After a decade of acting in the theater, Michael Cristofer found fame, as well as won the Pulitzer Prize and a Tony for writing the 1977 Broadway play "The Shadow Box", a character piece about three t...
The challenge to American Horror Story is where do you draw the line between giving sufficient exposition and drawing out a mystery? Oftentimes, the writers leave a character’s origin and motivations for the eleventh episode hour. Like they did last season. The season is nearly over, so do we really need a gratuitous trip down memory lane with America’s least favorite racist Paula Deen Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates)? What is the origin of one of history’s most vile serial murderers? She killed a chicken and developed a case of bloodlust and decided to murder a bunch of slaves. Is that meant to be super racist? It seems so.
Nan (Jamie Brewer) is dead. She was the most interesting potential supreme. It would have made a surprising yet entertaining choice. In the very least, we could have seen her do some more magic first. How a clairvoyant can be so easily killed is beyond me. The group gathers for her funeral in festive black. Who crashes the party? Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe)! She is back from the dead complete with Delphine on a leash. So apparently, Delphine is not just in the flashbacks. She’s back and Bates is giving some Emmy worthy voiceover and character work. It appears Delphine is mad as hell and she’s not going to take it anymore. So what does she do? Kill the gardener. Guess that’s productive? Meanwhile, Queenie gives Cordelia Foxx (Sarah Paulson) a verbal lashing for being unable to protect anyone. She has a point ... Cordelia is the worst headmistress in history. Miss Hannigan from Annie might have been a better choice. We could have had some Hard Knock Witches!
Cordelia seems to be unholy ruler of wilted flowers. She's constantly crying and has no real powers to speak of. But somehow, without even having one lesson, all the other girls can perform wonders left and right. Since her failed pregnancy snake spell, Cordelia hasn’t really exhibited any special effects magic. She does a whole bunch of plant mumbo-jumbo then stabs her own eyes to get her second sight back. Meanwhile, Queenie survived a blessed bullet and reanimated Delphine. Maybe she's a squib.
Meanwhile, the Shady Sisters of Witchtown are as thick as thieves. Fiona Goode (Jessica Lange) and Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett) are acting as if nothing bad has ever happened between them. Teen murder must really bond you as sisters. They unite to take down the witch hunters. Apparently, Mr. Head Witchhunter (Michael Cristofer) is fully willing to schedule a meet because he wants them to break their financial spell. But what leverage does he even have without money? This whole subplot is a waste of valuable time that could be better spent focused on Diana Ross and the Supremes. The Axeman (Danny Houston) helps kill all the witchhunters.
The Axeman ... why is he even in this story? He is a ghost that was dead for over 50 years but still has an apartment in New Orleans. No one has bothered to explain how he has become reanimated or where his resources have come from. Equally improbable is the sudden reappearance of Spaulding (Dennis O’Hare). He decides to ally himself with Delphine to kill Marie in exchange for a doll. They are able to subdue her and while Delphine is getting ready to go all creepy serial murdery on her Spaulding delights in taking her baby as his living doll.
Meanwhile, Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) tells Zoe and Kyle (Evan Peters) to leave to save their love. Apparently, the threesome is over and Maddison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) is a lot less lovable. Their relationship was feeling very Tate and Violet. There also was a lot of flashbacks to season one. Rather than feeling stylistic they felt a little cheap. The Spaulding baby caper felt like Lily Rabe’s story from Season 1 as well. Maybe we will all be surprised and the new Supreme will be Connie Britton or better yet Zachary Quinto.
Best Lines from the Episode
Madison, you are the worst kind of Hollywood cliché, a bobble-head with crotchless panties. - Myrtle to Madison
Welcome to the revolution, Carrot Top. As the next Supreme, I’m going to drag this coven out of the dark ages. Crotchless panties for everyone. - Madison
Chere, I took down your entire company with about as much effort as it takes for me to mix myself a Rob Roy. - Fiona to the Witchhunters
Made New York stage debut as Trofimov in "The Cherry Orchard"
Last screen acting to date, "The Little Drummer Girl"
Wrote the pilot episode of the short-lived series, "Eastwick" (ABC)
First produced screenplay, "Falling in Love"
Adapted "Shadow Box" for television; aired on ABC and was directed by Paul Newman
Feature acting debut in "The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder"
Wrote and directed "Original Sin"; based upon the novella "Waltz into Darkness"
Performed in the stage revival of "A View From the Bridge"
Produced and adapted his play, "Breaking Up" for the screen
Appeared in the CBS pilot, "Crime Club"
Co-starred in the feature film, "An Enemy of the People"
Feature directorial debut, "Body Shots"
First play, "Americommedia," was produced as street theatre
Penned the screenplay for Lasse Hallström's "Casanova"
Breakthrough play, "The Shadow Box," played in Los Angeles and New Haven
Wrote screenplay for "The Witches of Eastwick"
Penned the Lifetime movie, "Georgia O'Keeffe," about the famed artist
Opened "The Shadow Box" on Broadway
Was a member of the Arena Stage in Washington, DC
Made directorial debut with the HBO biopic, "Gia"; based on the life and death of model Gia Carrangi (played by Angelina Jolie); also co-wrote
After a decade of acting in the theater, Michael Cristofer found fame, as well as won the Pulitzer Prize and a Tony for writing the 1977 Broadway play "The Shadow Box", a character piece about three terminally-ill patients. The play had its initial premiere in 1975 at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Prior to its Broadway run, Cristofer had had a few plays produced, including the 1972 street theater piece "Americommedia", theater piece (1972), but Cristofer had primarily been concentrating on an acting career.<p> The New Jersey native joined Washington, DC's prestigious Arena Stage Company for the 1967-68 season. After a stint appearing in a repertory company in Beirut, Lebanon (where he was pursuing graduate studies) and various Philadelphia productions, Cristofer made it to Broadway in 1977, cast as Trofikov in the Lincoln Center revival of "The Cherry Orchard". He had met with limited success as an actor, filming the busted pilot "Crime Club" (CBS, 1975) and the 1976 NBC remake of "The Entertainer". On the big screen he was seen in "The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder" (1974) and was featured in "An Enemy of the People" (1978), a production of the Ibsen play better known for its miscasting of lead Steve McQueen. Since clicking as a writer, Cristofer has all but abandoned acting; his last screen role was as an Arab in "The Little Drummer Girl" (1984).<p> Since the early 1980s, Cristofer has turned to a developing career as a screenwriter. His first produced script was "Falling in Love" (1984), a loose remake of "Brief Encounter" with Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep as married commuters who begin a relationship. His biggest success to date was his adaptation of John Updike's novel "The Witches of Eastwick" (1987), which starred Jack Nicholson as the devil burned by the three women (Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon) he tried to control. Cristofer had screen credit on the unfortunate 1990 adaptation of "The Bonfire of the Vanities" and wrote the Richard Gere vehicle "Mr. Jones" (1993), about a manic depressive's love for a therapist. He wrote and produced "Breaking Up" (1997), based on his play about a couple who discover they are better off without one another. In 1998, Cristofer made his small screen directorial debut with "Gia", an acclaimed HBO biopic of AIDS-stricken model Gia Carangi.