"Stupid man. You think they'd allow you to continue your barbaric practice? She's protected. Your X-rays won't penetrate her body. You'll see nothing. Oh, but they've been watching you. You think you're like them, with your clumsy experiments. But they laugh at you, Dr. Arden. They make jokes. Here's a good one. Knock, knock. Who's there? Arden. Arden who? Arden you the quack who'd make a better duck?"
Pepper to Dr. Arthur Arden[src]

Pepper was a character on FX's American Horror Story. She first appears in the first episode of the story Asylum. She is portrayed by guest star Naomi Grossman.



Freak ShowEdit

Pepper's role as a performer is a sort of clown act with Salty, providing amusement through their innocent dance and play. Her extended role is as an attendant to "Miss Elsa", providing manicures[2] and delivering messages.[3] During a visit from Edward Mordrake on Halloween, she is deemed innocent by the ghosts demon face and she is passed over for "collection".[4]

Upon the death of Salty, she became despondent and unwilling to perform, so Elsa took her to live with her sister, Rita Gayheart. There she is treated with disdain by her sister and brother-in-law, Larry. She is tasked with serving cocktails to her sister and caring for her disfigured and equally unwanted infant nephew, Lucas. With his wife's complicity, Larry kills the child and frames Pepper for the crime. She was convicted of murder and consigned to the asylum at Briarcliff Manor, where she was admitted by Sister Mary Eunice. The nun took her on as a rehabilitation project and entrusted Pepper with custodial duties in the manor's library.[5]

Pepper spent most of her years at the asylum a model inmate, only guilty of pestering vistors to play[6] and hoarding food in her cell.[7] On the night of a massive storm, Pepper excuses herself from movie night to pee and doesn't return. Sister Jude mistakenly assumes that she is a casualty of the failed escape of Lana, Grace, and Kit.[8] In reality, she was abducted by extraterrestrials who performed genetic alterations that upgraded her subnormal intelligence to genius level. She is returned to the asylum to act as guardian to pregnant and resurrected fellow abductee, Grace.[9] She tried to carry out this charge bravely against Oliver Thredson, but the effort was futile as he had her taken away by orderlies.[10] Pepper died of pulmonary fibrosis in 1966, but lived on in the deluded mind of a defrocked and committed Sister Jude.[1]


Character NotesEdit

  • Pepper is the first character to be featured in more than one season (the second was Sister Mary Eunice). She was first featured in Asylum and returned in Freak Show; although she died in Asylum, Freak Show is a prequel.
    • It was confirmed conclusively in Orphans that Pepper was the same character in each season.

Behind the ScenesEdit

  • An unidentified person affiliated with American Horror Story had stated prior to Freak Show that each story was in a discrete universe, befitting an anthology. If this was indeed the case before then it is no longer.
  • "This is the first year where we begin to tell you that season two is connected to season four which is connected to season one."

Production NotesEdit