We had a big week here on AHS: Trigger Warning. Basically, this episode was a parade of things to be afraid of, from 4 chan Internet trolls manifesting physically in local politics to guns, bees, skin cancer, marital problems, sexually aggressive nannies, meat hook murders, racist Mike Pence looking cops, blackouts, terrorists, looters, neighbors, and of course, clowns. Jesus Christ, what a list! This is a panoply of fear!
We pick up where we left off, which I guess was a supposedly scary cliffhanger featuring the three faced clown in bed with Paulson. Truth time: I’m not scared of clowns. I just saw It in the theater, and I actually got up and walked around the lobby because I was a bit bored midway through. The AHS clowns have yet to bite any arms off, so they are doing even less to my nerves. Our lady Sarah Paulson, however, is terrified. She runs downstairs to her wife, Alison Pill, screaming like a loon. The two go upstairs to investigate and I have to pause for a minute to talk about this master suite. There is a clawfoot tub and this spectacular two-sided fireplace that connects to the bedroom. Everytime I see this, I swoon. Interiors, y’all! Anyway, they search the bedroom and then start getting sexy on each other before either of them realize they have an actual child in the house. This child’s name, as I had secretly suspected, is...OZYMANDIAS. As in, “Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair.” As in the most pretentious name, and one that makes no sense in an aspiration way. Why would you name your precious infant after a long dead king who is a symbol of the impermanence of human endeavor? Because it sounds cool? Guess what, I hate you.
Anyway, the child who never asked to be named by two assholes is being terrified by Twisty, our 1950s killer clown, and the three faced clown that I would bet my mortgage payment on being Evan Peters. This seems real, but it isn’t, because Twisty is dead. Our neglectful parents wake him from his night terrors and he crawls into Pill’s lap and pulls away from Paulson, clearly influenced by his terrible nanny’s manipulation about his “real mom.” Or maybe it’s just that Paulson is fucking nuts and he wants sane Mommy instead.
After the underwhelming credit sequence (I’ve found the credit sequences to be the creepiest thing about this show in seasons past), we cut to the local news. Recently-beaten-by-immigrants Evan Peters, whose harrowing ordeal was caught on tape by Billy Eichner, bruised and slinged and has a truly repulsive neck beard, is running for the council seat now opened from the clown murders last week.
My oh my how my blood pressure soared when Evan Peters started recounting Trump’s real comments about criminals and rapists. I mean, is this real life? We know the whole thing was a setup, so we know in advance that Billy Eichner and his parasol loving wife are in league with this fuckstick. Anyway, Pill is watching the TV at the restaurant (like executive chefs do, you know) and she gets the exact look I had on my face, which is basically, why am I even alive?
At home, Paulson spies on the new neighbors. The moving truck pulls up and they unload barrel after suspicious barrel. The chick is so cray that she sneaks over and peers in their window. When Billy on the Street comes out, she runs away! My god. That was the most cringey moment. Just say hi and pretend to be not crazy for one second!
The next day, Paulson goes to the restaurant, where everyone wears lab coats in the kitchen. I don’t understand the restaurant business in this show. The aggro ginger head chef mixes it up with the Latino staff, and literally brings a ladle to a knife fight. He snaps that they will only be speaking English in his kitchen--again, has anyone writing this ever worked in a restaurant? One of the Latino cooks, Pedro, gives it back to him and they get all male about it. Disgusting. When the aggro ginger tells Paulson she needs to fire Pedro, she whispers, “I can’t fire an immigrant in this climate!” Somebody whomp her with a ladle.
Back at home, the world’s worst nanny and the world’s most pretentiously named child are hashing it out. Poor Oz is mad at Billie Lourd because she said that his story about the clown murders was not true. She’s like, let me tell you about how to lie, and then ropes him into her pinky-promise bullshit (which has a prominent spot in the aforementioned credit sequence). She takes him to visit the clown murder house.
