Game of Thrones: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 5 Recap: The Bells Toll for Daenerys

In Sunday’s thrilling, horrifying, frustrating episode, the Last War engulfed King’s Landing, and this season’s death toll shot up significantly.
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Game of Thrones: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 2 Recap: The Things We Do for Love

All over Winterfell, people gathered for a final bit of human tenderness before next week’s big White Walker clash.
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Better Call Saul: ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 4 Finale Recap: Suckers!

Jimmy’s slide into Saul continues as Mike faces a brutal choice.
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"E! News" Met Gala Recap This Tuesday

Get the scoop on all the heavenly fashion from the divine red carpet! Watch the "E! News" Met Gala recap this Tuesday at 7|6c and 11|10c.
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Free-agency recap: Top signings, grades for all 32 teams

One team got an A and another a D for free agency. NFL Nation hands out grades for all 32 teams. – NFL

"E! News" Grammy Awards Recap This Monday

Get the stories, the pics and tweets everyone is talking about! Watch "E! News" Grammy Awards recap, Monday at 7|6c and 11|10c.
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Pretty Little Liars Recap: You’ll Never Guess Who Might Be the New “A”

Welp, Pretty Little Liars fans, we're officially right back to where we started: With a death and an unknown killer on the loose in Rosewood, and the Liars looking like the main suspects (in…

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Critics Choice Awards 2016 Recap: Amy Schumer’s Speech, the Full Winners List, and More Big Moments

Although the Critics Choice Awards may not have the same level of hype as, say, the Golden Globes or the Oscars, it's still an important night in the busy awards season schedule. Not only will…

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‘Downton Abbey’ Season 6, Episode 3 Recap: So Nice to See Him Again?

It’s all about new and old suitors for the daughters of Downton.

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Empire Season 2 Premiere Recap: The 13 Craziest Moments and Quotes

Empire is back, boo boos! And, to nobody's surprise, season two began with all of the over-the-top shenanigans, cutthroat double-crossings, and "can they really say that?!" lines as we have come to expect. So what…

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Four Minute Recap: ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Season 2

What happened on the last season of Netflix’s hit show Orange is the New Black? So many things! But if you don’t have time to catch up before diving into season three, fear not! We’re here to help. Take four minutes out of your day and learn all about Piper and the gang.

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The Bachelorette Episode 7 Recap: Ian Go Bragh

The guys on The Bachelorette are starting to crack like Chris Harrison's hair gel after a 14-hour shoot. The guy with the "six-year-old who found scissors and 400 Pixi Stix" haircut cried. Shawn B. go…

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The Bachelorette Episode 2 Recap: Questionable Moves

Last night's episode had all the makings of a perfect Bachelorette: a talented and hilarious skeptic (Amy Schumer), a cliffhanger ending, and the afternoon of bloodsport Chris Harrison demanded in his contract negotiations last year….

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The Bachelorette Premiere Part 2 Recap: Sweet Girl

The Bachelorette premiere continued tonight with a one-hour episode, which is basically a Vine in Bachelorette time. And I’m happy to say that America, having already suffered the fate of watching Don Draper being very…

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‘The Bachelorette’ Season 11 Episode 2 Recap: Kaitlyn Bristowe Wins — And Gives Roses To A Few Losers

It’s 2015. By now, reality TV is a young adult, but it hasn’t grown out of “The Bachelor” franchise. Despite its bizarre dating rituals, low success rate, and questionable racial and gender politics, the stable of shows is, if anything, more popular than ever. Do people love “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” or do they love to hate it? It’s unclear. But here at Here To Make Friends, we both love and love to hate them — and we love to snarkily dissect each episode in vivid detail.

In this week’s second Here To Make Friends podcast (it is a two-part premiere … thanks, ABC), hosts Claire Fallon, HuffPost culture writer, and Emma Gray, senior editor of HuffPost Women, recap the May 19 episode of “The Bachelorette,” Season 11. We’ll break down the conclusion of the two-Bachelorette thing, Kaitlyn’s taste in men and the slut-shamey, sex talk season highlights. (Also… the return of Nick Viall?!)

You can check out our past and future episodes of Here To Make Friends and other HuffPost Podcasts on The Huffington Post’s Sound Cloud page. Thanks to our producer, Katelyn Bogucki and our editor Jorge Corona.

Also, check out the HuffPost Here To Make Friends podcast on iTunes and make sure to rate and review the show, too.

The best tweets about this week’s second “Bachelorette”…

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‘The Americans’ Recap: Are They Going to Kill Martha?

NOTE: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 11 & 12 of FX’s The Americans, titled “One Day in the Life of Anton Baklanov and “I Am Abassin Zadran”
All I care about is Paige now, I can’t help it. Well, also Henry. He’s is just the cutest, dumbest little brother that ever lived, and I should know because I have one. But Paige! I love that Elizabeth hates her church so much. Best quote? “Potluck, poster making, sing-a-long” is the best description of church groups I have ever heard.

And then the tension. Granny’s back. Stan is at Marthas. We are heading into a finale and the stakes are higher than ever before. Are we all having mini strokes every Wednesday? Here are some of my favorite freak outs:

I do hope they don’t kill Martha because they think she tattled. Next week is the finale and I don’t know if I’ll breathe during it all. But never fear, they’re already working on next year:

What are your finale predictions? Tweet them at me @karenfratti

The Americans airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.

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The Bachelor Episode 7 Recap: I Heart Arlington

It's only Tuesday, but we've lived a century in Bachelor time this week. Chris Harrison sat patiently, eyes sparkling with well-honed professional compassion, as former Bachelorette Andi Dorfman somehow kept a snot drip at bay…

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The Bachelor Premiere Recap: If It’s a Pomegranate, Then God Bless It

Just once, I would like The Bachelor's bachelor to be an accountant. Or a dentist. Or a Pottery Barn customer-service phone rep. Anything indoorsy and normal that would force the producers to abandon their quest…

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GameTrailers Best of 2014 Awards Winners Recap

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Top 5 Things to Know Before Watching Mockingjay Part 1 (2014) – Hunger Games Recap HD

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‘The League,’ Season 6, Episode 11 Recap: EBDBBnB

Andre and Russell’s wine bar, Menage a Cinq, is officially open for business and as such, the two have embarked on the best marketing campaign they could think of: vlogs! We’re fortunate enough to get a glimpse of episode #34 and it DOES NOT disappoint. There are excessively long hashtags, crude sexual references, and a boatload of awkwardness. Not going to lie, this is a wine bar I’d visit.


Ruxin actually makes an appearance in this week’s episode (Is it annoyingly noticeable to anyone else when he’s not around? Anyone? Bueller?). He’s awfully irritated by an unknown coworker who apparently decided it was a great idea to brush their teeth in the company bathroom and then leave said toothbrush on the toilet paper dispenser. I totally agree with Ruxin in regards to how freaking weird this is… that’s totally unsanitary. The next day, the toothbrush is gone but the remnants left over still irritate Ruxin when he enters the bathroom to pee again. This time around, even more weirdness ensues — not involving the toothbrush — when his coworker Chaps enters the bathroom and begins taking a crap right next to Ruxin. Absolutely disgusted, Ruxin leaves in a huff and goes to Bethesda’s office to complain. Again, agreed with Ruxin. Peeing in front of someone is one thing, but doing the number two? COME ON. Have you NO shame?? Anyway, Bethesda thinks nothing of the crapping adjacency and scolds Ruxin for not working on his deposition. Typical.

After a trip to the doctor, Pete thinks he may have a gluten allergy and Kevin and Taco are quick to point out that now he and Andre are matching! Because Andre is a huge creep and takes any excuse to bond waaaaaay too far, Pete attempts to keep the gluten allergy thing under wraps. All seems to be going fine until Andre brings his decanters over to the MacArthur household because he needs help deciding which one would be best for the Menage a Cinq centerpieces. Amidst a slew of sexual jokes involving the decanters looking like butt plugs, Pete sneaks away to the kitchen to replenish his gluten free beer undetected. Unfortunately, Andre catches him and insists they become “GFFs.” As the prospective bonding seems to be taking full effect — solely on Andre’s part — Kevin intervenes and says that the gluten free beer is his father-in-law’s, not Pete’s.

Taco has put some of his EBDb money to good use and finally bought a house in the “slumburbs,” courtesy of Jenny and her realty skills. However, he’s bought the house for a much different purpose than initially intended. Touted the “EBDBBNB,” Taco turns the house into a bed-and-breakfast for his eskimo brothers (and others) and essentially makes it a brothel, though he vehemently denies that it is one. In an AMAZING musical video, Taco shows off his new bed-and-breakfast and the gang watches in awe. Taco encourages his friends to join him over the weekend and watch the game at the EBDBBNB’s opening. This upsets Andre, who’s already asked everyone to come to Menage a Cinq. Let the games begin — literally and figuratively.

menage a cinq

Determined to catch Chaps as the “toothbrush bandit,” Ruxin follows Chaps into the bathroom and catches him redhanded… with an insulin pen. The failed bust leads to another meeting in Bethesda’s office with both Ruxin and Chaps. Ruxin’s forced to eat a big ol’ bowl of crow when, yet again, no one seems to think it’s weird that there is no divider between the toilet and the urinal so he has to apologize to Chaps for his behavior/accusations. I stand by my earlier statements. It’s still gross.

Kevin catches Jenny attempting to do laundry and thwarts her efforts to wash his lucky jersey, which he removes from the basket and immediately puts on. In the same minute, Taco walks in the house and starts moving boxes because he’s moving all his stuff out of the MacArthur’s house. You can almost see the internal dancing happening in Kevin and Jenny’s minds. Praise the lucky jersey.

Still not pleased with Taco’s takeover of game day on Sunday, Andre confronts him. In doing so, Andre runs into Marshawn Lynch, a new friend of Taco and apparent big fan of the EBDBBNB. Andre attempts to bond with Lynch and it fails miserably. Lynch leaves in his Mercedes, but not before telling Taco he’ll “holla” at him. Taco and Andre agree to split the day and Andre is pleased.

The gang heads over to Menage a Cinq and Andre attempts to put them all in a bread coma. Pete, who’s not supposed to eat gluten, gets pressured into eating an entire bowl of bread pudding and proceeds to vomit all over Kevin. His good luck jersey is clearly not lucky because outside of the vomit, Kevin also loses the game and ends up not making it to the playoffs. It’s off to the Sacko for him. As game day continues at the EBDBBNB, Sofia makes her “world famous chorizo” for the gang. Unfortunately, she ends up unintentionally using Taco’s lambskin condoms as the chorizo casing (NOTE: How the hell this could EVER happen, I will never know but… disbelief will suspended regardless). Once the gang realizes the mistake, they predictably spit out the condom chorizo. FOREVER UNCLEAN.

pete and andre

At Ruxin’s office the next day, he’s still trying to brush the condom chorizo out of his mouth, to no avail. Mid-brush, Ruxin gets the urge to poop and he makes moves for the toilet. As he begins, Bethesda catches him and calls him a hypocrite for brushing and pooping when he’s been complaining about someone else doing the same thing for days. Moments later, Bethesda pulls out his toothbrush as he pees, indicating he’s the real “toothbrush bandit.” Ruxin’s stomach gurgles and as he poops, he and Bethesda yell “AHHHHHH” in unison while maintaining eye contact. The whole encounter makes me wildly uncomfortable. Alas, another glorious episode of inappropriateness is over. Until next week, dear friends…


  • Andre’s hashtag shirt.
  • “Stop with the gluten shit, Yeast Mode.”
  • Banana Bottom Boys.
  • “I want to hold hands with you and walk into bakeries and tell everyone that what they’re putting into their bodies is poison.”
  • Grain brains.
  • “Andre, move your butt plugs out of the way.”
  • “And if you’re not having sex, put the DISTURB sign on the door and someone will be right in to fix that for you.”
  • “Ice and lube in 302 please!”
  • “Jenny, you’re the oldest lesbian I know.”
  • Condom chorizo.
  • Keep up with “The League” recaps here every week. “The League” airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FXX.
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    Grey’s Anatomy Recap: VA-GI-NA in “Bend and Break”

    Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 11, Episode 5 of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, titled “Bend and Break.”


