American Horror Story S9E7: The Lady in White
Happy Halloween, one and all! I hope you’re all having a suitably spooky and safe season of scares, and thank you for joining me for another one of these reviews which I still, unaccountably, continue to write out of actual choice despite the seething mess of this season so far.
I mean, to be fair, at least this episode has the fair decency to give me Lily Rabe (as the titular Lady in White) in a role far removed from her grindingly insipid Stevie Nicks witch; her arrival in the show, even in brief flashback form as Benji’s mother (also, apropos of very little, the kid who plays the young Benji was so unsettlingly akin to John Caroll Lynch that I knew instantly who he was meant to be and I feel like he needs to just make a career playing younger versions of Lynch whenever they’re called for), is truly the treat to the rest of the slightly dull tricks of this week’s outing.
Hey, not to mention the fact that Dylan Mcdermott is back to debase himself in another bad outfit and even worse moustache and an even worse even worse attitude towards aviator glasses – he’s not good, but it’s nice to have him around, you know? Like that friend you have nothing in common with, but still inexplicably invite to annual nights out anyway, it’s nice to see he’s doing well.
But, old favourites aside, I suppose it’s only fair that this episode has to get back to the actual plot. Last week, while immense fun, was really just a chance for the show to pat itself on the back and look back over a century of episodes so far. Now, we’re back to the plot, in all its chaotic, meandering wreckage: Dede broke Brooke out of, uh, certain death, and now they’re on the run to rollerskating rinks and revenge; Benji has taken up the Mr Jingles mantel once more to take down Richard Ramirez, and we’ve still got a whole lot of explaining to do about why those misc. prestige ghosts are hanging about the camp after all this time, don’t we?
As it turns out, it’s because of Friday the 13th. Oh, wait, sorry, no – my apologies, it’s because of a slightly jaw-droppingly blatant rip-off of Friday the 13th.
Pamela Voorhees Lily Rabe, after the loss of her son in a lake-related accident after the lack of attention paid by necking camp counsellors, goes on a killing spree as revenge for their perceived role in his death.
And that’s why everyone is still stuck at Camp Redwood – a vendetta against counsellors, and a sheer rage so intense that it has basically cursed the ground the camp stands on. Much as the premise for this could be taken as reason enough for Sean S Cunningham to take off his earrings and throw the fuck down with AHS for ripping off his classic so blatantly, I think I have to pretend that I don’t see it – but it’s hard when this seems to cross the line from homage and into Schmamela Schmoorhees so fucking obviously, right? Is this just me? I am precious about Friday the 13th, and even when you slap a goofy, bloody Lily Rabe over the top of it, it still feels a little too close to unacknowledged rip-off for my liking.
Mostly, this is set-up for a bigger serial killer showdown next week, as well as a chance to let some old favourites run riot across the ridiculous backdrop that this season has set up. For a Halloween episode, it’s a little low-key for my liking, a little rambling and underbaked, but at least I have Zach Villa overpronouncing the word “Satan” while fourteen seperate serial killrs face off next week to look forward to, right? That’s got to be something. It’s got to be.
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(header image via Variety)