What is first assumed when hearing of American Horror Story is that the whole show revolves around a central horror theme when in reality, most seasons have strong emotional and psychological influences that rise above the second rate horror. Although most of this season, as far as I have observed, has been filled with shocking scenes that contain grime and gore, mostly serving to carry the audience along with the show through the excessive commercial breaks and into the scarce plot points at the end of each of the early episodes. It wasn’t until this latest episode that I was truly amazed by AHS’s blatant storytelling all over again.
The last episod e left off with the zombified corpses of Delphine LaLaurie’s loved ones approaching the coven’s house in preparation of attack. The scene basically consisted of mind-reading witch Nan (Jamie Brewer) saving the friendly neighborhood Jesus freak Luke Ramsey (Alexander Dreymon) after he stupidly assumes that the zombies are actually just kids playing a pranks. It also consisted of main character Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga) going on a gore-ridden zombie killing spree with a chainsaw and to top it all off, a few witch powers. This scene also demonstrated the change of LaLaurie’s character from a heartless racist and mindless torturer to someone with an actual heart and human emotions. With everyone’s least favorite witch and teen actress Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) dead and hidden inside the creepy butler’s wardrobe, the show can really move past it’s weakest links and let the professionals shine.
Jessica Lange had one of the best scenes of her career tonight as Fiona Goode while she was stumbling through a creepily unkempt hospital as her daughter, of whom she has a horrible relationship, was just blinded with sulfuric acid by an unknown enemy. Her character ran out of prescription medication so to keep her high going, she found the medication room and broke into it with her witch powers. After stuffing her bag with pounds of illegal drugs, she waltzed upon a woman who seems to have just been severely damaged in her hospital bed after having a stillborn child. Her acting and dialogue composure with this now childless mother was one of the most intense scenes I have witnessed on television all year. Both actors fought back tears as Fiona mentored this woman on loving something that is so hard to love. As she left the room, she touched the stillborn child’s head and the newborn girl burst back to life, leaving the woman puzzled and joyful. This action shows testaments to Fiona’s character. Throughout the whole episode, Fiona began to realize her actions actually had consequences and that now as she is reaching the end of her life, she truly has to face her problems instead of just running away from them.
With false evidence (thanks to witch student Queenie) Fiona was able to pin the murder of Madison Montgomery and the acid attack on Cordelia Foxx on head of the witch coven and old time enemy Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy) which resulted in a classic burning at the stake. After this ordeal, Queenie began to feel regret and consulted Fiona about said emotion. Fiona reluctantly twisted Queenie’s emotions into jealousy and a new sense of competition on the plot of becoming the next supreme witch of the coven. Reluctantly, Queenie didn’t see Misty Day’s visit to Myrtle Snows’ charred corpse resulting in Misty’s trademark quality of bringing the dead back to life.
This season was quietly weaving a broad and complex story right in front of our eyes while the audience primarily paid attention to the obvious scare tactics. It wasn’t until this episode that watchers truly got a giant glimpse at the size, scale, and potential of this season’s gripping story line. Score: 9/10.
Alex Troutt/Staff Writer