    I have an unpopular opinion to share and if you’ve read my “Grey’s” recaps last year you might know what I’m about to say: I’ve wanted Callie and Arizona to break up so badly. If they were real people and I knew them (which of course, I do) I would have counseled that breakup long ago. It’s just humane: they aren’t nice to each other, like ever. Someone is always giving up so much to make the other happy. Like Callie says, the thing that kills you is trying too hard to make a relationship work.

    And, quite frankly, I think Callie is mean and selfish. I think Arizona is a brat, too, and don’t think that watching her try to “consciously uncouple” didn’t remind me that I used to want to beat my ex-boyfriend and couples counselor with a broom (who needs space?!), but I think Callie is the worst of the worst. That’s why she’s a good surgeon, like Yang and Meredith, she doesn’t care if you like her or not.

    Watching Meredith and Callie get drunk though? Entirely amusing. It makes sense that two people who need to not go home could put their misery to good use.

    More amusing? How badass Geena Davis is as a boss. I hope they put her to good use (and let her use more baseball metaphors, because she makes me want to watch League of Their Own, always.

    Also, what kind of therapist recommends that two people live in the same house and not talk to each other? Although it was a good excuse to use old scenes:

    What did you think of this week? Can it be splitsville for real for our girls? Let me know @karenfratti

    “Grey’s Anatomy” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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    ‘The League,’ Season 6, Episode 7 Recap: The Heavenly Fouler

    Kicking off this episode in front of the TV, the gang is at Andre’s chatting about Ellie attending Sunday school. Kevin says it’s because they want her to have some semblance of morals and Jenny just keeps it real by saying that she can watch the game without interruptions now. Quality parenting, FTW. Taco interrupts the convo with MAJOR TacoCorp news: someone has stolen his walkman with a recording of all the EBDb information on it. GREAT ODIN’S RAVEN.

    Andre rescues a cat, which he calls “Milady.” The kitty causes everyone to bite their tongues at the plethora of pussy jokes suddenly waiting to be thrown out there. I don’t even feel bad for Andre anymore. Homeboy does it to himself. Jenny takes the possibility of pussy wordplay to the next level by proposing that the first person to crack under the hilarity and make a pussy play has to trade their best running back. Let the games begin.

    Because apparently the McArthur’s are always having health issues, Jenny’s the one visiting her doctor this time around. She’s a little backed up in the bowels and as such, the doc gives her a “stool kit.” For three days, Jenny’s got to take samples of her poop and scoop them up, put them in baggies, and freeze ’em. Gives new meaning to the word “fudgsicle.” Yeah.. you already know where this is going.

    At Gibson’s, as always, Pete’s debuting a new chick named Penny, played by Anna Camp. Penny runs a pet grooming company that specializes in “cattitude,” which is a great bonding point with Andre. After she leaves, Andre tells the guys of an upcoming photo shoot he has with Milady. Pete, Kevin, and Taco are literally squirming as they skirt around the massive pussy… I mean, elephant… in the room. Andre asks Kevin if he can do the shoot at his house because Kevin has the play set and Kevin happily agrees. Kevin also convinces Pete to get Penny to give Milady some extra “cattitude.” Pete obliges and Penny is super excited at the prospect of getting to groom Andre’s cat for the shoot. Andre has promised to refer her to all of his wealthy, doctor friends if all goes well. Unaware that the whole thing is a prank, Penny shares her excitement with Pete and, in a shocking twist, we see Pete visualize some discomfort at being a dick. GASP.

    pete kevin and taco

    Reverting back to Jenny and her situation for a hot second, she is extremely disgusted by having to freeze her excrement. That disgust, however, pales in comparison to her disgust for Ellie’s claims that she and Kevin are worshipping false idols. As per her new Sunday school teachings, Ellie is regarding Jenny and Kevin’s affection for the Shiva as something that will send them to Hell. I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, Ellie, but that ship has long since sailed for your proud parents. So take your Sunday school prayers and get out of Jenny’s face because the Shiva ain’t going nowhere.

    Anyway, Kevin and Taco persuade an unsure Pete to go through with the prank and Kevin heads to play basketball. While there, he runs into his priest. Kevin’s priest, played by the adorable Jerry O’Connell, whoops his ass on the court – literally. The “heavenly fouler,” as Andre so aptly calls him, even goes so far that he gives Kevin a black eye. I’d feel bad but Kevin has an extremely punchable face so the bruise fits.

    Ellie’s clearly taking notes from the mother of Carrie in this episode because homegirl is going full-fledged batshit and biblical. After reciting some Bible verses at, not to, her parents, Pete, and, Andre, she storms out of the room just before the whole gang recites some “Hail Shivas.” Taco interrupts the Shiva-ing to reveal the EBDb information that was on the walkman – one tidbit of which includes a lesbian encounter that Jenny had with a girl on her field hockey team back in the day. Kevin is not enthused about the secret keeping and runs to the kitchen to get ice for his priest-induced shiner. He grabs one of Jenny’s frozen poop bags to use and Jenny doesn’t have the heart to tell him that it’s not what he thinks it is.

    Kevin plays basketball with the priest again and the fouling continues. Irritated, Kevin fouls right back and slams the priest in the face. The priest pulls the “I’m a man of God!” card and clutches his temple. Kevin tries to make amends by offering the priest an ice pack. Shit hits the face, I mean, the fan… hell, I mean the face AND the fan, when the “ice pack” starts leaking actual crap on the priest’s face. What’d I say before? We knew something like this would happen. Oh Kevin.

    priest jerry oconnell

    Taco goes into a Chinese convenience store, intent on finding his lost walkman and in rustling around the various food items, the owner screams at him. The owner then chases Taco out of the store and to escape, Taco hops into the nearest dumpster. The dumpster happens to have the walkman in it, EBDb information and all, and all is right with the world according to Taco.

    At the photo shoot for Andre, Penny arrives with Milady and the cat is straight-up rachet. Decked out in tattoos (including one of Andre’s face), a hat, and paw sleeves, Andre’s pussy is far from camera-ready. Andre is furious and vows to poorly review Penny on Yelp, Penny is distraught, and, yet again, another one of Pete’s flings comes to a crashing, burning halt. Kevin and Jenny’s priest shows up with Ellie in tow because Taco failed to pick her up, as he was in the dumpster. Priest Jerry O’Connell calls out Kevin and Jenny for worshipping a pagan idol called Shiva and, desperate to explain, the two take him into the garage to show him the trophy. There they find Taco bathing in an inflatable pool and they only infuriate the priest more. The icing on the cake comes when the priest opens the cabinet that the Shiva is supposed to be in only to get attacked by Milady who was lurking inside. The priest leaves angrily, condemning them all to hell, and Taco gets the last word of the day with a perfectly timed pussy joke.

    Hail to the Shiva.


  • “We’re on the verge of a Mark Cuban missile crisis.”
  • “Yeah, with the hair all over the place, it makes her look way older.”
  • Feces fort.
  • Andre’s use of Yelp.
  • “Preach hard, play hard.”
  • “You’re all fornicators and sodomites!”
  • Hail Shivas.
  • Pete’s eskimo brother, Sisqo.
  • “Dumpster ding-dong? Best day ever!”
  • The League” airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FXX.
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    Game Night Was Supposed To Be Fun #Recap #IfLovingYouIsWrong | #OWNSHOW | Oprah Winfrey Network

    All is not well with the neighbors on Tyler Perry’s If Loving You Is Wrong! See how Brad’s thoughtful and “fun” game night with Randal and Marcie affects Alex on last week’s episode.

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    Happily Ever After?The Leftovers Finale Recap

    Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 1, Episode 10 of HBO’s The Leftovers, titled “The Prodigal Son Returns.”


    This is what I was waiting for all season. Total and complete chaos.

    I was sure we were stuck with Kevin in the woods and wondering what the heck the GR were doing laying out baby clothes.

    They crossed a line — making people remember with wax figures of the departed.

    Jill had gone to be with her mother on the very night they were going to leave figurines all around town, and then almost dies in the riots.

    Nora? If I could use profanity I would. I was convinced she was going to shoot herself, so the little twist on the porch was well worth it.

    Things I Love About This Show:

    1) The use of sound and silence. Maybe it’s overdone every now and again because the show is so dark. But the silent screams and the physical acting being good enough to work under that theme song? Not an easy combo.

    2) Of course, the story’s about the family. Cue the piano. I was annoyed that we kept forgetting about Tom. And trying to figure out how he was going to fit in. I’m glad he’s back in the center — almost “Walking Dead”-style.

    3) Not being sure if I should laugh or cry. So yes, the family. But the dog?

    What did you think of the finale? Is this show cheesy or am I totally cynical? Are we almost happily ever after? Let me know @karenfratti or in the comments.

    “The Leftovers” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.
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    ‘The Leftovers’ Season 1 Finale Recap

    For me, the central question of any story is the one I asked here a few weeks ago: Why now? At the time, it was a question that was frustrating me in “The Leftovers,” but no longer. This show has always been about the gray space between good and evil. That conflict is clearer in the season finale than ever before: All of these people that we’ve been watching and wondering about and caring about for all these weeks, this story that has been sometimes stagnant and sometimes an emotional gut-punch, they all crystallized this week. And, damn, was it satisfying.
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    Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week #ZapposRecharge Day 1 Recap

    Check out what we’ve been up to at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week! We’re giving away tons of goodies like handbags, designer dresses, fashion show passes, and more! If you’re in the neighborhood, come see us across from Lincoln Center in NYC on September 7th between 2-7pm!

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    MasterChef Recap: “Nice and Fudgy” in ‘Top 12 Compete’

    Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 5, Episode 10 of FOXs “MasterChef,” titled “Top 12 Compete.”


    Hey, guys? Can someone tell my future mate to not propose to me on an episode of ‘MasterChef’ with scary Joe Bastianich lording over it all? Cool, thanks.

    So tonight was all about romance and two teams — with Ahran and Elizabeth at the helms — had to cook for a bunch of couples. And Gordon Ramsey’s wife, who was wearing delectable yellow heels that made even Courtney gape in awe.

    One team makes a lobster risotto. The other makes a sexy, yet undercooked, filet mignon. For dessert, they sort of look the same. Strangely, Leslie and Ahran make amends. Elizabeth keeps her cool plating goofy bowls of strawberries. Everything sort of goes smoothly. The Blue Team — with Elizabeth and Courtney and other front runners win. Christine, Cutter, Ahran, Leslie, Willie, and Christian have to make a bunch of truffles for a pressure test. Uh-oh.

    Willie and Christian have no idea what they’re doing. Leslie’s rambling about throwing sexy truffles into his wife’s mouth. Yes, throwing. Cutter doesn’t even know what a truffle is. It’s not going to be easy.

    Strangely, at the end of the test, they all look sort of OK. I would have no idea where to start (or I would just start licking the chocolate whipping bowl). Cutter actually comes through with dainty looking truffles. Gordon and the other chefs bust on him, but he’s officially rebounded. Christian has some tasty sounding truffles. Willie uses too many sprinkles. Ahran gets a grunt from Joe and that’s it. Leslie’s look like they would give his wife a concussion if he threw ’em at her. Christine goes classic on flavors. Sea salt and dark chocolate? Yes, please! But they’re also fugly.

    The case of reality show producers calling the shots won in the end. Leslie is good drama. Christine just busts her butt and wants to win. I’m sort of bummed because I was hoping she was the underdog in this competition.

    What were your favorite moments this week? Who’s next? Let me know @karenfratti or in the comments.

    “MasterChef” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.
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    ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 4 Episode 9 Recap: ‘The Watchers On The Wall’

    Welcome to “Game of Moans,” the weekly recap of “Game of Thrones” Season 4 that highlights all the moan-worthy, gasp-filled, OMG moments that litter the Seven Kingdoms. In other words, you can get a traditional recap anywhere, so here’s all the sex, bloodshed, and WTF moments (the good stuff) that went down this week:

    (Spoiler alert for “GoT” Season 4, Episode 9 “The Watchers On the Wall.” Warning: Some images below show very graphic violence.)

