American Horror Story: Coven "The Replacements" Review: Hands on a Scarred Body (PHOTO RECAP)
Waking up is a daily tragedy we all must suffer, but at least each morning brings the opportunity to be surprised by what the world has in store for us. Usually we can expect to experience the usual things: a normal commute, an overflowing inbox, a hastily consumed enchilada, two perhaps three Facebook "likes" from people we haven't seen since middle school. You know, the usual everyday stuff. But occasionally the universe likes to surprise us with something really special. Your office crush personally informs you there's cake in the break room. You hit every green light on your way home. Gabourey Sidibe masturbates in front of a minotaur. You know, just those out-of-nowhere surprises that make getting out of bed really worth it. Personally, when I got out of bed yesterday morning I did NOT expect that by day's end I would have seen Gabourey Sidibe masturbating in front of a minotaur. To be fair, that possibility was never exactly OFF the table, sure. Part of me has always known that someday I'd see Gabourey Sidibe masturbating in front of a minotaur. I remember when I first heard that Gabourey Sidibe would be guest-starring on American Horror Story this season and then I saw a minotaur in the ads and I thought to myself, "Hm, this certainly increases the possibility of seeing Gabourey Sidibe masturbating in front of a minotaur. But it's still very unlikely." It's not that I'm a pessimist, I'm just a realist, you know? But the universe is funny like that. The second you think you probably won't ever see Gabourey Sidibe masturbating in front of a minotaur, boom. It happens. So here we are. October 24, 2013, the day after we all saw Gabourey Sidibe masturbating in front of a minotaur. We did it. The main lesson here? Never say never, especially if it is in regard to seeing Gabourey Sidibe masturbating in front of a minotaur. Because life finds a way. (Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park)
American Horror Story is the most punk-rock series on television. It may be an expensive show populated by superstars, written and produced by millionaires, and aired on one of the biggest cable networks owned by one of the largest media corporations in the world. Yet it is F*CKED. UP. How are any of these people getting away with this stuff? Rhetorical question because I don't care. I am so glad they are, because this show is something special. You know, it can be very easy to dismiss a TV series as a product to be mass consumed, disposed of, and forgotten. But not this! No, not this show. "The Replacements" made me sick to my stomach. Just absolutely nauseated at multiple points in multiple storylines. Like the incest part. Or the part with Gabourey Sidibe masturbating in front of a minotaur (which definitely ended up being a careful-what-you-wish-for scenario for me). The straight throat-slashing of one of my favorite characters. The most disgusting voodoo ritual I've seen since last Thanksgiving. And oh God, so much fish-eye lens. NO MORE FISH-EYE LENSES EVER PLS GOING 2 VOM. "The Replacements" was a truly deranged hour of television and I could not be more grateful. I feel so alive!
Okay, it's time to process what we've seen.
So, first off, you could tell by the sideways tracking shots that this was another installment directed by in-house visionary Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. I still think he's one of the best directors working in any medium at the moment, but I will admit this episode made me sliiiightly seasick. And again, jeez with the fish-eye. Anyway, we began with Fiona having trouble sleeping, so she decided to eat tons of medicine and drink alcohol and reminisce about the time she was a completely different actress back in the '70s.
Well, young Fiona still hadn't developed a taste for theatrical line readings, but she was definitely ruthless. I mean, look at what she did to the previous Supreme:
This was all to set up the idea that Supremes' powers develop when they come of age, and it strips the previous Supreme of her powers AND health. So rather than wait for the inevitable, Fiona just got proactive about the whole thing. And then, I guess, cut out the butler's tongue. As you do.
Then there was this weird voiceover of Fiona talking about how much she loved seducing dudes in bars, but it soon became clear that maybe those days were behind her because she was just forlornly dipping an olive into her martini looking sad/horny. So the next thing we knew she was at a plastic surgeon's office with the best interior decor 2013 had to offer and she was watching, by request, a video of an actual plastic surgery.
Basically this lady was just very bummed about losing all her powers and dying soon. #whitecroneprobs
This was a bummer (in multiple ways, it would turn out): Dead Reconstituted Hunk/Golem Kyle had a mother, and she was this woman. Obviously upset about her son's death, which is every mother's right, and dealing with it by tearing into his weed stash and occasionally attempting suicide. Oh, and she was played by Mare Winningham, a lady who has won TWO Emmys. And here she was, with a terrible labret piercing and a side braid. Sad times.
For some reason Zoe had felt it necessary to go visit her, and all of this led to what has easily been Zoe's worst decision to date: Deciding that this grieving woman needed to spend quality time with her FrankenSon. Zoe!!
NEW NEIGHBOR ALERT! A family of devout Christians moved in next door to the coven and the hunky son had quite an effect on the ladies.
Meanwhile this scene made me laugh: Madame LaLaurie was openly sobbing after discovering that we currently have a black president and Fiona was totally rubbing it in.
