FX/Michele K. Short
Precious Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) does her best Buffy the Vampire Slayer impression by walking through the hood and slaying her attacker. The difference is she steals his heart for a potion for Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett). She has a brief confrontation with Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) and Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) who conveniently know exactly where she is. This meeting comes out of nowhere. Magic doesn’t give writers a free pass to not explain things. How does everyone know where everyone else is? And yet, how are there still “secrets?”
Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) is dying of advanced cancer and Supreme exhaustion. So she decides to have a nice long monologue about it. What’s the cure for what ails ya? More sex with a weird reanimated specter of a serial killer (Danny Huston). As great as the casting choice of Huston may be, his character is a gratuitous storyline that will doubtfully have the payoff we want. So you are a corporeal, jazz loving, witch hating, sex having ghost ... what’s next? Do you go to Disney World?
Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) is back! Her skin is still a little extra crispy from getting burned at the stake. She awakens in just enough time to save Misty Day (Lily Rabe) from getting shot by witch hunters. Then, randomly, for the first time ever, Misty arrives at Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies That Don’t Need Adult Supervision, with Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson) actually alert and in attendance. Cordelia touches Misty and boom she knows everything and welcomes back Myrtle and everyone is one big happy, Fiona-hating family.
The witches decide to have a ritual called The Sacred Taking which involves wearing red capes and doing absolutely nothing. The ritual, when combined with the suicide or murder of The Supreme, brings about the ascendance of the next supreme. Doesn’t the death of The Supreme do that already? Hello gratuitous rituals! What follows is a trippy dream sequence with Myrtle and Madison capitalizing on the fact that Fiona doesn’t know they’re alive. Fiona tries to kill herself but is conveniently saved by Spaulding (Denis O’Hare) who is now a ghost. This is all just a little too convenient. Clearly, the writers have no intention of killing off the star of the show so why waste time entertaining the impossible.
Meanwhile, Nan (Jamie Brewer) is wondering why no one believes she could be the supreme. She’s still pining for her love interest Luke Ramsey (Alexander Dreymon) but he is busy getting an enema for Jesus. No lie! His controlling mother (Patti Lupone) wants to wash him from the inside. And yet, that isn’t the most inappropriate mother-son scene all season. Nan runs over to check on Luke and run away with him only to get both mother and son shot by witch hunters.
Then in a complete crack attack of bad storytelling, Fiona puts on a turban and is good as new. Apparently, the ipecac Spaulding gave her cured cancer because she’s suddenly in tiptop shape. She convinces Misty to revive Joan of Arc Ramsey (Lupone). Meanwhile, Cordelia’s power is apparently to reveal plot-holes. She finds a bullet and learns there are witch hunters.
On the island of Misguided Threeways, after playing with a learning game Zombie Kyle (Evan Peters) has learned enough diphthongs to tell Zoe “I love you” conveniently in earshot of Madison.
Then in a plot-point ripped from the pages of a successful movie script headlines, a box arrives on the doorstep of the Miss Robichaux's. "What's in the box?!" It's the head of everyone's favorite immortal, fast-food loving, racist Madam Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates).
Witches Be Trippin’ Moments
How can witches so readily find each other but not know other things? If the girls can find Queenie ... how is it Cordelia never found her husband at Marie Laveau’s?
Why the heck is Madam LaLaurie so tight with the witches? She was a racist torturer. Why does she get a free pass?
What is Marie Laveau’s beef with the witches? If she originally enlisted Hank Foxx (Josh Hamilton) to kill the witches that pre-dates Fiona freeing Delphine and insulting her in her shop. This means she always meant to kill them. But wasn’t she the one to originally create a treaty with the witches? Did this just never get explain or is it just easy to make Angela Basset the villain?
How is Nan clairvoyant but unable to see anything coming?
Did they really steal the end of this episode from the popular movie Se7en?
The episode begins with a flashback to the mansion of Madam Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates). What is her favorite Halloween activity, you ask? Why chopping up slaves and parading their body parts in her "chamber of horrors." She also pioneered the use of really fuzzy lighting to look younger. Later, when her daughters fantasize about killing her, Misery Delphine locks them up and tortures them by making them literally eat s**t.
