STEVIE! (AMERICAN HORROR STORY RECAP)
We begin by being thrust into Cordelia’s vision after she swoons at the sight of Langdon and her formerly dead witches. She’s back in the foggy, post-apocalyptic hellscape, and she sees a convenient destroyed sign informing her it is her beloved witch school. ARG ARG ARG say the mutant cannibals as they descend upon her and she finds herself powerless. Above looms a hooded figure: the laughing white devil face we saw when Langdon and Mallory got into it. CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP say the cannibals as they chomp her straight to bits.
GASP! She awakens in the warlock school. She tells her witches of her vision, and vows to fight the oncoming apocalypse. To that end, she agrees to let Langdon do the Seven Wonders test in two weeks, and the warlocks say YAY! Except Cheyenne Jackson, who is displeased. Myrtle Snow is also displeased because men suck so hard, all the time. Back to the witch school they go, where we hear about Mallory-with-her-hair-down doing a great big magic on a dead deer. Cordelia reveals that she is fading, as a Supreme must do when her successor begins to emerge. I fucking hate this so much. Cordelia barely got to be Supreme for three years! UNFAIR!
We also meet a new recruit: Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt, whose power is...detecting gluten. The housewives of Beverly Hills surround her with baked goods and ask her to ply her power. Cordelia spins this power as an ability to sense danger, which, oh, okay, but gluten is basically the best. ANYHOO, back to the warlock school they go, and we get to see Langdon perform six of the Seven Wonders like an old-timey silent movie. He aces them, of course, but Cordelia throws a curveball. The final test, the descent to and ascension out of Hell, will be complicated by him having to bring Misty Day (Lily Rabe), the swamp witch with the power of resurrection of the dead, back from her personal hell, where she’s been stuck in middle school biology class for a few years. The warlocks protest, but Langdon, ever the malevolent show-off, is happy to oblige.
Down to Hell he goes, which he sees as a long corridor of closed doors. He opens the correct one, and enters the gentle Misty’s Hell, in which she is stuck in middle school biology, accidentally reanimating her dissection frog and being forced, by her terrible teacher, to cut into the poor thing over and over again. Misty is very against killing, you see. Langdon disembowels the teacher, and returns to Earth. The witches are both disappointed and relieved when he comes back without Misty, but soon enough she appears beside him.
The warlocks crow at his victory, but Cheyenne Jackson decides that something is up after Langdon gives him the black demon eyes at his anointing ceremony. Jackson packs his bags and has a little fight with Behold Chablis about his jealousy. Jackson scurries into the night, only to be waylaid by nonrobotic Kathy Bates, pretending to be a sweet babushka unable to work a gas pump. She slices the shit out of his Achilles tendons, slits his throat, douses him in gasoline, and sets him straight on fire. It’s very upsetting, and would be concerning if Jackson wasn’t so highly billed and if our own genuine resurrectionist, Misty, hadn’t just been rescued from Hell.
Back at the warlock school, Misty tells Cordelia that she shouldn’t have brought her back, that she’s been changed by her years in Hell. Cordelia tries to soothe her, but Misty reveals some important information. When Langdon appeared in her Hell and gutted the mean biology teacher (and we are talking full viscera), all of the children/demons tilted back their heads, unhinged their jaws, whitened their eyes, and began producing a garbled demon language. This is approximately the most disturbing thing I’ve seen this season. Misty couldn’t understand them, but it seemed that they were communicating with Langdon. Misty says, v. dramatically, that Langdon wears the perfume of death. Eau de Mort, if you will.
Cordelia, after being pressed by Myrtle, reveals her plan. She does not think that Langdon is the Alpha/Supreme, but instead is something else, something dark and malevolent and prone to showing off. By administering the Seven Wonders, she tricked him into doing her bidding: bringing all of her girls back to her. With Misty back on Earth, she’s got her coven to back her up.
Langdon meets nonrobotic Kathy Bates outside the warlock school, and she exults in her successful hate crime against Cheyenne Jackson. Out of the dark comes Ariel, who was in on it the whole time, but is not hip to the fact that Langdon’s dad is Satan. Ariel is all in on the Langdon tip, and willing to have his fellow warlock and colleague brutally murdered. (WHY DIDN’T HE DO MAGIC ON HER, HUH? DID HE FORGET? IS THERE A TRICK HERE SOMEWHERE? DID THE WRITERS FORGET THAT JACKSON IS A MAN WITCH?)
How are we to read the man witches’ quest for power? The show seems to be suggesting that the men have been oppressed by the lady witches, and the witches use the familiar language of sexism, but reversed, to talk about men’s inability to perform at the highest level of magical skill. Like, is it clever? I don’t find it to be, particularly. It’s even more clouded by the fact that the man witches read as homosexual. Even Langdon is coded that way, although he is probably only sexually attracted to being evil. Putting that aside, perhaps we are supposed to see that the man witches are willing to destroy the whole world and line up behind the actual Antichrist in their lust for power. As I said last week, if this turns into a story about how men are stupid, I’m 100% into it. But, it’s difficult not to read this as a muddled critique of sexism based in flawed biological difference/evolutionary psychology, which is mostly a big load of shit. In this world, the fact is that women are better at magic, and the only way a man can approach that level of power is to be the son of the Devil. That’s not really an advertisement for equality. IDK, I suppose we can only watch and wait to see how this shakes out.
In order to lift Misty’s spirits, Cordelia calls the White Witch herself, the luminous Stevie Nicks, to give a little concert at the warlock school. This is ultra delightful, and I was further delighted by BD Wong (a newlywed IRL, Mazel Tov!) accompanying her on the piano as she sings “Gypsy” directly to Misty. This buoys Misty’s spirits, and Langdon sneers down at the concert because he is a hipster devil bitch.
Cordelia sneaks away, bringing Madison with her. She asks Madison to investigate Langdon, and Madison asks her why Cordelia thinks that Madison wouldn’t have a loyalty to Langdon, who did rescue her from Hell. Cordelia observes that Madison is only loyal to herself, and Madison is like: nailed it! Out of the dark comes Behold Chablis. (Man witches love two things most of all: capes and coming out of the dark.) Anyway, Behold wants to join in the investigation, because he has grown unsettled by Langdon, who is a super creep, after all. Cordelia sends the unlikely pair off to their destination, the place where it all began: MURDERHOUSE.
Behold is the sassiest man witch and Madison is a notoriously smart-mouthed bitch, so can we just imagine the levels of shade we are soon to receive? Next week, it looks like the library will be open. Also, MURDERHOUSE. CROSSOVER SEASON.