps her own deformity a secret. She disregards the freaks worries about summoning the spirit of Edward Mordrake as mere superstition… because she needs to practice for the impresario that a fortune-teller just predicted will come to see her.
    • She intially dismisses Chester by telling him that they're "a freak show, not a magic show". They aren't a singing show either, but that never stopped Elsa.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Her wish at the end of "Bullseye," word for word.
  • It's All About Me: Eager to be a star despite being in her older age, Elsa uses her freaks mostly to boost her own attempts at stardom. She dismisses the Tattlers as a 'warm-up' act for her own performance, despite them unquestionably being the main attraction. She also only turns against Dell when she sees that he's listed her next to Meep in the advertising flyer. Even when Massimo comes to her and tells her that he's dying her immediate reaction is to lament that there will be no one to love her.
    Desiree: They're our headliners!
    Elsa: Hardly that! They are my warm-up act.
  • Knife Nut: She's an expert knife-thrower. Which helped gravely wounding Paul, and killing Ethel.
  • Large Ham: Elsa is all about putting on a show, and for her that means chewing the scenery like it's made of sauerkraut. She also wails hysterically when faking grief over Ethel's death.
  • Lonely at the Top: Finally gets to be a star, but feels completely alone due to a loveless marriage and Massimo dying of a lung disease.
  • Mama Bear: She initially appears as this for her freak family, defending the Tatler Twins from the Motts' attempts to buy them. However, it's ultimately subverted. She puts herself first and she doesn't give a damn when Meep is killed. She ultimately sells the Tatler twins to the Motts and even tries to kill Paul. Elsa cares about nothing but herself, and eventually the others catch on to this.
    • However in "Magical Thinking", she appears to have become a genuine Mama Bear to an extent - she went straight to Desiree's trailer and blew Dell's brain out after discovering Ma Petite had been murdered and sent to the exhibit, and right after gave Stanley his just desserts by sicking the entire freak show on him, amputating his limbs, and turning him into a geek.
  • Mysterious Past: It's unclear how Elsa found herself in 1950s Florida and there have been only hints of her former life in pre-war Germany performing cabaret. What's more, why does Elsa keep her deformity a secret despite managing an array of "freaks"?
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Says so word-for-word after killing Ethel.
  • Necessarily Evil: Almost all the “evil” things she does. She killed Dell because Dell killed Ma Petite, killed Ethel in self-defense, and hurt Paul by accident.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! / Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: In a strange mix in which the antagonist actually tries to do a good thing; in "Orphans", she genuinely wanted Pepper to be happy and to give her a loving home, but those who are aware of her fate as seen in Asylum would assume that Pepper was much happier at the Freak Show. In other words, Pepper ends up framed for the murder of her sister's baby, which she and her husband planned, and sent off to Briarcliff.
  • Noodle Incident: She offhandedly mentions that she managed to stay off from the Stasi's radar during war time.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • A heartbreaking example - she's genuinely broken over Ma Petite's murder.
    • She has a similarly affectionate relationship with Pepper, and is genuinely upset when she leaves Pepper in the care of her sister. And her sister is a bitch, unbeknownst to Elsa.
    • She also seems to have a soft spot for the disabled, which is pretty understandable. She tended to Jimmy when he loses his hands and had him fitted with prosthetics from the same man who made hers.
  • Promotion to Parent: Acts as one to her crew. It's not as genuine as it seems.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Elsa considers herself to be a true star, despite nobody wanting to see her perform. She's so deluded that she thinks Marlene Dietrich stole her career.
  • Suicide by Cop: Well, Suicide by Mordrake, rather. The whole death was planned, as revealed by Mordrake.
  • Team Killer: She show signs that she won't hesitate to be this if they got in her way. So far, she has sold the twins and killed both Ethel and Dell. Although Ethel was in self-defense.
  • Tranquil Fury: Elsa's reaction to finding out that Ma Petite was killed by Dell was walking to Dell's trailer and coldly shooting him in the back of the head.
  • White Shirt of Death: She is clad in white when Edward Mordrake killed her.
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    Amazon Eve 

Amazon Eve

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/e923803236bae2ebcea9933e95fd7fa7.jpg
"That's showbiz."
Played By: Erika Ervin

A performer in the freak show. She is abnormally large. She is seen as the piano player of the show and is also instrumental with protecting the troupe along with Jimmy and Paul.


  • Action Girl: Develops into one in the last few episodes - in "Magical Thinking", she assists Dell in breaking Jimmy out of police custody, and in the finale fights Dandy to the death in an attempt to save Desiree.
  • Alliterative Name: Meta example. Eve is portrayed by Erika Ervin.
  • Amazonian Beauty: It's in the name.
  • An Axe to Grind: Attacks Dandy with an axe.
  • Badass Boast: To Dell: "Who's the strong man now?"
  • The Big Girl: Literally and figuratively to the Freak Show crew. Dell also counts, but...
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Violently beats up Dell and throws him out of her trailer when she catches him trying to chloroform her for Stanley to sell to the museum.
  • Boom Head Shot: She goes down fighting, but Dandy finally kills her with a shot to the head.
  • Defiant to the End: She's killed by Dandy in her efforts to stop him and save Desiree, but she doesn't go down without a fight.
  • Enemy Mine: She teams up with Dell to save Jimmy.
  • Friendship Moment: When Ma Petite goes missing, she runs to Jimmy after discovering that Ma Petite wasn't in her hut nor at breakfast (which Eve notes that Ma Petite's "always up first thing for breakfast". Thankfully, Ma Petite shows up with Maggie, unharmed.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: She ultimately saved Desiree's life when fighting Dandy as he searched Desiree's trailer, and was killed in the fight.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Her beatdown of Dell and later Dandy.
  • Odd Friendship: Appears to have one with Ma Petite.
  • She's Got Legs: Very, very long ones, even without the shorts and heels.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She is in the freak show as one of the world's tallest women (her actress is around 6'8").
  • You Did the Right Thing: She justifies Jimmy's murder of Detective Bunch by telling him in exact words that he "did what he had to do" to save Bette and Dot.

    Salty 

Salty

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/salty_2730.jpg
Played By: Christopher Neiman

One of two "pinheads," a person with microcephaly. Usually seen alongside his partner Pepper.


  • Ambiguously Brown: Just like Ma Petite, he and Pepper appear to have a background that emphasizes their strangeness. In their case, they are said to be from Darkest Africa. Truth in Television, because sideshow pinheads were advertised as the "missing link" between apes and humans.
  • Back for the Finale: He is present in Elsa's version of Heaven.
  • Chastity Couple: "Orphans" reveals that he and Pepper are married, though possibly not legally. Elsa describes them as "soul mates" and notes that it was "love at first sight" between them; however, it's implied that their relationship isn't sexual, though whether this is due to their childlike intellects or Elsa's insistence that they adopt rather than pass on their condition is unclear.
  • Children Are Innocent: Because Salty has the mental age of a child, Edward Mordrake saw him as innocent and wouldn't consider taking him.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: Like Pepper, Salty is mentally disabled but playful and cheerful.
  • Off with His Head!: After he dies, Stanley has his head removed and sells it to the American Morbidity Museum.
  • Spear Counterpart: He's basically Pepper but male.
  • Theme Twin Naming: They're not related, but as the resident pinheads at the carnival, they are called Salty and Pepper.
  • Those Two Guys: With Pepper, his partner.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Appears in most episodes as a background character, and dies offscreen in his sleep before the start of the episode that gives him the most focus he's had all season.

    Ma Petite 

Mahadevi Patel AKA Ma Petite

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ma_petite_3392.jpg
Played By: Jyoti Amge

A performer in the freak show. She was born with achondroplasia which results in an extremely short stature.


  • Ambiguous Disorder: She's a full-grown woman, but she acts like a five-year-old. It's unclear if she has some sort of mental disability, or if she's just acting like that to be cute. Unfortunately in two occasions, it nearly got her killed by Maggie the first time, who couldn't go through with it, and the second time Dell lures her with a present and a hug before snapping her neck.
    • Considering Pepper and Salty are her foster parents and her life before being part of the freak show was as a pet, it's likely that she never received any formal education or was put into situations that allowed for more emotional maturity.
  • Back for the Finale: She is present in Elsa's version of Heaven and is the first one to greet her.
  • Big Eater: Amazon Eve states that Ma Petite never misses breakfast, and wonders where she puts it all.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Sold to the freakshow for 3 cases of Dr. Pepper.
  • Cuteness Proximity: When Ma Petite happily allows Maggie to put her in a glass jar "like a butterfly" and flutters her fingers like so... She's so adorable and completely innocent that you know there's no way Maggie could go through with killing her.
  • Happily Adopted: Apparently, to Salty and Pepper.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Because she took his apology to heart and was willing to forgive him.
  • Kill the Cutie: Frustrated that the twins have disappeared, Stanley and Maggie need something else quick for the museum, and Maggie suggests bringing in Ma Petite. Subverted in that she can't go through with it, even after she puts Ma Petite in a jar. Unfortunately, Dell can.
  • Morality Pet: For Elsa, who treats her with kindness and adoration.
  • Neck Snap: At Dell's hands.
  • Nice Girl: One of the sweetest people in the freak show.
  • Odd Friendship: She and Eve seem to be close, despite the enormous difference in their sizes.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Her pink sari dress is her most common outfit.
  • Too Dumb to Live: So the man who's been causing chaos left and right, is known for a violent temper and just the other night attacked your best friend has wandered into your room in the dead of night to give you a dress? Better trust him.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: A purer example than Meep; both Maggie and Dell take advantage of her innocence and trusting nature in order to kill her. Maggie can't go through with it; unfortunately, Dell can.
  • Woman Child: Despite being an adult woman, she acts about as old as she looks.

