American Horror Story
The Coat Hanger

Episode Report Card
Joe R: B+ | 1 USERS: A+
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The Coat Hanger

Monsignor Howard sadly shuffles into Sister Jude's old office, where a box of her effects sits on her old desk. Inside are the usual holy accoutrements: Bible, crucifix, holy water, red silk slip. He picks up the latter, more curious than pervy -- though, seriously, hands off the merchandise, guy. Of course Devil Eunice walks in on this, feigning surprise that it was among Jude's things. "I wonder who she was fancying when she wore it?" she asks, provocatively, if not pointedly enough that Howard knows who she's talking about.

Eunice then changes the subject to Howard's papal ambitions. She lies and says Jude told her all about them, and then makes a big deal of how she couldn't agree more. Howard is purposefully abashed, trying very hard to look like the guy who only cares about saving souls. But his ambition is something the Devil would like to manipulate, so Eunice encourages him. Trying to shy him away from any self-recriminations he may be feeling about Jude's fate, she adopts a creepily accurate Sister Jude rasp as she tells him, "No time for navel-gazing. Too much to be done." She then more innocently offers herself up to him: "I'm here to serve you," she says. "I want to help you save souls. All the way to Rome."

Elsewhere, Lana is led back to her cell, and inside, she reveals the coat hanger she smuggled out of the kitchen. As a lightning storm crashes outside (I was just about to type "a bit much" before I realized what show I'm watching), Lana gets to work straightening the thing out. And, look: I realize coat-hanger abortions were a horror of mid-century America borne of our nation's institutional repression, and as such it fits in with this season's themes splendidly. Maybe my reticence is simply about the episode title, as if Ryan Murphy is standing underneath a banner reading "The Coat Hanger" and grinning like a ten-year-old who just said the "F" word. Maybe all horror doesn't get to be served with a smirk? Again, I'm saying that knowing full well that I've accepted a lifetime's worth of rape imagery from this series, and also knowing that I ended up loving this particular episode anyway. Just working out my feelings, in recap format. The best format there is for that!

After the break, an unruly Jude is being tended to by two of her former underlings. One is the cat-eye nun, who's trying to get "Sister Jude" to calm down for her own good. The other one, however, is this bulldog of a broad who is taking a bit of satisfaction out of Jude being laid low. She tells her that if she doesn't calm down, they'll have to call Frank in, but oh wait, "you already clipped Frank but good." So the Maltese Falcon here is looking forward to doling out some of the discipline Sister Jude was so fond of, until Monsignor Howard shows up and stops her. Jude begs "Timothy" to help, and she calms down in desperate hope that he'll sit and listen to her. But he's brought a guest with him: Leigh Emerson. This fucking guy. Howard, I mean. What a dick.

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American Horror Story

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