Curtain Call (American Horror Story)

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"Curtain Call"
American Horror Story episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 13
Directed by Bradley Buecker
Written by John J. Gray
Featured music

"Heroes" by Jessica Lange

"Life on Mars?" by David Bowie
Production code 4ATS13
Original air date January 21, 2015 (2015-01-21)
Running time 53 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Show Stoppers"
Next →
"Checking In"
American Horror Story: Freak Show
List of American Horror Story episodes

"Curtain Call" is the thirteenth episode and season finale of the fourth season of the anthology television series American Horror Story, which premiered on January 21, 2015 on the cable network FX. It was written by John J. Gray and directed by Bradley Buecker.


After purchasing the freak show from Elsa (Jessica Lange), Dandy (Finn Wittrock) blames the freaks for the lack of tickets sold. Having enough of their new owner, the remaining freaks push Dandy to the ground and announce that they all quit the show.

Elsa arrives in Hollywood and immediately sets out to fulfill her dreams of stardom. She requests to meet with the President of WBN, but is turned down by the secretary who makes her wait for nothing. However Elsa does meet Michael Beck (David Burtka), the Vice President of Casting at WBN.

In a rage, Dandy walks the camp grounds with his pistol and begins to massacre the Freaks; killing Paul (Mat Fraser), Penny (Grace Gummer), Suzi (Rose Siggins), Toulouse (Drew Rin Varick), Ima (Chrissy Metz), Eve (Erika Ervin), and multiple carnies. Desiree (Angela Bassett) is the sole survivor of the carnage, avoiding Dandy by hiding in her closet. Jimmy (Evan Peters) returns to the Freak Show to find his entire family displayed under the big top, dead. Desiree reveals herself and the two embrace, horrified over the bloodshed. Bette and Dot (Sarah Paulson), having survived the shootout, now stand at the altar with Dandy. Bette agrees to his hand in marriage and the sisters announce they’ve brought in a new maid to make Dandy a glorious banquet. At dinner Dandy begins to feel light headed and it’s revealed that Desiree posed as the maid and drugged Dandy with the help of the twins and Jimmy. Confused and betrayed, Dandy learns of the freaks plan to seek vengeance on him before he passes out. Dandy awakes to find himself locked in Hardeen Houdini’s Chinese Water Torture Cell. Desiree, Jimmy, Bette and Dot watch as he is slowly drowned in the tank.

In 1960 a now-famous Elsa receives a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Married to her manager Michael and having immense fame, Elsa is still unhappy and meets with her old flame Massimo Dolcefino (Danny Huston). Elsa asks to run away with her and they can move to Rome, but Massimo confesses that he is dying of lung cancer. She is later confronted by her husband and the President of WBN when a copy of her snuff film surfaces. Realizing she’ll never find true love and that her career is nearly over, as well as the fact that her family of "freaks" had all been murdered, Elsa finally agrees to perform a Halloween special - knowing the effect of doing so. Singing on a live telecast, Elsa summons Edward Mordrake (Wes Bentley) and his coterie, including his newest addition, Twisty (John Carroll Lynch). As Elsa sings, Desiree, now with a family of her own after marrying Angus (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), is shown watching the broadcast, along with a pregnant Bette and Dot who are now happily married to Jimmy.

Mordrake knows this is Elsa’s way of killing herself, so he banishes her to the Freak Show grounds after stabbing her to death. Walking into the big tent, Elsa is greeted by Ma Petite (Jyoti Amge) and all her other deceased monsters, including Ethel (Kathy Bates) who welcomes her back. She takes the stage along with her family in the afterlife, finally finding fame and true happiness.


The episode was watched by 3.27 million viewers,[1] a significant increase in viewership from the previous episode.


  1. ^ Sara Bibel (January 22, 2015). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: American Horror Story Wins Night, Duck Dynasty, The Game, Broad City, Melissa & Joey & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved January 28, 2015.