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American Horror Story: Spooky Little Girl

"It's just a matter of time, Ben. The spirit is willing, and the flesh is weak."

This episode suffered from similar problems to the ones that affected my enjoyment of "Piggy Piggy" a couple of weeks back, in that there were a whole bunch of stories here that felt like delaying tactics rather than something organic. It was most noticeable with Vivien's removal from most of the episode, as well as Tate and Violet being entirely absent. But that's a familiar problem with serialized dramas, even the shorter ones on cable, and sometimes things need to be staggered a little. It's not particularly rewarding for the viewer, but it's understandable from a writer's perspective.

The pope thing wasn't as outlandish as the previews implied, and I actually loved the entire coda with Billie Dean's promise of doom and misfortune about to befall the earth via the birth of the baby. It's so melodramatic, but we're at that point where it doesn't necessarily feel jarring anymore. We've long settled into the kind of tone this show is reaching for, and Vatican-inspired apocalypse no longer feels remotely nuts. Heh.

Ben is still a dick, but there's evolution there. He finally saw Moira as her real self, and Moira seemed to confirm that he was growing as a person and gaining a perspective that wasn't just motivated by his libido. But I wish he wasn't such an ass. Naturally he'd be devastated that one of Vivien's twins isn't his own, but there has to be a lot of delusion there for him not to acknowledge his own infidelities. Ugh.

Everything else in "Spooky Little Girl" felt a little choppy, though. The Elizabeth Short story, like the subplot with Eric Stonestreet in "Piggy Piggy", seemed like something the writers thought would be 'cool', regardless of it necessarily fitting into the show. I liked how they tied the actual case in with the house, but the story bottomed out at the end and it was disappointing that she vanished right after her weird make-out session with Moira. I felt like they could have made more of her character, or at least give Mena Suvari better material to work with.

Similarly, I think Constance is weakest whenever she's paired with her hunky boy-toy. No matter how scenery-chewing Jessica Lange is (and she sure was hungry in that argument scene), I was never entirely absorbed by her story this week. Same with Hayden. I like the girl a lot, since she always seems to get the best lines, but I want her to do a little more than just hover around being bitchy to everyone.

I'm probably being harsh on this episode, but I felt like last week deserved stronger follow-through, especially in the Vivien department. That episode seemed like the show firing on all cylinders and setting the cogs in motion for the finale, "Spooky Little Girl" pulled the breaks a little too harshly.


- I really hope Alexandra Breckenridge sticks around. The stuff she had to do here was a little trashy, but I'm totally enamored with her performances on this show.

- Who does this week's title refer to? I wouldn't describe either Hayden nor the Black Dahlia as a 'little girl'...


Travis: How come you rocked out with me?
Hayden: To see if I could do it with a guy who's still alive.

Travis: I guess I love her, and we've got a baby coming.
Hayden: A baby-what? Fossil?

Previously posted at Unwelcome Commentary.


  1. Tate was in the episode – Constance smacked him around in the basement for what he did to Vivien.

    I’m not 100% sure, but I thought the Black Dahlia was in the basement scenes toward the end with Hayden and Constance’s boytoy. I’ll have to check my tape when I get home.

  2. Yeah, Ben's reaction to Vivien's infidelity was indeed puzzling; so much so that I wondered whether it was a drug induced illusion by a drug addled Vivien. I'm still not entirely convinced it happened quite as we saw.

  3. @HellBlazerRaiser...the Black Dahlia was in a scene toward the end of the show right after Travis was killed. Travis made a comment about never being famous now that he's dead and she told him she knew a way he could become famous. Chilling...

  4. One thing that irked me:

    Billie Dean was wrong about the Immaculate Conception.

    I don't know if it was a writing error or if it was deliberate, since the Immaculate Conception is seemingly universally thought to mean the conception of Jesus.

    If it was a writing error, I'm disappointed in Jennifer Salt for making it.

    The misconception about the Immaculate Conception irks me as much as the misconception (and misuse) of the "10% of the brain" myth.

  5. Not sure what this whole Vatican thing means or if Constance still plans to mother her son's monster child.

    I'm also starting to wonder why none of the embittered ghosts aren't trying to get back at the ghosts that killed them. I would never be okay with living an eternity with the one who killed me.

    Ben's dickish behavior was what reminded me of Piggy Piggy. The way he attacked Vivien and Luke was kinda like how he pressured that guy into confronting things that scared him half to death on like the second day of therapy. Although, I do think Ben's little tough guy routine with the sneakiness and the cigarette is quite hilarious; must be because I see him very much as a normal guy, kind of an idiot loser too, rather than someone intimidating. He did to Luke what he did Larry a few episodes ago.

    The Moira storyline was fun this time. More awkwardness. So very awkward. Gotta say for as much of a douchebag Ben can be he has held his own pretty well against Moira's temptations, especially considering he's got some troubled sexual issues gnawing at him.

    Any Black Dahlia story is fine by me as long as it isn't like that movie that BD came out awhile back. Charles Montgomery being the killer (or carver) would actually make sense.

    The scene between Constance and Tate really shook me, considering it is one of the only scenes they've had as mother and son. The hostility vs. pleading love really switched gears between the two of them.

    Good, but agreed, it could've been better.

  6. Embarrassing... sorry about the couple of errors there. I guess that's what happens when you're writing quickly. I was leaving for work after I posted it and suddenly thought "Tate was in that one scene!". Heh.

    A couple of other points:

    - Definitely agree about Ben's behavior. He's a strange character, and I'm not sure if it's all intentional, or the writing is just bad.

    - Don't remind me of the de Palma Black Dahlia! Ugh. One of the most miscast movies in history. Although Mia Kirshner was fantastic as the Dahlia. Should have gotten an Oscar nod for that.

  7. I've got serious, serious issues with this episode, but I'm actually more interested in the review and the comments:

    HBR, so happy that "Immaculate Conception" used this way makes someone else crazy. I'd add to that not just the 10% of the brain, but also the "we lose 90% of our body heat through our heads" idea, and misuse of the word "bemused."

    Max, I agree that Mia Krishner was great in that movie, but I think that's because that is the only character she plays--the Black Dahlia is just a variation on her character from The L Word.

    This show is so disturbing in all the wrong ways.


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