October has finally arrived, which means pumpkin spice lattes and cuffing season for some, but for those of us who appreciate things that go bump in the night, nothing matters more than the return of "American Horror Story."
Fortunately, Halloween-Mas came early for MTV News this year, as we were able to screen the first two episodes of "Freak Show" days before its October 8 premiere. Here are the seven relatively spoiler-free things we just couldn't keep secret:
1. Twisty The Clown Is Hardcore Nightmare Fuel
As the creepier-than-ever promos have already revealed, the big bad this year will be John Carroll Lynch's John Wayne Gacy/"It"-style character, Twisty the Clown. Twisty's psychopathic, almost comically terrifying ways reveal themselves early, but the fact that he doesn't say a word (at least in these two episodes, anyway) make him a mystery worth solving, as well as the series' most memorable monster to date. (Ian McShane's "Asylum" Santa would shudder with fear if he ever came face-to-face with Twisty.)
"Freak Show" creator Ryan Murphy told Buzzfeed that he was worried about people going into cardiac arrest after Twisty's big, episode one intro, and he should be -- I adored clowns growing up to the point where my bedroom had a circus motif, but even I will never look at a red nose again without thinking back to Twisty's unflinching brutality.
2. Paulson And Lange Lead The Way
Sarah Paulson and Jessica Lange have been "AHS" darlings since season one, and "Freak Show" will be no different. The first two episodes reveal that the show -- which has occasionally committed the sin of becoming too bloated with tertiary characters -- will largely revolve around Lange's Elsa Mars, who goes around the country recruiting "freaks" to both save them AND suit her own needs, and Paulson's conjoined twins Bette and Dot.
A "colorful" (to say the least) cast of characters slowly but surely joins in on the action once the two-headed lady rejuvenates Elsa's dying show -- the series takes place during the dawn of the television age -- but having two strong actors to anchor all of the action was a smart move, since it should keep the plot from flying too far off the rails.
3. ... But Peters Is Not Far Behind
"AHS: Coven" did itself a disservice by making Evan Peters' character completely mute, and "Freak Show" fixes that with Peters' scene-stealing Jimmy Darling. Another theme this season is the discrimination the freaks face from the Jupiter, Florida population, and Jimmy is the de facto leader/voice of the people for this colorful and disenfranchised group. He also has something very special that he can do with his giant fingers, which should never, ever be viewed with one's parents.
4. The Scares Are All Real
Both the "Murder House" and "Coven" series of "AHS" focused on supernatural scares, while "Asylum" featured a mix of serial killers and religious horror, but "Freak Show," despite all of its absurdity, is grounded in reality. If you strip away all of the carnie color and look past all of the extra (or missing) limbs on the show's cast, it really is just the story of a small town and its gang of rejects being hunted by a serial killer. Which is a good thing, because "Coven" lacked a central threat to tie all of its plot threads together.
Also, to be clear, once someone is dead on "Freak Show," they stay dead. Period.
5. Two Heads Are Better Than One
Paulson may only be one actress, but Bette and Dot are two very separate beasts. It's fascinating to watch these two very different women navigate their different desires while sharing a body, and Paulson pulls off the difficult feat with aplomb. One twin is significantly more talented while the other is more wide-eyed and enthusiastic, and one head develops a giant crush on one of the other freaks that should cause some serious (and seriously weird) drama to come.
6. Newcomer Finn Wittrock Is Fantastic.
Most of the cast is made up of familiar faces, but Wittrock and his bored, wealthy and very spoiled Dandy Mott are new. Dandy is a local heir who lives a sheltered life with his prim and proper mother (played by Frances Conroy, who has never been less than fantastic), and I can't say too much about what his role will be throughout the series, but let's just say you should never, ever keep your child from going after his or her dreams of the stage.
7. The Freaks Are (Mostly) Our Heroes
A couple of Elsa's "gets," including Michael Chiklis' strong man Dell Toledo, are less than perfect, but so far it seems like this season will be the freaks versus the rest of the world. Last season featured an endless amount of backstabbing and plotting within the titular coven, so it's refreshing to root for a ragtag group of misfits as they battle the various common ailments that befall them. Like, you know, a giant murder-clown.
What are you looking forward to the most on "American Horror Story: Freak Show?" Let us know your thoughts in the comments!