“American Horror Story” recap (3.10): Players only love you when they’re playing


Previously on American Horror Story, Fiona refused to give up the ghost (this refers both to her relationship with a deceased ax-murderer and her leadership of the coven), it was Misty Day’s turn to wear the “probable Supreme” hat, and Lumberjack Dave launched a one-man assault on the Marie Laveau Hair Studio/Body Parts Dealership. Everyone but Marie was killed, including Queenie, who I have a sinking feeling will now be the first Coven character to stay dead.

This episode begins when Marie Laveau shows up at Fiona’s doorstep, post-massacre. Fiona, a surprisingly gracious hostess, pours her a teacup of whiskey and offers to share her sleeping pills. Marie goes on about how moved she is by Fiona’s kindness and how delighted she is to have found “an equal” and anyone who knows Marie knows that this speech might have pink icing but it is still a bullshit cake.

Lying in bed, Marie is visited by Papa Legba, the Voodoo spirit who is apparently her “master” (sigh). Right away, we learn that Papa Legba is into:

1. cocaine
2. the souls of the innocent

AHS10.1Not into: dentists.

And part of Marie’s arrangement with him is to provide him with some of #2 once a year. Predictably, she breaks into a hospital nursery and steals an infant. Some guards try to stop her, but her eyes turn white and she forces them to shoot each other. My theory on this is that the show blew its budget this week on the Very Special Guest, so they were forced to use footage from Angela Bassett’s audition for the role of Storm in a shelved X-Men movie.


The next morning, Cordelia blames herself for Lumberjack Dave’s killing spree, but Marie is like “save a bite of that guilt sandwich for me; I did hire his witch-hunting, practically concave ass.” Inexplicably, Fiona gives Marie a free pass on her attempts to exterminate the coven, but slaps Cordelia for being dumb enough to marry Lumberjack Dave. Actually, never mind; that is totally explicable.

This episode reminds me a lot of last season’s “The Name Game,” by which I mean that its central conceit is so far over the top that it escapes Earth’s gravitational pull.

Misty is practicing her shawl twirls when Fiona, out of the total fucking blue, introduces her to Stevie Nicks herself. In terms of celebrities-as-themselves appearances, I would say that it makes slightly less sense than Gloria Steinem appearing at Bette’s father’s funeral, but still a great deal more sense than God-Des and She rapping the night before Shane and Carmen’s wedding.

The only shame is that the producers felt that they could best cover up for the White Witch’s lack of acting ability by sticking her at a piano to murmur disconnected lines from “Rhiannon,” while Jessica Lange barely suppresses an eye roll in the background. Lily Rabe, however, has a Broadway veteran’s sense for the overblown, and plays up to Stevie Nicks like a puppy on acid.


Together they practice twirling and Stevie gives misty a shawl, and I am reminded that Ryan Murphy’s strong suit will always be the campy, gratuitous, and silly.

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