Orphans started out on such a sad note, but Pepper was owning the screen. Played by Naomi Grossman, Pepper has mainly been applauded for pulling off that hair and makeup, but tonight she was finally allowed to really shine. As Elsa tells the story of how she met Pepper and then we see how she ends up back with her sister Rita, Grossman delivers such a finely tuned and heartbreaking performance. Such a kind and gentle pinhead, she has lost her soulmate and now the one person who originally showed her kindness is dropping her off like bad luggage. Elsa explains that Pepper has known only abandonment, yet she chooses to leave her with a woman who has negative interest in taking care of her.
Despite her horrible living conditions, Pepper finds joy in the arrival of her sister's, new baby. Unfortunately, Rita, played with alcoholic realism by the always wonderful Mare Winningham, has no interest in her baby or Pepper. Making matters worse, her husband Larry, is a first class jerkface and suggests that he kill the baby and then they can blame it on Pepper which will rid them of both freaks. Matthew Glave has previously played a crazed serial killer for Ryan Murphy on Nip/Tuck and he delivers the slimy, creepy goods once again as a man who has no problem killing his own child.
Enter Sister Mary Eunice. Yes, TV Babies, here it is; the much talked about crossover between AHS;Freakshow and AHS;Asylum. As someone who, until recently, felt Asylum was the weakest link in the AHS franchise, I was not as excited by this appearance as others were. While it was nice to see an entire history of a character, this episode went on for an extra 17 minutes in what felt like scenes from Asylum that just got picked up off of the cutting room floor. Pepper is such a lovely character and Grossman absolutely killed it this episode and, somehow, it all felt so long and dragged out.
In between the Pepper drama, Emma Roberts continued to be a terrible actress, Desiree found a new love and reminded us why we love her spicy attitude, the twins continue to "do right by Jimmy" and Stanley just keeps on keeping on.
As fan theories swirl about what AHS season 5 is going to bring us, we were left with the biggest and most unbelievable chestnut thus far; Elsa Mars ends up on the cover of LIFE magazine. Bitch, I don't think so. These last three episodes better have an utterly fantastic explanation of how a former prostitute who starred in an internationally famous snuff film, collects monsters and does David Bowie covers in a raggedy sideshow ends up on the cover of the same magazine that also saw Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly on it's cover.
Orphans felt more like a vehicle to connect Asylum and Freakshow and less like a cog in the Freakshow machine. Ryan Murphy and his team tend to go over the same stories again and again in different forms with different characters via Nip/Tuck, Glee and AHS; 98% of the time, this is what keeps it fun, but that other 2% can just feel, well, lazy.
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Article first published at HorrorHoneys.com. Lisa is the TV Honey
Images: IMDb & tv.com