Friday, January 10, 2014

American Horror Story, Season 3, Episode 10: The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks

Marie Laveau is a guest at the Academy after the horrendous events of last episode – Fiona offers comfort including a hefty jolt of alcohol and a sleeping spell. Marie confesses that she’s ashamed for Fiona to see her weakness though Fiona replies that she would have cried had she lost everyone she loved; but Marie doesn’t cry for the dead, she’s 300 years old. What shames her and “touches her soul” is Fiona’s kindness. And she’s relieved to have found an equal

But that night Marie is woken by… oh gods, a loa, there is no way this is going to be good. He is there for his price, something she agreed to pay every year. She is most pissed off by the loa’s awful timing and has to get up in the middle of the night – to go to a maternity hospital (or possibly orphanage). Using her magic to get past any obstacles, she takes a baby, using more magic to kill the police who try to stop her.

In the kitchen the next morning, Cordelia blames herself, thinking that her divorcing Hank has driven him over the edge to prove himself to her. To which Marie reveals she hired Hank, that he was a witch hunter. Fiona walks away, takes deep breaths – then storms back and slaps Cordiela for bringing Hank into this “sacred house”. Marie intervenes – what’s past is past, and helps Cordelia back into her chair. Fiona warns them that witchunters work in packs before going to answer the door (everyone kind of just accepts all the servants have disappeared) while Marie turns off the news when it turns to the kidnapping of a baby.

Fiona visits Misty who is her usual Stevie Nicks obsessed self – but smart enough to be suspicious of Fiona’s intentions. But Fiona’s here to tell her how wonderful being Supreme is, why everyone wants to know you! Including a white witch she knows who she’ll now introduce to Misty: Stevie Nicks.

Misty faints. Fiona finds this almost as funny as I do. She and Stevie are good friends it seems

The three younger witches wonder whether Queenie is dead or not – even in her absence Madison throws in some fat insults before entering the house to find Stevie singing to Misty and Fiona. Madison, of course, tries to deflect the circle of awed worship by telling Fiona she’s an Eminem fan so when does he show up. Fiona: “Marshall? You’re not his type.” Also she’s not the next Supreme. Forget magic, this is why Fiona is Supreme.

After the song Misty gushes with endless praises and hero worship (and checking to make sure she got the shawl twirl right) before Stevie showing her and giving Misty her shawl. Twirling is apparently a thing

Of course, Madison is furious that Misty is getting the attention – Nan suggests she could be Supreme, much to Madison’s derision, but Nan shows her her powers are growing by mind controlling her – into sticking a cigarette in her vagina (stopped by Zoe). Madison dying and living again apparently cured her heart murmur which makes Madison think she’s back in the running

Back with the grown ups, Cordelia presents her research of Harrison Renard, head of the Delphi Trust, chief witchhunter and Cordelia’s father-in-law. See, this is why it’s important to meet the family before the wedding (to demand a better class of wedding gifts if nothing else, the guy is loaded). She gives them a brief run down of the company (originally carpenters in Salem). Marie is all for heading to Atlanta and taking care of things but Fiona is more wary of a multi-billion dollar company

Which means a spell, a spell to hit their greatest strength – their money (an elaborate ritual is set up with a maze and mouse traps and money). She takes time out to scream terrible things at Cordelia to Marie's silent disapproval before Marie and Fiona work together on the ritual as Fiona invokes Hecate and puts a mouse in the maze.

At Delphi, the chaos begins with some official folks showing up with a search warrant. Lots of people start taking the company apart. But it cost her -  Fiona staggers and Marie catches her. Fiona says she’s fine – but collapses to the floor.

Zoe and Nan worry about Madison being Supreme since they need unity and she is too selfish to lead them (Zoe thinks Nan would be an awesome Supreme because she hasn’t a mean bone in her body - time to prove that wrong). They’re in the hospital visiting Luke – but the nurse tells them he died (thanks to his mother). Nan falls into tears

Fiona is moved to her bed and Marie purifies the room – and Fiona tells her about the new Supreme and what that does to the old Supreme; Marie isn’t ready to say goodbye, they still have work (in anyone else’s mouth that would sound endearing, Marie makes it sound like a threat and pronouncement of how things will be). Fiona asks for Marie’s secret of immortality like she gave LaLaurie – but LaLaurie got a vial of Marie’s tears, doing the same for Fiona would just have her dying of cancer for eternity. To get the real deal she sold her soul to Papa Legba: she made a deal to give Papa Legba what he wanted every year – but thinking he meant sexual favours – but he took her own baby. She warns Fiona that if she wants Legba to come see her bad enough, he will come.

Elsewhere Misty and Madison have decided to join a Black funeral for some unknown damn reason (seriously who just joins a funeral procession? What kind of arrogance does that?) and Madison explains, from her experience in show business, what it means when everyone showers gifts on you. Misty is the new Supreme, everyone flocks to give her attention and presents – but now she feels obliged to them. Misty doesn’t believe it, thinks Madison is just trying to get to her, so Madison takes her to the cemetery and raises the newly dead guy from his coffin to prove she’s powerful and doesn’t need to manipulate Misty (looks like a trick unless Madison really can raise the dead – after all we had Kyle.) She tells Misty to throw away her new shawl and stop imitating Stevie. She takes off the shawl… seems to be ready to do it – but in the last minute pulls it back. And Madison smacks her on the back of the head and drops her in the coffin. And takes the shawl.

