Well, Happy Halloween in Coven-land. I wouldn’t want to be a trick or treater in that version of New Orleans right about now.
Are we ever going to see an AHS intro that isn’t out of this world insane? I sure as shit hope not. At the beginning of this week’s episode, “Fearful Pranks Ensue,” we travel back to 1961, when schools have just become integrated, and a little boy named Henry is paying the price. His mother tells her hairdresser, who just so happens to be Voodoo Badass Queen Extraordinaire Marie Laveau, that she has high hopes for this new, post-segregation world. She shouldn’t. Some racist pieces of shit kidnap Henry and lynch him, but Marie is always watching, and she performs a (particularly beautifully shot) voodoo ceremony with a big-ass turban and snakes and chalk to bring some zombie vengeance – and boy, is it sweet. It’s snacktime for these Civil War zombies, and they tear these racist shitdicks apart like string cheese, to the audience’s simultaneous disgust and sick pleasure. During all of this, my boyfriend observed, “this show is clearly about Marie Laveau [rightfully] hating white people because she’s SEEN SOME STUFF.” Amen.
Back in present day, Spalding is finally getting a storyline! Huzzah! I should have known that Ryan Murphy wouldn’t waste a gem like Russell Edgington without letting him have some fun. Russell’s got quite a doll collection, and is just settling down to the the creepiest tea party of all time when he hears some commotion downstairs, and he arrives just in time to see an instant replay of Madison’s murder. He and Fiona have a moment – Fiona’s attempt at kindness involves telling Spalding he seems “wiser” without his tongue – before she investigates a strange noise outside (only Fiona could do that in a horror show and survive) and Spalding burritos Madison up in Boring Cordelia’s rug, presumably to dispose of the body. Presumably.
Fiona races outside to find Queenie, screaming and recently gored, and the minotaur creeping behind her. Fiona “takes care” of Beastie, and heads inside for a quick screaming match with Cordelia (Jessica Lange is really stacking her Emmy reel this year). She still has LaLaurie to deal with before bedtime – but we see a very different and contrite LaLaurie after Queenie saved her life (just the way Bates holds herself says everything, because the woman is a god). “What if it comes back?” LaLaurie asks, her voice trembling, in sharp contrast to Fiona’s decisive mutter: “It won’t.”
And what happens to the minotaur? I mean, it’s not a horse’s head, but it’ll do for a makeshift Godfather homage. It’s a perfectly normal day at Cornrow City, where Marie is styling her loyal client, Cora (who I didn’t figure out was Henry’s grieving mother until my second viewing – subtle touch!), when a strange package arrives – the minotaur’s STILL TWITCHING HEAD IN A BOX. Hello. That’s enough for Big Bad Voodoo Mama, who declares that the truce that she and Anna Leigh set is over, and it is war, although technically the truce ended when Boring Cordelia crossed the territory line between the warring witch factions. Damn, for being so boring, Cordelia’s making a big mess. Speaking of Cordelia, she and her girls are being interrogated by the Witch’s Council, consisting of Myrtle “Grace Coddington” Snow, Bitchy Queen Leslie Jordan, and Stereotype Witch. (“Look at you, developing a sense of style while no one was watching,” Fiona purrs at Myrtle. Damn.) Nan called them over, since she can no longer hear Madison’s vapid thoughts and is getting a little suspicious. Myrtle is hellbent on convicting Fiona, since the sentence for harming another witch is burning at the stake (of course), so she accuses Fiona of a whole host of crimes, including the removal of Spalding’s tongue, as he was witness to both of her witch murders. We flash back to Subpar Baby Jessica Lange again (who managed to convince the old council that Anna Leigh fell prey to Marie Laveau), being crowned the new Supreme, to the supreme displeasure (teehee) of Young Myrtle, who hasn’t yet gotten her hands on a hair crimper, but is still wearing glasses that make her look like a beetle. Myrtle, knowing that Spalding has to testify in front of the council, bewitches his tongue so that he can’t tell a lie… a roadblock that Spalding, desperately in love with Fiona, bypasses by cutting out his tongue. So, back in modern day, when Spalding has to write down the name of the person who took his tongue, he writes Myrtle’s – I guess, in a roundabout way, it was kind of her fault? No, not really. Anyway, Myrtle stages a spectacular meltdown (hello again, Frances Conroy, I love you), screaming that Fiona isn’t even really the Supreme, and she’s disposed of two of them now.
For once, Cordelia decides to be helpful, and stands up for her mother. “Madison wasn’t the Supreme,” she declares, announcing that Madison had a heart murmur that she kept very quiet, and the main characteristic of the rising Supreme is perfect health. Well, that settles that. Here’s still hoping it’s Nan.
By the way, Cordelia’s unremarkable husband Hank, off doing “business” in Baton Rouge, is getting way more remarkable. His business turns out to be a toothy little thing named Kaylee who refers to sushi as “raw fish stuff” and says “pop” instead of “soda,” and after some insanely weird sex, Hank pulls out a gun plus silencer and blows Kaylee’s brains out. What. Does not compute. This show is so good at making boring characters interesting again, and now I actually can’t wait to see what his deal is.
Oh, by the way, Zoe tries to kill a blood covered FrankenKyle with some rat poison because he’s insane, and then she loses him because it’s Halloween. So there’s that.
Delia and Fiona head out to a bar, presumably to celebrate Fiona’s successful trial, but Delia is such a buzzkill that she wants to play a rousing round of Truth or Dare (without the Dare) over neat whiskeys. Her first question is why Fiona doesn’t like Hank – that’s because, according to Fiona, Hank “reeks of bullshit.” She’s not wrong. Fiona does deny killing Madison, and then starts needling Cordelia about the next Supreme. Cordelia, too drunk to answer, goes for a quick bathroom purge, AND WHILE SHE’S IN THERE A CLOAKED AND HOODED FIGURE THROWS ACID ON HER GODDAMN FACE. What. The. Fuck. Boring Cordelia just got totally unboring, you guys! While this is happening, we find out that Spalding, clad in his cutest bonnet, has a brand new doll for his collection – Madison, to whom he has posthumously applied makeup and dressed up like a too-old contestant on Toddlers and Tiaras. Ryan Murphy has issues, I think.
As if all of this wasn’t crazy enough, Marie is back in her lair casting her same snake-laden voodoo spell to raise the dead, while LaLaurie is dealing with how greedy modern trick-or-treaters are. The cute Christian from next door comes over to bring Nan some cookies, but he definitely chose the wrong time for a visit, since the next knock at the door turns out to be LaLaurie’s three daughters, zombiefied and out for blood. They aren’t alone, either; a veritable army of ax-wielding, old-timey zombies are storming the front yard of Miss Robichaux’s academy. Oh, and Fiona’s out drinking, so they’re pretty screwed. Plus, it doesn’t look like you can headshot these things – Zombieland rules do not apply.
If each week’s episode is trying to top the previous week’s in sheer craziness, the end of this season will probably involve a volcano eruption eradicating all life on Earth. Whatever. I’m obviously enjoying the thrill ride. “Who’s the baddest witch in town?” Fiona asks herself in this episode, positioning a pointy, Halloween appropriate witch hat on her fabulous head – it’s a contest between her and Marie now, and we’ll get an answer soon enough.