Head (American Horror Story)

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"Head"
American Horror Story episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 9
Directed by Howard Deutch
Written by Tim Minear
Featured music "Sarabande" by George Frideric Handel
"Oh, Freedom" by The Golden Gospel Singers
Production code 3ATS09
Original air date December 11, 2013 (2013-12-11)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Sacred Taking"
Next →
"The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks"
American Horror Story: Coven
List of American Horror Story episodes

"Head" is the ninth episode of the third season of the anthology television series American Horror Story, which premiered on December 11, 2013, on the cable network FX. The episode was written by Tim Minear and directed by Howard Deutch. This episode is rated TV-MA (LSV).

Plot[edit]

1991[edit]

Young Hank Foxx (Toby Nichols) is in the Chattahoochee National Forest with his father (Michael Cristofer), who is teaching him about hunting. With rifle in hand, Hank waits for his father to flush out their prey. Hank aims his rifle as a scared woman arrives in front of him. He hesitates shooting her and she flings a fireball toward him. His father pushes him out of the way, causing the man's arm to get scorched, and shoots the witch in the head. Hank apologizes. His father tells him to show no mercy and to "never forget what they are".

2013[edit]

Fiona (Jessica Lange) carries Delphine's (Kathy Bates) head in a box into Cornrow City and asks Marie (Angela Bassett) about an alliance. When Marie shows no concern about the witch hunters, Fiona suggests they will eradicate the voodoo tribe after the witches are dead. Marie stands her ground and orders Queenie, who now works in the beauty parlor, to dispose of Delphine's head.

In the Academy's kitchen, Myrtle (Frances Conroy) watches as Cordelia (Sarah Paulson) drops some eggs in an attempt to make breakfast. She asks Cordelia if she believes Myrtle blinded her. Myrtle recounts the day when young Cordelia (Chloe Ditusa) first arrived at the Academy, when Cordelia asked if Myrtle was now her mother. Cordelia knows Myrtle did not harm her.

Hank (Josh Hamilton) arrives at Delphi Trust in Atlanta, Georgia. He is greeted by David (Mike Colter), who takes him to see Hank's father. The three men discuss the orders that Hank has been given as a witch hunter. Hank has been sloppy, requiring his father to "clean up" the murder of Kaylee (Alexandra Breckenridge). Hank is shocked to learn that Delphi was behind the attack on Cordelia, to remind Hank of his mission.

At the Academy, Myrtle prepares for a meeting with the Council of Witchcraft. Quentin (Leslie Jordan) and Cecily (Robin Bartlett) express regret over the "misunderstanding" that led to Myrtle's death, but marvel at her healed scars and ask about Misty's (Lily Rabe) mud. Myrtle corrects them, saying Misty is an extraordinary witch, who had also been killed by those around her—a similar situation to Myrtle's. Cecily raises her glass to toast Myrtle and becomes paralyzed, as does Quentin. Myrtle tells her guests that she gave them melon balls laced with monkshood, which made them into "human statues", revealing that she didn't invite them to chastise them, but to help out the Coven. She subsequently uses the melon baller to scoop out Cecily's left eye, then Quentin's right eye. Later, Cordelia wakes in her bed to actually see Myrtle through Quentin's purloined blue eye and Cecily's brown one.

A shocked Fiona studies Cordelia's new eyes and inquires about the donors. Myrtle says they wish to remain anonymous, as a flashback shows her dismembering the bodies in the greenhouse and disposing of the limbs in barrels of acid. Fiona and Myrtle bicker and Cordelia reminds them that the danger to the Coven is not internal. Myrtle hugs Cordelia as she leaves and Cordelia realizes that she has lost her second-sight power.

Zoe (Taissa Farmiga) and Madison (Emma Roberts) arrive at the hospital to find Nan (Jamie Brewer) sitting outside Luke's (Alexander Dreymon) room. Luke's mother, Joan (Patti Lupone), will not let her in to see him. The three enter the room and Joan chastises them. Nan tells her that Luke says to calm down. She also mentions "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" that Joan used to sing to him when he broke his arm at 8-years-old. At first, Joan dismisses the clairvoyance but soon sings the song at Luke's bedside while holding both his and Nan's hand.

In her room at the salon, Queenie (Gabourey Sidibe) forces Delphine's head to watch Roots and its sequel, hoping that Delphine will understand Queenie's heritage. After Queenie leaves, Delphine closes her eyes and sings "Dixie" as loud as she can.