Back to Nan and Zoe visiting Luke’s mother to try and find where Luke’s body is in the hope of using Misty to bring him back. Except she had him cremated – and Nan’s temper snaps. She accuses Joan of killing Luke with a pillow (which she did) and uses her magic to force her to her knees and make her drink a bottle of bleach. When Zoe tries to intervene she’s thrown across the room

Go Nan. Nan for Supreme!

Back to the Academy with Myrtle and Cordelia and Myrtle playing a… a… thing? Apparently it’s a theremin a musical instrument designed for extra creepiness. Cordelia is having a crisis of confidence and identity what with her having no magic any more and nothing to offer the coven. Myrtle tells her to suck it up and deal, sell salad dressing or become a hostess – because Myrtle is out of her ever loving mind. Cordelia screams to end the platitudes and breaks stuff while yelling what a failure she is. Myrtle plays the theremin while Cordelia breaks things. It could be performance art

Meanwhile, at Delphi, David tells boss man Renard that the company is royally screwed. Ouch, that’s gotta leave a mark; Renard isn’t a fool – he knows witches are behind this.

Back to Fiona, making an offering of cocaine to Papa Legba. He appears and she emphasises how special and wonderful she is – and he doesn’t care, he wants her soul, she gets freedom from death. She puts on her contract lawyer hat except when he says she will provide services every year she says whatever it takes – murdering innocents, crippling her daughter, anything. Why bother defining terms when you won’t set limits on them? They strike a deal but as he seals it with a kiss, he calls it off – she has no soul to sell.

She sits down with the Axeman and Fiona decides if she has no soul she may as well kill all the girls – bound to get the Supreme that way.

Nan, meanwhile, hears a baby cry in her head. She follows the sound to the baby Marie kidnapped. Marie turns up to tell her to hand the baby over but Nan has gone way beyond edgy now – tells Marie to “eat her shit” and that she’s the next Supreme and killed the neighbour. Huh, and? Marie Leveau has been fending off Supremes for the last 300 years. Fiona arrives, taking the news of neighbour murdering as more hassle from the police. Nan protests Marie is going to kill the baby, but Fiona orders her to hand the baby over and leave – Nan is still intimidated by the current Supreme.

Alone, Marie and Fiona both express fear of Nan (respect her powers – and the power of knowledge) and Marie talks about Legba’s need for an innocent soul; which inspires Fiona. To the bathroom! They drown Nan in the bath – and Papa Legba achieves. No substitutions, exchanges or refunds: an innocent soul is needed. Apparently killing the neighbour doesn’t make her innocent, even if “the bitch had it coming” as Fiona puts it. Marie and Fiona complain and demand he play fair and he agrees just because he thinks Fiona and Marie together are going to cause all kind of mayhem (I agree and I kind of want to scrap this whole show and just have Marie, Fiona & Shenanigans!). Nan’s ghost joins Papa Legba – looking on the bright side, she’s getting out of the academy.

Close with another song from Stevie to Fiona while she cries in her wine.

So Marie joins the good guy’s side thanks to Fiona being her saviour – and her kindness that touches Marie’s “soul”. Then Marie goes out to kidnap a baby. Why? Because VOUDOU! And even losing her own child? Can we count the ways this is awful? Marie having the most evil magic, demonising her so completely, making voudou even darker and more savage than they already have complete with a cocaine snorting loa! All with a side order of Marie seeming to become Fiona’s second… Is that it now? Marie is Fiona’s sidekick?

And her backstory? Super powerful awesome Voudou lady, able to do things that make even the Supreme beg for her wisdom – and it ends up with her making a Faustian bargain? Not even a KNOWING one (at least that would be some agency), but almost being tricked into it!

The more scenes we have with everyone contending for the Supreme but Zoe, the more convinced I am that Zoe is the Supreme. Especially since everyone seems to be getting a power creep – Madison, Misty able to enchant people, Nan controlling minds – but Zoe is conspicuously silent about her powers.

Also, where is Queenie? Is she actual dead? And we’re not even going to have it confirmed? The number of people who have died in this show and you kill off and keep dead Queenie and Nan? Seriously? This is some special kind of bullshit, AHS

Does anyone actually CARE Queenie is dead? We had one passing reference! Or all the people from the salon – Marie declares she doesn’t cry for the dead and we’re done. Grief, acknowledgement, pain? Nope, all gone. And Nan – just as she’s being given a bigger part she’s killed off? Should have known that was coming! A minority starts taking up more space, you know they’re heading to the grave.

Cordelia’s break down was powerful – and appropriate. She’s lost her magic, her husband, her position in the academy and learned that she, a woman dedicated to the safety and promotion of witches, gave a witchhunter the keys to hunting them. I think a meltdown is definitely in order.

And I am quite partial to some Stevie Nicks, but dispensing with huge chunks of an episode so everyone can show up and hear her sing – I could have gone to youtube. This added absolutely nothing to the show beyond a “look, we got Stevie Nicks!” which has been advertised to death anyway.