Welcome to the freak show

“American Horror Story” returns for its fourth season on FX with more than its fair share of frightening moments and this time there’s even a clown.

By now we’ve all come to expect interesting things from “American Horror Story,” ranging from season two’s incident with Santa Claus to the brutal portrayal of sexual violence in season three’s opening episode. This new season, subtitled as “Freak show,” does not disappoint as we get acquainted with some new faces along with the one’s we’ve seen in past seasons.

Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson return as new characters, in a whole new setting and time frame. The characters we get a glimpse of are what you would expect from a freak show carnival. There’s a bearded lady, a lobster boy, and a young woman measuring two-feet tall.

Set in 1950’s Florida we see “Elsa Mars,” played by Lange, searching for a new act for her show, which is dwindling due to the spread of television. This is where Paulson, playing siamese twin sisters “Bette/Dot Tattler,” comes in as the hope for the traveling shows poor ticket sales. All in all the returning actors and actresses continue to deliver the caliber of performances we have come to expect from them. If the premier is any indication of what this season will be showing us, it will most certainly be shocking and surprising, which is saying something considering what the show has aired in the past.

The most surprising, and terrifying, aspect of the first episode comes in the form of a clown. A very large clown, with a very, very large grin who spends the majority of the episode either terrorizing, kidnapping or murdering various people spread around the shows setting of Jupiter, Fl. The clown, played by veteran character actor John Carroll Lynch, is referred to as “Twisty the clown,” and is the most frightening and, pardon the pun, twisted aspect of the show so far. But, if history has proven anything, the show is going to be getting much more graphic as the season continues.

The episode was not without a few moments of excessive violence and lewd behavior, but by now this seems to be par for the course when it comes to this series. In all honesty, we should be worried if there are episodes that bore us and put us to sleep. A word of warning to the faint of heart: be careful when it comes to the end of the episode. It gets a bit bloody.

All in all, a very good start to the new season. Granted there were a few moments where the pace of the show slowed down a bit, but the pace picks up almost as quickly as it dropped off. Will the show continue to shock us as we delve into the fourth seasons twisted storyline, or will it be overshadowed by previous seasons macabre characters? We’ll find out every week with the show airing on Wednesdays.