    June 8’s “The Watchers On The Wall” served up 35 minutes of non-stop bloody, nerve-wracking action as the Wildlings arrived at Castle Black to fight the Night’s Watch. While Jon Snow can definitely kick some ass with his sword fighting skills, an unlikely hero emerged in this episode. Sam Tarly, previously the most naive and timorous character on the show, finally manned up by not only killing a Wilding, but by protecting his woman, getting his first kiss, and showing way more courage and wisdom than we ever could’ve expected. This was your night, Sam.

    The Watch-Out-For-The-Giant Moan
    The Wildlings didn’t just bring way more men than the Night’s Watch, they brought giants, and even giants sitting atop elephants! Giant Number One got really pissed off that his buddy Giant Number Two got killed. So he casually shot an arrow up towards the wall, hitting a guy and literally making him fly backwards off of the wall, landing on the ground below. Ouch.

    tv show gifs

    The Fuck-Yeah-Sam! Moan
    As I said above, it was a surprise to see Sam finally all grown up and matured. He gave his friend an honest pep talk, held him in his arms as he died and didn’t flee from battle, as he would’ve unquestionably done before. His best moment came when, instead of cowering under the Thenn charging at him, he loaded up his crossbow and — BAM! Samwell Tarly killed a live human, and it was a massive terrifying dude. (I literally clapped and cheered in this victorious moment.)

    tv show gifs

    The Ghost-Is-Gonna-Get-Ya Moan
    I almost forgot that Jon found Ghost at Craster’s and took him back to Castle Black. The poor pup has probably been pretty lonely and in need of some exercise now that he’s not being warged into by Bran. He definitely let out all that pent-up energy on a Wildling’s throat though.

    tv show gifs

    The Hammer Head Moan
    Jon showed some really impressive swordplay while fighting Styr, and I don’t know how he lasted as long as he did against the burly Thenn. Jon got his fair share of bruises (that face-smashing was pretty awful), but let’s not forget that Jon has Stark in his blood, and the Stark’s don’t go down easy. Finally, Jon grabbed a hammer and took out Stry (à la Ryan Gosling in “Drive”). And it was nasty.

    tv show gifs

    The Swinging Anchor Moan
    You gotta give it to the Night’s Watch, they came up with some pretty clever ways to take out the Wildlings. Suspending the two guys off the wall was a great trick, as well as the barrel launching. But the real secret weapon was tucked away in the ice. To stop the Wildlings from reaching the top of the Wall, they just casually thought, “Hey, why don’t we use that giant anchor we have hidden beneath the ice?”

    tv show gifs

    The Shot-Through-The-Heart Moan
    Love may bring an end to your duty, but it could also bring an end of your life. Poor Ygritte has thought about killing Jon for so long that when the moment finally came, her emotions overwhelmed her. You can’t blame her though, for wanting to kill him and not being able to. At least they had a few moments together as Jon held her in his arms as she died. I was really hoping he’d at least mention the “L” word or something sweet, but I guess the point got across. RIP, girl, I will miss your ferocious badassery.

    tv show gifs

    Some thoughts:

    • If Jon Snow ever has a son, that sex talk is going to be super awkward.
    • SAM’S FIRST KISS!!!!
    • Where did all this newfound wisdom on life and death and courage come from Mr. Samwell Tarly? Sorry Jon, but you truly know nothing compared to your BFF.
    • That tracking shot of the battle on the ground was fantastic. (Trying to join the Epic TV Tracking Shots Club, guys?
    • Ygritte couldn’t have had better last words.
    • The writers and George R.R. Martin both said this episode was bigger and better than “Blackwater,” but I have to disagree. This was no doubt a fun, action-packed battle filled with both cringe and cheer-worthy moments, and as far as scale, it was definitely bigger. Yet it wasn’t as clever and thrilling, or as emotionally straining, as “Blackwater.” However, that may be because I’m not nearly as invested in Castle Black’s affairs or Jon Snow as I am in the King’s Landing crowd.
    • Wait, can we all stop and mourn the depressing fact that only one episode is left in Season 4? I really wish the writers had switched this episode with last week’s. It’s a cruel tease to take us away from all the King’s Landing drama for a whole week, and there is still so many stories we need to revisit. Can we please get a bonus episode?
    • By the way, I’m still not over Oberyn. Being away from King’s Landing for a week did not distract me. Nice try, Dan Weiss and David Benioff.

    “Game of Thrones” airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. EDT on HBO.
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    ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 4 Episode 8 Recap: ‘The Mountain And The Viper’

    Welcome to “Game of Moans,” the weekly recap of “Game of Thrones” Season 4 that highlights all the moan-worthy, gasp-filled, OMG moments that litter the Seven Kingdoms. In other words, you can get a traditional recap anywhere, so here’s all the sex, bloodshed, and WTF moments (the good stuff) that went down this week:

    (Spoiler alert for “GoT” Season 4, Episode 8 “The Mountain and The Viper.” Warning: Some images below show nudity and very graphic violence.)

    We had to wait two whole weeks for “Game of Thrones” to return, but it was definitely worth it. “The Mountain and The Viper” delivered one of the best duels the series has ever seen, and it was so horrific you probably weren’t be able to sleep afterwards.

    The Don’t-Mess-With-A-Wilding Moan

    Ygritte may be a woman, but she’s as fierce as any Wildling when the thirst for blood is high. That brothel girl sure learned that quickly when she got a spear through her chest. But just when you think Ygritte is a ruthless killer to the bone, a tad bit of motherly compassion spills through when she lets Gilly and little Sam Jr. live. Ygritte, or shall we call her the Westeros Black Mamba?

    tv show gifs

    The Sneak-A-Peek Moan
    Grey Worm may not have his stones and/or pillar, but that doesn’t mean a gorgeous naked woman doesn’t catch his eye. And hey dude, you’re not fooling anyone. Missandei knows exactly what you’re looking at. Try taking a tip out of Littlefinger’s creeper book.

    tv show gifs

    The Don’t-Trust-Anybody Moan

    The poor ironborn at Moat Cailin fell for Reek’s impression of Theon (and what a great performance that was, up until he nearly lost it). Ramsay trampled through and slaughtered everyone in his typical gruesome fashion.

    tv show gifs

    The GO-OBERYN! Moan

    Everyone except Cersei and Tywin was rooting for Oberyn in this tense duel. The Viper is certainly a skilled fighter (or shall I say dancer, since those moves looked more like ice dancing with a spear) as he dodged and ducked the Mountain for most of the fight. It was quiet a spectacle to watch and the moment Oberyn knocked down Gregor Clegane was one of the most victorious of the season.

    tv show gifs

    But then there was that moment, the moment we know all too well from movies and TV when the hero almost brings the villain to his death, but decides to boast for a minute. And then …

    The Oh-No-No-NO!!!! Moan

    … it was Oberyn’s downfall. A winning fighter can’t be an emotional fighter, and the Dorne charmer let his emotions get the best of him. Once The Mountain knocked him down it was clearly the end. But he didn’t just break the poor guy’s neck or slice his throat — he gave him the absolute grisliest, most horrific, most stomach-turning death we’ve ever seen on the series, and possibly all of TV (including the nightmare-inducing “Hannibal” deaths). Merely shoving Oberyn’s eyes into his head wasn’t enough — he had to squeeze his head until it literally exploded. Nasty. Horrifying. So, so depressing.

    tv show gifs

    Some thoughts:

    • Next time you play Guess That Tune, try tricking your friends with a Westeros song.
    • Finally Missandei is getting more lines and not just translating!
    • The only way to survive in these parts is to join the powerful, and Sansa has definitely learned a thing or two since Season 1. But damn girl, I did not see that change coming. *Slow clap*
    • … But then again, that got way creepy way fast between Littlefinger and Sansa. He’s giving such creepy pedophile vibes and her cleavage in that Maleficent-esque dress are not helping.
    • Hey Jorah, if you’re going to lie to and betray anyone, make sure it’s not the most powerful woman in the Seven Kingdoms, as well as the woman you love. She will kick you to the curb.
    • Ramsay Snow Bolton just got way too big of an ego boost.
    • “Every Type Of Death Ever,” a new book from Tyrion Lannister featuring a new addition: “cousincide.”
    • Jaime was seriously enjoying the hell out of that fight. He looked like he was watching the damn Super Bowl. All he needed was a bowl of popcorn in that big metal hand.
    • Pedro Pascal, you will truly be missed.
    • Dear “GoT” directors and writers: Can you please, please stop torturing us with these traumatic ending shots of Tyrion’s fear-filled face? They are heartbreaking and I can’t take it anymore.

    “Game of Thrones” airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. EDT on HBO.
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    Grey’s Anatomy Finale Recap: Dance it Out

    Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 10, Episode 24 of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, titled “Fear (of the Unknown).'”


    “What, do you need an ‘I love you’ or something? I love you!” That’s probably the best goodbye between two dark and twisty friends there could be. That, and a dance party.

    This could have went a few different ways and I have to admit that I smiled the whole way through.

    Here’s why:

    1) Yang’s character is (was) the best on television, ever. You all know it. Her send off was perfect: she got to tell Meredith to stop worshiping Derek, Karev that he was an imbecile, and wave, quietly to Owen. Like every other time “Grey’s” tries to teach us a life lesson, I thought this one was pretty darn good: there is no endpoint.

    2) It was also just a good season finale in general. The worst interns are taken care of (Murphy off on her life, Shane to Switzerland). April makes good with the world and Mama Avery. And there’s conflict to deal with come September: a new character was introduced and it’s Ellis Grey and Webber’s child. Bailey thinks she’s getting Yang’s seat but Cristina left it all to Alex. Meredith is stopping the D.C. move. There was a George reference. Does it get any more perfect?

    3) Did I mention how happy I am that Cristina, a smart, sexy, stubborn, single woman gets a happy ending?

    What were your favorite parts? How much did you die a little when you thought she was in the mall? Do we even have to watch next season if McDreamy and Mer are going to fight and Webber has a daughter?

    Tell me in the comments or let me know @karenfratti.

    “Grey’s Anatomy” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
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    ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 4 Episode 6 Recap: ‘The Laws Of Gods And Men’

    Welcome to “Game of Moans,” the weekly recap of “Game of Thrones” Season 4 that highlights all the moan-worthy, gasp-filled, OMG moments that litter the Seven Kingdoms. In other words, you can get a traditional recap anywhere, so here’s all the sex, bloodshed, and WTF moments (the good stuff) that went down this week:

    (Spoiler alert for “Game of Thrones” Season 4, Episode 6 “The Laws of Gods and Men.”)

    As usual, Sunday night’s (May 11) episode, “The Laws of Gods and Men,” was fantastic, as well as heartbreaking. The two most tortured souls in “GoT,” Theon/Reek and Tyrion, had such emotional scenes this week, and both Alfie Allen and Peter Dinklage gave some of their best performances of the series.

    The Holy-Crap-This-Dude-Is-Crazy Moan
    Ramsay Snow is one of the most screwed up villiains “GoT” has ever seen and maybe even TV as a whole. He’s such a psycho it’s hard to not gasp in amazement and horror at his every evil move (or maybe I’m still in shock to see Iwan Rheon be so cruel after loving his “Misfits” character). Of course he exits his bedroom after ear-shattering sex covered in blood and scratches. Of course he smiles gleefully while hacking up men.

    The Dragon Attack Moan
    What a gorgeous, peaceful scene of a young boy watching his father’s goats grazing on hills of gently swaying grass. It was one of the most beautiful scenes of the season. But this is “Game of Thrones” guys, and beauty and peace are not things that last for long in the Seven Kingdoms. Up comes one of Dany’s dragons who proceeds to barbecue some grub just like it’s a hot July afternoon.

    The Oh-No-She-Didn’t Moan
    I was not expecting Shae to testify; nice little curve ball, Tywin. More importantly though, I don’t find her anger towards Tyrion completely justified. Yes, he broke her heart rather terribly, but we all know that he only acted that way out of love and to protect her. He never should’ve foolishly believed he could keep her safe in King’s Landing; that was his most selfish mistake. But to betray him like she did to the point of possibly causing his murder? That’s just too far, Shae.