    Paul the Illustrated Seal 

Paul the Illustrated Seal

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/180d6f23915d02ef6405c5b8efb37c83.jpg
"The world hated me. But no more than I hated myself."
Played By: Mat Fraser

"My whole life is shame. My only escape was in the dark. I could lose myself in it. There I was transported."

A performer in the freak show, who was born with phocomelia of both arms.


  • Boom Head Shot: Dandy shooting him in the head begins the massacre.
  • The Cast Showoff: Fraser was a drummer for fifteen years, which is why Paul plays the drums in musical scenes.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Grew up in a bad neighborhood unable to fight back due to his deformed arms, and used the dark as a way to escape from it all. He then decided to give them the monster they wanted, tattooing every part of his body but his face.
    "They wanted a monster? I decided to give them one. I could never make the world love me. Maybe I could make it fear me."
  • Friends with Benefits: It is shown that he and Elsa occasionally and casually sleep together.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Paul believes that his handsome face would have made him a star had he been born with a "normal" body. It's also the reason why he decided not to have his face tattooed.
    "I have the face of a pretty lad. Can you imagine this mug on a normal body? I could've ruled the world."
  • Lima Syndrome: Appears to have fallen for Penny the candy striper.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: This is Paul's reaction when he sees that Penny has been mutilated because of him.
  • Nice Hat: Paul is often seen wearing a nifty bowler hat.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: He's already talking to Dandy about the back pay after leaving the Freak Show, and Dandy up and shoots him.
  • Together in Death: He's happily married to Penny in the afterlife.

    Legless Suzi 

Legless Suzi

Played By: Rose Siggins

A performer in the freak show. As her name suggests, she has no legs, because they were amputated two years after her birth to stop a spinal disease from spreading.


  • Accidental Murder: She absolutely meant to stab the tap-dancing beggar, but didn't expect to hit an artery which ultimately killed him.
  • Boom Head Shot: Thanks to Dandy.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Had her legs amputated at the age of 2 due to an undisclosed spinal condition, and was abandoned by her parents soon after. She ended up begging on the street and attacked a male performer, heavily implied if not outright stated to be jealous of his ability to walk. Soon after she entered performance herself, joining the freak show.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mildly, but it's there.
    "I'll have the iceberg wedge. I'm trying to watch my figure."
  • Doorstop Baby: Her parents left her in a basket on the steps of an orphanage. She was two at the time, so presumably the only reason she could fit was because her legs had been removed.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The heavily implied reason she stabbed a fellow beggar in the leg.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Her legs were amputated to stop a spinal disease from spreading.
  • Nice Girl: One of the nicest in the freak show.
  • Searching the Stalls: On the hiding end during Dandy's massacre - she nearly escapes, but Dandy manages to shoot and kill her.
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    Toulouse 

Toulouse

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/toulouse_7829.jpg
Played By: Drew Rin Varick

A performer in the freak show. Toulouse is an ex-convict that was saved from working on a chain gang when Elsa bribed a guard for his release. He has since served as one of several "little people" employed with the troupe. Like most of his fellows, he plays many roles; from cook to stagehand to performer.


    Barbara 

Barbara AKA Ima Wiggles

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/barbara_3356.jpg
Played By: Chrissy Metz

A morbidly obese debutante shunned in polite society because of her weight. Elsa recruits her to the freak show as a new performer.


  • Big Eater: Barbara didn't become a woman-mountain through exercise.
  • Boom Head Shot: How Dandy kills her.
  • Fat Girl: She's morbidly obese.
  • Food as Bribe: Elsa's a dirty negotiator, chomping down on a Baby Ruth to convince Barbara to join the troupe. Part of the package was that Barbara could eat as much as she desires without the usual repercussions.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Jimmy does this with her for comfort while grieving for Ethel's death.
  • Sound-Only Death: Dandy shoot and kills her, but we don't see it occur only the gunshot.
  • Stage Names: Elsa renames her "Ima Wiggles" after Ima Waddler, the stage name of a famous sideshow "fat lady".
  • Stigmatic Pregnancy Euphemism: Inverted. Barbara's mother considers illegitimate pregnancy less shameful than admitting her daughter is just fat, and used a baby as the cover for Barbara to go to a private clinic for weight loss.

    Meep 

Meep

Played By: Ben Woolf

A performer in the freak show. He was born with pituitary dwarfism.


  • Back for the Finale: Can be seen running around Elsa's version of Heaven.
  • Kill the Cutie: Framed for murdering Bunch by Dell, and beaten to death in a jail cell.
  • Manchild: He's immature, can't say anything but his name and is unable to take care of himself at all.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: After his death, Jimmy starts to canonize the guy. He even calls him a 'hero'. It's unclear which of Meep's acts was more heroic: biting the heads off live chicks or getting killed in a jail cell.
  • Pokémon Speak: Only seems capable of saying 'Meep'.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: The first major character to die, a brutal death at the hands of prisoners at that.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: This is certainly how Jimmy views him after he's murdered, though it's more of an Informed Attribute from the audience's perspective.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: He only lasts two episodes.

    Pepper 

    Chester 

Chester Creb

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/e69d1387a073b12b3383f118ba549e06.jpg

A roving magician/ventriloquist. Veteran of WW2, Chester has a plate in his head and worryingly domineering relationship with his dummy, Marjorie.


    Marjorie 

Marjorie

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/5fde3b48c02f1839e128b511c1ddeb99.jpg
Played By: Jamie Brewer

Chester's ventriloquist dummy.


  • Companion Cube: To Chester.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She occasionally snarks at Chester.
  • Demonic Dummy: Subverted. It's unclear at first whether or not she's alive, or if Chester is just insane. Then it's revealed that Chester did in fact murder his wife and her girlfriend, and his delusions led him to believe it was Marjorie.
  • Playing Against Type: While Jamie Brewer's prior characters in the show have had sadistic streaks if pushed too far, they were largely innocent characters and only onepaid evil unto evil. Marjorie is outright malevolent, reveling in Chester's suffering.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: She's clad mostly in red with black accents and is an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette. Whether or not she's actually evil or alive at all is unclear though.

Mott Family and Household

    Gloria 

Gloria Mott

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mott_gloria_8398.jpg
"My son has no friends."
Played By: Frances Conroy

"I loved all of you, Dandy. Even the madness."

A wealthy society woman from Palm Beach, and Dandy's mother. Having spoiled her son rotten, she must now deal with his obsession with Bette and Dot.