Hank eats takeout food in his home. Wounds appear on his body and he convulses in odd angles on the floor. Marie has begun a voodoo doll ritual on him. A man kicks in his door and tells him he is feeling the wrath of broken promises. Hank's cell phone rings and the man answers it, holding it to Hank's ear. Marie tells him the witches die that night or the next needle will put a hole in his heart.

Cordelia and Misty prepare a potion of protection and banishment of evil. They use some on a dead flowering plant and Misty asks to read the spell. Cordelia tells her to read it with stronger intent, and the plant regrows its green leaves and purple flowers and fruit. Hank arrives to see Cordelia has her sight again and begs her forgiveness. She tells him that she has filed for divorce and his belongings are in an Academy closet.

After he gathers his things upstairs, Hank is met by a growling German Shepherd and Fiona. She says they needed more protection. He says that is why he's there, and she mocks his masculinity. She and the dog pass him by, and the dog scratches on a bedroom door. She opens it and the dog runs to Kyle (Evan Peters). Fiona tells Kyle to leave and calls the dog, but in a sideways allusion to Of Mice and Men, as she leaves the room, she hears Kyle clumsily snap the dog's neck.

In Luke's hospital room, Nan tells Joan that Luke says that God is judging his mother for killing his father (Bill Martin Williams). Joan maintains that the man died from anaphylaxis, but we see in flashback that Joan caused the anaphylaxis herself, putting bees into her husband's car, keeping him in the car via phone conversation, and locking the car doors via remote, preventing his escape. Luke continues to speak through Nan, revealing the knowledge that his father was leaving Joan for his lover Mrs. Marteaux, a woman from Joan's book club, an affair that predicated the murder. Joan accuses Nan of being deceitful and treacherous, forcing the young witch to leave.

Zoe, Nan, and Madison return to the Academy to find Kyle and Fiona playing gin rummy, with Kyle winning. The girls discover Fiona has "spruced up" Kyle, not simply to have a better card partner, but also to provide the Coven with a "guard dog" that will attack on command.

When Queenie learns that Delphine has kept her eyes shut for the duration of the videos, she plays videos of civil-rights era news footage, accompanied by spirituals, since Delphine is incapable of covering her ears. LaLaurie is left alone again, but appears to be affected by the music and is driven to tears by the images of civil rights abuse. Downstairs, Queenie takes her place at the salon's front desk, as Hank enters, armed with multiple high-powered guns. He storms in and shoots a man armed with his own handgun. He then gets out his handguns and shoots Chantal in the stomach, presumably killing her, and shoots Queenie as well. He walks through the salon and shoots another woman attempting to take him down with a machete. He finds Marie as she attempts to teleport, but he manages to shoot her in the arm. Queenie crawls, weakened by her wounds. She finds a handgun and shoots herself in the mouth, killing Hank and leaving her in an unknown state. Hank's father is shown weeping over the images of his dead son. At the hospital, Luke wakes and accuses his mother of his father's murder. She tells him to go back to sleep, then smothers him with a pillow. Meanwhile, Marie arrives at the Academy with her arm bandaged. She enters the Academy, and a knowing Fiona closes the door.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club gave the episode a C- rating, saying: "There's a lot of "Head" that sort of feels like it works, particularly in the closing passages, where the episode almost manages that American Horror Story thing where a bunch of disparate elements the series has been building all season come together in a giant gumbo of wackadoo... But then I look at the episode and the season as a whole, and I'm just exhausted by it, and not in a good way."[1] Matt Fowler from IGN gave the episode a 7.7/10 rating, stating: "The Hank storyline and his unexpected, violent turn on Laveau was very well done. The rest of "Head" felt undercooked though... I appreciate that the show takes risks with its mesh of tones, but there also comes a point where you just can't take away anything meaningful from a scene featuring a sassy head. Even if it's Kathy Bates."[2]

Ratings[edit]

"Head" received a 2.1 18–49 ratings share and was watched by 3.94 million viewers, a slight decrease from the previous episode.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (December 11, 2013). "American Horror Story: "Head"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ Fowler, Matt (December 11, 2013). "Never Forget What They Are.". IGN. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  3. ^ Bibel, Sara (December 12, 2013). "Wednesday Cable Ratings: 'Duck Dynasty' Wins Night, 'American Horror Story', 'South Park', 'Rodeo Girls', 'Key & Peele' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 

External links[edit]