American Horror Story, Season 2
Nutmeg makes everything better.
Nikki Hahn as Jenny Reynolds, Lily Rabe as Sister Mary Eunice.
Photo by Byron J. Cohen/FX.
Every week in Slate’s American Horror Story TV club, J. Bryan Lowder will have an IM conversation with a different AHS fan. This week, he rehashes episode 2.6 with AHS superfan George Abbott.
J. Bryan Lowder: Happy Thanksgiving Eve Mr. Abbott, and welcome to the TV Club! After hearing all that talk of flesh tonight--touching it, missing it, cutting it--I wonder if you still have an appetite for your bird tomorrow...I have to say that was one doosy of an episode!
George Abbott: Honestly, I can eat anything if Thredson doesn't talk about wearing Clea DuVall's teeth again. I've been rabidly watching this show since the beginning, but last week was the only episode that actually gave me nightmares. And speaking of the upcoming holiday, how perfect was it that they sent us into decorative gourd season with maybe the show's best line ever: "Nutmeg makes all the difference…in the world." I'm going to find DOZENS of ways to use that in the next 5 days.
Lowder: Yes! I found this episode particularly scary--and well-crafted--myself (I believe Murphy was the writer), and also, despite the scariness, particularly campy? That nutmeg line you mention was divine, as was the new level of queen Quinto brought to our now unbuttoned Thredson. That, paired with his newly revealed infantilistic obsessions, just blew my mind. But I wonder, do you worry that two sites of horror--Thredson's basement and Briarcliff--will lessen the affect of both? I'm a little ambivalent about the world expanding outward too much.
Abbott: That's so funny, because I was thinking about how refreshing it was that this episode dealt with relatively few characters (even though, now that you mention it, they spent very little time at Briarcliff). My bigger concern is with the Bloodyface unhappy-childhood direction in general. I mean, next to some of the stuff Ryan Murphy's thrown at us (possession, rape, Nazis, etc.), I have to wonder if an orphanage and apparent lack of colostrum (which, yes, I had to look up after that scene) is enough to send someone down the serial killer track. Did it ring true for you?
Lowder: That's a great question (and you will have to tell me and our readers what colostrum is: The TV Club is all about sharing the knowledge)! I guess we have to expect some kind of gripping back-story for our serial killers, but I'm a little bummed they didn't just leave the "explanation" for his violent tendencies unclear. I find that inexplicable violence is more frightening than overly explained stuff. Though i do think that his self-theory was based on some real research--perhaps a commenter can tell us whether it still holds true?
Abbott: Oh - it's so gross. Colostrum = First Milk
Lowder: OMG, really? That's super gross. And I think we can assume that she wouldn't even be lactating, right? Unless she's secretly pregnant?
Abbott: Yeah, I'm pretty sure that was a... ahem... dry run. And I totally agree with you - once you've gotten into skin-lampshade territory, no background story is going to live up to the scariness of "skinning 33 year-olds alive is just his thing." But I have to get your take on one of the biggest questions of this episode: How... on earth... is this the first time that AHS has given us a super-creepy child WITHOUT some kind of mental illness/Down's? I can't believe that they held off on going into a "The Omen" space for so long!
Lowder: I hadn't even thought about that! Yes, the new affectless child was a welcome edition, and I'm glad you brought her up, because I thought her scene with Sister Mary Eunice was maybe my favorite of the episode. Their dry repartee was intoxicating. I'm kind of hoping Eunice will take her under her possessed wing and be an evil mentor--she will need a sidekick in the NEW ERA! Speaking of which, do you have any theories about her plans? She's clearly QBIC now that's she's got the dirt on Arden.
Abbott: I don't know about her plans, but if she wants to start her own church, I'm THERE. I actually wrote down "You were born with the gift of authentic impulse - don't ever let them kill it" like it was some Oprah-wisdom I needed to write on my mirror in lipstick every morning. MOVED. But I'm a little disappointed with her small moves so far. I mean, she's the devil, and all she's done so far is some gossip, some covering up, and some lingerie theft - I'm guessing she's trying to lead Arden to bring about some kind of zombie apocalypse, but I'd really rather she start a skanky Lesley Gore tribute band with Jude and take it on the road.
Lowder: I'm speechless. Your appraisal of Sister Mary is, like, Platonic. Are we soul mates? I don't have any concrete ideas, but I do tend to follow your logic (i.e. toward the drug-resistant zombie apocalypse). More machinations from her soon, please! Speaking of which, if I had to look like Shelly (bye bye Chloe Sevingy!) to survive the Russians' nuclear attack, I think I'll pass.
Ok, it's time to get back to cooking, so let's wrap it up with a final question--we were treated to another glimpse of the present day this evening, iPhones in severed limbs and all. What’s going on? Is Threadson still alive? Does he have acolytes? The voice on the phone sure sounded like him....
Abbott: Here's what I'm thinking: It's Threadson (it sounded A LOT like him on the phone), his plotline has dovetailed with Arden and he's some kind of age-resistant momma's boy zombie, and seriously NO ONE IN THE WORLD will care if he puts Megan Fox Lite out of her misery (how is that girl not dead yet???)
Lowder: Ha, totally. The colostrum mixed with the "immune boosting cocktail" and made him live forever, just so he could take out Channing Tatum's wife. Leaving him available…for me. Get into it. Alrighty, I'm going to get into some turkey stock real quick. Hope your holiday is as yummy as Thredson’s sandwich!
J. Bryan Lowder is the Slate editorial assistant for culture.