When the show opens, we see that Salty has died. Pepper (Naomi Grossman) grieves over Salty’s death. Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) speaks with Stanley (Denis O’Hare), who tries to convince her it is time to head to Hollywood, but Elsa refuses and insists Pepper needs her. Stanley chops off Salty’s head and puts it in the museum.
Elsa speaks with Desiree (Angela Bassett) about her past. She talks about visiting an orphanage and meeting Pepper. Elsa reveals how she brought Pepper home and how Ma Petite (Jyoti Amge) joined their group. Elsa traded three cases of Dr. Pepper for Ma Petite and Pepper became a mother figure to Ma Petite. Next, Elsa explains how she acquired Salty (Christopher Neiman), who became Pepper’s spiritual husband.
Desiree insists on finding Pepper’s sister, since she’s lost everyone she ever loved. Elsa agrees and suggests Pepper should be allowed to go back home. When the show returns, Angus and Desiree pay a visit to Maggie Esmerelda (Emma Roberts). The pair ask what Maggie sees in their future. She predicts they’re going to start a new life out west, before everything goes bad and the pair begin to despise one another, which makes Desiree and Angus leave in anger. Maggie gets drunk and admits to Desiree that she isn’t a fortune teller. She begins telling her about her business with Stanley. We see their petty operation in Kansas City. Despite spilling the beans on everything, Maggie refuses to tell what her and Stanley are after. Desiree threatens to kill Maggie, if she finds out they’ve been hurting their kind.
When Maggie returns to her tent, she is met by the Tattler twins (Sarah Paulson), who attempt to give her money to pay for a lawyer for Jimmy (Evan Peters). They argue over Maggie’s love for Jimmy. The twins throw the money at Maggie and demand she does right by Jimmy. Next, Stanley pays Jimmy a visit at the jail. Jimmy admits he doesn’t know whether or not he killed the girls. Stanley suggests getting Jimmy an expensive attorney, but Jimmy needs to keep quiet. Stanley insists they’re going to need a retainer, but Jimmy doesn’t have anything. Stanley believes he has a plan to get the money.
Back at the Freak Show, Desiree cooks a large meal, but is belittled by Maggie. The pair go to a private spot, where Maggie tells her everybody will be dead, if she doesn’t listen to her. Next, Elsa takes Pepper to visit her sister. Elsa attempts to give Pepper to her, but her sister is afraid of how her husband will respond to Pepper. Her sister agrees to let her stay. Elsa leaves, after a long goodbye. Next, Maggie takes Desiree to the Morbidity Museum, where she finds Ma Petite’s body and Salty’s head. A new exhibit is uncovered, which is Jimmy’s hands.
Next, Pepper’s sister visits the hospital and speaks about a previous baby, Lucas, who happened to be deformed. She speaks with Sister Mary Eunice McKee (Lily Rabe) about Pepper. Lillian (Celia Weston) speaks about Pepper’s treatment at home, before suggesting Pepper is a murderer. It is revealed that Lillian’s husband came up with the plan to kill two birds with one stone. He kills the baby and frames Pepper for it, which is why Pepper ended up at the Asylum.
Sister Mary believes Pepper has remorse and uses her to help around the Asylum. Pepper sees a magazine with a picture of Elsa on the cover.
Orphans started out fantastic, but quickly turned sour, in what turned out to be the worst episode of the season. This is a real shame, since Naomi Grossman performed immaculately as Pepper. It was painful to watch her work with such low quality material, which wound up looking like a garbled mess. The episode was filled with meaningless moments. Pepper’s story could’ve been told over the past episodes or within fifteen minutes. Instead, it was drug through the mud. This was certainly a miscalculation and it showed.
Don’t forget about the overly convenient writing of Maggie Esmerelda, who stupidly gives up all of her secrets to the woman she hates. Still, this is the only meaningful action of the episode, in terms of pushing the storyline further, which speaks to the horrific failure of Orphans, as a whole. Overall, this was simply a weak episode, in which everything that could possibly go wrong did. A 5.0 out of 10 is well deserved.
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