  • Accomplice by Inaction: She never commits any of the murders, but she keeps covering up Dandy's crimes and refuses to prevent him from committing more. Had she done something different following Dandy's murder of Dora, many deaths would have probably be avoided. Her refusal to commit Dandy to a mental hospital eventually leads to her own death.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Despite being an Anti-Villain, Gloria is still an accomplice of a murderer. Her death is one of the most tragic scenes of the season, with her being killed by the son she has loved for all his life, after confessing that she couldn't go on if she lost him.
  • Anti-Villain: She loves Dandy, and is only covering up his crime to protect him. Her husband was apparently like him, and implies that she was quite a bit of experience having to deal with psychopaths.
  • As You Know: From "Blood Bath:"
    Dandy: When your father was wiped out by the crash of '29, you would've done anything to get back to a house like this, even marrying your second cousin.
  • Bad Liar: While she was able to lie on the spot about Dora during her phone conversation with Regina, the lies she tells once Regina shows up in person are much less believable. Her anxiety doesn't help.
  • Better the Devil You Know: She would do the world a big favor if she decided to have Dandy arrested, but she always covers him up because, by her own admission, she couldn't go on if she ever lost him.
  • Blatant Lies: When Dr. Feinbloom asks her if Dandy has done something alarming recently, she replies that it's "just a mother's intuition". The exchange is mixed with frames of Dandy's recent murders.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Courtesy of Dandy.
  • Broken Bird: Living with Dandy progressively takes a toll on her stability. Being married to a sociopath didn't help too.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: To the point she hires Twisty because she thinks Dandy needs some amusement. This is subverted as the series progresses, as she understands how psychotic Dandy is. See also Stepford Smiler.
  • Dead Guy Puppet: Her body gets turned into a giant puppet by Dandy, who also sews the head of an unnamed Avon lady to her shoulders to simulate Bette and Dot.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Gets shot to death by Dandy in "Blood Bath", which also gives her her biggest role and a bit of backstory.
  • Death Seeker: Her actions in "Blood Bath" can be interpreted as this. She dismisses Dr. Feinbloom despite his warnings about Dandy, confesses to her son that she cannot love him anymore and, when he's threatening to kill himself, she stops him and openly admits that she can't go on if he dies. Although Dandy aims the gun at her rather slowly, she doesn't even try to hide or escape.
  • Despair Event Horizon: In "Blood Bath", she has to face Dandy's bad reaction at being left by the twins and Regina's sudden arrival. This, coupled with the knowledge of her son's psychotic nature and his blackmailing, cause her to break down as Dandy confronts her and admit that she cannot love him any longer.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Her scene in "Monsters Among Us" tells us a lot about her. She leaves her place to Dandy despite having bought every seat under the tent, comments in a way ("Mother made it toasty for you") that would better fit a toddler than a grown man, is clearly upset by the freaks and later snarks back at Elsa when the latter refuses to comply to her request despite the high offer.
  • Expy: Of Norma Bates from Psycho, with the difference of being submissive and meek towards Dandy where instead Norma was authoritarian towards Norman. The parallel becomes obvious when Dandy turns her into a Dead Guy Puppet.
  • Fatal Flaw: Her refusal to see Dandy for the murderous sociopath he is.
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Had Dandy be raised by nannies, as this was how she was raised. She feels very guilty about it now.
  • Hidden Depths: Able to convincingly lie on the spot about where Dora is when Regina asks. She's also much more conscious of Dandy's madness than she shows.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: Although it wasn't her intention, she raised Dandy in the wrong way, which played a substantial role in him becoming a Serial Killer. She is one of his victims.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: What kind of mother would hire Twisty and leave him alone with her son?
  • Ironic Name: Gloria's situation couldn't be farther from glorious.
  • Kissing Cousins: Married her second cousin so she wouldn't lose her money, though she claims to have genuinely loved him.
  • Mama Didn't Raise No Criminal: At first, she tells Dora that Dandy is "just bored". As the series progresses, however, she comes to acknowledge the truth.
  • Morality Pet: She seems to be one to Dandy, as he at some points seems sorry for how much pain he's causing to her. Subverted in "Blood Bath", as he coldly kills her and bathes in her blood.
  • My Beloved Smother: She would anything do for her son, even if that means buying Bette and Dot for over 15 grand.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After Dandy murders Dora she realizes that her neclectful parenting might have been a role in shaping Dandy's behavior.
  • Parental Neglect: Part of the reason she spoils Dandy so much is seemingly because she was not a very present parent when he was a young boy, letting him mostly be raised by nannies. She feels guilty about her neglect, and wonders if it's the reason he's become such a vicious idiot.
    "He called for me once when he had a raging fever. I didn't go in his room. I was afraid I didn't know how to comfort him. So I sent his governess in. He never called for me again."
  • Preppy Name: Gloria.
  • Pushover Parents: She has no control over Dandy.
  • Rich Bitch: She is very rich and immensely bitchy, looking down on Elsa and the freaks and even offering to buy one of them as if they were livestock instead of people.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Gloria is very wealthy and deeply stupid. She hires Twisty the Serial Killer Monster Clown when she sees him wandering down the side of the road. Keep in mind that he's dressed in a filthy clown costume, his make-up looks like it hasn't been removed and re-applied in weeks and he doesn't say a word. Even Twisty seems a little perturbed by Gloria's decision to hire a mute drifter. The tragic irony of it is that Gloria hiring Twisty means that she doesn't judge people by their looks. While it might be all that the Freak Show performers want, in Twisty's case it would've been a really good idea.
  • Royal Inbreeding: She mentions this to Dandy, and how it's been long-practiced in the Mott family. Confirmed in "Blood Bath, when it's revealed that she and Dandy's father were second cousins.
    "These mental perversions are an affliction of the extremely affluent. Cousins marry cousins to protect the money, to keep the estates whole. Inbreeding. Becomes a rite of passage to have a psychotic or two in the line."
  • Sanity Slippage: At the beginning of the series, she's assertive enough to snark back at Elsa. As Dandy becomes more and more unstable, she becomes progressively gets more scared and anxious. By "Blood Bath", she's chain-smoking and almost on the verge of tears. See also Despair Event Horizon.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: She tends to think she can buy whatever she (or her son) pleases, even if it's a human being.
  • Selective Obliviousness: To her son's flaws. She completely ignores the fact that he kills neighborhood animals for sport. Subverted after he murders Dora. She knows full well it was him within seconds of finding the body.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: While Gloria isn't strictly a comic relief character, she did have a lot of humorous scenes. She is killed in the same episode that her usually over-the-top son is played entirely seriously.
  • Skewed Priorities: Dandy is turning into a serial killer at an alarming pace? Better worry about keeping up a respectable façade than seeking actual help for him. It's taken to the extreme in "Blood Bath" when a clearly deranged Dandy starts blaming her for his own condition. She tries to calm him down until he accuses her of being no better than the Roosevelts, at which she, on the verge of tears, replies "How dare you say that name in this house?".
  • Stepford Smiler: She knows very well that her son is a budding serial killer and her husband was a sociopath himself but she always tries to behave cheerfully and lightly.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: She takes Dandy to the freak show in the first episode, leading to him developing an obsession with it, leading to him eventually buying it and becoming its new owner and the deaths of most of the remaining cast members, as well as Dandy's own death. Also, she pays Twisty to entertain Dandy, which leads to him discovering that he enjoys killing people. Technically, Gloria is indirectly responsible for most of the deaths in the show.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Combined with Stepford Smiler.

    Dandy 

Dandy Mott

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mott_dandy_1442.jpg
"My purpose is to bring death."
Played By: Finn Wittrock

"I am perfection. I am greatness. I am the future, and the future starts tonight."

The spoiled and emotionally stunted son of Gloria, who aspires to join the freak show, as he feels like he identifies with them.


