TV Reviews

American Horror Story Season 8 Episode 3: Forbidden Fruit Review

If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.

Synopsis: Ms. Venable and Ms. Meade enact a sinister plan on Halloween, while a figure from the past resurfaces. (IMDB)

Writer: Manny Coto

Director: Loni Peristere

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 44mins

Airs: Tuesdays at 10pm on FX Canada (Canada)/FX (United States)

If you’ve been a fan of American Horror Story, then you are aware of it having an infamous history of always delivering exceptional Halloween-themed episodes and this year’s episode Forbidden Fruit delivered on that expectation.

As of late, AHS has settled into a storytelling routine where episodes begin with a powerful moment to then descend into forty minutes of filler only to then reemerge with another strong moment just before the end credits. This has occurred both in season’s past as well as the previous two episodes of the current season, however, from this episode’s beginning all the way up until its conclusion we were provided with scene after scene of an excellent story that continually raised the bar of what this season could be.

We begin by seeing Langdon interviewing Mallory (the grey) to determine whether or not she is worthy inhabiting The Sanctuary. By his account, it is clear that she possesses something unique to the extent where she is selected for The Sanctuary without question, but it is through their exchange afterward that she reveals a darkness inside of her that causes the show to take a turn for the even more bizarre. What was hard to shake was Langdon’s reaction to Mallory showing the power she has. Was it a reaction of fear or of intimidation? Both are very different in their delivery and would be more telling of Langdon’s character if discerned properly. Or, maybe this is just reading too much into it.

As the episode progresses, we are shown the origin of Miriam Mead who from last week’s episode now realizes that she is a robot, yes, you read that correctly, that has been planted in the outpost to serve Wilhemina. She has memories of previous Halloween nights that she is able to cling to as she has struggled to cope with her newfound identity and its through those memories that she recalls a young boy, whom we later find to be Michael Langdon. In the wake of the episode’s climactic scene, we discover that Langdon had Mead created in order to serve him from within the outpost. As a result, he forces her to shoot and kill Wilhemina Venable. This was satisfying. At least Wilhemina will not be a long-standing character this season as she was grating from her first scenes in the premiere.

But before her death, we were treated to Venable and Mead’s plan to eliminate the remaining survivors of the outpost both out of spite and jealousy that they would not be attending Langdon to The Sanctuary. This was one of the best-executed sequences in recent memory on this show as one by one the survivors began vomiting profusely after bobbing for poisoned apples. The drastic nature with which they died came as a shock, even for this show, because while the audience was aware of the duo’s hatched plan it couldn’t have foreseen the degree in which they began convulsing and coughing up blood. Murphy’s still got it.

While the opening scene with Mallory left many more questions than answers and seeing Miriam’s backstory while also witnessing her misconceived loyalty to Venable a la The Red Delicious plan, nothing stood out to me more than Brock’s deformed path to redemption. There was hope that his character would make a return and his triumphant entry did not disappoint. While it will be interesting to learn how he actually survived the bomb, the chaos he caused within the outpost was more fun to watch. In one swoop, he is now responsible for the single greatest death in American Horror Story (or at least this season) history with his delivery of a knife perfectly placed in Coco’s forehead. Full disclosure: I jumped for joy when this happened. Hopefully we have not seen the last of Brock’s character because his presence is a much-needed lift in sass that the first two episodes have been missing. You could sense his festering anger at his deformity (and his hairline) and going forward, he would be a wonderful addition to The Coven.

All of this plotting and death gave way to the entrance of Cordelia, Madison and Myrtle, all members of The Coven. The entered to find everyone except Langdon and Brock, both of whom they have not come into contact yet, dead which leads them to resurrect Dinah Stevens, Mallory, and Coco. While it was disheartening to see that Coco was a witch and that she would be around more for this season, this would create plenty of banter that her now being on equal footing with Mallory might lead to. Just as with season three, death does not look to be certain and only time will tell if it is a power that will be abused this season as it was in the show’s third.

With The Coven’s arrival, more questions are left hanging for yet another week but until then it is safe to say that this was one of the better American Horror Story episodes in recent memory. From start to finish, it delivered moment after moment that were not only individually great but also interconnected with each other in a way to elevate the entire episode. This is equal parts exciting and sad because it gave us a taste of what the show could be if it were operating at a high level because when the show is good, it’s really good. But also, it reinforced the thought that the show will not always be this good and that next week more than likely will lead to regression from this one. This episode made great strides forward in creating excitement for this season, however, it is still difficult to keep it any closer than at arm’s length.

APOCALYPTIC THOUGHTS:

  • Is that really what the Antichrist looks like when made angry? Ughhhh…
  • Brock doing his best impersonation of a deformed Rambo is now one of my all time favorite character from this show.
  • Langdon mentioned hunting “them” down. He’s got to mean witches.
  • Langdon also called his daddy for help. Lucifer or not, that was pathetic.
  • Coco’s death = priceless…………Coco’s resurrection = rage-inducing
  • “Surprise B***h” – Madison
  • Miriam’s fight in the 1988 flashback was expertly choreographed.
  • How will they keep Brock involved in this season?
  • “C’mon, Wipe Me!” – Coco to Mallory
  • Are Tim and Emily really dead after being touted as “special?” I hope there’s a better payoff for them.

Score: 9/10

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  1. I’m sorry, but shit got way, waaaaay too silly in this episode. It’s like this season had finally won me over with the mass killing via apples, but Mead turning out to be a robot and those witches showing up in superly overdramatic fashion… it just got too ridiculous. It lost me.