American Horror Story - S3, E9 (2013)

"Head"

GENERAL INFO:
Creators:  Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk
Producers:  20th Century Fox
Channel:  FX
Starring:  Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Frances Conroy, Angela Bassett, Josh Hamilton, Jamie Brewer, Gabourey Sidibe, Kathy Bates; ft. Patti LuPone, Alexander Dreymon
TV Rating:  MA LSV
Genre:  television, horror, terror, drama, witches, magic, voodoo
Scare score:  C-
Rating:  A


Plot overview:  The recently revived Myrtle Snow (Conroy) will do whatever it takes to help out her beloved Delia (Paulson), regardless of what the Coven might sanction.  Faced with a witch hunter (Hamilton) on the loose, tension between the Coven and the vodouists seems to be stronger than ever, but will the assailant bring them even closer?

This is an episode about growth and change, life and death.  There was also a much more clearly established theme of I guess a sort of corporate chauvinism as well as a distinctly marked racial divide.  We were provided with a sort of backstory on li'l Hank, showing us some familiar and perhaps psychological reasons behind his masculine need to prove himself to his father and the company - an apparent semi-cover for the male witch hunters of North America.

Queenie's (Sidibe) education of LaLaurie (Bates) was perhaps the most poignant part of the episode.  Not only were we all faced with important images, but the pairing with music and the naming of wonderful movie titles really put us in Delphine's shoes… or at list it would if she had a body… and made us contemplate the struggle of African Americans, too.  This was really unexpected even though the racial motif has been strong all season.  I thought the end of the episode, played over the strong and moving music, resulted in a beautiful duet of sound and imagery that somehow tied in perfectly with the various subplots of the episode.

*SPOILER ALERT*

Myrtle's whole spiel was really interesting to me, and I totally didn't expect it.  Is she unstable?  Should we be worrying about her?  Or was she merely acting upon a well-deserved revenge?  I guess the Council wasn't doing too much anyway regarding the whole Voodoo situation.  We can only wonder what sort of problems other groups of witches are facing in other cities though.  Then again, how much do we know about witches nation and worldwide?  Are there any?  Are they only localized in the Big Easy?

Delia's gift is gone!  I don't like this!  What will she miss out on now that she cannot see the truth behind everyone she comes into contact with?  Also, I sense a lot of foreshadowing in terms of people expecting her to lead the Coven instead of her mother.

Queenie, Queenie, Queenie, Queenie, Queenie.  What an episode for this girl.  About two months ago I began my countdown for her to get killed off - either that, or I expected her to be the common ground between the witches and the Voodoo folk.  Again, I really thought the exchange between her and Delphine was nice on this episode, in spite of their rocky relationship.  It was obvious that Queenie had been doubting her choice to switch to Voodoo for a little while now, but while she certainly took a bullet for Laveau, she also (unknowingly) took a bullet for the Coven.  But will Hank's death provoke more wrath from the witch hunters?

Woah woah woah, Patti LuPone!  I guess it's not a surprise that this servant of God ended up having a dark side!  And did we just get treated to a free concert?  She might have been acting all sad and closed up after grieving her son, but there was absolutely some Evita behind that single-shot singing scene.

When Marie Laveau showed up on Fiona's (Lange) doorstep, I can't tell you how excited I was.  That is all.

Final critique:  This show really isn't scary at all, but it is compelling.  What's going to happen next in the world of these witches and vodouists following the attack at Cornrow City?  Can't wait until next episode to see where the dark, magical saga takes us.