Ten Killer Things We Learned From American Horror Story Freak Show Episode 12 “Show Stoppers” (SPOILERS)

Note: we realize this is not exactly the ideal timing to post, since the finale has aired before this went up, but the delay is due to major technical difficulties over here (such as the goddamned images refusing to load for–no exaggeration– the first time ever since we began Horror Boom in 2012). Pardon us posting at this late date, but better late than never. We loved this episode.

 

 

Now this is more like it!  Episode 12, “Show Stoppers” lived up to the title. The A.V. Club really hated the episode, but plenty of people online disagreed (the IMDB rating average for the episode was 9/10, from 7,000 votes as of this writing), and it was our second-favorite episode of the season so far, surpassed only by Pepper’s swan song, “Orphans”. This was definitely the best (and most satisfying) cold open of the season, too.  Which brings us to number one…

 

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1. If you’re going to get greedy and scam a close-knit group of circus sideshow performers, which includes killing at least one of them, see Todd Browning’s Freaks first. That way, when you’re sitting down to an elaborate dinner with them where you are clearly outnumbered, and they start to make pointed references to how brilliant and perfect a movie it is while staring you down, you can say “Oops! I’ll be back in a jiffy, I just remembered I forgot something in my car,”  slip out quickly and quietly, get in your car, put the pedal to the metal and get the hell out of dodge.  Stanley didn’t see the movie and had no idea what was coming until they brought him a festive-looking yet suspiciously large gift box which featured a jar containing the severed head of someone who illicitly paid large sums of money to him for the bodies/body parts.

 

Darling, don’t spoil the ending for him!

 

2. Reasoning with a gang of justifiably enraged and bloodthirsty people you screwed over will not work. Lying (especially playing dumb) will not work. I wonder, if Stanley had any idea what was coming (see above), if he could have made a run for it as soon as he saw the head of the shitty museum curator and sprinted off to his car at top speed,  he would have had a chance to escape? It would have been better timing than waiting to run until after he got stabbed in the leg so brutally that he could just sort of lunge and stumble out of the tent and start slipping around in the mud. All through the episode–except when I was distracted by something I could not look away from– I was hoping they’d follow the whole Freaks homage all the way through. More on that later.

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3. The freaks will turn on you pretty quickly if you lie to them, no matter what you’ve done for them in the past. While they have drinks in Ethel’s memory and look through her possessions (a little late for that, but fine) they can’t help but focus on what Stanley had blurted out to them while wildly bargaining for escape. “She… killed… Ethel. I’m telling the truth. She killed her.  I helped her cover it up. She’s not who you think she is! She killed Ethel!”  After Paul mentions that he knew Ethel a long time, and she would never kill herself,” they briefly mull it over and come to a somewhat spontaneous decision to kill Elsa for ‘breaking their code’–killing one of their own. Del didn’t count, that was justice for Ma Petite.

Relax, folks, it’s just a magic show!  I can put her back together… watch…

 

4. Jimmy also does not forgive easily. In fact, he tells Elsa and Maggie flat out: “I don’t forgive.” He’s not kidding No matter how sweetly Maggie tries to tell him she will make it up to him, and how they still have a future together, and blah-de-blah (she does seem torn up over what happened to him and her part in it), he doesn’t budge. Can you really blame him? Jimmy tells her she can rot in hell for all he cares and ends up telling her, “If I was you, I’d get the hell out of dodge before I get these new hands.” Later, when Amazon Eve informs him Maggie is dead, his facial expression barely changes. Maybe it was just one too many pieces of really, really bad news and he went numb and dead inside… but we doubt it.

 

You saw what they did to him.

 

6.  Désirée is maybe one notch up from Marie Laveau when it comes to holding a grudge (Marie wins as she becomes immortal and continues to hold a grudge and punish her enemies for over 100 years) . Désirée is still pretty cold when it comes to outsiders, though. She (and all the rest of the freaks) only seem dismayed a bit to see Maggie sawed in half by the new owner of the Freak Show, whose head was ‘full of bees’ after coming back from the war. Paul: “What do we do now?” Desi: “She had it coming.  Steal her jewelry and bury the bitch.”  She was heading up the posse to go get Elsa for killing Ethel, even though as far as I can recall she had known both of them the same amount of time. We loved the scene of them preparing in the caravan;  Desi calling “ETHEL!” to the heavens, draining the remainder of a bottle of booze as the freaks went into kind of a rhythmic stomp, then her smashing the bottle for a makeshift weapon and declaring, “Let’s get our girl some justice!”

You tried to kill my dreams, but they cannot be murdered.

 

7.  Bette and Dot still felt they owed Elsa something, and ended up saving her life by bursting into Elsa’s glamorous tent to warn her of the freak’s “Planning to kill you all day.” Though she more or less waited until the last minute to warn her, she ignored the discovery that Elsa had partially amputated legs and cut to the chase (“You need to leave,” was what she led with). When Elsa tried to protest that what Stanley said were the rantings of a desperate man, Bette (I think) replied, “Who’s desperate now? You saw what they did to him,” and we see the color drain from Elsa’s face.