  • A God Am I: Declares himself god in "Tupperware Party Massacre."
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Shamelessly pleads with Desiree, Jimmy, Bette, and Dot to spare his life. Not surprisingly, his pleas fall on deaf ears.
  • The Apprentice: A self-appointed one to Twisty.
  • Arch-Enemy: Dandy eventually reaches this point with Jimmy.
  • Asexuality: Possibly. He dismisses all the women his mother presented to him as "ugly cows," claims to be unable to feel love, and even when he does become convinced that he's in love with Bette and Dot, he displays no sexual attraction to them, and moves in to kiss Bette before pulling back. In the last episode, when he marries the twins, he does bring up the idea of consummating the union, but he seems to be more interested in producing a "freak baby" than the act itself. However, he most definitely is "not a fruit."
  • Ax-Crazy: Prone to extremely violent (but hilarious) tantrums which with Twisty have developed into serial killings.
  • Badass Boast: "I can't die! I'm immortal!" Unfortunately for him, he can and does.
  • Bad Boss: When he becomes the new owner of the freak show, he acts like a complete dick to all of his new employees and sets impossibly high standards for them. When they predictably can't meet his unrealistic expectations, he bullies them to the point where they give him a Reason You Suck Speech, spit in his face, and walk out on him. Unfortunately for them, Dandy doesn't take this lightly. He murders 95% of them.
  • Beauty Is Bad: Dandy is physically good-looking, but he's an immature, bratty child of a man and a murderer.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Shares this with Stanley. He's a wealthy spoiled brat with an obsession with joining the freak show, and a particular fixation on the Tattler twins. He's responsible for nearly every single death in the show, including the majority of the main cast, and while he is not in direct contact with the main cast as often as Stanley, the other main contender for Big Bad status, he is far more active in his villainy.
  • Blood Bath: Believes that bathing in people's blood will give him their power. The first onscreen instance of this comes right after he kills his own mother, though the fact that he is covered in blood after killing Andy might mean that he did this then too.
  • Book-Ends: His introductory scene takes place in the main tent at the freak show where they hold the performances. Guess where the freaks take him to get killed?
  • Boom Head Shot: How he kills his mother, Paul, Penny, Toulouse, Suzi, Ima, and Eve.
  • Bottomless Magazines: His gun during the Freakshow massacre, a simple six shot revolver, fires twelve shots and is never seen being reloaded.
  • Bright Is Not Good: He often wears colorful outfits.
  • The Bully: Seems to have been this to Regina in childhood. In a flashback, he is seen cutting her hair after having tied her to a chair.
  • Camp Straight: Dandy's is either heterosexual or entirely asexual, as it's unclear if he was trying to buy Bette & Dot for sex or for amusement. Either way, he's a flamboyant and melodramatic Psychopathic Manchild who dreams of being a 'thespian'.
  • Cassandra Truth: Tried to warn Dot & Bette about Chester being a psychopath, but they don't believe him. Eventually, the latter got a hint that something was off about him.
  • Catch-Phrase: Repeat after Dandy: "I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU!" It's even his last words.
  • Character Development: He seems to mature over the course of the show, with his tantrums becoming less and less frequent. By episode 12, he appears to have completely morphed from a bratty Psychopathic Manchild into a calm, scheming villain. But he regresses to the former during his dying moments.
  • Color Motif: Red and white seem to be his.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The only reason why he managed to kill Eve during their fight was because he got a hold of his gun again.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Drowned to death in a glass tank by Desiree, Jimmy, Bette, and Dot.
  • The Dandy: Pretty obvious given his name, appearance and demeanor.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: He doesn't seem to really know what to do with himself, but he seems to have his heart set on being a performer of some kind. Later, he decides that his purpose in life is to bring death.
  • Disappeared Dad: Has one. He committed suicide because he had the same psychopathic tendencies as Dandy.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Massacres almost all of the remaining freaks after they humiliate him and walk out on their contracts.
  • The Dog Bites Back: His first murder is the maid, Dora, that spent much of her time complaining and insulting Dandy. Not that she didn't have a reason to do so.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Crosses into this after Twisty is murdered by Edward Mordrake, even taking Twisty's mask for himself.
  • Drowning Pit: How Jimmy, Desiree, and the twins kill him.
  • Dying Declaration of Hate: His Famous Last Words are his Catch-Phrase.
  • Enfant Terrible: Gloria reveals in "Blood Bath", that as a child he would throw tantrums whenever he was told 'no', that he killed a cat after Gloria complained about it digging in her garden, that he tied up Regina and cut off peices of her hair, and that a little boy he used to play with went missing and was never seen again.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Dandy is introduced whining about his boredom like a child, before demanding that his mother vacate her seat so that he can have it... which she does without hesitation.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: He's often dismissive and whiny with his mother, but at least she's not a target of his violent nature. Subverted in "Blood Bath" when he murders her in cold blood.
  • Evil Counterpart: To both Jimmy and Twisty. Like Jimmy, Dandy is a childish Mama's Boy (Jimmy is much more mature than Dandy, but he's still a bit childish, and both he and Dandy are prone to whining), and both are caught up in some sort of love triangle with the twins. Jimmy's on the receiving end of Dot's crush, while Dandy claims to be in love with both of them, but seems to favor Bette (likely because Bette is the more compliant of the two). To further drive the point home, both Jimmy's and Dandy's mothers are murdered in the same episode. The difference is that Jimmy's mother is killed by somebody else, while Dandy kills his own mother. In addition, Dandy has many similarities to Twisty. Again, both are childlike, but in different ways. Twisty is innocent and naive, while Dandy is spoiled and whiny. Twisty is childlike while Dandy is childish. Both are murderers, but the difference between the two is that Twisty doesn't really understand his actions, while Dandy is fully aware that he's hurting others and enjoys it.
    • Also to Chester, who is severely mentally ill due to a variety of traumas, whereas Dandy is implied to have genetically inherited his evil, and is in no way a sympathetic character.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Arguably the biggest ham of the season.
  • Expy: Of Norman Bates from Psycho. The main difference is that he's abusive instead of submissive.
  • Famous Last Words: "I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU!"
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Even in his childhood.
  • Fan Disservice: He may be the show's Mr. Fanservice, but everytime he's giving a Female Gaze, he's usually covered in blood.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The name "Dandy Mott" wouldn't be out of place in a kid's cartoon. Don't let that fool you, however. He's extremely dangerous.
  • From Bad to Worse: Even after killing Dora, he seems to be capable of redemption given his love for the Tattler twins and his mother. Then the twins leave him and he ends up killing his own mother, thus destroying any chance of redemption he could cling to.
  • Fur and Loathing: Wears a fur coat when he visits the freak show and speaks to Chester.
  • For the Evulz: There's no real reason why he put a hit out on Regina other than as a final conclusion to bullying her when they were young.
  • Gaining the Will to Kill: When first challenged by Dora the maid to stab her, he can't go through with it, which she knew. However, he later slashes her throat, seemingly out of raw emotion. Afterward, he's shown to be able to kill people without any hesitation whatsoever.
    • It's possibly a subversion, as Dandy is later implied to have killed another boy as a child.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: The slightest irritant can set Dandy off into a childish tantrum.
  • Hero Killer: Massacres most of the remaining recurring cast at the freak show in the finale.
  • Hidden Depths: While he acts like an overgrown toddler most of the time, he is also incredibly intelligent and manipulative.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When the private investigator he hired to dig up dirt on Chester tells him about how he killed his wife and her lover, Dandy says "What a sicko. How did he kill them?"
  • Iconic Outfit: Most pieces of fan-art show him wearing white pants and a blue sweater over a white dress shirt, with his hair curled in the front. He only wears this outfit once in the show, and his hair is only styled that way in the first two episodes.
  • Idle Rich: Dandy might be able to alleviate his Rich Boredom with a job, instead of wiling away his twenties being a self-involved psychopath.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Tries to join the freak show because he feels that he is one of them, and states that he feels "normal" around Bette and Dot.
  • Incest Subtext: His relationship with his mother gives off this vibe, but it reaches an extreme after Gloria's death, when Dandy turns her corpse into a parody of the Tattler twins, whom he's attracted to.
  • It's All About Me: As a result of his immaturity, Dandy believes that the world revolves around him. Even his "love" for Bette and Dot seems to be more rooted in selfishness than any genuine care for them. Finn Wittrock discussed this in an interview:
    Usually I [draw on references beyond scripts for inspiration], but this has been very much out of my own imagination, and Ryan's. At first I looked at children. That was my biggest source of inspiration, just watching children. My mom worked with babies, babies with autism and stuff, and so we talked about the infant mentality, and what if that mentality just never really matured emotionally, but intellectually it did. Kind of like a baby that just never really grew up. 'Anything that isn't pleasing to me is not doing its job in existence.' It's always me, me, me — which is actually an infant mentality. As innocent as they are, they're also all ego. That's kind of what I keep referring to when I need to get re-inspired with Dandy.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: For a moronic manchild, he's one hell of a shot when massacring the Freaks.
  • Jerkass: He's whiny, aggressive, snobbish and thoughtless.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: When he first gets Bette and Dot, he acts like the perfect gentleman. However, he reverts back to his usual self the instant Dot doesn't do as he says.
  • Karmic Death: Drowned in a glass box filled with water, which is very similar to the way the dead freaks are exposed in the museum.
  • Kick the Dog: Too many examples to list, but his treatment of Gloria and Jimmy stands out.
  • Laughing Mad: After killing Dora and officially becoming a murderer, he begins to laugh in disbelief and joy.
  • Laughably Evil: Goes back and forth between this and being genuinely creepy. Most later episodes avert this, presenting him as a legitimately threatening villain with no comedy whatsoever in his performance, but earlier episodes played him as an over-the-top Large Ham who threw tantrums over the smallest of irritants.
  • Leitmotif: He has a slow Ominous Music Box Tune which usually plays when he's doing something villainous. It serves to highlight his creepy, childlike personality. A snippet of it can be heard here.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: A villainous example. Dandy is very wealthy, but has no friends. In childhood, his only friends were the children of various workers for the Mott family, such as Regina (Dora the maid's daughter) and the gardener's son (who is strongly implied to have been killed by the young Dandy)
  • Man in White: During the Freak Show massacre.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Dandy is very wealthy and always dresses in fancy clothes. He is also a murderous psychopath.
  • Matricide: He shoots his mother and bathes in her blood.
  • Momma's Boy: His mother will do absolutely anything for him if he asks.
  • My Beloved Smother: Dandy is in his twenties and still has every single need catered to by his overprotective mother.
  • Narcissist: As shown by his monologue.
  • Never My Fault: Never sees anything wrong with any of his actions, even when trying to plead for his life.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Reacts with astonishment at the sight of a horribly mutilated Stanley.
  • Noodle Incident: There was some incident with a neighborhood girl which had to be defused by Gloria but only by virtue of the police chief being her high school beau.
    Gloria: I'm still having nightmares about the debacle with the Cushing girl—
    Dandy: I told you a million trillion times, I did not touch her! She was just miffed because I said she reminded me of the pregnant hippo we saw on safari.
  • Oedipus Complex: We know from the start that his relationship with Gloria is dysfunctional but, when he turns her corpse in a mock of the Tattler twins, it becomes clear that Freud would have had a field day with him.
  • Out of Focus: In the last few episodes, he gets about five minutes of screentime total in each, and in one he doesn't even appear at all. Averted in the finale, where he again has a major role though only in the first half, as he is killed off afterward.
  • Pet the Dog: Repeatedly set up and always subverted.
    • He seems to actually love with the Tattler twins. In the end, however, he only values them as "freaks" and sees them as nothing more than another way to entertain himself.
    • Despite his many tantrums, he's above harming his mother. Until he kills her.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: As he is about to be killed, he begins pleading with the remaining freaks to let him live. He offers them money, saying that he has a lot of it.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He despises homosexuals, freaks and poor people. Strangely, judging by his interactions with Dora and Regina, he doesn't seem to be a racist.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: A large aspect of Dandy's character is his emotional immaturity. Despite being in his early twenties, he behaves like an overgrown toddler and his mother indulges his childish antics. He throws tantrums, drinks alcohol from a baby bottle and has a 'playroom' filled with toys and games. He's also psychotic to the core, eagerly helping Twisty in his crimes.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: After he murders Dora, he noticeably begins wearing more red and black clothes, where before he was mostly seen in light blues and yellows, as well as a white clown costume.
  • Rich Boredom: He feels trapped by his wealthy surroundings and aspires to be a thespian.
    "I'm turning to dust from boredom!"
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Like his mother, Dandy is rich but lacks any kind of common sense or self-awareness.
    "Curfews are for poor people."
  • The Rival: Tensions always rise everytime he and Jimmy have a scene together.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Goes on a killing spree in "Curtain Call" after the freaks insult him.
  • Royal Brat: Rich and completely spoiled.
  • Royal Inbreeding: Is the son of Gloria and her second cousin, and is fully aware of it.
  • Sanity Slippage: An interesting case. While his behavior becomes more reserved and refined as the series goes on, he still begins to have more and more wild delusions about himself and the world. He even goes as far as to declare himself God (or at least A god) and immortal. In the earlier episodes, his behavior is a lot less high-functioning, but he at least seems to be more grounded in reality.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: He tries to buy a living human being with his mother's money.
  • Searching the Stalls: He tears apart Desiree's trailer during his massacre, and nearly finds her before Eve came to stop him. He did the same with Legless Suzie who nearly gets away, but Dandy manages to kill her.
  • Self-Made Orphan: He kills his mother and bathes in her blood
  • Serial Killer: By the season finale, he has racked up an impressive body count, including most of the freak show.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Believed himself to be incapable of feeling love before he met the Tattler twins. It doesn't stop him from throwing another tantrum when Dot refuses to tell him a secret. His love for them appears to have faded away by the end of "Bullseye," after he reads Dot's diary and learns that she can't stand him and only tolerates him to get the money for the surgery to separate herself from Bette.
  • Single Tear: He sheds one after killing his mother. Given that he's already behind redemption by that point, it's not a case of Tears of Remorse.
  • Sissy Villain: Dandy is a whiny and somewhat effeminate Manchild who sings show tunes.
  • Smug Snake: Dandy envisions himself as a god and harbinger of a dark new world. He's actually a serial killer who throws murderous fits at the slightest inconvenience, actually whining at his victims for ruining his birthday by escaping him.
  • The Sociopath: The signs are there with his Lack of Empathy but the biggest red flag is the reveal that he killed animals as a kid. Now, he has moved on to humans as well by offing Dora. On the other hand, in "Bullseye," he is convinced that he is in love with Bette and Dot, though that seems to have faded away by episode's end, as he decides to embrace his destiny as a "bringer of death". His sociopathic tendencies were present in childhood, as he is stated to have killed a cat and likely caused the disappearance of a boy he played with.
    "My body holds a heart that cannot love. When Dora died, she looked right into my eyes, and I felt nothing."
  • Spoiled Brat: Dandy is ridiculously spoiled by his mother, who even tries to buy a pair of human beings for his amusement.
  • Start of Darkness: Arguably what pushes him past the point of no return is the murder of Dora.
  • Tranquil Fury: Responds to the freaks quitting the show by calmly strolling around the campgrounds shooting most of them to death.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: As mentioned above, he exhibited signs of sociopathy in childhood.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Dandy is a moron whose mistakes are covered up by his mother's money.
  • Villain Has a Point: While he runs the freak show like a dickish prima donna, he does point out that no one comes to the show because "the thrill is gone." Given the fact that it's supposed to be a traveling freak show, that's likely a valid point. Earlier episodes show a lot more people in attendance, and they also attended one show out of gratitude for Jimmy supposedly saving the kids captured by Twisty. They stay in the same area for months (they spend both Halloween and Christmas in the same spot. Why would the townspeople keep coming back to see the same acts over and over again?
  • Villainous Breakdown: The above-mentioned Character Development goes right out the window in his final moments, as he's reduced to screaming and pleading for his life. Before he drowns, his last words are a familiar "I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU, I HATE YOU!!!"
  • You Are in Command Now: Becomes the owner of the Freak Show at the end of the penultimate episode.