In the present, Miss Robichaux's Academy for Girls Ill Equipped at Fighting is under attack by zombies. Mister Christian Luke (Alexander Dreymon) thinks it’s a prank so he runs outside and gets the ax...literally. Nan (Jamie Brewer) decides to go out and save him but gets trapped. Precious Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) smartly references Army of Darkness for legal reasons.
We find out that The Voodoo Queen (Angela Bassett) has used the spell from "Thriller" to send "creatures that crawl in search of blood to terrorize y'alls neighborhood." Seems simple enough until Zoe kills a whole mess of zombies using a chainsaw. Luckily, since Queenie referenced Army of Darkness there will be no lawsuits. With their track record, Miss Robichaux’s couldn’t make much money selling cookies to raise money.
Meanwhile, Cordelia Fox (Sarah Paulson) is still reeling from her unfortunate porn star name eye injury. She gets taken to the hospital and its revealed that she’s blind. While her daughter is trying to recuperate, Fiona (Jessica Lange) decides to live out her Nurse Jackie fantasy and raid the pharmacy then she gets high and resurrects a dead baby. Cordelia’s cheating husband pops by finds out she's blind and tries to console her. When he does, Cordelia sees that he cheated which means she may be able to see all kinds of things now that she’s blind.
Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) is cornered by the last zombie and finds out she has more power than her killer ladybits. She says some inaudible phrase and gives Stella (Bassett) her groove back...literally. She gets knocked down to the floor. Looks like the new supreme is revealed.
Once the zombie issue is resolved, Fiona has to deal with the Pointer Sisters Witches Council. Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) moves for Fiona to be ousted as Supreme. We find out that not only has Myrtle been damaging her hair but she’s also been stalking Fiona. Poof, there’s acid on her hand and she’s sentenced to death. Looks like her hair isn’t the only thing getting burned. Sadly, there's no leave-in conditioner to keep you alive, Myrtle.
Everyone watches Myrtle’s funeral. Then there’s a couple of “Oh Snap!” moments. We find out that Queenie helped frame Myrtle for the acid trip attack. Fiona tempts Queenie with an offer to be the New Supreme. We also see Crazy Nicks aka Misty Day (Lily Rabe) resurrect Myrtle.
What We’ve Learned
Albino’s make really great security guards.
Fiona really loves pills and American Spirits.
Zoe is the supreme, duh!
Witches can have more than one power. Madison (Emma Roberts) had telekinesis and pyrokinesis. It looks like Cordelia may develop a new power…because let’s face it she didn’t see her man cheating before but now she can. Also, someone managed to blind Cordelia and tease Fiona by talking through a crazy person.
Our favorite fright fest, American Horror Story, has more twists and turns than a game of cat's cradle in a wind storm. But it's still made of slightly predictable tropes, some cribbed from traditional genre fare and some all of it's own. Here's an accounting of what happened in last night's episode based on the scariest thing of all: math. The spoiler-phobic should beware.
