American Horror Story Season 3 Episode 1 – TV Review
Oh, baby. Never leave me out here alone again.
It’s been, like, 9 months. That’s too long.
But god, it looks like it was worth the wait.
TL;DR Stylish, brutal, and mish-mashed as expected, American Horror Story is exactly what I want. This season it’s witches in New Orleans (popular theme), and we’re off to a bloody (both as a tame expletive, and referring to blood) good start.
And I’ll try to make a better effort at using correct names this time. I don’t think anyone wants another Skitty situation.
So the plot is centred on a school for witches in New Orleans. Zoe (Taissa Farmiga. No, not that Farmiga) is shipped there after her power awakens. The power to kill men who are having sex with her. She meets Cordelia (Sarah Paulson), the school’s headmistress, and the other 3 (are there more?) students: Madison (Emma Roberts), Queenie (Precious aka Gabourey Sidibe), and Nan (Jamie “Adelaide from season 1” Brewer). After some typical teen girl bitchiness, Madison, a Hollywood starlet, drags Zoe to a frat party. Zoe hits it off with a frat boy, Kyle (Evan Peters), while Madison gets drugged and gang raped by a bunch of other guys. It’s okay, though, because Madison uses her telekinesis to kill most of them in a car crash. Meanwhile, Fiona (Jessica Lange, bitch), an aging “supreme” witch returns to stir trouble with Cordelia, her daughter, and to influence the girls’ tutelage. And we get some flashbacks to Kathy Bates, a wealthy socialite who tortured black slaves for pancreatic blood to fuel her vanity. She was supposedly killed, but the end of the episode shows Fiona digging her up. Very much alive.
It all starts here.
I’ll be honest: I’m a little bit of an American Horror Story tragic. If you look through my season 2 posts, I’m pretty much falling all over myself to praise this show (up until those stupid final 2 episodes). So prepare yourself to hear me gush.
The only substantial criticism I’d be willing to throw this episode’s way is that it lacks the instant menace and tension of season 2’s setting. But it’s a whole different show each time, so that criticism’s validity is tenuous.
Why I hate this episode:
Zoe’s power awakening scene is extremely reminiscent of Rogue’s from the first X-Men movie. And haven’t we had enough X-Men parallels today?
Fiona’s subplot involves her trying to fix her aging looks. Which is about as clichéd as you can get for an old witch. Bonus disappointment when, after lethally sucking the youth out of her doctor, the effects only last a few seconds.
Lily Rabe’s (Skitty from last season) character is already burned to death in a flashback. Although she is in the main cast, so I expect the show will find a way around this hurdle. Even so, I wanted more.
Ditto Frances Conroy’s character. She gets a couple itsy bitsy scenes as Zoe’s zany escort to the school. But it’s only the first episode, so I’ll hold my indignation for now. Because I’m not completely idiotic.
Nan seems to be getting a bit too much preferential treatment. Fiona basically fawns over her and praises how much better she is than the other girls. I’m worried about a creator’s pet situation unfolding.
Oh, and Kathy Bates’ character is so fucking gullible to just up and drink a mystery potion offered to her by a strange black lady.
But it’s not all bad:
Most of it’s good, to be honest. The cast, for starters. Not only are most of the veterans returning, but they’ve added Emma Roberts, Gabourey Sidibe and Kathy Bates. Damn, this show has cred.
Madison is my favourite character (bitchy. Blonde. Obviously). She got sent to the school as part of an intervention after she killed a director for giving her a benign pointer. She’s apathetic about this, and is your typical queen bee type. Her power appears to be telekinesis. After the rape, she shows how strong it is by flipping the party hummer the frat boys are in. She kills 7 of the 9.
Of the surviving 2, the main rapist is one of them. Zoe is disappointed to see Kyle is not a survivor, and takes it out on Douchey. She rapes him while he’s unconscious, which activates her powers of murder sex. This is the twisted shit we come to American Horror Story for.
Nan’s power is clairvoyance, which she uses to determine Kathy Bates is still alive and buried.
Queenie is a human voodoo doll, so any injury she inflicts on herself is instead transferred to a target. And I’m glad they included a couple of fat jokes at her expense. It’s honest.
Fiona and Cordelia have a tense mother/daughter relationship, and Cordelia grabs second best line of the episode during a spat: “When are you gonna die and stop ruining my life?” So the drama.
Madison comes in with the best line, with this simple complaint about the New Orleans heat: “It’s too hot. My frickin’ vagina’s sweating.” My new idol.
And honourable mentions to Fiona, with her response to the frat boy massacre: “But then, the world’s not gonna miss a bunch of assholes in Ed Hardy t-shirts.” Sadly, true. And Queenie takes a pot shot at Madison for her homicidal indiscretion: “All he said was ‘hit your mark.’ Why don’t you do the world a favour and take an acting class, you D-list, botoxed bimbo.” Take the “botoxed” out, and things are pretty close to home, Emma.
Kathy Bates’ dungeon is pretty fucked up. For her latest prisoner (he had sex with her slutty daughter), she sews his eyes and mouth shut, then puts a severed and hollowed out bull’s head on him. Then she takes his pancreas blood. Fuck, cunt.
Fiona has a coke party alone in her apartment at one point. She is endless glamour.
The episode’s title is “Bitchcraft.”
Oh, and Emma Roberts looks better than ever. So glad she went back to blonde. And she’s had some horror practice, so I’ve got high hopes.