American Horror Story: Freak Show‘s anachronistic use of contemporary songs continued last night with a cover of Lana Del Rey‘s “Gods & Monsters.” It’s weird to hear Jessica Lange’s Marlene Dietrich wannabe Elsa sing the name “Jim Morrison” on a show based in 1952 Jupiter, Florida, but the Born to Die – Paradise Edition track does fit the overall theme.
Elsa croons, “Me and God, we don’t get along so now I sing,” which is the “Gods & Monsters” lyric that resonates the most with these characters and ties in with the overall plot: Many of these “freaks” hold an inextinguishable grudge and blame a higher power for their deformity.
The “Gods & Monsters” scene also marks a turning point in the series: For all its killer clowns, conjoined twins and other haunting visuals, Freak Show had so far been bound to reality, never really indulging in the world of spirits and unseen gods. That changes here: That green mist that drifts into the freak show during “Gods & Monsters” summons the ghost of Edward Mordrake, a (possibly real) British aristocrat with two faces (a smaller, demonic one on the back of his head) who’s also a serial freak killer. Mordrake is the bogeyman of the freak show community – you don’t perform on Halloween because his ghost will rise to claim another victim – and Elsa’s Del Rey performance on October 31st does just that.
Prior to the season starting, American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy revealed four of the acts whose music pops up on Freak Show. “We’re only doing songs by artists who have self-identified as freaks,” Murphy said. “That they felt different. David Bowie said yes to that, Lana Del Rey said yes to that, Kurt Cobain’s daughter said yes to that, Fiona Apple approved that. That for me was the theme of the season, so we went for it.”
So it seems a Nirvana song will pop up on an upcoming episode, but after that, it’s unclear whether Murphy has more surprise covers planned or if things get so insanely murderous at the freak show that the music dies, too.