    Dora 

Dora Ross

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dora_7895.jpg
Played By: Patti LaBelle

The Mott family's live-in maid.


  • Bullying a Dragon: Ends up being Dandy's first victim, after he embraced Twisty's legacy after the clown had been killed.
  • Humiliation Conga: The things she's forced to endure as the Motts maid is nothing short of humiliating.
  • Only Sane Woman: In the Mott household. She knows exactly how crazy her employers are.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Dora does not hesitate in letting Dandy know exactly what she thinks of him.
  • Servile Snarker: She might be a servant, but she doesn't take Dandy's shit.
  • Slashed Throat: Gets this at the hands of Dandy.
  • Tempting Fate: Casually mocking Dandy obviously won't end well.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Dandy has a knife and is in position to stab her, and she challenges him to kill her. He can't go through with it. At first.

    Regina 

Regina Ross

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ross_regina_6144.jpg
Played By: Gabourey Sidibe

A wealthy socialite and art school grad from New York who returns home to Jupiter when her mother Dora goes MIA.


    Dr. Feinbloom 

Dr. Feinbloom

Played By: Uncredited

The Mott family's psychiatrist.


Museum of Morbid Curiosities

    Ms. Hennings 

Ms. Lillian Hennings

Played By: Celia Weston

The curator of the Museum of Morbid Curiosities, she collects and buys strange artifacts for her museum. She catches Stanley and Maggie's fraudulence but says if she is offered something of real worth from a freak show she will pay big money.


  • Affably Evil: May be evil, but is generally polite, giving candy to museum patrons on Halloween and she shows genuine concern when Maggie faints.
  • All Just a Dream: Her appearances in "Pink Cupcakes."
  • Greater-Scope Villain: She's the one who 'hires' Stanley and Maggie, tacitly giving them permission to murder in the process.
  • In the Back: With her own letter opener, courtesy of Desiree.
  • Karmic Death: Postmortem, she is decapitated and her head is placed in a jar of formaldehyde just like the other freaks in her museum.
  • Museum of the Strange and Unusual: She runs one.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: In her capacity as curator of the American Morbidity Museum.
  • Off with Her Head!: Is decapitated by Desiree and has her severed head placed in a jar and presented to Stanley.
  • Satellite Character: Until episode 12, Stanley and Maggie are the only living characters she has any interaction with.
  • The Sociopath: Not as apparent as other examples on this page, but she cares more about her museum and making money than human lives. She implicitly gives Stanley and Maggie permission to murder freaks.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Not so unwitting, but she is the one who offers to pay Stanley for dead freaks, and also tells him that one of the last remaining freak shows in the country is in southern Florida, leading him directly to Fräulein Elsa's Cabinet of Curiosities. As a result, she is indirectly responsible for instigating a number of murders, attempted murders, and mutilations throughout the story.
  • Villainy-Free Villain: She technically doesn't do anything villainous. She simply tells Stanley and Maggie that she wouldn't ask questions if they gave her something of real value, which isn't a crime in and of itself. As far as we know, she had no idea that the freaks were being killed and their bodies sent to her museum. For all we know, she could've been told that they died naturally and willingly donated their bodies to the museum. At most, she's an accessory to Stanley's crimes. It is for this reason that many fans objected when Desiree stabs and beheads her.
  • Wicked Cultured: A well-spoken, educated woman of class and means, she is shown drinking wine and wearing expensive outfits, and her office is decorated with taxidermy, pictures of Greek architecture, and leather-bound books. She also has no regard for the life of freaks.

    Stanley 

Stanley

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/stanley_2156.jpg
"Nobody cares what happens to a freak."
Played By: Denis O'Hare

"Fraulein Elsa's Cabinet of Curiosities is about to have a terrible run of bad luck."

A con-artist who is working with Maggie to gain access to the Freak Show. He often works under false names and wears disguises. He'll do anything for a quick buck, even if it means murder.


