American Horror Story
We begin with a couple of backwoods alligator hunters, as you do. When they return to their camp after shooting yet another gator, they find No. 1 Stevie Nicks fangirl Misty Day dressed like Britney Spears in the “Boys” video. To the tune of guitar riffs from “Edge of Seventeen,” Misty uses her powers of “resurgence” and her formidable eyelashes to bring the gators back to life and sic them on their murderers. Maybe she’s born with it; maybe it’s necromancy.
Roll credits and their Santino Rice fashion show. Kathy Bates’s name appears next to a picture of a black cat that I swear I just saw taped up in a window at CVS.
We’re greeted with the same Loreena McKennitt–inspired music we heard the entire last episode. (New theory: It’s Sarah Paulson’s breathing exercises for getting into character.) Like Kate Bush, Cordelia is waking the witch(es) of Brew, Bath, and Beyond in preparation for their morning meeting. Madison, who looks three-foot-nine, greets her in leopard-print underwear like she’s Adriana Lima; Fiona claims that her room smells because she’s taking Chinese herbs and not because she’s hiding a rot-covered Madame LaLaurie (Fiona: Not a Good Liar); and Zoe, hilariously wearing pigtails in what I hope is an homage to Fairuza Balk in The Worst Witch and not a fashion statement, is still mourning the loss of bus-burned Kyle. “Given your Black Widow status, he was living on borrowed time anyway,” says Madison in the worst apology ever.
Fiona, desperate to find out how MML is still alive, threatens to put her back into the ground if she keeps screaming, which she does anyway. Then Fiona’s phone rings, scaring the hell out of MML because she’s not used to technology — and scaring the hell out of me, because I’m supposed to believe that someone as fabulous as Jessica Lange has the Marimba ringtone.
Onscreen appear the words “DETROIT 2012,” a phrase actually more terrifying than anything that has happened on this show. In Queenie’s home state of Michigan, she didn’t just like fried chicken; she OWNED A FRIED CHICKEN STAND. But it’s okay, because she told a belligerent, larcenous customer she was a math-whiz manager before shoving her fist into a deep fryer and, via her human voodoo doll trick, searing his hand.
That’s how Delia found her and brought her to the school. Queenie, it so happens, is a descendant of Tituba, the black witch at the heart of the Salem trials and a part I read aloud in high school English class. Queenie “didn’t even know there were black witches,” having grown up on a meal of “Charmed and Sabrina the Teenage Cracker.” What with the jokes thus far, I’m getting the feeling that Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk poke fun at old Sabrina DVDs while sitting on a Jennifer Convertible and housing candy corn.
Two cops show up looking for Zoe and Madison and are suspicious about their behavior at the frat party. Madison, for one, is supposed to be sober, and the police have footage of Zoe visiting her second cameltoe victim at the hospital. Zoe breaks down and starts spilling everything to the cops until Fiona enters, claiming, “I’m Jessica Lange; I’m in charge everywhere.” (Okay, she says “Fiona Goode,” but we all know that my version is truer.)
Fiona, against Delia’s admonitions, makes the cops drink her spit-water so that their memories are erased. (Halloween Wish List: A spinoff called Backwash Bewitched.) Fiona then confronts Zoe and Madison — the latter dressed for a matinee of Rock of Ages — saying, “I couldn’t toast a piece of bread with the heat they were putting on you,” which is doubly funny because you know that Jessica Lange hasn’t toasted her own bread since at least 1980 (and more power to her). She then, you guessed it, slams the girls against the wall as punishment. She says that they must “close ranks” to protect themselves and that “In this wide wicked world, the only thing you have to be afraid of is me.” Cool Ranch Doritos beg to differ.
Madison then manages to break Zoe into the morgue because she was supposed to play a cat burglar in a movie before the funding fell through (this is either a Lohan dig or a Hathaway dig or both). In a plot point strrrrretched out to seem logical, Madison wants to use a Latin spell to raise Kyle from the dead — but as a Frankenstein monster made from the best boy parts left in the crash. I’m not sure how a tumble and a fire led to the boys’ ending up as appendage sushi, but I’ll “roll” with it — ba-dum! “I wonder if he’s a show-er or a grower,” Madison says while looking at a disembodied manhood and making me realize how vile that phrase is if you don’t put a hyphen in “show-er.” Madison and Zoe Ingalls Wilder then proceed to “build the perfect boyfriend” like they’re Morguey Poppins.
“How’s the oven — ready for a bun?” Delia asks her OB in the saddest barren-woman line this side of Charlotte York Goldenblatt. The doctor suggests IVF, which Delia’s husband passive-aggressively supports. (Speaking of SATC, Delia’s husband is played by Miranda’s cheating phone-sex boyfriend.) Delia’s husband wants her to use her witch powers to have a child, but she doesn’t want to play God by using the dark magic required to do so. “So you’ll let Dr. Morrison play God?” her husband asks, pronouncing “Dr. Morrison” as if Dr. Morrison is actually Jesus.
Apparently, the only thing people eat in New Orleans is fried chicken, which Fiona offers to MML. (Thankfully, Fiona credits its chef as being Delia and not Queenie.) MML learns that she’s spent 180 years in the ground. Good on you, smart commenters, for guessing correctly that Marie Laveau didn’t kill MML but, instead, made her immortal. Marie Laveau, after hanging MML’s entire family before her eyes, consigned her to a coffin in the ground so that she wouldn’t get the mercy of spending the after-life with her loved ones. Personally, I was hoping that the mob would do a rendition of “Still Not a Playa” with the refrain “Borquita! Morena!” but this is why I don’t have my own show to executive produce. For Your Consideration: Kathy Bates should win another Emmy for her dumbfounded terror in this scene, and Jessica Lange should win another Emmy simply for how she bites into fried chicken.
