American Horror Story
Go to Hell

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: B | 73 USERS: A-
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In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Am I the only one who still isn't used to the F/X announcer saying the show is only rated "TV-MA LV" instead of "TV-MA LSV?" I was starting to think those seven letters were the show's code name.

This week's historical-context-providing flashback returns us to both Salem and the silent film era at the same time, somehow. To clarify -- because I think we can all agree that such an opener calls for clarification -- we appear to be watching a grainy, black-and-white movie of colonial-style witches entering a half-constructed barn, over a piano track that sounds like it's coming out of a Victrola. It looks like an educational or magical-hygiene film from the 1910s or something. The first idiosyncratically-punctuated titles read, "Guided by ancient tradition witches survive only if united under a strong, singular authority. Every generation needs its leader The Supreme. No simple test could Ever determine the sovereign among us. We rely upon seven. The Seven Wonders." Aaand, [sic]. Inside the barn, one of the young witches is concentrating as the next titles repeat, "The 'Seven Wonders'. Seven acts of magic so advanced, each pushes the boundaries of craft into art." Yes, we've heard.

The young Supreme candidate from the supposed past summons a machete flying from the wall into her hand as the titles tell us the first wonder: Telekinesis. The second wonder, according to the titles, is "Control of the mind, also known as…Concilium." Which is illustrated by the young witch making one of her fellows Prancercise around the barn. Then there's Transmutation, in which she disappears from one spot in the barn in a puff of smoke and reappears behind another witch, employing all the bleeding-edge special effects technology of the early twentieth century. For Divination, she accurately sketches a picture of a bird that another witch is holding behind her back. It would suck if you could do Divination but couldn't draw. Vitalum Vitalis is supposedly "The balancing of scales between one life force and another," and is demonstrated by the young Supreme candidate breathing on another witch's face to make her look younger, only to discover her own hands suddenly ravaged by age. That looks dead useful.

Decensum is defined as "…A perilous descent into the nether worlds of afterlife," which the Mack Sennett-level movie magic depicts in the form of a secondary image of the witch briefly rising above her body and returning, whereupon she collapses. Finally there is Pyrokinesis, which, like telekinesis, supposedly didn't need to be defined because everyone knew what it meant a hundred years ago. As the young witch slashes open her palm with a kitchen knife, we can hear Fiona's voice saying, "The highest honor comes at the greatest price. Death is not uncommon and danger inescapable." The young witch drips the blood from her hand into a candle flame, and like your parents always warned you would happen if you squirted lighter fluid onto an open flame, she goes up herself like a Roman candle. Or at least as convincingly as can be suggested by simply superimposing film of a fire over the film of the witch. "Attempting the Seven Wonders can get you killed," Fiona says unnecessarily. Then we're in the kitchen at Miss Robichaux's, as the light comes up theatrically on Fiona's face as she sits across the table from one of her own potential replacements. "But perform them, and you are the next Supreme." That's exactly what Diana Ross told Mary Wilson.

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American Horror Story

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