  • All Gays Are Promiscuous: Seems to enjoy the company of male prostitutes quite a lot and apparently frequents a local gay bar. He also propositions Dell.
  • An Arm and a Leg: The freaks chop his arms and legs off and force him to be their new geek once they learn of his true intentions.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: As a psychopathic con artist willing to murder the freaks for their deformities to sell to a museum. He's understandably a credible threat. It turns out, after Twisty snuffed it, he was in the running with Dandy to be the Big Bad of the season until "Show Stoppers" where he is captured by the freaks, has his limbs removed and forced to become their new geek. Leaving the true Big Bad role to Dandy, or at least, leaving him to be the remaining one.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: The man he has a one night stand with is visibly impressed by the goods.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Due to being a Con Man. Stanley goes one step further by being an unrepentant aspiring killer.
  • Blackmail: Does this to Dell in order to get him to kill a freak for him after he sees Dell in the gay bar.
  • The Charmer: Stanley is a quick talker with an easy smile, which helps in his capacity as a con man.
  • Con Man: And not a very good one at that, from what we see in his introduction. He claimed to have a double degree from Harvard and tried to sell a "baby sasquatch" skull to a museum, but the curators quickly debunk his credentials and the authenticity of the skull. He's found a more willing victim in Elsa, who knows him as "Richard Spencer, talent scout".
  • Evil Mentor: To Maggie, his partner-in-crime.
  • Evil Orphan: Tells Jimmy that he never knew his parents. It's unknown if this is actually true, or if it's just another one of his lies.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Instead of killing him, the freaks chop off his arms and legs and force him to be their new geek.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Stanley can turn on the charm like few others, but it's all an act. In truth he's a repulsive psychopath.
  • Kick the Dog: After Maggie fails to deliver a dead freak, admits to her that he would kill and sell her if she were worth any money.
  • Lab Coat Of Science And Medicine: In his first onscreen ruse as "Dr. Sylvester Mansfield."
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He convinces Jimmy to give up his lobster hands so he can sell them to the museum. When Maggie sells him out to the freaks and they go after him, he loses his own hands, and both his legs.
  • Nice Hat: Par for the course in The '50s setting. This makes for a subtle but humorous sight gag in the penultimate episode when, after the freaks cut off his limbs and placed him in a cage, they were at least nice enough to put his hat in there for him.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: He isn't shown directly doing much, preferring to have others do his dirty work for him.
  • Replacement Goldfish: The Freaks made him "their new Meep".
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: As part of his con-artist schtick.
  • Smug Snake: He isn't quite the talented and savvy con man he thinks he is.
  • The Sociopath: If his beloved daydreams of murdering people for profit are any indication. Nobody exists in Stanley's world except for Stanley.
  • Straight Gay: Stanley is gay but he isn't effeminate or camp. At most he's something of a ham.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Maggie tells everyone about Stanley's plans, they all surround him, and he completely sheds his usual Smug Snake attitude and begins whimpering and bargaining.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Last seen limbless and in a cage at the end of "Show Stoppers" and doesn't appear in the finale. As all the freaks are massacred shortly afterwards, he presumably dehydrates to death a few days later, but his fate is never shown.

    Maggie 

Maggie Esmerelda

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/esmeralda_maggie_4631.jpg
"That's the problem. I know every guy's intentions."
Played By: Emma Roberts

A con artist, posing as a Fortune Teller with a crystal ball, working with Stanley.


  • Alas, Poor Villain: Averted. Maggie tries to be an atoner for her past actions, even as far as selling out Stanley, but when Chester kills her in his "Magical Saw" act, none of the other Freak Show performers were saddened by the loss.
  • Becoming the Mask: Maggie joins the Freak Show at Stanley's behest, to help him kill and sell the freaks. However, she gradually comes to genuinely care for the freaks, particularly Jimmy who she falls in love with.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Maggie quickly wins over people with her charming manner and startling beauty, but she's really just a con artist who's repulsed by the freaks. At first.
  • The Charmer: It's part of her talent as a con artist. She quickly and efficiently defuses the standoff between Jimmy and the police officer at the phone booth.
  • Color Motif: Green is heavily associated with her in the entire show's run.
  • Con Man: Working with Stanley, she's a con artist seeking to make money off the freak show.
  • The Dragon: To Stanley.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: The poor girl ends up sawed in half out of the blue and no one seemed to give a damn.
  • Expy: Subverted. At first, Maggie's story appears to be really similar to that of the character Cleopatra from Freaks. Both of them are working at a carnival (Maggie as a "fortune-teller and Cleopatra as a trapeze artist), both are able-bodied and begin romancing a carnie with a disability (Maggie with Jimmy, who has syndactyly, and Cleopatra with Hans, who has dwarfism), both are really involved in a nefarious scheme to steal from the freaks (Maggie and Stanley want to steal organs to sell to museums, Cleopatra and Hercules want to steal Hans's large inheritance), and both, while "undercover," clearly express their repulsion towards the freaks. However, as the story progresses, Maggie begins to feel guilty over what she and Stanley are doing, and develops genuine feelings for Jimmy. She even tries to redeem herself by selling Stanley out to the freaks, but unfortunately for her, they still don't like or trust her and don't care in the slightest when she's killed by Chester.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted and then played straight. Maggie seems conflicted about murder, but makes out to Stanley that she's only concerned with possible punishment, but she's genuinely conflicted.
  • Fortune Teller: Her disguise for the Freak Show.
  • Guilt-Ridden Accomplice: To Stanley; while he's The Unfettered, Maggie quickly finds herself plagued by feelings of intense guilt.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Chester hallucinates that she is his wife while she is in the box to do the sawing in half trick, so he handcuffs her ankles so she can't get her legs inside the box and literally saws her in half.
  • Heel–Face Turn: She feels remorse for her role in Stanley's schemes and rats him out to the freaks.
  • Kid Sidekick: Far from being a kid, but she's Stanley's sidekick nonetheless. In a flashback it's revealed that she was his Kid Sidekick when they first started out.
  • Meganekko: Wears specs in her first appearance.
  • Pet the Dog: She helps free Twisty's captives and distracts Dandy long enough to help them. She also tries to help save Jimmy from Stanley's schemes.
  • Phony Psychic: She pretends to be a fortune-teller, when she's really just a con artist working with Stanley.
  • Redemption Equals Death: In a cruel and tragic fashion, confessing she had a hand in some of the Freaks' disappearances and selling out Stanley, she's killed by Chester when the latter hallucinates her as his late, cheating wife, and it didn't even anything to do with the murders!
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Develops genuine feelings for Jimmy, and tries to redeem herself by selling Stanley out to the freaks so they can exact their revenge upon him. Unfortunately for her, Jimmy's feelings for her have completely vanished by the time she begins to attempt to redeem herself, and none of the other freaks like or trust her. They don't even care when Chester kills her, and Desiree even says to "steal her jewelry, then bury the bitch." When Jimmy is told that she is dead, he has very little reaction to the news.
  • Sherlock Scan: She’s a master of it. A quick look around Elsa’s tent and a few seconds is all she needs to figure out Elsa’s life story and the best way to con her.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Disguised herself as a boy when she was younger so she could earn money selling newspapers.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: She eventually becomes fond of the freaks and tries to atone for her actions.
  • Two First Names: Esmeralda is a popular given name for girls in Latin American countries and some countries in Europe.

Police

    Bunch 

Det. Robert Bunch

Played By: Dane Rhodes

A local detective who targets the Freak Show and the Tattlers as suspects in both the murder of Eudora Tattler and Twisty's killings.


  • Asshole Victim: Bunch was a smug jerk who was openly prejudiced against the freaks, so his death isn't exactly mourned.
  • Character Death: Jimmy slashes his throat to protect Bette & Dot.
  • Corrupt Cop: Right before Jimmy had killed him, he was abusing his power, stating he was bringing down the rest of the police to the carnival and arrest everyone else.
  • Hero Antagonist: Averted, though he clearly thinks he is one.
  • Jerkass: Bunch might be correct that Bette & Dot killed their mother (or Bette did at least) but he's also enough of a bigoted jackass to try and pin Twisty's killings on them.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Jimmy slashes his throat before he gets his sentence out.
    "I call you whatever I want, you fre-!"
  • Slashed Throat: Jimmy cuts his throat with a straight razor.
  • Tempting Fate: Bunch belittles and insults the group of people surrounding him, even when he knows one of them is a murderer.

    Colquitt 

Det. Jack Colquitt

Played By: P.J. Marshall

  • Dirty Cop: Colquitt doesn't hesitate to murder an innocent when offered a vast sum of money.
  • The Dragon: He's become one to Dandy.
  • Greed: He's largely motivated by cash.
  • Jerkass: To an enormous extent. He's rude, prejudiced, dismissive, aggressive and corrupt to the core.
  • Karma Houdini: Disappears after arresting Jimmy and thus gets no comeuppance for siding with a rich sociopath or killing an innocent civilian in cold blood.
  • Killer Cop: Colquitt kills Regina, the person who called him to help in the first place, just for a hefty payday.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He has plenty of distaste for freaks.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Disappears two episodes before the finale, which is odd considering his role as Dandy's Dragon.

