***Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for American Horror Story through Season 8, Episode 5 follow. Spoilers***
Coming off the high that was last week‘s stellar outing, “Boy Wonder” had rather large and pointy boots to fill. Luckily for us and with the help of a few old friends, by the time this hour closed out we’re practically frothing at the mouth for the long awaited (finally!) “Return to Murder House”.
But first, we have to suffer through Cordelia’s obvious dream, as Murphy gets his Walking Dead on. Waking to the comforting cooing of Myrtle’s reassuring voice (and Madison’s usual grating complaints), apocalyptic vision in head and over Snow’s fervent objections — “Men make terrible leaders” — the Supreme announces she’ll allow Michael to take the Seven Wonders test. Cleverly convincing everyone she’s losing her powers, Cordelia crafts her cunning plan.
Through flashes backwards, sideways and in between, we discover more of Mallory’s magical mastery (though raising dead animals doesn’t appear quite as impressive to Cordelia as Michael’s Queenie rescue), as well as Coco’s slightly lesser skill of gluten detection … “Fancy ladies with irritated bowels showed up in droves”. Back at the Hawthorne School, those wily wizards gather at the cusp of the blood moon to anoint and protect their “brother” Michael, though a suspicious John Henry catches a glimpse of his real (Antichrist) identity — guaranteeing his emergency trip to Miss Robichaux’s (as well as his life) is about to be cut short. With the flick of her dastardly dagger and a follow-up match, Miriam takes care of her master’s “problem”, that he might infiltrate the coven and destroy them from the inside out.
With an artsy vignette, we’re swept off to Michael’s Old Tyme-y Test of the Seven Wonders — culminating with Cordelia’s demand that Langdon “conquer” Descensum by bringing back Misty Day (Lily Rabe) from Hell — where she’s caught in a terrible classroom loop, dissecting and resurrecting frogs. Over many objections, and a decisive threat to the already-peaked Grand Chancellor, that demands repeating here …
With a flick of my finger, I could crush your larynx, and tear it from your throat. Do not think for one second think I am weak. I have humored you men and coddled your fragile egos, but in no way does that mean you actually have a say. I outrank you. I can destroy you. So I suggest you fall in line, because I am still your Supreme.”
… Michael’s off to a shiny hallway full of doors, behind one of which is our glorious gal.
Miraculously (perhaps not quite her former self) returned and hungry as hell, Misty and Myrtle care for Cordelia who proclaims Michael the new Supreme, though she’s got a little something still up her sleeve. But first, an aside! Indulgent as it may be, we bask in the return of yet another beloved witchy woman, who’s got a song in her heart ,and a twirl to pass on.
When Cordelia finally reveals she’s not simply giving up, nor without a grand and secret plan — to take down Michael after having used him to bring back “her girls” — our relief is as palpable as viewers’ Twittered excitement over where we’re next headed. As explained to newly appointed roadtrip partners, Behold and (“What’s so special about this place?)” Madison’s queries, Murder House “is where it all began”.
Glory be, we’re finally getting back to Season 1’s Murder House, and Jessica Lange (as Constance Langdon, visible in next week’s preview). AHS’s first outing is by far its best, and I can’t wait to see how this will all go down. My prediction is an unprecedented power-off between Mallory and Michael, with all the coven standing behind (and perhaps assisting) Mallory in her inevitable defeat. I also believe Mallory is the true next Supreme.
Stevie singing to Misty in Coven was wonderful and no less so, here. Of course it takes everyone out of the story, but — it’s STEVIE NICKS — who cares? What a lovely way to pay tribute and let’s face it, we are all Lily Rabe.
Speaking of … B.D. Wong played piano for Stevie Nicks! And, just when you think Ryan Murphy can’t come up with more ridiculously fun names: Wong’s character is “Baldwin Pennypacker”.
RIP poor John Henry, whose death we saw coming miles off. I feel like we never get enough Cheyenne Jackson in this series.
What was up with this exchange between Michael and Miriam when they met after she’d done that terrible deed?
Michael: “What will I do without you?”
Miriam: “Best part is you’ll never have to worry about it.”
Of course, we’re now worried about it — that was no incidental comment Michael made. Something must go wonky when Constance (whose essence is Miriam) returns to us.
Test of the Seven Wonders: Telekinesis (moving an object with the mind); Concilium (mind control over another person); Transmutation (change one substance to another); Divination (foreseeing the future); Pyrokinesis (create and control fire with the mind); Vitalum Vitalis (return someone from the dead); Descensum (move to and from the underworld).
Sorry, Michael, you may be the Antichrist and I’m sure you’ll put up a crazy fight, but this is a Ryan Murphy show — the women will win. And not for nothing; we could sure use a win (both in the show and the real world). Speaking of, Myrtle and Cordelia’s rants were brilliant (see all the quotes and Great Lines, below).
Myrtle’s face when Cordelia first told her about letting Michael take the test …
Songs This Hour:
Stevie Nicks, Gypsy
You left me out though, not that I’m surprised. Did you guys even know I was dead?
Maybe you forgot I’m not a hugger.
You know the Alpha is a child’s tale, a lullaby impotent men tell flaccid little boys to make them believe one day they’ll be something special. Time and time again, history has shown the hubris of men knows no bounds. Have we learned nothing from Attila the Hun, Herod the Great, Mark Zuckerberg? Men make terrible leaders.
I’m a gluten detector, that’s my only power.
The FDA in this country is a fucking fraud.
When was the last time you had a 26 year old come through your door?
I can never get the thingy in the hole.
They may be wizards, but they’re not whizzes.
Just don’t talk about your father.
I for one can’t wait to see those bitches squirm with a man in power. Finally on top, where we belong.
It’s okay, I’ll get your friend back. Deduce me in tenbris vita ad extremum, ut salutaret inferi. Deduce me in tenebris vita ad extremum, ut salutaret inferi. Descensum. (The guidance of the Spirit, is in me. Lead me into the darkness of life to the very end, to salute the grave. descent.)
That man you sent to get me, he gives me the heebie jeebies.