New Serial Killers: 1 (Dylan McDermott)
Amazing Sister Jude Impersonations: 1
Times We Had to Hear "Fuzzy Like a Peach": 2
Times Inmates Wandered Around the Asylum Without Anyone Keeping Watch on Them: 6
Catholic Baptisms Not Done in the Catholic Way: 1
Uses for a Coat Hanger: 3 (Hanging clothes, abortions, destroying pillows)
Times Someone Said "Deadly Nightshade" With Complete Lack of Irony: 1
Shots of Pepper: 1
Badass Frances Conroy as Angel of Death: 1
Great Guest Stars: 3 (Dylan McDermott, Francis Conroy, Ian McShane)
Dead Bodies: 3 (The skinned woman, Dr. Gardiner, Kit for a second)
Times a Person Was Spanked/Slapped/Hit: 4 (Jude by the nun, Bad Santa by Jude, Kit by Dr. Arden, the Monsignor by Bad Santa)
Times We Had to Listen to "Dominique" by the Singing Nun: 1
Times "Dominique" by the Singing Nun Was Destroyed: 1
Cigarettes Smoked: 3
Loaves of Bread Kneaded: 0
Sister Jude's Freakouts: 3 (Waking up in the halo, fighting the nuns, destroying "Dominique")
Shots of that Creepy Crawly Bug Microchip Thing: 0
Aliens: 2 (or at least there were flashing lights)
Consecutive Weeks with an Escape Attempt: 8
Successful Escape Attempts: 1 (Bad Santa, presumably)
Sex Acts: 1 (Kit and Alma)
Flashbacks/Backstories: 4 (New Bloody Face skinning a lady, Sister Jude killing Santa, Jude killing Frank, Kit and Alma)
Butts: 0 (even though Dylan McDermott was on)
Adam Levine Sightings: 0
Consecutive Weeks Without the Modern Story: 3
New Monsters: 1 (Whatever Grace is pregnant with)
Unsanitary Medical Procedures: 2 (Skinning the lady, the coat hanger)
Bad Boston Accents: 3 (Sister Jude, Kit, Dr. Gardiner's patient)
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: FX]
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The young and idealistic Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) is driven by two forces in his life: airplanes and Hollywood. The Aviator begins in the 1920s as Hughes obsessively works on his silent debut film Hell's Angels which he ends up scraping completely to remake as a talkie thus making it the most expensive film of its time. While embarking on doomed affairs with Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett) and Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale) Hughes also builds a plane that makes him the fastest man in the world in 1935. The millionaire even engineers a new bra to make the most out of Jane Russell's cleavage for his next film The Outlaw while running TWA and building planes for the government during WWII. Yet the mental illness that would consume Hughes later in life begins to rear its ugly head after he breaks up with Hepburn. As does his dogfights with Pan Am's Juan Trippe (Alec Baldwin) who sics his in-pocket politician Sen. Ralph Owen Brewster (Alan Alda) on Hughes--which coming after the flyboy crashes his experimental spy plane leaves him with only a couple of good fights left in him. Hughes eventually stands up to Brewster's senate investigation and then manages to finish and ceremonially fly the Spruce Goose. But soon he makes his final descent into undiagnosed and untreated madness.
The Aviator provides a bevy of tour de force performances. As the leading man DiCaprio gives us an Oscar-worthy turn as Hughes vacillating easily between the playboy the industrialist the aviator and finally the madman. In seducing a cigarette girl the suave DiCaprio says one of the best lines in the film: "I want to find out what gives you pleasure. Would you give me that job? " which pretty much sums up Hughes' modus operandi. The scenes between DiCaprio and Blanchett as the spirited Hughes and Hepburn are also fun and lively especially in their first meeting on a golf course in which Hepburn talks a blue streak while Hughes quietly admires her. Blanchett does an amazing job emulating the acting legend without doing a strict imitation. The worst performance in the film could be Blanchett's nose which looks nothing like Hepburn's but that's about it. The exquisite Beckinsale also does a marvelous job as Ava Gardner who had a brief and tumultuous affair with Hughes but ended up more his confidant than anything else. In supporting roles Alec Baldwin seems to be settling in nicely as one of Hollywood's favorite heavies playing Trippe's malevolence with a twinkle in his eye. As does Alan Alda who again delivers admirably as the elder statesman of "mean."
Marty Marty Marty. Why can't you make a nice two-hour film like everybody else? It's probably not fair to harp on the film's length but it isn't just long it feels long. Rather than being a cohesive whole director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter John Logan deliver a montage of expertly constructed scenes and sequences without giving us a true understanding of who Howard Hughes really was. Perhaps Howard Hughes is just too much of a character for one film. The closest we come to getting inside Hughes' mind is during the breath-taking crash of the FX-11 into a Beverly Hills residential area which is undeniably one of the best crash scenes ever filmed. Scorsese is obviously a master filmmaker but some of his old tricks aren't working here. The patchwork quality of the film is underscored by the director's varying use of different period styles--from a washed out look of a '40s home movie to a vivid contemporary look. Used to great effect in his films such as Raging Bull and Goodfellas now it seems out of place in The Aviator. It's true Scorsese will more than likely get another shot at Oscar gold for The Aviator but if he wins it will definitely be for his vastly superior previous work.