Other Characters

    Edward 

Edward Mordrake

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mordrake_edward_150.jpg
"It is not in my heart to make you or anyone else a victim, my good woman. But the visage is unrelenting. I am its slave."
Played By: Wes Bentley

A dark tormentor and legend among the freaks. He has two faces: a normal one and one on the back of his head that whispers evil things to the other face. His second face can tell when people lie and knows peoples' darkest secrets. His attempts to kill his second face drove him mad and his family committed him to an Asylum, only for him to escape. Edward does not enjoy the evil acts he performs but feels helpless to resist the whims of his other face. While his normal face is remorseful and polite the other face is depraved and enjoys the suffering of others.


  • Apologetic Attacker: As he explains to Ethel, it's not his will to kill anyone, but he's compelled by his second face.
  • Back for the Finale: Reappears in the finale after last appearing in episode 4 to kill Elsa.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: He's wearing an 1800s style suit.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Edward kills Twisty, saving Jimmy's life in the process and ending the demented clown's reign of terror.
  • Darkest Hour: He's interested in knowing each freak's darkest moment and deepest shame. The rest of the narration seems rather unimportant to him.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: He collects the souls of the freaks he deems monstruous enough for his own troupe, but he's polite and patient with his victims. When he reaps Twisty and, later, Elsa, he does it in a quick, almost painless way.
  • The Dreaded: To all the freaks, as they refuse to perform on Halloween for fear of summoning him.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: According to legend, this is the fate of any freak that joins his troupe.
    • Possibly averted, as Twisty seems pretty content as part of his troupe, and he even has the power to send Elsa to her own personal heaven.
  • Driven to Suicide: His evil face eventually got the better of him; Edward killed his freak show friends and hung himself.
  • Living Lie Detector: He invites potential victims to spill their darkest secrets but warns them that his demonic face can see through lies. If caught lying, it guarantees a one-way ticket to hell.
  • Nice Hat: He's constantly seen wearing a nifty top hat.
  • Ominous Fog: He's accompanied by fogs a la The Undertaker everytime he appears.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: A given since he is dead, but his spirit is summon on Halloween if a freak does a performance.
  • Public-Domain Character: Edward Mordrake is a real-life but highly disputed legend.
  • “The Reason You Suck” Speech: Gives a short but vicious one to Elsa.
    "You are a tattered waste of oxygen who bolsters herself with contempt for others. I am not here to take you on to greatness, woman. I am here to take someone with me to the other side, perhaps you."
  • Slasher Smile: His second face. The people who died after summoning him end up with one as well.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Par for the course with being a ghost. He usually does this when he leaves and is far more conspicuous with his entrances.
  • Two-Faced: He has a second face on the back of his head that whispers dark thoughts and forces him to kill.
  • Urban Legends: One that turns out to be very real.
  • Whispering Ghosts: This is the noise most often heard from his second face.

    Twisty 

Twisty the Clown

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/twisty_1918.jpg
"..."
Appearances: Freak Show | Cult

"I'm a good clown."

The "Clown Killer", a murderous washed up clown who puts the freak show in his cross-hairs when it comes to town.


  • Advertised Extra: While he has a role to play in Cult and his return was promoted accordingly, it's mostly relegated to the first few episodes.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Once his backstory is revealed, he becomes truly pitiable. At least there's some comfort in his pain being over. Edward doesn't seem like a bad sort at all, for a ghost.
  • All There in the Manual: Not once is he explicitly named "Twisty the Clown" in the season, and you would only know that from the promotional material. Even the closed captions from the fourth episode just refer to him as "Twisted Clown". However, he is referred to by name in Cult.
  • Anti-Villain: Surprisingly, he becomes one after "Edward Mordrake (Part 2)". The reason he killed because he wanted to get kids away from their mean parents.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Became a part of Edward Mordrake's entourage.
  • Ate His Gun: Attempted this. It failed horribly.
  • Ax-Crazy: Due to being a Serial Killer. Twisty is violently unstable at the best of times, and it's a mystery what drives him to kill in the first place. It's due to mental problems and a Dark and Troubled Past that he is like this, it turns out.
  • Back for the Finale: After his last appearance in episode 4, he reappears in the finale as part of Edward Mordrake's coterie.
  • Berserk Button: Claiming or implying that he's a pedophile.
  • Big Bad: Of Freak Show according to Ryan Murphy, although Murphy has been known to lie. He's certainly the most dangerous character. Turns out he was a Disc-One Final Boss - and ultimately not unsympathetic, at that - getting killed off just one-third of the way through the series.
  • Bungled Suicide: Somehow managed to fail at killing himself with a gunshot to the back of his mouth.
  • Childhood Brain Damage: One of the dwarves in his flashback mockingly asks him if his mom dropped him on his head. It turns out she did.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: He was a simple man, rendered at least partially mentally disabled from being dropped on his head, and worked as a clown in a circus. But the freaks spread lies, saying he was a pedophile. When word got around, he was left jobless and had to go back to Jupiter. He tried making toys for kids, but failed and wigged out upon being accused of being a pedophile once again. He tried to commit suicide, but failed, and the Jupiter Freakshow (Jimmy in particular) ran him off. So he started 'saving' kids.
  • Daylight Horror: He attacks his victims both at night and in broad daylight.
  • A Death in the Limelight: He's killed in the episode his history is revealed.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: What he turns out to be, as Edward Mordrake kills him in episode 4.
  • Driven to Suicide: Tried to kill himself with a shotgun after being accused of pedophilia and having his reputation ruined.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Twisty isn't mentally stable, but even he's utterly baffled by Dandy's childish nature and doesn't seem to enjoy having to be around him that much.
  • Facial Horror: The type of mask he wears covers the bottom of his actual face. It's revealed that he has no lower jaw, with the mask hiding rotten teeth and a hanging tongue. It seems very clear that when he failed to kill himself with a shotgun, he received no proper medical attention for it.
  • Friend to All Children: Despite frequently terrifying them, Twisty actually loves children and wants to entertain them, he just doesn't seem to understand the he's traumatizing them instead. He abducts Corey, thinking he's saving him from his "mean" parents and abducts Bonnie so he'd have a "pretty babysitter".
  • Hidden Depths: For a naive and mentally disabled man, Twisty's actually pretty artistic as he made unique toys that were supposed to be for kids, and even crafted his own trademark mask for his missing jaw, which is pretty impressive, albeit creepy looking.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: Used to be a very kind and naïve clown whom only enjoyed entertaining children. When rumors were spread about him molesting children, he insisted he couldn't go to jail, for his mother had told him jail was for bad people, and he was a good person.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Cult reveals that he becomes the star of a comic book series called The Twisty Chronicles long after his death.
  • Leitmotif: Like Dandy, he has a music box tune as his. It sounds very similar to Dandy's but it's slightly different.
  • Man in White: He's mostly clad in a (literally dirty) white clown-suit and has white clown make-up.
  • Monster Clown: He's a serial-killing clown with a truly terrifying get-up. To top it off, he has no lower jaw. It becomes subverted, once we see his backstory in "Edward Mordrake (Part 2)".
  • Mood-Swinger: While 'performing' for his kidnap victims, he starts off (relatively) benign but when he messes up a balloon animal trick he flies into a rage. This is because he is apparently partially brain-damaged.
  • Mysterious Past: Almost everything about Twisty is a mystery. Where did he come from? What's his real name? Why is he killing and kidnapping? What happened to remove his jaw? Though the latter two questions are answered in episode four, Edward Mordrake (Part 2).
  • Non-Ironic Clown: What he used to be.
  • Obliviously Evil: He sees absolutely nothing wrong with what he does.
  • Obviously Evil: He doesn't speak, wears a shabby, unwashed costume, his make-up is old and peeling and his cap appears to be made from somebody's scalp.
  • Off with His Head!: Two of his victims so far have been decapitated.
  • Pet the Dog
    • Twisty tries to cheer his young kidnap victim Corey up with a toy robot he took from a recent kill in a toy store. He may have even gone to the toy store in the first place to get bring something back for Corey. Subverted quickly when Corey shows no reaction beyond horror, and Twisty shows him a victim's severed head out of irritation.
    • He also did no harm to Gloria when she hired him.
  • Perpetual Smiler / Slasher Smile: Due to the mask he wears over the lower half of his face.
  • The Pig Pen: His costume looks like it hasn't been washed in ages.
  • The Quiet One: Outside of angry roars and deep grunts, he's yet to say a single word. Justified due to his jaw, or lack thereof.
  • Serial Killer: Twisty is preying on the town of Jupiter. He's killed 5 people.
  • Silent Snarker: He doesn't need to speak to shoot some witheringly sarcastic looks. His interactions with Dandy are something to behold as far as facial expressions go.
  • Slasher Smile: Though it's actually a mask concealing his damaged jaw.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Edward Mordrake is able to understand him, and it allows him to tell his story.
  • Starter Villain: Twisty is the first antagonist the freaks have to face before getting killed in episode 4.
  • Tragic Villain: Twisty has perhaps the most tragic, unfair and horribly miserable back-story out of every American Horror Story incarnation. Even Edward Mordrake's evil second head weeps for him.
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: Not that clowns don't already cross into the Uncanny Valley with their makeup, but Twisty's makeup, which looks like it's been caked on and never been removed, really takes the cake.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: While Twisty is not exactly harmless himself, he is ultimately well-meaning and only strives to be a "good clown." However, he is indirectly responsible for sending Dandy down the path to becoming a murderer.

