American Horror Story: Bitchcraft

Posted on October 10, 2013

AHSS3E1+2Kathy Bates as Delphine LaLaurie in FX’s American Horror Story: Coven

There’s a big part of us that didn’t really want to write a review of this episode. We’re not the first recappers/reviewers to state this, so we make no claims to originality, but we’ve been feeling burnt out on the form of recapping more and more, the longer we engage in it – and we’ve been doing it for seven years now. Having to pull together a minimum of 500 words on a television episode within hours of seeing it the first time – because literally thousands of other people are putting out their thoughts on that same episode in that same short period of time – is not going to be conducive to insights or original thoughts most of the time, only reactions.

When the new TV season started last month, we took a wait-and-see approach on all the new shows because we didn’t want to get caught up in the weekly grind of recapping something that will only fail to capture our interest and disappoint us at some point down the line.  Instead of offering weekly recaps on whatever we’re watching, we’d rather do writeups on how certain shows are doing over the long haul. We plan on having reviews for  several of the new shows of the season, and we may even come back to them more than once, but we’re not likely to do weekly recaps for any of them.

On the other hand, old T Lo faves like The Walking Dead, Mad Men, Downton Abbey and yes, even American Horror Story will continue to get the weekly recap treatment because we’ve written so much on all of these shows already that we just know we’ll start getting irritable if we don’t spit out something the next day. That’s exactly what happened with this episode. We got up this morning and talked it over, not really sure if we were going to write something up because… well, we’ll get to that in a second – and then as the morning progressed, you’d think we were sitting in a methadone clinic waiting room, we were getting so twitchy. So here’s our thoughts on last night’s premiere episode of season 3:

It’s too early to have thoughts. In fact, having written up two full seasons of the show, we’re thisclose to declaring that it actively works to prevent you from having thoughts. That’s not to say it’s anti-intellectual or dumbed down for the audience. Quite the contrary, in fact. But AHS is, first, foremost, and forevermore about making you feel something. It’s a show that has quite gleefully fucked with:

  • its audience’s expectations
  • traditional story structure
  • traditional television show formal conventions
  • the concept of good taste, or any taste at all, really
  • any attempts to analyze it too deeply

AHS wants you to feel anger and revulsion and horror, and it wants to make you laugh while it does it. Oh, and it also wants to comment on American history and culture; with a special focus on the disenfranchised. But it does not want to tell you a story in the traditional sense. It wants to feel you a story. Hence, the wild jump cuts and overdone production; the Grand Guignol acting styles paired with the perfectly 21stC bitchy gay dialogue; the use of racist and anti-fat jokes, even as it grinds the audience’s faces in the very ugliest sides of prejudice. It’s a gigantic fucking mish-mash of contradictions and juxtapositions and the best anyone can do when trying to say something about it is to talk about how it looks and how it feels.

How does it look? Gorgeous. Stunning, actually. Miss Robichaux’s School for Exceptional Girls looks like a setting for a Vogue editorial. Kathy Bates as Delphine LaLaurie and Angela Bassett as Marie Laveau not only get to chew up the scenery and then spit out flaming fireballs, they also get to wear some truly gorgeous costuming.

How does it feel? Exciting. Fun. Revolting. Confusing. It’s great to see Taissa Farmiga and Evan Peters playing the star-crossed teenage lovers again. And it’s kind of hilarious that the grave once again separates them. Emma Roberts was surprising fun as the mean girl movie star, even though the character is a cliche from top to bottom. Frances Conroy is fucking hilarious as a Grace Coddington-style fashion editor witch (“I’m just mad for tartan!”), and of course our Miss Jessica tears her way through every scene, even when she’s just giving a knowing laugh and raising an eyebrow.

