New Show Recap

New Show Recap: American Horror Story 3×09, “Head”

On this week’s American Horror Story, Ryan Murphy hates Black women.

[Please see stegawhorusrex’s post for a complete list of warnings and triggers for this episode.]

Be very, very quiet. Hank and his dad are hunting witches. Yes, we begin in the early ’90s with young Hank’s induction into his family’s legacy. He comes from a long line of witch hunters, and his dad flushes out a witch for Hank to shoot in the face. Hank hesitates, the witch turns into a human flamethrower, and Hank’s dad gets some serious burns when he pushes Hank out of the way and shoots the witch himself. Hank and his dad hug each other into the commercial break, and I feel ripped off because we didn’t get to see ’90s Hank in parachute pants.

We next join Marie Laveau at her salon just as Fiona comes a knocking with LaLaurie’s constantly chattering head in tow. Fiona wants an alliance between her coven and Marie’s clan against the witch hunter who stalks them. Marie, of course, rebuffs this offer, but Fiona warns her that the hunters will come for Marie & Co. too. Marie laughs her off and tasks Queenie with burning LaLaurie’s head while she shows Fiona to the door.

Over at Miss Robichaux’s, Cordelia has some problems adjusting to her blindness, and Myrtle promises to help. However, Myrtle worries that Cordelia still thinks she’s responsible for the acid attack. Cordelia assures Myrtle that she knows that the real threat is outside.

Speak of the devil; we cut to Horrible Hank visiting with his father, now the CEO of a large corporation that… specializes in witch hunting? I was somewhat unclear on what they do. In any case, Hank’s dad berates him for aligning with Marie and falling in love with Cordelia. His dad also admits responsibility for the acid attack on Cordelia. Hank’s pissed, but he also wants to please his father. He insists that he can take out both the coven and Marie’s clan. But, his dad smarms that he should lay low and collect intelligence. This scene and Hank’s entire story line utterly bore me.

Back at Miss Robichaux’s, Myrtle invites the other members of the council over for a little visit. They delight at her snacks and superficially apologize for burning her at the stake while complimenting her glowing skin. Myrtle waves them off and praises the resurrection powers of Misty while Quentin (Leslie Jordan) and Pembroke (Robin Bartlett) get a sudden case of the twitches. They both freeze entirely, and we learn that Myrtle has poisoned them with a paralytic. She tells them just how little she thinks of them right before she scoops out their eyes with a melon baller.

Screencap of Myrtle, Quentin, and Pembroke from American Horror Story episode 3x09, "Head."
Revenge is a dish best served with delicious, refreshing melon balls.

Later, Cordelia wakes up with two brand new eyes and restored vision. Fiona arrives moments later and, while she’s overjoyed at Cordelia’s recovery, she recognizes those eyes from somewhere. Myrtle ain’t spilling it, but we do see a couple of frames of her gleefully cutting Quentin and Pembroke to pieces and tossing those pieces into a vat of acid. Where did she get that stuff so fast? Did she pre-order? Whatever the case, Fiona and Myrtle snipe at each other for a while because, of course, before Cordelia tells them to knock it off and make sure the girls are safe.

The girls are all at the hospital trying to get Nan in to visit Fallen Neighbor Boy, but Mommy Dearest won’t let them in. Nan finally convinces Luke’s mother to let her stay when she demonstrates her clairvoyance and gives Luke’s mom the ability to speak with her son. Many tears are shed, Patti LuPone sings, and I wonder if Nan and Luke just might live happily ever after.

Meanwhile, over at Marie’s salon, Queenie decides that instead of burning LaLaurie’s head, to plop her right in front of the TV for hours of films about Black history and civil rights. She starts with Roots and leaves LaLaurie loudly singing “Dixie” to drown out the sounds of the “jungle music” from the television. How can LaLaurie speak with a severed larynx and no lungs?

Screencap of Queenie and Delphine LaLaurie (Kathy Bates) from American Horror Story episode 3x09, "Head."
“You are not leaving this earth until I educate you.” – Music to every racist, liberal, White person’s ears.

While LaLaurie gets her free anti-racist education for… reasons, Marie sends a violent message to Hank. Kill the coven or sleep with the fishes. Hank promises to get the job done.

Instead, Hank goes right over to Miss Robichaux’s while Cordelia helps Misty spruce up her resurrection mud bath. Hank’s drunk and whiny and boring, so Cordelia tells him to hit the bricks and that she’s filed for divorce. As he leaves with his belongings, he runs into Fiona and her new German Shepherd. Threats are made and barbs exchanged before she sends him on his way.

The dog stumbles upon Kyle, and I’m pretty sure Kyle kills the dog in front of Fiona. Whatever happens, the dog is suddenly gone while Kyle cards with Fiona when the girls return from the hospital. Fiona has “fixed up” Kyle and decides to keep him around as sort of an attack dog. So… he definitely killed the dog. Sigh.

Before the girls left the hospital though, we learned that Luke’s mom murdered his father, and now he knows all about it. What will Luke’s mom do with this information? Why, smother him to death to keep it hidden, of course!

Screencap of person smothering someone in American Horror Story episoce 3x09, "Head."
Dead before Nan got a chance to get it.

Over at Marie’s, Queenie switches out Roots for a documentary on the 1960s Civil Rights era before she gets to work. Just as “Oh Freedom” hits the track, Hank bursts in and starts mowing down everyone indiscriminately as the music plays on. So, just to be clear, we’re treated to an extended montage of a white man violently murdering a building full of Black people, and mostly Black women, as a well-known Black spiritual plays over the scene. This is inter-cut with scenes of LaLaurie crying over the mistreatment of Black civil rights protestors as she watches the documentary Queenie selected for her. I am not kidding. This actually happens.

Just as I think that Ryan Murphy can’t possibly be anymore tacky, ham-fisted, racist, and misogynistic, Queenie stops Hank by grabbing one of his dropped guns and blowing her own brains out before he can murder Marie. Marie, with nothing else to do, comes to Fiona for help. Fiona lets her in with a self-satisfied smirk because if you’re going to have a Black woman swallowing her pride and begging white women for help after being violently attacked, why not throw in another racist flourish?

On the next episode of American Horror Story: I don’t care because fuck this show. Have a good weekend.

By Marena

Marena recently earned her Master of Arts degree in Social Justice & Human Rights & primarily explores social justice issues in the production & consumption of popular mass media. You may find her creating fanworks, testing her hand-eye coordination with beadweaving, flailing over her fictional faves, reading everything from fanfic to theory texts, or watching low budget sci-fi. You can find her writing on Marena ni yukyats.

2 replies on “New Show Recap: American Horror Story 3×09, “Head””

GOD I HATE RYAN MURPHY. When Luke’s mom killed him, it was just so expected. Of course Luke and Nan can’t have a relationship. It’s beyond Ryan Murphy to portray or even imagine a person with disabilities and a person who doesn’t have disabilities being together. It’s just so completely beyond anything he could do.

And in a way, I’m glad he’s not doing it because can you even fucking imagine how he’d botch that? I hate him so much.

And that racist bullshit. What the hell? Does he think he’s fucking helping when he shows a white man kill a room full of black women? When he shows a black woman “needing” help from a white woman (in quotes because there is no way in hell that Marie Laveau wouldn’t be able to take care of that shit on her own). How could she possibly need help from a half-assed coven after we’ve seen how much more powerful she is than ALL of them.

But I forgot we should be thankful that he even puts women of color and people with disabilities in his shows.

I am very full of HulkSMASH today.

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