FX’s American Horror Story
11×05: “Bad Fortune”
Directed by Paris Barclay
Written by Our Lady J & Jennifer Salt
* For a recap & review of 11×04, click here.
* For a recap & review of 11×06, click here.
Kathy Pizzaz is watching her new “replica” to make sure it doesn’t become a “rude impersonation.” She’s not paying the guy, except for tips. She just doesn’t want to be the background soundtrack for “blowjobs and teabagging” anymore. Then she gets a call that surprises her.
Elsewhere, Fran stops by a psychic reader on a whim, and the place belongs to Ms. Kathy herself, who has her hands in all kinds of different businesses apparently. Fran is actually looking for work, not a reading. Kathy asks if Fran has any experience with tarot, which Fran doesn’t, but it doesn’t matter because she’s only playing people who want psychic readings: “This is entertainment, honey.” Fran isn’t sure it’s ethical just to tell people what they want to hear, whereas Kathy couldn’t give a shit, as long as those people are paying customers. Later, Fran wakes in the middle of the night and looks out her window, noticing Big Daddy across the way in another apartment. But she just shuts her curtains.
Dr. Hannah Wells is having a baby with her sperm donor, Adam. They’re out walking when they decide to drop in for a psychic reading. Dr. Wells is surprised to see Fran, who insists she told the doctor truth about the leads previously. An awkward meeting, for sure. Fran starts pulling a bit of psychic nonsense talk to try drawing Dr. Wells in, and soon the doc agrees to “one card, one chance.” She’s still kind of amateur. Yet she does her best. When Adam decides to do a card, he gets the Death card; it doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad, but it’s ominous enough to creep him out. Fran wants Dr. Wells to choose again, so they try another one: the doctor also gets the Death card. Hmm. Spooky. Especially when another Death card turns over, despite only one meant to be in each pack of cards. This sends Adam and the doctor out of there, and Fran’s left confused.
Barbara is certainly not feeling like herself. She blames it on “bad sushi” and “a parasite.” Right now, she and Patrick have to finalise their divorce and sign on the dotted lines respectively. Patrick signs his name, but Barbara’s quite unwell, barely able to concentrate. She asks if they can have a moment alone. Barbara doesn’t want to be divorced, yet Patrick knows their relationship isn’t right, particularly for him. He tries to reassure her that she’ll be okay and find someone else. And so, eventually, Barbara signs her name on the documents, too. Then immediately afterwards she collapses unconscious.
Barbara’s rushed to the hospital and she wakes with Patrick in a chair next to her bed. She tells him she needs him to go take care of her dog. They still have a solid friendship, in spite of everything that’s happened in their marriage. So off the ex-husband goes to look after the dog’s needs. When he arrives the dog is barking at a closed door, and he hears something strange. Patrick pulls his gun and approaches the door, then Big Daddy bursts through it, manhandling the detective over the counter before trying to sexually assault him, seemingly. The two men fight, but Big Daddy easily overpowers the detective. A while later, the cops are there to investigate, and Patrick’s thankfully unharmed, though the other cops wonder if it’s just a “lover‘s spat.” Patrick insists the mysterious big man is after him.
At the baby doctor’s office, Dr. Wells is getting a checkup when Adam turns up. She came for a checkup because she had a dream she gave birth to a baby “with tentacles.” Then the doc notes that Hannah has a low red blood cell count, which troubles her, even if her doc says it’s probably nothing serious. Hannah tells Adam about the people after the fire, all of whom had similar low red blood cell counts, as well. She’s worried there may be a connection she isn’t quite seeing yet.
Theo drags Adam back to the psychic shop, intrigued by all the Death card stuff. They go back and Fran, eager for customers, is more than happy to have them; she even feels bad about Adam and Dr. Wells running out the night prior. Fran sets the deck up and begins, getting both men to cut the deck once each. It’s already feeling a bit unpleasant to Adam. Fran goes about Theo’s reading, and he’s pretty pleased, even once the Death card turns up again. The place starts to shake and Fran becomes demonic for a brief second, though only to Adam, who may just be hallucinating. Again, he runs out of the shop frightened.
At The Native, Adam’s working when Gino gets back from his recent health issues, the supposed “fleas.” He mentions Fran and the unsettling experiences he had at the psychic shop. Gino says it’s all bullshit, but Adam thinks Fran really has something going on. Adam can’t stop wondering: “What if we‘re all doomed?” It sends Gino down to see the new psychic with all his scepticism. He’s pissed off at Kathy, too, for continuing to fleece people, this time with supernatural bullshit.
Kathy wants Gino to sit with her, sending Fran off on a break, and, reluctantly, the journalist agrees. She starts a reading, but the cards feel ominous, so she restarts and gets Gino to shuffle the deck himself. And the same cards turn up once again. The lights flicker and go out. Kathy starts talking about death and everybody around Gino dying. It’s like Gino’s taken to another place momentarily, as Kathy reaches deep into his psyche. A spectral figure comes up behind Gino: it’s the Angel of Death, spreading her black wings, as we’ve seen before in American Horror Story; it’s surely not Frances Conroy, but they’ve kept the Angel concealed enough that you could almost believe it was her. It all freaks Gino out proper and he rushes off.
“Gimme Danger” by Iggy Pop & The Stooges plays over a montage of Gino in the shower, his rash still visible, as well as Barbara in the shower imagining Patrick at the sink shaving while she touches herself. Gino keeps inspecting his skin, looking behind him like there’s somebody watching. Barbara winds up being attacked by Big Daddy in the shower, murdered just before her ex turns up again to check in on her. Patrick walks into the bathroom and discovers Barbara dead. He goes out to the car watching the apartment and yells at the officers meant to protect Barbara. Patrick is devastated by the loss of his ex, someone who was still his close friend. He goes to find comfort with Gino, who notices his rash still lingering.
In a dark dungeon-like room, Mr. Whitely has a couple new men strapped down onto gurneys. He explains he’s trying to give their life “meaning,” not take it away. He believes they’re going to “change this city.” He’s planning something for the Pride Parade in a couple weeks, believing it’s nothing but a farce to make NYC look more progressive and welcoming than it really is underneath the facade. He then lowers something from the ceiling: a body, in a Christ-on-the-crucifix pose, made up of parts belonging to his previous victims, something to embody the change he wants to see. (Almost an homage to The Silence of the Lambs when Hannibal escapes captivity, leaving behind a mutilated guard hanging from his cell in a similar pose.)
Now, Mr. Whitely needs a couple more items to complete the body.