‘American Horror Story’ Recap/Review: ‘Head’
The war between witches and witch hunters begins…
This week’s introductory flashback takes us to a national park in 1991. A young Hank gets a pep talk from his dad as they prepare for Hank’s first hunt, their family being hunters for generations. They go after a witch, but Hank, when given the opportunity, is too afraid to kill her. The witch shoots fire at Hank’s father, burning his hand, and he shoots her in the head and tells his son to never show mercy.
In the present day, Fiona brings LaLaurie’s head back to Laveau’s shop. She approaches Laveau for a truce, warning that the witch hunter has come after her and that he’s sure to go after Laveau next. Laveau (rather fabulously) laughs Fiona’s warnings off and orders Queenie to burn LaLaurie’s head.
Meanwhile, Cordelia struggles to make breakfast without her eyesight. Myrtle offers comfort, wanting Cordelia to know she loves her like a daughter and that she wasn’t the one who blinded her. It’s a pretty touching scene, considering Cordelia doesn’t really have anyone to support her. No, Fiona’s sudden interest in her daughter as soon as she goes blind doesn’t count.
Hank visits his father in Georgia to check in on his activities. Dear old dad criticizes Hank for leaving his spy position inside the Academy and allying himself with Laveau. His father is the CEO of a major finance company, as well as being the leader of the witch hunters. It turns out he was the one who ordered the attack on Cordelia, hoping her disability would encourage her to let Hank come back to the Academy. Hank gets upset upon this news and his father criticizes him for having feelings for Cordelia, but then tries another tactic and tells him how much he appreciates what he’s done. Cordelia, Hank’s father says, will eventually have to die. Hank does not approve.
Myrtle has dinner with the other two members of the council, who apologize for the whole “burning her at the stake” thing and compliment her on how great she looks. Myrtle gives a speech about Misty Day’s emergence that parallels her own experience with betrayal and resurrection. The others try to speak, but oops, Myrtle has poisoned them with monkshood, temporarily paralyzing them. She yells and insults them before plucking out one eye from each and giving them to Cordelia. Cordelia’s eyesight is back! It makes you wonder why Fiona didn’t do that in the first place.
Fiona arrives and is glad to see Cordelia restored, but threatens to banish Myrtle. They bicker a bit before Cordelia puts an end to it and reminds them that they need to stick together. After a hug with Myrtle, she discovers her visions are gone. It’s disappointing, but at least Cordelia will have an easier time fighting in the future.
Zoe and Madison arrive at the hospital to get Nan, who’s been waiting all night to see Luke. His mother refused to let her in. Zoe and Madison bring her into the room, which immediately lead to the mother attempting to get rid of them. After Nan tells her a bit about Luke through her clairvoyance, however, she lets them stay.
Queenie kept LaLaurie’s head upstairs in Laveau’s shop rather than burning it. She has decided to educate LaLaurie through films like “Roots” rather than simply let her die. It’s mildly amusing, but problematic for reasons that will come up later.
Laveau, in the meantime, tortures Hank from afar, because he hasn’t killed the witches, and orders them killed by that night.
Cordelia and Misty have a cute magic lesson together, Misty complementing Cordelia on being a good leader (curious. Foreshadowing? Is Cordelia the next Supreme? So many questions). Misty practices a spell and everything is adorable until Hank shows up and ruins it. He asks Cordelia to let him come back, but gets shut down and told she’s filing for divorce. He does get to keep his stuff though, in a nice ox Cordelia was kind enough to keep in the closet (Ha). Cordy’s not messing around anymore.
As Hank leaves with his box and what’s left of his dignity, he runs into Fiona and her new guard dog. They have a little back-and-forth before the dog notices something and leads Fiona into Zoe’s room where Kyle is. He pets the dog before randomly killing it with a quick snap. Why he does it isn’t exactly clear, but his character’s purpose isn’t exactly clear either, so let’s just go with it.
At the hospital, Nan talks to Luke’s mother, who’s grateful for letting her communicate with her son. But then Luke starts going on about how God told him his mother murdered his father. He’d fallen in love with someone else and had an affair, resulting in his kind Christian wife locking him in a car full of bees. Oh, and he was allergic. Sucks for him.
Luke’s mother gets angry and claims Nan tricked her. She orders Nan out.
Elsewhere, Hank loads his guns and prepares to kill the witches.
The next morning, Fiona has fixed Kyle, to Zoe and Madison’s surprise. Fiona wants to keep him as a guard that can be controlled. His speech is much better, but he still seems quiet.
At Laveau’s shop, Queenie briefly changes the video for LaLaurie before going back downstairs to work.
And then, in typical “American Horror Story” fashion, all hell breaks loose.
Hank arrives at Laveau’s shop and kills a number of her people. Queenie gets shot in the stomach fairly quickly. As Hank points his gun to kill Laveau, Queenie uses her voodoo powers to kill Hank. Upstairs, LaLaurie cries at what she watches on the television, finally moved by what she’s seeing.
Later that night, Hank’s father cries over the pictures of his son’s dead body. Laveau shows up to the Academy, giving in to Fiona’s former proposal of an alliance. And at the hospital, Luke’s mom puts a pillow over his face.
This episode moved the plot along, but still dragged at times. The ending game changer may add a spark to a season that has grown duller and duller as each week goes by. Rather than pitting the witches against each other, it will be interesting to see them working together against this new foe. It also (fingers crossed) means that there will be more Angela Bassett, which is never a bad thing.
Unfortunately, LaLaurie’s “redemption” arc seems silly, unbelievable, and kind of irritating. She wasn’t simply a slave owner, she tortured slaves with her own two hands. Yet somehow, people marching and singing in a movie makes her cry? Really? It’s more than a bit ridiculous, and borderline offensive, but maybe the writing will get better in the future. As it stands, it makes no logical sense.
One more thing: what happened to the axeman? Has he served his purpose, or will he be back? And another: is Queenie really dead, or will Misty use her powers to resurrect yet another witch? We won’t find out until next month, because “American Horror Story” is now on a several-week winter hiatus. But with the new alliance between the coven and Marie Laveau, things may very well be heating up for this season.-By Afoué Ellison