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It was a hard Thanksgiving for American Horror Story fans, as the series took a week off instead of showing us what kind of messed up voodoo spells Marie Laveau is capable of using with only a stuffed turkey and canned yams. And heads up: tonight’s “The Sacred Taking” was treading as much water as possible without actually getting wet until the final shot of the episode, which was wickedly glorious and horrifying all at once. Kathy Bates further proves she’s ahead of the acting game. It’s going to be hard to stop those kinds of puns, but I think I can wrap my bleeding Kathy Bates head in a box around it.
The biggest question – lit up in big bright lights on the top of a mountain – is, “Who is the next Supreme?” but because no sub-narratives are given any breathing room, the “Supreme, aging, Supreme, youth, Supreme” becomes pretty tiresome early on, and I’m hoping they tie that storyline off and transition more into the Coven vs. Voodoo tale I’d rather be watching. At this point, every one of the witches seems to be attaining new powers anyway, so the guessing game of who the next Supreme will be just doesn’t matter that much to me. I do want to know who it is, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out in Fiona’s eventual demise, but there’s no agreeable form to this mystery, even as the candidate pool got a little bigger tonight with Misty arriving at the school.
Let’s be clear though: I think it would be the most interesting if it turned out to be Nan, but they’re playing that angle up enough that it won’t possibly happen. So I fully expect Ryan Murphy and Brad Fulchuk introduce the next Supreme as a combination of five different witches who morph into a giant witch robot when their powers are combined. Go, go, Miss Robichaux’s Academy.
Jessica Lange’s death-fearing Fiona is no longer grabbing me in the same way as her characters in the previous two seasons; her portrayal of a cancer patient clinging to her bad habits is convincing, but the more sincere moments are almost out of place in this theatrical freak show. That said, I still love Fiona, and the flash-forward scene between her and Myrtle was the brand of darkness this series does well, but it was a bit much watching her get left alone on her death bed by her Ouija board-invoked axe murderer lover who ghost-stalked her since she was a child. I think it was already enough just having the group talk Fiona into suicide by convincing her that Madison “Why Don’t You Just Really Die Already” Montgomery is going to be the new Supreme is pretty genius, all things considered. No one wants to live in a universe that cruel.
The weird, uptight, shit-tubed elephant in the room is Coven’s second excursion into somewhat taboo territories, as the hyper-religious family next door revealed their unique form of repentant purging. You’d think that on the scale of “1 to What the Good Goddamn Am I Watching,” zombie incest would rate higher than anything, but I’m here to tell you that watching a reluctant teenager get into a bathtub while awaiting an enema from his mother has overtaken the throne. (Toilet pun initially not intended, but now it is.)
But as was the case with Kyle’s mother, Patti Lupone’s fundamentalist mother left us tonight (and then came back) after taking a bullet from a gun fired by Cordelia’s husband Hank, now separated. If this guy’s whole purpose is to kill off witches, then why is he worrying about shooting the non-witch neighbor? Why isn’t he just killing witches? He’s not the brightest guy, I’ll admit, but this is just strange behavior.
The strange behavior I do like is coming from the Laveau Camp, where Bates’ head in a box groaning, “Help,” was enjoyably over the top and served as a fine follow-up to the sudden shock of Laveau lopping LaLaurie’s hand off. I have to wonder if she completely chopped her up into small pieces, or if it was just the hand and the head. I’m pretty sure we know Laveau better than that though.
Queenie gruesomely ripping the dark heart out of a hammer-wielding rapist was equally gory fun, and further makes me wonder if Queenie is actually a layered character, or if Gabourey Sidibe is just that nuanced of an actress that she can bring noticeable depth to a role that doesn’t receive much exposition. Do I truly believe that her character is sympathetic enough to bring LaLaurie a hamburger, or is that just a heavy-handed maneuver by the writers? It almost doesn’t matter, because Sidibe is so believable. It’s far less believable that Madison and Zoe randomly show up to find Queenie beneath that bridge at the beginning of the episode, but witches have their ways, I guess.
And tonight’s “Character You Thought Was Dead That Manages To Come Back in Some Ludicrous Way” was a very vocal Spalding, who was last seen with a tongue and a stab wound. He’s part of a long line of Watchers that sees everything that goes on in the Coven, and reveals to Fiona that everyone has been lying to her, thus ruining Cordelia’s Sacred Taking plot and reigniting Fiona’s fire, which of course is absolutely necessary by the time they find the silver bullets that Hank used to kill the neighbor. It’s all very silly and convoluted and cyclical, but that’s what American Horror Story has clung to for three seasons, and they’re not about to lose their head trying to change the formula. Okay, that was pretty forced.
I now have the urge to go to Taco Bell and order Supreme versions of everything. Until next week…
Things Stirring in the Cauldron
I have easily accepted that these witches have powers that include telepathy, pyrokinesis, and mind-reading, but I was taken aback by AHS breezily assuming I would suspend my disbelief to accept Spalding as a ghost who can nonchalantly summon up Ipecac whenever it’s needed.
“Make me fight for it.” You’re a real creep, homeless man with a hammer.
You can tell an episode is directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon because there are at least three camera movements that look as if they were inspired by a crazy straw.
You guys have to admit that my “head” puns in the opening paragraph are no more cornball than all the ways Cordelia has worked her blindness into a line. “Myrtle. I thought I’d never see you again.” That’s so the key 5-7 year old demographic can catch on.
I wonder how many frat guys are going to act as if they’re the undead stitched-together remains of other frat boys just so they can try and get a threesome going. People talk about violence on TV and in movies, but it’s this zombie-inspired group sex that we really need to worry about.
Seriously though, I think “Rehabilitating Kyle” should be an Afterschool Special.
“I saw the assassin when he nearly stepped on my face.”
They’re seriously going to build Fiona up to be the goddess that time will never forget, and the best memory she comes up with is banging a drummer from The Band? The drummer?!? If the most powerful witch in the world is only baiting drummers, then who are the singers hooking up with?
“My most terrible failure.”
I’m fairly certain we witnessed the greatest character moment in this current season when Myrtle dumped some of Fiona’s jewelry into her purse.
“For me, it started as a classic migraine.”
Kathy Bates should get an Emmy nomination solely for the amount of time she chews her burger in that one scene. That’s dedication.
Useless prediction: Someone has been slowly poisoning Fiona through her cigarettes.
Since it was used well enough in the show, let’s take a listen to Donovan’s ”Season of the Witch”. But no psychedelics until sunset.