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Tear Jerker / American Horror Story: Freak Show

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As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.


  • Pepper's inevitable fate. We know from American Horror Story: Asylum that she'll be unfairly framed and sent to Briarcliff.
  • The fate of poor Meep: framed for murdering Detective Bunch and killed in a jail cell.
  • Ethel's trip to the doctor and subsequent diagnosis of fatal cirrhosis of the liver. Kathy Bates really knocks the scene out of the emotional park.
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  • Bette's despair at Dot's insistence on getting 'surgery'.
  • Paul decided to get a full body tattoo, except for his face.
    Paul: I have a handsome face. I have the face of a pretty lad. Can you imagine this mug on a normal body? I could've ruled the world!
  • In what has high money for surprise tearjerker of the season, Twisty's backstory. From Kindhearted Simpleton who loved entertaining kids, to disfigured and mentally broken Serial Killer.
    "I'm so dumb.. I can't even kill myself."
  • Hate or Love Elsa, the backstory of how she lost her legs to a snuff film is pretty heartbreaking, especially since it ruined any hopes she had of mainstream stardom.
  • Desiree revealing her struggle as an intersex individual is really awful. Especially worse considering the state Dell has left her in.
  • Gloria revealing to Dora's daughter how she feels she has failed as a mother and the moment Dandy stopped calling her for help when he needed it as a child.
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  • What Dell does to the doctor's hands. The poor man was only trying to help.
  • The audience being visibly uninterested in Elsa's heartfelt performance, and even booing her.
  • Dandy's speech after reading Dot's diary. While he's an unsympathetic asshole and a murderer, his words can hit close to home for someone who's dealt with a breakup or unrequited love while struggling with depression or mental illness.
    Dandy: I wish you could be inside my body for one minute to know what it feels like to be me. It's like when I had tuberculosis and you took me out to the Utah desert, and there was nothing but dry, open space for hundreds of miles around us. That is what is inside of me. Those girls were a cool stream of glacier water. My heart bloomed as they nourished it. And now it's all gone. There is nothing left but the dust, and the scorpions inside of me. I was never destined to feel love. The desert knows no mercy. Anything you try to plant out there dies.
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  • Ma Petite's murder by the hands of Dell - he lures her into a false sense of security by giving her a nice dress as a present, and she thanks him with a hug. This allowed Dell to crush Ma Petite's neck, and even his tearful remorse didn't make him sympathetic at all.
  • "Blood Bath" is pretty much a huge one for Gloria, and it paints her as one of the biggest woobies of the season.
    • It's revealed during her therapy session that she always knew that Dandy was a sociopath. And later we find out that her husband was just like Dandy. It means that most of her Cloud Cuckoolander behavior was just a veneer to cope with it.
    • It reaches its zenith in the scene where Dandy kills her. Just listening to her voice during that scene is so heartbreaking. She just sounds so defeated, to the point she doesn't even try to escape when Dandy points the gun towards her.
  • Dot's confession of love to Jimmy, which results in her getting rejected (though not unkindly).
    • Pretty much everything having to do with Bette and Dot in this episode, crossing with Heartwarming Moments when they affirm their love for each other, in stark contrast to the bitterness and anger that existed in earlier episodes.
  • This episode is almost an hour and half of utter heart-wrenching. Watching Pepper go from happy in the freak show, to framed for murder by her sister, and then dumped in Briarcliff.
    • The implication that Elsa sent her away to prevent her from being killed and put in a museum makes it even worse. She was trying to save her.
    • The episode starts with Pepper losing her husband Salty and grieving.
    • Pepper was found in an orphanage, nonverbal and sitting in a corner alone. Elsa taught her all she could then took her away, and Pepper loved her unconditionally. Elsa got Ma Petite for Pepper to have someone to call her child, and got Salty so she could have a soulmate and spouse, and the three of them were absolutely happy together.
    • The scene where Desiree reads a distraught Pepper "The Velveteen Rabbit", and Pepper's desperately crying and pleading her to stay when she has to leave the room because she's so desperate for the smallest bit of comfort.
    • The sister doesn't even really want Pepper but is convinced by Elsa, who takes a tearful goodbye from Pepper.
    • Then the sister gets pregnant unexpectedly (she claims that when she was taken in for stomach pains, she was informed she was in labor and she had no incentive to lie about that part.)
    • The baby is born deformed, so it's pretty much only Pepper taking care of it, while the mother is drinking one martini after the next (which she could have done all through pregnancy, causing the deformity.)
    • The sister and her husband both hate having Pepper and the baby around, so they plan to kill the baby and frame Pepper: The husband goes into the bathroom while Pepper is bathing the baby, forces Pepper out of the room, locks the door, and mutilates and drowns the baby while Pepper is crying outside.
    • At Briarcliff, Pepper is hitting her head in the wall until Sister Eunice comes, then Pepper asks about the baby with tears running down her face. Sister Eunice takes this as a sign of remorse and redemption and is determined to feed that seed with kindness. She takes Pepper to the library and asks her to sort the different newspapers and magazines in different stacks, which Pepper does happily. Pepper sees Elsa's face on the front of one of the magazines and she touches the hand Elsa kisses at their goodbye to her face (which Elsa told her to do when Pepper feels alone).
  • Jimmy waking up in the hospital with no hands.
  • The sheer cruelty and pointlessness of Maggie's death make it this as much as it is Nightmare Fuel. She wanted redemption in the freaks's eyes so badly, but none of them care about her death or try to help her; once they start getting over the gruesomeness they just witnessed, they just rob her corpse and bury her.
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