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8. We find out what they did to “him”, Stanley, in the second-to-last scene of the episode. When Dandy, the new owner of the entire place (eeeeek!)  thanks to Elsa hastily paying him off so she could make a hasty retreat, was strolling grandly around the performance tent after being snotty to all his new employees, he heard a kind of inhuman grunting coming from the wings. He wandered over and there was a slow pan to the contents of a chicken-wire cage. Stanley’s arms and legs had been crudely amputated (along with his tongue, apparently), and he looked like he was hoping someone would just kill him as he squirmed around wretchedly and painfully, covered in feathers, wearing one of Meep’s old hats (nice touch). Dandy unsurprisingly got a big kick out of this discovery.

 

Now the other, don’t rush it this time.

 

9. In an episode full of great reveals, we were blown the hell away when it turned out none other than “Dr.” Hans Gruper, AKA Dr. Arden from American Horror Story Asylum, was the one in charge of making the snuff/torture-porn film where Elsa’s legs were sawed off with a chainsaw. Since it was a flashback, James Cromwell’s son John (who looks just like a younger version of his father) made a return appearance to portray him.  Elsa was lucky they just sawed her legs off and didn’t inject her with about 5 different horrible diseases at once, then later, drag her off and leave her in a child’s playground. Guess Gruper/Arden was just getting warmed up… though when Massimo Dolcefino (Danny Huston) went to kill Gruper to avenge the “Monster In-Chief’s” savage treatment of Elsa, Dr. Gruper was, very unfortunately, ready for him. “He took it personally when I tried to kill him… very personally,” says Massimo as we see flashback shots of Gruper electrocuting his genitals (though I think most people would take someone breaking into their home for the purpose of murdering them personally). Gruper tortured Massimo so long and so brutally that Massimo says though his body healed, his spirit was so broken that he no longer has a soul and has lost the ability to love. Elsa is in tears by the time Massimo has filled in his missing backstory.

10. Speaking of Massimo, who lovingly made such beautiful legs for Elsa and nursed her back to health, he is more than happy to use his expertise to fashion a perfect pair of hands for Jimmy that will fool everybody… and when Jimmy scoffs at him, Elsa shows him her wooden legs, and he shuts up pretty fast.  Massimo has an elaborate blueprint drawn up and everything, but in the final reveal of the episode, we see that Jimmy requested they look like his former “lobster-boy” hands when he could have had the next-best thing to normally formed human hands. Jimmy wanted to be himself. “They’re perfect,” he quietly tells Massimo.

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Jamie Brewer as Chester’s hallucination of Majorie, her best acting on American Horror Story yet.

 

Stray Thoughts:

  • People were talking about the top hat (clue to season 5) on the dinner table during the cold open, but did you see that bizarre bird that was the centerpiece? I swear it had two heads. If you can, watch the scene again. There were four… limbs, for lack of a better word, sticking up, and usually a normal turkey/goose/pheasant, or whatever type of bird you serve up whole only has two. I wonder how many other cool creations for the prop/set dressing department for this season we missed because they were in the background?
  • I’m pretty sure there were more limbs hacked off this season than any other season of American Horror Story, which is no small feat.
  • Paul was the only one who seemed upset over Maggie getting sawed in half, yelling “WHAT THE BLOODY ‘ELL!” when the blood started flowing. The rest of the gang just looked mildly dismayed. We sure as shit didn’t hear, “What have you done to Maggie?” or even “poor Maggie!” from anyone. From what I’ve read online, people either loved this scene (like us) or hated it (sigh), but everyone loved Desiree’s heartless, but hilarious reaction.
  • I could write an entire piece on the genius of the magic-trick-gone-horribly-wrong scene, but I’ll try to shorten my reaction here. Everything in that scene was goddamned gold, from Chester’s costume changing when the lights went down and came back up, to the silhouette of him sawing furiously as we hear Maggie’s screams. Also, due to Neil Patrick Harris performance, I felt sorrier for Chester than I did Maggie. He didn’t kill for the fun of it (like, say, Dandy) or because someone was in his way when he wanted something (like, say, Dandy); he was a soldier who came back from the war “with a metal plate and a head full of bees,” as his hallucination of Lucy says. When he realized what he had done to Maggie, he was horrified (more than the freaks were, that’s for sure). He was upset enough to stab the shit out of “Margorie” when she tried to leave him right afterwards.
  • The magic rehearsal scene had caused me to momentarily forget about  Stanley. However, as soon as Dandy got distracted by the strange noises coming from backstage, I started chanting, “C’mon, c’mon, please, please,…”  and then burst out with “YEAH!” at the sight of at the cage made of chicken wire as I realized that my season-long wish to see someone–especially Stanley–get the Todd Browning Chicken Lady Treatment had come true.
  • The twins turned out not to be as much of a simpleton (or should that be plural? Wording can get complicated when writing about Bette and Dot) as we thought. Exhibit A: they were smart enough not to get in that fucking box.

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New American Horror Coven Survey -Who Will Be Revealed As The New Supreme In Finale?

Welp, we’re coming up on the final episode of American Horror Story Coven.  The first half of the season met my (admittedly high) expectations; the second half (I’d say the wheels started coming off for me around Episode 8) not so much. However, that’s a piece for a different night. I’m still interested–not as much as last season, but interested–in how it’s all going to end. I’m personally hoping for a Fiona comeback (but that’s another poll). We know one thing– The New Supreme will be revealed!

More than one answer is allowed, and also as usual, you can put in a write-in vote for “other”. Have fun!

Because hey, you never know.

Because hey, you never know.

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Ten–No, Fifteen Spooky Things We Learned From American Horror Story Coven Episode Four, “Fearful Pranks Ensue”

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Better late than never. The reveals and new characters have been coming so quickly, we picked a really bad season of American Horror Story to slip behind in our episode coverage! So, without further ado, let’s dive into the list, which we tried to pare down to ten but would have left out too much information, so the hell with it… fifteen it is.

Who doesn’t love a surprise?

 

1.  Well, so much for The Minotaur being “this season’s Bloody Face”* At the very least, the Minotaur–or Bastien, as Marie Laveau called him–is out of commission for a while. Fiona dispatched him in the greenhouse …off camera. Took care of him pretty goddamned fast, too; in the scene where she’s asking for Cordelia’s help with the badly injured Queenie, Fiona wasn’t any more rumpled than she’d been when she discovered Queenie. His head –still living– got delivered to Cornrow City in a cardboard box by Spalding (“Some freak dropped it off and didn’t say a word”). This did not have a beneficial effect on Marie Laveau‘s already-serious resentment towards Fiona.

2. Kyle’s not home. No Kyle. Zoe realized, sadly, that he’s just a collection of sewed-together frat guy parts, with Kyle’s head on top. With a heavy heart, Violet Zoe makes him a snack with rat poison in it… but in the time she took to put his last meal together, he vanished. On Halloween night, where he’s going to blend in.

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3. Fiona was able to somehow breathe life into Queenie when Cordelia told her that Queenie’s heart had stopped. If this is one of “The Seven Wonders” that a Supreme must demonstrate before it becomes official, Zoe and Misty are definitely in contention.

Me? I was a monster.

 

4. We saw in the heartbreaking cold open that Marie Laveau can summon and command the dead, if some serious revenge is called for. These aren’t your mainstream zombies that want to eat you and then you wake up wanted to eat people. They want to rip their master’s enemies apart limb from limb when summoned. They can also use tools, unlike mainstream standard zombies. This season, the cold opens just keep topping each other; the scene where Laveau gave those evil, racist assholes the fate they deserved was not only satisfying, but perfectly executed. I especially like the confederate soldier voodoo zombie with the bayonet – and the shot of Laveau in the featured image for this piece.

I must confess, I’ve always enjoyed our little talks together… particularly since you lost your tongue.

 

5. According to Cordelia, Madison couldn’t have been the next Supreme; one of the hallmarks of a rising Supreme is excellent health, and Madison had a heart murmur. If you didn’t catch Jessica Lange’s oh shit! facial expression the first time you watched, it’s priceless enough to re-watch for that alone.

6. Hank is not only a cheater, he’s a cold-blooded killer. In an extremely upfront way.

Yeah, their blood. I used it to paint my day room brick-red.

 

7. The Council is in town! The council is composed of Myrtle Snow (you remember her- she didn’t have much screen time, but definitely made an impression in the season premiere), Quentin (who Fiona greets, not unkindly, as a “vicious old queen”), and the plain, monotone Pembroke. Nan summoned them because she couldn’t hear Madison anymore and was afraid she was dead.

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8. The first rule of Witches Council is never talk about the Wi– whoop, sorry, wrong secretive group!  We find out that the Council on Witchcraft assembles “only under the gravest of circumstances”.

9. We learned another very important law of The Counsel: the penalty for inflicting grievous bodily harm on a fellow descendant of Salem is …death. By fire!

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10. Spalding’s batshit rituals (ar the start of act one. he was hosting an elaborate tea party in the attic, with just him and what looked like 100  at last china dolls dressed to the nines).** just seemed eccentric (and hilarious) at the start of the episode. It started being not even mildly amusing when they gave us the reveal that Spalding had NOT in fact buried Madison as Fiona instructed him to, but had added her body to his doll collection. Forget the fact that he’s wearing a baby bonnet; creepier yet was the fact that though he’d obviously dressed her up (with a strategically-placed, pretty scarf to hide her slashed throat), she was just wearing her bra and panties.

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11. Myrtle really, REALLY hates Fiona. Fiona’s not too fond of her either, but Myrtle has hated her for roughly 40 years – mainly because she figured out Fiona did something terrible to Anna Leigh (murder, specifically), back in 1971, followed shortly by Spalding being discovered with his tongue laying on the bathroom floor a couple of feet away from him as he lay yelling in horrible pain (and a spray of blood on the mirror …after Myrtle enchanted it to speak only the truth. Also, Fiona was a mean-spirited little bitch to Myrtle. Fiona also sort of took off (all over the world; I think the word Myrtle used was “jet-setting”) after being officially named the Supreme, and didn’t do any of the paperwork (three unsigned ‘Winter Petitions’) or participation in official witch duties and meetings that a Supreme is supposed to.  The last forty years she’s thought that Fiona didn’t deserve to be the Supreme, and now she want to get her convicted by the council and burned at the stake ASAP.

Tonight I’m gonna let the whole world in, get a good look at me.

 

12. We also learned via flashback (1971) that  Spalding voluntarily cut out his own tongue to protect Fiona. The night before he was to testify officially, he sent young Fiona note to meet him in some upstairs bathroom. He thanks he politely for coming, then told her, “These are my last words, Miss Fiona. I have always loved you.” Then he used a straight razor to slice his tongue out. Maybe Myrtle should have looked around at dinner earlier that night to make sure that Spalding wasn’t, oh, standing directly the fuck behind her before confiding to a friend that she put a spell on his tongue so he could speaking nothing but the truth.

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13. Unfortunately for Cordelia, she has a low alcohol tolerance (though more than three shots of Maker’s Mark and I’d start feeling like I might need to run to the nearest ladies room to puke, too).  She was enjoyed a nice Halloween night out for cocktails with Fiona, and they were even getting along fine. After she was done being violently sick she went to splash some water on her face, and got taken off guard by a hooded, robed figure in black who tossed sulphuric acid at her face… right in her eyes. She shrieks in horror and pain at the top of her lungs, as loud as… well, probably as loudly as any of us would if we were minding our own business in what we thought was a safe restroom and had blinding acid tossed directly in our eyes. Eeeeek.

14. In yet another stunningly-lensed flashback, we learn that after over a decade of bloodshed and heartbreak, Marie Laveau  (Angela Basset ROCKING a Pam Grier-style early 70s ‘fro) sat down across from Anna Leigh Leighton and an actual peace treaty was brokered between the Salem Witches and the Voodoo Witches in 170, 1971 at the latest. “They had their territory, we had ours,” says Chantal, Marie’s closest (human) friend. Neither side crossed into the others. “No more bloodshed at one another’s hands. The rest of the world was cruel enough.” (Hear hear).

Is your seatbelt fastened?

 

15. Chantal was telling Marie Laveau this because Laveau was going to do something that shattered the decades-long truce (apparently sending them the Minotaur’s/her former lover’s head in a box, probably no good to her without his corresponding body –which I assume the witches burned, dismembered, or otherwise destroyed–was the last straw). This plan involved elaborate chalk drawings on the floor,  baskets of extremely substantial snakes,* what looked like an old noose or series of knots, and the sacrifice of one unfortunate snake (we saw a blood-soaked rooster head in the next episode in a continuation of the same scene).  Yup, she’s summoning what looks to be at least twenty her zombie slaves to attack her enemies again. This time they include the fat racist from the prologue, a decayed bride, and in my favorite reveal of the night–actually, maybe the most frightening sight so far of the season– Delphine LaLaurie’s three (un)dead daughters. Marie opens the door to what she assumes to be trick-or-treaters and is greeted by the sight of their swaying, absolutely ghastly corpses standing on her doorstep.

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Stray thoughts:

  • The Academy sure had a lot more students back in 1971.
  • If you were in charge of handling the trick-or-treaters on Halloween night… well, I don’t know about you, but I’d damn sure check the peephole after an ominous, measured pounding on the door like that.
  • The last official witch-burning decreed by The Council was in 1926.
  • The final shot of the episode where the camera tracked back and back to reveal the veritable army of Laveau’s shambling zombie slaves just took my breath away, and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect Halloween cliff-hanger.
  • Ryan Murphy has very recently teased that the season finale will include the “Test of the Seven Wonders” that a Supreme must demonstrate to the Council in order to officially be declared. In this episode, we heard during a dinner conversation that two of the seven wonders were pyrokinesis and transmutation (Fiona “aced” them both).  You’re probably already well aware the first is the ability to start fires with your mind; the second is defined by Google as “the action of changing or the state of being changed into another form”. That sounds like it’s going to be quite interesting to see…Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 3.07.47 AM

*In several interviews to promote the season, Ryan Murphy said that Season 3 would feature two “Big Bads” – The Minotaur and The Axeman. The jury’s still out on The Axeman – we do have a theory that connects The Axeman to something shocking Fiona did, but that’s for later.

**There was something about that first scene that just made me giggle; maybe the matter-of-fact way Denis O’Hare played it, like it was a completely normal way to relax after he was off duty and in his quarters. Put on antique, quaint record of innocent little music? Check. Pour tea carefully for dolls at table? Check.  Get out fancy lace napkin and prepare to–hey, is that someone arguing downstairs? Guess I should get dressed and go see what’s up.

***Wonder who in the cast has a phobia of snakes (if anyone)? For Angela Bassett’s sake, I sure hope she’s not scared of them (since she seems to have all the snake-handling scenes). If she is scared of them (say, the way I’m scared of spiders; unless the job paid well enough for me to retire very comfortably on, and involved a large supply of Xanax, I’m not even sure I could pick them up, let alone let them crawl on any part of me) then my respect for her acting ability just hit a new high, because she remains regal and composed in all her scenes with live snakes.

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‘American Horror Story: Coven’: Marie Laveau’s Zombie Army in ‘Burn, Witch, Burn,’ -Check It Out! (Spoilers)

How’s the above for a Before-And-After shot?  Zap2it has a great piece featuring an interview with the actor —Brian Oerly –who played the horrible racist lynch mob leader in “Feature Pranks Ensue” (AKA American Horror Story Coven Halloween Episode Part One) and “Burn, Witch, Burn!” (AKA… you get the idea). Stop reading now if you haven’t seen either of the above episodes yet as fearful spoilers ensue…

Remember that last fat heavy-set zombie who came after Zoe after her chainsaw finally sputtered out? She held up a bloody hand and called out something that upon first viewing I thought was Latin, but that the Closed Captions later pointed out was “Be as you were!” The interview is with that actor, who spilled some spoilers (for the Halloween episodes) and revealed some alternate versions that were shot, but not used (cross your fingers they’ll be on the DVD/Blu-ray). Click below for the Zap2it piece to read more…

‘American Horror Story: Coven’: Marie Laveau’s zombie army in ‘Burn, Witch, Burn,’ teases actor Brian Oerly – Zap2it.

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Take The First American Horror Story Coven Poll, We Wanna Know What You Think!

UPDATE: Welp, most of you guys were right on the money! It was  indeed Ms. Snow. On American Horror Story Coven, though, being burned at the stake doesn’t always equal dead… not if Misty Day is around! Good call, everyone.

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This one should have gone up a couple of days ago due to the fact the episode we’re asking your opinion/prediction on will have aired 24 hours from now. So, now’s your chance to make a call on this one. You stay anonymous. Hell, you can not only vote more than once (not that we’re asking you to), you can pick two answers if you’ve got it narrowed down to either/or. Oh, and you can choose ‘other’ and write in your own vote/theory …we encourage you making your own case!

Now! So, in the preview for “Burn Witch Burn,” we see that a witch (or at least we assume it is one) is indeed burned at the stake. We know it can’t be Fiona, since she apparently starts the fire with flair by tossing her cig at it. Later in the preview we see her turn and stalk away. So if it’s not Jessica Lange, as Fiona, who do you think it’ll be?

We’ll know in less than 24 hours who does get burned, but no reason not to vote up until you see the episode. Also, you’ll be able to yell out “CALLED IT!” when you see it on air.

Ten Unsettling Things We Learned From American Horror Story Coven Episode 3, “The Replacements” (SPOILERS)

Note: Yep, I’m aware this is the Episode 3 piece and that Episode 5 will have aired by the time I post ‘Ten Things’ on Episode 4. Better late than never, and I’m hustling to catch up to get things current, even though an avalanche of “Things We Learned’ will be crashing down all around us while I get up to date. I hope you’ll still get a kick out of some part of these slightly tardy pieces, late or not).

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The original adjective I was going to use in the title was ‘disturbing’, then I realized I’d better save it for later when things got really disturbing. Because if you know American Horror Story, then you know Murphy and Falchuck are only getting warmed up.

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The accompanying sound effect for this in a well-done comic book version would be: SSSSHHHUK!

I have a little surprise for you.

1. Fiona killed the Supreme (who also happened to be her mentor)  before her, Anna Leigh, in 1971. “As I get stronger, you …get ...weaker,“* Fiona tells her, before almost casually cutting Anna Leigh’s throat with a flick her wrist …and a very sharp knife. I’m pretty sure her facial expression didn’t even change. It turns out Spalding saw the whole thing, unfortunately (for him).

SIDEBAR:  I think they should have tried a little harder when it came to casting young Fiona. The actress has Lange’s speech patterns and manner nailed down, but doesn’t even resemble Jessica Lange when she was in her early 20s (or at any age).  They’ve got the blonde hair, but the style looks like it’s more from the present day than 1971. Lange was much more beautiful in her 20s (and 30s, and 40s, and 50s) than the actress playing her. Emma Roberts looks more feasible as a young version of Lange, and she doesn’t have much of a resemblance either. I didn’t expect a dead ringer, but they dropped the ball enough on this that it was actually distracting in all her scenes.

2. We’re pretty sure what he saw is directly responsible for him losing his tongue (episode 4 has aired since I organized this list; now we know it – though if Myrtle hadn’t enchanted his vocal chords to tell nothing but the truth, he probably would have kept his tongue).

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3. Misty Day is lonely. Early in the episode she lays on her bed with Kyle (who wears his usual thousand-yard-stare), listening to “Sara” by Fleetwood Mac —click here for the lyrics, some definitely plaintive– and comments that Stevie Nicks didn’t really find her voice until she found her tribe, and looks suddenly wistful. “That’s the thing. Can’t be your best self until you find your tribe. …I’m still looking for mine,”  she finishes sadly. Misty didn’t want Kyle to leave her, and she wanted Zoe to stay, too. Anyone else start to get nervous when it got physical and looked like they might both start pulling him in opposite directions?

What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?

 

4. Taking Kyle back to his mom (who seemed likeable enough at first, smoking a little weed and not stuck up or unfriendly) turned out to be a horrible idea–not that Zoe had any way of knowing, she was trying to be compassionate. It turned out that Kyle’s mom had been molesting him since her husband “left them”. It didn’t appear to be consensual–like, not at all— and was very hard to watch. Which leads us to…

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5. Stay out of Kyle’s “personal space”. Unless he makes the first move–like he’s done more than once with Zoe when he tentatively reached out to touch, then stroke, her hair– just stay the hell away. He got upset and made an angry animal noise when Misty got a little too touchy-feely when she was trying to get him to stay. When his mother started touching him in a very un-motherly way one too many times, he snapped and completely lost his shit; he also spoke his first word since being resurrected: NO!  Kyle ends up caving her head in (literally, her face was pretty much gone when Zoe found her body) with one of the sports trophies in his bedroom. No means no, Mrs. Spencer.

Too late for tears, damage is done.

 

 

6. If you piss off Marie Laveau, she’ll not only fuck you up, but extend it to your entire immediate family. Cordelia and Fiona (more on her later) both got very, very bad news from their fertility specialist and plastic surgeon, respectively. Fiona’s was worse, but Cordelia became desperate when she got the news that she would never, ever be able to bear children.  She called up Cornrow City and made an appointment to see Marie Laveau about a voodoo fertility rite/spell they both call the “Pochaut Medicine”. Marie, lounging casually but regally on her really bad-ass throne with her iPad, interrupts her game of solitaire to tell Cordelia that she knows who she is AND knows her mother.  She explains the steps of the spell to a very eager Cordelia. The spell (“Ain’t no picnic for anyone involved”) involves the following steps, according to Marie:

  • Pay her $50,000.00 and wait till the next full moon
  • Bring two ounces of her man’s ‘baby gravy’ in a Mason jar (eccch)
  • Add about ten of Marie’s acolytes dressed in full voodoo garb, including a few with painted skull faces)  to provide various percussion instruments, dance, and help with the goat
  • Toss jar onto fire so it appears to boil, no matter how nasty it looks
  • Take a guinea pepper “hotter than Hades” that has been roasting over hot coals for Marie to eat and swallow whole, the suffering of which will get the god’s attention
  • Two guys will pick up Cordelia and ceremonially lay her down, then pull up her red gown to show her lace underwear
  • Sacrifice some poor goat with a sharp blade–as the jar in the fire cracks open- and let the blood drain over her, specifically below the waist, as the aforementioned goat bleeds out
  • When it’s over Marie will sleep for four days and nights.

There is a 100% success rate, and wh–PSYCH! Marie laughs heartily in Cordelia’s face and tells her she will not do the spell for any amount of money, because “you the daughter of my sworn enemy!” Marie stops laughing long enough to look Cordelia right in the eye to tell her, “She done messed with the wrong witch… and she knows it. And now you know it.

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7.  Queenie is either really lonely, or even braver than we thought, or both.  When Queenie’s new maid, one Delphine LaLaurie, recognizes the monster that Marie Laveau (she calls the Minotaur “Bastian”) has sent her way and actually drops to her knees and beseeches Queenie to save her, Queenie doesn’t toss LaLaurie out the door, yell “SHE’S OVER HERE!” and then slam the door behind the evil bitch and lock all the bolts on the doors and windows.** She cuts Delphine’s hand (rather enthusiastically) to soak up some of her blood on a piece of cloth, then relatively calmly–and a little bit coyly–leads the bull away. She talks softly to the Minotaur. “She told me what you did to her daughter. You just wanted love.”  The more seductive she is, the more the bull seems to calm down, seeming thrown off at first by Queenie’s actions.*** You know, suddenly I’m not that comfortable describing what starts to happen, you saw it, but the scene ends with the Minotaur abruptly lunging at her in a blur (it was probably all FX would let the show get away with, content-wise) and Queenie’s muffled scream of pain. I’m sure that and the scenes with Kyle’s monster mom were kind of awkward to film, and hopefully they didn’t need repeated takes.

Self-preservation: it’s the most primal instinct in the human psyche. So what would it take to make a person disregard their will to survive?

 

8. The new neighbors (moving in next door to the Academy) aren’t any fun–well, the teenage son with his shirt off seemed okay (especially when he blew off Madison and was much more friendly to Nan), but his mother, Joan? Not so much.  “Hell is naked before him and destruction hath no covering,” she quotes to her son when she sees he’s taken his sweat-soaked shirt off while moving boxes. We see her causing serious problems for Fiona ahead. I’m pretty sure she’s down with burning every witch in existence at the stake, even if some of the witches are completely benign.

I wish I was as sweet as you think.

 

9. Joan pisses Madison off so much that we learn she has developed pyrokinesis to go with her telekinesis. After Fiona discovers this, she speedily develops a keen interest in Madison …and what else Madison might be able to do, and takes her out to lunch… and later, for drinks.

It’s a dance, a dance no-one ever had to teach me. A dance I’ve known since I first saw my reflection in my father’s eyes. My partners have been princes and starving artists,  Greek gods and clowns. And every one of them certain they lead. But it’s always my dance. I make the first move, which is no move it all. I’ve always just understood they would eventually find themselves in front of me. Beautiful, primitive animals, their bodies responding to the inevitability of it all. It’s my dance, and I have performed it with finesse and abandon with countless partners. Only the faces change. And all this time …I never suspected the night would come when the dance would end.

-Fiona’s ultimately heartbreaking monologue to her surgeon that kicks off Act One of “The Replacements”

10. Along with learning how desperate both Cordelia and Fiona are when they find out that their bodies have turned on them, we learn Fiona is not only desperate, but deadly.  Almost as soon as they return to the Academy, drunk and laughing, Fiona starts spilling her guts. Madison gets really giddy when Fiona tells her she will be the next Supreme, but not so thrilled when Fiona tells her that she learned recently that she has cancer. All through her. She’ll be dead in a year; Fiona’s life force is pouring out of her and into Madison (who has now stopped smiling).  Madison seems to sober up pretty quick when Fiona blurts out her murder confession (along with other regrets about her past decisions). She learns the hard way what we horror fans already know: when someone –who also appears mentally unstable, including violent mood swings–  confesses to a murder and then points out the murder took place in that very room, right where she’s standing now, right with this same weapon here that they’ve kept all these years? Now would be a good time to get the fuck out of there. Instead Madison starts to freak out (but not run–perhaps making the same mistake as Anna Leigh did in 1971: thinking Fiona wasn’t powerful enough at the time to really hurt her) when Fiona turns panicky as well, her eyes wild, beseeching Madison to kill her for the good of the coven, trying to give her the knife while Madison pushes it away. In the confusion, Madison’s throat is neatly sliced and it’s hard to say who looks more shocked (and suddenly sober) for the silent moment before Madison crumples to the floor.  Dead (and still dead, as of this writing).

This coven doesn’t need a new Supreme.  It needs a new rug.

 

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Stray thoughts:

  • I liked the way the 1971 flashback started with Fiona getting up for a midnight snack of alcohol and pills, regarding the painting of Supreme Anna Leigh, and then flashing to the real thing (in the same hair and dress). Also, that the young Fiona wore a black choker.
  • Dephine’s tearful reaction to seeing on “that magic box” that we have a “Negro” President was priceless.  So was her hiss of “LIIIEEESSSS!” to Fiona when she confirmed it. Kathy Bates is really having fun being on the show.
  • A certain popular recap of “The Replacements” referred to the episode (I think it may have even been the headline of the piece) as “Kink-tastic!” That immediately made me lose respect for the writer and their reviews. No. Not “kink-tastic” (which I assume was their cutesy, lazy way of calling it fantastically kinky). There have been scenes in the history of the series where the characters had kinky fun, but not in this episode. Really? Was it kinky fun when Kyle’s mom sexually abused her son? Do you think that in the preview for the next episode, where we saw Queenie with blood soaking the lower half of her dress, that indicated she had kinky fun? I’m definitely no prude, but that casual attitude made me sick. Still does.
  • I have no idea whether Fiona cutting Madison’s throat was planned, an accident, or a spur-of-the moment thing. For the ‘planned’ argument: We saw a shot of Fiona coldly and deliberately pouring her drink on the floor after she’d watched all the men’s eyes glued to Madison in her white bandage dress as she laughed and got noticeably hammered and played pool. Also, she didn’t exactly shed a tear for Madison; instead she sighed, took the fancy napkin Spalding handed to her (we find out in Episode 4 that he heard the shouting and came down to the Great Room to see what was going on) to wipe the blood from her hands, and calmly told him, “Bury her deep. God knows what all that shit in her body will do to the lawn when it comes up in the spring”, and casually sits down and lights a cigarette before delivering the final line.
    For the “unplanned” argument, Fiona was pretty convincing and insistent that Madison cut her throat like she cut Anna Leigh’s, and seemed shocked when the younger girl suddenly had a cut throat. She also put her hands over it for a moment, maybe to try to stop the bleeding, but that didn’t last long after she saw Spalding standing at the base of the staircase again (and after “Fearful Pranks Ensue,” we know why he helped her–both times.  I finally have come to the conclusion as of this writing –I mean literally, as I was typing this up– that Fiona had good temporary intentions of mentoring Madison as the new Supreme, but things speed up quite a bit unexpectedly after she watched Madison in the bar/pool hall and decided she was being replaced… but after watching the struggle with the knife and Madison refusing to take it, I noticed towards the end Fiona looked more furious than desperate and yelled, “Take it, you stupid girl!” into her face as Madison refused to take it. I think her temper (Fiona did have a really shitty day, worse that Cordelia’s) flared at the last second and got the better of her, then Fiona quickly added together what it would mean and decided it was for the best. “She would have made a lousy Supreme,” Fiona tells Spalding at the start of the following episode (but we’ll cover that next time).
  • Nice touch that when Fiona and Madison were out drinking and Jerry Lee Lewis singing “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going on,” was on the jukebox, the editors decided to leave in that line about “We got the bull by the horns.”  Speaking of which, the half-hand, half-hooves were a clever and creative contribution from whoever did the Creature Design for the Minotaur.
  • Jessica Lange looked more amazing during the final scene in that chic little red dress than she has so far in any scene in the series.

