American Horror Story

American Horror Story 3×03 – The Replacements

"I've lead a disreputable life but I've done it in style. And I'll die likewise."

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Oh my lord.

It’s the rare show that manages to completely subvert your expectations, and yet American Horror Story accomplishes this task on a weekly basis.

I must start at the end, because those final moments were spectacular: after discovering that a newly-pyrokinetic Madison is in line to be the next Supreme, Fiona pleads with the young witch to kill her (like Fiona once did with her predecessor). It’s a harrowing and powerful sequence that Jessica Lange takes to unimaginable heights with her nuanced performance. And then, out of the blue, the elder witch turns the tables and slits her heir’s throat in one magnificent swoop. It’s quite the jawdropper, as I was positive Emma Roberts would be sticking with the show for the rest of the season. It’s also a development that makes perfect sense in hindsight, as Fiona spent the entire episode training Madison in the importance of “self preservation” – foreshadowing this highly-calculated move (or maybe she just got caught up in the heat of the moment). Whatever ultimately triggered this psychotic turn, the entire storyline was a towering success.

Delphine didn’t get too much screen-time this week, but she was hilarious in every one of her moments. I absolutely loved Fiona revealing that she hates racists, before making Delphine Queenie’s personal slave. Kathy Bates beautifully sold the terror and disgust as she struggled to serve a “nigress”. I could literally watch a sitcom between these two for years on end. Bravo.

Bizarrely enough, Queenie took matters into her own hands when Madame Laurie’s minotaur attacked the school. In what was probably one of the strangest things this show’s ever produced, Queenie masturbated and offered herself up to the horrifying creature. I don’t know if he killed her or not (as evidenced by that final choke-hold) but it was bizarre across the board (and I wouldn’t have it any other way).

In other news, Zoe handed a resurrected Kyle (much to Misty’s dislike) back to his mother. Unfortunately it soon became very clear (in a scene that I would never watch again) that his mother had been molesting him. In the end, Kyle brutally slaughtered his sorry excuse of a mother in a predictable yet highly satisfying move. I do hope he and Zoe will be integrated into the main arc soon.

Although I’m not such a fan of Delia’s baby storyline, I pretty much adored her visiting Marie Laveau in her voodoo chambers. I’m not entirely sure why we saw the ritual since Lavaeu declined to help her arch enemy’s daughter, but it was a nonetheless captivating sequence with some impeccable set design and haunting imagery. But what was the highlight you ask? The sight of Bassett draped over a throne made of bones while playing Solitaire on her iPad. And that’s why this show is in a masterclass of its own ladies and gents.

Frightful Bits

– We’re finally getting some more backstory on Dennis O Hare and his butler role. He still hasn’t spoken yet (apparently Fiona cut out his tongue), but he’s now played the accomplice in two Supreme murders.

– Delphine’s horror as she watched Obama on TV killed me. Seriously, Emmy-winning performance right here people.

– Misty is quite the psychopath isn’t she? I have a feeling she’s going to become a major antagonist this year.

– Hilarious scene with Madison and Nan visiting the neighbors with the cake. I particularly loved Maddie telekinetically flinging the knife and setting the curtains on fire.

– Loved Fiona testing Madison by asking her to light up her cigarette. The trick with the guy crossing the street was nifty too.

– Poor little goat. And, ew.

– Delphine telling Queenie to change Dr.Phil and look for a new physician = epic.

– Two fascinating tidbits we learned this week: Fiona has cancer, and an old Supreme is the new Supreme’s source of power (literally draining her life-force).

– Further proof that Jessica Lange is a crowning talent: that wonderful little touch when she mimicked the morphine drip as she spouted off her monologue to Madison. Chillingly effective.

– Has there been a more epic ending this year than Fiona’s final moment? Decked out in that hot red dress (yes Lange puts women half her age to shame), she majestically stares at Madison’s fallen body, orders her butler to bury the fallen witch, and utters the soon-to-be iconic line: “This coven doesn’t need a new supreme. It needs a new rug.” Mind.blown.

Spooky Slurs

Fiona: It’s a dance, a dance no one ever had to teach me. A dance I’ve known since I first saw my reflection in my father’s eyes. My partners have been princes and starving artists. Greek gods and clowns. And every one of them certain they lead. But it’s always my dance. I make the first move, which is no move at all. I’ve always just understood that they will eventually find themselves in front of me. Primitive, beautiful animals. Their bodies responding to the inevitability of it all. It is my dance and I have performed it with finesse and abandon with countless partners. Only the faces change. And all this time I never suspected the night would come when the dance would end.

Delphine: That magic box lies. Somebody in there said that a negro is the President of the United States.
Fiona: I voted for him. Twice. We’ve also had black Secretaries of States, Supreme Court Justices, and even the Poet Laureate.
Delphine: LIES!

Fiona: Congratulations kiddo. You are the new maid.
Madame LaLaurie: Maid? Have you have any idea with whom you are speaking?
Fiona: Yes, the maid. Unless you want to go back in the box.

Queenie: You’re the bitch that blindsided me with that candlestick.
Delphine: How dare you open your foul mouth at me nigress?
Queenie: Excuse me?
Delphine: I may be a maid, but there are limits to my servitude.
Queenie: (to Delphine) You best put that food down in front of me before I Frisbee this plate at your head.

Madison: What do you expect to get with that stupid cake?
Nan: Just being neighborly. What do you expect to get with that dress?
Madison: Laid.

Fiona: You know I never understood you bible-thumpers and your hypocrisy towards sex. I know behind closed doors, you are the biggest perverts of all.
Woman: Your student threw a knife at me. It missed my heard by three inches.
Fiona: Yeah she needs to work on her aim.

Madison: He’s so backed up, all I have to do is say panties and he’d jizz his jeans.

Marie Laveau: She done messed with the wrong witch.

Queenie: (to Delphine) Get back to work before I smack you slave.

Fiona: Bury her deep. God knows what that shit in her body will do to the lawn when it comes up in the spring.

Must-Download Tune
Sara by Fleetwood Mac

Conclusion
A bold and incredibly engrossing hour that further cements American Horror Story as one of the most creative shows on television.

Nad Rating
A

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