Image credit: Michele K. Short/FX
THE GOOD BOOK Patti LuPone made her first appearance as religious neighbor Joan. Denis O'Hare made another appearance as Spalding, who still looks like Iggy Pop in an alternate universe where Iggy Pop was a wedding usher.
Fiona took Madison out for some afternoon tea. They talked mothers. Madison didn't have a good one. "The last time I saw her, she snorted half my coke and then let the cops bust me for it." (In fairness, that doesn't even enter the Hall of Fame of Stage Mom bad behavior. Yeesh, it was only half.) Fiona noted that she was herself a pretty bad mom to Delia. "She's not dead. You can change," said Madison -- and for a moment, you could see how she really wanted to say those words to her own mom.
One of the things that makes American Horror Story such an enjoyable show is how it views every character with a psychological panorama: Madison is a murderous hedonist anti-intellectual beauty-fascist, but in that moment she was also a girl who badly needed a mother. So she asked Fiona to teach her. And Fiona taught her the basics. Not mind control, but mind nudging -- convincing a guy that walking into the middle of the street was good for him.
But so anyways let's get down to The Masturbating Dylan McDermott Memorial Award For Craziest Scene of the Episode, always a hotly contested trophy. Queenie and her personal slave Madame LaLaurie were in the kitchen. Queenie wanted more food. Madame LaLaurie, admitting defeat, told her "Peach cobbler won't keep you warm at night." Queenie explained that Dr. Phil said she was just eating her feelings, due to parental neglect. (Or maybe it was Dr. Oz. Truly, I couldn't care less.) "I think you best look for a new physician," said the Madame, and it was at this point that A MOTHERF--ING MINOTAUR POKED HIS HEAD AGAINST THE WINDOW.
The Madame explained that it was her house boy, "a beast in life" returned to torment her. She claimed the man had taken her daughter, and she begged for mercy, and I really feel the need to stress this, THERE WAS A MINOTAUR KNOCKING AGAINST THE DOOR. I don't know what Dr. Phil would say about that, but I bet he'd probably say, "Please, Mr. Minotaur, don't crush mmmeeeeeee--" before being crushed by the Minotaur. Seriously though, Minotaur is my character on television since Dome.
Queenie sliced some blood from the Madame and wiped it on some cloth, and she led Minotaur into the garden, like a matador leading a bull. In the least expected flirtation in a show filled with unexpected flirtation, Queenie told Minotaur, "You just wanted love. That makes you a beast?" The other kids had called her a beast once, she explained. "We both deserve love, like everybody else." She pulled up her skirt and engaged in some too-hot-for-CW activity; Minotaur moved behind her and caressed her with his horns, before suddenly grabbing her mouth.
Now, guys. There's a way to read this scene where it's a twisted contemporized version of Beauty and the Beast: The much-maligned girl who is proud and self-confident, the man transformed into a beast who appears to be shackled to a more powerful controller. There's another way to read this scene that is rife with troubling racial politics (not least because Minotaur is the only recurring African American male character, and his main character trait so far is "being a Minotaur.) Clearly, the only way we can resolve this ambiguity is with more Minotaur, perhaps granting the character a spinoff sitcom called Mostly Minotaur, which would be about Minotaur starting a law practice. (Disappointingly, that idea is not as stupid as Anger Management.)
Speaking of troubling sex scenes, Kyle's mom told him "I've been possessive" and told him "You needed it as much as I did" and said "No one knows you like I do" and nonononono stopstopstopstopstop. Kyle agreed with your brain, screaming "Nooooo!" and bashing his mom's head in with a trophy. Zoe arrived just in time to find FrankenKyle covered in blood.
Meanwhile, Fiona and Madison were out for a night. Fiona wore red, but Madison wore white. They were playing pool, and every woman looks great when they play pool. All the boys stared at Madison, and Fiona stared at her too, and saw her younger self looking back. Back at Miss Robichaux's, Fiona pointed up at the portraits. "Get yours painted when you're young," she said. Madison laughed: Like she would ever even graduate from this school.
But Fiona maintained that she'd be just fine. "You're the next Supreme," she said. "My life force is pouring out of my body into yours." She revealed her cancer diagnosis. Madison, bless her, said her agent could put her in contact with a good oncologist. Fiona refused chemo: "I've led a disreputable life, but I've done it in style." (This was one of those American Horror Story scenes where everything Jessica Lange said sounded like it could be a country music lyric, a quote from the Old Testament, or the last line from the memoir of the dying empress of a fantasy kingdom.)
Fiona expressed regret. She said that she took her inheritance too soon, and apparently, she misused her powers: "I just took it and poured it back into myself," she said. She remembered the old Supreme: "She was majestic and powerful." She taught her everything; to thank her, Fiona cut her throat. (ASIDE: In the Hollywood Actress Sub-Narrative, this is basically a New Hollywood actress talking about an Old Hollywood Actress to a modern actress. Pause to imagine Faye Dunaway explaining Rita Hayworth to Shailene Woodley. END OF ASIDE.)
Fiona had kept the knife, for more than 40 years now. She brandished it now. "Do it," she told her successor. "Don't be afraid." They fought. They screamed. Madison refused: Perhaps because she couldn't kill her mother figure, perhaps because -- without vengeance, in full control of her power -- she wasn't really a murderer.
So Fiona slashed her neck open and watched her bleed to death.
Spalding apparated out of nowhere, always exactly where he has to be. Fiona smiled at him. "Bury her deep. God knows what all that s--- in her body will do in the lawn when it comes up in the spring." She looked down at the corpse of the girl who was supposed to take her place. What was she thinking, walking into that room? Did she want to give Madison the chance to save herself -- and Madison failed? With the next Supreme dead, would the power return to Fiona -- or would it discover a new vessel, in one of the other girls? Is Fiona's only salvation the death of every witch in her Coven: An objectivist salvation, based on Fiona's rational self-interest and the awareness that there is a limited amount of magic, which should belong to those bold enough to take it?
The episode began with Fiona killing her spiritual mother, and it ended with her killing her spiritual daughter: A closed circle of life. "This Coven doesn't need a new Supreme," she told Spalding. "It needs a new rug."
Fellow viewers, what did you think of this episode? Is Madison dead dead or "dead" dead? (I'm guessing the latter, since everyone else has been resurrected so far.) Who's your favorite couple, Queenotaur or Franken-Momcest? And we are now accepting guesses for what Stevie Nicks song will play during next week's episode. I'm guessing "Tusk." Because, again: Minotaur.
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