Having taken on everything from abortion to anti-gay mental health practices (and a little bit of everything in between), it seems the show is going to focus especially on the history of African-Americans and women in patriarchal America, using witchcraft as the binding agent. The show’s not the first to make the connection between the two groups, but we’re interested to see how Murphy and Falchuk wind up playing with it. You can expect to be offended at least once, we’re thinking. After all, the first episode had several women murderously obsessed with looking young and another one get raped. This is how it addresses the topic of women in the patriarchy. We truly appreciate the show’s willingness to be dark and ugly, but it doesn’t always hit the mark when it tries to take on big questions. With every season, it’s up to the viewer to decide whether they’re willing to sit through the offense and the darkness in order to see some amazing performances and eye-popping imagery. In other words, it all comes down to how you feel.

 

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: Michele K. Short/FX]

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  • PaulRin

    I hope Emma Roberts’ character is based on LiLo.

  • RussellH88

    I’m a sucker for camp and scenery chewing so I’m in it for the long haul. It’s the rare show that can be over the top, insane, disgusting, and vulgar while still keeping you emotionally invested.

    Plus, it’s great to see a show populated with strong, talented, and amazing actresses.

  • Daktari100

    This has got to be one of the most beautifully filmed and skillfully acted series on television. I can’t wait to see what happens next. They should bring in a Patsy-type character to pair with Frances Conroy’s tribute to AbFab’s Edina Monsoon.

    • BayTampaBay

      I wonder if the producer, director(s) and/or writer(s) offered a cameo to Stevie Nicks.

      • Chevalle

        Stevie Nicks is featured in a later part that focuses on Lily Rabe’s character, Misty Day :)

        • xmixiex

          really seriously?!?!?!

          • Chevalle

            Told you ;)

          • xmixiex

            Ahhhh haven’t seen it yet!!

  • Agatha Guilluame

    Last night’s episode was meaty. And I loved it.

  • Billie_Dawn

    Brief off-topic: I love Sleepy Hollow. It’s cuckoo bananas in the best way, and the two leads are the most delightful, adorable TV partnership I’ve seen in just about forever.

  • http://melaniesuzanne.blogspot.com/ Melanie Suzanne

    Oh man, those first ten minutes or so before the opening credits (and even the opening credits, themselves) made me physically ill and I wasn’t sure if I would make it through the episode. I am SO glad that I hung on and I am beyond excited to see where this season goes!

    Also, it felt like old home week seeing actors from the first season pop up.

  • KingCrazy

    I loved every damned second of it, and I have no shame in admitting it.

  • http://dontmakeitlikeimdumb.blogspot.com/ annabelle archer

    SO, this is the first season that I’ve watched. The stars were to compelling to not at least check it out. I gave Hubs a briefing from what little I knew and warned that this was going to be a mind fuck. But we like those, generally, and since the promos have been playing and creeping us out, we were primed and ready.

    After the first segment, when it went to commercial, we were speechless. I looked at him and asked, is this going to be too much? Too much gore, too much violence, too much twisted? Is this a world so dark that we don’t have it in us emotionally at the end of a long day to dive in?

    But, we hung in there and by the time Jessica snorted up those lines and showed us her character’s character we were full on hooked. The scenes with her and Sarah Paulson were amazing.

    I loved it. I loved the dry wit, the oh-so-un-politically correct barbs, the rawness of it. That no one is safe from biting insult. Equality works both ways. Acceptance works both ways. I come from a family where teasing, biting humor an sarcasm are all love languages. Politeness and PC attitudes are for strangers and people you don’t really like.

    I can close my eyes during the visually displeasing scenes but I’ll be savoring the dialogue.

    • MilaXX

      I like the good witch/bad witch riff that Jessica & Sarah have going on. LOVED when Jessica threatened to “drop a house on her”

      • dashransome

        I loved them together too! I was also so drawn in by the good witch/bad witch scenario that I’m certain it’s going to be turned on it’s head. This show gives us so much moral ambiguity that I’m wondering what Sarah Paulson’s character’s ulterior motive is. She must have a master plan to foil Jessica Lange’s character. I think we’re being set up and there’s much to come between these two!