To the sounds of an ersatz Downward Spiral, Zoe and Madison stitch together their FrankenKyle as the camera tries to avoid showing (a) his junk and (b) why there’s no one else at the morgue in the middle of the day. They paint a bloody Pentagram on his chest, speak what sounds like Na’vi, and invoke Azazel, which causes Zoe to ask, “Did we just marry the devil, ‘cause I don’t know if I’m down with that,” which: fair enough. “I’ve been acting since I was 5; I know my lines,” Madison Lohan-retorts.
Their spell seems to fail at first. Madison makes to leave, and Zoe unconvincingly says that she needs to stay behind and find her phone. She gives Kyle a short eulogy, then hides when a guard, scaring Madison away, shows up. Of course, in the midst of the guard’s finding Zoe out, FrankenKyle comes to life and pounds him with his fist until he dies. Is this Mary Shelley or Mary Reilly?
Fiona is having her hair done on the set of “That’s the Way Love Goes” by two Lafayettes from True Blood when holy effing crawfish, Angela Bassett and her braids come swanning into the room and cause me to type “nineties REALNESS I’M DEAD” into my notes.
Cut to Nan, dressed like Little Lord Fauntleroy, who can’t concentrate on her work because she keeps hearing MML’s bad vibes. She storms upstairs, unties MML, and tells her to leave. MML runs into Queenie, thinks she’s a slave, and hits her over the head with a shovel before escaping. MML had better watch out when/if Queenie comes to because if there’s one person you don’t want as your enemy, it’s a human voodoo doll.
And now a word from our sponsor: Fiona and Marie Laveau go at each other’s throats discussing who’s wronged whom in the centuries-long witch battle. Marie Laveau says that Fiona’s ancestors stole all of their magic from Tituba, who was from the Arawak tribe and was treated like a slave even though she taught her witchery to the girls of Salem. Fiona belittles St. Louis’s Tomb of Marie Laveau and those from “Little Rock to Hackensack” who make pilgrimages to it. All the same, she says that she wants Marie Laveau’s help to restore and maintain her youth. “The Hammer wants the Nail’s magic,” Marie Laveau says, though I would have preferred “Please, Hammer, don’t hurt ‘em.”
Marie Laveau says that Fiona could bring her “a unicorn shitting $100 bills” and she wouldn’t be swayed. (Challenge.) Fiona then sets Marie Laveau’s wigs and weaves on fire as if this were the ultimate crime. It’s probably how Prince heats his home in Minnesota.
So, when Delia told her husband that the magic it took to have a baby was “dark,” I didn’t think she meant that they would have to star in a David Fincher remake of Body of Evidence. They make a circle of cinders, rub blood on each other, and then the cinders become a fire ring and snakes crawl out of a giant egg and I think she stabs his penis? I hope to God Delia’s kid never asks where babies come from or it’ll commit hara-kiri with a broom.
Zoe is driving FrankenKyle home in her car while he struggles in the passenger seat in a spectacle that should be called I Feel Bad About My Neck. Zoe says, “Kyle, you died. Okay? Can you remember that?” Yeah, Zoe, I think he can remember that. Suddenly, Britney-Misty appears in the backseat, claiming that Zoe summoned her.
Misty lives in a rundown Anthropologie store in the bayou. She claims that the bayou is perfect for resurrection and healing, what with its combination of “Spanish Moss and Alligator Dung,” which she uses as a soothing ointment for FrankenKyle wounds (and which I’m pretty sure was the working title of Beasts of the Southern Wild). She does all of this while listening to “Rhiannon” and proselytizing about how Stevie Nicks is the great White Witch. Zoe mistakes Stevie Nicks for an American Idol contestant and Misty has to explain who Stevie Nicks is, i.e., they proceed to have the type of conversation with which Millennials plague their elders every day in America. Misty offers to let FrankenKyle stay at her place. I hope he likes hearing “Gold Dust Woman” at breakfast.
Marie Laveau stomps through her house asking people to clean up the “old boxes of Popeye’s and Coke cans” littered there. I swear, fried chicken is on this show more than Taissa Farmiga. Marie tells an offscreen confidant about MML’s return, and guess who that confidant is: HER MINOTAUR LOVER. I have so many questions, the most important of which are these: Why wasn’t the first thing she did upon discovering him in that attic to take off the bull head? And if she didn’t, does that mean it’s welded on? Je ne compends pas.
Fiona finds MML sitting on the porch of her “Museum of Horrors.” MML claims she was simply a “woman of [her] time,” but Fiona calls her out on her bullshit (GET IT?) and says she was a monster regardless. MML says she doesn’t care about her husband but misses her daughters, “even the ugly one, who had the face of a damn hippo.” And the Parent of the 180 Years Award goes to … “At least in death you can’t disappoint the ones you love,” MML says, sounding like she’s starring in a Eugene O’Neill revival.
And that’s that, folks. As was to be expected, this was a slower episode after the premiere. But I expect some shenanigans with FrankenKyle, and if I could move into the House of Laveau, I’d pack my suitcase right now. But first, I’ll see you all in line at Popeye’s.
Note: This episode was kindly brought to you by our loyal sponsor, Long Swaths of Exposition, Inc.