    The Fuck-Yeah-Tyrion! Moan
    Good god, I love Tyrion. The last scene was absolutely incredible and as I said above, one of (if not the) best performances from Dinklage in the show yet. I was almost close to tears during the second half of the trial, mainly because I thought he was going to be killed (no, I don’t read the books), but also because I felt damn proud of him.

    Some thoughts:

    • That opening shot was fantastic. I’m not sure why, but the photography this episode was more stunning than usual.
    • LOL, pirate jokes.
    • Further on what I said above (because it just can’t be expressed enough), Ramsay is so horribly horribly evil. Now that Theon has completely morphed into Reek, he wants Reek to pretend to be Theon?! Can Theon/Reek do it? If he acts like Theon could the familiarity of it remind him of who he really is? This will be really interesting …
    • Damn, Daenerys has the most titles of anyone in this show. You think they’d use some abbreviations for her long introduction, especially when she has over 200 meet and greets.
    • So it’s official, Varys is a asexual. (Not surprising.)
    • Jaime is just getting more and more valiant. He’s proven to be such a selfless hero since that rape scene that it almost feels like the writers are trying to make up for it. Or maybe this is just further proof that the rape was executed very badly on the show’s part.
    • That trial was so tense. It felt like a “Law and Order” episode.
    • I vote that Tyrion calls on Brienne to fight for him in the trial. (Please!!)

    “Game of Thrones” airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. EDT on HBO.
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    ‘Veep’ Season 3 Episode 3 Recap: Selina Dominates The Diss Rankings

    Selina Meyer won HuffPost TV’s “Veep” diss rankings by a landslide this week. In the April 20 episode, “Alicia,” the veep prepared to give the most important speech of her life, announcing her candidacy for president. She also got nailed with an “SNL” spoof, more horrific PR from Mike and a battle over universal child care.

    “Alicia” may have been the HBO show’s most self-aware episode yet. Viewers got to watch a cast of grade A comedians bash “comedians” and hear Julia Louis-Dreyfus call “SNL,” a show she once starred on, “juvenile.” Here are the best one-liners, zingers and lingering disses from “Veep” Season 3 Episode 3, “Alicia.”

    Selina Meyer

    • Dan, this rewrite kicks balls and ass.
    • So what, I had a horse as a kid? Who didn’t? Have a pet is what I meant.
    • If someone takes a shit in your car, what are you going to do? Drop your trou and take a crap through the sunroof? I don’t think so buddy.
    • You start picking this thing apart and what am I left as? Some sort of optimistic warmonger with a soft spot for educated gays?
    • You want me to be just some sort of party puppet? You can stick your hand up my ass and work my mouth?
    • What in the wide world of fuck do you think you’re wearing?
    • I’m supposed to let a bunch of dead-eyed white guys shit all over absolutely everything I stand for?
    • I decided I’m going to let them dictate me because it’s my decision.

    Kent Davison

    • Children are of no value. Forget child care.
    • If you don’t like the reality, go live in Oregon and make quilts with my mother. She could use the help.

    Sue Wilson

    • Ma’am it’s Amy. It sounds like she’s uncomfortable, like she’s with a member of the public.
    • This is your beauty pageant for the nearly dead.

    Ben Caffrey

    • This “Saturday Night Live” shitstorm, it just hit nine on the sphincter scale.

    Mike McLintock

    • I’m trying to help you, you stupid cow!

    Catherine Meyer

    • I have had a hard, lonely, miserable life and the only thing that is going to make it worthwhile is if I become the daughter of the next president of the United States. So, you need to go out there and stop behaving like a little bitch.

    “Veep” airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. EDT on HBO.
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    The Americans’Behind the Red Door’ Recap: Are You Mad At Me?

    Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 2, Episode 5 of FX’s The Americans, titled “Behind the Red Door.”

    Wig count: 5. The most interesting being the one that Philip dons as Clark…for Elizabeth. Her girl talk with Martha made her curious to see what the ‘animal’ in bed was like. But they’re in a dirty hotel, and Clark does it like all of the jerks in the world. Just when things were getting good — it feels like he assaults her. They end with her curled in the he ended, sobbing, him in the bathroom, ripping off the wig. It’s a shot in stark contrast to one earlier in the hour, with her lying naked next to him, fully clothed, after a nice evening together.

    Best one-liner: ‘Good night, Mr. President.’ Lucia, the rookie spy Elizabeth helped out a few episodes back is called into help Elizabeth get into the office of a congressman in order to expose the situation in Nicaruaga that Larick is a part of. Acting on Elizabeth’s advice, sort of, Lucia lets the congressional aide have her over the desk and under a portrait of Reagan, while Elizabeth sneaks in behind them. But while the girls recap their mission, and talk of fighting for ‘dignity for all,’ Elizabeth gives her an extra lesson. It’s strange to watch her and the young woman, there’s a lot going on with female on female dynamics and girls breaking bad with boys. Elizabeth talks the girl into giving it up — then killing — for the cause, as she grapples with Philip and her family, and bad Clark sex. And also working with Larick and Granny. Then Claudia admits that she was involved with someone who may be Emmet and Leanne’s murderer. Sex might be a good tool in the spy biz, but it certainly wrecks just as much as it helps.

    Lessons learned: Everything is getting very complicated. Beeman and Agent Gaade are at odds. Beeman’s making Nina take a polygraph and meeting with Oleg. The FBI is starting to scan documents into the intranet and no one knows that means. Arkady and Oleg are getting along. And the Jennings thought they could talk the center into protecting them, by offering Larick. Instead, they have to expose the mission he’s on. Again and again Moscow makes them work for it. And no matter how adorable the new handler is, ‘dignity for all’ is starting to get very blurry. If it turns out that Granny’s man was the one who’s out to get them — was that goodbye for good?

    Also, Paige has a Rick Springfield poster I need, immediately.

    What did you think? Talk to me in the comments or tweet me @karenfratti.

    “The Americans” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.
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    ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Series Finale Recap: ‘Last Forever’

    “Last Forever” confirmed our worst fears. The hour-long “How I Met Your Mother” series finale proved the conspiracy theorists right. The mother, whose name we found out was Tracy McConnell, was dead at the end of the episode. By the time Ted told his children the story, she had been dead for six years, victim of a “sickness,” during which Ted loved her very, very much.


    It was a moment fans saw coming, but the nail in the mother’s coffin (sorry, I had to) came after Ted revealed she died. In the final moments, Ted’s kids convinced him to call Robin to ask her on a date. It’s been six years, they said. It’s okay to move on from Mom. Seriously. He then showed up outside her apartment with that blue French horn. About halfway through the finale, folks on Twitter started to notice the hints: Robin and Barney got divorced (we’ll come back to this), Robin had a too-cute run-in with Ted and his daughter on the street and she told Lily that Ted was the guy she should have married. It fit together. It was the best, but also very much the worst.

    Backing up a bit, the finale raced through the years between Barney and Robin’s wedding and present day. Within the first 15 minutes, we found out Barney and Robin got divorced three years after their wedding. Her career as a news anchor took off quickly and she began jet-setting around the world. Barney’s blog suffered. They got drunk in Argentina, had a lot of sex, got sober and decided to split up. Robin slowly, and unconsciously, was pushed out of “the gang.”

    Barney went back to his old ways. There was a Playbook II, which involved “The Mannequin” and “The Jim Nacho.” He then embarked on a perfect month, banging 31 girls in 31 days, until number 31 got pregnant and had baby girl Ellie. In a moving scene, Barney said to the baby, “You are the love of my life. Everything I have and everything I am is yours forever.”

    Lily became pregnant with their third child and she and Marshall finally decided to leave the old apartment. In an epic Halloween/ Goodbye Apartment party, she dressed up as a white latex whale and had one of the most dramatic scenes of the episodes in said outfit. (Major ups to Alyson Hannigan for this one.) At the party, Robin showed up, but clearly hadn’t seen the gang in months, if not years. She left in a fit, after seeing everyone together, and broke down “the gang” for Lily. “It’s just never going to be how it was,” she said. “It can’t be. It doesn’t have to be a sad thing.” And that’s true of all relationships.

    himym finale

    Ted and Tracy waited seven years to get married. There was no rush because an extraordinary, happy life just got in the way. Marriage had been the ultimate goal for Ted all along: Meet the right woman, get married, have kids. Switching up the order, but portraying a committed, loving relationship without the ring right away, rocked. It showed Ted’s growth and proved their love wasn’t centered around a wedding (though a French castle could have been nice), or one single moment. Instead it was based on millions of little moments, and a life they created with one another.

    As series finales go, this one will probably go down as one of the heartbreakers. They killed the mother! I repeat, they killed the mother! After the finale aired, I stopped by a friend’s going-away party and left soon after arriving, explaining that I had to finish recapping a very confusing hour of television. When someone asked how the show ended, admitting they hadn’t seen an episode in years, I said, “The mother dies.” Everyone burst out laughing, as if I had been the victim of a bad joke. My guess is because that’s not how “HIMYM” was supposed to end, according to the first few seasons. “That’s so f*cked up!” my roommate — who also hadn’t watched the show in years — yelled at our TV when she saw Cristin Milioti lying in the hospital bed.

    But life is cruel, as it has always been to Ted, and Tracy McConnell died.

    It wasn’t the happy ending we thought we were promised when Carter Bays and Craig Thomas set out to tell the story of how Ted Mosby met his children’s mother. To viewers, it was supposed to be a story about finding your one true love in a messy, mysterious city, filled with best burgers and stripper versions of yourself. But instead, it was a story they wanted to tell, one we never see on TV. The whole nine seasons became one long tale about moving on from loss, accepting growth in pain, the reality of friends drifting apart and the negation of “one true loves.” Ted didn’t have one true love. He had two, maybe more. May we all be so lucky.

    But, they never solved the pineapple incident. Just saying.

    Some Stray Thoughts …

    • Robin’s hair. WTF was going on with Robin’s hair in the present day? That bob was not doing anyone any favors.
    • A+ return of the cockamouse.
    • Ted’s “ET” goodbye to Lily at the wedding was the only moment to make me cry. Anybody else?
    • That last sonofabitch was used very wisely.
    • Supreme Fudge trended on Twitter. That ruled.
    • Alyson Hannigan is a gift to TV, if only because of that whale costume.
    • One last “Murder Train” song for the road.
    • Hate to break it to Marshall but, Gazzola’s in Chicago closed in Season 5. No one would eat that crap again.
    • Ted’s “gray” hair was most certainly blue.

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    ‘The Americans’ Recap: No One is Safe in “Cardinal”

    Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 2, Episode 2 of FX’s “The Americans,” titled “Cardinal.”

    I know this show is supposed to be about families and marriage, but this episode was all about sources and leaks. First, Philip heads to Virginia to meet Emmet’s source: a poor, balding agent who flips when he finds Philip in his house (though given the bad mustache, we can forgive his shock). It turns out that the agent didn’t spill about being a mole to the KGB, so Emmet and Leanne’s murder remains a mystery. Despite being a little pathetic, he does tell Philip that the information he passed that day at the fair is time sensitive. Time to move on, guys.

    Then, there’s the American World Bank employee Bruce Dameran who walks into the Rezidentura. Just walks in. What I don’t get is why people just decide to play for the other side. Nina feeds Stan just enough information to get him to figure out who the guy is. I’m not sure what the end game is here, but Stan is stalking him outside of a laundromat.

    Elizabeth is still uneasy about their friends’ murder. She’s literally standing guard, as her pretty little suburb starts to sounds like a war zone, with construction workers jack hammering out front all day. She’s super paranoid. Remember last season when she wanted to risk her own life and pack the kids off with Philip? Not anymore. But she’s having trouble balancing her maternal instincts for her kids and her fellow spies. In the middle of family bonding, she gets called out to help a new KGB agent who was in the process of messing up with a congressional aide. She helps her sober up and gives her advice on how to move her case forward. It’s weird seeing how Elizabeth does girl-talk with Sandra and this girl all in the same way. She’s so awkward when it’s not about the Cause.

