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American Horror Story S03E08: "The Sacred Taking"

Happy post-Thanksgiving! How was your long weekend? Like most of you I spent Thanksgiving all by myself in a Travelodge by the interstate. Which Travelodge did you stay in? Was your Travelodge also by an interstate, or maybe was it beneath an overpass or perhaps just on an empty field over an Indian burial ground? Was your Travelodge also downwind from one million cow butts like mine was? Did you attempt to eat Thanksgiving dinner by yourself at a Burger King across the driveway only to be met with the cruel, hostile stares of Burger King employees forced to work on Thanksgiving evening at a Burger King by the interstate? Yep, I had just a classic Thanksgiving in other words. But despite certain things not going the way I'd planned, none of those things could compare to the absolute agony of not having a new episode of American Horror Story last week. THAT was the hardship, THAT was the Thanksgiving-ruiner. People throw the term "TV junkie" around like it's a joke but I am here to tell you it is NO JOKE. I was getting night sweats, bad dreams, dead babies were all over the ceiling. I was in a bad way, and all because my eyes had gone too long without seeing Angela Bassett giving somebody the side-eye.

But that terrifying ordeal is now over because hey look! This week American Horror Story returned with "The Sacred Taking," just a tremendously entertaining episode. Let's talk about it!

This was another Alfonso Gomez-Rejon joint (written by Ryan Murphy!) so what that meant was the episode began with a truly insane, dizzying crane shot of Gabourey Sidibe moseying under an overpass eyeballing homeless dudes. Honestly just that image alone reminded me of how special this show truly is.

Zoe and Madison showed up just in time to see Queenie murdering a hobo with a 2x4. They were curious as to why Queenie hadn't been home lately, and Queenie informed them she was now besties with Marie Laveau and super into voodoo now too. I once had a friend in junior high inform me he no longer enjoyed R&B and intended to go hang out with the skater kids instead from then on so I really related to this scene. Teens!

Here is a shot of Queenie ripping a man's heart out, filmed to appear as though the camera was inside his ribcage. Are you paying attention, Emmy voters?

So yeah, Queenie was NOT coming back to the coven, especially not since Marie Laveau had promised to use voodoo on her to increase her powers. (That's what the dead hobo's "dark heart" was for.) There was honestly not much Zoe or Madison could have possibly said at that point. I mean, if somebody offered to increase MY powers via dark magic I would probably say yes. Just kidding I have no powers or talents or skills. But I DO like voodoo, if anybody has any ideas.

Meanwhile back at the white house Fiona was looking into a mirror and doing a voiceover about dying. I liked this one split-screen flashback of Cordelia telling Fiona to die before Thanksgiving so that she wouldn't make her nasty-ass stuffing again. HaHA I'm starting to get the impression that Ryan Murphy loves a catty one-liner, what do you think?

But yeah, and I don't mean for this recap to become controversial, like me standing on a soapbox or whatever just jamming all my beliefs down your throat, but cancer does not seem like a good situation to me. Just wanted to put that out there. Again, sorry to stress everybody out with my beliefs but I just think cancer is a bad thing in general. Poor Fiona.

Um, then THIS scene happened.

The hunk next door was having his axe wound tended to and his religious mother was angry because of the witches and the zombie attack and Nobama or whatever.

UMMMMMM. Ryan Murphy, can we speak in private for a minute?

GUYS. I am fairly sure this lady mixed up Comet and hot water and forced her hunky son to squirt it all up his butt. Again, I can't be sure because this show is very artful and understated and cryptic. But if I were a betting man I would guess that that's what happened here. Just a cleansing, purifying enema with powdered bleach. In Santa Monica that's called a Tuesday appointment. But in the context of this show I'd say it was weird and unsavory. This show sure does love to harm a hunk! Poor guy.

Meanwhile back in the white house, the witches started conspiring to legit murder Fiona. It seemed like everybody wanted a whack at her! But their scheming was interrupted when the doorbell rang!

At the door was a filthy-footed wench-witch yammering about her issues.

In a highly, highly amusing flashback, we saw that Misty Day (LOL) had been awakened by a freshly-sprouted Myrtle who'd arrived to report that there was a hooded figure in the nearby swamp loading a shotgun. That was a VERY helpful tip in my opinion, because within seconds he busted through the door and destroyed a perfectly nice duvet.

