This episode focused a lot on periphery characters and, as usual, unnecessary plot twists. YAY! Hey, kids ... can you spell implausible plot development?
The episode begins with a little boy and his father in a picturesque forest. They’re having a bonding trip and you know that someone is going to shoot Bambi’s mother. However, instead of an innocent hunting trip, these two men are hunting a poor defenseless woman in the forest with bad teeth and an unfortunate wig. However, if you’re a witch in the forest, where are you going to get leave-in conditioner? It’s revealed to be Hank Foxx (Josh Hamilton).
Meanwhile, back at Ryan Murphy’s version of Beauty Shop, Angela Bassett (Marie Laveau) is slumming it acting wise playing a racial stereotype. An immortal necromancer with untold magical powers, yet she can’t update her salon’s '70s décor. Shut your mouth, because she got the shaft, character-wise. Meanwhile, Precious Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) gives up the lap of luxury with her own, slightly racist, maid to run phones at a beauty shop? How is that in any way believable?
Meanwhile, back in the plot, Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) arrives at the salon to return the head of Madam Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) that was so rudely left on her doorstep. She proposes the two leaders combine forces to defeat the witch hunters. To which Marie replies with a stereotypical epitaph like “Nah, Girl!” or “Oh, no you didn’t!” She has Queenie take Delphine’s head to burn it. Instead, Queenie decides to force a reanimated talking head to watch Roots, The Color Purple, and old news footage from the segregation era.
Back at Douche, Inc., Hank shows up to report on his progress with the New Orleans witches. Apparently, his father is head witch hunter, has passed Hank over for second-in-command, and is running a company that is a smokescreen for a secret line of witch hunters. Also, he has no name. It’s revealed that the person who blinded Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson) was her own father-in-law, Random Unnamed Witch hunter aka Hank’s Dad.
Cordelia does her best attempt to set blind people back 50 years. She shows you that blind people can’t do anything without dropping things. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t she have some training or a nurse before she is set to try and make eggs on her own? Also, as the daughter of the Supreme, is there no way to give her some sort of superhuman compensation for sight besides unhelpful premonitions? Even Daredevil could smell and see things via sonar.
Frizzy Day Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) decides to make an elaborate meal for her old Witch Council pals, The French Teacher from that Richard Grieco movie (Robin Bartlett) and that little guy from Will & Grace (Leslie Jordan). She takes their eyes out with a melon-baller and has some sort of dance party while cutting up their remains. Myrtle and Fiona have a little tête-à-tête when Fiona learns about Cordelia’s new eyes. Then, Cordelia and Misty Day (Lily Rabe) have a little playtime with magic and make an elaborate potion to resurrect a plant. Isn’t that Misty’s pre-existing power?
In the worst use of a Tony winner storyline, Joan Ramsey (Patti LuPone) is resurrected while her son, Luke Ramsey (Alexander Dreymon), is in a coma. Why would Fiona have her resurrected? It makes no sense at all. Am I right? Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) and Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) come to retrieve Nan (Jamie Brewer). However, she has not been able to see Luke. So they re-enact Ghost with Nan recounting secrets about Luke’s childhood. Suddenly, Joan changes her tune, literally, until Luke starts sharing secrets from beyond the grave ... like how Joan murdered his father. And yet, to review, who cares? LuPone is an amazing actress and singer but who cares if the witches’ neighbor has drama, too? These are periphery characters and there isn’t enough plot development in the stories that matter like back at the beauty shop.
After being threatened by his father and the Voodoo Queen, losing his wife, and having a verbal lashing by Fiona, Hank decides to kill all the witches ... in Marie’s beauty shop. He brings blessed silver bullets and takes them all down. He shoots Marie in the arm but before he can kill her, a wounded Queenie uses her voodoo doll powers to shoot him in the head. Marie shows up at the school ready to combine forces.
When the world is cold and bleak and you've lost all faith in humanity, there is only one cure: Amélie. Even at your lowest, the 2001 French film has the ability to cheer you up with its story of a young girl from Montmartre (played by Audrey Tautou) who discovers her passion for helping others. The way she touches people's lives while learning to live her own reminds us that the ultimate gift in life is giving to others. So here are our favorite inspiring acts of kindness that Amélie performs in the most life-affirming movie ever made.
She Gives a Cynical Man His Childhood Back
What spurs her mission to help mankind is the mysterious treasure box she finds behind a tile in her bathroom. In it are old toys and photographs collected decades ago. When she hunts down the old tenant who the box belonged to and arranges for him to find it in a phone booth, he is overcome with emotion. After this miraculous act, he reevaluates his life and decides to reconnect with his daughter and finally meet his grandson.
