"Boy Wonder" – American Horror Story S08E05 Review

Well, that was thrilling. Not.

"Boy Wonder" wasn't a bad episode. It was just… mediocre. It didn't accomplish anything that hadn't already been established. Michael brings someone back from the netherworld? Check. Cordelia has doubts about Michael? Check. Kathy Bates acts all creepy and weird? Check. Taissa Farmiga blends into the background and doesn't do anything substantive? Check. The warlocks complain the witches dominate and plan to get some of their own back using Michael? Check.

John Henry (Cheyenne Jackson) does get offed in grisly fashion. It's unclear what he'll find out in New Orleans or how he would stop Michael's march to Supremehood. But Michael and Miriam (the closed captioning confirms her last name is Mead, so presumably the original's first name is also Miriam) are taking no chances. Miriam offs John Henry in suitably Omen-ish style. There's also a bit in the beginning when Cordelia has a vision/dream of the Apocalypse where zombies chew her apart. Nummy.

We find out Ariel is conspiring with Miriam to help Michael rise to power. Which isn't a surprise, given how much Ariel was thirsting for male power last week. It suggests Ariel is an idiot: who does he think Miriam is and why does he trust her? Maybe they were in on it together last week when Miriam was shouting down the street to Michael and Ariel la-la-la'd and "can't hear you"'d at her.

After Cordelia asks Michael to bring Misty Day (Lily Rabe) back from the dead as the final test of the Seven Wonders; Michael does so and we're treated to a Stevie Nicks song performed by Stevie Nicks her bad self. I like Stevie Nicks as much as the next person, but the song seems to go on forever. At the very least, it takes up five minutes in a foreshortened season that could have been better spent elsewhere. Like with Mallory who has a few lines in this episode and we find out she can bring back the dead. And... that's it.

We eventually find out Cordelia set up the whole thing to find out how powerful Michael is. Huh? He brought back Queenie and Madison last week. Is bring back Misty somehow going to show how strong he is? Cordelia already knows he can bring the dead out of Hell and the Hotel Cortez. Bringing Misty out of Hell if that's where she is, is redundant since Michael did it for Madison last week. And if Misty is only in Purgatory, that seems easier to break out of than Hell.

Misty is forced to resurrect and dissect a frog in her elementary school class. Over and over throughout eternity. If that's Hell, and it's certainly portrayed as hellish, then you wonder why she ended up in Hell. Madison, I can see that. But Misty? For that matter, we have pagan witches facing off against a Biblical/Christian Antichrist. Oh, the irony! If nothing else, it seems like a very Ryan Murphy-ish concept.

The Hell scene gives us our third gore scene of the episode. Michael dissects Misty's teacher in front of her. For a guy who is resurrecting Misty to prove his intention, I don't think Michael quite has the idea of "undercover" down. Credits to the casting director, who brought back Mr. Kingery (Wayne Pere), Misty's teacher from season 3, for a brief bit here.

So apparently Cordelia modified the test to get Misty back. But as a soldier against Michael, Misty just doesn't seem that powerful. Sorry. I guess Cordelia is a big believer in "keep your enemies closer". She also tricks Michael into bring back her three dead witches so she has the coven at full strength. After Behold (Billy Porter) says he has a bad feeling about Michael, Cordelia sends him and Madison (Emma Roberts) to "where it all began": the LA Murder House. Why send Madison instead of Zoe? Cordelia says Madison is only in it for herself. But knowing that doesn't make Madison a good spy and/or supernatural researcher.

Other than creepy supernatural stuff, I'm not sure what they can hope to find there umpty-ump dozen years in the future. Michael's bloodline, but so what? I'm not sure that would prove Michael was evil, much less the creation of Satan. The ghostly Tate Langdon was his "biological father". The whole Antichrist thing is more circumstantial than biological. Finding out Michael was the son of a ghost might explain why he's such a powerful warlock.

Maybe they're looking for a weakness? Anyhoo, I'm sure this will all be explained next week. As much as the American Horror Story creative team ever fully explains everything.

We also find out how Coco (Leslie Grossman) ended up at the girl's academy. She discovered she had the mystical power to sense... gluten. This provides the only real humor in the episode, as we get a flashback to Beverly Hills wives flocking to Coco to have her sense gluten in their food. Cordelia suggests eventually Coco will be able to sense any danger and gluten-sensing is a start. It's still amusing: let's hope she's become more powerful since then or she's not going to be much help in the witches' fight against Michael. Again, the whole bit with Coco seems like a time-waster.

The first six tests of the Seven Wonders are done in black-and-white kinescope, with narrative captions. It's a stylistic touch tossed in by director Gwyneth Horder-Payton, and is basically something weird tossed in for the sake of being weird. Yes, it was presented that way back in Season 3. But other than an unnecessary sense of continuity, why do it again?

Overall, "Boy Wonder" dropped everything into neutral and set up the return of Murder House. The episode slowed down and did a few things. But none of it really advanced the plot that was necessary. Last week they said Michael would become the Supreme... this week he became the Supreme. It's a keeper for Stevie Nicks fans and if you enjoyed the three scenes of super-gore. But it wasn't the best or worse episode of the series: it was just... there.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?

Written by Gislef on Oct 11, 2018

Comments

WayneInNYC posted 2 months ago

Um, I think learning that Mallory can bring back the dead is a MAJOR plot point. I mean, there is a bunker full of recently dead people and now that Mallory is out from under the Clouding Spell... hmmm.

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