    • alyce1213

      My sister and I, and our parents, cousins, etc. have always called it ‘love by insult.’ Nothing too brutal, but we definitely sparred for bites and laughs.

      • marlie

        We have a second cousin who ended up doing the fadeaway because she couldn’t take it (my sisters and 1st cousins “took her in” because she had moved to a new city and we were the only people she knew). She took everything way too literally and personally, and eventually, we had to practically walk on eggshells around her.

    • Ms_Flyover

      This my first season as well, and after the first 10 minutes I was rethinking the itunes season pass. I’m glad I stuck around, and I’ll survive the eye-covering moments to listen to Jessica Lange.

      • jjtxgrrl

        I’ve watched since the first season…there are always eye covering moments….and I still cover…but that’s what makes it so damn fun!

  • otterbird

    Other than shots of the pieces of the Frankenstein monster (love!), were there were any men at all in the scenes for the upcoming season? Very excited for a female heavy Season 3.

    And totally agree about Agents of SHIELD. Very disappointed.

  • SewingSiren

    If the story slides, hows about a review of the costumes? ………..

    • dashransome

      Kathy Bates looked amazing in that one scene in which Jessica Lange called her ‘Mary Todd Lincoln’. My jaw dropped – It looked just like an old civil war era image come to life.

    • http://dontmakeitlikeimdumb.blogspot.com/ annabelle archer

      I loved Emma’s field trip dress and hat. They all looked great there, but she was my fav.

  • MilaXX

    I’m starting AHS out as always, a bit of interest, but cautiously optimistic. I like but don’t love the show. I do like how they always add at least one urban legend or historical event to the tale. The bit about Nicolas Cage and Madame LaLaurie is absolutely true.He didn’t believe it until they showed him proof. I think it was some of the dug up remains or something. The apparently he sold the house immediately. (I did enjoy an interview with Jessica on the Tavis Smiley show). As for the rest of the tv season, most of the mew comedies I’m not even gonna bother with they all look awful. Besides most are bear chow anyway.

    But I’m an insomniac with health issues so I watch a LOT of tv.

    Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – The powers that be have a great premise and they are wasting it on the Grant & Skye characters instead of focusing on Coulson & May or even the 2 tech geeks.

    The Black List – is pretty good because it has James Spader chewing up the scenery.

    Sleepy Hollow – I didn’t expect to like as much as I do, but it may be my favorite new show of the season so far.

    • http://dontmakeitlikeimdumb.blogspot.com/ annabelle archer

      Spader is the only reason I come back to The Black List was so much better when Clarice Starling was on ALIAS. I think I broke up with it mid episode last week.
      I haven’t watched Sleepy Hollow. But I always worry about Fox shows, they always piffle out mid season.

      • MilaXX

        I was never much of an Alias fan. I think I watched first season, but I was just coming off the ending of USA networks La Femme Nikita and Alias felt like a poor man’s version to me & I just couldn’t love it.

        Sleepy Hollow is good.

        • marlie

          LOOOOOVED Alias. We pretty much have the same list of new shows. I’m really into Sleepy Hollow, I LOVE James Spader on The Blacklist, and I’m sticking around for Agents of Shield solely for Agent Coulson.

    • decormaven

      Yes! I enjoyed the Tavis Smiley interview as well. I have a soft spot in my heart for Jessica Lange’s work- ever since the days of Tootsie.

      • MilaXX

        I liked that he asked her about AHS, but then just let her chat. I’m not a photographer, but hearing her talk about her work was somehow fascinating.

        • decormaven

          She is an interesting woman. I think she is really enjoying her work with AHS; she’s comfortable with her craft.

