***Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for American Horror Story through S8, E3 follow. Spoilers***
Ah, Mr. Murphy, you do know how to string your audience along. Excellent actors — check. Campy fun — check. Bizarre, convoluted, often nonsensical storyline — check. Just enough intrigue to bring back viewers for one more episode — check; though I will admit the boundaries of my affection are truly being tested this go-round. With enough fake vomit to fill a snake pit, and a few cringeworthy self-harm shots, “Forbidden Fruit” felt a bit like the proverbial kitchen sink toss in episodic form, and not much made sense came out the other side. Regardless, the women-centric hour featured a couple crazy revelations, and just the fun end note to leave us only slightly reluctantly continuing the ride (Hell, anything’s better than Roanoke, am I right?).
As Langdon plays with his pawns, teasing their Sanctuary worthiness (or lack thereof), Venable and her slightly confused cohort, Mead — aka, Rosie from The Jetsons — review their options, until that dastardly alarm again sounds … hailing the Apocalyptic equivalent of Amazon Prime (free delivery on orders over … everything). Never mind Miriam’s muddled memories, there are apple-bobbing, All Hallows parties to be held. Taking a cue from devil (speaking of … we’ll get to that in a moment) or Disney, the ladies prep their “[probably] Delicious” plan, while Michael faces down his unexpected enemy — “I don’t have a dark side” — Mallory.
Langdon finally shows his hand, but Mallory’s bite may be bigger than his bark. Amidst the requisite candles and blood, Michael prays to his father “[Ave] Satanas” for help destroying the magical one that got away. Speaking of, Coco’s — “What happened to your face?” — husband, Brock manages to finagle his way into the Outpost compound just in time to steal away his wife from the about-to-be-spew-filled soiree. Unfortunately for Coco, his plans aren’t any kinder than Miriam and Wilhemina’s, though her death comes quicker.
Mass-murder complete, Venable and Mead head to haughtily herald Langdon’s would-be end — with a side of gloating, thank you very much — but Michael quickly proves who’s really in charge. Without a word, Miriam’s loyal attempt to take out their final enemy is easily thwarted; the weapon she trains on Langdon is involuntarily retrained, and she instead shoots Wilhemina (“I don’t know why I did that”). Connecting the dots … er, circuits for his “dear” robot, Michael reveals their true connection.
Just as we’re wondering what the hell is going to happen now that pretty much everyone is dead, outside the Outpost a trio of familiar figures emerges from the radioactive fog. Dramatic entrances — “Surprise, bitch” — complete, the witchy (witchay) women pop in to find their “sisters”, and to breathe life back into the recently deceased.
I don’t know how Ryan Murphy does it, but his timing is impeccable. Did you catch Mallory’s X-Men reference, right on the eve of the Dark Phoenix trailer? Now that I think about it, he probably had inside information through Evan Peters (who also stars in the film).
(No, surprise) Billie Lourd is a really good actress, and I’m so glad she’s quickly become an AHS staple. When Langdon asked Mallory, “Who are you?”, I wanted to scream out, “She’s Leia’s daughter, that’s who!”
It seems Miriam was created by Michael from someone we know quite well, someone from Murder House … has a legend been reborn? Michael tells Mead she’s someone from his childhood, someone very dear to him, and that he’s kept her most important part hidden. My guess is she’s another form of his grandmother, Constance Langdon (played by Jessica Lange), who we’re expecting back this season.
Speaking of other seasons, welcome back Frances Conroy (as Myrtle Snow) and Emma Roberts (as Madison Montgomery). And yeah, though we barely had a chance to miss you — welcome back, Sarah Paulson as Cordelia Foxx.
Clearly, we’re about to get the backstory on Mallory’s powers, and does this mean Coco and Dinah are also both witches, too? As for Michael, for an Antichrist, he doesn’t seem all that powerful. A witch who doesn’t even remember she’s a witch can easily fight him off with flames — what kind of lame showdown is this going to be?
Sorry, but that whole vomiting/death scene was so campily (probably purposeful) done, it just about took me out of the whole thing. Nothing looked real, shocking, or deadly; it was simply silly. For a series that in the past had excellent scares and gore, and moments of true terror, I found it incredible how the whole thing played out.
“Rosie, from The Jetsons” did crack me up, though.
Once again, Billy Eichner made the most of his onscreen time. I do hope he’ll be back for more.
Despite myself and that these so far, are a rather lackluster round of episodes, I can’t help being curious about where all it’s going. Of course, the lure of connections to Murder House are fairly irresistible, and I really can’t wait to see its stars (Lange, Britton, McDermott), and how their characters play into this arc.
Music This Hour:
Bread, Baby I’m-A Want You
Rolling Stones, She’s a Rainbow
True darkness requires a certain kind of depth of character, but you’re much too shallow for that.
You’re exactly the kind of soul I’m looking for.
Sometimes, I feel like there’s someone inside me, someone trying to claw their way out.
I was a finalist on Top Chef.
I ran a nutrition blog before the war.
I think I set the room on fire.
I think I made the fire with my mind.
Maybe the radiation did something. Now I’m like the Dark Phoenix.
Everyone should savor this night as if it were their last.
I can offer you something I never did for my boyfriend. I’m talking about anilingus. I have a very short tongue, and a sensitive gag reflex.
We’re making the selections now, Mr. Langdon and I’m sorry, you didn’t make the cut.
All people, given the right conditions, are evil motherfuckers.