    Elizabeth is so busy reassuring the new illegal that she totally misses how paranoid Paige has become. Paige has no idea what she’s getting into, but she is brave. Just not quick enough to make the calls and figure out who Helen is. Even if she does move in on clues, how will she ever guess that her parents are Russian spies?

    Meanwhile, as Elizabeth starts to worry more, Martha is also shaken by the hotel murders on the news and pledges to get a gun. Watch your back, Clark.

    Wig Count: 2+1 hat and 1 pornstache.

    Nina’s Best Poorly Translated Idiom (Working Title) : This time, there is no mocking Nina. She’s really playing Stan and her silly new colleague, Oleg. Oleg, though? In his own words: “I’m a feminist, I work only for Mother Russia.”

    Lessons Learned: Don’t take career advice from your new husband, Martha. Maybe her curlers are on too tight, but she needs to stop being so easily manipulated. Also, should we start taking bets as to when she gets pregnant?

    What did you think of the episode? Talk to me in the comments or tweet me @karenfratti.

    “The Americans” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.

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    ‘The Americans,’ ‘COMRADES’ Recap: You’re Home Now

    Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 2, Episode 1 of FX’s “The Americans,” titled “Comrades.”

    We all better get it together, because it feels like “The Americans” has found its rhythm and a fair share of drama. Directorate S might be exposed, Paige is getting a little nosy, and Beeman is way over his head.

    Elizabeth convalesced up in the hills somewhere and along with her healing is a newfound, full on feeling for Philip. It’s physical and emotional — not only are they having good (I’m assuming) sex. They’re also agreeing on everything from business decisions, like refunding Stan his Hawaii vacation, to spy blunders, like using Henry in a pinch for a dead drop. Elizabeth seems more willing to compromise a bit, and Philip, as demonstrated in his lone mission with the Afghans, can be a badass, too.

    On their first ‘date night’ mission to infiltrate a Lockheed Martin employee, Roy, they work with two old friends. They have a family and a real American life, just like the Jennings. It’s nice to see them as part of something bigger, until they walk into a hotel room and find their friends, along with their daughter, shot in the head. The Jennings gather up what they can to help complete that mission but this means that someone, somewhere knows they exist. And somewhere, Granny is probably on her way back into town.

    Having her family threatened leaves Elizabeth vulnerable, like that deer in the headlights in the opening scene, and it’s even worse now that she’s fostered possibly real feelings for Philip. So, plot one and a half.

    Plot two: Sanford has been murdered by the Colonel and although Agent Gaad can’t find the budget to investigate, he’s with Beeman in believing that something just isn’t right. We can only hope that Beeman’s sniffing around isn’t such a slow burn as it was last season. And now he has Nina to deal with. While he might have something real to work with when it comes to the Colonel, Nina has let him on a new arrival at the Rezidentura — Oleg, who rocks Rod Stewart as much as the party line. She and Arkady are primed to start feeding Stan some information.

    What about Stan and Sandra? Unfortunately, not so in love as the Jennings. Meryl Streep makes an appearance through a cameo of The French Lieutenant’s Woman. He shows a bootleg version to Nina, wanting her to emote; instead she pouts and works him. He pays full ticket price at the movie theater with his wife for the same flick: she cries and tries to tap into his soul. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching too much “True Detective” and am projecting, but his Madonna/whore issues are starting to get to me.

    Wig Count: 3+1 hat = 4

    Nina’s Best Poorly Translated Idiom (Working Title) :

    Lessons learned: Don’t open closed doors. Paige, in her newfound curiosity, walks in on her parents having sex. And though she was pleased by their welcome home smooch, this is more disturbing. If only because they turn it into a teaching moment about privacy and trust, just before Philips sneers “do we even know if this is the first time she’s checked on us?” It’s a strange balance between wanting to protect his daughter from ending up shot by strangers and trying to protect himself from his daughter.

    “The Americans” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.
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    ‘Girls’ Season 3, Episode 8 Recap: ‘Incidentals’

    Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Episode 8 of “Girls” Season 3, titled “Incidentals.”

    After last week’s summery, narcissistic “Girls” episode, I was a little worried that the season would only go downhill from there. Luckily, I was wrong.

    Sure, there were no choreographed dance routines in “Incidentals,” but it was still a top-notch episode. We got to see all the girls together again, Patti Lupone showed up and Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna were at their best … and worst.

    With 10 being the most self-involved and 1 being the least, see how each of the girls scored in Season 3, Episode 8 of “Girls” titled “Incidentals.”


    The episode opens with Hannah sitting at a restaurant waiting for Patti Lupone to show up. She’s pretty impressed with herself, much to the annoyance of the waitress, who has no idea who Patti Lupone is. Unfortunately Hannah never gets to show her off to the waitress because Patti fails to show up, so Hannah goes on a mission to find her. She’s on deadline, after all — she can’t let GQ down!

    Hannah finds Patti at rehearsal, where she agrees to give Hannah five minutes. The two of them discuss the bone density drug that supposedly worked miracles on Patti’s faux-Osteoporosis for about a minute before bonding over their hatred of exercise. Halfway through, Hannah gets a call from Adam: He got cast in a Broadway show!

    Patti isn’t exactly jumping for joy at Hannah’s news. Good luck, she cries — he’ll become an asshole! He’ll cheat! Hannah tries to reassure Patti (and herself) that Adam is actually very funny looking, but Patti isn’t convinced.

    “The elephant man got laid a lot,” she says.

    Meanwhile, back at GQ, Janice & Co. are working on a listicle: 16 Reasons Why We’d Love To Stay At The Gramercy. And she’s picked Hannah to spend the night there with her friends. Even better, she just got her first check from GQ. And it’s more than her rent! So she decides to head to the meatpacking district and “make it rain” before hosting a party at the Gramercy for Adam, his new Broadway pal Desi and all of her friends. Looks like working in advertorial isn’t too shabby after all.

    She didn’t do anything extraordinarily wonderful, but compared to last week Hannah was a saint.

    Overall self-involvement: 5.



    Well folks, it’s another rough week in Marnie-ville. While she’s innocently piling some mochi onto her yogurt, Soo Jin from her Booth Jonathan days appears behind her. Unlike Marnie, Soo Jin’s doing well. She’s opening her own gallery in NoHo because, she explains, she seriously like DGAF (doesn’t give a fuuuuucckkk).

    Their interaction is a little awkward, and Marnie makes it more awkward when she gives Soo Jin a sideways hug that she holds for a little too long as she says “I’m so happy for you.”

    She heads over to Ray’s later with some pizza, where he swiftly breaks up with her. “I want a girlfriend, Marnie. Like a legitimate girlfriend,” he says, adding, “I realize this doesn’t make sense biologically.”

    “Was this your plan the whole time, Ray? To humiliate the girl you couldn’t get in high school?” she screeches.

    Things start to look up when she makes her way to the Gramercy, receives a heartfelt hug from Hannah and becomes enchanted by Desi. The two start to hum a few tunes together, and it’s pretty cute.

    Also, Marnie has an AOL email address.

    Overall self-involvement: 6.



    Just last week, Jessa was spouting inspirational happiness quotes and turning down alcohol. This week, she’s doing coke with her British rehab friend Jasper.

    Jasper found her at her place of work, Sweet Emma. I’m confused both by how Sweet Emma stays in business and how Jasper found her, but he did, and despite Jessa’s halfhearted protest — “I have a job, I eat lunch every day .. I’m healthy! And the last thing I need is to be hanging out with you” — it doesn’t take him long to convince her to do a little coke with him.

    Jasper and Jessa show up high at the Gramercy hotel where Hannah notes that she probably shouldn’t have taken Jessa out of rehab, but Shoshanna’s just excited to be able to have a conversation with people who talk as fast as fast as she does.

    Well, Jessa’s off the bandwagon. And it’s not looking good.

    Overall self-involvement: 9.


    Last week’s outburst was cool, but it looks like Shosh is back to her old self. She doesn’t say anything extraordinarily stupid, but she does deliver one of the best lines of the episode:

    “I recognize you from your part in ‘One Tree Hill.’ You played Lennon the disabled hockey player,” she says to Desi in complete awe.

    As for Hannah, she shares Patti Lupone’s worry also worry that her friend’s relationship is doomed. “Oh my god, are you scared he’s gonna leave you for Sutton Foster?” she asks.

    She may not have seemed like the brightest crayon in the box, but rest assured that Shoshanna is not intellectually unstimulating. Jessa saw her read the newspaper on her phone once.

    Overall self-involvement: 4.

    Girls” airs on Sundays at 10 p.m. EST on HBO.
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    ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Finale Recap: The Supreme Emerges

    Note: Do not read on unless you’ve seen “American Horror Story: Coven,” Episode 13, titled “The Seven Wonders.”

    I don’t know about you guys, but after watching the “American Horror Story: Coven” finale (code name: The Witchlympics) I’m really revved up for some competition. It’s fun to imagine a parallel universe where an event like the Seven Wonders trials could replace the Olympics as the international standard of excellence. Watching witches and warlocks face-slap each other to victory is something I can fully get behind.

    Anyway, so, Cordelia. Let’s see what I said her odds were last week:

    Cordelia: 10 to 1

    I feel like this is a possibility, only because she’s Fiona’s daughter and it seems almost rightful that she be in charge. She loves the girls and loves Robichaux, and is only now starting to come into her own. Also Ryan Murphy’s infatuation with Paulson might make her top dog.

    So I wasn’t way off, and really, it’s the safest, most satisfying outcome — a Fiona rise to the top would have been something to behold, even though she didn’t deserve it. Knowing Murphy’s love of Paulson, Cordelia’s ascension to Supreme doesn’t come as much of a surprise. I predicted Cordelia becoming the next Supreme for the first time after Episode 6. One thing I didn’t see coming was the awesome return of Stevie Nicks (I knew she was coming back, but didn’t know it would be good). She seems to have woken up from her coma.

    It was almost sensory overload watching the introduction to tonight’s finale, with Stevie Nicks wandering around Robichaux, singing “Seven Wonders” to the witches about to engage in the Seven Wonders test/Witchlympics. I can honestly say, at the start of my “Coven” recapping, I never would have predicted the finale to start like this. Random folk-rock singer serenading/lip-synching to a house full of witches practicing spells? Bizarre, for sure, but also very entertaining. And there was twirling.

    One thing in particular about this finale was the pacing. It was lightning quick, with no time for meandering; it shows just how bloated the rest of the “Coven” thru-line was, with too many extraneous characters and tangents. If only this season as a whole had concentrated more inwardly on the Academy and the witches within it. This finale was focused, with a solid plot, even though the outcomes were as eye-rolling ridiculous as the rest of the show; but this was probably my second-favourite episode of the entire season. The writers had no choice but to choose someone for Supreme. No. More. Delays.

    The various magic tests were a pleasure from start (Myrtle and her “last supper”) to finish (Cordelia taking her rightful place as Supreme). Particularly fun to witness were the respective Hells for each of the girls: the fried chicken joint for Queenie, Madison getting a role in the live version of “The Sound Of Music” — as Liesl (ha! ouch!) — and Zoe in a perpetual break-up with Kyle. Ugh, Zoe, even your Hell is boring. The saddest, obviously, is Misty’s Hell, and she never gets to escape! She’s trapped forever in a science lab, forced to cut open a live frog over and over. Seriously, that’s Hell for anyone.