    • Violina23

      I’ve never watched AHS, maybe if Amazon Prime has it I’ll check out the first seasons. Sounds fascinating, at the very least. With a 4 month old baby, I finished watching all of the new Doctor Who, so I need a few more things until she sleeps through the night… :)

      I’d put “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ” a few notches above boring — I’m definitely interested and more or less amused by the stories so far, but it’s hardly making much of an impression other than that. So far, I put the blame mostly on the dull underdeveloped characters who are somewhat dull. I forgot Grant’s name, but his brother beat him up and I’m supposed to sympathize with him… or something…. I’m with you that Coulson & May are the most intriguing characters. I’m guessing Coulson was cloned or something, especially with the constant comments on muscle memory eluding to the fact that it’s not his original body.

      • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

        I’m going to just generally ask that everyone kindly keep their focus on the show being reviewed here. I’d appreciate it.

        • Violina23

          Sorry Uncles! I’ll be good :)

        • marlie

          Oops. Just saw this. SORRY!

      • MilaXX

        Oh yeah Coulson’s defintely a live model decoy.

    • tereliz

      The bit about Nick Cage owning the house at Royal and Gov Nicholls was about the ONLY historical event they got correct. Urban legends, now that’s more accurate…

    • NOLA_gal

      Nic Cage sold the house because he spent all his money by buying something like 17 houses all over the world and then unsurprisingly going bankrupt. An elderly relative lived next door so I got all the neighborhood gossip. Plus he had to sell another house in the Garden District at the same time, which included a bit of a scandale relating to the removal of a religious shrine on the property.

      • tereliz

        Exactly. Then he sold his soul to Jerry Bruckheimer.

      • MilaXX

        That’s right, I forgot about his money woes. Mmmm maybe it was the price. I don’t have the link to the article anymore, but I do recall he was in a bit of denial about the history of the house.

        • NOLA_gal

          I think calling it a “history” of the house is going a bit far. The only evidence is an 1834 story in the local paper, and let’s face it, I wouldn’t hold any 19th century newspaper up as a paragon of truth and justice. She probably sucked, but the politest we can be about the stories surrounding Delphine Lalaurie are to describe them as folk tales. You should hear the stories the French Quarter carriage tours relate – particularly how the broken Heineken bottles cemented to the tops of garden walls were there to keep slaves from escaping! Carry on AHS though, I’m all for Kathy Bates as Delphine… just don’t believe everything you see in a fictionalized tv show!

    • Daxx2513

      Haven’t had a chance to catch AHS yet, hope to do so tonight.

      With you 100% on S.H.I.E.L.D. More Coulson and May, tone down a bit on the tweaki-ness of FitzSimmons, and pull way back on the star-crossed Grant and Skye.

      Sleepy Hollow is keeping me watching. Well acted and potentially rich mythology.

      Also, enjoying Face Off now that we’re down to the best artists.

    • demidaemon

      I will say I watch very little network television anymore. It’s pretty much The Voice and that’s it. I’m probably going to quit cable as soon as Bravo gets their acts together and actually posts their episodes online. I tend towards old favorites as well, instead of looking at too much new stuff. I like to wait and see if it is actually going to stick around or not. I don’t want to get attached to something that won’t have the necessary time to develop and have a proper conclusion.

  • Ramon Figueroa

    Love how dismissively Emma Roberts flipped that bus, and then Jessica Lange did her one better slamming her into the wall. And the best line was one Lange threatened her daughter: “Don’t make me drop a house on you.”

    • tereliz

      I don’t know, it was hard for me to willfully suspend my disbelief during that scene. Sure, she was pissed, and hurt, but after being Roofied would she still have the control over her powers to be able to flip a bus? Why wouldn’t she have just flipped Gabourey’s character across the room when she did her voodoo-doll routine if she had such control? The whole thing felt too convenient and like a plot device to me.

      Jessica Lange is definitely the best part of the show. I loved her delivery of that line as she’s walking out the door. :)

  • siimesand

    I was super traumatized by this episode – well, the opening really, because the rest of it was pretty awesome. But I couldn’t survive the ride without TLo recaps, so I thank you guys for delivering.

