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Curtain Call Recap

Paul supervises the new banner going up for the show, advertising Dandy sings Cole Porter. Penny suggests that they join another show, but Paul warns her that there's nowhere else to go and they're at the end of the line. He figures that they should keep letting Dandy pay them as long as he can.

In the big top, Dandy is supervising the lighting for his rendition. Paul and the others come in and confirm that the banner is hung up. However, he admits that they haven't sold any tickets. Dandy blames them and Paul tries to reassure Dandy, who insults them all and figures that no one is coming because the freaks are boring. He tells them that the audience wants new freaks and touches Penny. Paul tries to stop him and Eve punches Dandy to the ground. The freaks pin Dandy down and Paul says that none of them will put up with a pretentious prick singing Cole Porter. He says that Dandy is a lousy singer and boring, and doesn't own them. They announce that they quit and walk away,

Elsa returns to the World Broadcasting Network in Hollywood and demands to see the president, Henry V. Gable. The receptionist tells her that Gable is busy and that he sees no one without an appointment... and Elsa doesn't have an appointment. Elsa insists on waiting in the lobby for Gable. Hours go by until the building closes. Elsa demands to see Gable and the receptionist says that he went out the back to avoid her. When she says that Marlene Dietrich did a better accent than Elsa, Elsa slaps her and the security guard wrestles Elsa to the ground. A man comes out and tells the guard to release Elsa, and asks her what her name is. He helps her up and introduces himself as Michael Beck, and admits he changed his last name so that no one would think he was a Communist. Elsa thanks him for his kindness and Michael explains that he's the junior vice president of casting.

Dandy is in his tent applying makeup and then goes out into the camp. Paul approaches him to talk about their last week's pay, and Dandy shoots him dead. He finds Penny hanging up the laundry and kills her, and then goes to the mess tent and kills another freak. Suzi tries to crawl away beneath the tables, but Dandy finds her and shoots her as well.

Desiree is in her trailer and hears the shots.

Dandy continues through the camp, shooting anyone he comes across. Eve finds Paul's body and sees Dandy shoot down another freak The freak picks up an axe and goes after him.

Dandy finds Barbara and kills her. He goes into Desiree's trailer and tears the place apart trying to find her. He prepares to shoot into the closet where she's hiding, but Eve tackles him. Dandy loses her gun and they struggle for it, and Eve knocks him out of the trailer and beats him. He manages to knock her off, grabs the gun, and shoots her in the leg and then the head. Dandy goes back inside and checks the closet, but Desiree is gone. Furious at being thwarted, he leaves without seeing Desiree hiding behind the bed.

Once everyone is dead, Dandy goes to the Tattlers' tent where he has the twins tied up. He ungags them and asks the sisters to come with him.

That night, Jimmy returns to the camp and tries to feed himself using his new hands. He realizes that no one is around and goes to Elsa's tent, and discovers that she has gone. When he enters the big top, Jimmy finds all of the freaks piled up in front of the stage. Desiree comes in and they hug in relief and sorrow.

Later, Dandy holds a wedding in his manor. The Tattlers are dressed in white and come to the altar. Father Kelly performs the wedding and Bette happily pledges herself to Dandy while Dot looks on. They kiss while Dot looks on and says that she's happy for Bette. Dot assures Dandy that he and Bette will have their privacy, and she can just leave her body. Dandy warns that he can get nasty if his manhood is compromised, but Bette says that they have hired a new housekeeper and she's prepared a wedding feast of everything that Dandy likes.

As the couple has dinner, Dandy assures the Tattlers that they will have a lot of children. He's looking forward to have lots of freak babies... and then starts to collapse. The new housekeeper--Desiree--sits down next to Dandy and opens her blouse to reveal her three breasts. The Tattlers say that he's been had and that they could never marry the man who killed their real family. Dandy realizes that he's been drugged and tries to stab Desiree with a knife, but the Tattlers shoot him in the arm with his own gun. He sits down and Desiree calls in the butler for the next course. It's Jimmy, who presents him with a card inviting people to Dandy's debut performance. They tell Dandy that he'll finally be the star attraction as he passes out.

When Dandy wakes up, he finds himself chained up in a glass tank. Desiree, Jimmy, and the Tattlers are there, and tell him that he's in Hardeen's famous escape tank.

Earlier, Jimmy tells Desiree that they can't just kill Dandy. Ethel would have wanted Dandy's death to be theatrical.