Our ladies come home and freak that their child is not in. Billie Lourd is like, chill, he’s next door at the clown murder palace. They tear ass over and meet the neighbors: Billy Eichner and his wife. These people are the champions of the overshare, spilling their financial history, their sexual proclivities, and their intense Nicole Kidman stan. Eichner is a gay, gun nut beekeeper and his wife is a skin cancer survivor with a boss collection of floppy hats. They had one of those only in a rom-com pacts to get married by 35 if they were single, and they went through with it! Eichner does call Paulson on her snoopy bullshit. They drink Krystal Lite lemonade and reference Beyoncé (THE QUEEN BEE HUH?)
That evening, the alarm at the restaurant goes off and Paulson, feeling increasingly isolated from her son, gets real brave and volunteers to check it out. Pill is like, really? Off our heroine toddles and she finds…aggro ginger hung from a meat hook.
The next scene features everyone’s favorite, Dr. Bad Therapist. He drops by the house, clearly at Pill’s request, to check on Paulson after several missed sessions. Meanwhile, workmen install metal bars to the windows. Paulson is doing just fine, thank you, because the murder at the restaurant has confirmed that her phobias are justified. She's got another reason to be fine: a shiny new handgun, borrowed from Eichner. She whips that fucker out like a true cock replacement, like she’s Charles fucking Bronson in 1970s New York. This show has never seen a hat upon which it cannot place another hat, so we have a flashback to Eichner holding a gun and saying, “It’s so phallic. I like it.” YEAH GUNS ARE DICKS LITERALLY EVERY AMERICAN KNOWS THIS INSTINCTIVELY. Dr. Bad Therapist is like, whoa, this is a tad alarming. They also touch base about the murder, and flash to Detective Handsome Mike Pence, who, while handsome, is just as racist as his doppelgänger. The cops want to pin it on Pedro (who, we must admit, was seen threatening the dead ginger with a knife). He inquires about his immigration status, and Pill says, he’s American. The flashback ends and Dr. Bad Therapist goes outside to consult with Pill, telling her that things are okay for now but not revealing the fact that Paulson just whipped out a gun.
Time out: let's talk about how terrible Paulson’s character is. She is a hypocritical, fake liberal. Earlier, she asserted that the Latino chef, Pedro, was an immigrant, when he was born in San Diego. When she finds out her murdered neighbors were renters, she sneers. SHE VOTED FOR JILL STEIN! She won't take Xanax! She is, as my bonus child would say, a turd.
Well, now she's an armed turd. What could go wrong?
Evan Peters stops by because we haven’t seen much of him. He starts out with his stump speech, but Paulson tells him that she didn’t appreciate him slinging a latte at her, and she wants to build bridges, not walls, while she stands behind an actual wall. He does call her on her bullshit but he gets weird and rattles her cage.
Billie Lourd, who reminds me exactly of this goth teenager I saw at the mall with Frankenstein boots and a CREEPY DOLL ON HER SHOULDER, moves in on Paulson. Oh, you can unwind without those nasty pills, she says. Let me run you a bath. Then there is a gross ass seduction scene, including back washing and front “washing.” It's like the minute you give a woman a gun she turns into a man. The power goes out, and Paulson freaks. Eichner hilariously knocks on her window and says:
He tells her a whole bunch of crazy shit about terrorists or North Korea taking down the power grid, and how the hordes of looters will be here soon. She flips and Billie Lourd says, Peace out!
Pill calls, but the connection is bad and the phone dies. She sends Pedro over with a box of provisions. Back at home, there is a total clown attack. These mfs are jumping from every corner. Paulson drags her son out of the bed and through her psychotic break. They end up at the kitchen door, where she tells him to run as fast as he can to the neighbors and to not let go of her hand. She throws open the door and shoots the figure standing there: innocent Pedro with the box of supplies, in a twist any blind human could see coming from about fifteen minutes away.