She Helps a Blind Man "See"
When Amélie spots a blind man about to cross the street, she takes the opportunity to help him and gives him a vivid description of everything going on around them. She describes every scene, from the interesting characters who pass by (i.e., a woman wearing a marching uniform who she calls "the drum major's widow") to the foods being sold at the market (i.e., sugar plum ice cream, melon slices, and rotisserie chickens). When she leaves him by the metro, he looks as if he had been touched by an angel.
She Shows Her Father the World
Since her mother's death, Amélie's father has become increasingly reclusive and sheltered. In order to get him to see the world, she steals his garden gnome and, with the help of an international flight attendant, photographs the statue in various famous international locations. Unable to comprehend how this is happening, her father concludes that it must be a sign, and so he goes on his first trip.
She Unbreaks a Widow's Heart
Amélie's downstairs neighbor, Madeleine Wallace, lost her husband in a plane crash, but right before he died she found out he was having an affair with his secretary. She's spent every day crying and grieving ever since. Amélie gives the widow a new perspective by fabricating a lost letter from her husband that confesses that he had ended the affair and that his heart still belonged to his wife. This life-changing discovering gives Madeleine a whole new outlook, and dries her tears.
She Defends the Defenseless
Monsieur Collignon, the neighborhood grocer, regularly belittles and humiliates his handicapped assistant, Lucien, who likes to treat the produce with extra care and attention. Amélie feels an affinity with Lucien, and comes to his defense through an elaborately devised scheme to rearrange things in Collignon's apartment, thus making him so paranoid and shaken up that his arrogance is replaced with humility.
She Learns to Take a Leap of Faith
After her many acts of kindness, Amélie's enigmatic neighbor, Raymond Dufayel, helps her realize that the one person she's neglected is herself. He's witnessed her falling in love with Nino, a young man who shares the same quirks as Amélie, and he convinces her to go after him. Painfully shy Amélie learns to overcome her fears and changes one last life: her own. She finally meets with Nino and the two begin what looks like a beautiful relationship.
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This episode marks the last night of this season’s blind auditions. I, for one, am profoundly disappointed by the utter lack of blindness puns in the songs our hopefuls have chosen — no “Blinded by the Light,” no “I Can See Clearly Now,” nor nearly enough selections from the catalogs of Blind Melon, Third Eye Blind, and Stevie Wonder. Maybe our last crop of contestants won’t disappoint.
Natalie Hernandez skipped both her prom and her brother’s graduation — guess they filmed this at least three months ago — to audition for The Voice, making this the climactic scene in the teen movie that is her life. (Then again, when you’re 15, every day is the climactic scene in the teen movie that is your life.)
Her earthy, distinctive voice shines on “White Horse,” turning around Adam, Blake, and Christina.
Natalie’s Result: Team Christina
The producers offer yet another defrosted pop star in Rod Michael, whose boy band B3 won fame in Germany — on a scale of 1 to Hasselhoff, maybe a 2.5 — but no recognition back home. You know a group didn’t make it too big when it doesn’t appear until the third page of Google search results for its name. (Coincidentally, were you aware that B3 is the vitamin niacin, as well as the name of a city bus route in Brooklyn? The More You Know™.)
Rod’s adequate version of “Please Don’t Go” has the ladies in the house screaming, but overall, he’s simply not a standout.
Rod’s Result: Team Nobody
Caitlin Michelle says that she discovered she could sing at the age of five, which raises the question, “What 5-year-old doesn’t think he or she can sing?” A victim of intense anxiety attacks, she has found solace in music throughout her life. But I don’t know, man. When I hear “panic disorder,” I don’t think “career in show business.”
I like her retro microphone tattoo and winged eyeliner, a look perfectly complemented by her male friend backstage (siblings, or dating?) and his handlebar mustache. Caitlin brings a dramatic, bold flair to Florence + the Machine’s “Cosmic Love,” though it doesn't seem like an ideal song to showcase her voice.
Caitlin’s Result: Team Adam
A modern-day Mozart, Nicole Johnson wrote her first song at age seven (her mom doesn’t go into detail, but I think we can safely assume it was a full symphony).
Her family moved to Nashville from Louisiana so she could better pursue her music career — listening to Nicole’s buttery-smooth “Mr. Know-It-All,” it seems like that might not have been a huge mistake.
