FX’s American Horror Story
Season 7, Episode 7: “Valerie Solanas Died for Your Sins: Scumbag”
Directed by Rachel Goldberg
Written by Crystal Liu
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Mid-Western Assassin” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Winter of Our Discontent” – click here
June 3rd, 1968. In an alleyway, in a car, Valerie Solanas (Lena Dunham) is having sex with a man for money. “Fuck you, ya little dicked piece of dog shit,” she says after he only has $5 instead of the required $10. Then she’s looking for bullets, to kill Andy Warhol (Evan Peters).
Twenty-four hours prior, we see Andy at the Factory directing one of his films. In bursts Valerie, looking for a script she gave him called Up Your Ass. He says it’s lost. She believes it’s out of misogyny. Particularly because he literally says that women can’t be “serious artists.” Yikes. The patriarchy, alive and well at the Factory.
June 3rd again. Valerie’s got herself a gun. She hides it in a bag and heads up the elevator, but Andy’s not around.
Then they run into one another on the elevator. When they get back upstairs, she pulls the gun on him, firing a couple times and missing. She berates him for his control over her before shouting and shooting: “Down with the patriarchy. Suck my dick, Warhol.” Right in the chest.
Back to present day, after the mass shooting in which Kai (Evan Peters) was shot by Meadow, who killed herself. Ally (Sarah Paulson) is in custody, too. Harrison (Billy Eichner) tells the media his wife was motivated to get back at Trump supporters, specifically Mr. Anderson. And this leads him to election on the city council. Happy days!
Beverly (Adina Porter) finds someone waiting for her outside the TV station, a hooded woman (Frances Conroy) who calls her out, ranting about the “natural order of things” and the recent assassination. She says she knows about killing men. Interesting. She also tells Beverly how to reach her when she can face the truth.
Things are pretty locked down around Kai now. He’s got a load of blue work shirt wearing dudes kicking around, slapping each other in the face, psyching themselves up, looking after the cult’s fearsome leader. I wonder if power will warp him from what he planned on doing. Seems like “equal power” isn’t on his mind anymore, and a wedge starts dividing him and Bev. So later, she goes to see the mysterious woman from before.
At the Butchery, Ivy (Alison Pill) and Winter (Billie Lourd) sit together talking things through. Soon, Bev shows up with the woman; her name is BB Babbett. She was in love with Valerie Solanas, the woman who attempted to kill Warhol. BB saw it as the start of revolution. She tells the women about the SCUM Manifesto. Valerie made clear to so many how men – “half–apes” – were the real problem of society, the cause of violence, of capitalism, of all that is ill in the world. And boy, was she ever right! Still, violence was the only language men would ever understand.
“Talk doesn‘t work with men”
BB helped further the ultimate mission after Valerie shot Warhol, initiating their war. Later, the women of their group found a couple lovers, and shot them to death in the barrens. Better still? These women were the Zodiac, unknowingly. Zodiac was the Society for Cutting Up Men. Then we see more of the Zodiac killings perpetrated through the perspective of the women. An amazing, eerie, brutal sequence. And today, like Warhol, Kai is pushing the women aside and reinstating the boys club; the club that never ever actually went away.
After the asylum, Valerie made it back to the SCUM group. She became wilder, even more radical. Her time inside changed her for the worse. She believes one of her gay members wrote the Zodiac ciphers, so she stabs him in the arm. He admits to it, and then the women take their turns helping to finish him off. You know the first stab from Valerie goes right to the dick. They lay him out in the Zodiac sign, cut to pieces, “dick and balls” stuffed in his mouth.
Valerie tries taking credit for the Zodiac murders. But the cops thought she was insane. Thus, she went insane. Women slowly started leaving, as she got scarier and scarier. Eventually, only BB remained knowing Valerie had gone off the deep end. Valerie truly laments the control of men over women, especially her – whenever people hear her name, to this day, they think of Andy instead. “I am your legacy,” he tells her in a hallucination.
BB warns the women at the Butchery, they’ll be chewed up by the world if they let men keep on ruling. They are expendable to Kai, to other men. Bev’s ready to go hard or go home, hoping the others are with her. Winter goes home to find Kai in their parents’ room, holding his dead mother’s hand. He’s ruminating about the responsibility he took on, if he’ll be worthy. He wants to count on his sister, telling her about his new social media plan, a type of manifesto. She starts seeing the hierarchy of gender in the way he talks, though. Just under the surface.
The women get Harrison alone down at the Butchery, then they knock him out cold. When he wakes up they’re ready to start cutting him in pieces out back. They question him about Meadow’s death. Followed by slicing through his throat with a saw. Next day, Beverly’s reporting on the pieces of Mr. Wilton dropped in a body of water, covered in a layer of pond scum. So fitting. I wonder how this will split the group apart, and how Kai will now react going forward.
Because he and BB are friends, sitting together, watching everything unfold.
WHOA. I never saw that last one coming! Christ almighty. Can’t wait for more. This was an excellent episode tackling misogyny, coming at it from all angles – how men keep women down, how other women perpetuate it, how gay men can also be misogynistic. Nobody’s safe. Great writing.
“Winter of Our Discontent” is next week. Very excited to see what goes down.