Haha this line reading of "LIES!" should get Kathy Bates tons of Emmys. This was a truly legendary hiss! Anyway, at this point Fiona shoved a maid's uniform in the LaLaurie's face and it was VERY satisfying to see her get her socioeconomic comeuppance.
Nothing like some pre-lunch sex talk with the girls! Nan was bragging about getting so much action and Queenie said she was saving herself for the right mythological beast. So that's just an update on their sex lives if you were curious. (You were curious.)
SO MUCH FISH-EYE. Anyway, this particular interaction was as unpleasantly racist as you'd expect, but I was still laughing so much.
Madame LaLaurie threw Queenie's sandwich against the wall and Queenie nearly back-handed her!
Then Fiona ran into the room and declared that Madame LaLaurie was now Queenie's slave. And finished by saying how much she hates a racist. Haha this show.
So then Misty Day (LOL) was singing more Stevie Nicks tunes to a visibly over-it Kyle. But their reverie was interrupted when Zoe showed up to Zoe around.
Wasn't it so creepy when the two ladies were basically molesting Kyle's now sorta-healed body? He didn't seem to be appreciating it, especially not when Zoe started leading him out of the swamp shack and Misty Day stopped him and begged him to stay.
Hmm WHAT would make him uncomfortable about an overly mothering woman? I guess we'll never know.
Oh, and how crazy was it when Misty Day started spinning around while openly sobbing? Remember when she seemed like a normal witch who could heal things and now she's a full-blown crazyperson? That's just Misty Day doing Misty Day.
Nan and Madison were feeling proactive so they decided to go next door and give the new hunk a dang cake.
He had his clothes on this time, but he made up for it by being a kindly gentleman who was unflappable in the face of Madison's aggressive hussiness. Unfortunately, then his Bible-thumping mother ran into the room and cake-blocked them!
But, you know, never cross a telepathic sass monster. Next thing we knew, knives were flying across the room and the drapes were going up in flames.
Which, oh hey! Madison had more than one witch talent now. Wonder what that could mean?
Ugh, then Zoe drove a clearly distressed Kyle to his mother's house. At this point he was throwing off major Edward Scissorhands vibes and I was into it. But, it's like, you don't have to be a flesh-golem body language specialist to know that he REALLY didn't want to be there:
Meanwhile back at the white house, Fiona's mid-afternoon booze-and-pills session (lunch) was interrupted by the new neighbor, who was NOT happy about having her house torched via witchcraft.
This was how Fiona discovered that Madison's powers were growing. And we immediately knew something was brewing between them. A rivalry perhaps? Oh I'm sure it'll end up fine, don't worry.
Ummm... This whole next part, you guys. I apologize ahead of time.
So, first of all, Kyle was just trying to take a shower to wipe off the stink of embalming fluid or whatever and then his mom ran in and inspected his new body and junk. I guess this confirmed that the girls had indeed given him a dick, but still. What a weird moment between a mother and son. I couldn't imagine anything weirder ever happening between—
So uh. Yeah. Kyle's mom was a molester. THANKS FOR THIS, AMERICAN HORROR STORY. We really, really needed to see an incestuous, nonconsensual handjob on our TV screens. Just a good viewing experience right there, not horrifying at all. Just kidding, this was very awful. Big congrats to Ender's Game for getting the highly sought-after post-incestuous-nonconsensual-handjob ad placement! Can't wait to think about this scene as I'm watching Harrison Ford shout at outer space.
Anyway, speaking of gross things that hurt our brains, that whole disgusting snake ritual from last week didn't even work! Cordelia's reproductive system was still busted as hell, so she'd resorted to visiting Marie Laveau in her back-room chill station to ask for a favor.
Haha the best was that the whole time Marie Laveau was sitting on THAT throne with her feet resting on THAT alligator skull, she was just casually playing on her iPad.
Anyway, the discussion turned to some kind of illicit voodoo ritual that will guaranteed knock a woman uppp. We even got to see the ceremony in sort of a hypothetical flashforward or whatever and it honestly looked like a bachelorette party I once attended.
Oh and check out Marie Laveau's STANK FACE!!
I have never in my life seen a stank face as fierce as this one. Stank Face 2 THE MAX. There is no outdoing this stank face. This was it. The Platonic Ideal of stank face.
Uh, so it should go without saying that this entire ritual was absolutely disgusting. It involved a jar of semen being placed in a campfire and tons of chanting and also a baby goat being slaughtered over a writhing Cordelia. But I DID love the part where Marie Laveau had to lie down and sleep for four days and four nights afterward. Who among us wouldn't enjoy that?
But just when it looked like Cordelia was about to write a check for $50k and start changing into her goat-blood-resistant undergarments, Marie Laveau laughed in her damn face!