    • bigeasybridget

      What is so traumatizing to me is that the opening scene depicts the some of the actual abuses that the real Madame LaLurie did to her slaves. All kinds of sadistic experiments. According to the the newspapers, and other historical retellings, this evidence was found in the attic and cellars when one of the kitchen slaves purposefully set fire to the kitchen during a bit society party, so the fire department could come in and find the terrible things happening there. In all the confusion, Madame LaLurie escaped, and was not ever tracked down again. House has been haunted ever since.

      • tereliz

        The part about the fire is true, but the newspapers at the time tell a different story. The abused slaves were chained in a room, whipped regularly and brutalized through the use of spiked iron collars, which is revolting enough on its own. However, the stories depicting her and her husband as mad doctors doing brutal experiments is a 20th century embellishment. Blame Lyle Saxon.

      • LondonMarriott

        Goodness, I had no idea she was a real person. It was very difficult to watch the opening and I hope, disturbing as AHS can be, we have few flashbacks to that awful room, but it does set up a really (potentially, this is AHS we’re talking about) interesting foundation to the war between the two worlds of witchery-bitchery.

        Time to do some researchin!

  • Oaktowner

    I was actually considering not watching AHS this year. This episode pretty much changed my mind. As far as the search for eternal youth goes, I’m willing to wait and see. Maybe the underlying reasons for that very real obsession will be touched upon in a way that goes beyond the trite.

    I read most of your recaps and I love them. That being said, I look forward to the new style/old style reviews you mentioned above. At the end of the day, I watched, you watched; I’m just looking for an interesting conversation about what we witnessed.

  • decormaven

    An aside: thank you, sirs, for continuing your commitment to recapping Mad Men. Those recaps are what brought me here. I really appreciate all the work you do with that series, as well as your daily fashion insights.

    • http://frankbettecenter.org/ sleah_in_norcal

      and those reviews brought me to mad men, as well as to american horror story. project runway brought me to TLo, and now i’m a daily reader and commenter. i would be sooo sad if TLo got out of the TV business. you have to at least give us your insights occasionally on what to watch. otherwise, i will be lost. i remember once you did a post titled “TLo is watching…” and it was a good thing. for me.

  • acevedob

    Thanks guys. I can’t wait to watch it!

  • Angela_the_Librarian

    I skipped most of the last season of AHS, but was intrigued by the witches storyline and the incredible slate of actresses they have recruited this season. Last night’s episode had a few really good moments (the sparring between the mother and daughter witches, Frances Conroy’s oh so brief appearance), but rest of it was almost too unsettling to watch (slave torture, rape). I’ll give it a few more weeks to see if I can stomach the bad to get to the good.

    I’ve been watching SHIELD, but so far it just seems like a warmed-over version of Fringe (with less compelling characters). If I missed an episode I don’t think I would go out of my way to watch it on Demand, etc.

  • http://aspotofwhimsy.com/ diane {a spot of whimsy}

    I’m in so far! Incredible acting from the older set, and some fun with the youngins. I really liked Evan Peters as the sweet guy, as well as his chemistry with Farmiga.

  • tereliz

    I was far too critical of the historical erm, FREEDOMS they took to enjoy the episode. I don’t want to come off as pedantic, but Mme LaLaurie and her family was literally chased out of the French Quarter when they fled to the lake and if no one knows her final resting place it is because they probably went back to France. I love Ms. Kathy Bates but she’s a little too WASPy for me to see her as the woman. And the horrors she inflicted upon her slaves, while no less horrible, were embellished almost a century later in an attempt to capitalize on New Orleans’ storied past when tourism became one of the few viable industries in the area.

    The LaLaurie house is modernized on the inside: that is the Hermann Grima House they show the ground floor of with all the oil paintings and period decor when the girls take the tour.

