American Horror Story
Fearful Pranks Ensue

Episode Report Card
Mindy Monez: A | 109 USERS: A
YOU GRADE IT
"Who's the Baddest Witch in Town?"
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Flashback to 1961 New Orleans: A young African-American boy is riding his bike down the streets of a quiet residential neighborhood when suddenly a truck full of white guys pulls up behind him. The boy looks back and, alarmed, starts pedaling faster. The truck floors it and runs him off the road into a secluded alley between two houses. Tragically, this alley is a dead end both literally and figuratively, and the men approach the terrified boy as we cut to…

Marie Laveau's salon (still in 1961), where one of her stylists, Cora, is having a hard time concentrating on doing hair because it's her son's first day of high school – at the "white school." She explains that it's integrated now, but this is 1961 and the Deep South, so Marie and the other women in the salon know as well as we do the potential danger he could be in. Marie brings up some recent bullshit racist smear campaigns on behalf of New Orleans officials, but his mother, though nervous, cites Kennedy being in the White House, and says she has hope for the future. Oof.

Her statements are contrasted with an abrupt cut to the horrific scene of the boy from the first scene hanging by his neck from a tree. This is clearly Cora's son. He's framed quite cinematically as a tiny boy being enveloped by this massive tree in the middle of a field, alone and overtaken by something much darker and more powerful than he is. I know some viewers and critics reacted negatively to this story being included in what's supposed to be a campy, fun show, but I don't think it's out of line to be inclusive to the very real consequences of historical racism along with the comedy beats of Madame LaLaurie and Queenie squaring off over the dinner table (as much as I do love those scenes). If you're going to do a season about racial tensions in New Orleans, then do a season about racial tensions in New Orleans.

Later, Cora arrives on the crime scene with Marie just as the police are cutting him down and mourns him as Marie looks on and glowers, clearly plotting some kind of fantastic voodoo revenge. Clearly, Marie Laveau is a good friend to have.

Back in Marie's salon, it's after hours, and she is in her back room performing a spell. There are drums being played, a mysterious chalk drawing on the ground, multiple snakes of varying size and color, a bit of reptile blood and a whole mess of secrets from her apothecary cabinet going into this thing. So, her magic can cure infertility, avenge dead children, build Minotaurs and apparently generate massive amounts of cold hard cash as well. Every time I find an apothecary cabinet I want it costs thousands of dollars! Marie Laveau gets to have everything.

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American Horror Story

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