Jimmy and Desiree tell Dandy that the escape is his chance to be the star of the show. Dandy insists that God gave him a purpose and he fulfilled it, and tells the Tattlers that he loves them. He begs them to let him out so they can go home, but Bette screams that she hates him for killing her friends. Desiree describes how Stanley killed some of the freaks and put them in jars, and tells Dandy that he's the biggest freak of all. They start pumping water into the tank and Dandy insists that he can't die because he's immortal. Jimmy says that they will always win because they will always defend each other, and the freaks shall inherit the earth. The performers sit down to watch the show as Dandy drowns slowly and painfully.

Eight Years Later

A newsreel introduces the new Hollywood Walk of Fame and the ceremony honoring Elsa and her variety show. She has released three albums honoring her German origins, with her husband and manager Michael Beck at her side.

On the set of The Elsa Mars Hour, Elsa and Michael film a commercial for coffee. Elsa quickly cuts and complains about the writing, and tells the writers to work on it. She goes to her dressing room, and Michael brings in Judy Manners, the VP of publicity for the network. Judy is there to discuss a spread for Parade Magazine for Halloween. Elsa says that she never performs on Halloween, despite the fact she is factually obliged. She pours himself a drink and tells Judy about how Michael was a nobody when she found him. Then she made the mistake of marrying him, and Michael thinks more about her audience than she does.

In the past, Elsa dominates Michael in the bedroom.

Elsa tells Michael that she has a luncheon engagement at home and walks out. She meets with Massimo and apologizes for leaving him in Florida. Massimo explains that he left when she left, and joined the Army in Nevada to build dummy homes for atomic test sites. He remembers her learning to use his wooden legs and points out that she has everything that she ever wanted. Elsa says that she's bored and alone, and she and Michael cheat on each other. She describes how eight years ago, she made a birthday wish to be loved. Massimo says that he loves her and Elsa suggests that they run away to Rome. The carver says that he's cursed with a dream that came too late, and he came to say goodbye. He has cancer and will die in a month/ Elsa, crying, realizes that she will have no one.

Later, Michael comes home with Gable and they find Elsa drunk on the couch. She says that she won't do the Halloween show, and Michael says that it isn't about that. Gable tells Elsa that Hedda Hopper acquired some of Elsa's pre-war porn films... including the one where her legs were cut off. Michael is shocked at how she lied about how she lost her legs, and says that he's leaving. Gable says that Hopper will publish the article on the film and there's nothing that they can do. Hopper also hired a PI to trace Elsa back to Florida, and discovered that all of the freaks are dead. Gable reminds Elsa that there's a morals clause in her contract and they'll pay her out. As he goes, Elsa says that she'll do the Halloween show, figuring she might as well go out with a bang.

On the night of the show, Elsa takes the stage and the audience applauds. She then begins her number.

Desiree and Angus are taking their children trick-or-treating when Desiree sees Elsa on TV. When he says that their TV at home is just fine, Desiree says that everything they have is just fine.

At home, Jimmy watches Elsa and admits that she has guts. He then helps his pregnant Dot and Bette sit down, and they assure him that their girls are doing fine. As Jimmy and Dot kiss, Bette turns off the TV.

Mordrake and his ghostly freak show arrive at the Elsa's Hollywood star.

Mist pours into the studio and Mordrake and his freaks enter. Elsa sees them and stops singing, and Mordrake says that he's never forgotten her black soul. She tells him to take her now, and Mordrake realizes that she's committing suicide. Elsa admits that she's the biggest freak of all. No one else can see the ghosts, and Twisty assures Elsa that it only hurts for a moment. Mordrake stabs her in the chest and Elsa collapses. However, he tells her that her place is not with them.

Elsa finds herself back at the freak show, in her old costume. Ma Petite greets her and Elsa picks her up, happy at the reunion. The other freaks are there as well and say that it's good to have her back. Penny tells Elsa that she and Paul got married. Ethel tells Ma Petite that she'll take it from there, and tells her that all they can do is play the parts they're cast in. When Elsa wonders if she has to pay for her sins and mistakes, Ethel says reminds her of what Elsa always said: stars never pay. She hugs her friend and says that they have a full house very night. The only downside is that they've been missing their headliner.

Surprised, Elsa realizes that she's supposed to perform. She goes to her tent and Ma Petite makes her up. An audience appears and Ethel introduces Elsa. The curtain opens and everyone gives Elsa a standing ovation as she steps forward and sings.

Written by Gadfly on Oct 6, 2015

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