    The highlight of the watch for me was seeing reproductions of paintings that came from the museum I work for. :)

    • epenthesis

      The liberties they took with LaLaurie’s history bugged me too. It’s not like Ryan Murphy doesn’t know that half the audience isn’t going to look her up on Wikipedia; he should have found a way to make the real story work.

      • tereliz

        Or make up a new character.

      • bigeasybridget

        I was a little surprised by the retelling of Madame LaLurie’s story too, but I realized that if she’s going to be a character in the show they will have to make some changes. I was also surprised that, as cruel, racist, and evil as she was, Madame would have known of Marie’s reputation and would not have messed with her. But its Ryan Murphy’s story to tell, and he’s clearly using our “history/legend” as a jumping off point.

    • Kent Roby

      Since the show is so unapologetic about mixing “some” history with plenty of obvious fiction (witches!), it doesn’t bother me that the LaLaurie portrayal is incorrect. If it were all presented as history, I’d hold it to an entirely different standard.

      • tereliz

        I totally agree with you. It’s just that the subject matter (witchcraft, voodoo/hoodoo, historical New Orleans) is something I’m too… CLOSE to, I guess. I can’t back away far enough to allow myself distance and perspective.

        • Scoobydrew

          I just recently moved from New Orleans to be close to my parents, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that city, I think it is one of the few places in the world that can actually possess a person, so I do understand where you are coming from, but people have been messing with the history of New Orleans since the city took root – and a lot of them have been people from NOLA.

          I was thrilled to see that LaLaurie was going to be part of the show. Even as an adult I would cross the street rather than walk right by it. I know they will change the story, but I still want to see what they do with her.

  • Imasewsure

    I say only recap when you feel like it. Otherwise I could live with a few dismissive one-liners from TLo Central if that is all a particular show or episode warrants… that being said, I love your RECAPS! :)

    • http://frankbettecenter.org/ sleah_in_norcal

      i would love it if your ahs recaps included screen caps like in mad style, since the visuals are so scrumptious. don’t know if that’s possible, or even something TLo would be interested in doing.

  • Kent Roby

    I can never get enough of Jessica Lange, whether she’s reciting lines, or snorting them. Taking the girls on a field trip with the directive “Wear black” was just too much fun. And adding Kathy Bates to the cast of regulars was a stroke of genius.
    Incidentally, I live a block from that outdoor shot with the girls-in-black in an 1830 Creole Cottage that was built on the original graveyard of the Quarter (bones were unearthed when the foundation was dug). The spirits in my house happen to be mischievous, but not scary.
    I’m looking forward to the crazy ride that this season of AHS is certain to be.

  • Kent Roby

    Oh, and for those wary of the show being too scary or gory: Leslie Jordan is in this season’s cast, which is a good indication that there will likely be much more humor to offset the darkness than in past seasons.

  • formerlyAnon

    I wish I wasn’t too easily creeped out to watch this show unless someone has prescreened it for stuff I can’t take. Because the set dressing and costuming of this show is SO FUN. ETA: also, witty. Witty and fun.

    • muzan-e

      Honestly, horror is my ‘thing’ but torture is my hard line in the sand: I cannot watch it, I cannot even listen to it. So this is the show that I DVR, and watch with a finger glued to the fast-forward button. The opening sequence was almost too much for me even so, but the rest was just ridiculously, wonderfully good.

      … I was posting this as a lead-in to saying “.. and it’s really not very creepy!” But then I remember how much my horror-hating friends loved Coraline, and how absolutely and completely it terrified me.

  • John11581

    I didn’t watch the first two seasons of AHS, but I couldn’t resist finally giving it a try this season because of the great cast. I have to say, other than the commercial interruptions every five minutes, I was really impressed. I can’t wait for next Wednesday to roll around to see where the story goes.