    Another great Witchlympics event was Transmutation Tag, where the girls — shocker — have fun with their powers. (I say “shocker” because we sat around for 10 out of 12 episodes navel-gazing while all this potential magic fun just wasted away.) It was nice to watch, but was again a glaring reminder that the young witches never really enjoy, or ever really use, their spells. Zoe’s impaling on Robichaux’s wrought-iron gate happened so fast that it momentarily robbed me of breath (not kidding!), even though Cordelia kinda-sorta saw that in her vision. With Zoe and Misty out of the running, we’re down to Madison and Queenie, and since Queenie can’t resurrect Zoe and Madison refuses to, there’s really only one logical choice left, and that’s Cordelia. Once Madison fails the divination part of the Witchlympics, she storms off and leaves Cordelia to take the throne. She, of course, brings Zoe back to life (and makes Queenie dance!). And Kyle, of course, strangles and kills Madison. (Anyone else think about this now-engaged couple’s dust-up in real life while watching this scene? Art imitates life, or so they say…)

    Thank goodness Cordelia’s new Supreme powers get rid of those red eye sockets. Geez, it was hard to even look at the screen. We get a nod to “AHS: Asylum” when Cordelia’s being interviewed for TV. Memories. Oh, how I miss Lana Winters. But new Supreme Cordelia has her awesome qualities too: she’s hard-ass, gorgeous and rejuvenated, and she relaunches Robichaux as a worldwide success. (Email her at! I tried, and got no bounce-back.)

    After we say an absurd goodbye to Myrtle (which, c’mon, was totally unnecessary — but it had to happen so we could hear her last word, “Balenciaga!!!” and watch all the witches make one last procession to the old burnin’ stake), we have to have our last scene with Fiona, who’s obviously still alive, smoking and brooding in the corner of the Robichaux sitting room. Balding Jessica Lange looked so much like Jon Voight I just had to make a split-shot:

    jessica lange jon voight

    The final exchange between Fiona and Cordelia was touching, though still strangely suspenseful. I don’t trust Fiona one iota, so I was half-expecting her to stab Cordelia with a shard of glass. I have to hand it to Lange; her performance this season … oh hell, in all the seasons of “American Horror Story” … have been epic. Paulson, too. Watching the two of them hug, one frail, used and wasting away, the other vital and practically glowing, was a lasting image that would have encapsulated the series if they hadn’t made a joke out of everything by taking it to the most ridiculous level. Mother-daughter love, despite all of Cordelia and Fiona’s literal attempts to kill each other, was a strong theme on “Coven,” but just like the half-handed attempts to address racism, sexism and ageism (and even “different” kids in this episode — they say “witches” but they mean “LGBT kids”), we barely scratch the surface. If anything, “AHS” has a unique capability among current TV shows: since it’s based so strongly in fantasy (I couldn’t make this stuff up if I had 10 hits of LSD), it would be simple for the showrunners to use metaphor and imagery to address serious issues of our time. Instead, we get Myrtle one-upping herself every episode or Lance Reddick dressed like a Mardi Gras reject.

    We get as close as we can to sealing the mother-daughter love loop when Fiona dies in Cordelia’s arms and ends up in her Hell, which is a fishing cabin with The Axeman for all eternity. Ironically, this is his heaven. Her disgust with the knotty pine walls — as if that’s the worst part about it — and her statement “This is Cordelia’s work!” made me shake my head. Oh Fiona, have you learned nothing? I guess her situation is pretty hellish, but wouldn’t a more apt Hell for Fiona be a place where she’s perpetually old? Or decrepit? I dunno, she was having fun with The Axeman and talking about running away with him two episodes ago. I don’t know why I’m complaining about this now. The moral of the “story” is a lifetime of evil ultimately gets punished (Fiona, Marie, Delphine, Madison), and the good souls (Cordelia, Zoe, Queenie) get a reprieve. Misty is the odd one out, who didn’t really deserve her rather brutal non-ending. (It’s actually kind of baffling that the writers did that to her. From what I’ve seen online, Misty was one of the most popular characters.)

    I’m a bit sad to say goodbye to all these witches, but we’ll see many of the actresses back in their new forms for Season 4, whatever they may be. Communists? Stepford Wives of the 1950s? Aliens? Roswell workers? So many possibilities. I just hope the showrunners regroup and work on a solid plotline for next season. And yes, no matter what, I will be watching. Perhaps recapping, too. I’ve had a blast writing these for you guys this season, and I’m always happy to share with such an engaged, thoughtful audience. Hope you’ve had as much fun/rage/laughs as I did!

    Witch, Please: (every week I’m going to award the witchiest witch of them all) You know it’s Cordelia. She can do it all!

    Random Thoughts:

    • What about Spalding and the baby? They certainly left that thread dangling in the wind, eh? It’s almost like: “Nothing we do at this point will make sense with Spalding, so let’s just not do anything with him.” His final scene with Madison’s dead body was about as creepy as you can get. I thought he was dead, though … I … I give up.
    • Characters that didn’t really serve any purpose in the long run: (especially) Joan, (especially) Luke, Nan, Hank, Hank’s father. That’s a lot. And I might even be missing some.
    • No, but seriously. Are FX and the IOC in cahoots? Now I just want to watch the Olympics.
    • How could the writers do that to poor Misty? She was just an innocent, Fleetwood Mac-loving girl from the swamp. She deserved a better afterlife, like, I dunno, say a Stevie Nicks show that goes on for infinity?
    • Myrtle: “This is your bailiwick.” Madison: “Whatever that means.”
    • I LOVED the news ticker on the bottom of the screen while Cordelia was being interviewed: “Liza Minnelli talks about her hip.”
    • Yeah, Da Vinci was probably a warlock. It would explain so much. Also: Salvador Dali. I can see that.
    • Madison: “I’m going back to Hollywood, where people are normal.”

    (Read what my HuffPost TV colleague Mo Ryan thought about this season of “American Horror Story” — we tend to have a mind-meld about these things, so whatever she thinks, I usually agree with her, and this is no exception)

    Episode 12 Recap
    Episode 11 Recap
    Episode 10 Recap
    Episode 9 Recap
    Episode 8 Recap
    Episode 7 Recap
    Episode 6 Recap
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    Episode 4 Recap
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    ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Episode 11 Recap: Blood Ties

    Note: Do not read on unless you’ve seen “American Horror Story: Coven,” Episode 11, titled “Protect The Coven.”

    Sometimes when I settle in to watch “American Horror Story: Coven,” after the first few major developments of each episode, I feel like I’ve returned to the start of the show. It’s like I forgot to save a video game and I’m back several chapters and achievements, with all that time wasted. In other words, nothing that happens on “Coven” has any consequence; the words “dead,” “alive,” “magic,” and “witch” basically have no meaning. Queenie’s alive? OK. She was dead (at least gone for us) for quite some time. Kyle’s here! Where has he been? The Axeman? Ugh, you’re still here? You girls have what magic now? I can’t even keep track. Spalding?! Spalding’s … er … still dead, but alive in the attic?! Everything is just so nonsensical and convenient that it can be downright infuriating.

    OK, whew, I had to get that out of the way. Now, if I look at tonight’s episode in a completely detached manner, I have to say I enjoyed it way more than last week’s mediocre midseason return. This week had gore (and plenty of it), scenes that were actually difficult to watch (some for a bad reason), and several great lines of dialogue. Approaching “Coven” as a series of insane vignettes is really the only way to do it justice. It simply cannot be judged as a normal TV show would. With that in mind…

    Madame LaLaurie and her bloodlust are the obvious focus of this episode. Is she truly a monster? Yes, it turns out she is. This passive housemaid of the past few episodes is nothing like the LaLaurie we first met on “Coven,” when she was torturing her slaves and daughters down in the cellar. We flash back to 1830 and witness her moving to New Orleans from Paris, and see how her penchant for cutting off limbs and disemboweling living creatures has manifested. By cutting a head off a chicken (nice, cute touch: my thoughts immediately went to her head in the box), LaLaurie’s remorseless violence is unleashed. She finds an injured slave and, well, does what she does.

    (This is a total aside, and probably best to discuss in a bigger forum, but two things really bothered me about the slave/gardener torture sequences in this episode. One, they were really gratuitous, and this is coming from a horror fan. Slave torture isn’t something I’m comfortable watching. Ever. And to draw it out, showing most of it, is tasteless. Which leads me to the second thing: in this particular climate, where the issue of slavery is very prominent in current pop culture, I’m having trouble understanding why Murphy & Co. are so blatantly displaying slavery torture. It’s almost like a slap in the face to the seriousness of it. Also, if you’ve recently watched “12 Years A Slave,” as I have, the torture scenes will be just unbearable in the context of a campy, oft-comedic show.)

    Thank goodness there’s nothing but levity in between the gory bits, or else this would have been a really tough slog. Indeed, the greatest ability of “Coven” is to push you to the brink (i.e. – turning your head away from the screen) and then back again (i.e. – your face hurts from laughing at Angela Bassett’s latest remark). Even at Nan’s funeral, all the players get together and say goodbye at what’s supposed to be a grim occasion. Instead they barely care about Nan’s passing (Madison: “Have you met me?”), and Queenie interrupts whatever actual mourning is going on when she arrives with LaLaurie on a leash. Queenie has also somehow gotten LaLaurie’s head back on, which is a new power she seems to have attained, among others that we’re not aware of yet.

    Back at Robichaux, LaLaurie is forced to return to her housemaid status. In one of my favourite scenes so far on “Coven,” we take a delightful romp through the house with LaLaurie as she takes care of each of the houseguests, cleaning, cooking and tidying. It’s fun to watch her deal with each character’s eccentricities and attitude, and then watch it come to a head when the poor gardener cuts his hand with shears. LaLaurie sees his bleeding, dripping hand and it all comes back to her: the torturing, slicing, the thirst for blood. She tells Cordelia that she’ll take care of the gardener, and proceeds to take him upstairs to Spalding’s doll room and basically mutilate him. Again, sorry, this scene I couldn’t watch.

    When she looks up from her dirty work, there’s Spalding. Dead? Yep. Alive? Yep. I can’t tell you what’s going on with him. No idea. Regardless, he’s there, and he admires LaLaurie’s work, calling it “art.” Hmm, OK. In exchange for her retrieving him a rare doll from 1895, he tells her he’ll give her pills to make Marie mortal, so LaLaurie can kill her. When he busts out the Benadryl and LaLaurie couldn’t possibly know what the pills actually do, I thought Spalding was punishing her for her gruesome act. But no, he was just doing that so she’d get Marie out of the way. He knocks Marie out, she falls down the stairs, and advises LaLaurie to bury her. The cock of her eyebrow indicates that that’s probably exactly what she’s going to do.

    Queenie has moved back into Robichaux, but you’d barely know it (where was she as Marie was being attacked by Spalding and LaLaurie?). After she tells off Cordelia in a very harsh way (and might I add, undeserved), she doesn’t appear again. I guess she’s on reserve for next week, when her random powers will come in handy. Straight-up, I hated Queenie in this episode. How does she have any reason to be angry at anybody? She abandoned the coven. Ugh, she’d better not be Supreme. Anyway, her vitriolic chat with Cordelia sends the headmistress over the edge. She takes a pair of gardening clippers to the eyes, re-blinding herself so she can regain her second sight. For future reference, Cordelia, there has to be a better way — couldn’t you just ask one of the other witches to put you into a deep sleep and do it humanely? Geez.

    In another part of town, Delphi is pissed. Hank’s father is certain the witches are behind his company’s disintegration, and he’s right. In what isn’t the best move in these circumstances, he vows to make a deal with them, and when they finally trust him, kill them all. Talk about gross underestimation. These guys are the worst witchhunters ever! When he and his partners meet with Marie and Fiona, it’s clear that it’s he and his business buddies who’ll end up dead, not the witches. In a “fun” gore scene (this is the kind of “AHS” I love), the witchhunters get picked off by Fiona’s lover, The Axeman, while Marie texts on her phone and Fiona sips a filthy martini. I always enjoy a good boardroom killing scene. Nothing says love…

    And speaking of love, what in the hell was that end scene? We’re supposed to believe that Zoe and Kyle are some star-crossed lovers, fated to be together. Why? Because she kills every man who sleeps with her, and Kyle is the only one who can survive it? Because she accepts the fact that he’s already died, and now he’s not all there? I don’t know where this suddenly came from, but when Myrtle was talking about their pure and true love, I was trying to think of where and when Zoe and Kyle ever outwardly displayed it. It’s been lukewarm in public at best, right? Anyway, Myrtle gives them bus tickets to Epcot (classic), and they’re on their way in a bizarre episode-ending running shot as they get on the bus to Orlando. Not like it matters anyway, because you know those two will be back next week. As much as I want to believe it, we’re not going to see them enjoying the World Showcase at Epcot.

