Surprise, bitch. I bet you’d thought you’d seen the last of me.
…Just kidding! Freak Show couldn’t bring me down THAT much, and I just cannot tear myself away from the Ryan Murphy Trainwreck Collection, and especially not from its crown jewel. Let’s get our room keys and settle in, because this is going to get weird, fast. Probably.
Plus Column, or, Look! So Shiny!
-Aww, look at these little Swedish sacrificial lambs. They’re cute, and might as well have entered the scene with bullseyes between their eyes. Plus 600 points, because some things never change in Murphyland.
-Also, this PRODUCTION DESIGN, though. What a TREAT. If things get really rough, I may just start watching this show on mute – the costumes! Denis O’Hare’s cape dress! The Art Deco everything! Lady GaGa’s MURDER FINGER!! God, I’m excited. Not only was Freak Show an unmitigated disaster, but looking at it gave me a tension headache. Plus 20,000 points.
-This year on AHS, Kathy Bates is playing the baby that Truman Capote and Annie Wilkes never got to have. Plus 1,000 points.
-200 years from now, when Ryan Murphy’s cryogenically frozen head is unsheathed and attached to a really flashy robot, we will get to experience American Horror Story: No Wifi. For now, we must wait. Plus 500 points.
-So we meet Wes Bentley, Detective Man, who investigates a series of murders that are all just as weird as anything on True Detective, and will probably end up similarly unexplained. The only issue with Detective Wes right now is that – at least in his first episode, though he did close it out by booking Room 64 – his scenes all felt SO tonally removed from the rest of the show that it was distracting and actually kind of annoying. So, like, we’re in one show with torture dungeons and neon sex-signs and piles of cocaine, and then the other show is just Wes Bentley yelling some crime show gibberish at an assistant while looking like a Serious Protagonist. No points yet. Normally I would take a few away, but… I’ll be nice. For now.
-Billy Idol Schmitty, with frosted tips!!! Plus 1,000 points.
-Billy Idol Sarah Paulson!!!!!!!! Plus 2,000 points.
-On that subject, I would have paid like, a lot of money I don’t have if instead, Sarah Paulson had whispered “THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE BILLY IDOL” in Max Greenfield’s ear. Plus 500 points.
-Yesterday, my darling friend Rocky texted me, “is it officially called a Drilldo? Or, if not, is it now?” Plus 300 points to Ryan Murphy for making this happen, and plus a quarter for anybody using that term besides myself and Rocky because are going to copyright it, obviously.
-Everybody’s backstory is already completely mangled and entirely confusing. Plus 200 points for consistency.
-Matt Bomer and Lady Gaga FINALLY roll in halfway through the episode, looking like the world’s sexiest Pokemon Gym Trainers. Their signature types appear to be Dark/Guyliner and Fire/Cocaine, respectively. Plus 3,000 points.
-I hope Ryan Murphy understands that I can’t possibly watch a Lady Gaga group sex scene without thinking about “3-Way (The Golden Rule),” and I sure hope he did that on purpose. Plus 400 points out of sheer hope, but I would have given more points if Andy and Justin had been available for an appearance.
-Gaga and Bomer’s signature move is the Amy Elliott Dunne, which I am fine with. Plus 200 points.
-Blah blah blah Wes Bentley kidnapped demon kid blah blah blah now Lady Gaga has him, which, sure. That Rec Room of the Damned is SO HILARIOUS, though. What even IS this show? (Also, tbh, Wes Bentley’s remaining kid is kind of creepier than any of the demon kids.) Plus 300 points.
-Look! It’s the Murder House realtor! No points yet, because knowing Murphy, he’s going to be really excited about this whole season-to-season connection until he forgets about it so someone can fuck a minotaur or stab Patti LaBelle.
-As with every season of AHS, I would happily watch a sitcom-style spinoff about Kathy Bates and Denis O’Hare’s characters sharing a studio apartment. Plus 600 points.
-Hotel California is a little on the nose, but, this is Murphyland. Leave your expectations at the door. No points, just saying.
Total: 30,000 points, plus a tray with two eyeballs and a tongue
Minus Column, or, Editing Exists for a Reason
-Lots of this episode could have been edited out, and I am especially finicky about this when Murphy hands us a 72-minute episode for no reason. For example, I could have done with about 50% less shots of Wes Bentley running around in the dark pointing his gun at nothing. Minus 1,000 points.
–No points, but this looks like the Grand Budapest Hotel‘s evil twin, and I can’t decide if that’s cool or if it’s plagiarism.
-Okay, let’s all be honest. AHS has set an EXTREMELY deranged standard, and that dildo scene just didn’t quite make it. Murphy described it in Entertainment Weekly as the most shocking scene they’ve ever shot, and I just don’t think it quite made it past either Weimar Republic Sex Club Snuff Film from Freak Show or Chloe Sevigny’s Playtime Hour from Asylum, if we’re going by pure dementedness. Minus 1,000 points for false advertising.
-Same goes for this double disembowlment. IMPRESS ME, MURPHY. Minus 600 points.
–No points yet, but I’m NOT sold on this whole vampire thing just yet, because I fear it’s going to become really inconsistent really quickly. This COULD be a cool statement on addiction and what people will do to get their fix, but right now, Bomer and Gaga are just two extras from True Blood who were always in the background at Fangtasia.
Minus Total: 2,600 points / the disappointment that was True Blood
Bonus Chloe SevignYAY*: She is SO dead, but her sweater game is on point.
This could go somewhere – it really could! That had some real promise, which I’m sure Murphy will squander in due time. Stick around – I’ll be recapping this shit week after week, and by “recapping,” I mean “becoming increasingly exasperated.” Tell me you love me in the comments, or, alternately, tell me there can only be one Billy Idol!
*Chloe SevignYAY is courtesy of my dear friend and fellow AHS fiend, Rocky.