    I certainly can’t fault you for being burned out on recapping, especially with the never ending Project Runway cycles that Lifetime keeps spewing out. Granted, recaps are timely creatures, but I’m so much more interested in what you have to say as opposed to when you say it, and I doubt I’m the only bitter kitten who feels that way.

    • BayTampaBay

      You are not the only bitter kitten to feel that way. Think about it: Some people have been waiting five years for the next “Fire & Ice” book. Good writing cannot be rushed and is worth waiting for.

      • http://frankbettecenter.org/ sleah_in_norcal

        i second that emotion.

  • Barb Rayhttp://www.google.com/

    Please don’t stop recapping PR though! Your were among the first, and are still the best. Your PR posts give me life!

  • http://www.lifeinspice.com/ rose88

    Hmmmm…found myself with very mixed feelings about Coven. I suspect if they hadn’t been selling this season as fun, campy, way more lighthearted show than Asylum, I wouldn’t have been so taken aback by the whole thing. The opening scene with Kathy Bates was the most horrific thing I’ve seen on the show by a long shot! I couldn’t even pick up my remote to fast forward past the commercials for about 30 seconds because I was just sitting there with my mouth agape muttering “HOLY SHIT! What did I just see…did they really go THERE?!”

    But the cast, as always, is amazing and this season’s cast is the amazingest evah. Jessica Lange snorting lines and prancing wildly to In A Gadda Da Vida was a hoot! I’d like to see a little more of that kind of inspired craziness and a little less rape and torture. I know the show is American HORROR Story and not American Wacky Comedic Romp Story, but after the relentless darkness of Asylum, I’ll admit that I was stoked at the notion of the show being a bit more fun and less dark.and traumatic.

    None of this is to say I won’t keep watching. I’ll just be doing much of it peeking through my fingers with my hand firmly placed over my eyes.

    • jjtxgrrl

      Totally agree!!

  • zenobar

    With age, I find my mind tends to run a bit too wild after watching horror movies dealing with ghosts, demons, esoteric, paranormal stuff – the things you see out the corner of your eye or at the bottom of the basement stairs (unlike vampires, werewolves and zombies, which have never frightened me in the least). For that reason I never watched the first two seasons of AHS. But I do love me some witches. Once I saw this season’s cast, there was no question I was going to give it a try.

    Well, damn. I never thought witches were scary. But there were some images and moments that had the hair on the back of my neck standing up, the most powerful of which was the opening title sequence, with its grainy vignettes and almost-not-music theme. Truly evocative and, in my opinion anyway, creepy as f**k.

    The high camp stuff balances this all out very nicely, and the one-liners are spot-on.

    And I cannot, cannot wait to see more of Frances Conroy. I just adore Frances Conroy!

    (Not coincidentally, I had a vivid, terrifying nightmare last night, for the first time I can remember in years. So, thanks, American Horror Story!)

    • http://frankbettecenter.org/ sleah_in_norcal

      that’s interesting that you are more afraid of ghosts and visions and stuff as you age. i find the opposite is true for me. i spent most of the time alone in my house in the mountains during two long and snow-heavy winters (2010 and 11) and was never creeped out. only once, and that was because of a nightmare (interesting that you brought that up. it was one of those dreams that takes place in the room you’re in and you can’t distinguish reality from dream. i hate that.) part of my lack of fear was because i had a dog with me. a “familiar” as witches are said to have. also, the house was new when we moved in, we had it built on a piece of land that i felt had “good vibes.”
      omg, that is such a cali thing to say, i’m embarrassed. we named the house rivendell, after “the last homely house” in lord of the rings, which was built in a valley where “evil things do not go.”

      • zenobar

        I wish I wasn’t so – how shall I put this – sensitive to these things, but, having seen and experienced some crazy stuff in my lifetime, I’m more attuned to “vibes” as you call them – the good, the bad, and the creepy. As a general rule I try not to kick that door open any wider than it already is, which is why I don’t watch that type of horror genre in particular.