    Witch, Please: (every week I’m going to award the witchiest witch of them all) This is a tough one, since no one really used their powers this week. I guess it has to go to Madison for fighting with Zoe and knocking stuff off the wall, and nailing Zoe in the head with a light fixture. Say, were there any repercussions from that? Guess not. Also, Madison had some amazing lines this week.

    Random Thoughts:

    • The plotline involving Fiona and The Axeman is too boring for me to get into. They were talking about moving to some farm or something, to be free from his axe and her coven. I sincerely hope the last scene of “Coven” isn’t the pair driving out of New Orleans in a pickup or sitting on the farm’s porch. Oh God, that’s totally how it’s going to end, isn’t it?
    • The second-last scene, of Spalding back in his nightie holding the baby Marie was supposed to give to Papa Legba, was so disturbing I think I repressed it. I don’t care if a man is obsessed with dolls, but there’s a creepy line to cross, and “AHS” spewed blood all over that line. It’s also clear what’ll happen here: Spalding will be left in the coven with the little girl to raise, ensuring the coven lives on.
    • When Myrtle is explaining that Zoe must leave, Zoe’s quote is the best: “I’m so lost here.” Yes, we know. That phrase works on so many levels.
    • When Spalding turned the 1895 doll around in his hands and smelled its bum, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cringe.
    • Madison: “You flush my shit, bitch.”
    • Come to think of it, LaLaurie’s preceding comment, “You left your dirt in the commode,” is actually funnier.
    • Myrtle, who’s writing your dialogue? “In the fall, the rotting leaves smell like an Olympian’s ejaculate!” I’ve never heard anything like that — ever — in my 30ish years of TV watching.
    • LaLaurie: “Well, turds on that!”

    Episode 10 Recap
    Episode 9 Recap
    Episode 8 Recap
    Episode 7 Recap
    Episode 6 Recap
    Episode 5 Recap
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    ‘Big Bang Theory’ Recap: Penny’s Married?!

    The problem with big swings is sometimes you hit a home run and other times strike out. Maybe a football metaphor would be more appropriate for tonight’s “Big Bang Theory.” The problem with Hail Mary passes is sometimes you complete and score a touchdown and other times the ball lands yards away from the receiver. Bringing all the characters together for what felt like a big Thanksgiving episode and then making Penny married on top of all that felt like a big swing Hail Mary combination — and it didn’t hit a grand slam or reach the end zone. That’s not to say the episode didn’t have its highlights. It just didn’t all come together.

    Do I find it plausible that when Penny and Zach were dating they had a drunken holiday in Vegas and got married by a fake Elvis? Yes, I find that entirely plausible. Do I find it plausible that Penny would think Vegas weddings aren’t real? Absolutely not. The entire premise of the episode’s A-story is comical but broad and flimsy. One would have to be really dumb and have little cultural awareness for this to ring true. It’s another example of the writers stretching her stupidity to its breaking point, and while it can be funny at times, it ruins her credibility. As frustrating and neurotic as Leonard is (and he is very), Penny doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on when she gets angry. Her mistake is so hair brained and epic, any anger comes across as false. Paired with Leonard’s extreme reaction, it equals a whole bunch of off-putting behavior.

    This is all cut somewhat when Zach arrives, as he’s humorously less intelligent than everyone else (and he gets a few good jokes in). But it’s not enough. By the episode’s end, it was a lot of high concept story with little payoff. Penny and Leonard’s reconciliation is swift in the spirit of the holiday — and true to “Big Bang Theory” — but vague and inconsequential. Will Penny and Leonard get married someday? Probably. Did this episode bring them closer together or farther apart as a couple? It did neither.

    Meanwhile, various shenanigans are happening on the fringes of this story. In a somewhat meandering, yet eventually humorous subplot, Sheldon starts out the episode dreading going to Wolowitz’s mother’s house for Thanksgiving. (He compares his plight to African American slavery in a series of three jokes all told in poor taste.) But he ends up bonding with Bernadette’s father Mike over football and making fun of Howard. It’s fun to watch Parsons play drunk and see Sheldon’s gridiron knowledge again (introduced in season three episode six). On the other hand, the humor at the expense of Howard’s daddy issues is more problematic, as it undermines the superb episodes from last season that tackled his problems. Bernie’s father as the straight man among all the crazy was a good touch. The show mined a lot of comedy out of throwing him into that dynamic. Amy’s reaction to Sheldon’s slap on the butt too was a winning moment, thanks to Mayim Bialik.

    Then you have Raj cooking and Howard’s mother upstairs and the episode begins to feel stuffed. These runners were tolerable and worked once or twice, but made the half-hour feel scattered. Putting all the characters in one place and letting the sparks fly should have worked like gangbusters for “Big Bang,” but its aspirations ended up being the episode’s biggest failure. Little moments and jokes broke through but this wasn’t up to par with stronger recent installments. But sometimes Thanksgiving can be dysfunctional, so who can blame them? Now let’s go throw around the pigskin … as long as this isn’t a kosher household.

    “The Big Bang Theory” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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    ‘Big Bang Theory’ Recap: Sheldon Vs. Newhart Round Two

    In an old-school sweeps move, “Big Bang” pulled a bit of stunt casting and brought back TV legend Bob Newhart to reprise his role as the gangs’ beloved childhood icon Professor Proton. The Professor, AKA Arthur Jeffries, is a former kids’ science show host that was last seen in May being hired by Sheldon and Leonard for some quality time. Newhart went on to win his much-deserved first Emmy award for the role and his performance in tonight’s episode only reinforces his merit. The man’s comic timing and line delivery at 84 has clearly not waned and “Big Bang” manages to use him in a mostly constructive way.

    At the top of “The Proton Displacement”, Sheldon, Leonard and Amy run into Jeffries at the pharmacy on “Restock the Medicine Cabinet” day. Sheldon is thrilled and in a move foreshadowing his behavior to come he decides he won’t bother him … he’ll talk to him instead. Immediately Newhart’s presence is felt, not only in the audience’s retro applause for the great actor, but in his perfectly measured responses. If they were going to make the man a recurring cast member today, I would be very on board. Need further convincing? The punchline before the credits is just him sighing. And it works. Despite the abundance of old jokes, Newhart uses his age to his advantage and provides a perfectly exasperated foil to Sheldon’s antics.

    The Professor Proton plot that follows concerns the aging scientist asking Leonard for help with a research paper and Sheldon getting jealous. Yes, Sheldon repeatedly asking if he’s annoying is annoying, but the writers carefully dole out Sheldon’s worst tendencies. They then counter those tendencies with the others getting genuinely mad and/or Dr. Cooper failing marvelously. Amy almost confronts Sheldon about his annoying personality, and though she doesn’t, we can see that she so badly wants to. In contrast, Professor Proton has no problem confronting him and shutting the door in his face. All of this leads to Newhart’s character asking Leonard why he puts up with Sheldon. Though it’s been addressed before, it was great to see the show hit this question head on again. It feels earned following Sheldon’s misbehavior and stirs some true emotion from Leonard.

    Sheldon responds to Professor Proton’s rejection by calling up a TV scientist of his own. In a clever meta turn, Dr. Cooper enlists Bill Nye the Science Guy. Fresh off a spin on “Dancing With the Stars”, Nye has been making it a habit of turning up on broadcast TV recently. The show gets a lot of mileage playing their fictional TV scientist off the real TV scientist. The Nye of “Big Bang” was inspired by Professor Proton apparently, but Newhart’s character only sees it as a ripoff act. The jokes around this premise were among the best of the episode (much better than most of the old jokes made about Newhart previously) and this may have been the 84-year-old’s best scene of the half hour. It also gives the show an opportunity to take Sheldon down a notch when his plan to use Nye fails miserably.

    Round two of Sheldon versus Newhart wraps up with Professor Proton coming to understand Sheldon, apologizing to him and then not getting mad when he finds out that Sheldon hacked into his email account. That last part didn’t come across as believable to me, but the episode would have had to be twice as long to unpack that move. Sheldon returns the favor by calling his paper “inspired” and the two plan their revenge on Bill Nye. How sweet.

    Over in our B story that doesn’t involve TV legends and kids’ show scientists, Howard hijacks Raj’s girls’ night. Howard’s oblivious eye to his best friend’s suffering felt unusually cruel — and bordering on Sheldon-esque behavior. Wolowitz really walks all over him and it’s pretty painful for most of the episode. (Also, that Jewish joke. Yikes.) Thankfully, Howard comes to and they remember why they’re best friends. This story does yield some hilarious moments though, such as Penny’s delightful inability to use glue and Amy declaring Howard and Raj will have sex before she and Sheldon. As for those light saber belt buckles? I wouldn’t be surprised if they show up in stores by Christmas.

    “Big Bang” followed up one of its strongest episodes with another solid entry. Any episode that includes Bob Newhart, Bill Nye and electronic light saber belt buckles is alright by me. It didn’t feel like a major step forward in character or plot development, but it was a fun outing that didn’t jeopardize real emotion. We’re in desperate need of a funny Penny A-story I’d say, but with Newhart around who’s going to complain?

    “The Big Bang Theory” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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    ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Episode 5 Recap: Mommy Dearest

    Note: Do not read on unless you’ve seen “American Horror Story: Coven,” Episode 5, titled “Burn, Witch, Burn.”

    The overarching theme in tonight’s episode is the relationship (or lack thereof) between mothers and daughters. It couldn’t have been easy for Cordelia to grow up with a mother like Fiona, what with the philandering, the absenteeism, and the whole “Youngest Supreme Ever” thing. But I would take Fiona as a mother any day over LaLaurie. In the opening flashback, we see LaLaurie treating her daughters like absolute s**t, even threatening to fill one of her daughters’ mouths with … yep, s**t. The other two don’t fare much better, with one hanging by both arms and the other in a cage down in the slave dungeon for a year. (It’s hard to reconcile the former brutal LaLaurie with the current timid LaLaurie, but that’s a whole other topic.)

    Once we’re back at Robichaux Academy, we see that the cast of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video is still gathered on the lawn, but nothing’s happening. The zombies stand in place, seemingly awaiting some sort of instruction. Flash quickly to Marie Laveau, who’s levitating over a chalk drawing in the back room of her hair salon. Her eyes flick open, and she says in her great, threatening voice, “Begin!” That sets the zombies in motion, who immediately head towards the Academy. Sexy neighbor boy (his name is Luke, but for whatever reason I can never recall it… OK, Luke. Luke. Luke) tries to be all brave, thinking the zombies are just teenagers in costume, but oops. They’re not. He gets injured pretty severely, but not bitten, and is rescued by Nan and Zoe.

    Let’s talk for a minute here about Zoe. It’s one thing for Nan to go running out there to save her love interest, and besides, she’s never been one to shy away from anything. But Zoe? The meek, mild girl with the overly modest wardrobe, taking charge? Something is happening to Zoe, and it’s evident here as she wields a bloody chainsaw, hacking away at the zombies like some “Evil Dead” renegade, that she’s evolving. She must be the next Supreme, absorbing some of Fiona’s aggression and confidence along with her magic — which we also see. After being cornered by the zombies, Zoe utters one phrase and every single zombie falls to the ground, once again lifeless. Marie also plummets to the floor of her salon, her spell rendered useless. Marie expresses fear at the unknown power, which lets us know that damn, whatever Zoe’s got, it’s nothing to scoff at.

    Inside the house, Spalding, Queenie and LaLaurie are hiding in the bedroom, and then LaLaurie stupidly tries to communicate with one of her zombie daughters, Borquita (quite the name), who proceeds to strangle her, throw her to the ground and head upstairs for Queenie and Spalding. Queenie’s voodoo doll magic is useless, and Spalding is only good at cleaning up dead bodies, not actually making them dead, so LaLaurie is forced to “kill” her own daughter, for lack of a better word.