    Bonnie 

Bonnie Lipton

Played By: Skyler Samuels

A young girl who is kidnapped by Twisty, after he murders her boyfriend Troy.


  • All Women Are Lustful: She really wanted to have sex with her boyfriend, being the one to make sure they didn’t have to go thru the Trojan Gauntlet, which is quite something in a story set in The '50s.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. By the 3rd episode of her incarceration she’s covered in filth and her hair looks like a rat’s nest.
  • Cool Big Sis: Acts as one to Corey when they were kidnapped by Twisty.
  • Damsel in Distress: Is being kept in a cage by serial killer Monster Clown. It doesn’t get more distressing than that.
  • Damsel out of Distress: She hits Twisty with a 2x4 and makes a successful escape while Twisty goes after Corey. Too bad Dandy recaptures her almost immediately.
  • Daylight Horror: Her boyfriend and she are attacked in the middle of a sunny picnic.
  • Death by Sex: Her boyfriend was savagely murdered just as they were about to have sex, and she gets kidnapped.
  • Hope Spot: The first time she escapes Twisty's bus, she runs into Dandy thinking she's saved. Unfortunately, he throws her over his shoulder instead and returns her to Twist's bus.
  • Nerves of Steel: Even in the horrendous situation that she’s in, she keeps enough presence of mind to try to use flattery to get Twisty to release her and the little kid.
  • Put on a Bus: After being rescued by Jimmy and Maggie, she never appeared again.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Bonnie goes through absolute hell. She witnesses her boyfriend being brutally murdered before her eyes, she's trapped for days in a disused bus with a serial killing clown who shows her severed heads, her escape attempts are always thwarted (save, of course, for the last) and Twisty isn't even feeding her.

    Corey 

Corey Bachman

Played By: Major Dodson

A young boy who is kidnapped by Twisty, after he murders his parents.


  • Children Are Innocent: Partly why Twisty never harms the kid, aside from scaring him. As it turns out, Twisty just wanted to entertain the kids.
  • Hope Spot: Thanks to Bonnie, he very nearly escapes but is caught swiftly by Twisty.
  • Put on a Bus: After being rescued by Jimmy and Maggie, he never appeared again.

    Penny 

Penny

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/penny_1215.jpg
Played By: Grace Gummer

A candy striper at the local hospital.


  • Abusive Parents: Has one in the form of her shotgun-toting daughter-mutilating father.
  • All Women Are Lustful: She participates in a drug-fuelled orgy with the freaks. Deconstructed, though, since she was doped up to the gills and couldn't give informed consent.
  • Beauty to Beast: When Penny's father finds out that she's planning to run away with Paul, he hires a guy to tattoo her face with scales, shave her hair into a matching pattern, and cut her tongue into a forked "lizard" shape.
  • Blackmail: Elsa blackmails Penny with footage of her freak orgy.
  • Boom Head Shot: Courtesy of Dandy.
  • Break the Haughty: When she's first shown she's rather unsympathetic. When she's next shown she's completely traumatized by her time at the freakshow and though it's not completely explained what she went through it's obvious that she's been changed by it.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Dandy shoots her to death, we only see a huge amount of blood splatter.
  • Hospital Hottie: Deconstructed. Penny only volunteers at the hospital because the other choice would have been reform school. At work, she is admonished by her colleagues for wearing excessive makeup and generally being unproductive. And while she has the bad girl attitude, she is understandably traumatized after being held in captivity at Elsa's carnival for several days and threatens to go to the police, only to be blackmailed with a film reel of herself engaging in an opium-fueled orgy with the carnival freaks.
  • Mercy Kill: Discussed in the gossip about Bette and Dot being admitted to the ward, she claims that she would have drowned them first thing after giving birth.
  • Overprotective Dad: She has a shotgun-toting one.
  • Seemingly-Wholesome '50s Girl: In contrast to the other housewives and townswomen of Jupiter, who keep their inhibitions in the dark, Penny doesn't make much a secret of her own vices and absolutely hates the boring and stifling middle-class lifestyle.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Penny appears to have fallen in love with Paul and sneaks out to visit him when he missed their meeting.
  • Traumatic Haircut: As part of her father's mutilation.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After becoming a part of Desiree's Amazon Brigade, she takes down her father alongside her "sisters" (Desiree, Eve, and Suzie).
  • Together in Death: With Paul in the afterlife.

    Dr. Bonham 

Dr. Bonham

Played By: Jerry Leggio

    Vince 

Vince

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/f25ced39618188e6d680afe7a5e65e9a.jpg
Played By: Lee Tergesen

Penny's abusive father who works a well respected electrician.


  • Abusive Parents: To Penny, who he mutilates as punishment for her relationship with Paul.
  • Bald of Evil: Balding, but nonetheless completely evil.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: After Penny tells him that she is going to join the freak show, he claims he is not a murderer. And then he gives her a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Honor-Related Abuse: He disfigures his daughter's face and forks her tongue to disown her because he needs to maintain his "sterling professional reputation".
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He is tarred and feathered by the female freaks for what he did to Penny. It leaves him horribly disfigured, much as he disfigured Penny.
  • Overprotective Dad: To extremes with his daughter Penny. He's smothering and barges into her room without knocking. Vince is the person she really needs protecting from.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Presumably after Penny's death in the finale.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: He's delighted to see his daughter's expression after he's done mutilating her, excitedly asking for a mirror so she can see her new face. And he never raises his voice while doing so.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: His household weapon is a shotgun, and he isn't exactly afraid to whip it out at the slightest provocation.

    Andy 

Andy

Played By: Matt Bomer

A hustler working in a gay bar, one of his many clients is Dell who he has been having an affair with.


  • Dead Star Walking: Matt Bomer is a pretty big name in television, headlining his own series. It helps Andy survive just as much as being a big name helped Adam Levine and Clea Duvall in Asylum.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: He's a male prostitute and lasts all but one episode before getting killed by Dandy. Dandy even specifically chose him because, due to the time period, he's an invisable person who won't be missed.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: He's a strict professional, but chooses to let Dell down easily when explaining that he's just a client, not a lover.
  • Nice Guy: He's generally a pretty amicable guy.
  • Rasputinian Death: Dandy stabs him over and over, which is pretty par for the course but Andy just won't freakin' die. He's eventually lying on a pool of his own blood begging to die.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Dandy brutally murders him in his introductory episode.

    Massimo 

Massimo Dolcefino

Played By: Danny Huston

An artisan prosthetist in wartime and a cinematic prop-maker thereafter who helped Elsa following her near death incident.


  • Artificial Limbs: He's a creator of them.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: How he met with Elsa after the war where he put his medical uses as a back alley doctor of sorts.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Kind, gentle, soft-spoken and polite...and also willing to kill for the woman he loves.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Arden/Gruper keeps him captive and brutally tortures him for a long time.
  • Drop the Hammer: Was seen using one as a Nazi Hunter. It makes sense given his profession as a prosthetist.
  • Groin Attack: Gruper/Arden electrocuted his genitals.
  • Nice Guy: Massimo is a loving and caring man, polite and affable to everyone. He was genuinely in love with Elsa and only didn't seek her out because he felt guilt over his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He tracks down and mercilessly kills everyone involved in Elsa's mutilation...except for our old friend Dr. Arden/Gruper, who proves too much for him.
  • You See, I'm Dying: When he sees Elsa once again in the finale, she asks for him to come along with him but he denies her stating he had gotten a lung cancer that only made him have a month to live.

    Angus 

Angus T. Jefferson

Played By: Malcolm Jamal Warner

Desiree's new boyfriend.


    Larry 

Peppers brother in law.


  • Abusive Parents: Kills his baby because it annoyed him by crying.
  • Frame-Up: frames Pepper for infanticide.
  • Hate Sink: He has no redeeming features at all and we are clearly not meant to like him.
  • Jerkass: Even before he murdered his child and framed his own sister in law, he behaved like a self-serving prick, and even pressured his wife (who's no better than him) to kill their son and frame Pepper for it so they could be rid of them both.
  • Karma Houdini: Big time.
  • Offing the Offspring: Kills his own baby just because it annoys him.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Would kill a baby.

    Sister Mary Eunice 

     Dr. Hans Gruper 
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