***Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for American Horror Story through Season 8, Episode 6 follow. Spoilers***
Welcome back and howdy again, Jessica Lange, American Horror Story‘s Supreme Goddess of Acting. In a surprise to exactly no one and in the space of a single episode, your reappearance was so utterly transfixing that it was as if everyone and everything around you faded into a blurry background while we watched you expertly chew every last bit of scenery. I’m pretty sure Ryan Murphy (or for that matter, anyone) could give you a list of nonsensical words to speak in no particular order, and you’d be so breathlessly grand that the entire Actor’s Guild would stampede the hell out of each other to get in your Emmy nomination first. Scenes aside from yours certainly happened this hour — things that mean quite a lot to the nature of this seasonal story — so I’ll get onto that now … but we know this hour was all about your return. No matter how many snappy lines Emma Roberts was handed and ably landed, or how many sobbing spurts Dylan McDermott got off; no matter how sentimentally sweet moments Frances Conroy sashayed through, or how perfect Connie Britton’s coiffure, and no matter that a poor girl’s heart was ripped out for Satan’s son’s sustenance, this extended episode was effortlessly, gloriously — wonderfully all about you, and we’re ever so thankful for your presence. Please, do come again.
As skillfully directed by Sarah Paulson, aka Billie Dean Howard (this time around), “Return to Murder House” kicks off with Madison and Behold (wait for it) returning to Season 1’s Murder House (aka “What a shithole”). Its empty space providing no clues to Michael’s horrific background, Behold sets about casting a spell to reveal the ghosts that don’t want to be seen. After meeting up with the queen of the house (Constance) and the self-proclaimed medium to the stars (Billie), there’s a little something Madison and Behold have to take care of, before they can the get goods on an Antichrist.
With a bit of diligent digging and a few bones in a bag, Moira’s sent off to her final resting spot, right beside her forgiving mother. Speaking of … Michael’s (“I was born to be a mother”) grandma found her chance for a do-over with the devilish young charge. From infancy to adolescence, the Langdon boy’s crimes grew ever more horrific, while his physical form also proceeded at an alarmingly accelerated rate. Seeing the signs of her demise, Constance chooses to end things as she’d always lived — on her own terms — and in doing so, passes on the responsibility of her grandson to the next poor fool … his fathers, biological and otherwise.
Possibly the worst psychiatrist in town — certainly in the house — Ben Harmon’s attempts to keep Michael’s darkness at bay are subverted by Tate’s hatred and disgust. Langdon’s evil tendencies are heartily encouraged by a group of Satanists (Miriam included) who followed the signs (crows, heat, and hell’s portal) to their dark lord’s doorstep. As related by Vivien, getting rid of the Antichrist won’t be easy; then again, she’s no pushover (thanks, Tate!).
All hail Jessica Lange’s triumphant return, delivering every single line dripping with appropriate innuendo. The woman is just a powerhouse, supremely watchable and in command of her every breath. It’s a master acting class whenever she’s onscreen.
Constance and Moira’s repartee was delightful, delicious and I’ll probably go back to watch it a thousand times.
I’m very confused by robot Miriam — was she based on real-life Miriam then, and not (as most presumed) Constance?
Trivia time: “Witchiepoo” (aka Witchypoo, referenced by Constance in this piece’s titular quote) was a character on the Sid and Marty Krofft series, H.R. Pufnstuf.
Oh Emma, why why why? Madison asks “How long did the real-ah-tor say this has been empty?”, adding in that extra a that doesn’t exist. Why do people find real-tor so difficult to utter?
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised someone as outwardly shallow as Madison Montgomery thinks Tate deserves a happy ending? As mentioned by his therapist, pseudo-dad, Tate killed more than a few people, including Zoe’s parents and yet, because Zoe’s sad and Madison, forgiving, a ghost dude gets a new(ish) lease on love.
Songs This Hour:
Hannah Peel (covering Soft Cell), Tainted Love
Connie Francis, You’re Gonna Miss Me
Patience and Prudence, You Belong to Me
Carl Orff, Carmina Burana’s O Fortuna
Blue Oyster Cult, Don’t Fear the Reaper
The Police, Spirits in the Material World
Don’t worry, we’ll burn some sage.
I’ve actually been to hell, I promise you this is better.
Calm down, skinny witch!
You set fire to your mom’s boyfriend, you shot and killed over a dozen kids in high school, you helped kill her parents, plus, you impregnated her mother.
I’m different now. You know, I’m dead and I’m hot and I know she has feelings for me.
You’re not so hot.
You’re dead, what do you have to do?
I’ve gotta look and the window and cry and masturbate; it’s my daily thing.
I’m Constance Langdon, and this is my fucking house.
My mother told me cruelty causes wrinkles.
To remove that insufferable cloudy-eyed ginger from these premises, permanently.
You want us to fire the help?
Why don’t you just abracadabra that bitch out of my afterlife.
You’re getting slobber on my clothes.
If my child wasn’t cool or good looking, there’s no way I’d love it.
Bottle of whisky and a Fenny chaser, that’s what I call a Bon Voyage.
Was it everything you dreamed of, witchypoos?
You gonna be much longer, MILF?
Stand at the window crying while you double-click your mouse?
… I’d seen enough Discovery channel specials to know exactly what tree he was shimmying up.