        And now I sound completely batshit crazy, so make of that what you will…

        P.S. No need to be embarrassed about the Cali speak – I live in Ann Arbor so, uh, I’ve been there, done that, bought the commemorative shotglass. ;)

        P.S.P.S. Those nightmares that take place in your own familiar settings are the WORST.

  • allisankelly

    I will give the first few weeks a try. I kept up with the first season all the way through. Season two I stopped watching after Chloe got her hatchet job by the crazy former Nazi doctor. I have always loved the casting, so I really want to watch.

    • http://frankbettecenter.org/ sleah_in_norcal

      i was so stoked when they cast chloe! her dismemberment was gross, but i hung in there so i got to see her fabulous scene crawling up a stairway and ending up in the playground of a catholic school. go figure…

  • Miranda

    Jessica Lange gave me LIFE! Love her. Her and Angela Bassett going head-to-head?? Oh we have a winner folks!

  • RussellH88

    It’s a shame that the next season will probably be Jessica Lange’s last.

    • http://frankbettecenter.org/ sleah_in_norcal

      why is that?

      • RussellH88

        She said she’s close to being done with acting.

        • jjtxgrrl

          Nooooooo! Say it ain’t so!

          • RussellH88

            I actually just read another interview with her this morning where she mentioned retiring from acting.

            I just hope that if she really does choose that route that Ryan Murphy gives her an amazing swan song of a character to play.

          • jjtxgrrl

            Ooooh. Good point! I like the upside you offer.

  • nannypoo

    Last year it was so disturbing I had to stop watching. I loved last night’s episode. It had its nasty moments, no doubt about that, but the acting and sets and costumes were fabulous.

  • Chevalle

    I’d like to address your critique about the “obsession of looking young.” In LaLurie’s time, vanity was one of the few things afforded to women to place any value in. A woman was worthless if she did not carefully construct her appearance. It was her only weapon. LaLurie has clearly lost that weapon and, in a mad attempt to win her husband back, is willing to do almost anything to reclaim it. I feel like that echoes (albeit dramatically) true for the times.

    Fiona, however, is not obsessed with vanity. We see her reject the idea of cosmic surgery. She wants an “injection of vitality.” Why? Because she’s scared. She is scared that she is dying and she is not ready to leave the world behind. She is finally King of the Hill in a world where men still make up the majority of the power structure, and she is not ready to hand over the crown. Especially not to the next Supreme. We’ll see more of that in a few episodes.

  • julnyes

    I’m not as pulled in as I was for the previous two season openers, but I am willing to continue this twisted relationship I have with AHS and see where it takes me. I didn’t enjoy Emma Roberts much (she is very bland) but everyone else was firing on all cylinders.

  • Not applicable

    I was pleasantly surprised by this season’s opening show. (I frankly thought last season could have been so much better- to me it missed the mark) So, I’m cautiously optimistic. Blood for youth and gang rape (note the nod to Stubenville jocks with the videos) ouch. “going there” right off the bat.

  • Glammie

    Haven’t been around much darlings, but just wanted to say I adore your Downton Abbey and MM recaps. The others are great, too, but I faded out on Walking Dead last season and haven’t watched AHS–though a gaggle of witches is my cup of tea, so I may start.

    But, anyway, just wanted to say I love the idea of your occasionally commenting on shows I know you watch (hello, Game of Thrones), but don’t want to get bogged down by. There are lots of recappers, but very few with your flair–and, then, when you add your fashion eye to the mix, it’s great. So, yes, please pick up and do the occasional.

  • intheyear2000

    I couldn’t make it through Asylum because everything about ZQ’s character made me close to physically ill. I really wanted to see some of the characters’ stories but I couldn’t handle the thought of seeing Bloody Face one more time EVER. But I’m SO EXCITED about Coven!

  • Mariah J

    I’ve BEEN to Madame Lalaurie’s house…that opening scared the shit out of me. Well acted opening all around, I’m excited for this season.