1 user 17 critic

Edward Mordrake: Part 1 

1:35 | Trailer
Elsa defies superstition to rehearse on Halloween, summoning the spirit of Edward Mordrake and his ghostly band of freaks.


Michael Uppendahl


Ryan Murphy (created by), Brad Falchuk (created by) | 2 more credits »





Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Sarah Paulson ... Bette Tattler / Dot Tattler
Evan Peters ... Jimmy Darling
Michael Chiklis ... Dell Toledo
Frances Conroy ... Gloria Mott
Denis O'Hare ... Dr. Sylvester Mansfield / Stanley
Emma Roberts ... Miss Rothschild / Maggie Esmerelda
Finn Wittrock ... Dandy Mott
Angela Bassett ... Desiree Dupree
Kathy Bates ... Ethel Darling
Jessica Lange ... Elsa Mars
Wes Bentley ... Edward Mordrake
Celia Weston ... Lillian Hemmings
John Carroll Lynch ... Twisty the Clown
Skyler Samuels ... Bonnie Lipton
Naomi Grossman ... Pepper


It's Halloween and those who work at the freak show have a day off. Ethel tells the the story of Edward Mordrake, a man with a second face on the back of his head. After escaping from an insane asylum he joined a freak show where, after a Halloween performance, he killed all of his fellow performers. Since then, it's been considered bad luck to have a show on Halloween. Jimmy and others bury their friend Meep. Bette continues to have a nightmare - which for Dot was a beautiful dream. Dandy wants to go trick or treating but isn't very happy with the costume his mother selected for him. He wants to be a clown, just like his friend. Maggie Esmerelda, a fortune teller, arrives looking for a job but something far more sinister is at work. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Horror | Thriller


TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


When Kathy Bates' character talks about Edward Mordrake she says that his family committed him to the crazy house up in Bedlam. This refers to Bethlem Royal Hospital, a London psychiatric institution and the origin of the word for chaos or madness. See more »


During the rehearsal scene, Elsa smacks away the music sheet, clearly displaying "Criminal" By Fiona Apple, which was released in 1996. See more »


References The Woody Woodpecker Show (1957) See more »


Gods and Monsters
Written by Lana Del Rey and Tim Larcombe
Performed by Jessica Lange
See more »

User Reviews

As Always, AHS's Halloween episode doesn't disappoint
23 October 2014 | by ArchonCinemaReviewsSee all my reviews

Freak Show's third episode takes inspiration for a new character from the real life Edward Mordrake, the "Two Faced Prince" but with a classic American Horror Story twist.

Airing only two episodes prior to the third of the season, surprisingly a lot of information has been introduced to viewers. Twisty the Clown, the savage serial killer, has made a new friend and maybe even a psychopathic partner. We've been introduced to the brutish strongman with a temper and his lady partner and fellow performer, the woman with three breasts. The freaks hustle to create a mesmerizing performance despite faltering sales and the police continue to tear into the carnival on the search for the killer terrorizing their quaint Florida town.

First of the American Horror Story two part episodes standard for the series. Episode three of the Freak Show season tells the carny folklore regarding abstaining from performing on Halloween due to an old superstition from the 1800's. Meanwhile it further delves into the lives of freaks, especially Ethel, Dandy and Jimmy, who is enamored by a pretty fortuneteller and new addition to Elsa's Cabinet of Curiosities.

It seems Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk find their footing by the Edward Mordrake Part 1 – the third episode of Freak Show. Having finally set the stage for the season it seems as though the introductory groundwork is complete for the most part for Freak Show. Halloween has a tradition of being some of my favorite episodes of the American Horror Story series across the season and once again the holiday provides a twisted, macabre and perverse focal point.

For the first part of the Edward Mordrake story arc creators Murphy and Falchuk center in on the emotions and reactions of the carnival's performers as they deal with their own painful pasts and the events transpiring around them. Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange each get the chance to shine as they are forced to confront their darkest secrets.

Lange's Elsa once again gets to perform a song much more modern for the 1950's time period. Originally performing David Bowie in the series premiere, Elsa gets to put her spin on Lana Del Rey's Gods and Monsters. A fitting song title but a painfully transparent attempt at relevancy and tactic for shock and ultimately viewership.

Episode three of the Freak Show season chooses to spotlight certain characters as the main attraction with a fleeting glimpse at other characters as they take a step back as a more minor role. In doing so, attention to the direction of Edward Mordrake's part 1 is sacrificed for far less beautiful, off-kilter and inferior cinematography to episode two's Massacres and Matinees. Even with this vast improvement, Freak Show still tries to shove a bit too much into one episode and I am sure most of these plot lines will have no influence or importance in the series finale.

For a two part episode, the 'hook' at the end was mildly disappointing and not very captivating to yearn for the conclusion and rest of the story.

For more reviews of Freak Show episodes and recent movie releases, please check out our website!

8 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See one user review »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

22 October 2014 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed