Friday, November 1, 2013

American Horror Story, Season 3, Episode 4: Fearful Pranks Ensue

New Orleans, 1961, and a group of White men chase a Black boy until they corner him in an alley.

In Marie Leveau’s hair salon, the boy’s mother, Cora, is distracted – she’s sent her son Henry to the newly integrated high school. Marie thinks she’s taking a big risk and isn’t impressed that Kennedy’s in the White House – things haven’t changed that much and the White Citizens Council of New Orleans is still fighting integration with graphic racist messages.

Cora, later, finds her son’s body, lynched. And Marie Laveau looks on. That night she performs a ritual. In the cemetery, zombies rise from their graves – finding the men who lynched the boy. The zombies tear them apart.

To the present day and Spalding (the Academy’s tongueless servant) happily having a mini tea party surrounded by multitudes of dolls. It may be the creepiest thing American Horror Story has ever done. He’s interrupted by noisy shenanigans and goes downstairs while we hear Fiona confront Madison from last week.

Spalding clears up the body while Fiona justifies herself – Madison would have been a lousy Supreme and the coven couldn’t handle that at this moment. It’s her duty to stay vital. She also adds how much she loves talking to Spalding – especially since he lost his tongue.

They’re interrupted by the crash of breaking glass and Fiona goes to investigate in the greenhouse. She finds the place wrecked and Queenie on the floor – blood staining her dress crying that she couldn’t stop it and it hurt her really badly. The Minotaur rises behind her.

Fiona wakes Cordelia and brings her to help Queenie – both implying Cordelia was sleeping on the job and blaming Marie Laveau for the attack; Cordelia blames Fiona for provoking Marie. Fiona accuses Cordelia of undermining them, outright admitting to Marie that her magic was stronger than Fiona’s by going there and asking for help. While they bicker, Queenie stops breathing – and Fiona leans over her and breathes on her until she breaths and her heart beats again.

Cordelia wants to take her to a hospital but Fiona refuses – everything has to be handled internally, she adds a barb of the Council getting involved and questioning Cordelia’s competence.

Fiona goes to her room where LaLaurie is hiding. LaLaurie admits that Queenie saved her from Bastien, sent by the “Voodoo Queen” Marie. Fiona tells LaLaurie to keep quiet as well.

At Marie Laveau’s salon, a much older Cora is having her hair done before going to the Hallowe’en Ball at the mayor’s mansion she’s been invited to. Marie refuses to take Cora’s money (and pushes money into Cora’s hands though she tries to refuse, which Marie isn’t having). A large package arrives – inside is a bull’s head, Bastien’s head. Marie screams in rage and pain –especially since the Bull’s head blinks. Fiona was not amused by the bull man it seems.

Time for the pointless storylines – zombie Kyle keeps banging his head against the side of the bath over and over again, his face and the bath are spattered with blood, though I think from his dead mother more than his head. Zoe rushes to stop him, calling his name and zombie Kyle repeats it. And says “not Kyle.” She sobs, apologises and decides to go cook something (brains?)

She’s not exactly and advanced cook and makes a bowl of tuna mayonnaise seasoned with rat poison (I know someone who cooks like that) but Kyle has left the building – only people in costumes in sight outside.

Boring people finished, back to the Academy and Fiona tells LaLaurie how much she likes Hallowe’en, while LaLaurie has a very different idea of what to do (hers involves protecting themselves from evil spirits). LaLaurie comments that Fiona looks beautiful – and Fiona thinks she looks younger.

In Marie’s Salon, Marie is getting ready to cast her revenge when her friend, Chantal, comes in and asks her to stop and reconsider – she doesn’t want Marie to start a war. Apparently in the past there was another war – with many many deaths. Chantal calls her a hero because she sat opposite them and made peace, (we flashback to Marie and the last Supreme signing an accord). Marie won’t hear it – the truce is over and Chantal is either with her or against her.

In the unnecessary extra storyline category – Cordelia’s husband Hank is out of town cheating on her (and he seems to have a seizure when he orgasms. He should probably have that checked out). It’s apparent that he’s lying through his teeth to his girlfriend – including his job and being single… then he shoots her in the head with a silenced pistol… ok, well he didn’t break her heart but that seems rather excessive.

Cordelia is in Queenie’s room trying to care for her – and Queenie wakes up. LaLaurie thanks her for saving her life – Queenie isn’t moved much by words. And the reunion is interrupted by Nan announcing the council are here.

Cordelia’s rather taken by surprise by the three visiting witches. Cordelia quietly asks the chief witch (Myrtle) how screwed she is – but receives a minor reassurance. Cordelia makes a rookie mistake and assures them Queenie’s ok – bad move considering the Council knows nothing of the assault. She tries to confess to going to see Marie – but that’s not what they’re here for either. Keep this up and she’s going to confess to everything ever. Long enough and she may admit to killing JFK.

Fiona arrives and tells Cordelia to stop talking (thank you!). She greets the Council, Myrtle, Quentin (who she calls a “vicious old queen”, also the first male witch we’ve seen) and Pembroke (who doesn’t seem a big fan of Fiona). And why are the Council there? Because Nan called them – she can’t hear Madison’s thoughts any more.

The inquisition begins – apparently the penalty for killing a Salem descendent is death by fire. The questions cover that Madison was “troubled”, a movie star, adventurous, hard to control and prone to partying all night (also with some of Queenie twisting in the knife very expertly). But they do learn from Nan that Madison was developing new powers.

They call in Fiona and Myrtle complains at what a bad Supreme Fiona is - she’s absent, doesn’t attend meetings and is generally failing to rule. She’s supposed to lead, not just enjoy herself; and with this general dereliction of duty, why has Fiona finally raised her head? Especially since a witch has disappeared from the Academy while she was there – just like the last Supreme, Anna.

Flashback to 1971 where a distraught and lying young Fiona tearfully hopes that Anna is still alive while the Council gravely tells her they can’t find her life force. Past Fiona does her best to cast suspicion on Marie Laveau.  There’s a big ceremony afterwards in which Fiona is announced to be the next Supreme, once she passes the tests of the 7 wonders. Myrtle, a contemporary of Fiona’s, is outraged that Fiona is getting away with murder – Fiona didn’t convince everyone. Myrtle is a “Guardian of Veracity” apparently.

That night she enchants Spalding’s tongue so he cannot tell a lie – having noticed that Spalding spends so much time clearing up after Fiona. Except, after revealing that to her friend, Spalding has his tongue cut out.

Back to the present and Mytle is positively eager to see Fiona fry. She calls Spalding as a witness and assures him they will protect him if he writes the name of the witch who was responsible for cutting out his tongue. He writes Myrtle’s name down (holding her responsible because of the truth spell) because, on hearing what Myrtle planned, he cut out his own tongue because he loves Fiona.

Myrtle promptly loses her shit in an epic screaming rant accusing Fiona of murdering Anna and Madison (both accurate, both unproven), but Cordelia speaks up. Madison wasn’t Supreme – the hallmark of any rising Supreme is vibrant, radiant health and Madison had a heart murmur she kept private and hidden from everyone but Cordelia, the headmistress. She couldn’t have been the Supreme. Myrtle is promptly slapped down.

Well damn, Fiona, you just ruined that rug for nothing.

Marie Laveau, helped by Chantal, is casting her zombie raising ritual.

Fiona and Cordelia have gone out drinking, celebrating that they’re on the same side for once in a very very long time. Cordelia wants to play the honesty game and asks three questions she expects honest answers to. She gets 2: Why doesn’t Fiona like Hank? (Because he reeks of bullshit. Honest and true), 2) Did you kill Madison (Fiona lies). The Fiona wants to ask hers – who is the next Supreme? Cordelia thinks she’s obsessed – but then Cordelia is also a light weight drunk and ends up puking her guys up in the bathroom. And while in their a black robed figure comes out of the bathroom and throws something in Cordelia’s eyes – something that hisses like acid and makes her scream.

At the Academy, Spalding, clearly having heard my earlier comment about his dolls being creepy, ups the creepy level to 10,000 by inviting Madison’s half-naked corpse to the doll party. Uckies uckies uckies.

LaLaurie hands out candy to the trick or treaters and inside Zoe and Queenie don’t believe Nan that Madison is dead. I think this is just to establish where everyone is. Luke, the hot next door neighbour, comes round with cookies for Nan which is all very sweet but sadly interrupted by zombies! Madame LaLaurie’s dead daughter zombies at that!

And they’re just 3 of several zombies all closing in.

We all know Zoe is Supreme. If nothing else, she needed more powers other than being the living embodiment of what the religious right thinks sex does to teenagers. And why else would we be forced to suffer through her ultra-bland storyline?

Speaking of storylines – too much, too many, not enough are interesting.

We have Fiona and her desperate urge for youth/killing Supremes

We have Zoe and Zombie!Kyle

Misty is still in the swamp doing who knows what to Fleetwood Mac

Queenie was gored by a Minotaur but very few people seem to care about that

Madison is dead and that is being investigated

Marie Laveau is pissed off

Madame LaLaurie is still around – is there a reason? I mean, the minute Fiona dug her up and found out that LaLaurie couldn’t grant her youth, why keep her? Why not bury her again? Why not deliver her to Laveau?

Nan has a budding love affair with the neighbour

Cordelia wants kids and is randomly attacked

Hank wants kids and randomly hooks up with women and kills them.

TOO MUCH! YOO MANY! Most of them are boring.

And while I like Marie Laveau throwing lynchers to the zombies, this is still taking real historical atrocities for drama, horror and woo-woo; would that there had actually been vengeful zombies to call upon!