American Horror Story 3×10 ‘The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks’: Breesus saves

Source: FX

This was really the episode of ridiculous voices, huh? Something about Stevie Nicks brought out the overzealous patois in Angela Bassett, the breathy southerner in Jessica Lange, the waterbilly hippy in Lily Rabe, the aggressively Californian “betch”-laden cadence of Emma Roberts. I’m hovering somewhere in between this being a too obvious example of the whole “a bunch of different folks coming together because LADIES!” or this is some kind of After the Fall sign of everything falling apart.

Granted, it’s not exactly a stretch to call this all falling apart. Fiona is just throwing out everything and going full evil, essentially, something Laveau doesn’t seem too thrilled about. Cordelia is just about as impotent as Sarah Paulson characters always are at this point. The undead threesome is about as screwed up as ever, what with Nan and Zoe just declaring themselves the good guys and Nan the supreme, in direct opposition to Madison’s more overtly evil bid for the thrown, that involves “killing” Misty Day, but that all doesn’t matter.

Source: FX

Source: FX

What is dead can never die and whatnot.

And really, whatever it takes to get Angela Bassett and Jessica Lange to drown a girl together and then act like a pair of 10 year olds who’ve been caught writing on the bathroom mirrors in lipstick hauled before Papa Doc’s middle school principal character to explain themselves and generally act sheepish, cause why not, at this point. I know that Papa Doc is a somewhat different historical figure, but I’m sticking with the name because Papa Legba (despite being a real deity, of sorts) sounds silly and Lance Reddick (Yes! That’s Lance Reddick!) deserves better.

This is what we apparently now call the spring premier of the season, something that has become increasingly important in recent years. The “fall finale” and “spring premier,” they sure do have a ring to them. As part of the increasing faux-professionalization of the TV-viewing experience, the same expectations that we know what fall sweeps are tells us to pay attention to the natural division of the season around the holidays, an expectation that is ridiculous for two rather glaring reasons: 1) The reason for actual, fall premiers are to remind you of the show’s existence and what it does, something you are unlikely to forget in the aching, sunless, shut-in winter, and 2) This is a show that does 13 episode seasons, there is no “natural” division because you chose to make it air in the fall. But anyway: spring premier. What a joke, it’s 8 degrees outside.

Source: FX

Source: FX

So has the show changed? Not really. The major theme of girl on girl crime is still there, and the expansion of setting we all presupposed based on the last episode isn’t really, you know, there. What drew most of my attention was the way the show almost doubled down on what it was trying to talk about re: WOMENZ ISSUES throughout. An interesting new iteration of this theme has emerged in the concept of entombment: Laveau with LaLaurie, now Madison with Misty Day, the consistent threat of police, Nan’s soul became a ward (kinda?) of Papa Doc.

It isn’t as clear what the message is here, but you know, sometimes subtlety is okay. Overbearing obviousness isn’t exactly Horror Story‘s forte, and when a show ends a year with something as dreadfully nonsensical as that shooting set to civil rights era stuff which god I can’t even think about that it was so terrible I KNOW THINKING ABOUT THE APPROPRIATENESS OF THINGS AIN’T EXACTLY YOUR FORTE EITHER RYAN MURPHY BUT COME ON YOU GOTTA GIVE ME SOMETHING, we can’t really complain when the writers try something new. Idle speculation probably won’t be that useful at this early stage in what I’m gonna call the “OMG WOMEN PUTTING WOMEN IN PRISON” motif, but that’s what I’m here for! Idle speculation!

“But John M.,” you ask, because you only know me from this site and for some reason think I go by my last initial like there’s another “John” in Ms. O’Hara’s 3rd grade class, Jesus, just call me John, “What about Stevie Nicks?”

Source: FX

Source: FX

What indeed. Well, there is certainly some Stevie Nicks here, just enough to reach the bare rung just above half-assed cameo. She sings twice, which was pretty awesome, I gather, based on Facebook statuses. I’m not the biggest Fleetwood Mac fan, but I gotta say I enjoyed Lily Rabe playing off her. There’s something so sweetly endearing about her attempts to play cool in front of Stevie while still geeking out really really hard at her, and it led to that great scene between Misty Day and Madison, right before it got terrible via Madison’s brick. Nicks seemed game the whole, and her aborted spinning shawl lesson was played with just the right amount of self-awareness. Her ability to play to the house style of American Horror Story was impressive, and, to my mind, elevated her to basically guest star, so, you know, on a scale of 1 to awesome, pretty awesome.

God there’s only three episodes left. I have now idea where this is going.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Wow, it’s amazing that witchcraft can just create a federal indictment. Isn’t that kinda time-travely? How did the US Attorney know to get to work on that?
  • Way to Treme, guys.
  • Lily Rabe’s hat game seems sarcastic somehow. Like a satire of Emma Roberts and her hat game.
  • Down by the Riverside, sure, why not, it’s just a murder.
  • “Call what’s his name, Bernanke.” Yes, call the chair of the Federal Reserve, he definitely controls the stock exchange and the US Attorneys. Don’t call, like the Attorney General or something.
John M.

works for a legal newspaper in Baltimore and lives within three blocks of Tilghman Middle, the alley where Omar and Brother Mouzone have their showdown, and Pearson’s Florists. He enjoys putting his liberal arts degree to good use by watching a lot of TV and reading a lot of internet. He occasionally blogs (about Dawson’s Creek) on tumblr.

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