Nicole’s Result: Team Blake
Kameron Corvet, a middle-school French teacher, sings — surprisingly — something other than “Frère Jacques.” Self-accompanied on guitar, he offers a cover of “Crazy” (not the Gnarls Barkley “Crazy,” unfortunately) that’s good, but not good enough.
Kameron’s Result: Team Nobody
Chevonne sang back-up on Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball tour, which is impressive, but it’s this video that I just found on YouTube that’s led me to declare myself a Little Chevonnester (the first ever?).
Her “Brass in Pocket” — oh my god, I love this song, y’all — is a lot of fun, and not unlike Gaga in style.
Chevonne’s Result: Team Cee Lo
Seventeen-year-old Kayla Nevarez credits her father for fostering her interest in soul, R&B, and “doo-wops and stuff.” Sadly, he isn’t here to cheer her on because he’s ailing from a serious liver disease — a crisis that has placed financial and emotional stress on their family. She sends a tearful greeting to him back at the hospital, and because I am a horrible person, I find myself considering the possibility that he may have died since this episode was recorded.
The coaches go crazy for Kayla’s “American Boy,” and rightly so. I love this song (although I have to ask — it might just be that I’m a freakish giantess — but whose ideal man is 5’7”, Estelle?), and Kayla masterfully handles its fast, conversational pace.
“I’m your coach,” Christina informs her, seemingly unwilling to take no for an answer — too bad, because a no it is.
Kayla’s Result: Team Adam [and he’s full!]
Still only 16, Celica Westbrook was offered a place on a Bieber tour two years ago, but it didn’t pan out — we’re never told exactly why, so I can only guess that it’s because she got Justin pregnant. Also, “Celica?” It’s like her parents picked a first name out of a hat full of Toyota models, and a last name out of a hat full of prominent NBA players.
Camry Durant’s mature, effortless cover of “A Thousand Years” sets off a feeding frenzy among the three judges with spots remaining in their teams.
Celica’s Result: Team Christina [and she’s full!]
Jessica Cayne, a full-time musician from Georgia, has struggled all her life with insecurity and weight issues. She brings a bad-girl twang to “Good Girl” (honey, why you insecure when you pretty and you sing real nice?), but she goes unchosen. I have to say I’m actually bummed that no one picked her (ahem, BLAKE).
Jessica’s Result: Team Nobody
(Suddenly, Cee Lo’s cockatoo is perched on his head. I wish I could tell you what he’s saying, but I have no idea, because as I said, Cee Lo’s cockatoo is perched on his head.)
Forty-six-year-old Rudy Parris began playing music in the 1970s, but took a step back from his career to raise his daughter. Now a grandfather — though his long, jet-black hair might have you doubting that — he’s ready to give it another try.
A cover of “Every Breath You Take” reveals his full-bodied country vocals, and I’m not surprised to hear that he’s toured with Hank Williams III (whose real first name, Blake hammily points out, is Shelton).
Rudy’s Result: Team Blake [and he’s full!]
Cody Belew, the improbably (and charmingly) flamboyant son of a bull rider, believes that he must have been “an elderly black lady” in a past life. Of all the coaches, Cody prefers Cee Lo, admiring his innate sense of crazy.
His better-than-competent cover of “Hard to Handle” earns a last-second button-press from Cee Lo. Cody at first doesn’t realize that Cee Lo has chosen him, so when he finally does, he lets loose with a joyful barrage of (heavily bleeped) celebratory cursing. Cody might not win The Voice, but he’s certainly No. 1 in terms of s-grenades launched on air.
Cody’s Result: Team Cee Lo [and he’s full!]
Tonight, The Voice is back with The Best of the Blind Auditions. The battle rounds begin next Monday; I’ll be preparing myself by reading books of World War I poetry and quietly weeping. Dulce et decorum est pro patria cantare.
Find me on Twitter @mollyfitz.
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Regardless of how much money Jason’s return scares up this weekend, Freddie Krueger will be making a big-screen comeback of his own.
Wes Craven’s beloved A Nightmare on Elm Street series is set to be “reimagined,” with a director having already been handpicked by the studios involved.
And even if you haven’t heard of Samuel Bayer, chances are you’ve seen -- or heard -- his work.
Bayer is renowned for directing music videos (Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Blind Melon’s “No Rain,” et al.) and commercials, but the new Nightmare will mark his feature-film directorial debut, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Now the search is reportedly on for a new dream-haunting Freddie, since Robert Englund, who played the original villain, is out.
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