Fortunately Misty Day (LOL) and Myrtle had fled in time! It was unclear if Misty Day (LOL) had rescued her remaining Stevie Nicks 8-track cartridges but probably.

Also I loved when Cordelia grabbed Misty's hand and saw how she'd been burned alive and then came back to life.

Honestly, what I wouldn't give to just emerge from brackish swamp water looking so fresh and clean and rejuvenated. Usually I emerge from brackish swamp water with a foul odor and a bad attitude. (WHO keeps throwing me in anyway? DM me)

But yeah: It looked like the coven had a new honorary member! And she brought a bud.

Haha oh, Myrtle. I loved that she was forced to chill in the shed until Misty had gotten permission. I also loved her joke about buying North Korean hair extensions in bulk. I also just love everything about this show in general, is it okay to say that on the internet? To give positive, sincere, unqualified praise? That is what I am doing now and it feels great BUT RISKY.

Meanwhile Kyle was on a laptop using his Speak 'n Spell app trying to learn English when Madison came in and suggested he watch more porn and Zoe was like no way dude. How weird, I thought a three-way romance between two undead teens and a lady with a poison vagina would end up going great, but it's starting to look like there's trouble in paradise.

So then the witches decided it was time to finally take Fiona down. They put on their Spanish Virgin Mary widow costumes and held hands and breathed in each other's mouths and watched a PowerPoint presentation about Salem. They were doing something called "The Sacred Taking" which I guess is a way for a coven to hasten the process of transferring a supreme's power to the new one. I'm not sure what exactly this first part of the ritual did, but it definitely did make everyone bicker about who the next supreme would be. (At this point they all felt Misty Day might be, but the rest of the girls were throwing around so much shade about it.)

But whatever, the whole thing was useless if the current supreme didn't commit suicide, so that was the next part of the plan.

It began with Madison prancing around Fiona's room like a gauzy ghost tramp just generally trying to f*ck with Fiona's brain.

Then Myrtle showed up and started telling Fiona that the remainder of her life was only going to be filled with pain and tubes and axe murderers losing their boners for her.

Yikes, Fiona did not look great in those hypothetical flash-forwards!

For a minute it appeared that Myrtle's power of persuasion might've actually worked! Suddenly Fiona was eyeballing those sleeping pills like they were white Skittles.

Meanwhile Nan got mad at the other witches for saying she couldn't be supreme, so she ran next door to find her favorite sparkling clean-butted hunk, and as she did so, Cordelia's awful husband the witch hunter sat in his car looking like a CREEP.

But Nan did not notice the witch hunter, she was too busy looking for a hunk, which is fair. And she found him! All tied up in the closet. I'm starting to think that maybe he does not have the best mother but who am I to judge.

Later on, Fiona was putting on her makeup ("preparing the corpse" as Myrtle put it) and her best fur coat and making an eloquent speech about finally hanging it up or whatever. Uh oh! It was suicide time!

But only seconds after Fiona laid down her weary head (and Myrtle stole all her jewelry), a stringy-haired ghost showed up and set her straight.

Spalding! Now that he was a ghost he was able to spy on everybody, and that means that in addition to watching everybody pee he could also hear their schemes. In this case he was able to tell Fiona that the women had been messing with her and she needed to fight back. That was all Fiona needed to hear to swallow the puke-syrup!

Honestly I was very glad Fiona didn't go and die in Episode 8. I mean obviously there was never at any time a threat of Fiona dying in Episode 8, but I was still relieved. She still had work to do!

Meanwhile in the back of Marie Laveau's salon, Marie Laveau got mad at Queenie for giving Delphine a cheeseburger, so she did this:

HAHAHA. Sorry, I know having a hand chopped off is a very sad and serious situation usually but I laughed so hard at this. Especially when Marie Laveau tossed it over her shoulder like junk. So good.

Meanwhile, Nan just could NOT catch a break.

Whoa this lady was not happy. Part of me was sympathetic to her concerns, seeing as her son had nearly been murdered by an axe-wielding zombie. But on the other hand, be more chill? It's kind of hard to take somebody seriously when they are yammering on and on about evil and sin and then shoving bleach up people's butts and locking them in a closet. How does this guy not have ESP powers yet? Like a hunky Carrie. OMG I just thought of a really good idea for a movie. It's... Whoops I just forgot it.

