‘American Horror Story’ 3.09 Recap: “The Hunt Isn’t Only About the Kill”

I suppose that I should know better than to question the logic or plausibility of a show about witches, but last week’s episode of ‘American Horror Story’ left me with one nagging question: If a character has been decapitated and his or her undead head kept alive, how could it talk if its vocal cords have been severed and it has no lungs to pump air through them? Ah well, magic is the answer for everything, I suppose…

The head in the episode called ‘Head’ is, obviously enough, Delphine’s. Yet she isn’t really the main focus of the episode. That would be Hank, Cordelia’s husband, the secret witch hunter. We open with a flashback to 1991, as young Hank’s father (Michael Christofer from ‘Smash’) brings him on a hunting trip for what we initially assume is bird or game. It doesn’t take long before we realize that the two are really hunting a witch. The father lures the woman out into Hank’s aim, but the boy can’t pull the trigger. Disappointed, the father finishes the job, and directs his son: “No mercy. Never forget what they are.”

In the present day, Hank travels to Atlanta to visit Delphi Trust, a corporation that’s the front for the brotherhood of witch hunters. His father is the CEO, and still disappointed in his son. Hank was supposed to remain undercover as Cordelia’s husband. His attempt to take initiative by killing the witch in the hotel room almost backfired and exposed their efforts too soon. The father also chastises him for getting involved with Marie Laveau, and for trying to kill Nan. We learn here that the Delphi organization was responsible for the acid attack on Cordelia. His father orders Hank to patch up his faux relationship with Cordelia and resume his job as a spy in the coven. This will be easier said than done. Cordelia still wants nothing to do with Hank. In fact, she wants a divorce, even though he tells her that he’s trying to protect her.

Torn between two masters, Hank suffers a voodoo attack by Marie Laveau, who demands that he kill the rest of the witches that very night. Hank swears that he’ll complete the task.

We see Hank gear up with a number of weapons, presumably on his way to wipe out the academy. However, he actually raids Laveau’s beauty shop. It turns out that Hank has really fallen in love with Cordelia. He goes on a shooting spree in the shop, killing a number of voodoo witches, including shooting Queenie. He corners Laveau and is about to kill her with a shotgun when Queenie, still alive and writhing on the floor, picks up a pistol he discarded, then shoots herself in the head. Because of her voodoo magic, this means that Hank’s brains get blown out. While normally, the damage Queenie does to herself heals instantly, Hank’s guns were loaded with silver bullets. This may be the end of Queenie.

Other Developments
  • Prior to Hank’s raid, Fiona paid a visit to Laveau to propose an alliance against the witch hunters. Laveau laughed in her face. In the aftermath of the shooting, however, she comes calling to the academy, humbled and ready to join forces.
  • Fiona had returned Delphine’s chattering head to Laveau, who ordered Queenie to destroy it in a fire. Delphine actually welcomed the release, but Queenie decided instead to force Delphine to watch ‘Roots’. As far as I can tell, Delphine’s head is still sitting in front of the TV.
  • Myrtle visits Cecily and Quentin, the other two members of the Council of Witchcraft, to reveal her return. They apologize for burning her at the stake. Myrtle is not much interested in forgiveness, unfortunately. She poisons them with a spell that causes paralysis, then scoops one eye from each with a melon-baller.
  • Myrtle then uses those eyes to restore Cordelia’s sight. Upon doing so, Cordelia loses her power of psychic visions.
  • Neighbor boy Luke is in a coma after being shot by Hank. His mother (who was revived by Misty) blames the witches. She starts to soften when Nan uses her power to communicate to Luke. However, the boy reveals that he now knows that his mother killed his father. The woman throws Nan out of the hospital room and then smothers her son. What a good mom.
  • Fiona discovers Kyle in Zoe’s room. After he accidentally kills her newly-purchased guard dog, Fiona uses her magic to (mostly) fix him. It seems that Fiona wants Kyle to be her new guard dog.

I’m a little sad to see Queenie go. She was a great character, but it’s the nature of this show to burn through its cast quickly. Besides which, just because she’s dead doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t see her again.

It appears that the last arc of this season will find the two groups of witches joining together against the common enemy of the witch hunters. The show is off for the rest of December, but will return on January 8th.

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