American Horror Story – “Boy Parts”
In my “Bitchcraft” review, I talked about the problematic nature of American Horror Story: Coven‘s view on race, and it seems that things aren’t looking to necessarily change as the season progresses. I don’t know if I’ll ever be 100% on board with that aspect of Coven, but the show is committing to it, and for that I do concede some… respect is too strong a word, but appreciation. Commitment has always been what brings American Horror Story together at its most insane, so maybe it will work here.
But man, the concept of a magical war between two sets of witches, a war where the two sides just happen to be blacks versus whites, is crazy unsettling. Part of what makes it so unsettling is that it’s difficult to tell which character we’re meant to empathize with. Depending on the point of view, there are two distinct revenge stories at play, with Jessica Lange’s Fiona in the middle, kicking up the dust. We’ll see where things go, but for now this part of Coven is skating by on the performances from Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates, and not even they can keep that ship afloat forever.
Fortunately, the rest of the episode was appropriate bonkersawesome (to steal a phrase): Zoe and Madison sneak down to the morgue, where they bring Kyle back to life by sewing up a bunch of different, well, “boy parts”; Cordelia’s trying to get pregnant but is having difficulty, so she and her husband (she has a husband, apparently) get freaky in some sexy blood magic to help the process along; Misty Day returns and helps Zoe heal the frankenzombie; and Nan gets annoyed by how loudly Madame LaLaurie is thinking, so she unties her and sets her free.
Floating through it all is Fiona, eating fried chicken in front of her tied-up Madame LaLaurie, brainwashing two detectives who come to ask questions about the bus flip, throwing Zoe and Madison up against walls, and confronting Marie Laveau herself in her, ugh, beauty salon. But Lange plays it all like the pro she is, dancing around like she did to “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” in “Bitchcraft.”
The rest of the cast also puts in good work, especially Lily Rabe and Emma Roberts. Roberts’ schtick is a little difficult to parse, but it’s starting to come together, and it seems like a perfect fit for American Horror Story. Gabourey Sidibe and Jamie Brewer only get a few short scenes, but are both great. And Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett are poised to steal the show from Jessica Lange at any given moment.
After a shaky start, “Boy Parts” sees Coven getting back on track, and while I’m still apprehensive about the racial aspects, for the rest of it, I couldn’t be more pleased.
Ghoul Tunes: This week it’s the song that gives this review it’s title, “My Body’s a Zombie For You” by the Ryan Gosling-fronted Dead Man’s Bones.
Super short review, but I’m just trying to get this thing up before the next episode. Whoops.