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*Anna Leigh’s response to this is to call young Fiona a “vicious little gash” (damn!) and a “selfish, craven child little child” who will bring the Coven to ruin if she’s allowed to take power.

**Which is probably what I would have done once she told me who she really was Sorry, but I’m not risking my life to try to save the hide of one of the most evil bitches in history. Especially after that comment about how she’d “padlock the icebox and throw away the key” if I was her daughter.

Shit!

Shit!

***Doubt the Minotaur ever had a victim begin to act that way before. “What the hell?  Why isn’t she screaming her head off and flailing around like the other ones do when they see me approach?”

Coming up next, THIS happens in the cold open of “Fearful Pranks Ensue”:

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TVLine’s Performer of the Week: Jessica Lange

SInce Mrs. Horror Boom here is still writing the piece on episode 23, “The Replacements”, here’s an awesome piece to hold you over by TVLine about Jessica Lange‘s standout performance (as usual) this week on American Horror Coven. Supreme.

TVLine

American Horror Story CovenA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Jessica Lange

THE SHOW | American Horror Story: Coven

THE EPISODE | “The Replacements”

THE AIRDATE | Oct. 23, 2013

THE PERFORMANCE | Ironic, isn’t it? In “The Replacements,” Fiona tried to come to grips with the idea that she might not always be the Supreme, and — at the very same time — Lange let us know in no uncertain terms that she would always be the Supreme.

Early on, the sorceress waxed nostalgic about the power her beauty gave her over men. Drawing them to her, seducing them, she said, “it’s my dance… I never suspected a night would come when the dance would end.” So, upon being informed that her failing health made her ineligible for plastic surgery, she could no longer hold back her tears.

Later, when not tormenting Delphine with her modernism (“I voted for…

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‘American Horror Story’: Ryan Murphy talks the latest episode ‘Boy Parts’ and Stevie Nicks’ influence on ‘Coven’ — EXCLUSIVE

HOAH!  Don’t miss this post-mortem*! Note that this is EW.com‘s “Exclusive”, not Horror Boom’s – when we re-blog a piece from them (hey, would YOU want to miss their awesome news/interview pieces that are clearly written by a fellow horror –and American Horror Story–fan?), we can’t edit the subject line, or we absolutely would;  we want everyone in the writing and horror community to know that we have a zero-tolerance policy on anything approaching plagiarism**. Now to do more research on ‘The Axe Man’ (hint: check the ‘Related Articles’ below for the casting scoop)–look for our piece on this week’s episode, “Boy Parts” soon. Plus, we’re pretty sure who the threesome Murphy promised us  teased is going to consist of. If you missed the (late) edition we wrote on “Bitchcraft,” check it out here.

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*So to speak…

**But apparently at least this week, an open-door policy on run-on sentences–and this writer (me) has a BA in Creative Writing, plus earns money copy editing and writing. So, decades of experience go out the window sometimes when I get really, really excited about my favorite show currently on TV, which happens to be horror-related. Whattaya gonna do?

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‘American Horror Story’: Lily Rabe talks returning to ‘Coven’ as a Stevie Nicks-obsessed witch

We knew she wasn’t burned at the stake! That was one of the best (and most satisfying) cold opens in a loooong time. Lily Rabe was having a blast, too, we could tell!

 

TV Review: ‘American Horror Story: Coven’

UPDATE: Above link not working? Try clicking here instead for the Variety review, which we would consider slightly spoiler-ish.

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Oh “torture porn” our ass, Brian Lowry. Sounds to us like American Horror Story Coven just hits the ground running. We’ll be able to judge for ourselves soon enough!

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