Was “The Sacred Taking” American Horror Story’s weakest episode of the season? Probably, but given how strong Coven has been this season, the weak link still held its own. It felt a little jumbled, but it certainly helped set up the series’ five remaining episodes and next week’s last new episode until 2014. Let’s take a look at what went down.
The episode opened with what I initially thought was a flashback. Queenie is wandering around a shoddy area late at night and completely alone – until she’s approached by a man who threatens her with rape and murder. Our girl is scared, but not for long. She picks up a board with several nails pushed clean through and jabs it into her hand, incapacitating and confusing the man long enough for her to overpower him. She’s stopped, though, as Zoe and Madison show up. This was also the moment I realized that this was a present-day incident and not one that took place in Detroit. They want her to come back to Miss Robichaux’s, but Queenie is on a mission. Her encounter with the homeless man was no accident. Marie Laveau sent her out in pursuit of an evil heart, and this man just happens to have raped a number of young girls. The heart is an ingredient in a potion Marie is supposedly brewing to make Queenie a stronger voudon, something Queenie suggests Fiona would never do for the other witches. She’s right, as Fiona is wont to do pretty much the opposite. Queenie cuts the man’s heart out and holds it up, still beating, as she lets the girls know this town ain’t big enough for the both of them. It’s war.
Resurrection is running wild on American Horror Story: Coven, even without the inimitable Misty Day. In the fittingly-titled “The Dead,” Kyle and Madison get it on walking dead-style, the Axeman is back, and Zoe brings back Spalding’s tongue from beyond the grave – all while Queenie leads the recently exhumed Madame LaLaurie straight into Laveau’s eager arms. Let’s see how we got there.
The episode opens with Kyle discovering exactly who (or, rather, what) he is by taking us back to a tattoo parlor at an unspecified time. We see one brother get some ink on his leg, while another gets a tattoo on his arm. Both of these limbs, we learn, are now attached to Kyle, who notices the irregularities and cries out. He examines his body and holds up to his face his hands that appear to be just a smidge too large for his body – a nice touch, whether it was done intentionally or not.
This week’s episode of American Horror Story: Coven opened up against a classic Louisiana landscape: the bayou. Two poachers hunting gators are hauling a catch up to their camp when they noticed a woman we know as (the recently burned-at-the-stake) Misty Day wandering around. As Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen” served as the background music, Day, looking very Nicks-ish herself (more on that later), examines several of their previous kills and lets the hunters know how she feels about their hobby. Given her power of resurrection, it was easy to see where this was going. She brings all of the gators back to life, and they decimate the two men, guilty of murdering innocent creatures for their own personal gain. When we last saw Misty, she was called a necromancer and burned by her God-fearing peers. Now, she’s mentally and physically reborn.
Back at the school, Cordelia gets the girls up and ready for the day. Zoe is still mourning Kyle, but Madison feels he’s just as guilty as his fraternity brothers. Zoe can’t accept that, but Madison assures her he would have died anyway because of Zoe’s power. Fiona, meanwhile, has Madame LaLaurie tied up and gagged in her room. Fiona warns her not to scream, but of course she does. I’m still not exactly sure what she thought this would accomplish. She obviously wants to be helped, but I’d imagine it would be difficult for someone who’s been buried alive for 180 years to navigate the present.
After American Horror Story’s disjointed, cluttered second season, I wasn’t too sure I’d be back for season three. It took such a nosedive after a stellar inaugural season that I didn’t think recovery was possible. I changed my mind with the release of each 15ish-second preview and after the cast was announced. It looked creepy, fresh, and fierce – and it acted the part in “Bitchcraft,” the premiere episode.
The show opens in 1834 New Orleans. Madame Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) hosts some kind of formal gathering in her home. Once all of her guests leave, she heads upstairs to start her nightly beauty routine: rubbing a mixture of blood and a human pancreas on her face like any self-respecting woman would. She’s disrupted, though, when she learns that her daughter was found copulating with a servant. Furious, she has him taken to the attic, where slaves are kept in crates in various states of torture; one man’s eyes and mouth are sewn shut, a woman’s skin has been peeled from her face. Delphine has a child bring in a bull’s head, which she puts over the slave’s like a mask because she’s “always loved the minotaur.” Later, she receives a visit from Marie Laveau (Angela Bassett), a priestess claiming to have a potion for Delphine that will curb her husband’s craving for younger women. She gladly takes it but soon discovers it’s poison. Marie sought revenge against Delphine, as her lover was the one who was fitted with a new head. Delphine died, and her body was never found.
I have a theory that nightmares are our brain’s way of saying “hey, your life could be worse,” which is why the horror genre is increasingly becoming popular in television. So what if you have crippling debt because of student loans. At least, you don’t have to kill your zombified friends and family. According to this CBC article, that’s why zombies are so popular.
There is no doubting that times are tough. When you find yourself in times of trouble, mother television comes on to make things all better. Since the dawn of primetime, TV has always been an escape from our daily lives. It’s why we never saw our favorite nuclear TV families broken apart by war. Instead of living vicariously through our favorite TV characters like we used to, we’re saying, “hey, my life could be worse”.
True Blood (HBO)
True Blood came out in the height of that whole Twilight fad that some of us don’t like mentioning being part of. I remember girls complaining that True Blood was a blatant rip off of the saga. Aside from having vampires, the protagonist happens to have telepathic abilities, just like a certain sparkly vampire. Except The Southern Vampire Mysteries that inspired the TV show came out before Stephanie Meyer dreamed up Twilight.
The difference between True Blood and any other vampire movie or TV show is that it dealt with current issues. Gay rights to be specific. This is made obvious by the “God hates Fangs” sign in the intro, which is a lovely jab at The Westboro Baptist Church. The show has continued to use vampires as an allegory for the LGBT community. You know, vampires are people too!
Despite airing in the summer, which is usually a death sentence, this show became insanely popular. So popular that HBO has been pushing out more and more TV shows ever since its 2008 debut. Since so many people took time out of their busy summer schedules of doing nothing, it showed that horror is something channels should strive toward.
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Charlie Sheen got his shot to return to television and it’s already not working out. Anger Management opened with two episodes on Thursday night and there wasn’t really much chance it would be a huge success. An FX comedy is probably not enough to fix a disgraced career and the type of actor Sheen is just seems unappealing. After two episodes, it’s certain this is going to be a failure. The fact is the show could not have been any worse. There was not one moment worthy of laughter for the entire hour.
Sheen stars as Charlie Goodson, an anger management therapist who has anger issues himself. This should actually be treated as a serious conflict and the fact that it is portrayed comically just makes it seem wrong. Of course, comedy seeming wrong would be okay if it was funny and innovative. This was neither. This was just boring. The laugh track only made it worse.
You’ve probably heard that Charlie Sheen is coming back to television with Anger Management, which is based on the movie of the same name. Yesterday, FX released six commercials, each one featuring a punchline from the show. However, they are not really funny because the promos at 10 to 20 seconds each don’t provide any context for the joke.
The first commercial is the longest and doesn’t actually have anything to do with the show, except for the fact that it stars Charlie Sheen as Charlie Sheen. At least he gets in a good, albeit overused, joke in at the end.