    The other mother-and-daughter combo is, of course, Fiona and Cordelia, and the latter is still in a hospital bed recovering from the acid attack. It completely destroyed her optic nerves, yet left the eyes physically intact. Fiona’s informed that Cordelia will be blind for life, and it sends her into a tailspin. She attacks the doctor, finds the Medication Room at the hospital and opens it with her fingernails (natch), and treats the room like it’s a pill buffet. Completely high, she wanders the creepy hospital in a stupor. And then it’s Obvious Metaphor time as Fiona stumbles upon a room with a woman who just gave birth to a stillborn baby girl. The doctors apparently just left the corpse of the dead baby in the room with the mother, since they do that in hospitals. Fiona revives the dead baby after making the mother recite every cliché mother-daughter saying in the book, and we know that this is Fiona’s way of making up for her terrible treatment of Cordelia.

    As I predicted last week, this injury has brought out the power in Cordelia. Whether it was deliberate by the attacker to bestow this gift upon her, or if it was in her all along, we don’t know yet, but one thing we do know is her new power kicks ass. When her asshole husband finally shows up at the hospital hours later, he takes Cordelia’s hand, and she immediately jolts up in bed and opens her (now white) eyes. She sees it all — the sex, the murder, all of it. It seems, like Zoe, that Cordelia has gained some serious powers here.

    We can’t forget that the Council is still in town, too, and they’re back at the Academy while Fiona, Zoe, Nan and LaLaurie are incinerating the zombie bodies in a big bonfire. Fiona shuts down LaLaurie’s attempts for them to bond over their failings as mothers, which is just classic. Fiona’s on her A-game now (must’ve been all those pills), and she manages to sway the Council against Myrtle, who she accuses of murdering Madison and blinding Cordelia. In the presence of overwhelming evidence — the burned hand, the very incriminating photo collage on the hotel room wall (seriously, criminals, stop making collages of your intended victim), and her obvious resentment — the Council condemns Myrtle to death by fire. “I go proudly to the flame!” she proclaims, and doesn’t try to defy Fiona, which I found a little odd.

    So it’s off to the pyre/stake/death pile. In their funereal best, the ladies and the Council all head to the quarry to bid farewell to the seemingly treacherous Myrtle. Fiona lights the fire with her cigarette, and into the eternal goes Myrtle. Or so we were led to believe, though I knew this wasn’t the last we’d see of her. Our favorite bayou queen, Misty, saunters over to the pyre and resurrects Myrtle. Uh oh, this is quite the pairing. Nothing a little swamp mud can’t cure.

    At the end, we see an exchange between Queenie and Fiona, and learn that it was Queenie’s voodoo witchery that made the burns appear on Myrtle’s hand. Myrtle didn’t actually do anything, except make that creepy photo collage. Fiona assuages Queenie’s feelings of guilt by making her believe that she’s the next Supreme (a “Supreme of Color”), in yet another faux mother-daughter moment. Fiona makes false promises about taking Queenie under her wing, which seems to work for now.

    Spalding can just spray air freshener over Madison, his dead prize, to clear the air, but unfortunately Fiona doesn’t have that luxury. Soon, she’ll have to face the music about what she’s done. It may just be too late for her to make amends, which I’m not too convinced she wants to do anyway. Remember, folks: her ultimate goals are to retain her youth and keep hold of her powers, which are both slipping away each and every episode.

    Witch, Please: (every week I’m going to award the witchiest witch of them all) At the risk of being repetitive, it has to be Fiona this week. She resurrected a dead baby, commanded the Council: “You will sit!” (which was incredible), and did the whole nails-as-ID-card swipe at the hospital. So cool.

    Other Random Thoughts:

    • A “Medication Room” at a hospital? Clearly marked? I can think of so many reasons why that’s a terrible, terrible idea.
    • One more thing about that hospital: Is it just me or is it the worst hospital of all time? Nearly every single light was either flickering or out altogether. And I don’t think pediatric doctors would leave a dead baby corpse in a room with a traumatized mother. Seriously. Unless the whole thing was a hallucination, which I suppose is possible. There was a guy wandering the halls wearing just a diaper, after all.
    • Did anyone else hear Fiona say that she would be back to Cordelia’s room in 15 minutes? If so, that’s some bad editing, because before we know it, she’s back at the Academy burning the bodies in the bonfire.
    • Full well knowing that a lot of crazy stuff has been happening in New Orleans lately — you know, the zombies, the Minotaur, Madison “missing,” voodoo priestesses on the hunt, etc. — the coven leaves Myrtle’s charred corpse just LYING there?! Fully open and available for anyone or anything to come calling? Honestly, after that screw-up, they deserve anything that comes their way. At least wait until the body is ash, or take it with you. Geez.
    • Where, exactly, does one buy stylish witch-burnin’ funeral clothes? The witches seem to have a good selection of dapper outfits, especially Zoe rocking that hat.
    • I’m a fan of Dr. John’s “Right Place, Wrong Time,” and yes, the title makes complete sense in the context, but that song is forever and always associated with “Dazed And Confused,” so it felt out of place while the witches were walking to the burning. But that’s just a personal opinion.
    • I loved Fiona telling off Hank: “You’re a loser. You’re one step up from the men who stand in front of Home Depot.”

    Episode 4 Recap
    Episode 3 Recap
    Episode 2 Recap
    Episode 1 Recap

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    ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ Episode 4 Recap: It’s War

    Note: Do not read on unless you’ve seen “American Horror Story: Coven,” Episode 4, titled “Fearful Pranks Ensue.”

    It’s pretty much an all-out war in New Orleans. At the very least there’s a big one brewing, and this week’s episode pits multiple warring factions against each other: Fiona vs. Delia, Fiona vs. The Council, Fiona vs. Marie (OK, so it’s mostly everyone against Fiona), and the voodoo witches vs. the Robichaux witches. Also the battle between the “living” and the dead — but we’ll see more of that next week.

    To start things off in the ugliest possible manner, we flash back to New Orleans in 1961, where a young black boy is lynched and hanged by a bunch of white men. Marie is understandably pissed, especially after the boy’s mother expresses her optimism for the future of racial integration. So it’s time for snakes, blood and raising the dead, at which Marie is obviously very skilled. Did she just drink an urn of flaming blood? Yes, she did, and corpses tear out of their graves and attack the lynchers, ripping their limbs off and disemboweling them. Welcome to Episode 4 of “American Horror Story: Coven”!

    After the flashback, we return right where we left off at Robichaux Academy, with Spalding unceremoniously rolling up the deceased Madison in the sitting room rug. It’s priceless to see her sparkly high heels sticking out at the end, like some filling in a ridiculous corpse fajita. Fiona alleviates any possible guilt or remorse (which she probably didn’t have much of) by saying that Madison would have made a terrible Supreme anyway — and then proceeds to find Queenie almost dead in Delia’s greenhouse. Never a dull night for the Supreme!

    She shuttles Queenie up to a bedroom and literally breathes the life back into her. LaLaurie is grateful to Queenie for saving her from the Minotaur, and is absolutely beside herself, not knowing how to be kind to this black girl who she was calling “slave” in Episode 3. Power shifts are the best, especially when we know how vitriolic Queenie can be. Fiona has to wake Delia up and let her know about everything. I mean, honestly Delia, how did you sleep through someone getting killed on the floor below you, as well as a Minotaur attack? Fiona isn’t far off when she says Delia is a useless headmistress; Fiona is usually drunk and traipsing around town, yet she has a better handle on things at the Academy — and has a solid lock on revenge when she sends the Minotaur’s severed head (still blinking) to Marie.

    This, of course, does not go over well, and despite attempts by a fellow salon worker to get Marie to let it go, Angela Bassett‘s flared nostrils tell us exactly what she’s going to do: gather up all those snakes and blood again, cuz it’s time for another corpse raisin’! Things are also going from bad to worse back at the Academy, where The Council on Witchcraft has come a-calling. I was overcome with joy seeing Frances Conroy’s Myrtle Snow sashay into the house, with that outfit. (There’s nary an actress I enjoy more, and she is all aces here.) At her side are two fellow Council members, Quentin (Leslie Jordan), who specializes in sarcastic, witty rejoinders, and Cecily (Robin Bartlett), who appears to be the keeper of minutes. They conduct a series of interrogations of the Robichaux inhabitants, who basically perform as we expect them to: Delia spills every single bean (sigh), Zoe puts us to sleep with her testimony, Nan is straight-forward and inadvertently hilarious, and Queenie tosses it all out there, calling the missing Madison a stone-cold bitch.

    Before Fiona takes the stand, we’re treated to a delicious 1971 flashback, right after Annaleigh’s death. It introduces us to the young, jealous Myrtle, who is willing to do anything to take down Fiona. As a “guardian of veracity in the vernacular,” Myrtle is a defender of the truth. In the end, her scheming to trap Fiona ends up trapping her; on the stand, between cigarette drags, Fiona denies all wrong-doing, and sasses the Council. In the flashback, we learn how Spalding really lost his tongue (he cut it off to protect Fiona). Is it just me or was that actually really touching? OK, it was gross and extreme, but romantic in “AHS” terms. Young Fiona’s look of shock when he does it shows that she’s no monster, and there’s at least a semblance of caring on her part. So when Spalding’s questioned by Myrtle, he ends up implicating her instead of Fiona. So great — and when Myrtle yells, “This will not stand!” I smiled, mainly because it’s been so damn long since I’ve seen a Frances Conroy freak-out.

    Other than the main plot, we’re treated to two totally superfluous sideplots — one of which is Delia’s cheating husband, Hank, who we see is clearly unbalanced. His rough sex and weird sidelong glances tell us something is definitely wrong here. And when he breaks out a silenced pistol (which indicates he planned to kill his mistress all along) and shoots her in the head, I threw my hands up in the air. No clue what’s happening there, and more importantly, why should any of us care? Secondly, we revisit FrankenKyle, who’s slamming his head against the bathtub repeatedly. Sure, Zoe, go make him some tuna salad. That’ll make him feel better. When she returns to the bathroom, he’s gone, off into the night on Halloween. At least he’ll fit right in. I guess it’s wishful thinking that this is the last we’ll see of FrankenKyle.

    Thank goodness the final two scenes are both creepy and titillating, as LaLaurie’s three zombie daughters show up at the door with a league of other zombies waiting on the front lawn. How is Fiona going to stop this insanity? (She’s out drinking with Delia playing “Three Questions,” and Delia is blinded by something in the washroom. Maybe this will finally bring out Delia’s powers.)

    I’ll leave you for this week with a nod to (easily) the creepiest scene of the episode, which was Spalding having tea parties in a room filled with scary dolls. When he takes out that lace gown and brings it over to the chair and we see Madison’s dead body holding a teacup, several thoughts rushed through my mind: Oh no, is this a necrophilia thing? Does he just play dress-up with her? Is he dressed like a baby? What. Is. Happening. I refuse to believe that Spalding is that sick — for now — and just hope that his unrequited love for Fiona is what’s causing him to do it.

    It’s war now, “AHS” fans. Let’s see how this thing pans out.

    Witch, Please: (every week I’m going to award the witchiest witch of them all) Damn right a voodoo priestess counts as a witch, and Marie Laveau takes the crown this week. She spends most of her screen time writhing with snakes, blood and fire, so no one can really compare. Plus, raising the dead multiple times is a pretty amazing feat.

    Other Random Thoughts:

    • Interesting that Madison wasn’t the next Supreme (heart murmur!). Who is it, then? Nan? Zoe? Delia? So many interesting possibilities.
    • We now know two of the Seven Wonders: transmutation and pyrokinesis. Once we figure out all seven, we should be able to figure out who the next Supreme is.
    • Loved the “hot guy” neighbor showing up with baked goods for Nan. All together now: awwwwwww!
    • Myrtle’s red leather gloves. Could any of you avoid staring at them?
    • Angela Bassett rocked multiple hairstyles tonight. From the braids to the afro, this woman is capable of any ‘do.
    • Spalding’s fingernails nearly made me puke. The poor guy needs a major overhaul … though the creepy doll scenes helped me understand why no one screws with him. He also cut off his own tongue, so yeah.

    Episode 3 Recap
    Episode 2 Recap
    Episode 1 Recap

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