And then the mom got shot to death! Cordelia's husband was outside just spraying the house with bullets, which in my opinion is not very good witch hunting. Only Nan was a witch. Unless, in addition to being a witch hunter, he was also a b*tch hunter? Just kidding, I don't like that word, that was just a cheap joke and I feel rotten about it. Anyway, religious lady died and then so did her son when he tried to save Nan!

NOW I was mad. This guy had been through so much, just so, so much. Ryan Murphy, you scoundrel.

Nan was VERY bummed, especially because she'd been hoping she was the next supreme and should therefore have the power of resurgence but she didn't. (Although, did you notice that she opened the front door without touching it? That was a new power right?) I felt very bad for Nan here.

Meanwhile next door the rest of the witches were waiting for Fiona to die and speculating on which one of them would start to feel a spark ("in their cooch" as Myrtle put it).

But NOPE. Fiona was NOT dead, not even close. She just waltzed in there with her turban and lit a cigarette with her brain and told everybody off. That's when they all noticed that Misty Day (LOL) had disappeared.

She'd already gone to the shooting scene next door and had, apparently, resurrected the hunk. (PHEW!) But Fiona still wanted evidence that Misty Day (LOL) could bring folks back to life (probably because Fiona needs to know who to kill next), and Misty ended up demonstrating on the person least deserving of it.

Oh man was this funny. After dramatically bringing a dead woman back to life, Misty slumped onto the ground beside her, evidently exhausted and Fiona just ROLLED HER EYES. For the first time ever, a character on this show behaved cattily. But dang was it funny.

Outside Cordelia was blindly pawing around at some hedges, as blind people do, and she found a spent bullet and immediately knew something was up.

Oh, and then this happened and was heartbreaking:

SMILING/FROWNING so much. Well, it was actually extremely heartwarming and moving when Kyle managed to say "I love you" to Zoe. I mean, come on, have a heart you guys that was great. But the pan-over to reveal a crushed Madison was very tough. Poor girl has feelings too! Again, I am shocked that this polyamorous relationship is not going perfectly, but still. I'm invested in this love triangle because I like all three characters and I understand their hearts. Good job, show.

Speaking of good job:

I really enjoyed this awkward confrontation between mother and daughter following daughter's failed attempt to murder mother. So good. The surprising turn was that Fiona RESPECTED Cordelia for attempting such a coup and they even shared a laugh about it!

Honestly, that was just a sincerely charming moment and it made perfect sense. And then it got even more wonderful when Cordelia admitted that when she found the bullet (a blessed bullet, like witch hunters use), she was grateful Fiona was still alive to help them.

It never ceases to shock me when this live-action cartoon about viscera and put-downs makes me feel something in my heartbones, but I truly loved seeing these characters (sorta) resolve their differences. It's actually rare for characters in serialized dramas to have understandable priorities like this. Like, YES it does make sense for Cordelia to drop her blood-feud with her mother so that they can team up. You know? They're both smart and reasonable and able to change their minds about stuff. I don't know, this change of heart just felt surprising to me in how organic it felt.

But that momentary reverie was interrupted by the doorbell!

At this point, anytime a box is left on somebody's doorstep it simply can't be anything less than a severed head. Like, it just HAD to be, you know?


OH BOY, Marie Laveau was NOT messing around. Although it did make me laugh how useless this gesture was. It's not like this coven particularly liked Delphine all that much. If anything sending over her still-alive severed head (one that could kind of talk) just seemed like another way to annoy them. It's like a witch version of T.P.-ing a house. It might ruin an afternoon but it's not that serious. Anyway, yeah. Delphine is just a head now.

Um, what more needs to be said about this episode? Not only was it a return to our regular schedule, this episode was a return to the highest peaks of this show's entertainment-value. It can sometimes be so easy to believe that Ryan Murphy's involvement on any of his shows entails just sort of walking into a writers' room and throwing out the top ten sex nightmares he'd had recently and then walking back out, but in this case he wrote the script himself and it was hilarious, surprising, and clever. I'm not saying Ryan Murphy doesn't deserve the criticism he seems to crave, I'm saying episodes like this serve as a reminder of how talented and creative he can be. Because I loved this episode a lot. Just a lot.

Now please hand me a hot water bottle and a rubber hose BYEEE


... Asking it again: Who is the next supreme?

... Will Marie Laveau keep her word to Queenie or is it all a trick?

... Is that witch hunter headed for trouble?

... Do you ever get the sense that Ryan Murphy has a love-hate relationship with hunks?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 1/21/2015

Season 4 : Episode 13

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