Yeah, no, Marie Laveau was NOT about to help out any family members of Fiona, especially not after Fiona had thrown shade all around the salon and set all the wigs on fire. Needless to say, Cordelia was VERY bummed and VERY sad.
Meanwhile Madison and Fiona were enjoying a brunch in which they began to bond over their shared powers. One of which was making a redheaded man walk directly into traffic and I did NOT appreciate that. For the first time ever I found this show to be crossing the line, race-wise, I am starting an e-petition to have it canceled. SORRY
But yeah, Fiona was up to something. Still though, she did seem genuinely remorseful at having been such a terrible mother up to that point, so it WAS slightly believable that she'd actually enjoy being a mentor to her successor. But let's be real, Fiona was definitely up to something.
So then this dude showed up and interrupted Queenie's dinner.
At this point a frightened Madame LaLaurie hastily explained that she was 180 years old and had perpetuated countless unspeakable atrocities on African-American peoples, including creating the angry minotaur on the patio. It's to Queenie's credit that she flew into a rage about LaLaurie's crimes, but that kind of rational behavior quickly went away when she decided to go outside and lure the minotaur into a toolshed so that she could masturbate at him.
The idea being, I guess, that as a human voodoo doll she could make his vagina tingle? Check your facts, Queenie, not all minotaurs have vaginas. But she was also muttering something about how he'd been deprived of love, just as she had and I guess that made her horny? I don't know! I honestly don't know what would compel someone to learn of the existence of a minotaur and then four minutes later decide to SEX UP that minotaur. I mean, yeah, that minotaur definitely works out, but still.
None of this scene made any sense whatsoever but there is no denying it was sexy AS H*CK.
But then WHOOPS! That minotaur grabbed Queenie! What was he doing to her? Something terrible? We may never know, because this episode was already onto the next terrible thing it wanted to show us.
Hoo boy. This plotline. I'll keep it brief: Kyle's mom started grinding on him and then he finally uttered his first words of English since his resurrection:
Then he grabbed a soccer trophy and really presented her the award, if you will.
Then Zoe arrived and discovered her body.
Then she was spooked when a bloody Kyle stepped out of the shadows. Which, fair enough.
In my opinion this plan did not work out as well as Zoe had expected. Maybe it was a bad plan all along? Maybe Zoe should stop having ideas in general? I don't know, who am I to say? At least Kyle will no longer be mouth-attacked by his own mother or be on the receiving end of nonconsensual incest handjobs. There's always a silver lining.
Meanwhile Fiona and Madison were enjoying a night out on the town.
Haha what a cool, low-key way to spend some quality time with a famous, underage addict! Also if it wasn't fresh in your memory, a quick flash in this scene served to remind us that Fiona saw a younger version of herself in Madison. Which was either a good thing or a bad thing, who knew?
This whole climax was straight-up incredible. It's a testament to how well-written this scene was been that I truly did not know which way it would go. I sincerely believed all of Fiona's speech about passing the baton, her regrets in life, and how she was dying of cancer. (Which I guess explained the pills and also why her plastic surgeon refused to operate on her.) I mean this was just The Jessica Lange Show at this point, she was doing her thing and it was incredibly moving and just next-level compelling. And again, so well-written that it could have gone either way and still felt inevitable.
Then! She whipped out a dagger and tried to get Madison to murder her, as she had done to her own supreme, right then and there. Obviously Madison did not seem very interested in doing this.
And boom! In the blink of an eye during their minor tussle, Madison's throat had been slashed and Fiona looked aghast as she tried to block Madison's wounds with her hands. It was actually very upsetting!
But seeing as the power of resurrection is one of the main witch powers (like Misty Day), it stands to reason that the future supreme would probably be in the process of developing that power, right? Also let's be real, Emma Roberts is listed in the main titles. (Gabourey Sidibe, on the other hand, is not. You in danger girl!)
Oh, but if you had any doubts about whether Fiona had planned this all along, they were erased when she gleefully wiped her hands with the butler's hankie, sat down, and started throwing around an Olympic-level amount of shade. First by saying that they'd have to bury Madison deep so that the drugs in her system wouldn't poison the lawn, AND THEN the most epic one-liner kiss-off in TV history: "This coven doesn't need a new supreme. It needs a new rug." *smokes cigarette*
I MEAN. Yes my stomach was all tied up in knots from this episode, but moments like this are what will make this show so legendary to future generations. It will make the aliens really fear us when they decide whether or not to invade. And WE are the lucky generation to experience it in real-time. Not an exaggeration, American Horror Story is a masterpiece.
"The Replacements" was disgusting and horrible and it made me ill. I loved "The Replacements."
... Will Madison be ticked about what Fiona did?
... Should everyone just leave Kyle alone for a little while?
... Have you ever made a stank face on the level of Marie Laveau's?
... How has YOUR life been changed since witnessing Gabourey Sidibe masturbating in front of a minotaur?
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