Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag
|"Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag"|
|American Horror Story episode|
|Directed by||Rachel Goldberg|
|Written by||Crystal Liu|
|Original air date||October 17, 2017|
|Running time||44 minutes|
"Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag" is the seventh episode of the seventh season of the anthology television series American Horror Story. It aired on October 17, 2017, on the cable network FX. The episode was written by Crystal Liu, and directed by Rachel Goldberg.
Radical feminist Valerie Solanas (Lena Dunham) storms into The Factory and demands Andy Warhol (Evan Peters) return a script she has written. He claims that he has misplaced it and she accuses him of having lost it on purpose. Warhol retorts that, as a woman, she should not expect to be a great artist. Valerie, infuriated, is escorted off the set.
Valerie prostitutes herself in the back of a parked car and the man shorts her $5 of her $10 fee. She later asks a store clerk how many bullets $5 can buy and informs him that she seeks to kill Warhol. Valerie returns to The Factory and follows Andy back to the set. She misses her first two shots but the third hits Warhol in the stomach.
A news report unveils that Meadow has been identified as the shooter and Ally (Sarah Paulson) has been arrested. Harrison (Billy Eichner) reads a prepared statement in regard to Meadow's actions, inciting Trump's victory as her motive. Kai (Evan Peters) is polling ahead and is the apparent winner of the city council seat.
Beverly (Adina Porter) stumbles upon a hooded woman (Frances Conroy) near her car in the WBNR Channel 7 parking lot. The woman informs Beverly that she is aware that the assassination attempt was fake. She encourages Beverly to stay in touch. The next day, Beverly approaches the Anderson house and is impeded by identically-dressed militiamen guarding the premises. Kai welcomes her in and explains that the men are volunteers from all over the country. He leads her downstairs and the two discuss their next plan of action. Beverly asserts that his promise of "equal power" has not manifested. Kai declares that she needs to trust him.
At the Butchery on Main, Beverly introduces the hooded woman to Ivy (Alison Pill) and Winter (Billie Lourd) and identifies her as Bebe Babbitt. Bebe discloses that Valerie Solanas was her lover and relays her story. Valerie's SCUM Manifesto intrigued Bebe among a number of other devotees including Butchy May (Dot-Marie Jones), a woman on the run from the police for murdering a man, and Hedda (Jamie Brewer), an abandoned orphan. Valerie sought to murder all men with the exception of gay men, deemed "gender-traitors". Valerie's shooting of Andy Warhol launched a series of attacks by SCUM (the Society for Cutting Up Men) on couples, making a statement to women that "partnering with men would only get you killed". These attacks were accredited to the never-identified Zodiac Killer by the police and the media. Valerie discovered that gay male SCUM member Bruce wrote and sent the Zodiac Killer letters to the press. SCUM dismembered Bruce in retaliation. Valerie eventually presented herself to the police to take credit for the Zodiac killings but she was dismissed as delusional. Her schizophrenia began to intensify afterwards and SCUM disassembled as a result. Valerie's legacy became tied with shooting Warhol.
The day after, Winter finds Kai communing with their mummified parents. Winter tells Kai that she is not content with every action of his but that she still loves and supports him. Kai questions her loyalty and asks her about a copy of the SCUM Manifesto that he had found in her room. She dismisses it as an old college textbook. Kai tells her that the book inspired him to come up with his own acronym: FIT (Fear Is Truth). He notes that Harrison came up with MLWB (Men Lead, Women Bleed). That night, Beverly, Ivy, and Winter lure Harrison to the Butchery and Ivy dismembers him with a chainsaw.
Beverly reports on Harrison's "scum-covered" corpse and suggests to the public that Kai's promise of law and order is not being kept. Kai and Bebe watch Beverly on the news together in his basement. He affirms to her that women "are at their best when they're angry".
"Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag" was watched by 2.07 million people during its original broadcast, and gained a 1.0 ratings share among adults aged 18–49.
The episode received mostly positive reviews from critics. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, "Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag" holds a 85% approval rating, based on 13 reviews with an average rating of 7.0 out of 10.
Tony Sokol of Den of Geek gave the episode a 3.5 out of 5, saying "Fear is trust, after all, and American Horror Story: Cult puts its trust in historical hijackings to scare us into bringing the past into the fiction. "Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag" is a departure in that it's a flashback, but it shows all manifestos are one manifesto and it's pretty scary how both sides can use the same book. It is an educational episode, but after last week's explosive making of an assassin, it slows the momentum."
Kat Rosenfield from Entertainment Weekly gave the episode a A-, and particularly praised Frances Conroy's presence in the episode. However, she mentioned that some flashbacks were a bit long, but that Dunham's performance made them worthwhile. She also enjoyed the last scene and its plot twist. Vulture's Brian Moylan gave the episode a 2 out of 5, with a negative review, and called it "the weakest episode of an otherwise strong season." He criticized the flashbacks, saying they were "jumping through narrative hoops in order to accommodate a famous guest star", and was bored by the rest of the scenes. However, he praised the twist at the end, calling it "the only thing that saves this episode."
Matt Fowler of IGN gave the episode a 7.0 out of 10, with a mostly positive review. He said "American Horror Story broke away a bit from its central narrative to bring an entirely new, and competing, cult into the mix. Using (too many) flashbacks, featuring Lena Dunham as SCUM Movement leader Valerie Solanas, Cult officially worked to separate Kai from all of his followers in an ultimate mind game meant to drive him toward world domination. It was an interesting detour but it made for a stifling episode that needed a few more scenes in the present to sell us on everyone believably adopting a new killer ideology."
- "American Horror Story - (#707) "Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag"". TheFutonCritic. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
- Metcalf, Mitch (October 18, 2017). "SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 10.17.2017". ShowBuzzDaily. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
- "American Horror Story: Cult - "Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag"". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
- Sokol, Tony (October 18, 2017). "American Horror Story Season 7 Episode 7 Review: Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins". Den of Geek. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
- Rosenfield, Kat (October 17, 2017). "American Horror Story: Cult recap: 'Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
- Moylan, Brian (October 18, 2017). "American Horror Story: Cult Recap: Scum of the Earth". Vulture.com. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
- Fowler, Matt (October 17, 2017). "American Horror Story: Cult - "Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag" Review". IGN. Retrieved October 17, 2017.